Saturday, November 15, 2014

the value of companionship

couples have always boggled my mind. i wonder, 'why? why?' all i seem to focus on are their fights, which do take up a lot of time and energy. who in their right mind would like living with a person who criticizes them day and night? who redesigns their style? and so on. it doesn't make any logical sense, or does it? 

for better or worse, companionship provides attention, both good and bad. as a guy in a movie said, 'well, with a woman you have to be cleaner.' and i don't think that's awful. it's pretty easy to go to seed when you lose your dignity, stay in a job too long, lose track of time. 

time, that's the big one. my friend sandy said many years ago, 'time is what makes us human.' partnering forced me to spend more time in the now than i wanted to! for a day-dreamer a reminder to take out the garbage comes like a clap of thunder. the good side of this: you're shaken out of thoughts of the transitory nature of things, how your life is passing. mainly, you don't have time to think. 

hmm, what's the relation between time and thinking? if the first makes us human, the second makes of us decaying gods. what do i mean by that? the problem of science and the objective distasteful. in other words, i become fallible and failing. Entropy, that's the word. no matter how much energy i store up in creative endeavours it drains away as i grow  older.  the meaning of it to me lessens. 

true, i'm often delighted with a poem i've written, or a picture i've taken. they take me out of time in the way any relationship does. i escape into order, delight in light and color, laugh at myself for having been so wise. alas, time comes back and bites me. my knee, fifteen years after a bike accident, suddenly reminds me i have been pretty stupid at times. old hurts start to ache. bending over to favor them, i strain my back in the shower. 

now, i do know the essence of regrets: if i'd done something else, i'd never have grown older. unfortunately, that means i would have had to be someone else. and only boredom or brain-damage seems to do the trick. am i always weighing the costs and benefits? consciously, i don't think about it. on the other hand, i've always tossed in the cards when a situation evolves into anxiety. 

yes, i end up preoccupied with my partner's problems, trying to fix them. and in the process i lose my sense of being. it does solve the terror of time passing. i can't even consider my own decay, attempting to shore up someone else. if i have a tragic-comic flaw, that has to be it. 

here's a poem on the subject under discussion:

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

if you want to understand american politics

election results? bah, humbug. i'm trying hard not to be disheartened this morning. the ME  party sweeps into power. yes, i know the score. they'll dump the economy back in the abyss, as they've done since the 1920's. the feeding frenzy begins. and when i'm flailing in the pits, the public will call back the YOU party to get the economy on its feet. once that happens, the YOU party will be thrown to the dogs. 

i could have called this 'the american myth of selfishness', in other words, no taxes, no government is good for your personal health. even people i know who make a living completely off taxes, they too resent paying any! and i'm almost one of them, except i don't make enough to lose much when april returns with its rains. 

oddly, this may be okay. when the indexes dive, unsuccessful companies fade away and the entrepreneurs fight for their lives and a slice of the pie. once the fat trimmed and firmly in the pockets of the wealthy, the pig dies and everybody else loses a lot of what they've stashed away. this could be called The Great American Political Cycle. 

i know it confounds all logic. in fact, this morning my head aches. my eyes can't believe what they see, even if it's to be expected. 'a goose in every pot!' no one believes it as they're standing in the bread line. if, on the other hand, they can load their baskets at the supermarket, it's time to 'throw the bums out.' as eric hoffer said, 'you can never have enough of what you really don't want.'

what will now happen in the battle zones, since war good for the economy and suppliers can charge for a thousand meals when they've only provided for forty-five? i suppose the hawks will be out there, screaming to the skies. and it's just plain weird to me the country needs foreign bloodshed to protect itself. and, damn it, so far it works!

yes, this morning i'm a pretzel, and not even one of my favorites with feta and spinach. i don't want to believe what i know. of course, as the chiropractor facing me a couple of days ago said, 'you've got a knee problem? alas, at seventy-four you have to expect everything to wear out from this day forward.' an honest sermon, and not one i wanted to hear. 

he did get me back on my feet, able to put in storage all the summer's detritus, things i have but really don't need. often i feel like a little fish avoiding the sharks in the ocean. and to mix metaphors, like any animal i do my best to survive on dry lands. a few tears have been added to the ocean by yesterday's vote, and numerous cigars have been lit to dry what's left in my eyes. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014

the tangled web we weave

                                                  (and after the humans are gone?)

i'm really having trouble being optimistic about the future of human beings. october doesn't help, a cold wind blowing out of the east, fire season coming to a close. soon i'll be plunged into the world of traffic sounds, students, death, disease. in fact the ebola epidemic just spreading out of africa. o boy, lots to look
forward to!

here's a picture with the title: "drive one mile straight up for an hour and you leave the atmosphere" i read this somewhere awhile back and suddenly this put everything in perspective. we (i) exist under a very shallow envelope of oxygen and filters calming down the heat of the sun. think: driving sixty miles on the ground, it goes by in a flash. and if we're in outer-space, no breathing without a suit. 

common knowledge, common knowledge, so sue me! i do wonder what will happen to humanity after i'm gone. will the survivors reach the other planets, settle down to lives under artificial domes, eat regenerated, 3d printed food? if we're lucky. and at this point that's be best i can hope for. humans multiply like rabbits, every increase leads to a war for territory, not to mention the effluvia thrown into the air. yes, i'm banging my head on the wall of the future, not even knowing what it will be. 

until yesterday. i received an e-book by a friend, david helton, met in greece almost fifty years ago. thanks to the net, we re-contacted with each other. after greece and many dubious, unmentionable peregrinations, he ended up in england for the past thirty years. wife, daughter, and a list of journalistic and script writings for the BBC as long as my arm. here's the cover of his present work:


voila', he's way ahead of me, thinking about the re-population of earth by the diaspora into the solar system. what might the conditions be? how could the idiots who fled into space still not be idiots on returning to earth? his hero, a seventy-year old immune survivor, Gibbous Moon, decides he'll end his days walking out into the wilderness. for better or worse, he runs into the aliens, who are now returned homo-sapiens, especially the religious fanatics who decide the earth belongs to them.

if this sounds both adventurous and philosophical - Tokien meets Ray Bradbury - it is, and often the misunderstandings very funny. there's a bit of warfare and sex, and very appealing characters from the moon, mars, and titan, among other celestial bodies. they make any ideas discussed come alive, and there is a victory of cries out for a sequel. what happens to the wonderful folks he's created? i'm dying to know, left suspended in space like them.

of course, nobody's settled off our planet yet and at the rate we're exploiting the planet and each other, we may not. i like having what's to come have something in it for our ancestors. hope isn't exactly what i'm after, but i'd like to see the kids get a chance. 

by accident i've just done a series of photos somehow mixed up with the themes of dave's book:

Saturday, September 13, 2014

i have never, ever been accused of common-sense

yet, i'm still here. traveling on impulse, i can't say i've planned anything. when i travel, i simply go, guidebook in hand, and explore the territory i know absolutely nothing about. and when i did a production of Racine's Phaedra, my mentor said, 'i'd never tackle anything like that. it's way too tough.' i've never really asked if something were possible or not (except the immature desire for a mate). i launch, and look for wings on the way down.

that said, i have been working on a closer relationship with my guardian angel. climbing into my car to drive the feather river canyon, i ask the flighty one to put his pinions around me and i feel much better  with the white feathers tickling my nose. true, i know the poor fellow will have to give up some day and let me go. imagine the loneliness, the lack of a job, the loss of face.

i do, of course, believe in the power of circumstance. true, as a child and tiny god, i knew nothing could phase me. lately, i've been doing some pretty stupid things, like eating grapefruit, when the label on the cholesterol medicine says explicitly not to. that happened last week and i don't know what stratosphere i've inhabited these past few days. and the worst is, i didn't notice a thing!

i do have to admit, a friend of my mother told her 'he will be alright. he has common-sense.' where she got that idea, i don't know. living in a divided berlin basement, chancing unreliable sexual adventures on a greek island, spending forty years writing poetry, doesn't sound like a healthy and balanced mind, which, by the way, is filled with equivocal memories of the dastardly sort, close encounters of the weirdest kind.

sitting alone on a mountain day after day, forgetting the sound of my own voice, wavering in and out of dreams, last night i wandered through my invisible city. i call it new york. no, it bears no resemblance to the real thing . my three years on manhattan didn't teach me a jot. in this dream town i'm always learning lessons, like don't lend a lame man my camera, or stay out of the shower when there's shooting in the hallway.

geeze, how many times have i fallen asleep at the wheel: in the wee hours, in broad daylight, swinging back into my lane in the knick of time? i've often thought human beings so careless and stupid, they couldn't be surviving on their own. i don't know my guardian angel's name yet. individuality of that sort seems forbidden. i've threatened to give it one and, boy, do those feathers tremble!

Thursday, September 4, 2014

He would not allow himself to be tormented

i haven't been analyzing myself much lately. words have a way of depressing me. language depends on dualism: light vs dark, high vs low. and in order to write well, i have to have to let the dark be as black as it can be, thus increasing the strength of the the light. submitting to chaos requires a stable mind, oddly enough. 

after my brush with a chemically induced psychosis, a mood enhancer on top of prozac, feeling i would fall over at any moment, that pulling off my pants might take the skin with it, i've been steering myself away from black thoughts. alas, i need them so i can laugh. i have to see the absurdity of the world in order to withstand the onslaught of the news. 

this reminds of me of edvard munch, the norwegian painter, who broke down, hospitalized about 1909. after his recovery he insisted on bright, positive images. his style changed, his lines much stronger, as if he were trying to hold everything firmly together. most of the bleak symbolism disappeared and with it, for me, his power.

c.g.jung emphasized over and over, our power lies locked in our shadow side. and he actually refused to treat patients whose psychosis lay just beneath the surface. if they entered the shadow realm, they'd break down. they'd already managed to keep themselves together at high risk. as  sappho said, "If you're squeamish, don't prod the beach rubble." 

in consequence, i've passionately focused on images. for a site called Pinterest, i've been canvasing thousands of pictures and making collections of my own. actually, this helps keep my objectivity alive, and it's a wild study in people's tastes, often so very different than my own. for instance, pinners often post pictures of objects they love, millions of material objects. 

for me, the individual escapes the traumas of the world though 'consumer therapy.' he or she creates an identity as a bulwark, this obvious in these built tables of likes and dislikes. yet, i feel we are 99% fashion, constructing a self from the tastes, beliefs, style, to which we're attracted and allow us to survive in whatever tribe we inhabit, this the true meaning of role models.

alas, much of mine adopted from the darkest french poet with the greatest sense of irony: baudelaire. and recently i read, "Irony is the easiest form of thinking." and, i take it, the cheapest. i've always loved irony. there the shadow and the candle meet. i have to keep up a personal myth: my own little light equals the darkness. 

check out my collections on Pinterest:

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

what's a sure cure for stagefright?

i wish i knew. i'm certainly suffering from a slight case of it this morning. ever since my night in the hospital a couple summers ago, i've been afraid of strokes. no, i didn't have one, low sodium instead, the state marathon runners can die from. and last night i started losing my balance, every once in awhile, shifting to the left a bit. not dramatic, yet the buried, traumatic memories have me shaky on my feet this morning. 

so, what did i do? drank water and juice with a shot of salt. okay, at least my sodium should jump. then, bright idea, take my blood pressure. damn, it's higher than it should be. was it the newly imbibed sodium? now i have to wait until that possibility wears off. otherwise, i'm too focused on controlling the moves of my body, when they should come naturally. 

that is stagefright, for sure. too much attention to my physical self, it brings up fears for my survival. keep moving and don't fall. my doctor likes to repeat this conundrum against aging. and supposedly the fear of falling our most basic, a remnant of the first toddler steps taken. and by the way, what keeps us going anyway? 

i'm always amazed by a child learning to walk, the drive to do so. and in answer to my question, who am I? all i can answer is "I am made of my memories." yes, true enough. when the brain goes, everything does, a library is lost. and who is the librarian who knows where to find the memory of walking, of trips to greece, of love-affairs both delighting me and dropping me into despair? 

strangely, there's no answer. nobody knows what the integrative factor 'consciousness' is. the pieces of the puzzle are all scrambled in the box. we call it 'the self' and how illusive can that be? i know something screens us from being overwhelmed by stimuli as schizophrenics are. 4 billion fragments of the universe hit our eyeballs every second, and we're capable of noticing 40, when the shield is up. 

and what we are is limited to what gets through our defenses. some rocket scientist in us shoots down 3 billion, 999 million, and so on, impulses trying to reach us. who he or she is, i have no idea, and when i think about it, i get dizzy, like i am a bit this morning. certainly, i could credit it to a touch of the divine, the spark we lose with disintegration. 

when i encounter anything new, my immediate reaction: is it dangerous, can i eat it, have sex with it? obviously, this is the first line of defense, and i depend on memory to straighten things out. if that doesn't work, i turn to science: does it have cells, is it breathing? if that doesn't work, i turn around an run, not always the best solution.

here i am an the end of my inquiry, with no answer. all the important questions have none. time to take myself up and walk. 

epilogue: next time read the label, stupid. 

Sunday, July 27, 2014

what if israel's nuclear arsenal exploded, all at the same time?

                                                          gaza conflict from space

i ask myself this, as an apocalyptic character. everyday i expect the sky to fall. a counselor told me i had been too impressed with death when young - father's funeral's, world war two? and i've practiced my own death many times, especially when eating. i'll sudden stop a fork halfway to my mouth, hold my breath, and think, yes, it can end this quickly. 

if that's not a neurotic, i don't know what is! at the same time, it's a reality. it has happened to more than one friend. when i'm driving back to the city, as i did last evening through a deep canyon on a two lane road next to a river, i tell myself, this is a absolutely insane. at work on the lookout, i don't know how many deaths i've heard of via the radio. 

i do try to have everything in order, in case this is it. mostly, i try to have any debts paid, my belongings neat, and any friend i need to contact be contacted. this includes any posts i want to put on Facebook. and during the two and a half hour drive, i watch the cars coming around the curves with an eagle eye. one little swerve, it's either the cliff or the river. 

okay, i do have an end-of-the-world mentality which i project about me. and it's natural to start looking up how many nuclear weapons and kilograms of plutonium, do the israelis have, producing them since the 1950's. of course, no one wants to know, the governments of the world hesitate to even admit the presence of such a cache. 

this hasn't stopped scientists and soldiers from attempting to evaluate the situation. conservatively, lets say they have two hundred warheads with 500 kilograms of plutonium. since one molecule from one fist-sized ball, if deposited in each human being would be the end of us all, 500 kilograms thrown into the atmosphere, would do what?

right now we're in the middle of an arab-israeli conflict, one of many in the past seventy years, bombs and rockets going off all over the place. say a rocket hit the right spot, or someone with his finger on trigger got nervous, or there was merely an accident, a random jolt of electricity, what would be the result?

obviously, israel and it's neighbors would no longer exist. say, being optimistic, only 50 mushroom clouds appeared. would the earth wobble, crack? and where would the winds blow all that carnage? one little reactor in the ukraine poisoned the milk in scandinavia. 

why do i bring this up at all? it is real, and in these continually renewing conflicts, all of our lives are on the line. i say, it's time to wise-up.