Wednesday, December 31, 2014

Goodbye 2014

This year has flown by but so much has happened to reflect upon. I have learned much about myself and life growing much closer to who I want to be. I'm learning to let go of regrets because you can only do the best you knew how at the time and if you knew better then still let it go because it's over and done. Someone on This American Life said "people who live a life of regrets live a life of pain" which I thought was very true. We don't need to be walking around heaping regrets upon ourselves when we are all still growing and becoming better people. There is enough stuff in the world trying to drag you down that focusing on the positives and your progress is imperative to not being sucked into a pit of despair weighted down with baggage that is only as big as we make it.

Another thing I am learning is that there really isn't a perfect time to start being you and pursuing what you dream about. While you might not be able to launch into exactly what you want to do right away, the little ways you reach out and attempt that vision will begin to clear the path and also sharpen your skills. Some times just dipping your toe in the stream will put you around others who will guide you out deeper. If you want to be creative, then create. I was considering my own writing today and know that while things like my poetry may not be amazing, I'm building a body of work and experience. One day if I begin to write things that are speak to others, then they may still find appreciation for all the work coming up to that point. It seems that once you are successful in an area (particularly art) then a switch flips in peoples heads and they suddenly fawn over what would previously have been considered average or juvenile.

If you are someone who has hidden their true personality from a portion of the world (usually it's your family) then being yourself 100% is a great way to clean up the riff raff in your life. Most people want to ease into it because they are afraid of losing people around them but if you lose them by being yourself, you probably don't need them around to begin with. Those people you are afraid of are only going to stymie your efforts at complete self-actualization.

This probably sounds like you just jumped into some kind of bullshit self enlightenment seminar but it's been working for me and I hope that it is of some use to you, further propelling us next year to more peace and happiness.

Choice, Chance or Fate

She aimed for the apple atop my head 
"Hold still" she breathed, winking as she drew back in the bow
But whether by choice, chance or fate my heart was pierced instead. 
The outline of my former life lay bare, cold, stark upon the floor. 
Her spirit possessed my being animating the limbs, pulsating the heart. 

She would raise me to full stature then let me fall limp and lifeless on the cold stone amidst gales of laughter. 
Time after time till all my bones were broken and even she could make me stand no more. 
There I was left, heart still beating but mine again - her final gift to a broken man. 

Each rush of blood sending waves of pain through my useless body
But most of all the arrow dancing, throbbing with each contraction.
Bones and flesh mended slowly, though her mark could still be seen.

A stranger happened by who otherwise would pass and lifted me up bearing me along
My atrophied arm draped across her shoulder. 
She asked if she might remove the arrow but I hesitated and withdrew. 
That wounding whether by choice, chance or fate was part of me - or so I thought and bore it in my body, my soul. 

Many years passed in the company of the stranger - now my friend, my lover. 
But still the arrow my heart retained. 
Whilst working in the garden one day the archer happened along stopping, watching my labors still afflicted by her torments. 
I met her gaze and inquired - "why?
Why had she treated me so?"

"For sport" she replied then vanished over the hill. 
My fingers closed around the arrows shaft
The memories relieved with each pulse. 
I then wrenched the foul instrument loose
And buried it in the garden. 

Whether her choice of sport was chance or fate, I would no longer be her prey. 
Whatever the cause of her bewitching games
It had led me to that stranger, now my love - no longer needing that arrow - I am complete. 

Thursday, December 25, 2014

No Maps for Christmas

Darkened windows, locked doors,
No tree or gifts - Christmas abandoned
Only candles burning on the table, they're spinning, spinning away. 
Mapping past to present in the lines on her face - tracing my steps into the night.
I do not need a map, I am where I belong. 
Retreat unnecessary, regret spurned. 
I've made it home. 

May Christmas spirit haunt the timbers of your home
Unlock your door, let joy cross the threshold. 
Throw on the lights or keep them low and dance with a new lover. 
The soft glow melting the creases away
Your past can be ignored, when you find happiness in the present. 

Wednesday, December 24, 2014

O Holy Night

Driving to my almost-mother-in-laws tonight we were listening to Christmas music when Josh Groban came on the radio singing O Holy Night. The line "in his name all oppression shall cease" struck me like never before. Maybe it's because I had something to do with the creation of Selma arriving in theaters now, or maybe it's just a coincidence, but I thought about all the "good Christian" people who have oppressed so many for their beliefs, skin color, sex of choice, and life choices in general. Regardless of whether you think Jesus was really God or just the parabolic embodiment of good ideals, you would have to agree that those who claim to follow him have seriously fucked up. I bet some of your would be offended by that last sentence but that's my point - it was my choice and doesn't effect you so why care? An individual's level of judgement is proportional to their fear of their own humanity. You think that because you witnessed something you don't want to be a part of you, it's going to somehow contaminate you. Stop being weak - fear isn't holy.

I know fear because I grew up in a culture that was intensely afraid of their humanity but covered it up with rules and judgement. The more you put other people down the safer you feel because you can't be tarnished by the proximity of their embroiling "sins". Oppression is based either in fear or arrogance and the spirit of Christmas is one of humbleness and hope. You don't raise yourself up by putting other people down and standing on their heads or there will be a writing mass just waiting for your to fall so they can devour you. We rise up by being strong ourselves and then lifting the weak on our shoulders till they are capable of standing and doing the same. The world doesn't need judgmental people, it needs strong people.

Wishing you all Christmas filled with love and acceptance for whatever you believe and whatever you are.

Mary Todd

People like to attack things in our culture (like the Kardashians) by complaining about some facet of the atrocity capping it off with "that's what's wrong with the world". Most of the time I agree with them but for once I'd like to point out something that is right in the world - Mary Todd Hairdressing Co in Atlanta, GA. Mary Todd is a small shop located on Carroll St. in the section of Atlanta known as Cabbage Town. As soon as you walk in the door you can tell that you are somewhere unique and awesome. It's not just the decor, or the fact that they sell hand crafted items in the display case at the front or that they offer a beer to sip while you get your hair cut; there's a vibe that I find infectious and inspiring. All the employees have impeccable style which I would dub the perfection of hipsterism. The tailored outfits mixing an older style with new flair speak of individuals who take pride in themselves and what they do. This isn't Supercuts so don't expect to get clipped for $15 but then again - that $15 mentality is what's wrong with America. Americans, by and large, want to save as much money as possible on everything so that they can build up this plastic mansion of shit that might look nice from a distance but on close inspection is severely lacking. I've worked in many "fancy" homes that as a former builder of homes, can tell they are simply polished turds. In the end, we have an illusion that falls down around us so we propel ourselves forward to the next thing instead of enabling true craftsmanship - something that will last, absorbing memories and take on a life of it's own. 

While a hair cut is only temporary, the experience is something you take with you. Going to Mary Todd inspires me to leave the facade of western life behind and instead, pursue a life with my own personal character. You can spend money on "nice things" but I'm not talking about a name brand like Eddie Bauer so you can be a pompous asshole. I'm talking about supporting and becoming part of something almost spiritual - a disregard for all the bullshit constantly forced down our throats by corporations. Our world is fast becoming this streamlined, shiny piece of shit where you are a gear in the money machine. Next time you need a haircut, a meal, a gift etc. find a place like Mary Todd and tell the system to go fuck itself. You'll be glad you did. 

Friday, December 12, 2014

Quantum Beauty

Sunlight peaked through broken blinds
Wrapping her face in warmth
Glinting off her hair like delicate copper strands
Breaths so soft, body so still: she could have been dead
And I thought if death looked like this, I wanted to die.

She was the kind of girl who made you want to leave all behind
To wander the world as vagabonds
Experiencing everything
Running only from the shackles of time. Time, that was quickly slipping away.

Merely knowing she existed gave life new vibrancy;
A palette of colors my brush had never know
The very thought of us, inspiring the best in me.
Her touch gently brushing away sadness; revealing artifacts of my soul buried long ago. 

From time to time necrotic bones of former lovers protruded from their shallow graves
Attempting to haunt this sacred forest.
But they are dead and shall remain interred.
Decaying leaves, layer by year, slowly covering their bony fingers beckoning: return. 

Entangled we became, separate but linked.
Time nor space impeding or dampening
The actions of one reflected in the expression of the other
Matched direction, synchronized velocity
Searching the limits of the universe. 

Eventually we slowed down, time finally grabbed hold
The sunlight once again bathed her face
Caressing wrinkles, reinvigorating dulled copper locks
Breathless, still beautiful...gone
And I thought if death looked like this, I wanted to die. 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

Mind Fuck

This morning my girlfriend was telling me about Lena Dunham's book where, among other things, she talks about being raped. Apparently she has received  a lot of flak from people for it with some of the reaction claiming the event was her fault. My comment was that no matter what the situation (spouses, partners, one night stands), if someone says "no" or "stop", continuing is wrong and self serving. The premise of rape is wanting what you want regardless of what anyone else does - to feel powerful and satiated. 

The religious culture I grew up in taught that you needed to break your child's will (or spirit) through harsh discipline. As I considered my statement about rape I realized that breaking someone's will is basically a mental rape or if you will, a mind fuck. You are saying to the child "I don't care that you are an individual, you are here to do what I want". I guess it shouldn't come as a surprise that many people who grew up this way had parents who were also sexually abbusive. 

Most parents I've seen fall into two camps: they either let their kids run all over them till they've had enough and then explode or they rule with an iron fist to discourage any uprising. Instead of terrorizing children into submission, parents should in a matter of fact manner explain their position and then be willing, if appropriate, to hear their child's feelings (obviously you aren't going to have a debate about why they should get out of the street while a semi is bearing down). Kids need to be taught that they have a voice and be given freedom to make choices. For instance if they don't like what is for dinner, once they've tried a little, let them come up with another healthy option they can make with what's on hand. You are still being firm and holding to some guidelines but are also teaching them to think, cook and prepare them for independence. 

While I think many things in the world are subject to situational ethics, something I am rock solid on is no one deserves to be made an object for someone else's enjoyment against their will. It doesn't matter if people think they are just trying to keep their kids out of trouble. Your offspring will make decisions you consider mistakes at some point and its best to understand that from the get go. Anyone who can't accept that probably had kids because they wanted to feel better about their lives: they needed love, respect, fulfillment etc. Kids are not toys. Kids are meant to be guided not fucked. 

Tuesday, December 9, 2014

All I Want For Christmas is A Can Opener

Eating breakfast at catering this morning, it struck me - they cook a lot of fucking eggs every single day. Big whoop I know but wait, it is, because that's what sustains the corporate farms and cruelty to animals most people abhor these days. Our lifestyle is creating the problems that we protest. I read a snapple fact this morning that claims "the can opener was invented 48 years after the can". 48 years! That means it took that long before someone got fed up enough to invent a better way. With the growing population and increase in waste generated by our lifestyle of massive consumption we better not wait 48 years to wake up on some of these issues. I really don't want anything for Christmas this year except a book to learn more about my craft because it's time to start being part of to solution. 

Monday, December 8, 2014

Wind Shake Wind Throw

My grandfather who is passed but still my hero wrote this poem and I wanted to pass it on. He wrote it on a piece of birch bark which adds an extra bit of poetry so I will include a snapshot at the end of the post. 

Wind Shake Wind Throw

We the people stand together,
Stand together in a group;
This it had better be
Else we shall hurt and fall.

Trees, high on a hill, stand
Not alone, else wind shake
Splits their bones and aches within;
To stand alone - to hurt to fall. 

Stand not to stand but to support;
To stand apart yet stand together
The help each gives returns to each
In every windward sway, in every weather

The tree lives for the forest,
The forest sustains the tree. 

Edward S Zelazo


Not Okay

As I'm apt to do, I've been thinking a lot about life and many things have been piling up in my brain. For instance, why do we laugh when kids do something inappropriate? Or accept brashness from an elderly individual? The rest of us caught in the middle are expected to act within a certain set of societal parameters that many times trap us from being healthy. Listening to a veteran from Iraq talk about his experience dealing with the trauma of war and assimilating back into normal life, he said that he had to come to a point where he acknowledged that he wasn't ok and it was okay to not be okay. Admitting you have a problem is scary because it makes others uncomfortable and c'mon, you are an adult - you should have your shit together. 

The human brain is a sophisticated pattern seeking computer driven to find what will bring us peace and comfort. Unfortunately we start receiving input before we have a context built up to make proper sense of that information. This creates scenarios like a woman who carried guilt for 40 years because she thought something she did as a little girl caused her dad to commit suicide. I'm convinced that many people glom onto religion because it provides them with a pacification of their pain where they don't have to admit they have a problem. Just do the right thing and when you die, it will all be better. Almost anytime you confront someone's crutch whether it be religion, OCD, addiction etc they react because you are touching pain they have been suppressing. 

Last week I was discussing the universe (or potential multiverses) and the idea that this is all a simulation (Life is a giant computer designed to determine the meaning of life - 42....) I commented that I hope this isn't all there is regardless of whether it was a simulation or not, to which my co-worker responded "why does there have to be a meaning to life? Why do you need a Heaven?" 

For the record, I don't need a heaven, I just want to have something - a place where my spirit / energy is finally at peace and knows it. I mean when you die, if there's nothing else, I suppose you would technically be at peace but you wouldn't know so it's moot and there's the rub.

My childhood could have been much worse but regardless it left me with deep scars and a wake subsequent choices that I feel everyday. If I knew for a fact there wasn't a cosmic justifying of the balances, I don't think I would get up tomorrow. I've tried to accomplish many things in my life and have had temporary relief but at some point I realize that it's not really filling that need in my heart. 
There's a good chance I will struggle for another 50+ years and never get to that place of feeling like I've overcome. I need to remember my past to feel like I've beaten the monster and that is why I hope - because if I don't beat it in this life, perhaps I will beat it in the next.

For all of us to be healthy as humans, we need to admit when we aren't okay and allow all the negative things we have propped ourselves up with to fall away. We have a perpetuating cycle of broken people making children and then breaking them. This is largely because adults don't admit they have problems. If adults were more honest about their deficiencies it would help to correct many of the inaccurate ideas children form about life and themselves. Admitting you aren't okay doesn't just help you, it can help the future of our species. I know I'm not okay, how about you?

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Answers in the Void

Sometimes it's the dead spots
The neglected information in a story
Sometimes it's just zeroed data
That tells you what you need to know
Sometimes louder than the boldest headline
More forceful than a pundit
Sometimes silence speaks volumes
There are answers in the void

Monday, December 1, 2014

Chasing Dragons

I said there are no dragons
You are chasing what isn't there
But perchance you happened upon one
You surely would not survive
A fools errand of braggadocious purport
She said she did not care
At least she dared to believe
Believe in something different, spectacular
Despite what might become her fate
I do not chase dragons
But assert they be fairytales
I spurn the very thought, deceiving myself
For I fear the scaly creature living in my soul
He's buried in that cavity, tail wrapped round my heart
Puffing little bellows, shaking shackles, wanting out
Unwilling to die, but must not be freed
I do not chase dragons about

She tells me not to fear
She will not leave my side
Maybe together we will coax the beast free
Like a feral cat cajoled to leave its wild ways
But not completely, for predictable creatures bore
We both will find a dragon and listen to it roar

Husks of Men

The glowing furnace casts its orange hue 
As it sinks to find more prey
Fueled by unused potential
Slowly burning away dreams and hopes
Till only husks of men remain

Darkness falls where thoughtful hearts contemplate their fates
How much soul is left before the darkness fills the growing void?
Will we only procreate, providing perpetual fuel?
Offspring doomed, an Ouroboros choking on his tail
More hearts to consume, rendered void, senseless offerings

Does time remain to break free, launch forever into the stars?
Burning out what still is left, shine our own light
Traversing galaxies, accosting the unknown
A blackhole remaining after the last light shudders out
Forever marking the universal canvas, invisible but still a presence
Darkness is inevitable but will not render obscurity
If ever a man can escape the grasp 
From the furnace that only leaves husks of men.