dispatch from the apocalypse

My last post was so long ago that it’s barely worth mentioning. This world has fallen. We are all fallen. This is not the world we were in when I last wrote. This is new. More terrible, if that’s even possible. We, the planet, have endured a pestilence, that some believe is fake, that some believe is real, that some believe is the end times, that some believe was manufactured. We are living in an age of false information, of fantasy, of end times apocalyptic realities that don’t seem to make sense, and yet are the daily fodder of our lives.

There are two types of people living in this armageddon of our own manufacture. Those who tell us that it isn’t happening, and those who do. This is carnage on a planetary scale, but here in what was the United States, we endured an attempted despot, an attempted coup, and a now a pandemic of those who do not believe in science. The ones who spout false information, are losing the very audience to which they preach. They are killing their own constituency for profit.

Reason is gone. Logic has failed. Death is everywhere. What can we do? In these manufactured end-times, we hide in our homes, stream our shows, hide from the unreal realities, and try to endure our day to day. Meanwhile over 6 million have died from the virus. More will…even as the vaccine is available and free, because they don’t trust it…but that’s ok, the ones who don’t trust it, will be gone, and the rest of us might just survive, even as we ruin the world with heat and fire.

Maybe it’s time this planet was rid of us…

the burning

Burning cleanses…right? Out in the wilderness, if survival shows on cable are to be trusted…when you cut yourself, you’re supposed to cauterize the wound, correct? It doesn’t come without some pain, that’s for sure, but I suppose it’s not the temporary pain which is the goal, but the long term effects of stopping the bleeding, or cleansing the wound of bacteria, or whatever.

I could be wrong. I probably am. I usually am.

Point is, when the burn happens, it hurts like hell, and you can’t really see past that point to a time where it won’t hurt. It hurts right now, and it’s bad, and if it’s bad enough, you know it’s gonna leave a scar. The longer and hotter the burn, the bigger and deeper the scar, even if it’s done to help you in the long run.

I can’t see past my pain today.

That’s how anxiety and depression works, at least for me. It burns. My heart races. I breath too shallow. But instead of making me stronger, it weakens me in the long run. The scar left behind makes that spot weaker, more prone to future injury.

What’s that thing in psychology where they talk about how many competing stresses are acting on you at any given time? I can’t remember, I’ve got too much going on right now. Too many things to worry about. I can’t really see a way out right now, or an end to any of it. My stupid masculinity keeps telling me to try and fix things…to make them right…because that’s what society tells me, as a man, father, husband, or whatever, is supposed to do. But mostly, any action I take ends up just making things worse. This is when words from my childhood invade my mind and say things like “don’t worry, just pray…give up and give your worry to God…you did this to yourself anyway…ask for forgiveness and all will be well with your soul.” But I don’t think God has a bank account for me to draw from, or can insure my home.

Right. Ok. That was just rude of me. Moving on…

Or not.

my only wish

I just want to live long enough to be comfortable and not worry about money. Is that so much to ask? In a capitalistic society, I think it might be. I’m already living where I know I’m going to die someday. I’m trying to just be, just exist, just enjoy the world as it is…as I like it…my house isn’t quite what I want it to be…my job is sometimes tiresome, but it helps pay the bills. Money is a problem…I’m not good with it…I spend it on things that I think make life better. Music, whisky, amenities. What else is there? Someone said, a long time ago, paraphrased, life is only about farting around…I’ve taken that to heart. I want enjoy what time I have in this tiny existence…this flash of consciousness. I honestly don’t believe there is anything else after death. If there is, great. But I don’t think there is…but I’m no hedonist. Life is precious, temporary, fragile…short. Like Bourdain said, “your body isn’t a temple, it’s an amusement park…enjoy the ride.” I plan to do just that. Using my ears for music, my tongue for tasting, my eyes for experiencing all there is that I can experience…I’m alive…I’m temporary…I’m transient…a flash of consciousness in the pan of the universe. That’s all any of us are. Live. Love. Experience. Leave a message of love.

intentional living

I talk about it a lot to people who listen…and even to those who don’t…about listening with intent. Mindful engagement in the music you play. Some people get it, others don’t. That’s ok. My own weirdness is lost on many, endured by most, and understood by a very select few, I think.

But…there’s something to it…to the engagement. To the touching and the seeing and the watching and the physical interactivity of records. For some, there’s almost an “archaeology” of experience to the entire process. To hold, in one’s hand, and listen to the very grooves on a platter of vinyl, that someone else, long gone, possibly dead, listened to back in their day. The original pressing, listened to numerous times, those very grooves, experienced by other ears than your own. I get that. I do. It’s not quite my thing, however.

My thing is the touching, the looking, the setting of the needle, the viewing of the spin, the holding of the cover art, and the interactiveness of changing the media from one side to the next, or one record to the next, in the case of the double album. That’s my feeling, my tactile pleasure.

I think it’s important, this revival of the real. This moment of the analog actuality that’s been growing over the past decade. I’m late to the party, it’s true, but I’m enthusiastically engaging in the festivities, in as much as I can.

There’s something to be said, I think, for the manual slowing down of things that in the 20th century were over-engineered to be so convenient that they almost disappeared from our lives. Touch the world. Interact with the device. Watch the clock motion. See the movement of the hands. Insert the razor into the holder. Don’t just flip a switch. Do something more. Be present and here, in the real, in the now.

the arbitrerium of thorantium

Once, there was a man who walked through life, dejected, small, unwanted, and lonely.  He would travel from town to town trying different public houses, drinking and talking to the locals.  Sometimes he would strike up a conversation, but soon after, something would go wrong, and the other party would leave, finally understanding that he was nothing, a nobody, just a traveler with no destination…and go back to more familiar things, more familiar people, with familiar destinations.

Today I had to talk to a young man from Kurdistan about his job performance.  I felt like I was outside of my body, letting someone else talk for me, about coming in on time, not leaving too early, being conscientious of co-workers and protective of customer property.  Outside of myself I watched all this occur, and just let it happen, because I had to, or else I couldn’t be here now relaying it in the comfort of my own sanctuary.

The man would then move on to the next town, listening to it’s music, looking at it’s people, trying understand their ways and their words.  Watching them would lead to singing, which would lead to running down the road toward the next town with complete abandon and lack of understanding, trying to never stay somewhere that was comfortable for too long.

I felt good today.  Better than other days.  Accomplished.  Worthy of the pay I receive, and helpful to the organization for which I trade my time for money.  I came home and retired, alone, to my small wood-lined room full of books, and intentional music, and decided to write something. Something I haven’t done in no less than four months.  Ages ago, I said to myself, “I want to be a writer.”  It never happened. It’s probably too late for that now…but maybe I did, and I’m just a writer once every four months.  Only occasionally vomiting words in incoherent and incomplete phrases and sentences on to blank virtual pages that will only be cataloged because our world loves to digitize and save irrelevance.

When he arrives where he’s going, he doesn’t even know it…he stares around and watches the stars fall, he watches the clouds dissipate…feels the rain fall on his face from an empty blue sky…the water washes him clean…baptizing him in his own emptiness, his own void, back to what he was before, back to nothingness, from where he came, from where we all came.  To where we all go, in the end…and it’s more beautiful than he can imagine.

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work life….

Yeah.. like so many of you.  I work.  I work at a job.  Daily.  Why?  Obligation.  Do I like it?  Well, it doesn’t matter if I do or not.  I have to do it because I have obligations.  I have a house to pay for.  I have children and a wife to feed.

“Oh!” says the optimist, the pragmatist, the dreamer, “you should do what you LOVE!”

Yeah.. I’d like to.  But what I “love” doesn’t pay as much as what I do right now.  What do I do?  It really doesn’t matter.  I do stuff.  It pays pretty well.  Do I like it?  It doesn’t matter if I like it…like I said, it pays well, and I have to do it.  Is that sad?  Yeah, probably so…but my needs are met.  My family is fed and housed…and I’ll have an ok pension if I stay right where I am.  Retirement in somewhere between 18 and 20 years…or thereabouts…should be mildly comfortable…if all plays out as expected.  It’s a gamble, I know.

Do I love it?  Do I do what I love?  Am I doing exactly what I thought I’d do when I was a teenage dreamer back in the 80s?  It doesn’t really matter, does it?  I watch other people do what I love…and I’m ok with that I guess.  In the end, it’s only money I’m after…just enough, you understand, and I’m living life as best as I can because of the choices I’ve made…and I’m at peace with that I suppose.  I have to be.

I hate to do this, but if you like what you’ve just read…and have the means…click below…thanks. We could really use the cash…

…a strange encounter…

“You always have a great smile when you come in here.”  She said. “Well, I try to be nice” I said.

The Safeway store I frequent is just one of those places where people get to know you…they see you often enough to start to recognize you before long…

But then I start to wonder.  How messed up is my psyche?  What does that cashier not know about me?  Does she see the anxiety?  The depression?  No.  Because I hide it, like so many people, behind a mask of happiness and light talk and banter.  Why?  Why do we mask ourselves?

We do it because the people we meet every day have their own battles to fight.  They don’t need to be embattled with those we’re engaging in also.  My anxiety is my own.  My depression is my own.  None of it is for her, the cashier at Safeway.  She has enough of her own to deal with, I’m sure.

Is it disingenuous?  Is it fake, for us to mask ourselves to the people we randomly encounter from day to day?  Yes, but in my limited experience, it’s for a good cause.  Pain expressed as sadness to others only perpetuates that sadness into the world at large.  Were we to express ourselves to people who are not our closest allies, our confidants, our soul mates, in this world, we only cause more pain…and there is enough pain in this world.

So…go ahead.  Mask yourself in the market.  Pull the veil down as you move through your daily commute on the subway, the bus, or whatever.  Keep those things to yourself, until you find those people who are yours to confide in…we need to move this world from pain and suffering, into something more humane, and more calming…and more pleasant.  Our suffering can remain under our own surfaces, and can be dealt with between our close ones.  Our loved ones.  Those with whom we can share anything.

I hate to do this, but if you like what you’ve just read…and have the means…click below…thanks. We could really use the cash…

…tiny head…

…have you ever put your hands on your head and felt the size of it and thought…this is too small.. how is this brain so small to hold such cacophony and endless thought noise and internal spaces that sometimes seem endless…it seems too small.. to constricted by bone and skin to be able to hold these vast incalculable ruminations and dreams and nightmares of infinity….

…the hooch

Back in those days, we had a little structure we’d nailed together with leftover wood called “the hooch.”  It defied it’s definition because we were all underage, but we still had some way or other of obtaining alcohol by any means necessary.  The Hooch was on Aaron’s parent’s land…we were lead to believe.  It’s location is now apocryphal.  There was a little spot for a fire in front of it, and we all sat around and listened to music on a  battery powered “boom box” (The Doors, old Rush (Caress of Steele, and etc.)) and drank until we passed out and slept all night under the oaks and the starry sky beyond the green canopy that protected us from the cold of the night.

This wasn’t the psychedelic shack.  This was a tiny place all our own.  The Psychedelic Shack was for larger gatherings…an abandoned concrete block structure in which we’d graffiti-ed pictures and slogans like “sympathy for the devil”, and other sayings of our time…the Shack was near an abandoned rock quarry.  There were parties there…debaucheries happened there…drinking, music….all of us in our abandon would dance and make out and talk and stumble about in our drunkenness without a care in the world.  We’d stay there until the dawn…then slink back to our parent’s house and slip in early in the mornings and sleep the day away.  It was the ’80s, after all….

The Hooch was no different, but it was smaller, more intimate, and never a party.  We’d retire there after “happenings” at the Psychedelic Shack.  It was listening, it was talking, and of course it was drinking…always drinking…sometimes smoking too.  It wasn’t even as easily accessible as the nearby cemetery on Aaron’s parent’s land.  You had to park off the road, and slip through a fence to get to it…it was secret, it was ours…it was private.  A select few knew about it…it was ours.

In those times boys…teenage boys…would bare their souls.  Say things to each other that could never be said anywhere else.  Cory Llewellyn said he loved me.  What did that mean?  In his mind altered by alcohol state, I could only think he meant “trust”…in the male sense.  As the drink opened our minds, and the fire and the music played on our consciousnesses, we opened up and became real with each other. We made pacts, we made vows.  We made proclamations.  Hardly any we actually kept…but at the time they meant something.

Now we’re all grown, lost touch, and don’t even all believe the same ways.  We have moved on to other things.  But those days are still in our heads.  They’ll never go anywhere.  We will always remember, we will always be around that camp fire, drinking, and talking, and looking at one another and trying like hell to find some measure of brotherhood between us….but brotherhood remains.  Do we abandon those feelings even as the world around us drifts and changes and divides?  We come together.  There are areas where we cross…where our minds intersect, even still.  We have to…or else we all suffer.

I hate to do this, but if you like what you’ve just read…and have the means…click below…thanks. We could really use the cash…

when the end finally came…

…for whatever reason, they kept me alive through it all.  I remember the rise of humanity’s smoke and ash.  They called it a revolution.  An industrial revolution.  Until then they were just living their lives in relative balance.  Looking back on it now, I suppose it was easy to see the signs that this would eventually happen.

I don’t remember what year by their reckoning it was, but there was a moment when I felt a kind of relief.  A relief that the oppression and press of their massive population was gone…even though the stench of death was almost global.  Not only the humans, but everything else as well.  The silence stretched on for days, months, years, eons.  But, for me, after eons of listening, interacting with humanity through their growth and their short lives…through the cacophony of their struggles and sounds, and later, their media, their travel, their go, go, go….it became cumbersome.  Their conveniences became their downfall.  Their desire to make life better for themselves became the death of their own species, and so many others.  Some of us tried to warn them, but it was too late, so we just let them carry on, because we knew the planet would heal over time without them around, and we’d be here to watch over it as it did.

I remember the day the last one perished.  They were lonely, talking to the sky, wishing things had been different…but humanity had been evolution’s grand consciousness experiment…something new.  A way for the universe to understand itself, a way for the universe to converse with itself, and try to understand it’s own existential angst.  For a time, it was wonderful, beautiful, even.  There was art, there was magnificent music, there was awe inspiring and amazing talent…but, as always, and as the balance of the universe demands, there were the mirrors of those.  Sadly, the mirrors ended up with more power.  Perhaps that’s the way the universe recycles it’s own energy, in great expanses of time and entropy, through flowering of species, and the dying thereof…recycled.  Folded back into the greater whole to wait and flower again later.

When the last one was gone.  I sighed.  The weight was gone, and the waiting began again, to see what would come next.  They’d used their Eden, their garden, their home.  They’d used it all up and left it barren…they were so ambitious, the were so amazing…they were so destructive and childish.  They were beautiful and wondrous and amazing, and so full of life, but lacked the ability to see beyond their own time, beyond their own tiny minuscule lives.  A flaw in the pattern.  A problem with the programming, maybe.

We’ll watch, and see what this universe comes up with next, and try to interact and attempt to understand what went wrong…we’ll make notes…this time we might try to guide a little more.  We’ll watch and listen and observe, and we will always be ready to learn something new.