I See A Darkness

There are some new body poems up on the poetica page, if you’re in the mood for a more hopeful reading than the reflection that follows…

It’s been a long year and I’m more cynical than I would like to be right now. The brandy’s turned the almond milk sour in my mug of hot cocoa. It’s one day before the end of the year and my endurance is young yet, I’ll weather more before it’s over. More years worth of disasters we’ve thrown money at but not been able to remedy, more times we’ve strengthened our faith in each other, because the churches and the governments are culpable and the institutions are ineffective and the corporations are corrupt and poisoning us all in the name of capitalism. This year just feels like I wised up to some core truth about myself that made it possible to grow strong beyond despair.

I gave some of my all and then I took it all back and moved away with it, and now I feel intact again for the first time in a while. The old story of struggle and coping with struggle seems inflated, dramatic, and a waste of any more energy.

It’s happened. The state of the world used to be a deep dread in my belly, like an unknown allergy to the full and terrible truth. I was a child of the Cold War 80’s, of interstellar battles and the icy gates
of the Kremlin, of Japanese technology and Reaganomics. I was taught about welfare mothers in 8th grade health class, and I responded with a yelp as though it stung. And it did a bit – the worldview of the real world is hard, cold, and unforgiving. There was judgment in the pages of my textbooks. This is how I introduced myself to reading in between the lines: I kept asking questions of the information when it pained me, and the dread migrated through all these layers of tissue out to the skin where it oozes like a sore in plain sight.

Nobody in the world is okay this year, because a lot of people left us, and we all know about it. And a lot of factories kept producing toxic waste and more and more of us know about it, and we all feel it in our lungs and in our spirits. And we’re running out of things that we need, or that we think that we need. And not everybody knows about it, or worse they don’t care. And the human race is full of people who are willing to gamble with the lives of others, especially when the stakes go high.

And there’s a sort of settling in happening. I’ve scouted the land, I know my allies. I don’t believe education will do it, will make the shift in consciousness spread as far and as wide as it has to. I’ve been reading fantasy novels again, where a small band of committed allies across kingdoms joins their different magicks collectively to defeat the darkness.

I’ve been listening to Johhny Cash cover a Bonnie Prince Billy song:
I See a Darkness. In it he sings,
“Well you’re my friend. And can you see.
Many times we’ve been out drinking. And many times
we’ve shared our thoughts. Did you ever, ever notice,
the kind of thoughts I got.
Well you know I have a love, a love for everyone I know.
And you know I have a drive, to live I won’t let go.
Can you see its opposition comes rising up sometimes.
And its dreadful imposition, comes blacking in my mind.

That I see a darkness, and that I see a darkness,
and that I see a darkness, and that I see a darkness.
Did you know how much I love you.
Here’s a hope that somehow you,
can save me from this darkness.

I hope that someday baby, we will have peace in our hearts.
Together or apart, alone or with our wives,
That we can stop our whoring, and pull the smiles inside,
and light it up forever, And never go to sleep.
My best unbeaten brother, this isn’t all I see.

Oh no I see a darkness, oh no I see a darkness, oh no I see a darkness, oh no I see a darkness.
Did you know how much I love you.
There’s a hope that somehow you
can save me from this darkness…”

Don’t mean to force anybody to walk this mind road with me, but it’s core, and now in the long dark evenings like tonight, it feels true to bare it openly.
This year has had its moments alright – some loss and pain, and some secret pleasures too. I’m glad to greet the next one, but there’s a guardedness in my heart that’s new. I’m not as young as I was last year, and last year I felt old. And I’m angry but I’m not lashing out with it anymore, I’ve harnessed it for my own purposes, it is fuel of a sustainable sort, since there’s plenty for it to feed upon.

And my love? Doing the best I can with what I’ve got, and what I’ve got, is a lot.

The dark season

Greetings and salutations of the holiday nature – I’ve come up from under the covers of nasty sickness for a bit. There was no escaping this one, and it extended my hermiting a week or so past my intentions. Portland is cold just now, so tucking in feels called for. And good for reflecting: I have just posted a bit of a thanksgiving parable in my pages, please peruse if you’re feeling inclined.
I just finished re-reading Demian, Herman Hesse’s breakthrough book from 1919, and a marvelous story about the road towards ones own self, which features a god of good and evil, and some serious firegazing, as well as painting and dreamwork. A Solstice is approaching in the twilight hours of these long nights, perfect for fire gazing as a spiritual practice. My first solstice celebration was a winter fire out in the county east of Bellingham maybe 9 years ago. A woman with a basket offered each of us twigs with ribbons tied on. The twig was to throw in the fire along with what we were ready to let go of, the ribbon was to tie on the branches of a nearby tree, for what we wanted to grow in the new year. Relevant questions for this winter too…