Aargh

So what is it about our progress as a civilization which is so inherently frustrating and dis-satisfying? Oh what I wouldn’t give for a short answer to that question.

The two major disses on my list this morning are taxes and spam. In particular, [and I know that it is taboo to mention publicly one’s own financials, especially when the words following are oil and government. This post in fact, should attract any number of spam comments, like a slick patch of tar in the water snags birds] the spam I get for this site, which is mostly attracted to the Hermes Tresmegistos et all posting.
I’ve filtered 50 or 60 garbled postings by now, comments filled with junk words from bogus addresses, or vaguely creepy simple sentences that could apply anywhere. The irony of these responses to a posting concerning universal truth is not lost upon me, and the bitter taste lingers on the tongue.

Speaking of bitter tastes lingering:
So I received a legacy gift a number of years back, of stock in the Royal Dutch Petroleum Company. Oil stock – welcome to the land of paradox. It weighed heavy, this chunk of potential change – I didn’t want it. So I sold it a few years back, and used the money to support myself whilst starting a healing practice. Sounds like a fine transmutation, doesn’t it? Only my partner’s cancer returned shortly thereafter, and my momentum for building a business never picked up the steam it needed, and by the time it was time to file taxes the next year, I was grieving his passing and totally spaced out the stock dollars on my tax return. How’s that for a “whoops”?

Totally spaced it. So the letter from the IRS was a bit of a shock. A pricey bill, for oil, again.
The gift that just keeps giving. I’m a grumblin alright. But I’m paying it. I’m paying for it.

I am my own American. I believe there is room for me here, in this landscape. Reconciling myself to reality has been a long practice, and I’m feeling a little bit finished with the practice. I don’t want to reconcile my internal experience with this muck. I value something in myself which I might call my humanity, if humanity didn’t continue to show all the signs of trauma. So I’ll call it essence of life. I value that, most high.

“The Battle to construct reality is meme warfare.”

For the first time, maybe ever, I have something to say about the Last Supper. Only I’m not going to say it yet. For now, I’ll recommend that you pick up the latest Adbusters, which is an Art Fart issue, with a classical and peculiarly timeless portrait on the front.
There was a conversation last night about what kind of dust mask would keep auto emission particulates from entering the lungs of a bicyclist on their way home through traffic.
I imagined custom lightweight masks like construction workers dealing with asbestos demolition or black mold might wear – and what a visceral impact the simple fact of a person riding up on their bike in one would make from the perspective of a rear view mirror.
I imagined the old skull and crossbones tricked out in gas mask and bicycle spokes. Somebody with a graphic eye could have a lot of fun with this one. Little stickers, all over town.
“I believe true art offers the greatest reflection the world can have of itself. It is concise and brutally honest.” – Carly Sorge

“money is a kind of poetry”, the Wallace Stevens quote goes, and The Breakdown so Far (on the subject of literature), by M.A.C. Farrant, ends:
7.
Considered the ideas we funnel into art: the sexual ones; the lives of resurgence; absence; playfulness; merriment; weird fantasy; fakes; fresh views merrily running; making reckless irony enlightenment, a spectacle of encounter; making it very shiny; filling it with heart; spending the world; making melodies of essential truths; creating symphonies, Czeslaws of wonder, everyone with a measure of delight, everyone capable of levitation; remembering former artists and the singular stroke, O’Keefe, for one, and the sublimity of her vision; remembering the lovely black recourse of Burroughs and the days spent in cafes bemoaning the brass consciousness of others; remembering Nabokov’s grim monster of commonsense and how it must be shot dead; constructing a mental aerobics with stories that include love and the slap of explanation; that include nerve, unadorned; finding what excites, finally, like something pure.

Here’s another: “The thing I hate most about advertising is that it attracts all the bright, creative and ambitious young people, leaving us mainly with the slow and self-obsessed to become our artists. Modern art is a disaster area – never in the field of human history has so much been used by so many to say so little.” – Bansky

And 3 Questions to finish off this teaser:
Does art have the ability to significantly change the world?
Is art that’s created for a market necessarily compromised?
Is spirituality central to a responsible and relevant social role for art?

“… Art need not be spiritual – it is practical, empowering. The human spirit will not be liberated by ‘spirituality’ but by action.”

go and do. stand up for your ears.

Alberta Street dreaming

My latest wonderful world has been Alberta Street, home to pirates and clowns and creatures of the earth who favor bicycles and body ink. For an incredible week I revisited an old dream and entertained the possibilities of Pieroska – an old grocery owned by “the mad russian” named Joe and his wife Elizabet who talked to me for an hour in broken sentences about her Hungarian mother’s legacy and how they cannot sell the building. Instead they’ve let it sit empty and ramshackle and we could see such potential in the high ceilings and storefront space. A church of sorts. The body arts, photography, catering events for last Thursday – a good dream, whole and intact, requiring hard work and willingness. And fallen through today, this dream, due to a lack of trust and uncomfortable mirrors. We retreat to our discomfort zones. How am I like an old multi-millionaire who sits on his wealth and shows up in dirty shirts with grime lines on his neck? Joe’s shithole building could have been beautiful under our ministrations, only he would have needed to let us work our magic, and he didn’t want to after all.
It was a passed dream, not the end of the world.
New places bring revisitings of old, you know? and if you’re me…more poems.
here’s about that:

OMPEERSEEKBASS
[oh and in this state of passing
to become a standing wave
awake at rest In the moment]

sweet nostalgia
no more melancholy [because] the golden
past is still ringing
true in my ears. This dream
was a good one. So have been
the others.
I will drink toast after toast
around the head to good friends
sit on porch after porch
with my feet propped up, [laughing] & speculating
the possibilities
this is a golden spot, true –
[just as Eddie the collector, a mad poet exclaimed
as he wandered past the fig tree in the backyard
with the letters in the beds of blueberries
and nasturtiums.]
Erika’s List:
These are the letters I have
OM PEER SEEK BASS
[robert’s] the wee cabin, the hammock and mound
of ferns.
This is where I came into this world
A fire divot and characters, all these famous people,
not yet
anonymous. Sitting around a scratch in the backyard
burning wooden letters salvaged
from the dumpster down the block.
Stehl & Kasey & Robert & Erika & I [choosing difficult]
Love is a goddamned magical thing.
And I came back to the world in fits and starts,
wrapped in a cloak on the front porch
writing poems and hooked on
breaking open my heart.

here’s another from that first fall in Bellingham:

Dissention Consciousness

What I know:
I am permeable. I take in
many things. There was a time
before now
when I believed that what I took
in would not harm me.

Sundrop behind the island
the mountains are outlined
in snow and dusk, the bay
is calm, the water glows
a bit pink and the birds rise
off it to circle the sky.

Shoreside, there is a smokestack
a herd of boats in harbor, boxcars
stopped on the train tracks.
I drink my hot chocolate
out of a styrofoam cup.

What it is still hard to believe:
This pink tinged bay is full
of mercury. The smoke from the stack
at Absorption Corp. creeps dank
in my lungs with the right wind.
I don’t know what is in
this hot chocolate either;
the plastic lid I keep raising
to my lips.

I am permeable. I reap the consequences.
I pin down the earth just like
everybody else.
I will be grateful anyways
for the joggers and the cigarette butts
and the dried up leaves. This day
is passing, another will follow.
I will drink it in and breathe it out,
let the implications move me
past remorse into a fierce
love for all of us
who are not safe,
who are not harmless.

beginning

harumph haurrah. let’s begin this blogging business, shall we? Thanks for tuning in. An ee cummings poem to start things off:

60

dive for dreams
or a slogan may topple you
(trees are their roots
and wind is wind)

trust your heart
if the seas catch fire
(and live by love
though the stars walk backward)

honor the past
but welcome the future
(and dance your death
away at this wedding)

never mind a world
with its villains or heroes
(for god likes girls
and tomorrow and the earth)
ee cummings
This one came to me from Kathleen Downes at the Hellerwork training this spring. I will be posting notes on various workshop and adventure experiences from this spring, in glean-able form as follows. Thanks to all a’y’all who serve as motivation, [witting or no] to communicate some missives from the World of Wonders.