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Wednesday, December 31, 2014

BETWEEN HERE AND THERE

helen frankenthaler

A little bit ago, I was looking for somebody in the obituaries, faces and names, some familiar. The most interesting thing about it was noting that most of the people died younger than I am now. I'm in that zone where peers drop like leaves from a tree, one at a time, each one by surprise, an unpredictable sequence. In younger years, I dreaded this zone. Now that I'm in it, and have been in it at least a decade, I like it. I wouldn't be so casual about it if I were one to see death in the conventional way of the Peter Tosh song, Everybody wants to go to heaven, but nobody wants to die. I remember hymns in church, Won't it be wonderful there, having no burdens to bear. Joy bells ringing. What could be better? And what do we fear most? What it takes to get there, dying. I have to confess to some apprehension about it. I think I've come to terms with it some time ago. I remember when it went away. I've come to see this side of the veil is consciousness, the other side of the veil is consciousness. The self called I, the conscious self that sees our dreams, the self that never sleeps, consciousness, remains the same this side of the veil and the other side, if it can be called another side. I suspect it will be different. The ones who have been there and come back say when we start the journey there's no looking back, like finding a secret door, opening it and seeing everything you've ever wanted and more than that. The light of unconditional love embraces like the mother holding her baby. Whatever. I don't project by imagination onto what it might be. I think I'll know it when it happens. I want cremation to be sure the soul doesn't have a body to cling to. Not that I have much question of soul wanting to stay with this body. I don't believe it will. I've an idea that no matter what is happening when it's time to go to the light, I won't look back. 


This side of the light, I feel like I am in light, too, having an earth experience, but not outside the light. I have the light of the sun, the light of life within, On earth, we live in light. We seldom give it much consideration. We have switches in our houses. Cars have headlights for night. Flashlights. Cities put out so much light their nimbus outshines the stars. I am consciousness in a human form at this moment. The mind distract's attention from the consciousness within that is too quiet for mind that rages like a tree full of monkeys. It's so quiet, it's like the sky. We don't pay it much attention, it's there, but we have other things to think about, unless we're operating a sailboat. I've come to a place in my own life, in my everyday life, that I don't care when that line from this side to that side is crossed. I don't want to leave my friends who are dear to my heart, but that's not my call. And I'm not really sure we leave anything. I'm looking into the unknown and see nothing, like the dark in a cave, absolute unknown. There are scriptures from all ages that tell what's on the other side, though it's in language you almost have to have the experience to understand what it means. How can we tell about any experience in a way that really conveys the experience? A young woman lawyer is driving through Winston-Salem on her way home to the mountains from visiting the prison in Raleigh. She's pregnant and locked down with her office, husband, parents, relatives, made her choices. Depressed that she doesn't have a life of her own. Only her car is her own. Drives by a dealership of a place that has just the car she'd like to drive, stops in, signs the papers, drives home in a new car. This is a brief outline of her experience, but nothing even close to her experience as she lived it within. 

brice marden

I can say I don't have fear of dying, but if a SWAT team broke down my door, big machine guns pointed at me, my hair would stand straight up from fright. I don't think I'd sit here calmly and say, "How you fellers a-doin?" Walking in the mud by the donkey den, I slipped and went down faster than thought. I know when falling not to put my arm straight out to catch the fall. I can be aware of that when the fall is slow enough I can think. When it's faster than thought, the automatic response is to put arm out. With time to think for a flash, I'll tuck arm in and roll. Maybe I can say when I have a split-second to think about it, I have no fear of death. Without that time for thought, I believe my automatic reaction would be fear. I don't know. Probably. Whether or not I'm afraid of dying is something I don't think I can know for a certainty about self. If I fell out of a helicopter, I'd probably yell all the way to the ground. Or maybe not. Might be too scared to yell. I think I'd more than likely at the same time be saying, "Oh shit, this is it," and start praying to open the door, here I come. From where I am now, death and dying is a big question. From the point of view of the ones who know the secrets of life and death, it's nothing, nothing at all, the blink of an eye. I think about it and I don't think about it. Going through the obituaries earlier, I was struck by mortality. I'll be featured there one day. Somebody will do like I did today, see somebody whose face I have known over several years, but never knew who it was, and say, "Oh, him. So that was his name." My neighbor, Allan, asked me one day to write out what I want done and said at my memorial. I said, "What? What do I give a shit? It's none of my business." I have not been able to get my mind around that. 

sol lewitt 

Come to think of it, there is one piece of music I've requested be played, Dvorak's String Quartet in E flat, Op. 58, by the Alban Berg Quartet. I keep the cd case attached to the will by a rubber band. the reason I chose this particular piece of music is it resonates with me, feels like I feel inside. I feel in touch with my inner self when I hear this thirty minutes of music. Everything I hear by Dvorak sounds just right to my ear. It's playing now. Pulls me into it like Prince. It's not background music. Puts itself right into my foreground. I may sit with it soon and do a visualization, see where it takes me. The few times I've done a visualization to classical music have been unforgettable. I start where I want to be. It's always sitting in the donkey meadow. Be still, hear the music, let something visual happen in the music, flow with it and see where it goes, not directing it, but following it like a leaf on a mountain stream. Good music, good humor keeps us going. Though I do very little physically, I have a full life going all the time. Even when I don't leave the house for days I never feel like I'm lacking experience. Too much experience is overwhelming. I get plenty of social experience on a trip to town. Today was one of the most beautiful days of my life. We had wet snow that stuck to the tree limbs that were cold, and melted on the ground and the road. Driving up the mountain, the leaves on the ground were wet reddish brown on the forest floor, and all the trees and branches, the pine needles were like spray-painted white. And a mild fog. Didn't have camera along. Had to remember it. I'll never see this again.    

robert mangold


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Monday, December 29, 2014

THE END OF A NEVER-ENDING PROJECT


eula rae cook, mary jane ciraco, linda edwards, the golden girls

My blues over the last two months are fading. The sample dvd of the Hillbilly Show, in October, arrived in the mail today. Next step: email approval back to the people making the dvd. Done. Next, wait for the box to arrive with the dvds in it ready to go. When the box arrives, I'll pick one randomly to put in the dvd player to see if it took. Only then will I be satisfied this never-ending project is over. Two months of frustration to the max. I know the ones who put it onto disc are happy to be done with it, probably happier than I am. They were patient with me. My patience broke at a certain point, but it came back. I pitched a fit over something that was my doing. LOL. Not funny then. My gratitude is heightened by their patience with my ignorance. It started with me taking on a project I believed I could handle. Another one of those learnings of our own limitations. They're good to know. They make boundaries. I know not to cross that line again. The other side of the line was where I took the first step, deciding to make video of the Hillbilly Show. I've made video of so many old-time bands, bluegrass bands, rock bands that I felt like I had enough experience making videos of musicians making music. For what I had in mind to approach the project, I needed somebody to operate a second camera, to take turns with video and making still pictures. I hadn't yet talked with Crystal about helping me out--she's a studio photographer--when I was told by another, "You don't need to get somebody. I'll be with you the whole show. I got a new video camera. It'll be fun to use it." Error number one, not asking Crystal for help anyway. I know I can count on Crystal.  

david nichols guitar and joe irwin

At the beginning of the show, promised helper never turned up. I was stuck with self and two cameras, one for video, one for stills. It's not easy doing both at once. It's even beyond difficult. The pictures here were taken the night before at rehearsal. It took some powerful self-control to put my rage aside so it would affect camera wielding the least for the next three hours. Later, when I saw promised helper, I was told, "I hadta...I hadta...had so much stuff to do." I had to shift mind into hyper-drive, a mind that doesn't even have over-drive anymore. The beginning of a two-month long downhill roller coaster run on a ride of emotion. I talked by phone with one of the people who makes the dvd. We had good, clear conversation of understanding both ways. He suggested emailing the video to their computers. I spent a week attempting to email them at 57 hours a try. The upload jumped track after about 38 hours, every time. I could not use the computer during uploading. When the upload gave out, I set it in motion again. For a week. This step contributed to the blues a very great deal. Another talk on the phone. He suggested I break it up into several short sections and email them by some shrink process I had to write down instructions to follow. Couldn't even do that. Took laptop to Crystal. She figured out the process and set up several packages to send. I brought laptop home and sent them off. They went through, but the place didn't receive good enough quality from the transfer to use. Thanksgiving vacation came and went. I waited a couple weeks. Asked what was up. Oh, it fell through the cracks over Thanksgiving. When they returned they'd forgotten about it, which I took for totally understandable. They operate in big volume. This redneck on the phone that don't know nothin about digital anything was taking up an awful lot of attention and time for something they probably will not even make expenses on. Why wouldn't they forget it?

dr jack cahn, mississippi sawyer

Next, they asked me to send the chips from the cameras. Unconsciously, I sent one, not thinking to send the other. They processed it and sent the sample. It was missing everything on the second chip I'd failed to send. Email again. In my mind, I was blaming them. It turned out I was the one messing things up. Sent the second chip a week ago and the sample arrived in today's mail. The sample disc was the only thing in the mailbox. It was almost a joy to see it, but I reminded self, haven't seen it yet. Carried it into the house in a guarded happy condition. Don't be setting off fireworks yet. I slipped it into the dvd player and ran through the whole show to check out sequences on fast-forward. Stopped it a few times to listen to how the sound took. All the way to the end it looked good. I called Agnes and left a message on her phone the sample is good and I've emailed the go-ahead. Not in time for Thanksgiving, not in time for Christmas, not in time for New Year's, maybe in time for Valentine's Day. Gotta be. Like Agnes reminded me a month ago, everything works out for the best. I walked to the mailbox after the mail carrier's car passed, suspecting the sample might be there today, but without hope. Hope died over a month ago that this never-ending project might someday end. These last weeks I've abandoned hope. Even after I emailed the go-ahead, I still don't feel satisfaction it's done. I've lost concern that it may never end, and lost concern that it might come to completion eventually. I did not want to write about it through the course of the process. Now that it's close to over, if the light at the end of the tunnel is not the light of an oncoming train, I can let it all out, only one future unknowable left. It's almost a joy to see this crazy-making time just a few days from finished. The end in sight is not the end.

lynn worth, moon over sparta

At last, I feel free of the burden, a lesser version of how the god Prometheus felt when he was unbound from the rock he was chained to for eternity by order of Zeus, his brother. It's not quite that kind of release. The end of a long frustration is more a release like setting a dog free that's been chained for two months. It's like a cluster of helium-filled balloons of different sizes and colors let go at the same time. Cares and troubles sail away to tiny specks in the sky, then nothing. As of today, only one is still a visible pixel. This part almost over, next part starts now. I've been aiming to write an article for Old-Time Herald magazine on the Hillbilly Show, this year its twentieth annual. I've been so out of heart over the project, I'd put writing about it on the shelf of maybe I will / maybe I won't. My mood was so dark over this project, I could not have written an essay from that mental dungeon the project put me in. I feel now like a submarine surfacing. I can breathe. It's all over now Baby Blue. I feel so good around this dvd and the Hillbilly Show experience, now that it's done, the original intent to write about it came up first thing. I will sit with the dvd and watch it all the way through as a memory aid. The one thing I can say to the good of what I see in the video is emphasis on the people involved, very personal emphasis. Some of the video is bad and some is good. Mostly, it wavers in between. I told Agnes when anybody complains about one thing or another being wrong with it, just say, "TJ done it." All that's bad about it is my doing. The people who put it on disc did a beautiful job. 

bobbie and gary parlier, tennessee waltz


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Saturday, December 27, 2014

GOING UNDERGROUND

ad reinhardt

Lying down for a nap this afternoon, a memory of a cave came to mind. I followed it until sleep o'ertook conscious mind. It was some time in the late 1980s, a friend who no longer lives here took me spelunking in a cave at Speedwell, Virginia, between Independence and Wytheville. The cave opening is on the left side of highway 21 near the 4-way stop sign intersection. The road to the right goes to Mule Hell, Virginia, and the road to the left goes to Rural Retreat, Virginia, over near the Lee Highway. Cripple Creek runs along the side of the road between Speedwell and Rural Retreat. This is not the only place it runs. It's the only place I've seen Cripple Creek. Old musicians of the area claim it's the creek the fiddle tune, Cripple Creek, was named for. At the end of this post I've put a short video of Tommy Jarrell playing Cripple Creek on old-time banjo and singing it. YouTube has a video of him playing it on fiddle if you'd like to hear some amazing hillbilly fiddling. I chose the banjo version to show you here for it's sound. He played a fretless banjo the old-time claw hammer way. Each note, the forefinger strikes downward on a chosen string and the thumb hits the drone string behind every note. The drone string comes across differently each time it's struck. This is hillbilly music at its finest. I didn't know, before, that I could put YouTube links here. The beginning of new possibilities. When I write about hillbilly music, I can illustrate for you with a piece of music in future. For ye unfamiliar with mountain music, Tommy Jarrell was a legend while he was living. Old-timey. He was recorded extensively in the 1970s. 

ad reinhardt

The cave opening is a rather large hole big enough to walk through easily. I do not advise going past the opening. I never will again. Yet it was one of the great experiences of my life. Inside the opening is a big flat area where I suppose people lived in the very old days. The day I was there, I saw it was a toilet for people passing by. Beer cans, Mountain Dew cans, trash and turds everywhere to tiptoe through. We took a passage to the left we could walk into easily, then bent over, then on hands and knees, then belly, crawling like a snake. Such narrow passages from one tube we were crawling through to the next that I sometimes had to say to self, I am snake, or, I am water, to wiggle through it. I got a good education in the limitations of the human skeleton, as well as it's supple nature. I was able to slide through by putting one arm straight ahead, the other straight behind, relax completely. One in particular, called for telling self that I am water. Snake couldn't make it. I mentally dissolved into liquid and flowed to the other side. It wasn't scary as you'd think. It was not more than a few steps into the cave that all light was gone. Not a photon of light. I saw little house spiders with no pigment, clear as a drop of water. The internal workings were on display like in a school science book diagram. Little bats sleeping here and there on the walls upside down. I had no sense that an entire mountain was on my back. The dark was blackness itself. Even black paint is not darker. The uttermost darkness fascinated me. This would be the only chance in my life to see total darkness, absolute black. 

ad reinhardt

My friend at the time, while he lived here a neighbor, Don Smith, took me through the cave. I trusted his abilities. He'd been through the cave several times. He climbed rock cliffs, adventure. He liked the kind of activity that one slip will take you out. I don't. He has an uncanny ability to get out of tight corners he gets himself into. He's like a cat in that way. This is the reason I trusted him; I knew he could get out of any tight spot. We used old coal mine carbide lanterns. A little reservoir holds tiny rocks of carbide. Pour water on them and they emit a gas. Ignite it with a match, it burns like a candle but brighter. It had a reflector that directed a beam. His dad was a coal miner in West Virginia, hands solid as rock. They were his lanterns. I thought it was cool going through a cave with carbide lanterns. Don went ahead of me through the channels, slithering in shallow mud on our bellies, his light ahead of mine. You only see where the beam of the light shines. I see the tube I'm crawling through immediately in front and nowhere else. It does not feel like being so tightly encased for the inability to see anything but the small circle the light illumines. We were both in work coveralls that zip all the way up the front, have snaps at wrist and ankles to keep them tight when needed, and insulated. It's cold in the deep, dark grave. And I did feel a sense of the grave, the dark, the silence, limited mobility. I thought of people buried in the old days while in a coma and woke up in a box underground. I wouldn't like that. I went into the cave with fascination, though there came a time it started feeling creepy, thoughts the cave suggested in my mind made me a little uneasy. We found a cavern with a pool, had a seat, took a break, talked. We turned out the lights for the experience of the darkness. At one place in our conversation, he said, "Your light is your life. There is no getting out of here if the lights fail." All of a sudden, old carbide lanterns were not cool. I wanted out. 

ad reinhardt

He told me about a guy he'd heard about found dead in a cave after his light source stopped working. Nothing to do but sit down and wait to die. I told him the only direction I want to go is out. We were at the turn around point. I could not imagine how he could know his way through the maze of pipes. I would not want to be in there during a rain. Nor would I want to be in there at sunset when the bats swarm through the tubes at flight speed. I did not enjoy the way out like I did the way in. Everything I saw on the inside of the cave was another world, and beautiful. I sometimes think I'd like to see inside a commercial cave, just to see that world again, minus commitment. The way out was gentler than the way in, until we came upon a chasm with a pool of perfectly still, perfectly clear water. Our walking place was up high over this cavern of stalagmites and stalactites, huge ones in terra cotta everywhere. I had to jump across a gap about three feet. Standing on millions of years of glass-smooth rock shaped by water flow, I needed to jump from the equivalent of ice, and land on ice the other side. In work boots. Don hopped across it like a kid jumping a mud puddle. I could not be so casual about it. I saw the Zen archery trick of one time only. I had one chance. Knew I could jump it easily, but wasn't sure about slipping upon landing. Any kind of slip would be at least a broken leg. I was carrying a fifty foot nylon rope rolled up on my shoulder. An odd knob on the wall beside the hole. I looped the coil of rope over the knob that was just the right size, held the rope with left hand, used it for a safety net during the jump. It was easy. Outside in daylight was a shock. The world of growing things, of houses, of cars, of highways I saw as if for the first time. It was incredibly beautiful in light like I'd never seen it before. I fell in love with above ground on the drive home. 

ad reinhardt himself

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Tommy Jarrell-Cripple Creek (Clawhammer Banjo)

Friday, December 26, 2014

THE TROJAN HORSE AND GLADE VALLEY ROAD

brice marden 

The sky is turning light. The sun is not yet up, but on its way. Mind realizes I've not slept all night and am wider awake than if I had slept. In the bed writing a short story in my mind until telling self I need some sleep. I turned the radio on all night BBC. Most often, the chatter sends me into sleep within two minutes. Not this time. Listened to Putin's popularity rating, republicans continuing attempted murder of Obama care, assassination one of their specialties, smoke-screen news covering up the real news. My interest in the news is waning fast. I've come to see that even the network news that is not the Fake channel gives misleading news. In this time when the Fake channel has made news into absurd fiction, the other channels follow suit wanting to compete for the  most exciting presentation. All of them gloss over and cover up police state. NPR cannot be counted on anymore for news. I listen to NPR, now that the Koch Bros own it, like I watch cartoons. I take what I hear for smokescreen of what I don't hear. Much talk about how terrible it is for the families of the two NY cops shot down. There is never a mention of how terrible it is for families of unarmed young black men killed every day someplace in USA by cops. Their families come up and they're discredited, made to look like jungle bunnies that rob dumpsters. Gradually, I'm learning to pay the news little mind. I like to watch the processes, how things work out, to read the patterns of the political trends. I'm learning to withdraw emotional attachment to one side or the other. I can't involve self with any kind of attachment. 

brice marden

Watched a two and a half hour documentary of Franklin Delano Roosevelt I found to be good history. I was paying attention to how he worked a crowd, his charisma, his intelligence, noting that everything he put in place, the John Birch right wing party, funded by Koch Bros and others of like mind, has fastidiously  been dismantled since the Trojan Horse Reagan of 1980. We the people are now what I've come to think of as citizen criminals. It means, for me, that we are now regarded criminals because we are citizens. Cops have become police state bullies, as always happens with police state. Their role is to serve and protect the rich and the corporations "too big to fail." We the people don't even have a lobbyist. In 2005 this police state Supreme Court declared the police are only about "law enforcement," not to serve and protect. Then why do they still have the fake slogan on their car doors? I don't want to think about this anymore, though when I see it spelled out in front of my face, it's difficult to ignore. I don't want to ignore context and how things work. I'd say this comes under the world we live in the way it is. This is the political world I live in. I have to accept it as the nature of that kind of reality, the way things are, be aware of this fake reality as such and let it go by, not be of it. This has been a problem all my life, how to live in a fake world where denial is the culture of white people.

brice marden

I went to bed after writing the above, too weary to go on. Slept all day. Up now at sunset. Stayed up too late last night, drove home between 12:30 and 1:00, then couldn't sleep. Driving at night has begun to mess with my eyes. Glade Valley road, crooked as as a running snake, mostly has little to no cars. Last night, Christmas, I found at least twenty cars on the way home. Headlights blare in my eyes. Looks like everybody has their brights on. Going into a sharp curve with three cars coming through it the other direction, one after the other with bright lights on, can be disorienting. I watch the white line on my side of the road, focus my attention there unconcerned as possible about the oncoming cars. I tend to want to steer too far to the right to avoid them. I tell self, they have to stay in their lane, like I stay in mine. One of them crosses the center line and plows into me, nothing I can do--I'm in my lane. Air bag. Glade Valley road is not a good one to drive fast on. Surprise curves just over the top of a rise that you can't see until you're in them. The first several times on the road I was hitting the brakes often to stay on the road. I've found a good pace at 30-35 mph where the car can flow with the road at this speed, brake seldom, and glide through the curves with no problem. I feel more relaxed driving at this rate than going up to fifty in a short stretch, then hit the brakes to go through a curve at 20. I've driven GV road in every weather condition by now, including snow and ice. I've learned how to drive the road, making it an easy drive, rolling with the road itself. I resisted the road for quite awhile, until I learned to flow with it instead of attempting to drive it like other roads. Used to think it a hateful road, and now I like driving it, find it relaxing.

brice marden

The kids were happy with their presents. Vada had been center of attention all day, first half with daddy's family, second half with mama's family. I went by after they'd done all the family get-togethers. Vada had been buried in presents. She loved her little earrings. First thing she said after she saw them, "What else do you have for me?" Cheyenne took the back seat all day, was quiet and had gone inward. She loved her dragonfly necklace, put it on immediately. Later, when we had a moment together, I said to her, "The necklace is all yours, only yours, not anybody else's." She said, "What if I come back and it's not in the box?" I said, "You taking it home?" She said, "No, leaving it here." I assured her it will be safe at daddy's house. I felt so deeply for her having to be in the background Christmas day, all attention on Vada. The situation is such I'd like to snap my fingers and make it right for her, but can't do it. I was grateful to Carole for suggesting jewelry. At the end of the day, Cheyenne received her prize. There isn't much I can do for Cheyanne to help her issues. It made my day to give Cheyenne something that meant so much to her. I went into it wanting her to have something she could value, a nice piece of jewelry, of which she has none, By the end, I was almost sorry I'd deepened her sadness, gave her something to worry about somebody taking. I saw that she is working things out for herself. She's learned she has to take care of herself. I'd like her to grow up to be an independent woman. I feel like her experiences in this part of her life are pointing her in that direction. I'd like, in what time I have left, to encourage in Cheyanne her own inclination to look out for herself

brice marden himself


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Wednesday, December 24, 2014

SHOPPING FOR MY TWO BABYDOLLS

sol lewitt

This morning talking on the phone with Carole, I said I have two days to find presents for Vada and Cheyanne. I wanted to give them each something special, didn't know what, and it had to be accessible in Sparta. She mentioned earrings for Vada, 3, who recently had her ears pierced and loves her little dot earrings. And for Cheyanne, 7, she suggested a chain necklace with a charm on it. Of course. From that moment, I was ready to park in front of the jewelry store and go in. But the car battery was dead. I think it's the GPS. I make it a point to turn it off, but it turns itself back on. The car sits idle a couple days and it drains the battery through the lighter hole. I unplugged it. The only time I need it is driving on the Parkway in pea soup fog and going some place I don't know how to get to. Allan came by with car to use the battery. I had cables connected and ready to go when he drove up. Car started right away. Thank you, Allan. We talked for awhile, I came back to the house, changed clothes, picked up the checkbook and headed for town. I will need the GPS going to Dudley and Muffet's New Year's party. I need the GPS every time I go there. It's a subdivision on the side of a mountain with roads going every which way, and their house is at the far end of the maze. Before GPS I used directions I'd written from Dudley's directions. I'll plug the GPS in as I need it. Like my friend Jr Maxwell said, If it aint one knot in a log, it's ten. 



sol lewitt

I drove to town in a happy spirit, stopped at the bank drive-thru, and turned down Main Street to the shopping center with the jewelry store, between the auto parts store and the Chinese diner, pulling me on an electrical beam. I was on a mission. Parked in front of Adams Jewelers. I'd never been in the place. Stepped inside the door and it was like I'd stepped into wall of lights. Diamonds in glass cases sparkling, shiny glass everywhere, white and silver, diamond sparkles all around. I think I felt the allure of diamonds. A young woman came to assist my quest. A charming girl I suspected was still in high school or not long out. At a certain age, it becomes difficult to differentiate ages in youth. She was good at her work. I asked about baby earrings in colors. She brought from behind the counter a small display of a dozen colors in two sizes. I picked a soft green gem, very faint green, just a dot of a breath of green. I wanted a color that would complement her face rather than distract, just a hint of sparkle, like a French perfume. Next, a necklace for Cheyanne. My assistant showed me a silver chain that was just right. I was glad she was young, closer to Cheyanne's age. I allowed her feminine to guide me with full confidence. They had a display of varieties of charms. The man there, who was the jeweler, asked what hobbies Cheyanne had. I could only say television. Back to the beginning. I scanned the display case waiting for something to stop my eye, waiting for It. A silver dragonfly jumped in my face. On sight, I said, The dragonfly. I could see in its structure that it was sound, the wings would not fall off one day. It was delicate with lace patterns in the wings. 

sol lewitt

Cheyanne has a delicacy about her that she protects 24/7. It concerns me that she might bury her delicacy so deep she'll lose access to it. I mourn for Cheyanne's life at its beginning. I pray for Cheyanne, especially when we sit on the couch in front of the tv, shoulder to shoulder, our heads touching. I ask only that she be taken care of, looked over, be with her all along her way. She needs a lot of extra-terrestrial help. I don't imagine knowing her beyond her childhood, so in this time in Cheyanne's life, I want to be the one she can count on not to judge her, not to scold her or talk down to her, not to tell her what to do, but be the one whose love is not coercion. Very moody child, lives in two worlds, now three worlds with school. Justin and Crystal took care of her for a year, and there came a time to face it that this is not working out. Crystal and Cheyanne's mother were two very different women playing tennis with Cheyanne the ball. I felt sorrow for Cheyanne. A year ago she told a judge she was tired of going back and forth and he increased the back and forth instead of lessening it. She visits daddy every other weekend now, and stays with her mother, which is where she really belongs. We saw in that year her soul is here to be with her mother. No matter what mama is like, Cheyanne is linked to her. Who's to say that's not a good thing? 

sol lewitt

She'll have a hard life of her own making, but that's ok. Her mama does. Her grandma does. People who don't know how to get along in this world, doing the best they can to stay afloat. Souls that have not yet learned education makes your life better. Not because you make more money with a college degree than high school. I've only worked at one job above minimum wage, and it only slightly. I never wanted to do the kind of work that requires a degree. I wanted my education for my life, not for a job. I didn't want to work in a city, didn't want to be middle class. Though I have to confess I like both worlds. I like the world of high school educated people I live in among the mountain people. I like the world of the college educated people too. The two worlds really don't mix. The masters and the slaves, the bosses and the workers. I'm not in the hierarchy, so I am able to see all of them as individuals, not as a class. Two different cultures. Very different cultures. In the American Congress, the people putting themselves in the news, like Lindsey Graham and Ted Cruz, are pathetic examples of the college educated. I'd much rather know people who work for a living, including people who don't know how to get along in this world. I'm one who doesn't know how to get along in this world. It's a condition I recognize in a lot of different people. It's pretty common. We disguise it the best we can to keep a job. I know in my heart Cheyanne will be ok, whatever path she makes for herself. Maybe she will have the dragonfly necklace all along her way, or her mother might sell it. There's no knowing it's future. The only part that matters to me is the moment of giving it to her. From that moment on, it belongs to Cheyanne.
   
sol lewitt, himself


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Tuesday, December 23, 2014

A POEM BY WENDY SALINGER



COASTAL CAROLINA FAIR 
                        WITH GAY BOYS


Those who never forget how to play:

which are they?

Oh

they know

how

to look lovely.

Prescient as women, they see

the image in another's eye.


Who keep alive

in waists and lowered looks

for me the older motion of a boy

who too disdained me in his most pure moment.

The shadow of his nose lay on his cheek

cast iron in the moon. 

In his unsettled voice the wind

took place.


Who mount the constellations of machines--

                                          the electric swing,

its cupola whipped and scrolled like bridal cake--

out and out and over the tents

of Jolly Dolly and Electric Man

and Girl Alive who Has No Bones

until World's Smallest Family dwarfs to ants,

far over the Four-Winged-Duck, monstrous in flight;


each strapped in his bucket tight about the groin

and by a silver chain hanging on.


                                  ---Wendy Salinger
                                       from her book of poems
                                      Folly River, 1980




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Monday, December 22, 2014

ROCK N ROLL RAMBLE

pink floyd

I haven't listened to much music recently. Earlier in the day I was at football with Justin and Melvin. We'd smoke and drink in the mancave and return to the tv, back and forth, listening to the radio in the mancave. Most often we listen to the race or the game on the radio. Today, the Cowboys walked all over the Colts. In the mancave the radio was on a station that plays "oldies" of pop metal from 60s to 90s. We heard Pink Floyd's Money, the Stones' Paint it Black. The dj said Keith Richards turned 71 this week and picked this song to illustrate Richards' artistry with an electric guitar. Justin and Melvin returned to the tv and I stayed with the radio. Billy Idol's Dancing With Myself. I was thinking I wished they would play something with a punk jam to it, then they played Billy Idol. Just right. He did vocals for one of my favorite punk bands, Generation X. Dancing With Myself was the time of his transition from the London punk scene, which was over, to American pop. He injected a little bit of punk into American pop metal at the time. I sat listening to familiar rock from the past, songs I never paid attention to, but heard because they were in the air. Mostly it was post-Sixties metal heavy with lead guitar, a direction I did not follow in rock. About the time of the transition from Sixties to post-Sixties, I never took to nearly all of it. A bit too corporate pop. Punk started up in the mid Seventies and my rock n roll attention went with punk. The Clash, Joy Division, Nina Hagen, Patti Smith, the Sex Pistols, the Damned, Siouxsie and the Banshees, to name a few. I was listening to the rock I never paid attention to, hearing why, thinking I want to put on the Clash live when I get home, have a good jam. Listen to it like watching a movie, sit back and let it roll. 

mick jones and joe strummer, the clash

By the time I made it home, everything had changed. I seldom play music while writing; it pulls my attention and won't let it go. Tonight I wanted to hear music. I said to self, I'm not listening to music enough. I went searching through the classical collection for something to fill the air. Stopped looking when I came to pianist Murray Perahia playing Brahms intermezzo solo and one long quartet with the Amadeus Quartet. Perahia's piano puts me in bliss. Brahms does too. Together, the music is divine. Automatically, I wanted to hear Alban Berg Quartet play Dvorak, but wouldn't do it. I've fallen into a Dvorak rut where once I hear him I don't want to hear anything else. This is what happens when I read Tolstoy. I'm at home. Tolstoy speaks to my soul, as does Brahms. Murray Perahia is tickling the ivories like the master he is. I can't imagine the millions of hours of practice behind what I'm hearing. The same applies to the violin, viola and cello. Something with this degree of skill and artistry is out of this world, quite literally. Musically, I'm somebody, who, when asked what kind of music I like, is stumped. I don't know what to say. Can't say everything, because I don't like everything. Should I give the long list of what I like and listen to, or the shorter list of what I don't listen to? What is called for is a word or a short phrase, certainly not a list. I don't know what to say. 

murray perahia 

One day someone I knew then, some years ago, dropped by with a friend I didn't know. I happened to be playing a Chuck Berry album because I'd been reading his autobiography he wrote in prison. The guy I didn't know said, I see you're into oldies. I was older than his parents. I thought: What? But couldn't say anything. Uh, yeah. Whatever. I thought about warping his mind forever by putting on the Murderdolls. But chose to let him believe his generalization. I had a hard time with one thing I'm listening to being the only thing I listen to. It told me he is into one kind of music. Didn't ask what it was. Didn't want to hear him say Poco. I'm remembering my friend Jim Rhodes I used to ride to Boone with weekly for Edgar Cayce meetings. When rock n roll was new, I was the first year that could stand to hear it. The kids one year older than me and beyond could never develop an ear for rock. Jim was a few years older and had never listened to anything but big band music, cotillion dance music, which he loved. He asked me one time to bring a tape of something I listen to in the car so he could hear what it was. I took a cassette of Hole's Live Through This. It was new then and it was in my truck. I told him to push the off button as soon as he can't take any more, I'm not pushing it on you, only answering your question. It didn't last ten seconds and he never wanted to hear anything else. Even among people I know who listen to rock, very few can listen to what I like. Neither Justin nor Melvin like what I listen to. Not so much that it's extreme, because it's not. I haven't listened to radio pop since the Sixties when non-corporate music went underground. 

courtney love, hole

I'm inclined toward artistry with the guitar. I don't mean flourishes, but a new, original sound. Tom Morello of Rage Against the Machine, my guitar hero. I don't know many people who can take more than half a minute of Rage Against the Machine. But that's not my concern. My only concern is that I like them. I will sit down over the next day or two and give myself a good Rage concert. The first time I heard them, I didn't get it. Then I got it. I feel like a great good fortune in my life was being just the right age, 13, to start listening to rock n roll when Shake Rattle and Roll, Maybellene, Long Tall Sally, Bo Diddley all came on at close to the same time. One at a time, the pop radio station played a new rock n roll song. I've thought it a blessed aspect of my life, chose to follow it all the way along, see where it goes. It's been a half century and a decade of a wonderful music. It has a way of absorbing every other music it touches or that touches it. An Australian rock band of Aborigines, Yothu Yindi, uses traditional instruments with electric guitars, keyboard and drums. They're quite good. I love how rock n roll came from the wedding of Anglo music and music from Africa. James Brown and Otis Redding did a tour of Africa and turned people all over Africa on to a new electric sound from America that evolved into a new kind of dance club music mixed with traditional musics all over the continent. Now African music is coming back to us and getting woven into rock n roll again.   

zack de la rocha and tom morello, rage against the machine


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Sunday, December 21, 2014

CELEBRITY ROLE MODELS

andy warhol

Earlier, I watched a half hour talk by young actor Jack Gleeson of some pop tv show I've never heard of and don't want to see. He spoke to the Oxford Union about celebrity, this new role in life he fell into unawares. He was insightful. He spoke as himself and as celebrity. He analyzed what celebrity means in our society, role models largely, though he hesitated to see himself as a role model, when all he's wanted to do was to be an actor. Of course, he wanted celebrity status too, but had no idea what he was getting into when the role of celebrity came to him. I felt like he fell short of what he wanted to say. He lost himself in the forest of his mind and research, a talk written in another place and time, the night before, possibly in a hotel room, where one follows mind in one context, then at the place he's meant to give his presentation, it's an entirely different context from the one he'd projected for himself in the writing. I sat through the whole half hour of his talk. It held my attention. Not long after, I saw where Pope Francis ordered the distribution of 400 sleeping bags with papal insignia to the homeless of Rome. Swiss guard and volunteers distributed them, driving around the city in a van looking for people to give the sleeping bags to. I thought, a conscious role model gesture from a celebrity using his celebrity status to call attention to the people who need help. I admired him again. At first, I thought it a bit corporate having Vatican insignia on them, then rethought: the people who receive these sleeping bags will prize them as personal gifts from il papa, holy sleeping bags. 


These are humble people, more than likely all of them Roman Catholic, who hold il papa the highest. It's a refreshing bit of news. His celebrity status is a role model for many, and some of them will repeat the gesture in different cities of the Western world. He encourages people who pay attention to him to be kind to the poor, to see that poverty is a miserable existence. He has already reformed the Catholic church with his own humility. He has a charisma no other pope or public religious figure in my lifetime has had. He extends himself to the poor, not the rich. Kinda upside down and backwards in the world as it is today. I wonder if he might be a light in the darkness. I don't know if any popes in the past have had his compassion. It seems both odd and necessary that a celebrity religious figure who cares for the poor would be in ascendance in this dark time for a world of people living in spiritual poverty. America that calls itself a Christian country hates the poor. The poor are not beloved in Europe either. In a time when only celebrities have voices, it's refreshing to have a papal celebrity who wants to live the teachings of his Master. Like Bob Marley, he's too popular to assassinate. It's fun to know that he is burning the American so-called Christians a blister. They have him identified as Satan in human form. Help the poor? Satanism. Half a century ago, it would have been communism. Enabling the good-for-nothings. Get a job. Great idea. Know anyplace that's hiring somebody who needs mental health care? Get them off the streets, put them in prison where they're abused and given AIDS, often end up in solitary for inability to contain emotions. I hear Fifties comedian Dave Gardner in my head saying, When a man's down, kick him. 

andy warhol

The few times I've seen American Idol, I've been in awe seeing these young people so desperately appealing for celebrity status and a chance to be rich, wanting to be a product, the next Britney Spears and Michael Jackson. Listening to Jack Gleeson talk about role models, I was recalling the time when I was taken with pop star celebrities for role models. Bob Dylan was a good role model for me. He went his own way, struck out in a new direction several times. Pete Seeger wanted Dylan to be the one to take folk music mainstream and Dylan went electric with rock. I think I've used Dylan for a model in my readiness to change my art form from time to time. When what I'm doing gets boring, I change and do something else. I knew intuitively in childhood that my life would be one of many big changes. I've made it a point to be open to the changes and to flow with them. Dylan has been an encouragement to honor my own changes. A guiding light in that way. A celebrity role model. Henry Miller, too, was a celebrity role model. I liked Miller's moral code, his willingness to let go and see what comes next, his writing most of all, his engagement with the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual. I learned from Miller that the people immediately around me in my world are every bit as important as celebrities. It's been among the most valuable learnings of my life. It has opened the door to a lot of people I might not otherwise have appreciated. I learned from Miller that interesting people are everywhere around. Nobody is writing their biographies, but they all have unwritten biographies. I learned much appreciation of others from Henry Miller, as well as appreciation of solitude. It's an interesting subject, the influence of celebrities as role models. It's something I never think about. I can't help but think it would be a horror to be a celebrity. I'm happy on Waterfall Road pursuing my own interests. 

andy warhol

About the most foolishly flattered I'd ever been was when I was asked for an autograph taken for Mick Jagger. The kid was so disappointed when his star sighting turned out to be a dud. I laughed in embarrassment, embarrassed because I was so flattered. I'm laughing that same laugh right now. This would have been 1967 or 8. Now I'd do good to be taken for Walter Brennan. Even then, I didn't look any more like Mick Jagger than Willie Nelson. I think of the Rolling Stone song, Star, that's what you are. One of the great songs about celebrity status. And another Stones lyric, it's the singer not the song. In the old-time way, it was the song, not the singer. Now it's the other way around. It's another time, another experience, another cosmology. I've seen the celebrities of my past fade into history, like Frank Sinatra and Elvis. A few years ago in the grocery store a girl at the register had a name that was a Chuck Berry song. I mentioned the Chuck Berry song. She said, Who's Chuck Berry? I knew then I was in another time zone. Our celebrities change so fast and the role model they manifested is in new faces and names, new ones for each generation. They make us think we're cool for being aware of them. I find in this time of the life when I hear the Rolling Stones as a band of musicians making music, I hear the music better than I ever did when I was listening to stars. Baby Vada, 3, already is enchanted with Elsa, the princess in the children's movie, Frozen. Crystal took her to see the ice show in Greensboro, Frozen on Ice. Elsa waved to the audience in Vada's direction and made Vada's show, "Elsa waved at me!" Vada has an Elsa dress she dresses up in and runs around the house a princess. 

andy warhol by andy warhol


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Saturday, December 20, 2014

THE SPIRIT OF CHRISTMAS


Are you ready for Christmas? I hear this in town when I see someone I know. I never know what to say. I tend to say, I'm ready for it to be over. That's not totally true. I like the gift-giving part, the Saturnalia of it, the friendly spirit in the air. At the same time, the marketing aspect of Christmas is severely tiresome, yet is connected directly with gift-giving, what I think of as the best part. We have a list of traditions around Christmas. The so-called Christians harp about keeping Christ in Christmas, no more Xmas, and attempt to bring everybody down with other traditional beliefs about the time of year, like visiting with friends and family, good cheer, buying presents for kids, family and friends. Don't forget about Jesus born in a stable without a doctor. Don't forget Santa, a pagan spirit who delivers toys to boys and girls. Don't forget to buy a present for the dog. And don't forget Christmas trees that poison mountain spring water, the eastern half of the continent's water supply, which, by now, is nothing with the fracking coming in behind the poisoning to destroy the mountains as water source. Too bad about water. Too bad about native trout. Too bad about life. I like the spirit of people getting together to laugh and be light-hearted. At the same time I want to buy something for everyone I care about, I don't want to. I dislike long-faced religionists wanting to shut everybody down; it's about Jesus. Being happy is about Jesus. So many opposites clash in this time of contradictory messages from all 360 directions, it leaves me confused. If I commit to one tradition, the people of other traditions tell me I'm wrong. So I, like everyone around me, embrace them all without worrying about it. It's Christmas, an all-inclusive fun time of year. 


I have to say I have the good fortune of happy Christmases growing up. It meant seeing grandma and grandpa, cousins, aunts and uncles, and lots of presents. My personal associations with Christmas are happy. I was past 30 before I realized some other people have a difficult time with Christmas. I knew a woman who would fall into depression at Christmas. Her parents were drunks who hated each other and made Christmas miserable with their drinking and fighting. This came up one Christmas, I'm thinking 1974. A half a dozen of us friends got together to have a Christmas amongst ourselves. By the end of our gift-exchange and party, Joanne spoke up in tears saying this was the best Christmas of her life. I thought she was exaggerating until she explained. Turns out, it was her first Christmas. Her parents did not observe Christmas, except to get drunk and yell at each other, while she cried in her room. Other kids got presents, she got nothing. Out on her own, she never paid attention to Christmas, it depressed her so much. Later, I saw a statistic that said about half the population fell into depression for individual reasons at this time of year. It came to me out of the blue. I'd never entertained the thought that Christmas could be a sad time. My friend Jr Maxwell had a half-brother thirty years older, who killed himself and his wife on Christmas eve, 1945, leaving a four-month old baby an orphan. Jr was 23 that Christmas. The shock wave caused him a divorce from his first wife, the one he could have lived with so well. It knocked him off his track. He took Christmas for just another day, a day other people get excited about.


I hear preachers admonish the flocks for thinking materially on Christmas, for distraction from the despair of guilt that Jesus shed his blood for your sins. And the television telling them to spend all they have and max all their credit cards to buy more, you never have enough. Honey, I'd sure love to have that gold T-bird for Christmas. The Bank sends hundreds of billions of our dollars to Swiss and Cayman Island tax-free accounts. And what do we get? A year of paying on the credit card and a year of landfill stuff. This is the material side. There is no spiritual side to Christmas anymore. It's been so ruined by dogma, by business, by misinterpretation, by advertising, yet it still has some life in it. I like to be with my friends who have kids on Christmas day. I love for the kids to show me their new toys. One year, I gave Justin a big package of AA batteries. Santa always brought him something really neat that required batteries minus the batteries. Daddy wasn't driving to town Christmas morning to buy batteries. Some kids have good times all day, some do not, some have the whole spectrum in one day. Getting down to the day itself, 25 on the calendar, Christmas is a uniquely individual experience. So much anticipation is packed into the day that the day itself feels like it's missing what it's supposed to be, whichever on a checklist of options. I find the option of Christmas that appeals to me, personally, individually, is the happy spirit of the time. People get together to visit. See somebody at the grocery store, stop and have a brief conversation in good cheer. Paying for gas, a brief moment of good cheer, not saying Merry Christmas all the time, just visiting in a friendly way. It's this spirit I have come to value about Christmas. 



I can't afford to buy a whole mess of stuff to distribute to people that don't want it, so I eliminate that part of it. I will not have a Christmas tree. Christmas music is ok, once. The best ones seldom get heard, like Ralph Stanley's Beautiful Star of Bethlehem. And that's a good thing. It doesn't get worn out that way like Bing Crosby's White Christmas. It's a beautiful song, but I've heard it so much it's boring. Two aspects of a multi-faceted holy day, the holy and the secular. All kinds of theories going around concerning what Christmas really is, all of them advertising themselves with profit in mind. Herein is why I choose to step back from Christmas as anything but a genuinely high-spirited time, accepting its balance as a low-spirited time for some. I will not have my head infected with a television telling me every minute to spend more money I don't have to spend. I don't accept the frustration. I give token presents and a loving spirit. It's all I can afford. I can't afford to feed a house full of people. I don't accept that there is a given rule I'm to follow for Christmas. Visiting with my friends who have kids is what I do on Christmas day, and watch football on several channels, clicking from one to another when a commercial starts, making the rounds. I call it surrealist tv. It cracks up both Justin and Melvin when I break out laughing during a Viagra commercial. If you have an erection lasting more than eight hours call your doctor. The symbolism is hilarious. It's a comedy that even Jon Stewart can't make funnier. We visit in this time by watching television together. My Christmas will be seeing baby Vada, Crystal, Justin and lots of football. It's all in the spirit of the day.      


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Friday, December 19, 2014

THE LAND OF FORBIDDEN WORDS




Have been questioning what to write about. Don't want to bring readers down by being honest and don't want to misrepresent my meaning by pretending to be up when I'm not. My being, from blood vessels to aura, rejects s'posed-to for s'posed-to sake. Comes under grandmother saying, "What will people think?" I want to ask her what people? Everybody will think what they think and it will be about themselves, not me, whatever it is they think. I'm torn between two worlds, one going out and one coming in. The one going out is familiar, the one coming in is not. The police brutality I've been seeing lately disturbs me. It's only new because cellphones with video cameras are new recording the brutality that has always been going on. Ask anyone black. Since the "patriot act," we-the-people is a concept of the past. We the people have no recourse with "law enforcement" invasions or executions. White people subject to police brutality are enraged, while the black people know to take it as the way things are. I did not realize that black people were in the cops' cross-hairs to the degree they are. Every day an unarmed black man, woman or child is killed. He had a gun. I was afraid for my life. Meaning: it was a nigger. That's all the evidence needed to clear the cop of "wrong-doing." It's looking like our judicial system is dead set on eliminating the black people by way of prison or killing. 



Sometimes when I read Cornell West or hear him in an interview, he surprises me, but never shocks me. I did not understand, before the Ferguson, Missouri, murders, how consciously black people are targeted by "law enforcement." That cops kill is now policy. The closest to punishment they're given is a paid vacation--lay low a few weeks until the press forgets about it. White corporate media looks the other way, white people pay it no mind. In the world of white people, black people don't figure at all, except it's unacceptable in white middle class circles to say nigger. Not that black people matter to them. It's a code indicating status. It's about self and has nothing to do with black people. Cornell West surprises me when he reveals what black people are thinking. It's not shocking, because it's what an oppressed people would be thinking. White people keeping black people down is denied in white circles and a way of life in black circles. Black people, rightfully for self-preservation, know to keep their thinking to their own circles. Thus stretching the racial divide even wider. This just one of the many divisions widening in our time. I saw a video clip today from a courtroom where a black woman was in the witness stand talking to and about the cop that shot her granddaughter in the head while sleeping, after breaking into her house, and wrongfully accusing her of resisting the thug invasion. My heart wrung dry for the woman wailing openly in public with a courtroom full of white people looking at her, the stone faces of statues. Totally indifferent. But nobody will say nigger. That's disrespectful. 



If you want to know what the cops are thinking, listen to Rush Limbaugh. Angry. Angry cause the enwords are living on welfare white folks are paying into. Yer taxes is going to pay enwords not to work, make em lazier'n ever. I was thinking in the UK they have a law about hate speech in media, so Rupert Murdoch crossed the sea where corporate control wants hate media. Keeps the masses divided, keeps them hating each other while they all get fleeced. The cops there kill very few. I won't venture that the Brits are less racist than Americans, but they are much less violent about it. Also, they're not a gun culture. I don't want to play the game of one place is better or worse than another. Though we live in the most violent culture on earth, I am able to live my life in peace, except for the violence that comes through the news. I saw a preview, a trailer, of a movie a few days ago with a title I made it a point not to notice, guns pointing, guns shooting, guns threatening, gunshots echoing. Fast forward. I do like the occasional men-with-guns movie, but only as a genre, now and then. The little tv I see a week, Sunday afternoon races, football, basketball, baseball, golf, commercials, does something to my head, especially the commercials, the interruptions by commercials. I see them, but turn them off in my head, a fiction I like to believe for self-justification. After seeing a Burger King commercial, driving through town, seeing the Burger King building, the commercial gives it something of a golden glow. It bothers me to see the fakery of corporate media creating a fake world that gives propaganda reality. "We'll know our disinformation program is complete when everything the American people believe is false." Spoken by William Casey, 1981, CIA director. Their program is accomplished. We are there. 



I've been snapping in my mind today at people who want everything to be sweet and lovely, blue skies every day, the bluebird of happiness flying by, perish a negative thought. Positive thinking is only half of it. I'm laughing at self thinking of the Carter Family, Keep On The Sunny Side, and Jimmy Martin's Sunny Side of the Mountain, how I love these songs for their meaning, understanding the sunny side of the mountain is where things grow best. I tell myself to forget about cops killing black people, and white people now too. The only thing it tells me is the police hate us. We read that loud and clear. And they don't like the hate that's coming back at them. Makes them hate us all the more. Justice isn't even a word anymore. I tell myself to quit thinking about such as this. And I do. Yet it lurks in the back of my mind when I'm acting like it's not there. I tell myself it's not my concern, I'm neither black nor a cop. However, what it tells me is when they decide to put me in the cross-hairs, I have no recourse either. To ignore this is to ignore police state. What else can I do? They have the guns and the law literally on their side. In this time, I am a criminal just by being a citizen. I think it's called fascism, another word it's not polite to use in public. The other F-word. This is the north side of the mountain, the part that's in the shade when the sunny side of the mountain is in full sun and I'm thinking it's wonderful. It is. And it's also the other. It's both. It's the yin and yang, balance. Though I like the peace where I am, I still live in this landscape of commerce and state that I live in. It's the broader landscape. I cannot deny it. Have no reason to deny it. The sunny side has no meaning without the dark side. The dark side has no meaning without the sunny side. Sorrow for my black brothers and sisters overwhelms me in a time when this understanding of the racist nature of the justice system is new to me. I knew it was racist before, but not like what I see now. Even the pope can't do anything about it. All I know to do is not be part of the problem. I can't change the justice system. It's the world I live in. I don't have to be of it. I continue to go my own way. 




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Thursday, December 18, 2014

TURN THE RADIO OFF

anselm kiefer

It's been something of a day of rest. So beat down and worn out by a never-ending project I foolishly got myself into, yesterday drained my energy like pulling the plug in a sink. Today, I performed the next step like an automaton and got it in the mail. I've settled into this project going on forever and have quit looking forward to it ending some day in the far distant future. Today I have slept until I can't sleep and had to get up. Up is back in that mind drained of energy. Watched an Australian film from 1976, Picnic at Hanging Rock, story made from something that happened in 1900. Girl school summer picnic at a beautiful outcropping of rock called Hanging Rock. Four girls disappear, vanish. One was found four or five days later barely alive. She can't remember what happened. It falls into an unsolved mystery and the survivors are changed. Directed by Peter Weir. Well made film and well conceived. Read some in the van Gogh biography. And slept. Brought three bales of hay from the barn to the donkey lot in the trunk of the car. I've heard talk of snow in the next few days, but didn't pay it any mind, the source not credible. The weather report predicts rain tomorrow and rain Saturday, mild temperature all week. We could use some rain. The ground is dry. It was mud for so long, dry is good. Couldn't work on any art projects today. Paralyzed by weariness of mind. I know not to involve myself in the world of human busyness. I jumped in, knowing better, it went up over the top of my head. I've become so indifferent to this project I don't even pray for it to end. If this project ever has an end date, I will take a quart of liquor out into the donkey meadow, sit on the ground and drink. Sounds awfully romantic. Even too corny for a movie. And presumptuous to think it may someday end. 

anselm kiefer

I've caught myself being presumptuous so many times, I tend to articulate meaning so specifically there is no place for presumption. I don't like to presume. I do, but don't like to. Pulling away from presumption, it seems like it brings me closer to the moment, the now, seeing what is, not what I suppose. This one clue toward finding the now, not supposing, allows the moment to be as it is, instead of wanting it to be some other way. I feel like this endless project is teaching me something about supposing, presuming. Each time we have a communication, I presume this is the time it will be fixed, and I'm always wrong. From here on, I accept it as it is and project no hopes it will ever end, let it do what it does. I still can't believe how complex this project has become. I don't even remember everything that went wrong. Everything. Nothing has gone right after two months. Rather than groan and moan about it, I must accept it as what is happening now. Allow it to be what it is. Can't turn on the radio without hearing about the 100+ kids killed in Pakistan by the Taliban. I don't like to hear it, and turn the radio off. Internet news is full of cops killing unarmed black men someplace in the country every day. Police have become the kkk. Afraid for their lives. This is obvious acting out of John the Revelator's prophecy of the end time. In youth I hoped to live long enough to see what the end time will be like. Now I see what it is like and I don't like being in it. A good time not to be of it.

anselm kiefer

I followed the prophecy years ago, interpreting by the best interpretations I could find, though have not paid much attention to it in the last several years. In my reading of it, I see that everything is done, the vials all poured, all of it, but Armageddon. Small wars in defenseless countries, annihilating them, the US military takes on the people of destroyed countries and calls them insurgents. USA has brought so much misery into the world, at home and abroad, surely some kind of karmic return is happening in US. Tighten up the borders to keep terrorists out, and they break out in school shootings anywhere at any time, inside the border. We don't need them coming at us from outside. Our society has become so dysfunctional, we don't need to worry over doom coming from outside. The depersonalization of the human being has created a terrorist war inside our borders. We have police state now, so it's only going to get worse. Fascism always self-destructs and it takes the whole country down with it. I hope to be in my next lifetime somewhere in Asia when USA self-destructs. I see the whole world coming down on USA like was done in Germany after WW2. The rest off the world will stop USA, after it self-destructs, from ever again having a military. This is the murder capital of the world, incarceration capital of the world, the mood enhancing prescription drugs capital of the world, the cocaine and heroin capital of the world, the homeless capital of the world, the deception capital of the world. It's shocking to me, as one not tapped into television, to see how central television is to the people of the world I live in. Separate from it, I can see it a propaganda device, in ways few everyday viewers would see as such, even if they self-examined. It's subtle, hyper-advanced propaganda. A century and a half of the science of psychology, police state is where it's applied. 

anselm kiefer

All the more reason for me to stay at home, stay off the roads, stay out of town, stay out of involvement in anything. One thing about living with myself, I always have somebody who agrees with me. That can be a setback too, but I look for balance. I stay in touch with my friend Carole, we talk every day at the beginning of the day. It's kind of like morning meditation with the feminine. Many days I feel like the day is complete once we've talked, the rest of it is what's left of the day. A couple of art projects are growing. I must give more attention to my everyday life and less attention to the fascist takeover of the American government. At the same time, it is so interesting to be witnessing the most significant time in American history since the founding, I can't stop paying attention, something more horrific happens every day, here and everywhere. I've had to resign myself to allowing it. It's bigger than me by so much I don't even figure. I have no say in any of it. All I can do is the boycott of one with television and Walmart, a game where I am the only player and the only one to care. I can't take an interest in social causes in a time when everything is about money. America is the new Babylon. I think of Burning Spear's reggae song, Babylon Will Fall. I'm seeing it now in the news every day, the crumbling, the breaking down from a cancer within, the fall of Capitalism. I have a hard time not paying attention to current events for what I see happening. I like seeing it from a mountain glen in a place where a little bit of wildlife is left, a place where hawks and buzzards circle in the sky, a cellphone dead zone.

anselm kiefer


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