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My Reality is NOT the Same as Yours And That’s Very, Very Good!

How many layers of consciousness are there?
~ Tanya Taqaq

Scientists, psychiatrists, and other religious zealots claim man/woman/other human types are the only beings with consciousness, the only animal with an awareness of their own existence. I don’t buy their self-serving view of reality. Mind-expanding drugs have been able to release altered states, give people access to layers not always easily accessible. Hallucinations, they are disparagingly called, a derogatory term eagerly applied to any conscious awareness outside the accepted mass hallucination experienced by the least common denominator we label ‘reality’. When a person is alone, there is no one to corroborate the communal hallucination so how does one know what is real and what is Memorex?

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Fishhooks in my Brain

There’s no such thing as the ‘voiceless’. There are only the deliberately silenced, or the preferred unheard.
~Arundhati Roy

Pre COVID-19, which seems like ages ago, I would arrive downtown with the rising of the sun, have my choice of umbrella covered tables in the Daily Center, where I would sit and dwell in the moments centering myself for the coming workday. That one hour set my mind upon a trajectory to focus and derive creative solutions to problems for the upcoming work day. My new normal finds me in the house 24×7 except to walk the dogs. I get an extra hour or two to sleep, time I would gladly trade for that creative hour. I can’t seem to muster the same rhythm inside my home.

My city seat, I have my pick of many in the wee hours, always purposefully selected to ensure my back was turned shunning the shit brown Picasso sculpture. I like the juxtaposition of the curves and lines in the statue creating a surreal mosquito or phantasmagoric baboon or whatever the untitled statue is supposed to be but the color offends my sense of decorum. Why couldn’t Pablo make it a bit more lively? If surrealism was the goal, then go all out. He obviously had the skills and creative acuity.

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I Have A Brain Bird

Years ago, I underwent a brain MRI. It was preceded by two head bouncing bike riding fails. By head bouncing, I mean head dropping nearly six feet and bouncing off the solid, immovable, immutable rock making up Earth’s flooring. I was at the awkward Mind-Body age every male seems to experience when the Mind believes it is still young and capable of superhuman feats and overrules vehement protestations from Body. Mind won the battles. Body lost the war.

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I Used To Be Human

Well, I’m half the man I used to be
(This I feel as the dawn)
(It fades to gray)
Well, I’m half the man I used to be
Half the man I used to be

~Nirvana

Today, 17 May 2020, would have been the rare convergence of my Mother’s birthday with Mother’s Day. It would have been a day of dual celebration with all her children, her grandchildren, her great-grandchildren, many of her friends…had she not recently died. As it is, I am sitting alone on the deck of her home having just finished laying the first coat of ceiling white on her ceilings as we ready her home, the home she occupied for 56 years, for sale. The rain is incessant casting an appropriate gloomy pall on the day, on my mood. I hate rain. I want the hate to permeate this day but my emotions lack power, lack substance. My emotions lack…

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Exorcising Demons

I know I have this intuition or instinct that a lot of creative people have, that their demons are also what make them create.
~David Byrne

The demons, my personal demons, reside deep inside my head hiding in the labyrinthian cerebral cortex cañons where they have established semi-permanent shantytowns. They are not content lurking in the filigreed shadows floating to the surface only when the dark stars align and create electromagnetic waves that agitate them into the supra consciousness. Nope. They are omnipresent approaching omniscience. I can neither fall asleep nor wake without them jabbing tentacle daggers behind mine eyes have seen the glory in flashes of insight demanding my undivided attention. Begone ye surly bastards! Unshackle me.

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The Next Messiah

A Buddha appears only when the teachings of the previous Buddha are forgotten.
~Mark Muesse

Stephen J. Gould posited a theory that evolution follows a path of punctuated equilibrium where change occurs in isolated episodes of rapid speciation between long periods of stasis. Explosion followed by dust settling into the cracks and crannies as the constituents vie for domination or infiltrate an unused niche where they can survive until conditions shift ripening the environment for one or some or none to thrive.

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Perfection is Perfect for Whom?

Something will have gone out of us as a people if we ever let the remaining wilderness be destroyed…we simply need that wild country available to us even if we never do more than drive to its edge and look in.
~Wallace Stegner

Far too much of our wilderness is being destroyed under the guise of improvement. Not a guise, a disguise worn by power mongers unleashing the cancer of more, more, more profit to line the one-percenters silk pockets while the commoner struggles to put food on the table or sock a few pennies for the inevitable rainy days ahead. Not even Covid-19 seems to open their eyes.

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Reading + Writing = Understanding

I read to find inspiration. I write to restore candor to the mind.
~N. Scott Momaday

It is almost two weeks into the recommended self-quarantine where I leave the house for little else than walking the dog. Angst has replaced my normally carefree approach to life. Is this how prison life is? If so, I never want to be confined to a 6x9x12 cell. I would have ample time to read and write but the loss of freedom would demoralize my soul beyond saving.

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I Am Not The Perfect American

The perfect poem in Tibet is written and there it is lost.
~N. Scott Momaday

I am inspired to write by the voices arguing in my head, any spectacular natural landscape unspoiled by the hands of the hairless ape, selfless acts of human kindness. I’m especially aroused to write by cultures and cultural relics orthogonal to my own, a culture I once foolishly believed the pinnacle of human evolution. Writing about these topics helps me better understand the experience, better understand myself.

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The Warrior Cycle

Between birth and death is the way of the warrior
And there is nothing at either end but a dream
.
~N. Scott Momaday

I feel my entire life is but a dream and the moments I lay my head upon the pillow and win the struggle with sleep are the moments I awake into a real reality. I slip into my little warrior life. It is there I battle the demons otherwise hidden in the shadows of consciousness. It is only then I can grasp their ephemeral tongues and slice their throats with my sword both on the initial stoke and again on the backswing before their blue-green blood even stains the double-edged, satin blade and they crumble into death, into their own after dream.

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Connected but not Integral

The Coyote singing
Is shut away
For they fear
The call
Of the wild.

~Gary Snyder

For some, Wilderness is a place near to the heart, a warm hearth in our long lost home, a haven for when the world jumps askance, our balance wavers, and we need a steadying grace to find inner balance. For others, Wilderness is an evil to despise, a place of chaos to avoid. A den of iniquity. Woe unto them for they have forgotten their mother’s face. They hear Coyote howl and think mayhem, death is nigh so hide the bite-sized dog that still shits on the floor behind the locked house door. I fall into the former category. Coyote’s song gives comfort and a Coyote chorus is reason to rejoice.

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The Art is Seething

You are either defending the status quo or challenging it.
~Seth Godin

There is art seething just below my surface that I am finding difficult…impossible…to release. It is nebulous. Form without form. Trying to grasp onto its intent finds it disappearing like sage smoke fluttering in the rapid wisps of hummingbird’s dance before being obliterated in the downward thrust of Hawk’s powerful wings. I sense the aroma but can’t assign it a face. I hear the melody but can’t shape the words. I am frustrated.

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Selling My Artistic Soul

Our culture has engaged in a Faustian bargain, in which, we trade our genius and artistry for apparent stability.
~Seth Godin

It seems I’ve forever struggled to stay afloat in a tempest while being hounded by black finned angst sharks chomping at my exposed bits tearing me into inharmonious notes creating a cacophony in my soul simultaneously sowing discord in my brain. Treading water serves only to keep my breathing struggling while the motion agitates the waters swirling and I drift into oblivion trapped in icy mental seas.

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Escaping From My Art

[Ancient] pots are more than clay and paint, they are living things. The souls of our ancestors reside in those pots.
~David Knop

Art is more than a pretty picture, a moving story, a humbling poem, or the color arrangement in an intricately woven rug. It is the embodiment of the artist’s soul, a slice of the spirit opened for all to experience. The Navajo weavers understand the nature of art so leave an untidy string allowing their spirit to escape and reunite with their creator’s soul. After all, who wants to traipse through life with a fragmented soul?

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Eden was Never Paradise for Humans

Poems, apples that had never been forbidden.
~Jaume Cabre

The sin committed in the garden was not eating the succulent apple offered by Snake to Eve, Eve to Adam. It is an act for which she would forever be a scapegoat to justify misogyny and a life long disparaging label, passed generation to generation classifying females as temptress. This moniker ignores the fact that Adam, in his weakness, opted to say yes instead of standing by his God, is just as guilty as Eve. Both were equally at fault for their desire to acquire knowledge and incrementally increase understanding. But…who is really at fault for the fall from grace…if grace it ever was?

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Choosing A Wild Kervorkian

In all of nature, there is no sound more pleasing than that of a hungry animal at its feed. Unless you are the food.
~Edward Abbey

My dream is to one day be the feed, be the sustenance for Vulture, Coyote, Beetle, Worm, Juniper, cycle into the continual process of energy redistribution. There is romance (in my mind) in being released from Earth’s gravity by a great beast instead of a virulent virus or slowly consuming cowardly cancer forcing its victims to watch death’s face inch closer and closer until, in our agony, we beg for release. More than a romantic notion, it is spiritual. God is an amalgamation of all beings and nonbeings in a great collective consciousness. Being crammed into a coffin then buried in a vault isolates from the consciousness and is unholy.

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Intimacy with Dead Artists

Eleanor was right. She never looked nice. She looked like art, and art wasn’t supposed to look nice; it was supposed to make you feel something.”
~Rainbow Rowell

Why are we drawn to some art, repulsed by others, indifferent to most? What is the magic that strums the perfect chord generating sympathetic vibrations in our longing souls allowing us to feel a painting, to crawl inside a sculpture? I think it is because we recognize in art a part of ourselves, a sliver of our psyche reflected in the eyes of another and exposed to the world. The ongoing question for me when feeling drawn to a piece making me stop in my tracks is, once the high mellows, why and what connects the two-dimensional layered paint with multidimensional me.

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Is It Worth the Tradeoff?

Do you want to be crazy like Van Gogh
Like a stranger in a strange, strange land 
~Oingo Boingo  

Could I trade my sanity for the ability to create amazing works of art? Could I…Would I? What are the benefits? Van Gogh died before his art exploded in popularity demanding huge sums from admiring collectors. He never experienced fame, died penny less. Had he achieved fame, it is probable his mental instability would still lead to suicide, maybe even earlier than his thirty-seventh year. The stress of being hounded by people wanting to ride his coattails, the same who derided him prior to his gaining fame, would likely have weighed on his soul with extreme prejudice.

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Raising Boys & Girls the Same is Nonsense

To be yourself in a world that is constantly trying to make you something else is the greatest accomplishment.
~Ralph Waldo Emerson  

The belief that boys and girls should be raised the same is utter nonsense. Worse than nonsense, it is wrong, as twisted as believing the Golden Rule is anything other than a narcissistic code based on self-centered thinking. I should treat you as you want to be treated not as I want to be treated. When it comes to social construct rules, or raising children, Platinum is greater than Golden.

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A Spiritual Chameleon

There’s no reason the scorpion has to become our faith healer.
~Yusef Komunyakaa

It has taken me nearly sixty years to understand that I am a deeply spiritual being…a spiritual chameleon able to tap into various spiritual vibrations, no matter the faith or nonfaith system, and experience the marvel of the holy.

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