2/24/02- Being Born
is the way coolest Drag Queen Poet in the Dallas area. Seriously. She is entertaining, eccentric and intellectually challenging. I was just at an open mic that she was guest hostessing, and looking around the room I realized that I enjoy the fact that poetry reading draw a more diverse spectrum of humanity that any other thing I have ever experienced. This evening We had a Hispanic youth group visiting, several drag queens, the poets, a banjo player, and a 70ish year old country gentleman that makes rope. One of the poets had met him at some type of Boy Scout meeting with her son, and invited him over. She played a native American flute this evening.
Have you ever heard the expression knowledge is power? Whats up with that, I means seriously knowledge is just knowing something. You can know all about Atomic energy, but you don't actually have any power until you build a Power plant, or a bomb or something. I thought of this the other night in meditation, while getting frustrated with myself for making the same types of mistakes lately, in my life/practice/internal journey (whatever). I have a lot more knowledge of how to do things better, yet despite that I still follow some of the same old patterns. Without creating an actual mechanism to create the power for meaningful change, (or a process) than the knowledge remains just that, knowledge. Potential power for change, but only that.
I remember this woman I had a few encounters with a few years back, shortly before I met my wife. It was nothing serious, but one of those very pleasant memories that takes you back once in a while. Purely from a non-spiritual perspective that is. Well, I found this old folder with a few poems in it recently that she had left at my house or something. It had the exact spelling of her somewhat unique last name, so, I decided to look her up on google and see if I could find any info. Well it brought up all these pages on this old teen soap opera or something that I had never heard of, starring Sara Michelle Geller in her pre slayer days. Well it tu5rn out that this girl had a role on that show. Not someone with a similar name or anything, but my actual little fling girl. I am sure that it is her. It was a little hard to tell from the pics, but I found an updated bio, that placed her living in Fort Worth TX, around the time I knew her, and the age is what it would be five years earlier than that when this show was on. She never mentioned this to me, but I guess we never actually talked all that much. I suppose there is no real point to this story. I always think back on her as one of the top purely physical yummie feelings that I've ever had. But now, knowing that she was a on a teen TV show, well that just makes it seem even cooler or something. Am I a bad person?
It looks like my friend the drag queen poet was right. I have been a bit to depressed and stressed about personal and work related junk lately. I guess it was starting to seep through the cracks. I am feeling better now though. I am officially one week in to my FMLA. That is family medical leave act, why is it called this? I dunno, I do know that when the latest person designated to supervise me started giving me grief the same weekend that the wife was putting me in my place, I'd had more than enough, although I am far from pleased with my job, I do need to hang on to it for now so that I can feed the children and all of that good stuff. So anyhow a trip to human resources where this leave was suggested followed by an afternoon hanging out at the clinic to get back on some feel good pills and here I am, sitting here all day with the kids wondering if this medicated calm is the way normal folks feel. I've been on a couple of interviews this week, but nothing real promising. There has actually been a marked increase in domestic harmony, but that could just be being to mellow to argue back. We have counseling tomorrow.
Here are a couple of recent poems:
Puerile corpo-fascist drivel,
flowing unfettered into my life like
I find I
in the head then
my heart shrivels like
sweaty balls already removed,
Why must I
endure these suffocating situations
sitting repeatedly, ass cheeks clinched,
tongue bitten down on hard, suppressing
I am neither poet
nor lover of sweet Sophie
engaged with mythic journey
becoming something more. My
life as father, less than nothing
in this room.
In a callous sub-culture
devoid of spiritual sustenance,
a corporate culture, I am a very
small sad piece of dog shit, sitting
solitary, in a room, surrounded by the
dead and dieing growing always smaller,
I stand tall
arms spread wide
supporting a never-ending sky,
the weight of the world
upon my shoulders.
My dripping lifes blood
in stigmata martyrdom
an apparent atonement
for past indiscretion.
My nights, fragmented
nocturnal journeys through countries
Each morning a rebirth.
Every repose an underworld excursion
to wake and stand again
under glaring sun.
Pulling back the layers
just beneath my surface
I am the esoteric principle
The everyman odyssey.
To be created.
To be uncreated.
This is the inner mystery.
Eternity beckons, already present
in the space between each moment.
only as real as its perception.
One day, enraptured,
propelled by wax wings
of gossamer gnosis like
an illuminated snowflake
I will soar above the painted sky,
beyond the heavy fetters of the Earth.
blown out at last.
2/11/02- GEN X
Was reading my copy of IN THEIR OWN WORDS A GENERATION DEFINING ITSELF, volume 3, for a bit this evening. I love this book. Not only because I have 2 pieces in this anthology, but because it really speaks to me. I read the work and much of it is the kind of powerful but not overwrought, cynical but not defeated, observational stuff that really does, to me, define my generation. Generation X. I know that a lot of people hate that label. Whats not to hat about any label. The point here in this project is not to do some type of study or make some type of observation about Gen X, but to let the voices of Gen X speak in their own words, In OUR own words. I like it. It may not be all great art, but I like it, and when I read it, I actually feel a little less alone. Somewhere out there in, Kalamazoo and Arkansas, and England and New England and where ever, there are other poets, other 30 or 20 somethings out there making happen, and writing it. I am looking forward to volume 4, and hoping I am in it again. I have submitted a couple of winners.
2/8/02 -Its the women.
And they are always talking. Many are mothers, or mother-in-laws. Most are divorced. Most have been through a man or two since the divorce, but all the men were bad. They were bums, they didnt work hard enough, they were stoned, they were all somehow abusive, either physically, emotionally, or verbally, They usually agree when in groups that its really hard to find a decent man. (only sometimes excusing any man in earshot). They always have issues with their men, those that still have them (usually still younger), and they always have to discuss it. And they are always despinsing advice. They have a great deal of admiration for one another, especially for the older ones who have disposed of their men. They refer to them as strong, or independent. When the topic comes around to any woman that is considering leaving her man, they almost always agree that she should, that it is justified because he has let her down, because she CAN do better. There is always a justification, something that sounds logical, and it always seems pretty clear cut. They say that she, whoever she is at the moment, shouldnt waste her life with a man that doesnt completely satisfy her, as if it is somehow possible to completely satisfy a woman. She either will find someone to treat her right (in theory) or she has gained enough experience or money that she no longer needs a man, holding her back, keeping her from attaining complete happiness. There doesnt seem to be any doubt here, even the children will be better off, out of that bad situation (its always a bad situation).
This is the modern woman, this is the bi-product of a word gone sour, with cynicism in every nook and cranny. Where the old priorities are gone, and making ones self happy seems to be the new religion. We are after all out on this earth with the express purpose of being completely satisfied, or making someone else completely satisfied, depending on your birth. And love, well that is a formula now. LOVE=needs met X LISTENS TO YOUR NEEDS squared.
Yes,this new woman is your woman. Your mother, your wife, your aunts, the lady at the grocery store, your boss. They are all of the woman that you meet. your women that is, not mine, I am in Shangra-la, I bathe daily in the fragrant rushing waters of the majestic river Nile.
02/06/02- Karuna Dukkha Sutta
There were times a few years back when I would sit on my cushion and feel myself at the Axis Mundi, the world center the spot about which everything moves. I would sit in sublime Satori as if the cushion was high upon some unseen precipice but still solid upon the earth. This was the world spot, where things happen, where all things can be clearly perceived, like that of the Bodhi tree under which Gotama sat. Where he reached out in world defying gesture and touched the ground saying I WIL NOT MOVE FROM THIS SPOT, UNTIL I HAVE ATTAINED FULL ENLIGHTENMENT, Para Nibbana, where he developed Sama Sambuddhasa. For me this spot is when things happen. Where I recognized sobriety, flesh consuming, and many other fetters, some of which have slipped away.
At other times I sat crossed legged in the same spot, but the feeling, the vision was different. At these times I was barely there. Light as a feather, ephermal, in these moments I could feel the fade, In these moments I was not my thoughts and they were not me. In these moments Nothing was happening because nothing was ever really happening. I could feel myself like wilting flowers, or animal forms in a cloud filled sky, fading away, Pay no attention to the crackling sound that is existence, boiling away into non existence, in to existence ad infintum.. In these visionary moments that rushed by like speeding trains I recognized the truth the ultimate truth of the three marks of existence: ANATTA, ANICCA, and DUKKHA ( non-self, Impermanence and suffering) These were the moments of freedom the moments of poetry, the creative well spring.
Tonight. Sitting at the temple there was another type of insight (Vipassana). There is the vision of the world, and its spinning, but its out of control, and I am spinning with it, unable to stop. And its fading and arising, but I am fighting it tooth and nail. It's like an out of tune cello, static on the radio, a kiss where teeth hit and there is pain. Me recognizing the world, but immersed in it sunk into it and out of control, just like the rest of it. No beauty, no realization, just suffering. Truth yes, but an ugly truth .
02/05/02- East Side
The guy who spray painted EAST SIDE FUCK on the side of that bridge doesnt have the same worries that I do. Or does he? I seem to never relax, always worried about my place in the world. My success as a poet. If Ill get that novel written by 40. If Ill be immortal, if someday Ill be the next Bukowski, up on the shelves at Barnes and Noble. Am I taking the right steps? Am I wasting my time working at a shitty, life-force sucking job. If I quite this job and get one that better suites me, will I be able to support my 2 children. I always wonder if this is how every artist dies, not dramatically, but slowly in a cubical at the hands of a gutless management, killed by policy, memos and the want of a regular paycheck. When I host poetry open mics, organize poetry circles, publish and sell chapbooks, pretending that I am some how on a hot streak, am I just fooling myself so that I can makes it through the days. Is that all it is. Will I be trapped in crappy, disrespectful, demeaning jobs for years and years to come with no redemption, no salvation. Is that all that I am? Another number, another statistic, another sad depresses madman ranting away from a position of ridiculousness? I always wondered about my father and never understood how the corporate job with the long hours and wasted days was enough for him. He always seemed happy with his life, I never have. He always seemed to enjoy just what he has, I have always wanted something more. Sometimes when I take the pills that I am supposed to take, all of this mediocrity seems slightly more bearable, but sometimes like now, I dont want it to be.
I am a bad Buddhist, possibly a bad father ( well not really, I am a good father, but possibly a badly motivated one) , and certainly a bad employee.
Perhaps the bridge painter and I are not so different after all. Perhaps I only imagine him carefree and defiant. Perhaps he is a worried and powerless as I, and like me, only trying to make his mark one the world, to be more than what he is. EAST SIDE FUCK, yea, EAST SIDE FUCK.
Its one of the reasons that I had to quit actually. Smoking dope that is. Back in the very early 90s when my roommate and I would simply sit by ourselves in our apartment and get high each evening things became different. I am talking about after the years of party hardy yahoo wooo-hoo different drugs all night longs crowds of people insanity. There is nothing to be gained in those atmospheres except the occasional piece of ass, a reputation, and an arrest. ( unless of course you mainline with the police chiefs son which gives you a narrow save by way of cryptic warning just in time to clean up your act a little bit and switch apartments before the heavy shit goes down, luckier than some of your other friend who did hard time or died) No, I am talking about mellow yellow wanna be hippie, drinking ginseng cola with the root in the bottle, big painted peace signs on the wall, saying things like WHOA DUDE THATS REALLY INTENSE all the time, smoking marijuana daily, especially in the evening, times.
The thing is: he would play guitar. He wasnt very good, but I think that made all of the difference. His playing was more like a poor mans Rabbi Shankar Sitar crossed with classical music radio trying to pluck like the masters. But it really took me to outer space MAN. We would do bong hit after bong hit after bong hit, and he would play. I would meditate. I had only read a couple of books on meditation, but I knew a little bit, enough to go all kinds of places on those nights. Some were good, some were bad. I remember some times viewing the totality of human history in some type of high speed reverse regression like some sort of genetic or racial memory. I have always had a passion for ancient history since then. I remember knowing the inner workings of my mind perfectly.
But unfortunately I still remember the one that would always effect me. The vision that would disturb me and get me down. The tiny boxes. It was a trick of pulling back, I was always working with altering my perspectives, seeing from outside of myself. In these instances, I would see myself sitting crossed legged on the floor, then pull back outside of my apartment, and realized that it was just this tiny square box, surrounded, tightly packed in by, hundreds of other tiny square boxes. Where other people lived, slept, fucked, ate, and stared in to tiny square TVs I saw how we got up in the morning, and walked outside into the tinier square boxes that moved us to other larger boxes where we sat in tiny square cubical boxes (the smallest of all) in long rows packed side by side still, and staring into other tiny square computer boxes, going through more endless repetitive cycles, doing the same things over and over each day. The lawns were boxes, the streets were boxes, the grocery stores and malls were boxes. It was too much to take, I would start screaming burst out and exclaim to the roommate how we had boxed ourselves in, as a culture, how we were living in cages of our own creation, and how utterly futile and meaningless the whole thing was. He would stop playing, and we would cry, (seriously). We would promise each other to ride our motorcycles forever, and to find another way somehow. To live outside of the boxes, to live without money, or to find a different way to make it. But of course we couldnt, we never did.
Sobriety is necessary for the sensitive type. We cant take the truth. If you watch enough TV, and talk on the phone and surf the net long enough, you will really start to believe that crap that they hand you about a new world, one without borders or limits.You wont look up, reach out and feel the walls, that are moving closer all of the time.
2/3/02- Sisyphus, and the pain upstairs that makes his eyeballs ache.
Poetry last night was great. I live for the readings. I enjoy the people, the poetry the whole thing. Too bad my entire daily life can not be made up of these people, even when they occasionally annoy me, they are still inherently good. They truly exist.
On the other hand. I am up here at work on Sunday morning. I hate so many of the details of this job, this office, this corporation, this culture. Every moment is a humiliating kick in the crotch ( song from the 80's?). The supervisor types up here really need to just shut up. seriously. I mean it's bla bla bla bla all freaken day. We have a job where we have to talk to 30-60ish people on the telephone all day anyway. You would think that they would have some respect for the hell that is too much talking, too much listening, too much fake crap, and just keep it quiet, keep a low profile and just intervene when needed. No, it seems to be the policy here to encourage useless pontification among lower management. It's really unbearable. Particularly on a Sunday morning following about 3.5 hours sleep. ( not counting the extra 30 min or so here in the cubical around 5 am). They are fools. And I am the bigger fool.
2-2-2002 SEX Karma
AAAAAAh! Sex, sexual union. Desire. The sweet soft warm flesh of the female. There is nothing better, nothing more desirable, nothing I want more. There she was next to me, soft ass pressed backwards up against me, firmly in touch with my excitability. I'd had her before, well many, many times actually, but it has been a while, too damn long! But there I was up close, suddenly remembering each and every time. Each time I had taken her, each sound she had ever made for me, each time I had released my pent up essence, my spiritual fury boldly into her. I wanted to grab that ass, hard, and take what was mine, what by all freaken right is mine, what belongs to me. God! Once you have had a woman a few times you learn her a little. You learn her body language, or her level of muscular tension or her relaxed defenses or something. I am not really sure of what this secret 7th sexual sense is, hell it may pheramonal, but I do know that it something I personally have never been able to achieve with a woman I hadnt been with before, or didnt know very well ( I mean unless there was something unbelievably blatant, like a verbal request for lovemaking. I had missed so damn many opportunities in my life. Some that occasionally cross my mind even today years later. But this woman had always been better to me than all of the others, more patent, more willing. She had taken me places no one ever had before, She was the best. And here I was. These were good signs, not great signs but definite maybes. Her skin drives me crazy, there I was hands on that soft tasty skin, rubbing all around, hand just sneaking below the soft elastic of her unmistakably female underpants when something stopped me. A blood curdling top of the range window bursting scream.
No, not her ( jeeez, that would suck) it was our six month old baby in his little bed thing on the floor, of course he had picked this moment to piss himself silly, wake up and frantically freak. Yes, my second child, nothing if not consistent. She has to get up. She undresses him, removes his wet clothes, changes the diaper, and puts him in a dry white onesie. There he is breast feeding and I can hear the sound of it, the slurping, and see the look of ecstasy on his tiny reddened face. At least someone is touching a tit tonight, but it doesnt look like it will be me. I think about trying to stay awake and give it another shot, but like most serendipitous fortunes, there are rarely second chances. So off I drift to sleep, to a night of restless dream of images and forgotten words.
The true irony though, is that six hours later I was awakened by my three year old, jumping in our bed and landing directly square bullseye I shit you not, into my genitals. And the throbbing, and the throbbing, and the throbbing, damn. I cant help but wonder about my karma. Sometimes life just seems to go your way, and other time, it kinks you in the nuts. No, seriously.
2/1/02- Of Monsters..
The usual 2am silence is shattered in our new home by the violent sounds of thunder, close and frequent. Bright white light strobes through the unusually large number and variety of windows, some not yet curtained .half awake under the sudden onslaught, I hear another sound, half frantic, shrieks heading my way. Arriving, bouncing on the balls of his feet unable to contain his genuine anxiety, the boy says to me in that run on sentence three year old way, "Daddy, it scared me I think its a monster of a dragon up in the sky or mebby even a bug!" "What do you want me to do buddy?" I stammer. "Grab me under the cover!" he suggests. I pull up the Giant crocheted mother created monstrosity and he jumps under. Everything good now?" I ask. "Yes daddy, definitely its good" then despite the still present rattling windows and slashing lights, he falls, in moments, back to sleep. These are the moments I live in , the ones I wish would never stop. No monsters can exist when I am around.
1/31/02- HEAL THYSELF
I realize that my personal growth stopped when my first son was born. This hit me while driving home last night after not going to temple for meditation. By the time 7 gets here the last few Wednesdays, I am just too damn tired. I dont think that by this I mean that my intellectual growth stopped, or that I havent grown world wiser, because certainly having children will make one wiser on many aspects, certainly a newfound sense of patience and compassion develops. No, I am talking about that elusive spiritual/ emotional growth. The one people talk about when they are trying to find themselves. The spiritual awakening that 12 steppers are looking for, the one that takes therapy if you are from a dysfunctional family. I found my path at great cost at the age of 28, it was one hell of a lot of work to begin to walk it, and I seem to have slowly veered off into the brush.
Its not that anything, any endeavor in life is inherently good or bad. Those are just perspectives. Its all a matter of preparedness, or lack there of. Having children means devoting all of your precious energy to the emotional and spiritual development of someone other than your self, a small someone. In theory when a culture is functioning properly, when a person becomes a parent for the first time he has already undergone the necessary process of growth and is ready. But in our world, people often have to go in search of themselves (an odd term that denotes the disjointedness of our culture) or they just continue to hide from themselves, in drugs, alcohol, meaningless relationships, or anything to fill the time. Not that this self-actualization always leads to parenthood, everyones path is different, but it should always lead to adulthood, whatever version of that satisfies ones drives.
When I was 28, I realized that I had been 6 years in an office job that I hated, Had spent 10 years drinking and drugging my feelings into a hole, and my entire life in dysfunctional personal relationships. I got out. I became a Shaman and was cast out of society because of my neurosis and my new insight. I went through a three year odyssey through 12 step groups, In patent treatment (twice), a wonderful life as a performing poet, and ended up finding Theravada Buddhism. Whew!
The thing I realized yesterday was that I had become sort of pink clouded. I went the other direction, settled down with Ms Right, had 2 kids, and just this week bought a house. This is all great, I love my family. But the thing is I never actually found myself. Today I am 2plus years into an office job that I hate, and wondering if I will ever have time to look out for number 1 again, when the kids are older. Spiritual growth is after all a selfish goal, isnt it?
1/30/02 - THE JOURNEY
Poet. How can one word hold so many connotations. I know a lot of people on the Web and in real life that wrote poetry, post it, read it at open mics etc.. there are quite a few that are afraid of the word poet. They wont use it. It frightens them. They feel as if they are being pretentious, or putting up a false image, or worse yet by taking on this lofty title they are afraid to leave themselves or what they write open to some higher level of scrutiny. As if claiming to be someone who writes a little poetry or dabbles somehow gives them a defensive wall against criticism, the criticism that a poet would receive. This is lame. Also, as far as fake-ness goes many of these same people would have no problem pretending to be positive at some shit corporate job, or kiss ass in some fake as hell business situation, but because of the fears and norms of our culture this is deemed acceptable, while the creative process somehow no longer is. Its freaken backwards.
Joseph Campbell makes a correlation between poets and the role of Shaman in the ancient tribal or small group societies. He explains this role at great length in many places throughout his work. The Shaman has taken a journey though a neurotic episode some type of mental/spiritual encounter that has left him an outsider. Someone set apart from the rest of the tribe. Having survived this, the other Shamans take him under their wing and teach them the secrets of the world. The secrets that the run of the mill tribe members couldnt possibly comprehend. They are more attuned to hunting, planting, fighting, whatever. The Shaman/ Poet is more attuned to the invisible world, seeing the mythologies and the hidden meanings. He says that as societies grew, the Shaman role was basically lost, and our poets have performed that role, less in person, and more in the written word. The outsiders view accessible to all. So poet is not just a word for someone that writes, it is a personality type. We know this because we use the word that way in our language unconsciously. We say someone has the soul of a poet or that they used poetic license just to give a few examples. The poet possesses both insight and a more delicate disposition. Both a blessing and a curse.
I read on the internet recently that a poet, is 85% more likely to suffer from depression than regular people. I am not sure how they came up with that stat, but it sounds right based on what I have seen.