Sunday, September 25, 2005

the vodes

my sister Yvonne often has terrible dreams. They are like movies you wish they made. She describes bright colours and gutwrenching things, like me turning to her and smiling, opening my mouth and bright red blood pours out. Cathedrals bigger than stadiums, pale faced corpses that tell her important things in basements.

She once had a dream she was at something she called a murder-party, where some of the guests would occasionally beat or kill other guests. She was drunk and wandering around upstairs when a man pushed her against a wall with a look of hatred on his face. She said he wore a yellow tshirt that said "vode" on it. Other people at the party had this mark too.

Saturday night I was miserable. Everyone was out, having some kind of fun or at least a reasonable facsimile. I felt like a wet cat. I went to the bar and had a beer. No one's talked to me for days (excluding homeless teenagers). I sat there ignoring everyone on Saturday night when...

she was really pretty and blonde. She wore a big red coat. She wore pretty silver earrings that looked sort of like something Cleopatra would wear. She had a pretty nose and brown eyes like a dog's. She sat down abruptly in front of me, knocking over the lamp at the next table, onto the floor and causing a scene. "I'm just going to pretend that didn't happen," she said.

She said,

"sometimes I have magic powers..." I smiled. "Cool."

"I feel like I can't breathe, there's a disturbance over here, so I just want to ask you, is there anything wrong?" Her earrings kept swinging back and forth whenever she talked.

I hesitated, I hate complaining, but I'm just so fucking good at it.

"You know what, I'm bothering you, I'm just going to shut up and leave you alone," she said.

"No, no, stay, you were brave enough to sit down and ask a stranger whats wrong, I think its beautiful. You earned an answer, anyway."

So I told her why: I'm not in love with anyone. She looked at me and asked, can I tell you the answer? Yeah, yeah, I said.

Love yourself.

I know how that sounds, but its the answer. Then she said, I'm just going to start talking, but I don't know what I'm going to say... She said all these things, she went on and on. Her earrings jangled while she talked. Are you just going to quit now, after youve put all this energy and effort into your life? Give up on all those amazing experiences youve had? Yeah, sometimes you take things, you take yourself too seriously, but that's alright. Love yourself, love what you do. It wont matter if anyone loves you if you dont love yourself. But please don't panic, let me breathe.

She gasped a little.

She held out her hand after she finished talking. I took it, it was small and warm. I dont know, maybe you saved my life... maybe not, but I think you are wonderful for coming over here and telling me all this. She leaned over, I close my eyes and she kissed me on the forehead.

Then she disappeared.

Ok, not literally, I saw her once a while later and she winked at me... girls wink so much better than boys. I drifted home. I ran into a kid from work who is a little punk rocker and I am proud of him for it. Real punks are kind of like the Amish, you're always surprised to see that there are stil some around, stubbornly living an admirable way of life the rest of world has run over like a fox on a highway. He was sad and so we talked for a long time about what it takes to be happy and a good person.

I came home and crawled drunkly into bad. I sat up for a minute, I felt strange. "Why do I feel like I'm being prepared for something?" I asked out loud.

I was in a haunted house. Ghosts were trying to kill me. I was lying in bed. The darkness glowed a blackblue. I could see out my window. I was trying so hard to wake up. I couldnt breathe. The dream sucked me back in. Another haunted house, more ghosts. I could feel myself fighting to wake up. A teenage boy showed up. We caught one ghost that was dancing in the bedroom, we put it in a bag and threw it in the fire. I was back in my bed. A ghost I couldnt see but could see was holding me down with one arm on the bed, keeping me from waking up. I fought against it, I could hear myself gasping for air. Finally I woke up. My dog was staring at me.

The boy reminded me of a dream I'd had as a little kid, in fact the first dream I can remember. We were both little kids in the dream, he was a ghost I met in a haunted house.

He saved me from the vodes.

I really had trouble breathing when I woke up, like a huge pressure just lifted off my chest.

It isnt the first time.

Saturday night.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005


"it is the job of the thinking man not to be on the side of the executioners." - Albert Camus

I dont guess there is much point in me telling you whats bad about executioners. There are armies of course, that are kept on leashes by egotistical men and they are housebroken to varying degrees, some armies that are feral and probably dont even receive orders- other armies that are pure machine that abide by conventions (at least publicly), armies that can afford to move in precise formation because their art has had time to be perfected- but all armies destroy,

and sometimes they say that a little deliberate destruction is for the best - and i dont disagree. sometimes i would favor the death of one kind of man over another kind, the collapse of one army rather than another, but these are questions that i would leave to professionals.

because there is another kind of executioner, that doesnt wear a hood or live in my head - that is a force of life called cruelty sometimes evil. there is an endless succession in life of cruelty. it occurs everywhere, in your town. it goes on casually, with little comment, i see a lot of them, people raised to be capable of little more than eating themselves alive. most survive without much acknowledgement that they endure evil most days.

to be a thinking man is to be someone who has turned the light of their eyes in on themselves, which can and ought to be a humbling experience. They begin to see the functioning of their illusions, their weaknesses, their misjudgements, how their fears can eclipse appreciation of things. One finds that one has only understood very little about their life, and by extension any life.

When I first started to consider my own self, I was agnonized by the awareness of how remote all the living beings of the world were from me, the feeling that I lived in a dream, that everyone lived in a dream, and that anything communicated between us was no more understood or felt than if I was speaking to them under the sea.

To refuse to side with the executioners is to believe in this. It is to resist condemnation of anyone, to condemn a person as good or bad, killable or savable, on the basis of our small, blurry feelings. The thinking man thinks because he realizes that what he knows is nothing, and he wonders.

Its been a rough few weeks. I opened the door for a girl and her arms were all covered in blood. "help me" Then a girl I know or shouldn't know walked up to me and she was gone mad, trying to draw me into some kind of psychic spell with a clam shell, a used battery and a lime. It was awful and sinister. She acted like Ophelia and I could never handle that. I've seen too many Ophelias. what I notice about someone deep in madness is that they see only their world. Everyone lives in their own world, kind of a sphere, but when you meet someone your worlds join and create a third world unique and all its own. Most people realize to some degree, even a very minimal degree, the necessity of accommodating the other person's world. Most people. Anyway, its almost a universal rule among people in the throes of whatever madness they are grappling with that only their world exists, and you exist only insofar as they attribute their own meanings to you.

When Camus says "thinking man" I do not believe he means "intellectual"; maybe he does but what it infers for me is the inquiring man, who is curious and empathic. This is someone who accommodates the unknown, the dark spaces, other worlds, the possibility of other people and what they may or may not be, and are in the end thinking because they have realized that at one time they did not even know that they didn't know.

the executioners, of course, are a force of nature. Sometimes they carry rifles, sometimes they makes speeches. They are part of our character- to destroy worlds in the name of our world, in praise of almighty I, most worshipped of all Gods, often cloaked under the name of Allah, Jehovah, Jesus and Buddha, peace be on their echoes.

I had a dream once. A teacher was standing at the head of the class, writing on the blackboard:

"Fact, a veiled lie, made to appear as the truth."