Tuesday, July 03, 2007

snake in a jar

it is said that Li Po, the Chinese poet. used to get drunk and throw his poems into the river one after the other as he wrote. he probably loved the moon, probably sat or stood and fumbled and fell and drank wine and wrote beautiful, perfect images of the world and threw away the paper that cost much money into the water and laughed. laughing it is funny because he was half human and half animal, half child and half god and you can pick which half you think is which but i'll tell you you're wrong.

in the woods you can know something you cant know anywhere else, not on mountains or in subways. you can stand in the trees that wail in the wind saying here come the ghost. you can see a morning sun worth more than all human effort, a sunrise alone that glories the underbranches surpasses with the most casual gesture all art, war, science, philosophy, cities, even god, and you feel in your soul of beating blood that you have been embraced by ordinary sunrays into the forever of living things being born and dying. You join it.

they do not know why the drunk laughs with the moon.

and if you would fight anything fight yourself.

and if you would fight anything of yourself then fight adulthood. not because you were happier but because you said true things.

with adulthood comes two things: conscience and survival.

you never worried about apples until you had to get them. you never protected yourself until you were hurt. you never hated until you saw the reptile in someones eyes. survival gets bigger, always tries to eat more of you, when i was small, i lay in the dark and had a vision of a big fat snake coiled in a jar. it filled the jar. that is survival, and if you go that way the things you say you wont mean, but youll think you do because it will hurt to say you dont. you wont love right because you wont be able to be honest, and love must be honest to be worth more than trajedy.

and there is conscience. conscience is very old. it is always tired. it is always tired of loss. it always remembers everyone you lost. the ones you could have saved. you were not immature when you were a child. you know this. what, just because you didnt know how to wipe your own ass then you think youve got more sense now?

it is said one night when the buddha talked late with his students he pointed to the candle and said,

at the beginning of the night we lit this candle. see how it has burned down half way. By the morning it will be extinguished. Now, the flame we lit at the beginning of the night, is it the same flame that burns now?

One of his students said, it is a different flame.

And another said, it is the same flame.

the buddha answered, it is both the same and a different fire. The fuel it is burning is constantly consumed. The energy it is composed of is like the water of a river, constantly flowing through it. But the form of the flame, it is the same. This is the same flame we lit in its progress through the wax. This is you. You as a child are both not longer the child and remain always the child. all your moments are contained within you of now. All men are children, all men are angels as in their best moments of love and courage, all men are monsters as in their ugliest and cruellest moments. this moment is all moments that have been and are to come.

Me and Gary Crow sat in his basement again, after so many years. When we were young, we became naked in front of each other sometimes, and this fuelled an obsession with truth, a stupid, hormonic, obsession. we had said i am lying, i am confused, i am chasing myself like a dog chasing his damn tail, i am humiliated to be human, what is it to be here, what is the shadowed god that never answers but hangs there, sometimes a grinning blackness, sometimes a dancing star?

he went his way, alone, or at least we could no longer find ourselves in each other. he hated me for awhile. i hated him for awhile. he threatened me. i told him to fuck off. he slept in cars and apartments in anonymous towns with no furniture, he read lonely books and saw jesus and buddha. his mind outran his soul. he was trying not to try and it was killing him because the snake in the jar eats you unless you make friends. the snake can never be killed. this is sorrow in all things. you have to love your wounds. he accused everyone of being inside him, pulling him. then his family brought him out of hell, amazingly. then he tried to explain, and i loved him even though i barely understood, just for trying. we got hammered on wild turkey and he said the most wonderful thing,

the one thing ive learned is that you should be kind.