Thursday, December 17, 2009

what if you and i are near the beginning

what if you and i are near the beginning of the universe and not far away at all?
what if we are of the first children to wake up and look around and this is why the stars seem so quiet? what if that is why we are so wild and lost and shout at the silence? why we make a thousand gods of all different reasons and glows?

what if the universe lives to be 2000 billion years old, and in dog years it is now only barely a toddler? and we are the first spirits, the first legends, to stand up and utter the intelligence of music, the birth star opening its newly invented eyes and the light from therein is so naive it thinks itself old and brittle.

what if you and i are of the first, and there are no others (yet) but we have to leave memories for them, and totems that they might find and say this little planet was the first to sprout little spirits that loved and sang and thought and made magic out of atoms and mind.

what if we're young grandparents of another few billions years of growing, what if we're older than stars to come? what if the morning light you see is the glow of mysterious birth and infant worlds?

Sunday, November 22, 2009

bad people

the following were initially poems i wrote about my early profession working in homeless shelters for street kids, but they make good stories. it gives you a very small shard of what it was like to go to work everyday for years, and how you end up missing the fucked up part of reality when you go onto a more normal life. i miss all that crazy shit, i miss all the crazy little lunatics.


one thinks he has cancer he is 18 he is a great fighter the first day he came here he fought a guy bloody and shook hands with him after he shakes my hand and laughs as i kick him out into the night

another says a cigarette doesn't mean she wants to marry me or wants to do it with me but she will be my friend she will share her research with me she wanders the halls all night talking to herself like ophelia, at lunch she is told to hand over the dish detergent so she drinks it and blows bubbles out of her mouth and everyone laughs but only partly because of the bubbles the other part is victory

and another understands chemistry instinctively but school is boring and its better to wander under the night high on whiskey he is occasionally wise when he can't sleep tries to draw pictures with his eyes closed he shows me "hey look, there's you"

another, his mom was murdered and he tells a woman worker if anyone messes with you, i'll protect you he swells with pride when i shake his hand like a man you can see it in the way he walks away

one has a good sense of humor she smiled when I called her sunshine she was raped in the park but she would rather leave town she camped by herself in the woods which very few people can do she does her best to be strong it might not be enough

and another stormed downtown with no shirt or shoes and threw a bike through the window of city hall on a January night he gave half his lunch to an old man who played a drum for change on the street every day he sprayed shaving cream all over the hallway but when i yelled who's gonna help me clean this up he came out and helped a gentleman of the old school

another has everything wrong with his body it needs four injections a day and they don't help enough so he walks very slowly everywhere when i snuck his diapers into his room he insisted on the principle of his dignity and offered an explanation for his trouble how he had to live with this horrible body

she didn't know my name so she used to call me hey mister one day someone put bread in the juice jug and when she found it at dinner she screamed high and furious and stormed around growling and hissing at people like a feral cat it was a little too much she had a happy laugh a little crazy but delighted

he is obviously inbred he smells of shit no matter how often he bathes he is barely coherent when i told him he had to leave and why, for really a pathetic reason he grew angry and frustrated and he couldnt talk. on his lowered face, despite his anger “leave me alone, leave me alone” i saw frustration and confusion his mind wouldnt do what it is supposed to do and despite banging and punching walls when he left he suddenly turned and hugged me and said “sorry guy” and would not look at me because he was almost crying

another is indeed a great man he has a bad temper, i watched him pick up in each hand a bike and smash them together because he couldnt use the wrench when some of the brutal ones wanted to kick the shit out of a kid with glasses he stood in their faces, you wanna fight someone fight me but i never saw him raise his hand against a gentle soul later he told me i used to get beaten up everyday my mom said no fighting so i would take it one day i came home with blood and bruises all over my face she asked me what happened? i told her you said no fighting. she said: tommorrow, go fight. and i never stopped since then

she was a serious cutter deep red lines running up her arms playing hacky-sack in the summer with a t-shirt on she drew a beautiful picture i insisted go up on the wall it was dark and brooding pencil all shaded a simple land of hills and simple trees piney trees and oakey trees it was drawn by someone who understands the love of forests she had no one a few months later after she'd gone i heard she cut up her face and body and was in the mental ward

they met in the summer and have been in the most blissful state of love ever since. they share one thing in common, that neither has any clue about anything. they often have nowhere to sleep no money, no food, no drugs not out of any particular tragedy its just that they dont think about such things. begging for change they look at you and smile graciously, as if they were prince and princess when the boy finds outlandish clothes he wears them and the girl always giggles you might see him walking up the street with a styrofoam crown from a tv crate and her holding his hand and smiling they cannot keep welfare appointments because they have no sense of time they have been kicked out of homeless shelters for being late, they have been arrested for taking food when they were hungry "but i couldnt afford it!" watching them walk down the street one realizes they are not aware of traffic lights, private property, public property, business hours, and everyone is always mad at them and suspects them of deception to which they smile graciously and ask them for money

another is charmed by jokes and will giggle like a little girl when I kid around with her she says she is afraid of only 3 people once she broke a girl's face with her bare hands and afterwards told her to "sit pretty" and the girl sat just like that until the guards came

Friday, November 13, 2009

politics

so these trees coming up out of the street they buried under twenty feet of concrete and call it heaven. somehow all across this blue planet, these thousands of miles of oceans, all these mountains, these immense mountains cutting into the air, out of all these thousands of firs and alders and pines, down in stinking jungles and across plains of golden grass, some twisted old men and women play games with human lives, the dreams and hallucinations of politics. we little infants squeaking month to month, like fat little mice reaching for the sun, dancing on the edges of the slavery of millions, down there making shit, in corridors of service-based industries and factories and mothers making dead wages to feed dying mouths, we whine and bitch why not enough wine, sex, love and fame for all of us? and these chess players, talking over the arrangements of human lives as if they were sticks in the earth to be uprooted and shorn apart on a whim, politics is the arguments of inmates holding court in an insane asylum with no guards.

look at this power - to do to people what you want - a butcher knife in a thousand heads. repeated forever. rebels die. remember that. survivors hide in sewers. we citizens of the empire sneak around trying to fuck ourselves into paradise, and yet so much death lies on the living, and so much living lies on the dead. we are building something but no one knows what (but we have a lot of good ideas while the world burns down) and the gods know, in their genitals are all chaos and creation, all bird babies and predators feeding. so much of politics has no heart, my heart has 1000 caves, all twisting down there in the dark of aortas and pulmonary veins and in each one is a fairyland of blood cells and a breathing mystery in heat - but in one cave is an old woman who mutters around a dying fire. and in her magic springtime she predicts nothing but more of the same and all theories are crazy to her. she sees the rising of new animals and the pyres of old ones. one day she will just - stand up - and shake us all off like flies - the intifada according to the palestinians - and they should know - no one has been more murdered than they by machines.



so many ideas of how to improve an animal chaos marxism, liberalism, conservatism - and worth no more than a kid's drawing of a sunset. and we say to hell with science, as if it made all of us violent and killers. which it didn't. science like a sweet girl holding a rope to the light, and we just asked her if she could make it rain diamonds. down in the caves of my beating heart she built astronomy and climatology and oceanography and told me why genes dance in a spiral and why gravity paints light into suns and someone interrupted us with 24-hour news networks. i had wanted to ask her if she could make trees talk and before they dragged her off to build iphones i heard her gasp yes.

so fuck politics, man.

seriously, fuck politics. make politics sex. make it be fertile and pregnant with a thousand new lives. politics kills people, you know? it kills them in the dark places, in the back alleys where no one goes, it kills them downtown, it kills them in the suburbs, in the small towns of weekend nights with nothing to do, where no magic lives. it kills them with predator drones and no love for stars. we were born and had it explained to us that our sex was a basket case while they built factories making plastic daffodils and named themselves geniuses. and now i see a million iraqis in an attitudes of death, a dragon with a hundred mouths underneath all that armor, don't he wish he were saturn making music with his lights instead of twisting us into skyscrapers?



and this little kid - a small dancing ball of light - comes to turn and face - look at this - a garden of dead bodies, piled up in a black wetness of life upon life upon life and what are you going to do about it? be a small edge cutting itself on a new kind of uselessness - such is politics - help us build a tank or a nothing or a new way of boring a hole in the heart of your mother ah maybe its too much to ask of you after all to stretch your arms wide like a mossy god and have a rebellion of daisies and black eyed susans?

is it?

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

the moon

the moon is a gleaming island,

to which people will one day swim. the moon like a grandmother, dancing around in the night above us, waves to you and me and says i wait for the day of your coming. and when we sail the small sea to the moon, we see our home way down there like another place, and we see the stars are many and the darkness deep. this moon is part of us, its breaths watch the earth's breaths, it has kept us company all these long years through many fearful nights, casting a light in the dark.



the moon, maybe, loves us and the earth. one day we shall build houses here, if we are good, and the moon's heart will be warmed by the aimless chattering of human walkers like new birds arrived in an old place. and we will begin our journeys into the great ocean from here, and painters will draw with familiar love of the dark grey seas of the moon, they will say mare tranquillitatis (sea of tranquility) is where i'm from, or i miss mare imbrium (sea of rains) where the land is bright.

maybe there are winds on the moon that are good for sailing with translucent sails drifting across the maria like explorers of ancient worlds and the awe of new strange wildernesses will make us mythical again, and maybe we can build little circular towns snug in the bellies of small unknown craters, and the moon will laugh and say remember you used to live down there on the earth and we were strangers then? how i called to you in pale light all that time! how we wondered about each other!


and our children will roam the grey soil and maybe (who knows?) learn how to fashion certain kinds of silver flowers that can grow in the moon's earth, and we bring fireflies that make gleaming honey and they will come to address the moon as mother and she will tell them of being companion to the earth all these millions of years, her stories of sunstorms and all the shooting stars she saw falling and dying in the earth's hair. how the moon herself was once a great wild fire who cooled and froze into a grey serenity and wondered about the blue of the earth and all the strange little growing things running and swimming and flying on its skin. and this will be our astronomy then,


Saturday, October 24, 2009

age

know now that to come is the final door, the one we must all pass through no matter how happy or sad. you curving through dooms of love and struggle, are no more nor less an ancient thing than odysseus or gilgamesh. look now to your hands, the hydrogen and carbon with which they are wrought the same hydrogen and carbon burst from the celestial fire a million and million and million years ago, look down now at the veins in your hands with good blood running in them, the same iron burned in the hearts of suns ancient and majestic beyond your horizon. our bodies are ancient, our heritage something grander than this age or any other, and our inheritance in the great dark at the end, the same as all inheritances of all buddhas, alexanders, neros, hitlers, ghandis, elephants and suns. so how will you pay homage to this, great palace of oceans and evergreens? do we put on our crazy lab coats and agree to count beans for fat merchants, do we fashion strange lusts and chase them calling them paradise?

i am ancient. i am roots, i am the son of supernovas. i am a billion years old, and you dare to trouble me with fears of cancer. to the defense of an old flame i warned a man away from her, and he told people i later learned he would stab me in the heart 14 times. who knows? aside from being a decidedly undesirable way to leave this earth, better to leave the modern world to bean counters and walk upright with an ancient soul who lives with a full heart in the wild rain in which no dreams of perfumed soldiers of money plague my dreams of perfect stars.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

the drifter's manifesto

and now let me tell you as i walk disheveled in the rain, singing to the trees carelessly and drinking and smoking my way through the galaxy. light is my step my wet chin held up high, i like the streetlights that keep me company. i have wandered there to here and will wander there again, but i take dancing steps on a blue planet and roots long and brown grow out of my skin straining for the ground, and i curl a hand into the sky blooming asters by the hundreds from my fingers, the stars bright and tiny blue spilling out of my eyes and down my cheeks, sparrows stumble and fly from my mouth out of each fluttering note, and the moon kisses me with a pale white mouth. from far away the stars call me again, i will come back to you, i sing, and the ghosts of foxes and deer dance around me a musky, ancient dance and out my heart comes a red horse burning, and a thousand children are born and their lives taken across my collarbones, and with my few dimes i spin and toss them into rain clouds high above, dark and gleaming, and drink a bottle of wine inside which a captured galaxy steeps and swirls and gets sodden drunk like a tequila worm and all of the lifeforms that live therein drunk driving their spaceships too near far suns, and i slip and fall and my hand goes splat against the pavement, and a thousand acorns burst like blood therefrom and roll into the road, run over by empty cars but so many that they cut into the asphalt and burst into sudden oaks all splaying their branches to the destruction of dark windowed buildings and everything i brush up against becomes auroral songs like free whales singing, and every exhalation of my dread cigarette gives birth to a virgin earth that drifts into the sky to find its star in heaven.


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

subway gods

we should all be grateful, apparently, having been rescued from ten thousand years of tyranny of the earth to be protected behind a shiny new world. healthier, taller, smarter, freer, safer, fatter (or so they say, ask some who once lived in the forests far from tyrants) the lash replaced with the paycheck and nonetheless still lots of booze and sex left over from the old feral world of our ancestors, those wild totem carrying peasants in heat, up before dawn. the life in a fist of a mean old king,



subways are funny things, look at them all, all these ex-peasants in fancy clothes and perfumes, all these lifeless faces locking in such animal spirits, grateful for a dead office in the sky than in a mine in the inferno of the earth. grateful but still harshly sewn-together, all packed in here like herds of drugged mice, grateful to dream one day into the next in a labyrinth of drywall and cheap furniture, plastic flowers and one hell of an economy, they say. who hears the songs of third world families in the sunburned skins of farmers and survival, high grass and lone rivers here? all these possible earth mothers digging into purses for mascara instead of into the earth for seeds, is it really better? all these tall craftsmen staring into the blackness of the subway tunnel like arid mannequins, free from the tyranny of princes to fall into a tyranny of nothing, with all this free time what has been built in their souls that is beautiful, that breathes? what now, you sunless spirits of the land?

Saturday, September 12, 2009

nietzsche








they said he was a great philosopher, that his ideas were on higher reality and beyond our time, that most people weren't even smart enough to understand him, and that he conferred great power to a budding thinker.

he claimed to be a dangerous preacher. Nietzsche rose out of the 1800s a devil of joyous rebellion, grew up among the growing factories and pregnant machines and the splendor of colonial empire at its height in europe. when the white race dominated the earth as no race or empire has done for all eternity. they subdued all the earth's peoples, lay claim to nearly all its land, wielded a great army that strode across the earth and brought all the wealth robbed from a hundred peoples back to the cities of europe. it was the age of the annihilation of a hundred civilizations, a thousand cultures, a hundred thousand tribes. the 1800s was a holocaust the world has not known before or since.

in the heart of the butcher's palace, among the cathedrals of gold and rubies praising a dead hobo, of serene parks and latticed pagodas by gentle lakes with birds chirping in immaculately pruned trees, among great neo-classical architecture of banks, ministries, courts of law, he was born into this - god knows how. they said he was rather innocent, that he walked upright and patiently in torrents of rain coming home from school - because he was a good boy.

but not long later, grown into a philosopher. he roared of the birth of the overman; the evolution of the human into something Great and Powerful and Not Human. he mocked good and evil as the hallucinations of addled pigs and dogs, as lustful hypocrises, and he said god was dead and man should seize his throne.

he danced and laughed, he teased the lords of europe saying that music was better than business and that the best men were always out of fashion. he pushed down statues of saints wherever he found them. he strung paradoxes in the air like a magician, triumphantly declared that being alive was an infinity of creativity and wild, natural freedom that made all our culture seem like just pompous moralizing and play-acting.

and he breathed fire on the weak and the gentle, said that war brought meaning to life, that slavery was best because the stupid cows of the poor were filling their best use by working to death to free up the days of better men.

and these words were like honey mixed with blood to stupid and vicious men then and later, they ate up all sanction of hatred and violence, though he may have protested that's not what i meant!

but too late, when one laughs in the face of suffering and encourages others to do the same, the consequences will follow. the consequences always follow. and he was a contradiction always, building labyrinths out of words to lose yourself from yourself, in getting lost finding freedom, building labyrinths of feelings to conceal that he was pathetic, hiding a wounded soul in agression and abandon.

a few dead friendships later his thoughts grew larger, became dancing green ghosts before him as he sat alone in various towers in europe. agonies of physical pain he warred against, always rising back with a cry that to triumph over life is the truth of god. to conquer, to grow ruthlessly, to create without humility, to steal insatiably, to be light-hearted and cruel. to shed the slave talent of kindness.

send the little people to a million graves, he demanded, if it makes a single great painting or warrior... or philosopher. At his height he tried to build a new religion that destroyed all other religions, and put in the mouth of a great prophet, Zarathustra, an N turned on its side, beautiful and terrible words, of a boundless creativity, a full laughing, of a holy sensitivity to life, and somehow an endless cruelty and a fearful child's obsession with becoming a great hero, a puffed up crown striding about the planets, finding new things to dominate and grow larger than.

he intended to write the will to power, a magnum opus that would teach those who were capable of knowing, and thus deserved knowing, how to live and breathe pure power. perhaps if he had some men might have read it and turned into blobs of blinding sun in the shapes of angels and scorched the earth of frailty and shallowness until only lions and symphonies remained, and then fly away into the sky to drink the blood of stars.

they say one morning nietzsche left his tower to go for a walk in the dusty city of turin, and saw before him a man beating his horse with great violence in the street. they say nietzsche suddenly threw his arms around the neck of the horse and burst into tears, trying to prevent the man from lashing the horse. but the horse collapsed and nietzsche collapsed with him. when he awoke he had become nearly catatonic. he never spoke another word of philosophy, never wrote another word, never declared or demanded anything more.

Wednesday, September 09, 2009

helpless animal

it takes thousands of years for a plant or animal to change into something else. a city changes beyond recognition in a hundred years, and a human being takes ten. and countries change all the time, like big floating storms of factories and armies churning and thundering above a teeming, wandering humanity below. Those lines on the map move with plans of war and power, and we forget that the people move back and forth across those lines which are not in fact walls but just the boundaries of the storms of governments, hundreds of them clashing and expanding and contracting, trying to herd the people around as much as possible. this is politics: humanity below, power above.

The storms rain laws and jobs and bombs and propaganda. The black clouds of institutions, look up at the ripped stone foundations with dirt and roots and sewers on their grey bellies in the sky, dripping debris upon us all. In the far distance sometimes see the columns and the long stairs lit up by the setting sun, always too far to reach out and touch them, and get cover quickly if you see them coming towards you.

And all the kids that we raise and send into this storm, call it better than natural. this one won't make it, this one will be transformed into a monster, this one will learn to drop fire from the sky. And this one will end up on a farm, but this one will end up in a supermarket. And this waitress wanted to be a doctor, and this astronaut answers phones.

And the floating skyscrapers blast a way clear for a parking lot, watch all the animals run.

how many of these ones under the storms? millions, they say, cowering like helpless animals, dressed up like princes. and no one trusts each other. how many until some start wondering about paradise, trying to see it in their heads, going to look for it outside the cities of storms, drawing pictures of paradise on earth with an untrained hand, wobbly markings, crude trees. how long until some of these ones start trying to ask what a paradise is, what kind of paradise should be? how long until these put their hearts into a paradise that might be and is and needs to be learned? These animals, dancing in suits on the lips of volcanoes.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

the guns of today



out there, the crackle of fireworks going off circa 10:23 pm

in gaza, in the sudan, in iraq and afghanistan, the crackle of bombs going off, a triumphant cackle of destruction.

what we don't see.

we think that here in the centre we have earned this. in america, in europe, we have earned this peace, this beauty.

this serenity is not just temporary, it comes at the crackle of great death,

we, meaning our overlords, killed everything that stops us from having all this serenity. we are in the eye of a great storm, and see only the peace of the great storm, and no one understands that the storm hangs all over the world, killing and mutilating little children all the time. they point and say look at all the immigrants, they come here because we have a superior society - yes, superior in that it is close to the houses of our overlords, who are pleased by gardens dripping with flowers, shipped from countries where the flowers drip with blood and phosphorus.

your peace comes at the price of a slaughter in the countries where they make furniture, and oil, and gas, diamonds and trees, and my dog is rightfully spooked to hear the cackle of fireworks of an august night, because for all your celebrations someone has to pay. your things are made in china, go check the bottoms of everything you have bought, it will say made in china, and that means the tibetans, the uighurs and the poor han paid them for you, and the gasoline that brought them to your door was driven over the blood of iraqis and afghanis and saudis. so much for a democratic world, when the choice is between two slaves to gasoline,

there are no guns anymore, just bombs. guns are for the hopeless, remember that. the great powers annhilate all enemies with a cackle of fire. and you serve them. remember that.

Tuesday, August 04, 2009

buddha

the summer rain around midnight in the back alley speaks in drops of water, tap, tap, drip, smack.

gautama buddha lived sometime around 400 bce in what is now nepal, watched over by the great mountains of that part of the world. what we know of the buddha's original teachings are that they are bound up in a very very old literature known as the pali canon, of which the clearest expression of his words are contained in the dhammapada, which is at its most simplest can be understood as path (pada) of eternal truth (dhamma).

gautama buddha, remarkably, did not comment on the existence or nonexistence of god or expound a true cosmology, which would deviate from the focus of his teaching. the essence of the buddha's teaching is the four noble truths,

1. life is suffering

2. ignorance gives rise to desire, and desire causes suffering

3. desire can be overcome

4. the means to overcoming desire is through the noble eightfold path

the eightfold path is a series of 'right' behavior, e.g. right thought, right action, right speech, etc. you get the idea. this idea of 'right' is possibly best thought of as 'focus' - to maintain focus on the goal of eliminating desire in every aspect of one's existence.

the idea of eliminating desire is a funny one. it is somewhat revolting to a sensible person on first glance. the alternative to desire would seem to be a kind of giving up, to stop living. the idea, of course, is that it is just the opposite. it is to give up trying to hold onto life like a piece of diamond. and really, trying to grasp life is no different than gripping a fistful of water and seeing it run through your fingers. humans are a bit insane in that they do this all the time in life, snatch a fistful of water and look on in dismay and horror as the water bleeds between the fingers.

generally speaking, most people aren't terribly interested in ending desire - if pressed, most people will gladly take on more suffering as long as they have a shot at more of what they desire. the allure of what they think is beautiful or desirable is too overwhelming, and the confusion of what they want with what is truly good is always a great, vast mountainous confusion.

more than 2500 years ago, buddha understood that human beings live in a dream throughout their lives, a dream born in childhood whose non-existent resolution they chase like a white rabbit down a hole. somehow, every generation from then until now has been born and grown up trying to triumph over suffering and death, and really, who could blame them? the body gasps for air, water, food, love and sex. i saw a great fat woman smoking in the darkness of her balcony tonight, i followed the train of her glowing cinder in the rain and found it remarkable how totally cruel life can be. to be stuck in some body no one wants, and few will see you in your fat body unless you are blessed with power or charisma. and even all human warmth that might come your way comes at the price of this chaos of ageing and a million unanticipated sorrows. the dream is filled with illusions and storms.

of course, the greatest challenge to overcoming these things is the effort in persisting at it, the immense bravery required to end desire and the imagination to take up a real life. the buddha's lack of commentary on god exemplifies this, for it is that god is god, always present, always elusive, never punishing or forgiving, something greater than the little life you must lead that can end only in death, the great parting from the dream.

but with each little letting go, one joins an understanding of the much greater river, by not trying to grip it in one's hand one sees the water flow, and a love that comes not from jealous desire, but from seeing living beings as they are, and knowing what there really is to love, that is, the being that is outside oneself. to break the bubble by listening. real life begins where you end.

Monday, July 27, 2009

to the old woman

to the old woman i saw up on st viateur today goddamn i was stunned to see your moon face at 9 am and what a face like the face of an old goddess so pained and wonderful, with moon eyes and lips and your legs all swelled up and god how you knew all of us young stupid children's eyes, like you knew what we were all thinking and plotting and wanting and so heartbroken in this insanity.

and i saw your body and the horror of how you must have been beautiful and how this body swelled up and distorted to the point where walking must itself go in slow, small steps because of the hundred little pains and ugliness of a body exploding with its own destruction, seeing your body suiciding slowly near the end and in this morning sunset how you endure I may yet know someday down the road when I am old and my body explodes and the world of young cruel fools no longer sees me. those moon eyes slowly coming to rest on me for a moment with everything in them i will remember.

what have we done to our elders who should be set up in pavillions of honor and wisdom telling us of what it is to live we drive them to become part of the masonry of sidewalks and buildings and leave them to suffer in their bodies. the natives are right we are insane.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

history

to be born into the world is to be born a dead man. i must eventually face death. i am born innocent only to face a terrible fate. born into this world of a tangled chaos of beauty and misery. you try to find a way to live, to live meaningfully, or at least to have a good time. but for the millions life is just one long stretch of losing battles, its madness. and the millions themselves are just an idea in my head, in my mind i see them all in china, in tibet, in india, in south america, in africa, in europe, here. millions of them, fighting, struggling, weeping, bleeding, giving birth, fucking, laughing, screaming, reading, trying, lying, being brave, thinking, listening, running, jumping, singing, burning, cooking. in my life ill make the acquaintance of a few hundred of them, most of them in passing between some strange past and some strange future, you can't save anyone.

born a dead man at some point in history, that is to say at some point in someone else's past. the grandchildren of the little children born today. you fall into this river of millions of people coming from somewhere, going somewhere. you think life is about you, because you are you and the horizons of your eyes seem to be the whole world. but that's a joke. you are the last thing on the world's mind.

on this windy night every tree sings of its life, the water coursing in its veins and hurling into the ends of its leaves a throbbing pulse of an awesome life. trees growing in slow explosions of dirt and water. like us, this strange history whose end we'll never see. up on st viateur, just before the warehouses and monasteries in the back ass of montreal, people of all stripes hanging around obsessed with clumsy, little horizons of wondering about their standing in the eyes of other little horizons, are they mountains, maybe they don't care, playing games, loving, giving birth, watching tv, taking in a show, voting, goddamn all hurling down some river they don't really know or care about.

it seemed to me that my inheritance in being born was to know history, to know all the things and millions of people that came before stretching all the way back to when there was nothing, no cities, no roads to interrupt a crazy unending sea of trees and water. just to know all these wonderful things, and the present too, how the world is, physics, biology, ecology, chemistry. how beautiful. how incredibly beautiful to be curious and learn things. how fragile and pure. i didnt resign myself to me, i swear it, or resign to television or music, this feed of noise in my eyes to block out the thousand knives of the bare fact of living, which hurts to look at, like the sun. but after awhile you can see more, and risk a blindness of course, that warm, sweet blindness to being mortal and not giving a damn, but i cant pretend i dont give a damn - to most mortality is immortality, to not think about the eternity of everything is to live without the fear of death, which is not really being humble in my opinion. its a betrayal of all these trees singing. they don't care whose listening of course, that's why the singing hiss and roar can be so beautiful sometimes. just swelling up in my heart, knowing i am finite, small, propelled towards ending, just dirt and water, singing these beautiful, unheard songs in the general traffic.

i don't know what all these people are doing with themselves, going to parties, getting shitfaced and saying oh my god that was so funny, what are you doing now we went to st martin and blew our brains out with lobsters and margaritas. fuck, its crazy. all falling into a pit of blackness, and skirting the tombstones of the living poor and destitute while doing so.

i cant be mad, maybe a little appalled, but really theyre just kids, playing playing playing, even when theyre 95. playing at being old. kind of pissed off, huffy, as if mommy can reverse the aging process but wont. i was afflicted at a very young age with a terrible consciousness of death and life. maybe i should say deathyness and livingness. that sweet innocent bubble that everyone lives in i had to learn artificially and it took a long time, but i never quite got the full swing of it. even the shamen dance with one head up their ass, it seems to me, like they dont quite want to fess up to fundamental ignorance. god the thunder is having a hell of a time out there on the river. hell maybe thats the war finally come home. its about time. i wouldnt be totally disappointed if the taliban, or the darfuris, or the congolese, or the iraqis or palestinians or the thousand people living under bomb thunder tonight showed up in montreal with attack helicopters and state of the art tanks blowing holes around St Catherine and Metcalfe.

christ i was terrified. maybe i still am but got acclimated. i used to tremble and tremble. i used to look at people and think everyone was insane. maybe i still do but accept it now as childlike behavior. i wanted to rage at the monsters of the world tonight, i wanted to talk of blood and pain of the millions, but i come back to me, if im honest. maybe a human's greatest challenge is to be strong enough to be part of the human race, to be the dirt of nature it is and to stand in defence of innocence, against survival, against the hysteria of mortal humanity and its obsession with remaking the world in the image of its stupid blundering bubbles. maybe ive just described the path of history. the stars know best, and they sing without words, as they have before humanity ever was, or will be.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

clouds

there are many different kinds of clouds. these are shaped by different forces. they take shape and become beings. as humans on the bottom. try to think that you live in an ocean of nitrogen, oxygen and carbon dioxide, and the clouds are floating on the surfaces of this ocean, and yes you are at the bottom of this ocean. they are ships. you are fish. and maybe trees are like giant seaweeds reaching to the light at the surface, waving in the current. if you were to break the surface of this ocean, you would gasp and flounder like a fish, until some kindly fisherman dropped you back in the ocean.

so, let's begin.

the first thing is that there are cirruses and altos. the cirruses are the highest clouds. they float at 6,000 metres above the land. they are mostly little ice crystals because its fucking cold up there. they don't make rain, and they're wispy and curly, often described as streaks of white paint against the blue. they can make a series of little puffballs too. the commentary of these clouds is one of serenity. they can even look down at wars, flaming oil wells, megaslums, with enlightened compassion. when they drift, they move with a peace that little humans only really know on their day off, or just after a funeral or a birth.

(cirrus clouds)


altocumuluses are mid-level clouds, between 2,000 and 6,000 metres. these are made of water drops in big lumps. they can come in puffballs or streaks like cirruses, but the difference is that they can be observed as having depth, shading, weight, bulgyness, like fat little bellies. not unlike cirruses or any other kind of cloud, altocumuluses can look remarkably like something very fucking important is going on beyond ourselves, as if they were trudging off to a war of storms, or obeying the commands of mountains, which in a sense they are, since mountains can catch these low drifting clouds and spin them around and send them off to different lands.


(altocumuluses)

altocumulses often precede the coming of storms, like a great herd, and i do mean herd because if i've failed to mention it yet clouds are beings just as we are beings. this is called animist thinking and this is also called extremely primitive. the idea that a being is only a human, or for the more charitable only humans and animals, arises from the notion that a being is something that thinks and lives exactly as we do. it also arises as part of the delusion that beings are more permanent than non-beings, that as a human you do not change, moreover there is something about you which is divisible from the natural world. to me this is kind of a slander against the natural world, and a misunderstanding of what it is to be part of life. no different than a cloud, you form, drift, change, are propelled along by forces like wind and heat, break apart and become part of some other being. that clouds do this quickly and we much more slowly, and perhaps mountains and stars slowest of all is only a peculiarity of time.

that there is expression in the motions of clouds ought not to be denied. communication is of course difficult, but they speak a different language and really have different priorities and concerns than we do.

altocumuluses are formed by convection, which is a fancy way of saying lumps of hot air occasionally rise from the earth, and will keep rising so long as there is colder air around and above it.

this brings us to nimbostratuses, dark, moody, fat clouds that reside low in the sky. Nimbostratuses bring rain with them, and if light, twisting cirruses are the dancing drunks of cloud society, and altocumuluses the practical, serious middle children, then nimbostratuses are the brooding poetic teenagers.



(nimbostratuses)

nimbostratuses move along like great tortoises in the sky, they carry their bodies with heavy emotion like knights going to war. it is the nimbostratuses that look like they are travelling to some important cause, some part of the world where there are no people and the gods of the natural world still congregate and fashion the motions of this planet that we have deluded ourselves into thinking we conquered.

Friday, July 10, 2009

maybe i should explain a few things.

the first is what I don't know. what i don't know could fill a universe. i can say i was born, just a small thing, that eventually grew into this, and will eventually be something else than what i am. but i cannot say this infinitely vast world is something that i understand. nor do i believe anyone who says they understand it. i think i am a little creature born into a great thing that goes on above me. i see mars chasing the moon in a dark sky tonight. a little star chasing a fat moon. but the moon is smaller than mars, i am told, and mars much smaller than the stars it passes by. and this planet smaller than this sky.

maybe this is what i should explain, the great mystery of the world. we watch children sweetly as they explain ghosts or god to each other, their innocence charms us to love them for the naive way they understand. but that is just us small and new, because when we get big the ignorance does not vanish, it just becomes a more grim imagination that invents reasons for everything.

i resolved to rename all the plants in the world. i never liked the name butter and eggs for the little yellow and orange weeds that spring up everywhere this time of year. i'll call them orange novas. and maybe even mars should be named after a different god, let's rename him drifter. and so maybe ill rename everything in the world, since they never came when called anyway.

because it is hard to remain conscious of one's innocence, even if that innocence can endure in the face of the worst cruelty. and its strange to look up at the stars tonight and know they all shimmer with a kind of joyous violence, this strange paradox of living, this coexistence of violence and gentleness.

i am trying to explain the first simple things to you, but it is hard. from the beginning, when very small when just at the edges of first thoughts, one must understand one is a small being in a great big mystery. as we learn of the world we learn of ourselves, and both are sacred and infinite things. the first thing is to understand that most of life is a dark space of unknown, and that we are like children, no, that we are overgrown children filling in the dark spaces with ideas more than truths. We learn to talk after we learn to listen, but we don't talk well because we don't listen well.

growing into adulthood is the process of the child compensating for the demands of biology, or compensating for the confusion of flooding experience. We never really become adults as we pretend adults are, those creatures who know themselves and know what to do. When we were little the adults were gods who held the answers to all questions and the power to do what they wished, and so we grew up trying to be that way, and grown up we see now how we don't know and have little power and how little children treat us as gods, and we play the part, stumbling along in this great mystery, trying to protect them from the strangeness of violence.

and aristotle, the teacher of alexander the great, the ancient king who as a young man conquered the ancient world from greece down to egypt to the borders of india and died on the way back. with a sword and horse he killed and conquered all the little people because he was a great genius and they were little people. and alexander the young, golden haired hero, was known to have been instructed by philip, a great warrior king with one eye, and aristotle, a great philosopher and scientist. and aristotle, who taught alexander, was revered because he developed theories about the stars, and about human conduct, and about politics, and about biology and physics and a theory of everything, and the funny thing was he was dead wrong about nearly everything. and alexander and all the kings and priests who came after him believed everything he said, because he had an answer for everything. and only in recent history have people realized aristotle was a fool.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

democracy requires blood

the moon is rising behind some clouds. the hard stars are out. the hiss of delusional streets as i lay here wondering. in honduras there was a coup. in iran there was a coup. in america they play at democracy, but they know who signs their checks. democracy is far away.

democracy is hard. it requires blood. there is no way around it. if you believe, you must be alive to bleed. if you can't, you recede into aesthetics. it is hard to believe. to try, for your fellow humans. to believe in them as your family, as people worth chasing down and convincing, worth listening to, worth taking a punch or a sentence for. but it is there, to try, and there are still, even now, thousands of people who'll take a bullet or a world of hatred and lies for democracy, for literally, the rule of the people over themselves. Interesting, isn't it, that we are supposed to live in such a world, but for ordinary people to fight for it seems alien?

see, last week i got in a car with some folks who can only be described as radicals. they made their way down to akwesasne, a reserve that lies on the border between America and Canada, on this land of wrought storms, and on such a day we drove down under a sky divided between a shining summer blue day and a dark rain. we crossed the bridge over a river blockaded by cops doing their job, and over the rusty now derelict bridge we came onto the reserve and were immediately in a place not America, but an old land of the First Nations of this country.

And as we came down to their pavilions they came out and stood by the road, waving at us and one guy shouted welcome as we drove onto the grass field that was the parking lot. the mohawks, well they were there to defend the land from the guns Canada wanted to arm the border guards with. And they told us soon there was really no border to defend, just some land of green trees and fields they called a border that wasn't even a border of land they had any right to. and we were there to say yes this is not our land.



and they lined us up inside of a tent and said their welcomes. and it started to rain in a little greyblack pitter patter and etcetera and one of the chiefs said thank you for coming, thank you for believing in us, and he told jokes and made us laugh and showed us how men shake hands, by gripping the wrists so you would feel the blood pumping in the veins, and how you would hug the women so you would feel the blood pumping in the hearts, and how different and solemn was the meeting of people here among the Mohawks, how important, and how he said the rain is the tears of the spirits hoping we would come to meet each other, and we all of us heard the weeping of the spirits hoping. hoping we might not forget we heard them.


and then we met everyone, and how they fed us their food, and how a lovely woman named Margaret, once she knew I was listening and not telling, not telling how it should be, how the natural world spoke, how we had made the land sick, and how so much is willing to teach among the plants and animals of land. and she told me how they marked time, by the changes in the world, the real world, the time when strawberries came out, or certain flowers, and how those times changed every year and did not go with the calendar, and it is not about calendars being bad things but it is about a way of being, a way of living in the world where one lives by the world and not by the date and time. and how i could have told her of the apocalypse of low flying airplanes and shattered horizons by blades of skyscrapers but did not because i was there to listen for once and not instruct. because the mohawks, they never left the fragile hearts of things and that is why they are losing. maybe that is how in the end they will win.



it was a siege in a great paradise, a lonely grass in the middle of nowhere. and they were angry for what we had done to them, because we still do not know we are on a land with its own life that is not ours. the land is a being much stronger than us, and it can handle our destruction, and it defies our understanding that there can be such people that know what it is to talk to the land like a living being, and still believe themselves to be their own people, and not ours to do with as we please.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

caution for the walker of the victorious city

caution for the walker of the victorious city, there is a wall of noise between you and something. the city has made you now, you have become the city, you have accepted its victory. there are little skyscrapers on either side of the lines of your hands, a little roar of constant traffic in your ears. there are a river of giant trucks that scream like airplane engines flooding in and out of the streets of this steel house, there is a dread hum of a dead star electrifying the streetlights, a billion piston angels raining blue and red police sirens. these are the slums where girls with no friends vanish, these are the gated communities where new aristocrats are born.

but a caution to you prisoner in the triumphant city; your memory had been erased. there is a silence you have forgotten, beautiful and alive. you laugh at people who say it’s real and a silence more real than even power lines and post offices.
run.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

i washed dishes in an italian restaurant downtown

i washed dishes in an italian restaurant downtown until 1am every night. the owners were three brothers all of them did coke and talked to the women at the bar or played computer golf and didnt look up when you asked questions. i made about $8 an hour, a real winner. i think me and the youngest brother were about the same age. my clothes developed holes in them because i could still wear them. the kitchen was otherwise populated with sri lankans and a strange afghani man who made cock jokes and employed little tortures on me because i was one of the only white guys that worked in the back. the afghani had fled some kind of war or some kind of army and terrible things had happened because his eyes twinkled in a bad way and his laugh was slightly angry. he was harmless and spooky, and he made me sad because he reminded me of how many people there were in the world that you would never understand or like but suffered and tried just as you did in a way you would never know.

the dishes would pile up so fast there was no hope of staying on top of them, they would just keep coming in by the hundreds, piling up around you and the giant pots and giant pans and the stink of garbage mixed with food - a smell like spiced vomit and human sweat until there was nowhere left to move just surrounded with dirty fancy dishes and a PTSD afghani laughing at me silently. and at the end of the night they would flood the floor with two inches of water and let it all go down the drain all this dirty water thrashing in the kitchen like a drowning boat in the sea and we were covered in refuse and water and even now it is nothing to me to reach my bare hand down in to a garbage can or a bucket of shit. and one night feeling broken like a soldier in napoleon's army at waterloo - napoleon gone, the generals gone, just dead friends and the enemy swaggering around ready to kill you, fleeing the british who were coming with old mean kings and princesses of europe to put the winners back in charge and the losers, the peasants and the unpaid footsoldiers all ran off somewhere in the bright dusk...

i ran into the coked up bartender about my age, 6'3 with a tiny silver earring and an immaculate goatee who pretended to sneeze on me and ripped a hole in the collar of my shirt well open so that a flap hung around my chest and laughed and i said weakly what the fuck did you do that for? and he just laughed and hugged me and sent me away into 2am downtown to be almost run over by a yellow sportscar and across the street having a smoke watching some rich kid who thought he was a gangster sexually harass some girl , and i said between chain smokes hey man youre scaring her. naw he said naw i aint and she went off with him in the end.

Tuesday, June 02, 2009

the rebellion in heaven


(oka-1990)



this past week two rebellions in heaven took place, and the angels both times flew quickly to the scene, angels with huge, drooping wings and gas masks, armed with gas bombs and pistols.

down in akwesasne near the border the mohawks seized the outpost of the angels and said the angels may not bring guns on to our land. how little most know. the iroquois never gave up their land, never became part of america. through all the disease that the angels brought unknowingly or knowingly, through all the deaths of mystic animals, through all the armies of angels that crept closer and closer each time the iroquois stumbled, like hyenas around an injured deer, the iroquois, the haudenosaunee, clung to the longhouse, the council fire, the bowl with one spoon, the great wampum belts and the clans, and they remained.

and they rebel against the angels that made paradise here and said no paradise on our land, much to the surprise of heaven. and the son of man, the disease of power, was driven back at ganienkeh, at oka, now here as the angels tried to bring guns to make heaven better. and the iroquois will not negotiate with the guns of paradise, because they are not heaven but earth, they are humanity, they are the fugitive, democracy.



and up in the city montreal the people claimed a city block of paradise on rue St Patrick, the children of angels who hated guns, made a little democracy like a fire of twigs, and the angels came swiftly, and before even 24 hours had passed the gas had driven them out the back door and into the blue june dusk. there were women and children who did not understand heaven there, did not know how angels in gas masks are the heralds that declare the eternal kingdom with bangs and whimpers. the little fire of twigs of democracy, a piece of the city claimed by the city dwellers, when it is in fact owned by the god, they didnt know,

and we? we are lost in heaven, wandering around, unaware of the bones that compose the clouds on which we tread, condeming, mocking, lecturing, judging, but mostly shrugging.

the montreal action:

http://www.centresocialautogere.org/

the iroquois action:

http://www.akwesasne.ca/

Friday, May 29, 2009

3 day storm




at the end of may came the wind blowing and a storm that blocked out the sky for 3 days with an iron belly of cloud. the trees twisted and waved and hissed their leaves everywhere in the city you could see them far in the distance of mysterious neighborhoods and the jungle of green leaves overhead dripped the radiance of birth like some fat pregnant bullfrog. everyone wanders the streets, without aim, wayward, drifting like little human white sails in the sea of cool wind.

the storm gets more violent, the branches rock, husks of clouds that hang below the iron belly drift wetly, shards broken off of a defeated storm. so that's what has happened. the belly has gotten darker and closer to the earth, an army, a force of storm that journeyed across the plains of the West from where it gathered in the mountains to come East and clash with some great god of an atlantic storm, and where they met and churned and twisted together in the sky not far from this ancient street the army of clouds won some terrible battle and ripped the Eastern storm to pieces, and ate its limbs, and the shards of the dead god were caught up like driftwood with the still raging army poured South across the lakes to pillage the earth, so maybe these storms that hurl lightning and floods down upon us, they grin wide pale grey grins at atomic bombs. if they should ever get tired of their wars in the sky, we're all done for.

Monday, April 27, 2009

?

we were in the cafe when the blast hit and threw us both to the ground, talking about women and sex. when i came to i was bleeding from somewhere on my face and it was hard to hear, there was a big dust clouded hole where the windowed wall used to be, and no tables sat in front of it any longer. I wondered what happened to the people on the street, if they were alright, if they were dead or worse. i could see lumps of unmoving bodies in front of me, and heard the first tender, cautious noises of survivors recovering behind me, silence though no sobs, no fear, just little pieces of debris being moved and stepped on, like mice scurrying in a house abandoned for many years.

and i lifted myself onto my knees and saw my good friend lying there with his skin melted down to black and shiny red on one side, and only half his face still his. his arm on his right side was all popped open with little and big holes and you could see white fat and how the elbow had come off so his arm was longer and flaccid. and how he didn't look like he minded. and i got to my feet i thought and looked for a mirror because there was blood all over my hands whenever i touched my face and then i heard mice scurrying behind me and i turned around and saw my friend stood there, slightly bewildered, leaning against the wall with his torn fingers and he looked at his perfect, untouched left arm in wonder and he looked up at me, fascinated, and said

don't worry, i think i am going to be alright

and i said i don't think so, my friend

and then he smiled a calm, easy smile and said

no, you see, its alright. this is flesh and muscles and blood all working together in a wonderful harmony, and these are my movements which come from me, gestures of me. look

he waved his perfect arm in front of him like a paper bird

you see, thats me, your friend, sailing my arm through the air. you see? and i am never going to be anything more than this

and he waved his perfect arm like a leaf sailing in front of him

i am a wave on the ocean, and i am not afraid. i rose up, i crested and opened my eyes, and now i vanish, and become part of other waves.

we are on a planet with a little moon. we are on a little planet, going around a sun. a little sun, and there are other planets going around the sun. and the planets are as complicated as this one. and the planet is blue, and it floats like a little dot of dust in an endless ocean of space.



we are on a planet

Friday, March 06, 2009

the way things are

charles darwin noticed that over time, over many generations of children and parents, living beings evolved into new forms. on the galapagos islands, darwin saw birds with many different kinds of beaks. he discovered they were all finches, the same kind of bird but with a different nose. this suggested at one time there was a simple finch species, but this was branching off into different kinds of finch specialists - big beaked ones for breaking seed shells, narrow beaked ones to catch insects in trees, and etc.




darwin was watching this branching in a transitional phase, between what was and what was to come. over thousands of generations, it is possible that the different kinds of finches would stop being finches, and evolve into altogether different bird species. now this was happening with all living beings, all birds and animals and plants and bacteria and amoeba, and all happening in relationship to each other. the beaks of finches changing to suit of the kinds of food available in their world, and the seeds themselves changing in response to finches and other seeds and weather and soil and plate tectonics and oceans.

and over these few thousands of years of civilization there is a strange thing that humans are slowly becoming aware of, a strange thing about life and ourselves that terrifies us at first and seems to mean the end of everything we care for, and that it affects not just the natural world, but our societies, our beliefs, everything.

and i remember sitting in the park in july with damien talking about the evolution of ideas and how civilization grew and changed over time, and why, and he said

"the great discovery was that everything is changing."




yeah, and that means that everything is changing is relation to everything else. i walked in a gentle snowstorm last night, and i watched the millions of snowflakes falling on the road, through the light of the intersections from the dark of high space, and i noticed how not only is every snowflake perfectly unique, but everysnowflake is falling in its own unique trajectory, and falling in relation to everyothersnowflake, and falling in relation to the ones that had fallen a few seconds before and the ones that were to come.

and its funny that humans want to build a civilization that will endure forever, and that is the motivation for the pyramids and easter island and machu pichu and the vatican and etc. and there they are now crumbling or fading, mostly because things changed. and because they wanted things to remain the same forever. because that is how they understood immortality. as the same thing forever. no wonder the idea of heaven is slightly depressing, and why people looking forward to heaven seem slightly crazy.

anyway.

there is great beauty and great mystery to the idea of everything changing, and it is such a big thought that it extends far beyond the power of our little heads to really get around it, but even within our tiny lifetimes we see everything changing, we see saplings grow to trees, and parts of cities come down, and people coming into the world and people leaving, and the earth going around the sun marks a year, which is the earth changing and changing is the passage of time and the passage of time only change. who knows, and we ourselves changing and yes paradoxically in a sense remaining the same. but certainly our bodies change against our will.




the most important thing is to understand that this is truth; everything is changing is how life is. the idea of a thing being true is confused with a thing being permanent, and this is maybe where it is terrifying for many, to let go of ideas that one relied upon, that one loved, and to walk freestanding in the world. but the real beauty of embracing that everything changes is that in its heart, it is embracing the feeling that the realities of life and nature and god are much, much, much greater, stranger and more profound than our ideas of life and nature and god, and that to cling to some small, flat, dead human certitude of an idea does not confer purity nor clarity nor any kind of good.

there are lies that can endure, and there are truths that can vanish for generations. the lie that god rewards the faithful is still believed by the majority of the world's people, no matter how many fucking many of them get brutally cut down. and around 240 bce, eratosthenes estimated the circumference of the earth and established that it was, in fact, not flat. this truth would be crushed out of existence for many centuries, until but a few hundreds years ago.



Tuesday, February 10, 2009

this is the evil that men bring me

it is so much inwreathed in morality i can barely snarl, but so starkly clear the murder of sweet innocence, i was just born int0 this concrete desert. i was made to be among the living things of green, but was chosen to rot among you here - to be a teller. to tell, with knives at my throat, whatever you have made these children who never had a chance to be made by beautiful things but must learn horror and rightful hatred of the murderers of their fathers and mothers, that you have made this world out of political gain. you have murdered for the sake of expediency, you have not just murdered men but their loves, and now you demand the world turn. it she will still turn, but she will come around again, and she will come bearing the bodies of those you thought went with her. and this rage will never cease. it will never cease, despite all paradises we have to chase each other through, and they are many, and if i know man i know they will burn each down after they are finished with them. and slaughter all children who try to hide in sundipped gardens in spring, should those places contain anything worth having according to immaculate princes.

but such things that are brought me by men smiling wisely and sure of themselves, how I would turn their knives upon them and let their smiles bleed into the soil of all living things. i would kneel over them with such violence and send them from all beings so beautiful and brittle. beings they would blame for being victim of the strong, and ask them, what monster would believe there is no child in the soul whose tears of cowardice are not worth protecting. And man laughed out like a snake and said nothing brittle shall ever have currency while my fist rules this earth, and so it was. and so man's end became.

Wednesday, February 04, 2009

dear civilian




A series of messages between me and an iraq war veteran last year, edited for clarity.




Dear civilian,

Why do you feel that you have to comment on a wounded soldier. What have you ever sacrificed. Instead of sitting at home on the couch and judging us on what we do, join the army and see if you have what it takes. Oh thats right you don't. When you comment on everything we do and the actions we take you sound more like a terrorist. You have never been there so you don't know a thing. You believe what the media says and for that your an ignorant person. Don't judge us on our actions for something you know nothing about. Keep your mouth shut.


***

for someone who pretends to defend democracy and freedom its despicable you would go around telling people who criticize you to keep their mouths shut.

i'm not a soldier but if you voice a political opinion you dont get to hide behind your uniform. your opinion is not sacred. you are also "just a citizen" - but your military ass has been kissed by manipulative politicians for so long you actually believe you might be a saint; and if you want to attack politicians all the "second-class" civilians better keep their "mouths shut" because you have special privileges. talk about elitism.

well guess what i was a social worker for four years and i have seen shit you have never seen. I have seen your fellow citizens discriminated against, oppressed, raped, beaten, murdered, poor, insane, dying. I have seen what you say you are protecting, and you are not better than me because you choose to go to war for a corrupt government. I guarantee you wouldn't last a day doing what I did, trying to save people your society crushed.

also, I dont listen to the media. You do. I read books, ones by real thinkers, not TV hacks. Do you?

I won't tell you to keep your mouth shut, because unlike you I understand what democracy really means. Go ahead, have your political opinions, you are entitled to them. expect to have to defend them. If you can't, don't complain when someone who knows something about the world shoots you down.

And one last thing. Your government lies to you all the time.

***

All the things you have so called seen I have seen worse people ripped to pieces by road side bombs. You speak of corruption like you know what it's like. And know body kisses our ass. I can do your job do mine. When was the last time you got hit by a 500 lb. road side bomd and then ambushed. You have friends screaming in pain from the metal that tore threw there flesh. You know your job is a cake compared to what i do and many others who risk there lives day in and day out. We pray to god everynight that we make it to the next sunrise. You see only the pieces of something small. Those people who are suffering in my own country have to blame themselves. You can blame people who are tortured everyday by others who don't like them.
What do you know about discrimination. How would you like it if a sniper started targeting only certain groups, like hispanics. I don't hide behind my uniform. I never have and never will. I stand proud for everything i have done. You know nothing about the horror's of evil men. Don't you can compare your job to mine. You have no idea what evil is really out there. You can go home at night, shower, eat with your family and sleep in a warm bed. When was the last time you had to rely on the person next to you since you are a social worker. When did you ever have to check for traps in doorways when you walked into a home. Let me guess never.

Your right I might be a citizen but I stand behind for what I believe in. Instead of talking down about others who have suffered greatly. You people are all the same. Let's help them but when we take action you cry and complain about hurting people's feelings. You all want peace but for that to happen soldier's have to stand up and protect the weak, the sick, the hungry. Plus what murder do you speak of what have you seen that i haven't. You sound like you have been to Iraq. You know about the oppressed, raped, beaten, murdered, poor, insane, dying. You know nothing I saw that all in such a short time and at a young age. I have seen chilideren gagged and bounded with rope with a bullet in the back of there head.

You speak like you know a democracy. How can you act like you know anything about that. You are the type of person to cast the first stone. I'm not saying shut your mouth. I'm simply saying keep your comments to yourself especially in this manner. Like they if you won't stand behind us stand in front of us. And i know you won't do that because pepe like you think because you sit at home and think you have seen more suffering that your stronger then us. Ask yourself when was the last time you saw your friend die and tell you he wants to go home. Screaming for his mom. I have heard it many times and have had to say goodbye to everyone single one of them. Your job can't compare to mine so don't even try. Goverment lie's about alot of things so does the media and your news weekly and all of them. But for you to think getting rid of a man who tortured his own people for pleasure was wrong then you are sadly mistaken and are as bad as the people we fight. We are the one's that protect you at night. And what little you know about a country you have never been in. So sleep well tonight because people like me will protect people like you who judge us and I'm proud of what I do. Because i do it for a greater good and being part of something bigger then myself is always better then living in my own world like you.

Plus i don't watch the news. I read books on F.B.I. Profilers and what they have done in there life and what cases they worked on.

GOD BLESS AMERICA AND IT"S TROOPS


***

youre the one who judges people, buddy. i criticize a guy for his political opinion and you tell me i have no right to criticize a wounded soldier because i am not a soldier. youre the one who tells me I am below you because I don't go to war. You call me a terrorist. So cut the self-righteousness, we're both equals and no matter how many times you try to make me ashamed because I didn't join the fucking army that will not change. maybe you can push around democrats like that but not free thinkers. By the way you pretend you werent trying to shut me up but thats exactly what you said.

The minute you say Vote for McCain or Vote for Obama you step out of your uniform and become a civilian. Thats a political opinion and you don't get a free pass for being a soldier, your opinions get criticized too. If you really believe in democracy the minute you are in uniform you become an American, not a Democrat American or a Republican American. And if you have the balls to get in your uniform and say "Vote for McCain, Obama sucks" you have stained your honor in a way I could never do. The day you use your military service to get votes is the day you stop being an American soldier and become McCain's soldier.

You've seen alot? I won't question what you've seen. I'll take your word for it. Those all sound like terrible things. I'm sorry you had to see them. But that doesn't give you the right to tell me to shut up or to claim youre better than me. And don't you think its weird that all that shit happened not under Saddam, but when Bush was in charge of Iraq?

I've seen shit you haven't seen and if you think you could do my job then sure as shit I could do yours. Why, because you have to be gentle with victims, you cant slap them around and tell them to shut up. Bringing a rape victim back to humanity takes a lot patience and suffering and youve got no right to tell me it doesnt count. And for you to say that people like that have only themselves to blame shows you dont know what I'm talking about. It sounds like you dont know whats going on in your own country. I never said I was better than you, but you dont have a problem telling how much better you are - and that's bullshit.

***

Honor never grows old, and honor rejoices the heart of age. It does so
because honor is, finally, about defending those noble and worthy
things that deserve defending, even if it comes at a high cost. In our time, that
may mean social disapproval, public scorn, hardship, persecution, or as always,
even death itself. The question remains: What is worth defending? What is worth
dying for? What is worth living for? - William J. Bennett - in a lecture to the
United States Naval Academy November 24, 1997

Thus there is a paradox, and we must grasp both ends of the situation:
We may well be in the most violent times in history, but violence is still
remarkably rare. This is because most citizens are kind, decent people
who are not capable of hurting each other, except by accident or under extreme
provocation. They are sheep.

I mean nothing negative by calling them sheep. To me it is like the
pretty, blue robin's egg. Inside it is soft and gooey but someday it will grow
into something wonderful. But the egg cannot survive without its hard blue
shell. Police officers, soldiers, and other warriors are like that shell, and
someday the civilization they protect will grow into something wonderful.? For
now, though, they need warriors to protect them from the predators.

"Then there are the wolves," the old war veteran said, "and the wolves
feed on the sheep without mercy." Do you believe there are wolves out there
who will feed on the flock without mercy? You better believe it. There are evil
men in this world and they are capable of evil deeds. The moment you forget
that or pretend it is not so, you become a sheep. There is no safety in
denial.

"Then there are sheepdogs," he went on, "and I'm a sheepdog. I live to
protect the flock and confront the wolf."

If you have no capacity for violence then you are a healthy productive
citizen, a sheep. If you have a capacity for violence and no empathy
for your fellow citizens, then you have defined an aggressive sociopath, a wolf. But
what if you have a capacity for violence, and a deep love for your fellow
citizens?
What do you have then? A sheepdog, a warrior, someone who is walking
the hero's path. Someone who can walk into the heart of darkness, into the
universal human phobia, and walk out unscathed

Let me expand on this old soldier's excellent model of the sheep,
wolves, and sheepdogs. We know that the sheep live in denial, that is what makes
them sheep. They do not want to believe that there is evil in the
world. They can accept the fact that fires can happen, which is why they want fire
extinguishers, fire sprinklers, fire alarms and fire exits throughout their kids'
schools.

But many of them are outraged at the idea of putting an armed police
officer in their kid's school. Our children are thousands of times more likely
to be killed or seriously injured by school violence than fire, but the
sheep's only response to the possibility of violence is denial. The idea of someone
coming to kill or harm their child is just too hard, and so they chose the
path of denial.

The sheep generally do not like the sheepdog. He looks a lot like the
wolf. He has fangs and the capacity for violence. The difference, though, is
that the sheepdog must not, can not and will not ever harm the sheep. Any sheep
dog who intentionally harms the lowliest little lamb will be punished
and removed.
The world cannot work any other way, at least not in a representative
democracy or a republic such as ours.

Still, the sheepdog disturbs the sheep. He is a constant reminder that
there are wolves in the land. They would prefer that he didn't tell them
where to go, or give them traffic tickets, or stand at the ready in our
airports in camouflage fatigues holding an M-16. The sheep would much
rather have the sheepdog cash in his fangs, spray paint himself white, and go, "Baa."

Until the wolf shows up. Then the entire flock tries desperately to
hide behind one lonely sheepdog.


The students, the victims, at Columbine High School were big, tough
high school students, and under ordinary circumstances they would not
have had the time of day for a police officer. They were not bad kids; they just had
nothing to say to a cop. When the school was under attack, however, and SWAT
teams were clearing the rooms and hallways, the officers had to physically peel
those clinging, sobbing kids off of them. This is how the little lambs
feel about their sheepdog when the wolf is at the door.

Look at what happened after September 11, 2001 when the wolf pounded
hard on the door. Remember how America, more than ever before, felt
differently about their law enforcement officers and military personnel? Remember how
many times you heard the word hero?

Understand that there is nothing morally superior about being a
sheepdog; it is just what you choose to be. Also understand that a sheepdog is a
funny critter: He is always sniffing around out on the perimeter, checking the
breeze, barking at things that go bump in the night, and yearning for a
righteous battle. That is, the young sheepdogs yearn for a righteous
battle. The old sheepdogs are a little older and wiser, but they move
to the sound of the guns when needed right along with the young ones.

Here is how the sheep and the sheepdog think differently. The sheep
pretend the wolf will never come, but the sheepdog lives for that day. After
the attacks on September 11, 2001, most of the sheep, that is, most citizens in America
said, "Thank God I wasn't on one of those planes." The sheepdogs, the warriors, said,
"Dear God, I wish I could have been on one of those planes. Maybe I
could have made a difference." When you are truly transformed into a
warrior and have truly invested yourself into warriorhood, you want to be there.
You want to be able to make a difference.

There is nothing morally superior about the sheepdog, the warrior, but
he does have one real advantage. Only one. And that is that he is able
to survive and thrive in an environment that destroys 98 percent of the
population.

There was research conducted a few years ago with individuals
convicted of violent crimes. These cons were in prison for serious,
predatory crimes of violence: assaults, murders and killing law enforcement officers. The vast
majority said that they specifically targeted victims by body language: slumped
walk, passive behavior and lack of awareness. They chose their victims like
big cats do in Africa, when they select one out of the herd that is least able
to protect itself.


There is no safety for honest men except by believing all possible
evil of evil men. - Edmund Burke

Here is the point I like to emphasize, especially to the thousands of
police officers and soldiers I speak to each year. In nature the sheep, real
sheep, are born as sheep. Sheepdogs are born that way, and so are wolves.
They didn't have a choice. But you are not a critter. As a human being, you can be
whatever you want to be. It is a conscious, moral decision.

If you want to be a sheep, then you can be a sheep and that is okay,
but you must understand the price you pay. When the wolf comes, you and your
loved ones are going to die if there is not a sheepdog there to protect you. If
you want to be a wolf, you can be one, but the sheepdogs are going to hunt
you down and you will never have rest, safety, trust or love. But if you want
to be a sheepdog and walk the warrior's path, then you must make a conscious
and moral decision every day to dedicate, equip and prepare yourself to thrive
in that toxic, corrosive moment when the wolf comes knocking at the door.

For example, many officers carry their weapons in church.? They are
well concealed in ankle holsters, shoulder holsters or inside-the-belt
holsters tucked into the small of their backs.? Anytime you go to some form of
religious service, there is a very good chance that a police officer
in your congregation is carrying. You will never know if there is such an individual in your
place of worship, until the wolf appears to massacre you and your loved ones.

Their only response to the wolf, though, is denial, and all too often
their response to the sheepdog is scorn and disdain. But the sheepdog
quietly asks himself, "Do you have and idea how hard it would be to live with
yourself if your loved ones attacked and killed, and you had to stand there
helplessly because you were unprepared for that day?"

It is denial that turns people into sheep. Sheep are psychologically
destroyed by combat because their only defense is denial, which is
counterproductive and destructive, resulting in fear, helplessness and
horror when the wolf shows up.

Denial kills you twice. It kills you once, at your moment of truth
when you are not physically prepared: you didn't bring your gun, you didn't
train. Your only defense was wishful thinking. Hope is not a strategy.
Denial kills you a second time because even if you do physically survive, you
are psychologically shattered by your fear helplessness and horror at
your moment of truth.

Denial is a save-now-pay-later scheme, a contract written entirely in
small print, for in the long run, the denying person knows the truth on some
level.

And so the warrior must strive to confront denial in all aspects of
his life, and prepare himself for the day when evil comes.

This business of being a sheep or a sheep dog is not a yes-no
dichotomy. It is not an all-or-nothing, either-or choice. It is a matter of degrees,
a continuum. On one end is an abject, head-in-the-sand-sheep and on
the other end is the ultimate warrior. Few people exist completely on one end or the
other.

Most of us live somewhere in between. Since 9-11 almost everyone in America
took a step up that continuum, away from denial. The sheep took a few steps
toward accepting and appreciating their warriors, and the warriors started
taking their job more seriously. The degree to which you move up that
continuum, away from sheephood and denial, is the degree to which you and your loved
ones will survive, physically and psychologically at your moment of truth.


Ask the Kurdish if sadam gassing them and killing thusands in one single strike was right. Kid born with extra fingers. Thats the life of people like me. Hussein and Kussein sadam son's would rape and kill woman everyday just for fun. There is a palace in Mosul, Irag with a pound right outside to it. It was drained and hundreds of bodies and bones were found. Thats the life you will never know. I feel sorry for the rape victim but I have fellow soldiers who were under investigation for helping a little boy who was getting rape by 3 men for talking to us. What did they do they became the sheep dog and killed thse three men without mercy. You know nothing about the suffering of man. 200,000 iraqi's were killed but not by us. THere shite and sunni death squads who go around killing each other because of different religion. they kill them by the hundreds and it's an on going battle to put an end to all of this. When was the last time you try to put a stop to a war thats been going on for thousands of years?
Did you knw sadam killed his country soccer team for loseing. You live a regular and I tell myself sometimes at night I would take any job then this. Unlike yours my job requires not a 9 to 5 schedule it's 24/7 thing for me. It doesn't end when I close my eyes it only means I must stay more alert. I'm always ready and vigalant.

I don't use my uniform as a shield. It's not a political opinion it's far from that it's the comment you made about the iraq war. What do you know since you never put on a uniform and looked at the wolf. What I'm saying is keep your mouth shut of stuff you don't know whats happening. I spent over a Year in Iraq and saw many things that would send a cold shiver up your spine. Things that would make you say how can someone do such a thing.

And were gentle with the iraqi's. What little you know about that. The people love us for what we do and how we make them feel safe. The only people we slap around are the wolf's. Exactly and where did you hear that the media exactly. What little you know outside our neighborhood. The difference between me and you is what ever happen's in the world affects me in every possible way. Because that means we must once again protect the flock from the wolf. I know whats going on in my own country but people become victim's out of there own fault. The prays on the weak not on the strong. Peple need to become the sheep dog. thats there own fault.

The sheep dog.

***

you dont know what ive seen or what ive done, and ive seen shit youll never see. i know what evil there is in the world, just as well as you do. you think its someone's fault if theyre a victim in your country, then you dont know your own country. you wouldnt believe what happens to people. It would send a chill down YOUR spine. your government creates the conditions that allow millions of your fellow human beings to fall into death and poverty, and you say its their own fault.

its a noble thing to want to be a sheep dog. i chose to be a social worker because i wanted to protect people too. Walking around with an M-16 doesnt make you any more important than me. you know why i didnt join the army? because i knew that the government tells you that they are sending you to fight as a sheep dog and they turn you into a wolf. they lie and say go kill these people they are terrorists we are the only ones who can protect them. but i learned youre not protecting anybody. iraq was a violent place under saddam. now its a violent place on fire. i heard the soldiers come back talking about opening up on civilians in free fire zones, mercenaries shooting up civilians. the death squads run crazy because the iraqi government has no control over them. theres no law in the country so anything can happen, just like you said. that country is ten times more fucked up after the US invaded than it was before. im not saying thats your fault, but thats what the old men who run things do - they tell you youre a sheep dog and then turn you out like a wolf. and the sheep end up dying anyway.

saddam could have been taken out if your government really wanted that a long time ago, if they just paid the resistance of kurds and shias half the money they give the saudis every year to overthrow him. if the US backed them up with airpower the iraqi people could have taken their own country back. saddam was weak. why not? because then the US couldnt control the country, thats what they really wanted. its an oil war. except bush was too dumb to understand that he had to lock down the country after the invasion before chaos set in. thought he could let the country burn to the ground and start all over again. well now the place is fucked. and theres a lot of dead innocent people that paid the price, their families, their homes. if the iraqi people love you so much, why the hell do they want you out of there so bad?

so if you want to tell me you think the war is a good thing, go ahead. but i dont have to be a soldier to challenge you on it. im not going to shut my mouth just because you saw some people die. and ive tried to help people who had bad shit happen to them and their only crime was being poor and i dont tell you to shut up. you dont know anything about me. you call me a terrorist, but i want to protect people from wolves too. maybe not in the army; i want to protect them from the wolves above them as well as the wolves surrounding them. I think you mean it when you say you want to be a sheepdog protecting the sheep, I just dont think you realize those old men never intended for you to protect anybody except some oil executives.

that guy is trying to make politics out of all those dead Iraqis, saying Obama this Obama that. its got nothing to do with politics. i wanted to remind people that its not about politics, its about a hell of a lot of human beings getting killed for a lie. its a lie when bush says it and its a lie when a soldier says it. i dont need to be a sheep or wolf or a sheepdog either to know it either. all i have to be is a person.

***

First off the suffereing you speak of is nothing compared to the iraq people. I will agree you have seen some crazy stuff but a country that infested with war and violence and no social order is alot different. What little you know. Iraq has the same problems like any other country not torn apart by war. Just threw the fighting in the mix and you have a whole world of pain and hardship. The things you describe in your first letter is the same things we see in our daily life just get blown up by I.E.D.'s and shot at.

In a country where anyone can be the enemy. You have know Idea how hard it is not to shoot in a crowd when the gunmen alone hides in there and take pop shots at you. Trust me being a social worker is hard I'll give you that but war takes a bigger impact on the mind and body. Civilians being shot well most of them stand there and don't move because there told to do so by the enemy. I've pilled bodies high and carried my burdens for others. You speak like you know about violence and all that. We risk our life's protecting these people. You act like you have been there. You have know idea about what happens over there. You speak on word of mouth.

You clearly didn't understand the sheep dog. He's like the wolf he looks like the wolf. He must become the wolf to protect. Thats what a sheep dog is. Have you ever heard the saying to stop a monster you have to become one. We have to get our hands dirty to stop them. These men torture these people for no reason. We ca't just pay them to over threw sadam. The people have always been weak and put down. Anytime they fight there own battles there lines break and they retreat. We armned them but without us they have no backbone. We give them the courage. With us behind them they are willing to stand and fight.
People die innocent for that you are right. But for peace and social order to prosper during war innocent will get kill in the cross fire. American's who work as independent contractors get killed everyday. There jobs from driveing food and medical supplies for the people are killed.

You are also right that you don't have to be a soldier to say that war is a bad thing but at the same time you are like many others that want peace but don't want to get there hands dirty. thats where we come in. We get our hands dirty so you don't have to.
I have conducted missions and operations to puch the enemy out of villages and cities. I have help the people to the point where they come out of there homes with a smile. There are people in places where they won't leave there house because Al-qaeda is around the area killing everyone who doesn't join them. I bet you never heard about that did you. The cities are bigger then any city in the U.S. Baghdad is the size of 4 L.A. When you have a population reaching over 8 million and 20,000 troopes trying to protect every single one. It's not an easy task. Restoring social order so people can live a regular life is a hard job.

The man is not trying to make politics about dead iraqi's not at all. He's saying how disrespectful it is for someone to call what we have worked for and all our brothers who have died to accomplish a mistake. By far you still don't get why I tell you to shut your mouth. It's not about politics not at all. I don't even vote. I don't care about politics. It's about you down talking a soldier who gave his best years for a cause. His years that could of been better spent at home going to college meeting girls etc... you get my drift. Someone who put's his own personnal views aside and answer's his country call is something great.

If you ever read books about profiler's and murders who write there stories it's funny how you say it's not there fault they get raped or murdered. But it is. The F.B.I. did a survey and over 90% percent said is because people look weak and helpless. People make themselves a target not the other way around. People give up hope on alot of things. I never gave up hope either did my family when we were doen and in the gutter. It's about wanting to do something great abd become better. The iraqi's try to become better and when they become what you want them to become they get killed because they choose to be strong.
You are right you don't have to be a sheep dog, a sheep, or a wolf to know the difference but this world falls into that category. You choose to be one or the other. It's not that matter of choice or what you feel like being the next day it's what you are. It's just that simple. There's you have seen that i haven't that will send a chill down my spine. If you have seen human body parts laying on the ground, people burned to death, or woman rappen in plastic around a telephone pole for just saying Hi. I really doubt it. People fall into poverty because they give up on life the refuse to fight back and yes it is there own fault. I hate to say it but it is.

Yes we all have bad luck but people need to get off there lazy ass abd become something instead of just another person in the crowd. It's the spirit to fight, to rage aganist the dieing of the light. The only really freedom anyone has is figureing things out by yourself.

All I'm sayng is that you speak of a war you know nothing about. You can point your finger at us and say thats the bad man but when push comes to shove and the wolf as at your door. We push our feelings aside and stand right there and tell you everything is going to be all right. We step out that door close behind us and get our hands dirty so you can sleep with peace.

Learn about the war and hoe the people live. Have you ever had to walk in knee high sewage i have. I have been covered in blood. I have held innocent iraqi's die because we were to late. Women get beat in the middle of the street because thats the way there society is. And we can't do a fucking thing about it. We stopped it once and got in hell of alot of trouble for it by the iraqi goverment because we can't get involve in there daily life. It's a male domiant society. People suffer more in places like Iraq and in the middle east then any other place in the world. People die everyday it's a fact but to make progress blood has to be spilled on both sides. The iraqi people rean't the one's pushing us out. Do you want to know why wee leaving it's becausing we are spread to thin. Soldiers who have done there time and are suppose to be getting out are stop loss and force to come back. People come back with more problems then you will ever know. You have becoming like michael crook. Look him up on YouTube and watch the one with hanity and colmes. You'll see how ignorant people can be.

Don't point your finger, cast the first stone, or bad mouth what hundreds have died trying accomplish which you are to afraid to do yourself. We do it not because were told to do it because we are ask to do it. There's a difference and something you will never understand. I know your from canada so it says on your profile but if it wasn't for people like me and your fellow country men who stand by our side you would be in a world of pain. Just never question a war if you have never been there or not willing to fight to see what it's really like.