Saturday, September 12, 2009


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.