Descent

dark room

At night, in the field of darkness

Where an old mind tosses bright memories

Like an emperor’s entourage flinging flower petals,

The currents of nostalgia move and swirl

In eddies in the corners of the room.

Images scatter and coalesce, divide and multiply,

Flowing down to cold depths and welling up again

With forgotten prizes that fascinate and overwhelm

And wash away the sense of now

To drown all consciousness to sleep

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Formation

Beach

 

The patterns of the world wash in

Across the sands of mind

And ripple through the thoughts which drift

And scatter unaligned

‘Til gently rocking back and forth

Their edges catch and bind.

 

They bind and mat in patterns that

Echo those outside

To map the weavings of the world

That glisten, slip and slide

And change in forms extremely strange

Which shatter and collide.

 

We construct ourselves upon

These waves of sight and sound

Collecting from these drifting thoughts

An entity that’s bound

To shifting inside structures

And whatever runs aground.

 

Take-Out

Cat

“I want,”

He said,

“When I

Am dead

To be most neatly kept.

My eyes

Just closed,

My frame

Relaxed

Just as if I slept.”

“All rot

Must cease.

I’ll pay the fees.”

He cried, like King Canute.

“For I must freeze

At two degrees

Cryogenic absolute!”

So, sure enough

His friends

Did stuff

Him in a vacuum bottle.

Stiff and blue

Was their last view,

With a cork stuck in his glottal.

The Sun

Did burn,

The Earth

Did turn

Two hundred million spins,

While time

Did pass,

Beneath the grass

Where our frozen friend still grins.

As species must,

Mankind was dust,

But mind must have a site.

So, dogs and cats

In hats and spats

became somewhat more bright.

A feline digger

Couldn’t figure

The frozen sarcophagus.

“What is this thing

Some ancient king

Sent through time to plague us?”

He did pop

The thermos top

And slid out frozen friend.

The flesh

Still fresh,

Turquoise skin

Like a djinn.

This could cat comprehend.

So, wrapped in foil

And fried in oil

Our friend turned crispy brown.

With vintage wine

The taste was fine

When feline gulped him down.

But doubt still gripped

This cryptic crypt.

The cat had not a hunch

Why mankind

Had so inclined

To send him a boxed lunch.

At Both Ends

The candle

 

Way back when I was a kid the question grownups most asked me was “What do you want to be when you grow up?” The only sensible answer, these days, for any kid is “Alive”, since that is becoming more and more unlikely.

 

Even then, and throughout my life, I never found a satisfactory answer. In those early days when just being alive was a fascinating puzzle humans were unique animals, who retained the character of their childhood throughout their entire life. The novel by Aldous Huxley “After Many a Summer” uses that thought. A horror story that ends with the main subject character achieving total maturity to become a fierce wild animal. It has strange implications about the current state of society which may be approaching that final vicious maturity.

 

What stands out in human society is the extremes it holds in maximum appreciation. The normal good is never good enough. Braque once remarked about Picasso that he was a pretty good painter until he became a genius. As a kid, my most memorable times were not what I treasure now, the relative peace and beauty of the continuities of small pleasures in discovering simple good food, a sense of fresh awakening each morning, the glory of a cecropia moth, the astonishing pleasure of only once when a chickadee innocently landing on my open hand for a moment. As a kid, it was fourth of July firecrackers and skyrockets, the heights a tin can would reach prompted by a cherrybomb. It was the several million volt blast of man made lightning in Steinmetz Hall at the New York 1939 World’s Fair GE exhibit. It was the scary slide in the dark in a small boat into an artificial pond at Luna Park in Coney Island. It was the 1947 blizzard that buried Manhattan to leave the 3rd Avenue Elevated trains blue sparking their travel on the tracks and left the parked cars in the streets under frozen mounds in the snow in a strangely silent city.

 

Frankenstein’s pathetic confused creature and the frightened challenged King Kong atop the Empire State Building swatting the sky full of angry biplanes in past days is not enough today. The streets have to be filled with flesh eating zombies and most of California has to drop off into the Pacific to satisfy the eagerness for horror. Millions of dead in Eastern Asia and recently the obliteration of Near East nations where psychopathic head chopping has become rampant is passed over as a minor military error. Perhaps it was the atomic enthusiasm at the end of WWII that calloused the world to the conversion of almost two hundred thousand helpless Japanese civilians to instant dust. The atomic delights now have the potential to destroy the entire planet many times over. The current military whose main talent has been well demonstrated to achieve incessant defeat with a military potential unmatched in any history is champing at the bit to smash the entire planet into radioactive sterility. That promises to be quite impressive for our jaded tastes. A good deal of this obliviousness may be due to the marvelous ability of the nuclear industry to pass off Chernobyl and Fukushima and the total fumble at the Hanford site as quite tolerable cancer increases so the public remains docile to atomic enthusiasm.

 

It remains rather fascinating that the quieter progress of global warming with its inevitability already quite visible to acidify the oceans and destroy both the bulk of the shellfish and the coral reefs that incubate much of the ocean’s food potential is not only regarded as an issue only slightly disturbing but is totally denied as an issue to a large percentage of the population. The major disasters  have yet to appear and the large number of people currently blasted by tornadoes and droughts and floods and sea rises are, in general, not in position to impress a government requiring intensive financial  inspiration to react to any disaster.

 

There was much talk, when I was younger of some archangel emitting the final trump to notify the world that it was becoming obsolete. The world leadership is now blatantly on point, even linguistically, to this.

 

My candle burns at both ends
It will not last the night;
But ah, my foes, and oh, my friends –
It gives a lovely light.

Edna St. Vincent Millay,

 

 

 

 

 

 

At The Cafe

Photo cafe

At small gobbletime I squatted in clocklight

To glancegrab streetwheel swifties and stumblebys.

Skyfog chunks ambled in the blue, allwhite,

While chirpers quietchopped with whistletries.

Allflat headstate uncoiled the now and lightwind called

With fragrantscent the Springheatjoy to donate

A splitoff outof recallpains and old sunshines unwalled

Where lovehate parse unhorses what to collate.

Timeoozes, squirtsalerts or puddles in the unresolvable.

Wherein, whofor, whynot  and why snarl and growl.

Thoughts aroused tailchase and squabble, ideas evolvable

To spin within, where to begin the jumblejungle howl?

The nevermind is more kind, it’s still earlytimetoday,

Morestories to be told even though I’m getting old.

Patience will abide, things to be tried, I’ll find a way.

And, anyway I’ve got to move, my coffee’s getting cold.

The Failure Of Success

Diamond skull

I was inspired to think about this by the sculpture of Damien Hirst of a skull inset with an entire surface of diamonds. Hirst is a very successful and very controversial artist who does extremely well in his contributions to an area of art which I consider to be more in the area of the outrageous than aesthetic.  Hirst’s earlier pieces were a cow’s head being eaten by maggots, a huge shark preserved in a vitrine containing formaldehyde, and a cow and calf presented in butchered pieces displayed separately. Not only were these frightfully shocking, but  also quite successful since Hirst sold them for huge sums to wealthy collectors.  Nevertheless, whatever their aesthetic impact, it would be a mistake to dismiss them as artistically valueless.

Shock can have impact in other areas such as films wherein the audience is captivated by fear in a film like “Alien”. The celebrated scene outstanding for its horror was the emergence of an alien monster from the stomach of a victim who had nurtured its gestation after the egg had been forcibly implanted into his mouth. This is usually compared to the actual implantation of an egg by a wasp into a caterpillar which is a common insect phenomenon but there may be subconscious echoes involved with the mammalian sexual practices of creating a child which remains a parasite on its mother until it is born and occasionally must be removed by a caesarian procedure which can be dangerous and life threatening to both mother and child.

I cannot say what impulses were involved in Hirst’s agenda to create the diamond skull, but it impressed me as a wonderful symbol with high aesthetic value of humanity at this moment in history. The skull itself is a universal symbol of death and diamonds in current times have become symbolic of hugely crystalized wealth. The agendas of the modern world economically, politically, and even morally, to a large extent, have, as their envelope of intent, the fierce pursuit of wealth through the flaying of the entire world with misery and death in all the variations that can be managed. In the most wry form of hypocrisy they wrap it in the propagandistic idiocies of liberty and justice, but any slightly educated glance by someone educated in the history of humanity for thousands of years is well aware that the fundamentals of power and greed are in high gear.

The two massive threats to the existent continuation of civilization and life itself on this planet are nuclear war and the radical climate changes clearly indicated by meteorological sources. Both of these driving forces were born out of the immense success of scientific atomic theory and a fundamental understanding of the relationship of matter to energy. Again, the climate change is due to civilizations ingenuity in discovering and utilizing basic energy potentials for manufacturing, habitation of terrestrial areas not easily accommodatable to humans, transportation and information and major ecological changes for food production. All major successes for a population explosion unmatched in any histories. All of these changes powerfully contributed to the real wealth of humanity. But the peculiarity of the distillation of that wealth into financial terms which determined social power was the stinger that converted the real wealths of food and habitation and ecological control into deadly threats for the entire planet. Money itself has no value at all outside of its social control. At best, paper money can be burnt for its heating value but a one dollar bill is equal to a thousand dollar bill on that scale.

Nevertheless, because of its social value, society has substituted financial value for the value of those things which living things require to exist.  This is the prime deadly force, wherein death is cloaked in diamonds, destroying all basic decency and good sense. Whatever intelligence might remain within the massive powers of government and business that dispatches brutality and corruption and the most destructive forces within human control, to obliterate all possibility of life on this planet to exist for even those in control, it is obviously completely insane.