A thought: Life is difficult.

A thought: Life is difficult. 

A thought: Our humanity opens us to deep pain and sorrow. 

A thought: These thoughts are engaging. Perhaps I could build a narrative on this. Open scene. 

A thought: Trying to be compassionate, I still cause deep harm to others. And then I feel the suffering of my awareness of that. 

A thought: Organizing life into narratives makes it seem less chaotic, random and difficult.

Thoughts: But thinking this now, is certainly sub-optimal. I am a monster? Are we all monsters?

Can we be anything else?   … it slides off into a random chaotic jumble. 

There are places geography seems to conspire against the mind,

There are places geography seems to conspire against the mind. The world appears to defy physics.  In one such place, a tower appears to narrow and focus all of its attention onto a single room.

In this room there is a man, sitting at a desk carefully, copying out three exact copies of a missive. 

This time it is a poem. It is a very good poem. He has had 30 years in this room to practice.

The room has only two exits. The first is a window that stares out into a vast nothingness. Over time, he has moved from rage to a kind of acceptance. 

But every day he takes a moment to look out the window and wonder if it offers a method of escape.

The second exit is a pneumatic tube, where he will place one copy of his missive. He sometimes imagines that in his homeland his reputation has experienced a redemptive third act. He imagines he can sense his captors approval by the food they send him.  Sometimes he imagines that he can sense his captors approval by the food the send him. 

He promises himself that he will not forget their mercy in keeping him alive. 

Just in case nobody is building an archive of his sage wisdom, he keeps a copy for himself. 

When he is done, he places the first copy in his elaborate filling system, the second copy in the tube, and he takes the third copy over to the window. 

There he attaches it to a string made from his 30 year-old blanket. He promises himself that he will not forget their kindness in providing him with quality materials. 

 In the distance, he thinks he can hear a sorrowful song being played, but that may be only in his mind. Sound travels in funny ways in places such as this. He cannot be sure if it comes from above, below, or the echoes of his mind. His love for whoever is making it is pure.

He believes in honesty and authenticity, so the people below receive the same message as the people above. He has moved beyond rage to a kind of peace. But before he reached that point his plan for revenge was so complete that it had taken on an aura of its own. It has a life of his own. 

The people above do not know about the people below, but they soon will. He promises himself that he will have mercy when the time comes. 

I’m afraid of americans

I’m afraid of americans (mericans)
I’m afraid of myself 
I’m afraid of americans (mericans)
I’m afraid of myself 

I’m on this stage
To act the sage 
And find out if I am well

I’m on this stage 
To act the sage
And try and cast a spell

I’m afraid of americans (mericans)
I’m afraid of myself 
I’m afraid of americans (mericans)
I’m afraid of myself 

A hypnotizing illusion 
That rids our confusion

Lets us be together
Truly stand with one another 

Join together with the music
Be the one and lose it

I’m afraid of americans (mericans)
I’m afraid of myself 
I’m afraid of americans (mericans)
I’m afraid of myself 

I’m on this stage
To act the sage
Full of rage

Afraid of what I’ll do
If I can’t get through to you

All we have is each other
All we have is each other
All we have is each other 

I’m afraid of americans (mericans)
I’m afraid of myself 
I’m afraid of americans (mericans)
I’m afraid of myself 

I want the courage to stand by your side
And let you inside

I do not fear what you’ll do
But I don’t know what you’ll find

That’s the thrill
That’s the fear 

I’ll just be me
You just be you 
See what we see
Feel what we feel 

What your gaze will tell me…

*If I do it again, I’ll experiment with a bit more rage. Or perhaps a folk take, just a few chords and talking.

 

Some things you should know about Lambert

Some things you should know about Lambert:

  • He owns and operates a free lending library in the city. 
  • When threatened, he wields a broken sword. When it was whole, it was feared by major players of all types. 
  • Nobody has been able to repair the blade. He grips the top half of the broken blade along the sharp edge, and it declines to harm him. 
  • This should be perfect for you, he loves music. 
  • His native culture presupposes reincarnation, uses advanced magic to heal wounds and illness, and is caviler about life. 
  • He is intensely loyal.
  • In the past, he was a successful assassin. For the last year he has refused all contracts. This stance has left his reputation hanging by a thread and threatens the viability of the library.
  • He’s cute.
  • Most of his friends are outside the world of crime, many of them are wealthy, but he is reluctant to ask for help.
  • His sense of humor is kind but dry. 

“Why in the world would I let you set me up with him? He sounds like a disaster.” 

“Why not? He seems like your type. He’s the only person I know who talks about music as much as you do.”

“I barely even play anymore, you know that. I know I’ve had a rough couple of years, but just when did my type become broken? Half the things you told me indicate a man in recovery from trauma and existential crisis”

“He’s not broken…Besides, it’ll be a double-date. We’ll be there.”

“Fine… I give up. But only as a favor to you.” 

“Great! One more thing…”

“Yes?”

“So, whatever happened a year ago that broke his sword and imbued him with his newfound unhelpful respect for life. He does NOT talk about it. So, whatever you do, please don’t ask him about it.”

Perhaps, I should focus on making my empire less lonely

All the lonely little empires 
Drifting into sand
All the lonley little empires 
How long can they stand?

And I think, I think the answers gotta be
Not long enough, not long enough for me
And I think, I think the answers gotta be
Not long, not nearly long enough for me

Everything in the world 
Changing with the wind
Everything in the world
Just trying to win
Everything in the world 
Spinning spinning spin

And I’m not quite sure, I’m not quite sure
Just how to be
And I’m not quite sure, no I’m not so sure
Just what is me

Water slowly wears away 
at it all
Suns explode 
and lighten the load

Of our history books
And all those funny looks

But I
I tend to wonder
I tend to ponder 
Just what exactly does it mean

It’s Alright

A band I think you should hear: The Lonetones

It’s Alright

(Steph Gunnoe)

 

All the lonely whistle blowers of the family

Shivering in studios starting to agree

All the rules in rituals that once held them down

In the lies that organize meaning can be found

 

And we learn in our own day

It’s alright, it’s alright to be

creatures that lose their way

And make it up anyway (repeat chorus)

 

All the tired rule-abiders of the family

Pull the weight and tow the line, learn to disagree

Oh, their posture is so telling, prices can be dear

And the purpose of rebellion been coming clear

 

And we learn in our own time

It’s alright, it’s alright to be free

On our own dime

It’s alright, it’s alright to be free (repeat chorus)

 

Who’s gonna fix her her elixir and settle her down?

Who’ s gonna light his dynamite and spread him around?

Every little body has an ending, see how we run

Every little body’s offended, see how it’s done

 

And we learn, tho it’s never told

It’s alright, it’s alright to be

creatures growing old (3X)

It’s alright to die

Rolling Stones Autobiography

a tagline: To stare into the infinite darkness and embrace our finitude
a motto: something about vulnerability

I think a lot about how I might start a biography. Early on I want to highlight the unreliability of the narrator.

I think a lot about how I might start an autobiography. I have a conceit about the lessons the Rolling Stones taught me. It’s a good conceit, and I hope to pursue it.

But the quote that inspired these rumination comes from Henry Miller, by way of Erica Jong.*

I read this quote while on a trip through central america. It meant a lot to me then. Something about it’s logic was inherently appealing. It was exciting to consider myself a God.

But now it means even more to me, I feel as if I have a deeper more nuanced understanding. That I have walked much farther along the path it points to, and I think that I understand it’s truth on a more intimate level.

Like the Rolling Stones, I reflect on Henry Miller as a deeply flawed being, who was morally reprehensible in many ways. What I took from Erica Jong’s book was that what redeems him, if anything, was his willingness to reveal himself.

Most of that was lost on me when I read him myself, I was in it for the power fantasy, and as a result I still harbor some judgement.

But I do think that vulnerability is key. The narrative provided by Jong scares me as much as it attracts me. What if I am vulnerable and open and find that I am Henry Miller. I think I could accept that I hold repugnant thoughts, but what if, like him, I did not use that acknowledgment to avoid causing harm?

What if I found that unrestrained, I just enacted my worst impulses on the world.

The Rolling Stones are rarely willing to be vulnerable in this way.

All of which is a distraction, carried along by the narrative logic of the words that came before, as opposed to my true intent. Some writers are capable of coming much closer to resisting that tide, and marrying their words with their poetry and their meaning. They can make the barrier between their words and their inner reality seem paper thin, and that can be magnificent and powerful.

But what I want to highlight at the start of my theoretical autobiography, is that the barrier still exists, however thin.

Did Miller know what he was saying when he said it? Did he mean what I thought he meant 10 years ago?  Was his openness to the world bringing him ever closer to the revelation it reminds me of now? Perhaps the beauty is that it contains all of this and much more.

Magnificent. The words themselves deceive even as they reveal. Powerful.

What they do not necessarily do, is convey any true sense of history, or what it meant to be inside his head. And as I cobble together stories about my life and try to cram them into a narrative conceit about the Rolling Stones**, I may aspire to poetry. But I want it to be clear from the outset that I have no capacity to convey the truth of my existence, or even my history, nor can I know the truth of yours.

The things that seemed important moments ago, flitter away.

All we have are these words to communicate with. They can be great.

*Where is the quote? It is here: “Like every man I am my own worst enemy, but unlike most men I know too that I am my own saviour.”

Why is it at the end? I wrote this draft with only my memory of the quote. In that draft it was inserted into the text 3 times! When I finally tracked down the quote it was so far from what I recalled I would have given up the whole endeavor, if this was not exactly the point of this piece.

**I came very close to telling this same story using a Keith Richards quote about the lack of and real security in the world. But that was not the quote that inspired these thoughts. All that stopped me was the knowledge that I could highlight  that I had NOT done so, and it would reinforce how unreliable the construction of narrative is.

Preview of Rolling Stones lessons: Something about being open to encountering the worlds most famous band as new, about the power of myth to both illuminate and distort, about the power of controlled chaos, about rhythm that moves and withholds, about how that’s achieved in the studio