Reading A Book Alone In The Redwood Forrest, a poem

Reading a book alone in the Redwood Forrest

On the observational scale,

I do sit here in the redwoods in lotus pose,

with a copy of Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance

on a stack of logs next to me.

What is the catch?

Is that but the paranoid disillusionment

of the redneck hippies near by

just now learning that they aren’t the real rebels?

They are not heroes,

They can only dream of being such.

The true meaning of center,

of the power of human capability,

If only imagined,

that is all we are,

Then that is the best

and the worst

of our imaginations.

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Art in Our Times, a poem

Art in Our Times

Piss poor excuse for a joke,

All the un-ironic irony in real life.

I have always said it,

Life is a parody of the self,

We live in Chaplin’s Modern Times,

We are the machines,

And the proles.

We are wheels,

Turning and obedient to the driver,

Circle after circle,

Loop after loop.

Never changing,

Always moving,

Who are we, you, I?

Identity in these times,

Matches no other,

Identity in the past,

Must be laid to rest.

People are tired of cliches,

They need new ones,

New tropes,

New motifs,

New characters.

We,

The artists,

The writers,

The workers!

We must create something new.

We must not merely express our times,

We must change them.

What are the times we live in?

What will our era be called?

What can one do?

to help,

to change,

to move forward?

What can one do to stop the delay?

So that art,

and liberty,

can save us all.

Underground Radio

In 2118 all music had been made illegal 30 years ago by the Administration. The Administration had decreed “Music promotes diversity. Diversity is the enemy. One nation, one race, one people.”

When the Administration made the law it did everything it could to purge the country of anything related to music. Wood instruments like guitars, violins and cellos were burned in massive public fires. Wind instruments that were metal like Trumpets got smelted into new guns and bullets for the police and the army. Record stores were burned down and every iPod and mp3 player was smashed. Conductors were dragged from their beds and shot. Music teachers were sent to either dig ditches or prison, they at least got a choice.

Because there was no music all other self expression was practically non existent, but the Administration always made it clear that self expression itself was not banned, just music. However one could not tell that self expression was still allowed because everyone practically dressed the same. A pair of slacks and a t-shirt. That was what everyone wore, no dresses skirts shorts, not even swim suits when they went to the beach. Slacks and a t-shirt. The one avenue of self expression was that you got to choose what color of shirt you wanted. Some people choose red, others yellow, some had just given up on that and just wore brown to match the slacks.

The only people who got to dress differently were the police, military, and members of the Administration. The first two wore standard uniforms, but the administration was different, they all wore suits. The men in the administration wore top of the line hand tailored suits. The women wore pant suits of the same quality. No one in the administration ever dared wear anything but their nice suits(they would never be caught dead dressing like a civilian).

But still, the Administration stuck to its motto: ‘One Nation, One race, One people.”

The tailors all worked for the Administration making their suits, but even they were only allowed to dress as civilians. Dave’s father was a tailor, and he lived with his dad across the street from the shop. Dave would watch people file in and out of the store in their jackets and ties and Dave would hate them, and he hated them when he had to work in the shop.

Dave’s father used to play in a punk band. Dave never heard punk music, or any music, but everything about it sounded wonderful. His father told him the stories of the songs they would play, about the concerts and these things called “mosh pits” He heard stories about wild hair cuts dyed all sorts of colors, about people who were so into this scene they would get holes punctured in their face in order to put pieces of jewelry into their lips, eyebrows, and even their tongues. Dave was lucky to have a father who remembered what life was like before the Administration banned music. Very lucky.

On Dave’s 19th birthday, his father said he had a present for him, but they would have to go out of the house to get it.

“Dad,” Dave said worried, “You know that the Administration moved the curfew time up to 10pm right? Anyone caught outside their house without military clearance is immediately…”

“Shot.” Dave’s father finished for him. “Yes I know, that’s why I have been waiting to tell you.” His father took a deep breath and sighed. “David,” His father began, “You are an adult now. When you were a boy, I was always worried. Worried that something may happen to me and then that would mean something happened to you. I would never be able to live with myself if I lost you the way I lost…”

Dave knew he was talking about his mom, and he also knew his dad did not like talking about it, so Dave just nodded to show he understood, and his father moved on.

“It’s why I became a tailor for the Administration. I had to distance myself from that past I always told you about. But now that you are old enough, old enough to protect yourself, it’s time that I share this with you.”

“What?” Dave asked.

“Just wait son,” his father replied. “And happy birthday.”

When it was 9:30, Dave’s father told him that it was time to go. “Go where?” Dave asked. His father told him nothing except that they needed to hurry.

They went out the back door of the house through the alley to avoid being seen by the street cameras. The Administration had cameras everywhere but the alleys for some reason, so that was where the underhanded did their dealings. Dave’s father took him on what felt like a maze of concrete and trash, zigzagging all the way across the city. They turned a corner went one way, then turned a corner to do the opposite, until finally they hit a dead end.

The dead end was just a giant brick wall with a pile of trash underneath a large arch by the wall. Dave was confused when his dad told him to be quiet, and then his father kicked the pile of trash three times. The bags of trash and stack of wooden debris sounded hollow when he hit them with his foot. Dave moved back with a jolt when the pile started to rise revealing it had been on top of a door. The door popped up like a garage door to reveal a long set of concrete stairs that appeared to lead to the cellar of this black building they were by, but as the stairway disappeared into the darkness it seemed like the steps went on forever.

“Come on” his father said, pulling out a flashlight from his pocket.

They walked down the stairs and into the darkness with the spot of light to guide them. As the went down the stairs Dave could hear the trash door close behind them with a thud that echoes in whatever cellar they were in. The echo was large though, too large for just one cellar. When they got to the bottom of the stars they had reached a corridor of a tunnel, a long brick tube that stretched in either direction for miles. David and his father started walking down the tunnel and as they did the echoes of their feet began to be drowned out by other noises, noises that Dave had never heard before.

As they walked to the noise it had gotten louder. Dave could not tell what it was but it was a sound that intrigued him rather than terrified him. It was rhythmic and fast, and the closer they got the more they could hear voices along with the pacing rhyme.

Eventually Dave could hear what it was, his father was already singing along, Dave had never heard singing before.

“Neat, Neat, Neat.”

Then more of the rhythmic interlude. Then the voices again “Neat! Neat! Neat!”

“Neat! Neat! Neat!” Then with a sudden burst of sound then it had ended. “The Damned,” was all his father said to David. Before Dave could ask him what that meant suddenly another one started, again with his father singing along at first.

“I want to be classified, I want to be stereotyped!” Rang out from a distance, and it grew louder and louder with each step.

Dave could not help but bob his head along with his father, not knowing what he was doing or what he was listening to, but he knew that the more he could hear it the more he liked it, and he was hearing it clearer with every step.

“I want a… SUBURBAN HOME! SUBURBAN HOME! SUBURBAN HOME!”

The noises grew louder until finally they reached a metal door on the left side of the tunnel. The noises that they were enjoying seemed to come from this one room. Dave’s father knocked on it the same way that he had the garbage door, three times with his foot, and the door opened, but the door was opened by a person with blue hair that looked like spikes and a piece of metal sticking through their eyebrow, exactly as Dave’s dad had described to him.

The song was peaking and coming to it’s conclusion as Dave and his father entered the room, which was filled with people dressed like they were from the stories he had grown up with. The sounds were coming out of this little wooden box with a dial and speakers on it. Dave’s father told him that it was a radio and what they were listening to was Punk rock. The musicians that had just been playing were called the Descendants, according to Dave’s father, and there were plenty more songs to be played.

Dave’s father went around introducing his son to the people, some of them were people Dave recognized, even though they were wearing things that had long been banned. Torn jeans, military shorts, thick boots, and piercings and hairstyles that were impossible to imagine on the Administration’s surface world. Yet it didn’t prevent Dave from recognizing Mary who ran the corner grocery store by their tailor shop, or Phil, who even though he had a ring in his nose could still be placed as the physics teacher from the high school.

After Dave’s father had properly shown him around he told him that the box with the speakers was a radio, an antique from sometime in the 20th century. “What they used to do is have things called radio stations, and they would play songs. The stations would then transmit these songs through the air, and these radio things would pick up the signals and play the songs the station was playing.”

Dave then learned that this was what they were doing, listening to radio, and they were listening to the punk rock radio station, being run out of a different spot underground just like this one. “There are lots of us David.” His father told him, “and not just Punk Rockers either. There is an underground Hip Hop radio station, a Classical radio station, a show-tunes station!” Dave didn’t know what any of those things were, but he was just glad to finally experience Punk Rock because it was everything as his dad had described. Fast paced, energetic, and full of the most expressive people you could ever see.

The station had begun to play a different band and song, and on a loop the radio was screaming ‘I fought the law and the… LAW WON. I fought the law and the… LAW WON!”

The night had been the greatest birthday present Dave could receive, and he was even more thrilled when he found out they would be going back every night. “The administration can ban music,” his father told him when they returned home. “But they will never stop it.”

Each night for the next six weeks Dave was brought to the underground listening station where they rocked out and mingled with like minded punk rockers. For one night at a time people would shed their civilian dress and put on clothes from a bin in the corner which held jeans of all sizes, black t-shirts with holes and giant A’s on them in a circle. There were also studded belts and shoes. Some people took this chance to dress up, others just came for the music. Dave just came for the music.

One night the station was playing a female lead punk band called Bikini Kill. Dave was enjoying the gritty vocals and rapid guitars, but he could not help but notice his dad was not himself that night. Normally his dad was very sociable at the Underground. He would usually be off in the corner chatting with some of the civilians he recognized from their neighborhood. Tonight though he was sort of slow, down and moping. He just shuffled around nodding at people when they said hello and looked at his feet.

Dave went up to him. “Dad,” he said. “What’s wrong?”

He looked up at his son. He did not say anything at firs. At first he just put a hand on the back of his son’s head. Then finally with wide watery eyes he said, “This really does mean you’re grown up. I kept you from this because this, all of this…” he trailed off as he looked around at the people moshing or the neighbors shedding their t-shirts in exchange for their chains and studs. Then Dave’s father gave a deep sigh. “You know how big of a risk this all is right?”

Dave was about to say yes but then, almost as if on queue, there was giant explosion somewhere that shook the entire Underground. The radio was almost knocked off its stand, but was saved as the people nearby it caught themselves on it to keep from falling when the shock wave came. The bricks and mortar all around them danced. Still the music was playing, but something was wrong and everyone knew it.

The fast paced drums on the radio playing were being drowned out by different thudding rhythm. “One two One two.” That was coming from the hall and echoing throughout the tunnel.

They grew louder and louder as if there were more of them coming with each beat. Everyone seemed to realize what was coming all at once. They were trapped, the only way into the room was the only way out, and everyone knew what that beat in the hallway was. It was the rhythm that can only come from boots marching. It was the Administration’s army, and they were closing in on them.

Suddenly the steps all came to a stop at once. Within the next second the metal door was hit with a different rhythm. “BANG!” A beat, then “BANG!” Another beat. Then with the third “BANG!” the battering ram had shoved the door in, and the troopers began to swarm. They flank left right and center as they entered the doorway to keep anyone from getting away. They filled the room from corner to corner. Even when they had the whole room flanked, they kept pouring in, and soon enough the beatings started.

With the thuds of rifles came the the screams of everyone begging for mercy. ( Pleading that they would come peacefully.) Some got the butts of riffles plowed into there stomach or smacked across their noses. Skulls were cracked under the weights of a soldier’s boots as some people fell. Others were lucky enough to hit their head on the brick floor before getting away. The luckiest were the ones who took a bullet to the brain when some of the soldiers opened fire.

Dave and his father were near one of the flanked corners and each grabbed the butts of rifles as soldiers took swings at them. Dave’s father used the moment to butt his head into the guard’s while swiftly kicking him in the crotch. That soldier went down just before three shots from the other side of the room cut into Dave’s father. One of them made it all the way through his chest and ended up cutting Dave in the back of the leg, sending him to the ground.

“Dad!” Dave screamed back.

But his father said nothing, he just lied there bleeding out.

The song kept playing amidst the gun fire and the screams. Dave just lay there on the ground as bullets whizzed over his head. He tried dragging himself closer to his father only to be blocked by the body of Joan from the pharmacy when she collapsed thanks to the bullet now in her brain.

Dave just lay there, trying to make the most of his impeded view of his father. Trying to think of some way out of here. But the pain in his leg was too great, and for some reason the darkness was growing around him. He couldn’t keep his eyes open much longer.

The darkness was growing around Dave as the song kept playing. The music didn’t stop until one of the soldiers finally kicked over the radio and smashed it.

When the music stopped was finally when Dave let the darkness consume him.

The Story’s Answer. Part 1

Wretched hours,
Cursed cliches yet
sinfully,
regrettably again,
I write these words
with a mind of conflict
and a heavy heart.
Thoughts and my body
twisted and wrangled
and always so mother
bloody
fucking
constant.
Find no pattern in these words,
yet please do,
For although there is no story here,
There indeed is,
and for there is no meaning,
There indeed is,
So please bare each mark and page, it is worth true.

Twelve long hours since sobrieties sting.
How can I not spur
the channel of my distressed feeling,
Nor the hour and window
on my due grace,
Yes, my grace,
my crutch,
my only source of please
and cleanse.
I have my own life
to lead now.
I will not bore you
with tedious greeting,
nor false salutations.

I dare ask,
Do we live through
our interests?
Do we define ourselves
victoriously through interests,
not hobbies,
a hobby involves effort.
Interests exist only
internally, yet can
be practiced externally.
There is no point in this coin-flip
of syntax.
Nor is their any
warranted merit.

NAY!
Nay and fie do
I say, nay do
I not say it as it
because it is truth.
Truth that is truth
is known but not spoken.
I dare not speak truth
and make it cliche.

Yet I must,
I am not compelled,
I am demanded.
This is my word,
their effort,
their work.
Hours slip and as I
sip my due reward,
my complacent self,
I am diluted,
I am withered,
I am dry, nevermore.
No, no such fate
is mine,
no such struggle
any
being’s dues.
Prisons are obsolete
and the self
is not self made.

You just didn’t build that,
you didn’t even build you!
You were made!
You were born!
You were named
and then you grew,
and you were labeled.
Labeled and such!
Yet you grew.
You grew despite
being a seed in
a salted Earth.
Robbed of your own
decision of self,
yet all are.
Beauty be had everywhere,
not where it is given,
but where it is.

Beauty,
and love.
These are what hold true,
this is what humans use to define
humans,
but when it is lost,
repressed,
or robbed,
Yes robbed dare say,
all if any,
results are disastrous.

You oppressors,
You may have your false comedian,
and your
phallic lie.
I, nay we, live in a world of truth,
heart, of people
and of soul,
of sweet creatures
both humble
and humbling,
The old adage is
it takes all kinds,
nay it does take all
kinds, to unite against that
of evil kinds.
Evil is NOT all.
Evil is real,
evil is a part of truth,
both accurate and fair,
but evil is not all,
It is rare.

Now begins what else
but a social ravage.
A peak and lost
in the sake of
and stream of time.
All souls suffer,
only by matters of degree,
but it matters
what degree that suffering
differs.
Nor are all sufferings
of the same hue.
Nor cut from
the same cloth.
I am no peaceful
extrovert.
I am guilty
and there is no
retribution to
the admission
of this guilt.

Nor is there any anger.
I do no wrong in life,
yet I have in history,
and in culture.
To some my tears
mean nothing.
And such is just.
Yes, such is just.
For despite any
progressive identity,
any self ascribed sorry,
is not a lie,
but can be empty.
Action, action, action,
but action IS a matter of privilege,
privilege is not supposed to be born.
It is to be earned.
It is, nay was reward.
Marx was right,
capital transcends social
but Marx was also wrong.
We all usually are.
I can think of
no greater sin
than standing up,
and daring to say
“I know.”

Not so. Such is
too harsh.
It is only wrong to assume one
knows all,
that one way
is THE way.

Understanding,
understanding,
knowledge is not
the pursuit of
gain nor profit
but the pursuit of understanding.

And after another
strike upon cupid,
and hope and child,
Christ did rise
off the cross,
Buddha did awaken.
I do dare ask
why such fake
deprivation,
yet I understand,
and I want
and I am.
Too long has a sense of
disposition,
a sense of the
self indulgent self,
that was not in fact indulging,
that was not in fact wrong,
No such repression will be my chain.
No such want haunts me.
But drives me.
These are the patterns
of my effort and thought,
that is my deed.

I am only that what I can be.
Self is only defined
by the self.
And sexual lust
and drive marches on.

Lust, lust,
Lust is no sin.
These so called
acts are deadly,
some yes,
some no,
Does lust not drive
us to love,
produce,
and create?
Does envy not improve
the self?
Don’t worry we all
know that greed is not good
and has no place.
Greed, is the only
true sin.
And sin, the very word
itself, is robbing of all humanity.
I grow sick of “sin”
I grow sick of
slut shaming.
I grow sick of
the acts that are true
yet get denied
or made pariah.
That is a true sin,
judgement is a sin,
because it benefits no human,
it transcends nothing.
Dare say such a word
in our weary 21st century?
Yes.
Dare say to transcend,
to embrace all of the
body physical and
emotional,
Spiritual even if
we wish to mark
territory uncontrived and so.

My lust grows with every hour.
I love it, I embrace it,
my body is not my temple,
it’s my party.
Sanctions roars of
sense and self,
out here in one
of the few bodies
of the free self
of the new idea
and new drive
that is not new but merely reborn.

I say merely for
a rebirth is no
big deal,
our birth and our rebirth is no
big deal,
our birth and our rebirths carry us on,
we learn,
yet some, even many,
do not.
The people are simple,
not stupid.
We do not need
any superior hand,
and yet we do
and yes I say we,
For my brothers,
my Sisters,
and all those out and in between,
WE, the grand,
We.

Strength is greatest in the individual,
and the community.
Balance is the pursuit of all life.
And the meaning of balance,
the pursuit of
semantics.
And what are semantics?
What is the meaning of meaning?
It means nothing,
yet it means everything.
Sexual lust and drive
The beauty of the body
Is the beauty of the world.
Innocence and sin in one moment
and form.
That is the body,
that is the lust.

What else is to be said?
What else is to be done?
Nothing and everything.
The story of life’s
first ambiguous chapter,
and the first chapter,
in this book,
it never ends.
However, it does.

Ecstasy’s Wind

Error in Judgement,

Judgment and decay

no more,

but an ecstasy wind.

What limited realm is 

the i.d. of our 

very realm itself?

Does not your realm breathe 

of the ecstasy wind 

and of ecstasy’s wind.

What Apollo gods rule 

this earth to maker her

so cruel?

Why Athena

have you forsaken us?

6/9/14