"I dream of a hard and brutal mysticism in which the naked self merges with the nonhuman world and somehow survives...Paradox and bedrock."-Edward Abbey

28 May 2010

Little Pagan Angel and the Oracles of Zen and Enlightenment

Getting on about nine years ago now, one of my best friends was, I guess, seeing this one little Pagan angel with electric blues eyes. Actually, seeing each other might not be the best description, given my friend. It would be more honest to say they were just fucking one another, quite athletically, from what I was told. But that's another story.

Still, the little Pagan angel and I got along. At the time she was in charge of a once a month event called Pagan Night Out. She thought it would be just corking if I came along.

"Um, you know I'm Buddhist, right?" I said. It was possible my philosophical and heretical theological leanings had not come up in conversation.

"So?" She said. "Come along anyway."

Well, my friend, the one she was fucking, offered to give me a ride, and I found myself curious. And it wasn't as horrible as I dreaded. Although, that one observation oracle that was cast in my direction was creepy enough to get me to growl and want to go for my dagger. But that's another story. I decided I might check out the next month's.

Hey, it was something to do...

That something to do lasted around three years, give or take. It wasn't too terrible a time. I would hang out, sometimes rather briefly, with the little Pagan angel, who had long since stopped fucking my friend and gotten involved with someone else. There were a few other cats that went I got along with. I did learn a thing or two, like the fact I could only handle being around that many Pagans for about two or three hours-at most-before I started entertaining murder thoughts.

Sometime during my acquaintance with the little Pagan angel, she took to calling me Zen Rob. I found it an amusing moniker, due to the fact the Buddhism I practiced, however heretically, was Tibetan, not Zen. Still, that's what she called me, and I dismissed it as just being in reference to being the token Buddhist that showed up at the odd Pagan Night Out and ate shrimp fajitas.

One of the last oracles that was cast for me was by the little Pagan angel the night before my grandmother's memorial. I was more than a little depressed. Aside from the fact my grandmother had just walked on, there was a girl, who I was wondering for what was not the first or last time if I really needed to be involved with. When I was greeted with Zen Rob, I could barely force a smile, because zen was not something I was really feeling.

"You know why I call you Zen Rob?" The little Pagan angel asked me after she laid down the cards for my oracle.

"The whole Buddhist thing," I said plainly, if not a little mockingly. "Never mind I'm a Tibetan Buddhist."

"No," she said. "It's because that's how you are. Nothing gets to you. It's all water down a duck's back. Zen."

...Oh, bullshit!...I remember thinking...I just lost my grandmother. There's this fucking spittail I can't decide if I want to stick it out with or just shoot her and have done with it. I'm broke. If that's zen you need your head examined...

But I didn't say that. And, the zen accusation actually kind of help me maintain a level of sanity and equilibrium during that period with putting my grandmother in the ground. Even if I found myself being affected by feelings of grief and loss, and I didn't rightly feel it doing like water down a duck's back.

It wasn't too long ago I was sitting out back with my tea and a book when I caught myself thinking about the little Pagan angel who used to call me Zen Rob. I was caught up in a moment of zen, what with the tea and the book. It was a clear day and hummingbirds were trilling through the air and I kept gazing at the twelve thousand foot peak that runs behind the House of Owls and Bats, making part of the valley's southern wall. In that moment of simple, but sheer bliss, I caught myself smiling as I sipped my tea, knowing it was a indeed pure moment, which could not be taken away.

My very last oracle was from the bruja of my acquaintance. She said I would achieve enlightenment. I thought that was quite ballsy to try to divine for anyone other than a sangha or bohdisattva. That one friend who was once fucking the little Pagan angel recently told me I was enlightened, by virtue of where I live, how I choose to live my life, and who I choose to spend my life with. The only way I could pretend to agree with him would be if being enlightened meant the realization that I don't know every fucking thing and the acceptance of the fact, appreciating the beauty of a mystery.

Sort of like being called Zen so long ago. If by zen you mean the realization of both positive and the negative. Feeling happy, sad, angry, euphoric, apathetic, but also acknowledging the facts, and not being driven to madness by the if onlys. I might be able to agree then, perhaps even softly say I'm deserving of that moniker.

To tell the truth, I do not know if I really am either zen or enlightened. But maybe it doesn't matter. When I think I have an answer, another question arises, and, I suppose, there's symmetry in that.

22 May 2010

Move On

And thus, it has come to pass, my father has secured residence back within the greater metroplex. Not too terribly far from we lived up until I was thirteen years old, in fact. He remarked about the auspice of full circles. In a little over a month, he will be putting the Rub 'al Khali behind him. Perhaps forever and ever, amen.

"I need to get out here," my father said. "I'm turning into an old man. I can see it in my face."

I am happy for him. He needs to move on. Out there, in the badlands of eastern Colorado...that was my mother and the life my parents had together. My mother is gone now and my father needs to keep on living. He'll be closer to my brother and sister. It'll only take me perhaps an hour, instead of the usual two, to visit. You can catch the excitement in his voice.

Sometime in the near future, I'll be making the hop to the Rub 'al Khali of the badlands for what I hope will be one of the last times. We'll be cleaning and packing. In some ways, I imagine it'll be like when we moved my grandmother or when we'd go through her storage unit after she walked on, or when we were packing up my mother's clothes; a mixture of sadness and catharsis. So it goes.

I am happy for my father. Another aspect of starting over, like phoenix raising out of the ashes of loss. It'll be nice for him to be closer, instead of a daytrip away. Still, I confess, part of me dreads the upcoming excavation, and the possible ghosts of memory it might stir up.

13 May 2010

Resonant Tunage

There are memories with this;

Some, go back to childhood. Back around when I saw the very first Star Wars film and it was amazing and magical. It was summer and I remember my parents drinking beer and chatting with friends whilst the song played on the radio. I was sitting in the back of silver pick up with my dog at the time.

More recently, I recall coming back from getting things for the first home cooked meal at the House of Owls and Bats. I was still in shock and awe that we had pulled off not only moving to the mountains, but to the very township we wanted to reach. I kept thinking I would wake from a dream and find myself back in the city, still fettered to a past life.

This song came on the radio, and she began to sing along flawlessly. I've always enjoyed hearing her sing. She told me she liked the harmonies, whilst I told her of remembering the tune from childhood.

It reminds me of both now; childhood and those first days living in the mountains with her. I suppose it fits, after all, her big doe eyes, which shine like abalone shells, are blue. One of those small ironies that gets me to smile.

Funny old fucking world...

08 May 2010


Over the last fifteen years, I have had a love/hate relationship with the holidays of Mother's and Father's Day. I think a fair amount of it is spawned from the fact my x and I split up right before our first wedding anniversary, her first official Mother's Day. In fifteen years, I have had only one full Father's Day with my daughter.

Then there's the social construct; for a few years, I noticed media would run heroic stories of moms on Mother's Day. Those who worked so hard and still made time for their offspring. On Father's day, stories were told of the deadbeats. For quite awhile, if I mentioned I was a divorced single father, I would be greeted by the what did you do? How did you fuck it up? look, because, as the social construct of reality dictates, it's always the man's fault, even when it isn't.

I'm sure those playing the home game are quite well aware of my disdain for the social construct of reality...

"Well you're quite a mutha too," my mother would tell me jovially when we'd speak on Mother's Day. In my family, I being a single parent, I got acknowledgments on both holidays, but it didn't really detract from my dislike of them.

There is bitter sweetness that comes with this Mother's Day. All the elder matriarchs are all gone now. On days like this in times like these, the full sensation of the void comes into vivid resolve. My great grandmother, my grandmother, and now my mother are ashes, dust, bones, and memories. I suppose I should mention my father's mother too, since she has also walked on, although we were not as close.

Sure, my aunt and female matriarchal relatives on the southern side still all draw breath. Well, as far as I know. See, they only exist on the peripheral fringes of the horizon of my existence. It's rare as hen's teeth any of them enter into the mathematics of my thoughts.

My sister gave birth to my nephew almost two weeks ago. It's a strange thought to contemplate that my baby sister is now a mother. Stranger still, the fact she is now the matriarch of my family.

On Mother's Day, I will phone my sister to wish her a happy first Mother's Day. It feels like the right thing to do, despite the fact it might almost break my heart to do so, given the context of those who have walked on before. Some, far too recently for my comfort. I will also wish my sister a happy first wedding anniversary, given that date falls on the same day as Mother's Day.

An equation within the mathematics of my thoughts is a song. When my mother went into the sickhouse, my brother and I were talking. We were both possessed of bad feelings and dark thoughts, though we hoped so desperately to be wrong. For me, the only woman I've been related to by blood who went into a sickhouse and came back out has been my sister. My brother, consumed by anger and guilt, was convinced the doctors were lying to all of us as to the gravity of our mother's illness at the time.

My brother mentioned the song. One we both knew and liked. For my brother, it came out when he was an adolescent and arguing a fair amount with our mother. He told me, because of the lyrics, he would never be able to listen to the song again.

I have. I did a night or two after my mother's memorial, finishing a bottle of whiskey I had at the time. That small tumbler did nothing to restrain the mist forming on the surface of my waxmoon reptile eyes. So it goes.

For some reason, that song seems like a fitting present to those memories cast out into the either. Those matriarchs who have since walked on. There is a resonance I see there, which I cannot put into language.

"Hey, I ain't never coming home.
Hey, I'll just wander my own road.
Hey-hey, I can't meet you here tomorrow - no, no.
Say goodbye don't follow -
Misery so hollow.

Hey you, you're livin' life full throttle.
Hey you, pass me down that bottle, yeh...
Hey-hey you, you can't shake me round now.
I get so lost and don't know how, yeh...
It hurts to care, I'm goin' now.

Well I forgot my woman, lost my friends
Things I've done and where I've been,
Sleep in sweat - the mirror's cold -
Seen my face? It's growin' old -
Scared to death, no reason why
Do whatever to get me by,
Think about the things I've said
Read the page its cold and dead

An' take me home!
Yeah! Take me home!
Oh-oh... take me home
Take me home, yeah.
Take me home. Yeah, oh.

Say goodbye. Don't follow..."
-Alice in Chains

Beyond that, I find I have no further words...