"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

29 June 2010

Interesting Times

Once, well, because somehow I was getting paid for it, I was at a ra-ra propaganda rally where some cat in a suit and sterilized organs stood up and said he wanted to give a Chinese blessing; may you live in interesting times. I must have been quite out of my mind, because my hand shot into the air before the last words faded from hearing. He seemed excited someone wanted to speak to him so early on.

"It's a curse, Sir," I said, recalling the way I had been told that little saying. "It basically means you hope one's life is filled with chaos and strife. Kind of a hateful way to start things, don't you think?"

And, after the ra-ra propaganda rally I had to talk to an overseer. It didn't matter if I was right, or, at the very least, honest, I had embarrassed the cat in the suit with sterilized organs in front of everyone, and that was uncalled for. Courtly and corporate intrigue politics made manifest.

It also served as reminder of another reason I'm often the quiet one. Someone I knew once said when I did speak, my words were those of ambrosia and acid. By uttering a sentence, apparently, once or twice, I've drove others to migraines, although that's hardly my fault. Another aspect, a flaw, I admit, are the occasions of what another friend would call alligator mouth being unable to cover hummingbird ass. I like to think I've gotten better at that as I've grown older, but I still sometimes slip.

In the small hours between late night and early mourning when my mother died, I was driving to the house that now only belonged to my father. I had no tea with me, only water, but the demons came anyway. In those dark moments, heading into the badlands, I had a lot of time to ruminate.

"I cast my lot to the winds of chaos," I said to the shadows. "This is the only sane course of action. Roll the fucking bones."

I don't think I've ever lived in boring times, despite what a few critics who weren't getting their way might say. Still, these days, these last few weeks, leading up to a month, fit more into what a cat in a suit thought was a blessing and I was told was a curse. Of course, blessing and curse are just different sides of the same cosmic coin, thus balance is maintained.

My father moves as the Gregorian calendar sheds its metaphoric and metaphysical skin. There has been a fair amount of chaos to the whole affair. Even stress, something I take such great pains to avoid, I find sometimes trying to seep into my zen and put me off my fresh-fried lobster.

It seems pretty well a given I'm getting the other one of the Grumpy Old Men, a black tri, named Whistler. Even now, I try to figure out where, in a five-hundred eighty-five square foot house-only fifteen more square feet than the Temple of the Jinn, back in the city-I'm going to make room for another dog. Of course, I'll make it work, because it is the right thing to do. Still, it's a few days and a roll of the bones before I know for certain. My sister and Whitie might take Whistler instead.

I might also start receiving a substantial amount of paper just for being a beautiful and unique snowflake and not get fucking laughed at when I describe myself as such...

Mei fei tsu. This is a time of transition, and, as I learned, once, quite painfully, those times are never easy. I suppose if they were, it would be kind of boring and the lesson would be missed. A time of transition is never really good or bad, persey, although, in that context, good and bad are monkey-made concepts anyway. Times of transition are, however, rather interesting. Of course, whether or not those interesting times are a blessing or a curse is all up to flip of a cosmic coin and roll of the bones.

27 June 2010

True Faith

I have been meditating upon faith. Tests and losses. Shattered and true. The fact I find it a good idea to temper such a thing with reason. Then again, there could be those who see reason as an article of faith, but that's getting into the kind of philosophy that makes those with weaker constitutions heads explode.

Entertaining? Why, yes. But also quite messy. See, brain meat has a tendency to leave stains.

A little over two months ago, I noted that Pantheism had worked its way into the mathematics of my thoughts. I was not bothered by this. In fact, it made sense, gelling with my Buddhist practice nicely. If queried, I might say I am a Pantheistic heretical Tibetan Buddhist.

I find myself wondering if this shift, or addition, to my theology has to do with my mother. Death, even and especially of someone close, has a nasty tendency to affect one's perception of things. Way back when my father's mother died, and Jibril, three days after that, I noted a great many things change with the cessation of a heartbeat.

I know my mother's death caused my sister to be angry with her conception of god. For me, it not only proved the First Noble Truth of Buddhism, but also the reality of chaos. From every close death, I have taken a lesson.

I do believe my Buddhist practice helped me with understanding and accepting both the facts at hand and the emotions I felt. Pantheism, seeing the universe and/or nature as god[?] came shortly before and definitely in the aftermath. Understanding the Divine as a force nature and things happening in terms of roll of the bones chaos, instead of punishment and reward, helped me-and still does-to reconcile my mother's death.

Well, if nothing else, it's kept me from screaming...

To say my perception of the universe has changed would be trite. After all, that happens often, sometimes in the span of a heartbeat. Of course things have changed since early winter. Some good, some bad, some irrevocably. So it goes.

I find my faith, however quirky and heretical, still in place, evolving with my perceptions. Nothing ever truly remains static, and anyone who'd say otherwise is either daft or selling something. Those who cling to that delusion are suffering from the grasping of attachment, which perpetuates the concept of samsara.

Not saying that I'm enlightened. Even saying I have an understanding would be downright pompous. What I think can be noted without any arrogance is I am comfortable. Things make sense to me. Whilst I realize there are things I do not know, owning up to my ignorance, it lends to my sense of comfort. See, there's still more to learn, and that is a great adventure.

25 June 2010

Boneyard Two-Step

Chevy, one of the Grumpy Old Men. Aside from the recent artifacts and photographs, what could be considered my inheritance from my mother...

My father and I were watching a documentary on blues guitarists. It seems as inevitable as the sun setting in the west that the story of Robert Johnson selling his soul to the Devil came up. All my father could do was chuckle ruefully and call bullshit upon mythology.

"There ain't no Devil," my father said. "I know because I tried to sell my soul to him for twenty years. When your mother was sick, there were plenty times I invited him over to make a deal; me for her."

I'm not sure who to resent more for that; my father? My mother? Or perhaps that mythological infernal pussy who's wife I fucked, as I once told a homeless man? Does it matter?

A two and half day stay in the Rub' al Khali. Beer and blues. More boxes. More things thrown away. More artifacts acquired. Another dog.

Twisted in its symmetry, I used to ask my mother if once I got a places with some land, and it was time for me to have a dog again, if I could take Chevy. This was back when I lived in the city. She would tell me no, sighting that he can climb a six foot fence without much effort. Nevermind he is a certified champion, well-trained, incredibly gentle, and trained as a therapy dog, he might want to run.

That argument started eight years ago, and, no, I don't feel good about winning it. The technical term, whelps, is monkey's paw. All the things I've brought back from the badlands recently fall into that category. The price to be paid.

And all things for a price, that is the nature of the deal...

My father moves in a week. My next week is already packed with some other obligations, so I can only guarantee being around for moving day. In a way, I'm kind of grateful for that, giving me a chance to catch my breath and not get a mouthful of badlands dust. Moves are pain in the ass anyway, but this one has been less than fun. To say I'll be happy when it's done and over would be cliche, but a friend of mine once pointed out the beauty in cliches, sighting the little nuggets of truth contained therein. So, I reckon when I say I'll be happy when it's done and over I'm speaking true words.

17 June 2010

The Phantasm Waltz

A set of Canadian song lyrics have played within the walls of my skull over the last week, a mantra of what I've been doing;

"Where would you rather be?
Anywhere but here,
When will the time be right?
Anytime but now..."

We put things into boxes and bags. Eat, drink beer, listen to loud music, and talk, sharing memories of a closing chapter. Along with artifacts, I am getting at least one of the grumpy old men. Maybe both of them, depending on Whitie, which is fine. I'm willing to make it work.

Once, during the course of conversation I saw something that always terrifies me in how powerless it leaves me feeling; my father moved to tears. As good as my memory is, I cannot recall exactly what brought it on. Then again, that's grief. Like chaos, the melancholy strikes down out clear blue sky without the rhyme or reason hominids try to assign to everything to make sense of the universe around them.

"There's no way I can stay out here," he said to me.

"We'd have to drag you out in I-love-me! jacket," I said.

"No," my father said and pointed to the chair he plays guitar in. "I'd just sit there and drink."

A warning of one of my deepest fears being laid right out before me...

Intermingled with the scent of badlands dust and memory is that of the phantasm of my mother. Sometimes, I swear I catch a residual smell of the disease that devoured her. I cannot even describe that reek, but I know it. There has been more than once, as I've engaged in these ghost dances, I've cursed both my sense memory and smell.

Another Canadian rock mantra;

"Are you still holding on?
Can't you just let go?..."

Well, where do we go from here?

These have been good days to let go. However, recently, I observed the only thing I cannot truly let go of is my ability to remember things, and the vividness of some of those recollections. Right down to the song and emotion, the scent and taste in the air. Once, it was said unto me that my memory can make an elephant cry. One of my best friends once stated if I didn't have instant recollection of an event, I had it documented in a notebook somewhere. I can admit to once or twice telling someone if I do not remember something, chances are, it didn't happen.

Like emotion and naked facts at hand, how I choose to reconcile and deal with the memories is important. Late at night, when the demons come for tea, I would rather be able to own up and accept, than let such things crawl about within the walls of my skull, slowly devouring me. I've had a few relatives now that were eaten alive by something, and I have no desire to join them, and not being a joiner by nature has little to do with that.

As I meditate upon these memories and this most recent death, I realize that great many of the deaths in my experience have taught me lessons. From my great grandmother, that, sometimes, it's okay to be relieved when someone walks on. My father's father taught me to mindful of the drink. From my grandmother, I learned we are only immortal for a limited time. My father's mother taught me if one holds a grudge, you've given that cat all the power in all the world over you, becoming their bitch. From Jibril, to fucking live, no matter what your circumstance, because when that number's up, you're ashes on the wind, that's the deal. My mother taught me this queer form of acceptance, being reminded of the role of the bones chaos, and that I do not require other influences to deal with it all.

There is still another hop or two out to help with the packing. Then, the move itself. I find myself conflicted every time I go out there. Part of me wants to just burn that place to ground. It's nice to see my father, but the context of it is something I cannot say I enjoy. There is a void and cold spot out there that is like an undertow for everything. I catch a scent intermingled with the dust, which gets me to growl. Every so often, I think I see her out of my peripheries, and it's not one of the photographs we put into boxes.

It would be cliche to say there are million things I wish I could have said or still say. And, I realize, even if I had the lifespan of star, it would never all be said. All the stories would never be told and all memories would never be shared. That's the way of things, and I am learning to accept that.

So it goes...

08 June 2010

Badlands Ghost Dance

Sometimes, when meditating of my father's impending move, in my mind's eye, I see a phantasm of my mother. It's that muppet mannequin shell of meat my brother and beheld in the sickhouse room that stank of death, disease, and antiseptics. It is with a chill and growl a face this specter.

...Fucking what? Are we to leave him out there to rot? To slowly go mad out there beyond the end of the world? What else would you have us do?...

I came away from my most recent visit to the Rub' al Khali in possession of artifacts, photographs, antique books, and the knowledge that my father has apparently been dating. The scent of badlands dust lingered for days, teasing my allergies, whilst I tried to think of places to put my new acquisitions. The full implication of that other bit of knowledge still ferments within the walls of my skull.

"Well, he is a randy old man," Sabina said when I told her.

"Don't ever say that about my father again," I said.

"I'm sorry," Sabina said. "Should I say; really? That sweet bible reading, ice tea drinking old man?"

"There have been only a few times I've ever wanted to really punch a girl. In the neck." I growled. "Just thought I'd mention that."

And she giggled. Of course, my father has at least waited until my mother had been gone a few months. In recent family news, one of my southern relatives was not so classy. Yet another reason to avoid that aspect of the bloodline.

My father and I had a good day together. We grilled corn and steaks. Talked and listened to music. Watched a film and had a few cocktails. We both agreed it was enjoyable and nice to spend time together.

"Saturdays are hard for me, Son," my father said. "Everyone who's ever died on me, did it on a Saturday."

Thinking of my grandmother, my mother, and both his mother and father, it's an eerie thing to note...

He cannot wait to get moved. The loneliness and isolation chews at him like maggots in an infected wound. Perhaps the Rub' al Khali was once Kashmir, but that was before my mother took ill. Before the malignancy ate her alive. Now, the badlands is a nothing more than a void. A place of too many empty spaces.

I'll be happy once my father gets moved. It's becoming more and more obvious how good it will be for him. I also think it will be good for the rest of us in the family to put all of those ghost of the badlands behind us and close the chapter.

04 June 2010

Pre-Hop Jitters

The next time the sun rises is the hop out to the Rub 'al Khali to help my father. It could conceivably be one of, if not the, last time I go to that house so far out into the badlands of eastern Colorado. Apparently, this is not going to be as much of an excavation as either of us had initially anticipated, and I'm rather fine with that. My father told me he'd pay for my fuel and make supper. Apparently, the day of the week we're doing this thing is rather hard on him, and he likes to have dinner company.

My feelings on this excursion are rather mixed. I look forward to seeing my father. It's always nice to listen to music with him and share a meal. I do not look forward to the work and the context behind it. I catch myself wondering if, even if just in metaphor, my mother's phantasm will be about, watching us get my father ready for what could be the ending, or maybe even the beginning, of his exile.