The Ultimate Return

In the early dark before dawn,
I awake with a dreary feeling
of death dripping from my eyelids.
I sit up in bed and listen
to the echoes of oblivion
haunt my room. The emptiness
of 4am streetlights stream into
my dreams. The euphoric caress
of madness. A poignant
premonition of the
inevitable. All my yesterdays
converge into the nothingness
I am at this moment.

You poor sap, where
have the days gone?
What have you done?
Why does it ache so much
to be a finite creature
in an infinite
universe?

So much of our passing lives
are spent drifting along
on the surface
of our everyday consciousness
hiding behind the social
mask, too frightened
to take the necessary
plunge into the abyss of
ourselves.

The banality of the hours
becomes the banality
of life. I’m neither
happy nor sad
because it’s all too
senseless to be either.

Sauntering through this
bureaucratic age of
death and sterility
with a marred mind
and heedful eyes,
I bleed alone
with a half-smile on my aging face
wondering how long I can keep
the wolf of insignificance
at bay.

Gazing into the bathroom mirror
has become too much to bear.

The fierce thirst
I once had
for the
elixir of life
has waned.

I’ve grown weary of the fight against
the ways of the world, the moral
demands, the normalcy of the
façade, the binding ties
of obligations, the tribal feuds,
the pathetic protocols of
the unlived,
the unpoetic masses
with their unpleasant
pettiness, tired of the
endless pursuit
of illusions
in an effort to tongue kiss
the elusive lips of
immortality.

Our pursuits
our actions
our tedious haste
are nothing more than
anxious attempts
to escape the torments of
our finite presence. An escape
from the awareness of
the brevity of life.
We spend our days trying
to get somewhere
but there’s nowhere to get to.
We dilute the experience
of the moment with a false
sense of hope
and a laborious longing
for a resolution that
never comes.

In spite of all the “truth” and
“reason” in this vulgar world,
we know very little. Yet, it’s the
unknowable that holds
the treasure we seek —
the darkness, the seat
of the soul that we’re too
afraid to explore and coalesce
with the light of our
consciousness.

Perhaps it’s a romantic deception, but
I believe in that unattended darkness
within, there’s a mysterious
current guiding our lives.
I’ve felt its presence all my days —
an ethereal force,
an unrest,
a transcendent whisper —
that forbidden fruit
dangling from the primordial tree
of our inner garden.

I don’t know what to make of it.

The Upanishads tell us: The Self,
though hidden in all beings,
does not shine forth but can
be seen by those subtle seers,
through their sharp and
subtle intelligence.

The Greeks called it the daemon,
the genius, the guardian.
We all harbor it in the
obscure regions of
our inner life.

Yet, society and its godlike
institutions
try to snuff it out in our youth,
this hidden power within us,
and they never stop. They try to
school it out of us; they try
to preach and pray it out
of us. They throw the heavy
nets of “social duty” upon us.
They’ll even attempt to subdue
this vital force with
pharmaceuticals and therapy
to help guide you away from
its potent influence.

They need you to become like
the rest; mechanical, obedient,
chained to your social role.

But for some people, this force
is too strong to be tamed
or throttled back. It wants
to be heard and to throw off
the shackles of the life-denying
demands of the status quo. To flip
over the tables of conventionality.
To obey its own laws.

Our bodies are the mere instrument
for this deeper force, and our
clothes disguise the lie
of our physical form.

Through it all, I kept that dark
guardian in there,
tucked back in the shadows,
revealing no signs to the
external world
of its eternal influence.
At times, when I’m alone,
it emerges from the immortal sea
of the unconscious and yanks me
from clutches of the profane
and into an erotic aloofness
where the illusions fade
and the boundaries disintegrate
and the desire for mortal gain
dissolves.

Though I do not know how I got here,
or what it all means, I know that the
same hidden force which has
carried me to this moment
will also guide me to that
imperishable hour we
call fate.

And I will doff the gross garments
of a false existence and
ascend that sanctified mountain,
emancipated at last from the
lifeless stone of reality,
reborn into the eternal realm
of celestial vistas and enchanted
gardens, a place beyond the
illusions of opposites, where the
struggle between life and death,
dark and light, heaven and hell
finally subsides,
and a radical unification
of mind, body, and soul
ensues, and I will dance
that Dionysian dance
on the other side of the veil
where flower-haired nymphs’ bathe
in misty morning ponds,
and the water lilies
are forever in bloom,
and the lush, streamside meadows
rejoice beneath
the infinite blue skies
as the cosmic wind
scatters
what little remains
of my war-torn
flesh.

The ultimate return.

World Affairs from the Sidewalks of Life

“We must love one another or die.”
― W.H. Auden


All of us, thrown into the slaughterhouse
of history,
thrown into a world of assassinated Caesars
and crucified Christs, into a woeful
world of bombs and mayhem, a
world one madman away
from nuclear annihilation,
a world of rich buffoons and
censored truthtellers, a world
where cancer eats the flesh,
and inflation eats the earnings,
and progress eats the soul.

I emerge from a grimy dive bar on E 4th Street
and sit on a gratified bench in the 3pm hot sun
to watch the frantic folks babble on phones
and walk with an unholy detachment
on the sidewalks of an evanescent
empire.

Everything is noisy and zooming by,
fast fast fast,
the great symphony of modernity —
cheap amusements, diversions, billboards of
smiling stooges, steel and cement and wifi,
guns and knives and needles,
conmen, thieves, and murderers,
fat wallets placed in the back pockets
of adderall-souled bigshots looking for the kill,
but hey, I just sit here half-drunk in the
golden afternoon and admire the girls
because the world is ugly
and they’re still pretty in their rustling skirts,
and their lavender smiles make me smile
as they stroll by my saluting eyes.

O America America America
what have you done to your children, these cogs
in a relentless wheel, these nervous news-watchers,
these swollen toads of bitterness
and anxiety who wage war on
their own lives. Goddamnit,
this place reeks of mediocrity and madness,
I say let us burn burn burn the hollow creeds
and the bureaucratic rules of this
waiver signing society and let us revive the
Promethean fire of the dead poets.
Whitman
Lorca
Rimbaud
Verlaine
Hölderlin
Rilke
Ginsberg
Hesse
Baudelaire
Auden
have more to offer than any of these pathetic
media folks who have a
vested interest in keeping you and I
“adjusted” to the soulless
status quo.

Let us burn burn burn
the headlines of treachery
and the flimsy thrones of all these
pallid-hearted politicians, and
let us do away with the life-negating
dogmas and all the
stupidity
corruption
greed
war
murder
and the childish delusions
that sustain these idiotic inanities
of a belligerent world.

Luckily the ravens still flutter
in the demented wind
and the lilies bloom somewhere far off
in spite of the murderous affairs
of the world, and here I am,
sitting in the golden afternoon
on the incomprehensible streets of mankind
half-drunk with a 4 day beard
thinking of nothing valuable,
nothing special,
nothing revolutionary,
just sitting there in the
golden gloom of the afternoon
dreaming about pine forests
and jugs of wine
and old trains
slicing through prairies
while quietly awaiting
the next lavender smile
to pass by.

The Artist

“…if he is an artist, he will be compelled to make sacrifices which worldly people find absurd and unnecessary. In following the inner light he will inevitably choose… poverty. And, if he has in him the makings of a great artist, he may renounce everything, even his art.”
~ Henry Miller


Disillusioned but alive, 
he saunters slowly 
through the haze of hysteria 
in an age of a pretentious
outrage.

He’s a man these days who 
communes more with the dead 
than the living, a man who finds more 
beauty in the shadows than the light, a 
man with empty pockets and
a bulging soul - 
an offbeat dreamer,
an artist
a malcontent 
condemned
to the eternal fire of his
poetic defiance.

In the petty hours of the light, 
he holds his cards close to my chest 
and does his best to compromise 
with what’s been given. His hat 
sits low to disguise the eyes 
of an exile, forever roving the forlorn 
streets of a hijacked future
alone 
the tide of his ancient blood 
ebbing
beneath disintegrating flesh.

Most nights, you’ll find him in his old shack 
on the outskirts of the civilized world 
sitting in the mushroom glow 
of a midnight candle 
with a vintage hardpack 
in his hands. When he reads 
he no longer agrees or disagrees
with the sentiments of the dead. 
He’s at ease among words, a curious 
spectator stirred by the lyrical upchuck 
of the collective unconscious.

The priests and pundits and academics 
are no longer served by his attention.
He’d rather meditate on the paintings 
of Van Gogh, Hopper, and Andrew Wyeth 
than to castrate his senses with the 
senseless sermons of the day.

The bloodless lusts of the 
over-civilized eye had always 
sickened him - their idolatry
of appearances, their exaggerations 
of purity, their incessant need for 
glittering illusions to go on living. 
Never re-examining the 
underlying deceptions 
that sustain their lives, they live in the 
clutches of cliches, their voices 
dull and tremulous, their minds 
easily susceptible to the assault
of the most ludicrous 
demagoguery.

He owns very little and holds no delusions 
of duty, status or causes. Out of his 
deliberate austerity he’s bestowed the 
ultimate silence needed to create 
perilously from the deepest crevices of 
his ancient soul, transforming dream to flesh,
triumphing over the manufactured illusions
of a frantic era.

Possessed by some daemonic being 
higher than himself, there he is, 
alone, as the world burns, working
in the dark, in the shadows, 
stretching his sensibilities to 
the brink of madness, divulging 
his whole soul to the destructive force 
of reality, beautifying the lies
that lead to the ultimate
truth.

He’s the awakener,
the emancipator,
a defector of the 
human race.

He’s an artist.

Get Off Your Knees — It’s the Archaic Revival

Art: Justin Estcourt

The long night of human history
is drawing at last to
its conclusion.

— Terence McKenna


Look at how politicized
we’ve all become
these days.

Look at the barbed wire
and the needless shit
that surrounds our
unpoetic lives.

Look at the vast idiocy
we see in the cities and
on our screens.

Look at us —
inattentive drudges,
heavy on information yet
starved of intuition and
insight, paralyzed by
irrational fear.

Hardly anyone thinks or feels
outside the group or the party
or the race or the nation
they belong to.

Critical thinking is irreparable
and our readymade opinions
are quite expected
along with the synthetic
desires we hold.

Even the most intelligent minds
among us lean towards conformity —
particularly when their careers
and reputations depend on it.

Institutional compliance
trumps truth-seeking.

Social media algorithms
nurture our biases and
predispositions, managing
our will and amplifying
our delusions.

Predictably,
the virus has ramped up
human indecencies to an
unimaginable intensity —
extreme tribalism, greed, stupidity,
callousness, and an unthinking
allegiance to authority.

CNN, NPR, MSNBC,
and Fox News
are laughable entities
that finagle the worldviews
of the feeble-minded.

The worst among us are the
smug censors who shut down
inquiry in the name of protection;
those who’ve deceived themselves
with bought and paid for
certainties.

Our massive institutions today
want to keep the brilliant light
of your consciousness buried
deep in the partisan mud.

They want you in debt and
highly medicated. They want
you over-politicized and
dehumanized
and spiritually crippled
like most of us have
become.

They rely on your dependency
to thrive. They don’t want you
to take charge of your own health,
or your own finances, or your
own mind, body, and soul.

No, No, No.

They want you weak and lethargic,
regurgitating mottos, outraged,
gulping down copious amounts
of pharmaceuticals while forever
sitting in front of screens
airing out your petty grievances,
scrolling away the hours
of your trance-like life.

They know they have you.

That’s why they threaten to throw you
behind bars if you ever stray too far
from their narrative.

That’s why they get away with sending
our youth overseas to die for lies
while deeming you a threat for asking
too many questions

That’s why they spy on your tendencies
and have you on constant surveillance
and know what desires you inhabit,
and you’re okay with it because
it’s for your safety, you tell
yourself.

They want you to FEAR because they know
that hate is born out of fear. And with our
deep-seated fears, we are impotent
and shoot arrows at each other
as they sit back and watch
with glee.

I can’t help but be reminded of the poetic
lyrics of a great Bob Dylan song:

Sometimes I think this whole world
Is one big prison yard
Some of us are prisoners
The rest of us are guards

How do we revive the art of living
inside this dysfunctional culture?
How do we revitalize the human soul
before it’s too late?

Perhaps it comes with a
renunciation of it all.

Get off your knees.
Consume less — media and material.
Detach yourself from the charade.
Use your unique mind to express
yourself. Take control of your own life.
Your own consciousness. Quit feeding it
shit. Quit following gurus and politicians
and leaders and start listening to the
whispers of your own BEING.

Instead of waiting around for the
return of Christ, recognize
the Christ within.

Get off your knees.

It’s time.

It’s time for a mystical reimagining,
a reconnection to the essential,
a recapturing of the authentic,
a reevaluation of the validity
of reality, an Archaic Revival —
what Terence Mckenna called
“the process of reawakening
awareness of traditional
attitudes toward
nature.”

There’s no bureaucracy or institution
coming to set things right.

It’s on you and me.

Unlearning is our salvation —
a heedful defiance
of the junk values perpetuated
by an egocentric culture.

But it takes a little guts and hard work
to reevaluate what’s been embedded
in us since birth. It takes a willing
crucifixion to commit yourself
to the tormenting task of
deconditioning
yourself from the
“dehumanizing values”
handed down to us as
“control icons.”

Most of us are just a tad too
busy, secure, comfortable,
or set in our ways to
take on the task.

So here we are…

Uneasy and restless, always on
the move, forever running away
from our inner reality,
into the enticing door
of the cultural
trap.

Unhappy.
Asleep.
Afraid.

I’ll end with the words of the great poet,
Rainer Maria Rilke:

“If we surrendered
to earth’s intelligence
we could rise up rooted,
like trees.

Instead we entangle ourselves
in knots of our own making
and struggle, lonely and
confused.”

Prisoners of Plenty

It’s Friday, the day after thanksgiving
and bloated bodies, infused
with fierce anticipation of scoring
even more trinkets and gadgets
at a discount on credit,
have been up since 1 am,
perhaps earlier, standing
in long lines in the dark
in front of stores.
Some even bring tents
to get an earlier
advantage.
.
As soon as the doors open, they’ll
eagerly make their way in,
nudging and pushing and slobbering,
stripped of the remaining remnants
of human decency, with the sole
intention of possessing
another object they
think will bring them
happiness
or improve upon their inner
despondency.

Sanctimonious servants of the
status quo, forever kneeling
at the altar of heedless
consumption, their
only function.

And Proust and Emerson remain
unread
and the wildflowers on the
side of the road remain
unnoticed
as with the stars that hang
in the night.

One of the last great American poets
died this week at the ripe
old age of 94.

Robert Bly.

However, like his words,
his death is of no
consequence
to the early morning consumers
elbowing their way to
the TV section.

They have never read anything
or pondered on anything
beyond the advertisements
suggested to them.

“Reclaiming the sacred in our lives
naturally brings us close once more
to the wellsprings of poetry,”
writes the poet. But our ears
are no longer equipped
to hear his cry.

The very few important figures
in the western world have always
been ignored.

And everything that is beautiful
and profound has been buried
beneath the ruins of false progress
and the illusion of security.

Children of a hollowed-out empire,
habitual flesh with a childlike
understanding of what’s
going on in the world, they
continue their relentless quest
to satisfy their synthetic
appetites,
relinquishing their lives to an
insidious system
that sustains itself merely
by their submission,
their fidelity.

They deem this — good citizenship.
Patriotism.

The American Dream at last,
an endless commercial, an emotional
wasteland plagued with shopping centers,
quick-marts, theme parks, and prisons,
the sunny afternoon suburban streets
as desolate as the souls who inhabit them,
the good folks bustling and bantering,
gorging themselves to death on Netflix
and the never-ending news cycle,
spouting facts to conceal
their illiteracy.

Crowds
Consumption
Congestion
Chaos

The epitome of
modernity.

Prisoners of plenty,
severed from the
spirit.

I Don’t Believe You

I don’t believe you,
you with maimed souls
sermonizing from high up
in your ivory towers,
you pretend purveyors of justice,
you apostles of false purity who
deliberately misconstrue your
impotence for prudence,
you morose molesters of the lifeblood
who spew mindless mantras
and parade around labels
that you convert to absolutes,
you who attempt to garble truths
to accommodate your
muddled worldview —
to massage your feeble sensibilities,
falsifying human existence
to make virtue out of your fragility,
you crusaders of sterility,
you champions of censorship
who sneer beneath banners,
unfucked,
unloved,
untested,
detesting everything
that reeks of vitality
as you type away
with uncalloused fingers
in the basement of life, waging
digital war on a world
that you’re too frail-spirited
to revel in.

Everything Has Been Figured Out, Except How To Live


“Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in a pretty and well preserved body, but rather to skid in broadside in a cloud of smoke, thoroughly used up, totally worn out, and loudly proclaiming “Wow! What a Ride!”

― Hunter S. Thompson


I might not be the most enthusiastic fan of the modern world but I do love this accidental, nonsensical life I’ve been given.

I do, and I love trains and railroads and Redwing boots and cigars and old books and dead poets and Bob Dylan. I do, and I love midnight bonfires and mountain air and wildflower meadows and moonlit deserts and strong whiskey and aimless road trips and little black coffee diners on forgotten highways.
 
That’s where it’s at for me.

There’s too much wild beauty out there beyond the barbed wire theater of civilization to resign yourself fully to all its demands. And I want to inhale it, all of it, even the unfathomable mysteries that lie beyond the narrow limits of human consciousness.

Give it to me.

I must’ve been one of those rail-riding hoboes in my last life, I swear, or a vagabond, or hell, maybe that’s where I’m heading next, I don’t know.

A restless wanderer, some guy with a name like Pistil Pete or T-Bone Slim — a scuffed up boot-wearing conscientious grumbler of the modern malaise who chose to ignore, in the words of Kerouac, “the general demand [to] consume production and therefore have to work for the privilege of consuming, all that crap… imprisoned in a system of work, produce, consume, work, produce, consume.”

What most are amused by, bores me. I find no solace in this arid land of flashing billboards and middle-class sensibilities.

I’d rather read the old books of Hermann Hesse and write mediocre poems under the trees than waste away in front of screens in air-conditioned tombs. To “abandon oneself to the cruel stream of life… to play with the joys of the senses and pay for them with suffering,” as Hesse writes. To get away from the endless bickering and insurance plans of a stringent civilization.

In the words of Huxley, “I don’t want comfort. I want God, I want poetry, I want real danger, I want freedom, I want goodness. I want sin.”

The hoboes had it figured out early on — those soulful renegades living on the edge of nowhere who chose a more dangerous yet deliberate type of existence, a life of adventure and wandering, taking odd jobs here and there so as to never be tied down to any one place.

George Santayana reminds us that “the world is too much with us, and we are too much with ourselves. We need sometimes to escape into open solitudes, into aimlessness, into the moral holiday of running some pure haphazard, in order to sharpen the edge of life, to taste hardship, and to be compelled to work desperately for a moment at no matter what.”

With little, the spirit is more. Less security, more wonder. Less asphalt, more soil. Life exists outside the womb of comfort. As Dylan sings, he not busy being born is busy dying.

Ah, yes. I don’t want to live with my future in the past. A renunciation is needed. Yes, there it is, explosions of light, fire fire fire, my veins burst from the throbbing gush of LIFE.

Roaring dreams of escaping the racket and slicing through that old countryside forever chasing the infinite sky, escaping into an unregimented existence, napping under the pines like our ancestors of old, never knowing the day of the week or the time or even the year, just a nameless solitary figure singing the poems of Whitman out there somewhere and chugging jugs of red wine with barefoot gypsy girls in the snoozy shade of sycamores on sunny afternoons. 
 
Hell yes. Tell us something Walt Whitman: 
 
Afoot and light-hearted I take to the open road.
Healthy, free, the world before me.

The long brown path before me leading me wherever I choose.
Henceforth, I ask not good fortune, I myself am good fortune.
Henceforth, I whimper no more, postpone no more, need nothing.” 

 

Ah yes, just imagine it.

To say the hell with it all and toss the remaining ashes of your life into the ancient winds of fate, saddling up and ridin’ those ole rusty abstract rails across the country in a beat-up boxcar, a disciple of the unknown, just a driftin’ and dreamin’ as that lonesome whistle wails into the moonlit night.
 
“Grow up, I got bills to pay, you know,” groans the people from their cubicles and their heavily mortgaged homes. 
 
I know you do. And you have people to impress and soul-crushing obligations to meet and prisonlike relationships you’re trapped in — I know. You don’t have the time to live. Or the extra money or the freedom to etch out your own little unique existence on this unforgiving earth. I know. The lawn needs mowing. The kids need chauffeuring. The boss has a deadline. The game is on TV.

I know. I know. I know. 
 
But as the great Henry Miller reminded us: “How illustrative, this attitude, of the woeful resignation men and women succumb to! Surely everyone realizes, at some point along the way, that he is capable of living a far better life than the one he has chosen. What stays him, usually, is the fear of the sacrifices involved. (Even to relinquish his chains seems like a sacrifice.)”
 
Pick a weekend and live dangerously. The heart needs it. The heart wants it. The heart yearns for the gamble.

Get away from the noisy costume party of society and hurl yourself into the blood and guts of life. Break some rules that have been imposed on you from the outside. 
 
Say “fuck it” for once. Just one weekend — move into the unknown. Be alive with all the senses heightened. Try it. Go alone. Camp, hike, skydive, read mind-altering books that challenge your cozy beliefs, take a bunch of shrooms next to a waterfall and write a poem or create a painting. 

Do it. Rage Rage Rage against the sterile trap of the modern world. Unplug from the machine and get out there and revitalize that inner wolf that’s been snuffed out by too many dreary days of corporate policy and dull obligations.

Become an aimless wanderer in some part of the country you’ve been dying to see. Set out on foot. Sleep on the earth or in hostiles. Talk to strangers. Forget safety and security and luxury — luxury in the words of a poet, is a way of being ignorant, comfortably.

Forget formalities, too. Formalities are nothing but we adults stroking each other’s egos; an exaggeration of purity as a way to deny our own anuses, our own creatureliness. They are lies… as most things tend to be in our progress-centered, egocentric society.
 
It’s time to shatter the facade of status and BECOME. Uncivilize a bit. Get dirty. Open yourself up to the “whimsicalities of chance.”

Go and see and taste every flavor of this fleeting life, do it. Gulp down the inevitable hardships and fatigue with a grin and try to exist solely on luck and wits for a while. Put a hole in your television and escape into the wild winds of the unfamiliar.

Be not afraid to wake in the primal mist of dawn in some distant unknown region of the land, completely free from the sterile demands of a soul-dead culture.

Once again, in the words of Kerouac:

While looking for the light, 
you may suddenly be devoured
by the darkness
and find the true light.

 
Do it. Try it out. Get out there beyond the ordinary life of respectability and acceptance and go headlong. It just might stir that longtime suppressed divine spark buried in your unconscious. You might finally doff the little mask that you’ve become religiously attached to and change the entire course of your desperately starving life. 
 
“Live simply and wisely. Forget, forgive, renounce, abdicate…To make living itself an art, that is the goal,” as Henry Miller writes. 
 
I want to end this post with a brief passage from a Portuguese poet who so happens to be one of the greatest goddamn writers the world has ever known — Fernando Pessoa:
 
Ah, to depart! By whatever means and to whatever place!
To set out across the waves, across unknown perils, across the sea!

To go Far, to go Wide, toward Abstract Distance, 
Indefinitely, through deep and mysterious nights,
Carried like dust by the winds, by the gales!
To go, go, go once and for all!
All of my blood lusts for wings!
I rush through my imagination in torrents!
I trample myself underfoot, I growl, I hurtle!
My yearnings burst into foam
And my flesh is a wave crashing into cliffs!

The Artist and his Shadow

Photo: Gabriel Guerrero Caroca

He is unfit for this life, this
unduly managed era devoid
of poesy and freedom, a time
of useless haste in honor of
the illusion of progress,
a life starving of life, a life
dripping with chains as dull-witted
bureaucrats and political
imbeciles run amok.

There’s something dark and peculiar in him
that forbids his full participation in
the blatant absurdity of
today’s world.

Even as a child he felt something
fierce was there in him — an unrest, an
unrealized freedom, something
shadowy but knowing,
a deep-seated primordial power
groping endlessly in the
apocalyptical night.

It’s still there, stirring in the
inmost abyss, this esoteric ghost,
this daemon, dwelling
in the shadows of the soul,
convulsing and throbbing like a
diabolical gypsy in the throes
of ecstasy.

He tries, at times, to wash it away
with morality and decency, bowing
down to the sanctified normalcy
of his fellow humans. But still,
it’s there, raging, taunting him,
hounding him, forcing him
out of the prison of SELF
and into the creative realm,
the destructive realm,
into the elemental kingdom
of existence.

It calls forth the spirit
into a higher dominion of being
and yearns for expression, this
enigmatic drive,
even at the cost of reputation
and alliance
and it tempts the body, the vehicle
of the soul, to thrive with
Dionysian defiance,
and it wants to flip over the table
of conventionalities and go to war
with all customary forms and
cultural norms.

It’s this archaic force that burns from
the most profound depths
of his being, an insatiable rapture
that coalesces the dark of the unconscious
with the universal light, arousing
the sheer realization of his
utter nothingness – the
true awakening.

He could hardly put on a mask and
endure the typical occupation, or
partake in the social games
of the ordinary, blindly acting
out his role on the stage of culture,
following the fashions of the
day, living uncritically as a
conditioned child.

Undefinable,
with no creed or title and a
fierce contempt for conceptual
reality, he’s in spiritual exile
from the place and time
he was born into. Terribly
alone among his contemporaries,
misunderstood
by an arid society, an
aimless wanderer, he is, laughed at
by the well-adjusted, their minds
chloroformed with low-grade
entertainment, their meanings
and desires built into them
from the outside.

The more emaciated they are inwardly,
the showier they become outwardly.

But he cares nothing of status
and spectacle or the unimaginative
interests of the bourgeois, so he
ventures onward
towards
an austere existence,
choosing the possibility of
poverty over pointless labor,
autonomy over dependency,
art over it all –

an unconditional renunciation
of a secure existence in
search of the sublime.

He’s in flight from the endless trivialities
that make up the modern world, choosing
instead to live perilously close to
the primal forces within.

His fate, he knows. He is doomed
to suffer alone.

When uninspired, the firm grip of melancholy
takes hold and he becomes the unhappiest
of mortals, endlessly sloshing around in
a cesspool of despair, nourishing
his apathy with whiskey and
mascara-smeared love.

But when enthused, he’s lit up,
galvanized, electrified, and his
heart is filled to the brim
with poetic rapture and the
forces at work within him
become relentless. He is
transformed into a mere
instrument of supremely
powerful forces,
consecrating and sacrificing
every fiber of his BEING to the
supreme task of
CREATION –
quenching the thirst
of a bone-dry
generation.

“O melodies above me in the infinite,
To you, to you, I rise.”

What Happens When We Awaken From This Sleep Called Life?

Art: Jose Roosevelt

Wonder what happens when we awaken
from this sleep called life?


Will we finally have the courage to drink deeply
from the golden chalice? Will we once again
nourish our bodies on the forbidden fruit
of the celestial tree?


Will we find out what and who we really
are as we awaken on the unseen side
of conceptual reality?

Will the chains of death be severed
and the doors of perception
cleansed?


Will we see that the SELF, our identity
manufactured out of the deceptive dust
of our past, was an illusion all along
and we’ve been playing by the rules
of someone else’s game?


Will the love we restrain
finally be unleashed
like a mad wildfire sweeping across
the dry lands of desolation?


Will we finally doff our masks
and let our shadows dance
like demented gypsies
in the garden of passion
under the Dionysus
sky?


What happens when we awaken
from this sleep called life?


Will we transcend our superficial notions of destiny,
life, and death, and come to discover the
symbols behind the ancient myths?

If you die before you die,
You won’t die when
you die.


Will we reclaim our souls
from the hands of
the guru,
the priest,
the politician?


Will we see past the hierarchical pyramid scheme
of old bishops and dead dogmas and life-denying
commandments and return back to
the archaic spirit?


Will we stop calling ourselves
Christian,
Hindu,
Muslim,
Buddhist,
because we ultimately recognize
the universal light within
where the truth flows
unmolested?


Will we have finally EXPERIENCED directly
what we’ve branded as “God” —
the ground of being,
the God beyond our idea of god,
“the MIND behind nature,”
the God outside our mildewed beliefs
and passed-down concepts of the god
we think we know, and come to the
immaculate realization
that all along
you and I harbored it —
the astonishingly light of your
own being was it all along.


After our long and ruthlessly
misguided exile, will the little
chubby cherubs
posted up at the gates
of Eden
finally lift
their flaming
swords,
and welcome us back
home?

What happens when we awaken
from this sleep called life?

The Hermit of Merrimack River

Most of the luxuries, and many of the so-called comforts of life, are not only indispensable, but positive hinderances to the elevation of mankind. With respect to luxuries and comforts, the wisest have ever lived a more simple and meagre life than the poor.”

― Henry David Thoreau


He’s known by the locals as “River Dave.”

A man who simply walked away from the trifling world of comfort and culture and into the womb of the natural world.

The small-framed 81-year-old off-the-grid hermit, David Lidstone, has been living in a little old raggedy cabin in the woods of New Hampshire for the last three decades. Alone. Barebones living to the core, River Dave says that he’s happier than all the billionaires that inhabit this crazy world.

A modern-day Thoreau who never quite made it back to town. With his Tolstoian white beard veiling his habitual smile and an old walking stick clutched in his ancient hand, River Dave moseys all around his tiny little homestead, a bother to no one. Like Thoreau, he’d rather sit on a pumpkin, and have it all to himself, than be crowded on a velvet cushion.

He’s a man who has, in the poetic words of Emerson, “retained the spirit of infancy even into the era of manhood. His intercourse with heaven and earth becomes his daily food. In the presence of nature a wild delight runs through the man, in spite of real sorrows.”

Alone but never lonely, he keeps busy, a deliberate kind of busyness that living a self-sufficient life requires. He enjoys the company of his pets, chickens, honey bees, and, occasionally, the random kayaker that he makes friends with on the river and invites up to his place to tell stories about his long life.

Dave’s Cabin

River Dave’s wooden, two-level A-frame cabin is located back in the cut of a 73-acre parcel of land along the Merrimack River. He grows his own food there and has solar panels for power and gets his water from a nearby stream.

“I do all my wiring, all my plumbing, I’ve done every bit of it. There isn’t a nail in this house I didn’t drive myself,” he says proudly to a local newspaper reporter who came out to interview him a few years back.

On long summer afternoons, you might find him chopping wood or tending to his garden or hiking up a little wooded hill to sit in an old lonesome chair that overlooks the river. “This is where I talk to the eagles,” he tells us.

“So why are you living out here, Dave, why you doing it?” asks the reporter.

“To get away from people like you,” he replies with a wink and a chuckle.

“Fair enough, Dave, fair enough,” and they both laugh and slap each other on the back.

In mid July, River Dave ran into a big problem that threatened his whole livelihood. His cabin is allegedly located on private property, and the 86-year-old landowner now wants him off despite the property sitting untouched with no future plans of development.

On July 15th, men with badges and guns came out to River Dave’s place in the woods and arrested the old man for a civil contempt sanction for refusing to leave. When he arrived at the courthouse, Dave looked the judge in the eyes, called him a few unpleasant names under his breath, and stated that under no circumstance would he comply with the order to leave the cabin. “You came with your guns, you arrested me, brought me in here, you’ve got all my possessions. You keep ‘em,’ I’ll sit here with your uniform on until I rot, sir.”

Sitting as a solitary figure in a little jail cell didn’t bother Dave all too much. Unlike most folks, he thrives in solitude. He’s in good company when alone, always has been.

“I told that judge, you can step on little people, but I will bite your ankle,” he says.

On the very day of his court hearing, Dave got the unfortunate news that the cabin that he built from the ground up himself, the cabin he called home for 27 years, had been burnt to the ground. This happened last week.

Dave believes that his cabin was intentionally burned down. “There was nothing in there to set it,” he said. “The cats usually don’t smoke very much.”

Out of jail and homeless, the local community came to his support. They set up an “Official” GoFundMe Page to help find Dave a new home and he’s completely overwhelmed with gratitude for the outpouring of love he has received.

Material things come and go, he tells us, they don’t last, but relationships last forever, having good relationships with people is what matters most.

River Dave is a rare breed among us civilized humans. He chooses poverty over wealth, solitude over the crowd, sitting under trees rather than behind screens. He is a man with few needs, an old man with a childlike soul who simply carved out a little finite plot of existence in the infinite cosmos — a place where he could live authentically and unbothered by the demands of a broken world.

Unintentionally, perhaps Dave is advocating a new way of life — a life lived closer to the earth, an outdoors life lived in solidarity with all living things. Perhaps he wants us to understand that we are all a part of everything — the forests and the skies and the mountains and rivers and even to yesterday’s fallen leaves that crunch under our worn boots.

He doesn’t have a lot of time left. But at his age time doesn’t exist. In the brilliant words of the poet Ranier Maria Rilke, “Take time as nothing but a tiny step within the presence of the infinite.”

Each day is a triumph. Each moment a miracle. Each breath a blessing.

He has no desire for the endless fetters and trinkets of the man-made world. He has no need to involve himself with the excessive commotion of modernity. He simply wants to live out the remaining days of his life tucked back in a place where the “flowers flaunt their fragrance” and “every fruit demands a kiss.” A place secluded in nature where “the call of life never ends.”

A place, once again, to call home.