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.”

The Way

Sitting out here all alone in the soft light
of a beautiful blue sky morning in the south,
I can see it: the escape.

The way.

If you follow this grassy footpath here,
it cuts through the endless charades
of the everyday world and leads you
to a lush little forest.
And as you enter this forest
at the darkest point,
a transcendence occurs,
and there’s an explosion
of indescribable bliss
that sends shockwaves
through your fragile heart,
and the ego dissolves, and
suddenly, you’re hoisted out
of the illusive polarities of the profane
and into the divine realm of
unimaginable love
and grace.

And it’s here that the gates of Eden slowly
creak open. There’s a calm breeze. The
lilacs and jasmine and tulips
are in full bloom under
the moon.

And as you open your reborn eyes for the first time,
the unseen side of reality is revealed, the voice
of salvation is heard, the golden eternity.
And now that you broke through,
it’s time to come back.

And when you come back to this world,
you are forever changed. You are
now a deconditioned force,
the unseeing of the seeing,
a beacon of light on the hazy shores
of the tumultuous seas of life,
guiding the disoriented ships
back home.

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.”

His Only Victory

He’s a good man but he believes in politics 
and therefore, an irrational man.

Not a dumb man by any means 
but a man 
hypnotized, 
paralyzed,
stupefied,
like a staunch believer
at a tent revival, his hands 
are raised for the taking.
 
He’s a man whose mind 
is pummeled with certainties 
and thus, dead to 
new truths.

He gives unwavering allegiance 
to a certain political party 
in spite of all its corruption 
and culpabilities 
and will defend these vices 
by voicing that the other party 
has countless more.

You’ll see him on most days, 
bored and defeated, 
posting clichéd political memes 
on his little social media 
account that hardly anyone 
follows.

His only victory.

He doesn’t post to inform people, 
or bring forth a fresh perspective, 
no no no, 
his only goal is to point out the other party’s
hypocrisies and evilness while remaining 
completely blind and silent to his own.

He swims in a vast sea of manufactured
lies spawned from the party line. His only 
aim is to seek out information that 
confirms his biases.

He’s a good man but he believes in politics 
and therefore, an unprincipled man.

He’s only against war if the other party wages it.
He’s only for a program if his own party advocates it.
Different points of view are deemed “conspiratorial.”

He’s not after the truth or justice or mercy
even though he’ll constantly tell you he is.

If the solution lies on the other side of the 
political spectrum, not only will he 
refuse to acknowledge it, he’ll double down 
on his own misguided stance and will 
hurl childlike insults to any
opponent.

Sometimes, 
perhaps after a glass of wine or two,
he’ll have the gall to try to convert 
those on the outside over to his 
delusional side of the issue.

His only victory.

He won’t lift a finger to help 
because his opinions are all that’s 
required for change.

He’s a conformist disguised as a revolutionary. 
A hoodwinked citizen cloaked in enlightenment. 
A man who identifies his sense of being 
with the existing institutional entities.

He’s a man that Nietzsche long ago predicted 
would eventually arise - the last man. 
A man who sits more than he moves. 
A man who regurgitates slogans 
because he’s incapable of grappling with
the complexity of new ideas
and concepts.

He’s a good man but an unheroic man 
floundering in his own sloth. A man 
who looks to politics for salvation. 
A man who hasn’t fucked his wife 
in months. A man who despises 
the current system but lives 
lavishly within it.

When the evening comes 
you will surely find him 
in the dark corner of his home 
typing away his latest political diatribe, 
his grinning face lit up by the screen, 
his wife, alone in bed,
reaching into the nightstand, 
slightly opening her legs, 
as the soft vibration purrs 
into the night…
her only victory.

Forever in Exile

Photo by Kevin Cable

Disarray rules the day like always
and the people are no longer fun
so I hit the road like Jack Kerouac,
a dharma bum on the run,
never lookin’ back till I etch
my cathartic initials
into the sun.

I’m a man these days
of what they fashionably call
“privilege”, a fabricated villain among
the well-adjusted, eternally marred
by the bile of the self-righteous
who seem to be eternally perched
on the ivory tower pedestal of their
pretend merits.

Yet, here I am, bursting
with divine emptiness, ejaculating
my heretical goo into the filtered
face of a sedated culture, dressed
casually in the raggedy
rags of time,
forever in exile, a dignified
nobody in search of
the sublime.

Half alive, half dead
traversing through the
sugar sand of dread
in this digital wasteland,
contented by a peculiar
peace
as an unperturbed
spectator
to the glorious undoing
of a hypochondriac
civilization.

I see them, I see them gaze
upon the unpacked suitcase
in the corner,
weak in vice,
weak in virtue,
I hear the zealous hum of the
new religion, mortgaged souls
dumping the burden
of their lives into the
polluted river of dead creeds,
desperately retreating
from the answers to the
questions they no longer ask,
hushing the whispers
of their own blood
only to hide behind
the lies of their
required mask.

No doubt,
I’m still here in the
diminishing flesh
as a reluctant participant in
this rigged game, but my
spirit is long gone
like an unseen skylark
hovering somewhere beyond
this Faustian amusement park
chanting in the predawn dark,
no longer harboring the
provincial heart
that bleeds in the alley
of Babylon.

The road is the way.

My tattered rucksack
strapped to my back
and a fresh stogie in my
mouth, I take on the jubilant
journey out of the known,
lingering
here in the desert and
there in the mountains,
alone, nursing the
divine spark with my
own marrow.

Tonight, I find a secluded spot
down by the creek
under the white glow
of the moon where I
take on the earth with all my
body and soul and lie
like a wounded doe
around the warmth
of the fire,
descending
down from the
never ending
three-dimensional fight
onto the shores of midnight
where I watch my shadow
dissolve into the new
born light.

Sitting in the Cemetery

Now and then I like to stroll into an old cemetery and just sit for a few moments in complete silence under the midday sun.

It’s strange I know but being there alone feels like being in a little sanctuary far from the suicidal world that we’ve created for ourselves. The birds, a subtle hum of the afternoon, the dead flowers scattered around the decrepit gravestones – just taking it all in.

Being fully there and pondering on the impermanence of it all, the brevity of breath, death death death – to feel it deeply, to let it quiver, to be completely frightened to the core by the mystery of it. That’s perspective.

I’m standing still in the green grass with rotting bones beneath my feet – bones that were once draped with skin, hair, and blood vessels – bones that were once people who suffered, loved, and had secrets, and jobs, and children, and strong beliefs only to forever vanish from the pulse of life. Mostly forgotten.

It’s a conscious elevating experience every time. A mid-day meditation that forces you into a state of gratefulness for the modest little miracles around you – the ant, the dandelion on the sidewalk, the mole on your neck, the fallen leaves under the mighty oak.

To acknowledge the shortness of life and to live not in denial but with complete awareness of our imminent death – to keep it as a companion in your front pocket as a reminder of our brief visitation on this amazing planet.

I can’t help but be reminded of what the great German philosopher, Martin Heidegger, once said: “If I take death into my life, acknowledge it, and face it squarely, I will free myself from the anxiety of death and the pettiness of life – and only then will I be free to become myself.”

Solitary Seeker

You’re alone. I’m alone.
Hardly anyone knows it.
But we are all alone. Everything
You think you need to possess
Is already inside you. Nothing
Lasts outside of you.

All beliefs are borrowed.
No belief is true.
Our mere existence and this
Mysterious light called
Consciousness
That flickers
In our unique brains
Is the only
TRUTH.

I am. Life is.

You look to abstractions for salvation.
You look to a partner for validation.
You look to the priest for confirmation.
You look to politicians for security.
You look to dogma for eternity.
You look to money for identity.

But these things are all false
Comforts – an illusionary
Ticket to salvation.
Only you have the power to
Save yourself.
And it’s a long harsh
But worthy journey to
Arrive at this sacred
Realization.

Do it.
Do it despite
It all.
Take it
On.

Free yourself from
The manufactured
Illusions of the
World.

Be willing to depart from
The noisy congregation
Of a standardized
Culture.

Become a solitary
Seeker. Be always
Ready to risk the
Known for the
Unknown.

Find the throbbing silence
Among the senseless
Mayhem. See and
Listen, not with
Eyes and Ears, but with
The Soul.

Leave certainties
At the door
And BE…
Simple and serene
Like the trees and the streams
And you’ll finally come to see
That life is nothing but a
Dream.

Peace

As the summer flowers wilt and die
and the ruthless year creeps ever so slowly
to its belated demise; as the cities burn
with fire and rage and the monuments
of yesterday are toppled; as the political
rift derives to murderous blows and a
sea of hate and vitriol flows from
the partisan hearts of humanity
into the streets and
neighborhoods
of our nation —

there’s a little fireplace burning
in a one room cabin deep in the cut
on the outskirts of small town
in Vermont; her and I, alone,
serenaded by the subtle wind
that rattles the almost bare
branches from the legion of
trees
as the fallen golden
leaves
blossom in the late
October mud
where the only commotion–

the flames in the darkness
that flicker off her naked body
as she walks, with
that seductive sway,
towards the bed
in the eerie silence
of a cold cold
world.

Writer’s Block

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I sit in front of the blank white screen
in the dark staring like a dunce into
the glow as Miles Davis plays
on a little speaker
on the desk.

I’m paralyzed in spirit,
fingers too lethargic to move,
mind too hazy to put words
together.

I see death flickering on the walls,
and the shadows of the night
taunt me as I attempt the first
word. I delete it. I’m sinking
helplessly into the floor, into
the abyss of nothingness.

I slap myself in the face and write a
sentence and then backspace it.
It’s shit. I’m shit.

The hand reaches for the bottle.
The thumb lights the cigar.

I sit and stare.
I sit and stare.
Miles plays on.

Come here pretty girl, maybe
a little taste of that love residue
will pull me out of the jaws
of defeat, huh? Yeah, that’s it,
that’s it.

I sit and stare.
I sit and stare.
Miles plays on.

Who am I to write anything,
I haven’t lived,
I haven’t done anything worth
writing about. No one cares,
no one reads,
no one sees or cares
about anything outside the vicinity
of the HEADLINES and their mortgaged
homes and TV addictions. Fuck it
man, it’s useless. A waste
of fleeting time. Everyone’s
minds are already made up
anyways so why let this
demon possess you?

What gave you the right to put
words on the screen
and hurl them into the
infinite
digital sea
for people to
read?

Perhaps I’m just
a phony,
a swindler,
a fake.

Who am I to write.
Who am I to say things.
Just give it up.
It’s a losing game.
Maybe
it’s all been said,
maybe
it doesn’t need to be said,
maybe
the words don’t resonate,
maybe
there are too many words, and
too many voices
and we should
all just sit quietly
in the storm
and wait for the
inevitable.

No. No. No.

Straighten up you pathetic
motherfucker, get a hold of
yourself, say the damn thing,
say the thing that people
are afraid to say, say it,
reveal it,
you have no allegiances,
you have no party, you’re
politically homeless, a vagabond,
no one owns you like those
frauds in magazines and newspapers,
you’re not getting paid for this shit,
you have no editor or a specific audience
to cater to,
say the thing from the heart,
say the thing that stirs WITHIN
and the gods will be with you,
say it while the
buildings crumble
and cities burn
and rivers run dry,
say it as men with soiled souls
censor and guard against anything
resembling a hint of truth,
say it as the fish
vomit dioxins in the sea
and the elephants hemorrhage in the sun
and the bumblebees in the wild
landscapes go extinct,
say it as the law of diminishing
marginal returns strangle the
empire, say it as the midnight
descends over the lifeless bones
of a glassy-eyed generation,
say it, say it, say it,
make the world shake
and the worldviews rattle, sprinkle
a little doubt over the plague of
certainties, and, like Prometheus –
unleash the fire and preserve
only that which is worth saving –
which is very little.

Hold tight to the illusion
that it matters.

Straighten up, Erik, and say it.
As the poet once said, “writing
about a writer’s block
is better than not
writing at all.”

Larimer Street Bar

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My Red Wing boots are still
dusty from 6 days of sauntering
in the Rocky Mountains
as I walk into a Larimer Street bar
in Denver where hipsters drink craft
beer on weekday afternoons.

I sit amid blurred faces and gaze into
the eyes of the cultured youth. The men
wear flowered shirts with slim jeans
cutoff at the shins and the woman
are young and half-pretty and
and they have dark tattoos on their
skull white skin and their chats
are filled with frivolous drama
that splashes their random
existence with a sense of
significance.

They are at odds now with everything
that they will one day become.

The beers I sip help cope with
the sights and sounds around me.

It’s only been a few hours
since I left behind the mountains
and the meadows
and the stars and moon
and the untainted air that held me
for the last few days, and I already
feel like hell.

I’d rather be on the trail, alone again,
surrounded by wildflowers, instead,
I’m in the city and the city demands
compliance and submission
and I’m not good
at either.

It’s hard to breathe here.

It only takes a short time of sleeping
under the stars, totally enshrouded
in nature to realize how over
civilized we’ve all become.

We live in a man-made world
and suffer man-made ailments
and seek man-made remedies.

The violence we see today is merely
the early rumblings of the eventual
breakdown of an unstable
empire.

Obedience is the crutch for the
weak-kneed. Security is hemlock
to the spirit. The chains we
all carry around are about
to get heavier.

Just around the corner from where I sit
is a row of tents lined on the sidewalks
inhabited by demented vagrants. A man
with no teeth and no shoes gives the
middle finger to a light pole. A whore
strides past the bar window with scarred
heels and smeared lipstick across
her cheek.

The creatures of the night are alive
looking for a small win.

Across the street there’s a business
party going on at an elegant bar
where intoxicated hotshots with
sterile souls conversate on careers
and the shape of the economy
and the upcoming presidential
election.

I look out at the corner and see two policemen
lingering over a double amputee man
who is flailing on the pavement
bellowing incoherent jargon
under the street lights.

It’s all too much.

I want to flee to the mountains
and lie down on the pine-needled
floor of the forest in the sweet
shade of a Douglas Fur like
I did the day before.

I want to sip cold creek water and
reacquaint myself with the
fragmented light of sunrise
coming through the aspens
at dawn.

I want to be serenaded once again by
the warbling of the ancient birds
high up in the Ponderosa Pine.

I want to remain where life is
free and wild
and devoid of the awful stench
of a polluted culture.

My flight leaves in the morning. I down
my last sip of beer and walk out into the
dark night as the sirens close in.

Somewhere the Chrysanthemums are
blooming in the late summer
wind. It’s not here.