you’re not gonna change it, darlin’

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the world is in disarray, darlin’,
and that’s the way it always has been
and always will be. this is its normal state,
it’s tragic and fascinating at the same time.

the vast fields of gold & honey
are encircled by raging rivers
of blood and tears.

you’re not going to change it, darlin’.

I know your college professors have
plagued your mind with subversive ideas
of change; change at a cost of yielding
your essence to the false idol of “equality”,
but’s it’s a lie, darlin’, I promise you…
the unintended consequences will be far worse
than the evils you’re trying to eradicate.

you have animosity & rage
building up within you,
you’re becoming corrupted by your beliefs,
this sometimes happens
when a belief system is in doubt,
can’t you see it, darlin’?

can’t you see what you’re becoming?

instead of listening and pondering the rationale
of opposing voices, you want them silenced.
you routinely inject a dose of ad hominem
as a scapegoat to divert attention away
from the debate, you erect a strawman, lumping
your opponents into detestable groups
to muddy up their character instead of
dealing face to face with the argument.

this is what you’ve become.

they’ve molded you into an instrument
in someone else’s symphony. a pawn in
someone else’s game. refuse, darlin’
don’t lose yourself to some odious ideology
that breeds resentment towards the
hierarchical structure you find yourself in,
it’s a no-win situation.

I promise you, darlin’
you’re not going to smash the system
you’re not going to alter it
you’re not going to level it out.
your time & energy are too precious
to waste on such a futile endeavor.

because in truth, we’re all just thrown
into this chaotic catastrophe as lost
transients who take on a few
decades of its infinite expansion.

endless suffering, prejudices,
and inequity are part of the game
darlin’, they’re inescapable
in a world of duplicitous hearts,
where that fine line rifts between
good and evil.

so go ahead, clamor for more laws,
shun your neighbors and cling tighter
to your predictable politics, give up
a little more in exchange for the illusion
of security, write your congressman,
join the trendy campaign, hashtag
your way straight to utopia, darlin’

sermonize to us all on social media
like you do so well

keep it up

tell us the way of the world,
tell us what the philosophers
neglected to inform us
tell us our proper role
on this unforgiving planet
tell us your bland ideas
tell us your irrational fears
tell us your cunning pleas

however, darlin’, you’re not going
to change it, your groupthink,
herd-minded viewpoints are voiced
loud and clear, but it means nothing.

your resentment of the flourishing
makes you a victim of a deep-seated
nihilistic despair, and instead of trying
to rise through the muck, you yearn to bring
everyone down to your pathetic level.

you were taught this to be virtuous, noble,
you’ve come to despise the individual,
you’ve come to hate him, which is
why you mimic the masses and castoff
responsibility for your own miserable life.

you’ve been caught up in the cobwebs
of your culture, darlin’. you’re too weak
to push through. they’ve got you.

this is why you’re bitter and saturated
with an anti-realist belief system.
the way you perceive outer reality
is just a reflection of your inner world.

the only REAL thing you can do
is change who you are.

behave in little ways
to make yourself a
healthier, wiser
more creative
person.

you have to go at it alone, though.
the majority, the crowd, is never right.

think bigger, reflect deeper, speak truthfully,
take on a bigger load, put some skin
in the game. find out who you are,
fix your unlived, broken self
first, before you attempt
in some vain way
to save the
world.

it’s the only way.

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Between the Voids

 

_DSC3294“I want to be with those who know secret things or else alone.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke

Just imagine an endless void,
infinitely dark and bound by no space
and time. A perpetual midnight
with no stars or moons. An
eternal blackness.
Then a flash.
A light, a breath, a life.
Milliseconds later another flash.
The last gasp, darkness, death.

Back into it.

This is our life and our death.
A mere flicker in the spectrum of time.
An instance in eternity.
What do we do in between
the mysterious voids?
What do we do
with the fleeting miracle
of the light?

After the first spark,
we soon realize that the second
spark is swiftly approaching
and we fall to our knees
in angst and fear
of the looming darkness
rather than celebrating
the impossible odds
of the first spark.

In the face of the dying
of the light, we’ve
allowed ourselves to be consumed
by the masses
succumbing to a maddening
9-5 routine lifestyle
of work, TV, bed, repeat.
With weekends filled
with other predictable normalcies.

No creation,
no exploration,
no diving into the depths
of the great works of
wisdom and art.
No effort to taste
the world beyond
the recognizable margins
of our own lot.

It just seems like an evil hoax,
a bad dream,
a soulless way to spend
the fleeting days
of a brief
accidental
life.

Most live it, or are conditioned to live it,
or at least endure it
because we have bills to pay,
cars to drive, and mouths to feed.

It’s an honorable feat.

But deep down we know
it’s a killer. As Thoreau once observed,
“the mass of men lead lives
of quiet desperation.”

We’re running around mad
in our own little mad world, always doing
something that brings no joy,
darting here and there
with no time to think or reflect,
no time to just sit under a sycamore
and ponder on the mere chance
of our existence.

The late great mythologist
Joseph Campbell recognized that
“We’re so engaged in doing things
to achieve purposes of outer value that we forget
the inner value,
the rapture that is associated
with being alive.”

Maybe this explains the lunacy and self-ignorance
we see around our bankrupt country.
Seems we’ve politicized our minds
and neglected our souls
to the point of hysteria
while hiding behind worn-out ideologies,
mindlessly swallowing the nonsense
we hear from empty suits
in positions of power.

We cling to the buoy
of politics
and religion
and cheap entertainment
to stay
afloat in the whirling
sea of anguish.

We know nothing
but our mouths
reason otherwise

It’s like we’re trapped in a theater
playing constant reruns of a bad melodrama
with no exit.

It’s a hell of a predicament we find ourselves in.
Sartre just might’ve been right when he said that
“Everything has been figured out
except how to live.”

Or as Oscar Wilde once said, “To live
is the rarest thing in the world.
Most people exist, that is all.”

Maybe we’ve lost what it means to be alive.

We’re not our jobs or the labels society pins
to us, we’re not the daily routine,
the lunch breaks, the clock-out time,
the bitterness, the lifelessness.

We’re so much more.

Life is a rapture, my friends.
It’s creativity,
the yearning to create something
of value or beauty,
like an average poem
or a photograph that captures
a moment in time, or a stunning piece
of furniture. It’s being
intoxicated on books and dreams,
staying infatuated with the mystery of it all.
It’s seeing things and going places, journeying
alone under burnt-out skies,
finding out what you’re all about,
and what its all about.
There’s just too much to know & experience
to settle down
in a little pocket of the planet
doing mediocre things,
thinking ordinary thoughts,
and speaking in common ways.

As Carl Sagan reminded us,
“Somewhere,
something incredible
is waiting to be known.

old man, rage

he’s 86 years old.
frail and weak in a hospital gown
depleted of long-term hope,
settles for the paradise of tomorrow.

tomorrow, oh tomorrow, what a beautiful idea.
tomorrow, now scarce, has never been more
beloved by the old man. never really thought about.

it’s when things become limited
that they’re truly appreciated.

tap tap tap

the doctor, young, oh so young, and vibrant
walks in his room, puts the charts up
on the wall and begins.

he tells the old man that he has a leaky heart valve.
it needs to be fixed.
or he only has months to live.
the doctor tells him,
make no mistake, this surgery is high risk
due to its invasiveness and your age,
but I think it’s a risk that is worth taking.

it is up to you.

the old man, tired, tired of hospital visits, doctors, bad news,
just so tired, sits back and looks out the window.
it is a pleasant fall day. he watches the commotion
of life out there,
and it was beautiful. he pictured himself,
sitting under an oak in the shade of a sunlit day,
as he often loved to do, sipping his coffee
and smoking his cigar.

just one more day.

Oh, just to see those crazy squirrels
run all around and to hear those annoying birds.

just one more time.

just to watch one more ballgame or to
hear the beautiful voice of george jones.
that’s all he wanted. he was man with
nothing left but memories. and he lived in them,
fully, and only occasionally did he come back.
circumstances like this forced him back,
and he loathed it.

his sad, bloodshot eyes had seen the death of siblings,
two wives and a daughter. they’ve seen war and all its agony.
they’ve seen love and love lost.

he was an eyewitness during the
most tragically beautiful century in history,
in all its glory
and in all its depravity.

oh, how he had guts in youth.
in the hills of West Virginia,
the women, the drinking, life, the future.
he lives in these memories.
he was happy once.

and now he’s reduced to a choice. a hard one too.
risk dying now for a little longer life,
or take no risk now,
and take death on.

what a choice.

he’s a man who hadn’t taken many
risks in life. he was content with
the average, the routine.

and now,
after the risks were weighed and pondered.
the ultimate choice was finally decided.

the old man, sitting upright in the
hospital bed, sipping his coffee,
peeking out the window of eternity
chose not to go gently into
that good night. he chose to rage,
rage against the dying of the light.

there’s still a little more
coffee in that mug,
a little more smoke
left on that cigar.

rage. rage.

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damnation

it was the most worrisome hours of the night,
when the stars float idly over the carnage
and the moonlight, casting its illumination
onto the rubble, as the smoke seeps
through the crevices, up into the damnation.

the smell of fire loiters through the
godless night, and the sporadic sounds of
gunfire and extinction
shrouds the little village,
the odor of death, keeping its people
in constant dread, hiding in plain
sight, waiting for the pillage
of another night.

the olive trees, once prominent
among this region, are no more. nature
has been pushed out, replaced by uniformed men,
check points, cement walls and barbwire, caged
inside a barren territory, unforgiving.

there is no free will in their existence.
the gods have been murdered, resurrected
and remade among the grime of the cursed land.
the maker, retreating,
powerless to tame his own creation,
the people who kill in his name, and those who
profess obedience to his word, nations,
crusading with their ignorance
across unfamiliar lands,
plundering and killing those
who refuse to disband
their way of living. their truth.

the desolate place is eerily
beautiful at night. the sun,
while tanning faces of indifference on
the other side of the world, hasn’t yet
revealed the aftermath here.
the midnight butchery,
the billowing smoke,
the screams, the weeping souls.

the iniquities of the night are veiled
until that first blush of dawn.
but the new day will render
the midnight sins, like
it always has, the ultimate surrender,
and the horrified heavens, broken,
looking down upon the devilish havoc,
and on those unspoken.

lifeless children thrown in the streets,
as weeping mothers fall to their knees.
gargling, moaning, last push of air from
mangled lungs can be heard under the debris.
the anguish erases fear and evolves into anger.
you can hear the tasteless cheers from strangers
who’ve been conditioned to accept this reality as
part of the mission. it’s a sad world.

but we all know what to expect,
a subdued generation, who look
to the deceivers for information,
drunk with selfish desires, sitting at ease
while the world is on fire.

damn man it’s so sad to see
diluted hearts plagued with apathy,
weak and conformed to madness that is.

there’s gotta be people out there who care,
there’s gotta be people out there
who will no longer turn their heads.
is this what we have become?
the normalcy of despair?
is there dignity in ignorantly
cheering the oppressors?
do you truly believe you are
on the side of the lesser?

let us read, read, read
and perceive through
unfiltered eyes, oh please,
i promise we’d see
the world as something
contrary to what we believe.

Reflections on Nature, Mankind and Resurrection

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The sun is just peering over the horizon as I sit here by this serene lake. I’m alone apart from for an older gentleman in the distance walking his dog. The tired oaks stand with dignity in their silence. The palms gently quiver from a light wind off the water. It is springtime here and you can smell the Jasmine in the breeze. On this quiet morning, dew lingers on the park benches, the leaves and the old wooden dock that reaches out to eternity. All around me you can hear nature come alive. It’s in these hours that we find what we usually spend a lifetime seeking. Liveliness. Peace.

As the gray morning is broken up by the sun’s powerful rays slicing through the overcast, the Great Heron swoops down inches from the water and sores back up to pose admirably on the old dock. The Belted Kingfisher, with its energetic flight, hovers just above the lake and then dives at his prey, disrupting the silence. Hundreds of crows chirp and flutter all around, playing, singing and looking for food on the shoreline. It’s musical. The world is asleep but nature is stirring with potent vitality. With all this life awakening, one wonders how this liveliness, this beauty, this existence could possibly have a beginning or an end. It seems infinite. It is I believe.

Sitting here drinking my coffee,  I’m questioning why people treat each other so harsh. In this vast majestic world we all reside in, why do we get bogged down and overtaken by trivial dramas and futile quarrels. Sitting here at this moment you realize, at least for an instant, that yesterday and tomorrow are illusions. They are nothing. Only right now is real, this moment. And it’s amazing when you recognize this; nature helps tremendously. When you sit as an observer in nature it un-teaches all that’s been taught, all that’s been conditioned in our minds; it chips away at all the opinions we’ve accumulated over the years, mostly from other people. Knowledge is always in the past.

When alone, and you empty yourself of everything, the past doesn’t cast its shadow. Past and future have no meaning. This is where it’s at. This is the nirvana that we seek.

What I’m finding out is that we learn more about life by watching the sunrise and the birds come alive, seeing and hearing the awakening of nature around us than we can by reading any book or ancient doctrine. There is truth here and you feel it in all your senses. I believe the poet William Blake understood this when he beautifully put these words together:

“To see a World in a Grain of Sand 
And a Heaven in a Wild Flower, 
Hold Infinity in the palm of your hand 
And Eternity in an hour.” 

Now the sun is dissipating the coolness of the morning. The warmth touches my face as the sun rises higher in the blue sky. The low hovering clouds that were prominent before sunrise have slowly disintegrated, giving way to a colorful morning.

I often wonder why we are all so serious. Why do we worry so much. Why do we live in a world of superficiality, walking around, fighting, bickering, and constantly at each other’s throats over the most trivial of matters. Why do we exalt in pride and our self-righteous beliefs. Why are we susceptible to the most obvious falsehoods. Why do we live most of our lives asleep and what does it mean to be awake. These are the questions hitting me this morning.

To be fully alive, like what I’m seeing this morning by the lake, means living deliberately with dignity. It means finding joy and letting it engulf you. It means, as the words of Joseph Campbell come to mind, following your bliss. It’s about being who you are and not yielding to anyone or anything. Being truly alive is entering the woods where there is no path. It’s about making your own, leaving your own unique footprints on this heavily trampled earth. It means creating things that will outlive you. This is what being alive and living with purpose is all about.

A strong scent of orange blossoms hit me as a sudden wind came off the water. I sipped my coffee in the immense stillness of the morning. An abrupt sound of flailing wings from the heron taking flight turns my head. The sky has faded into a great coalescence of color and the light haze over the lake began lifting.

I think to myself how man has broken this earth. Tribalism, nationalism and religious idealism continues to wreak havoc on this planet. My flag is better than your flag. My God is the truth and your God is not. Mine mine mine is better than yours yours yours. This infantile mentality is the cause of everything evil in this world. We fight amongst each other while politicians exult in their power over the divided many. And religious leaders, with their devious power, implant a dangerous world outlook in the hungry minds that crave false hope to continue on. They create a world of duality, causing eyes to look at the world through the narrow lenses of good and evil.

These days, individuals don’t want to make their own decisions; they need someone in power to guide them. We look to authority figures for constant guidance. We rarely ever challenge or disobey. We strut along with full compliance, even to rules and laws that ruffle our conscious. People, robbed of their essence, are incapable of thinking beyond their provincial upbringing, unable to empathize with other humans that are unlike themselves. We put more trust in the corrupt institutions around us, whether it’s the state, academia or the church, than we do our own selves and our neighbors.

Unfortunately, with this unwavering trust in institutions, we’ve elevated to power the most depraved men in society. These are the same men who’ve tricked us into supporting the bloodshed of our fellow-man under the pretense of good verse evil. We are all saddened when a child is tragically killed but seem to be unfazed when the State does it with drone strikes under the language of war. We tend to compartmentalize our morality and feelings, detaching ourselves from what’s really going on, in hopes of living guilt free in our own little world, refusing to accept our indirect responsibility for these crimes.

Mankind is not inherently evil, but if somehow we can be convinced that the prescribed evil is good, we’re sure to adopt and execute it. All of us believe that murder is evil, but if committed by one in uniform, it is praised and glorified. Stealing is wrong, but if done by politicians in the language of “for the greater good”, then it’s fine. Redefining evil through political language is how the ruling class gains control of the people, making them do what they want.

This leaves us at a place in life where living freely and harmoniously with all things is a far-reaching utopia. We’ve bought into what the great powers have wanted us to buy into—disunion and conflict. Politicians feed off of this division knowing the masses will misplace blame for the ills of society. The people in general, drunk on entertainment and ignorance, will find it difficult to uncover a cure for the spreading cancer of society because we ignore the source and only treat and complain about the symptoms. We live comfortably and securely in a world of falsehoods and hardly take the time to read and genuinely learn. Our wisdom today is gained through sound bites and headlines. We barricade ourselves behind comfy little lies and chastise those who speak truths. And with this bleak ignorance we’re incapable of seeing through the deliberate misinformation bombarded on us.

There is hope. I believe, like nature all around this morning, people are slowly coming alive. Questions are starting to be asked. Technology is making it harder and harder for these institutions to hide their atrocities. A ruling system that functions by political violence will surely implode. As soon as the majority adheres to the virtues of truth and wisdom, and reclaim the essence of individualism and freedom, change will ensue.

People now are starting to make their way to the lake shore. A photographer sets up on the dock to capture shots of the many birds. A couple walks hand in hand, taking in the beauty of the horizon over the lake. The chirps from the crows are louder and sun is now sprinkling its radiance on the water. The world is fully awake now, and I sit and watch this resurrection with complete emptiness.

Until We Go Back

we didn’t desire any one thing, but we
did have a craving for it all.
we wanted the whole world
and nothing less.
we wanted the fields and the sky
the sun and moon, the stars
and the heavens and all the hells.

we lived for the moment.
in the moment.
to the moment.

I remember it often–
stars dripping their radiance
on naked backs
and the evening breeze
carrying the music of passion
through moonlit pines.

midnight women with lipstick smiles
cigarette smoke lingering on tequila tongues
high heels held steady on rotating hips,
young eyes
perfumed back seats,
wild driving on lifeless streets.
hell yes,

yesterday and tomorrow
never materialized
in our minds,
we didn’t worry or regret
we just lived,

never tired after worn out miles
romancing on rainy nights
with mischievous smiles
seduced by 3 days of drunkenness
with Gomorrah eyes on dreamy faces

hand in hand wobbling
around cobble-stone streets
damp from tears
of winos on corners
under street lamps
sipping beers.

the horizon in the distance
was always blurred
and the cold walls of duty
did not confine us,
we were never tormented
by expectations,
we didn’t live dormant
running from temptations,

hell no, man

we were beautifully mad,
the only fruitful way
to be in a parasitical world
that feeds off of your everything.

the only way.

yes, it is all so clear

displaced we are, confused
in a land of hindrance, where every
move is determined by opinions
of empty minds.

we must go back.

break free.

don’t be blind, baby,
society is one big lie.
its got us right where
it wants us. comfortably
consumed in the mundane.

see through it darlin’,

we must break free
and go back.

or else…

this world we know
will continue
to be a dungeon…

until we go back
until we go back
until we go back