Sunday, July 27, 2014

Parts Unknown

A Report from The Field

"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it's time to pause and reflect"
-Mark Twain

For My Friend Mr Bourdain

I don't want to be a message. Id rather be a messenger, and if this life has a message, can I read it? Sometimes its a convoluted path of rewrites on the, not recorded.
Typos, poor sentence construction, times what my friend Richard , the trickster calls obtuse.
So be it because it's life, its living...not some painting nailed to a wall. You either get it or you don't and no money changes hands. If one person reads this or that one or a hundred, theres no cloying desire to be relevant unless someone decides this or that fits. I read what I wrote four years ago and think who is that person? Who wrote this crap? But thats life as we know it or maybe we don't and thats the point...playing with what others think is solid ground. Lets rearrange the furniture in here.

 I sat on my lawn chair chain smoking in the garage thinking dark thoughts as I stared out onto the carefully coiffed suburban landscape lit with a glaring sun. Another bout of pleurisy is making my rib cage ache.

Effects, tangible from what could be called a death wish or simply a loan being called as the inside is perhaps the outside as above so below. Seeing oneself as a symptom of habituation, denial and the sort of sleep walking defiance one takes while dangling one's feet off a precipice. Twain rightfully framed the situation as follows: The fear of death follows from the fear of life. A man who lives fully is prepared to die at any time.”  

There is something to be said about cocoons. They seem to proliferate in an infinite variety, he thought. It could be a flat screen television of a suburban home copied from some lost vision of a romantic Americana, a pastoral recreation of the mind, or inversely what Baudelaire called the neurosis of trimming hedges into right angles, the endless trimming of lawns. Perhaps that applies to the mind.
The world can hide as well but it cannot run ...he thought. A phrase long forgotten in some amnesiac's blurred neurons flashed in my brain like a billboard lit by phosphor. The Future is Now.

Another thought floated past in the daydreams of this would be surveyor of perversity,mine or yours...lodged between Kafka and the last redoubt of Henry Ford, who grew to loathe what his creation had birthed to fruition and consequently smothered unpredictability like a lit cigarette under foot, only to find unsettling creatures that have been lurking and awaiting his consecration like wrathful deities..a kingdom of ants shackled to the cost of an illusive freedom that withered and dried up like the bouquet of flowers left on a grave he loathed to return to .

And so he built Greenfield Village, a pastoral cage of stage props that kept him apart and unconcerned with that something wicked that came calling on his door step at 3 am when he failed to ask himself the most pressing question of all...then what?

As I said, the variety of cocoons we inhabit is a thriving preoccupation but then again, everything purchased has a price that comes due sooner than later.

The librarian must have been sent from central casting dressed in corduroy peers through her thick glasses with a fixed quizzical fixed on my eyes as she slowly slides the thick book covered in grey dust across the counter at me. She murmured in a flat monotone.."I think this is called self immolation"

You want to write something serious..? Keith Richards wanders over to me and whispers something in my ear..”its serious enough.” Some bloated goon reeking of cheap vodka has a AK47 in one hand and a plush infants doll in the other holding it above his head like some f--king trophy. Corpses blown inside out. Gaza leveled into a pile of concrete dust. Cursed Jerusalem under an iron shield.
Yeats seemed to have pinned a moth on a cartography of my dark ruminations that afternoon. A rough beast slouching toward Bethlehem in a slow migration of eternal return. as a commentary on the cyclic nature within the lifespans of sloganeering as a short lived substitution for reflection as then "The ceremony of innocence is drowned. The best lack all conviction, while the worst are full of passionate intensity."

The spreading wildfires, massive funnel clouds whose vertices shatter communities into toothpicks. Car commercials and earthquakes in Oklahoma . God shilling credit cards to Christians to meet their match. Duck and cover..or was it roll?

Crowds gather for an evening’s entertainment overlooking the city cheering as missiles flare across the night sky. The National Guard protecting us from children in a life or death flight from poverty and death across thousands of miles of misery atop the so called death trains at the borders of a desert plain. Sludge from mountains of coal ash flow down a river.

Cash being stuffed into the pockets of shills. The hysterics spew the psychodramas into sloganeering shouts onto placards and banners..memes of lost considerations flying around in a whirlwind. You hear nothing in the roaring silence of a vacuum. Do you smell smoke?

The scavengers of human ghosts push and prod the tortured into a limelight for the sake of pushing hair care products. “Want this flashlight,?” he asks, “the batteries are almost dead...yeh it’s Sunday, so f--cking what? Lightning flashes as I type this. The ad hoc confederacies say to move on, we must move on..theres nothing here thats of any use beyond this place. William S Burroughs shouting across the ether. The cops choke a gentle black giant to the ground on a public sidewalk..the mayor decides to reschedule his day off as the midnight shift comes on duty. Outlaws come in a variety as well, some avoid something as simple as a tax on a pack of selling them on the street and another is the presumption of side stepping one's humanity for the sake of a costume that signifies to protect and serve.

I read the news today. Oh boy..You can have whiter teeth, you can get a paycheck shark loan, take the kids to Disneyworld. Just who are you fooling? I don’t know and I don’t want to know. "Is it my borrowed time or theirs? " he asks as his presumption would always be he would discretely slip away into eternal rest well ahead of any consequences. Now..he's not so sure as he pulls another cigarette from it's pack festooned with warning labels. Ruminations upon the multiplicity of differentiation and what became of abstractions such as progress upon a menu of sustenance and corruption..what was simple was lost in translation, or perhaps not.

Detroit that was to last a thousand years sell the paintings off the wall of a museum in a panic pay off for a toxic crack cocaine phantasmagorical fever dream that paved over the natural world..and now the wild grasses sway pushed up through the cracking sidewalks..survival is the highest bar to be grasped in the ruins.

The vile and the crass shout without a second thought as the commentators blithely comment on the contest as a spectator sport from the hermetically sealed confines of an electronic cocoon. Head injuries? A concussion of the conscience? Sociopaths as the leading stock market indicator. You can hide but you cannot run. In this there is the irony of the prospect within peace, of stilled voices superseded by the sound of the wind, lost streets that have no name whose history is buried far from prying eyes...Something obvious has been lost in an increasingly complex entanglement of territorial prerogatives , which is another form of cocoon..and it's a simple thing that might ring a faint bell..a shared community brought together face to remote critical assumptions, no anonymous fates, no technology required.

The next time you sit in a restaurant where you live look around you. Some faces may seem familiar enough to have come from your own family, some may be strangers but all are in communion with the simplest of needs that brings them together and that is sustenance and throughout this planet, there is no lack of variety as if there were no new worlds to conquer. My friend Anthony Bourdain  understands this and manages to continue to ruminate on our world over a simple meal, sometimes pricey but more often than not, what is common, what most enjoy together as community, as family, as societies and yet..he manages to look under the tablecloth that is the surface of such travelogues to find what ever truths there may be, some as difficult as Gaza, or Detroit, or the Ukraine.

Holding a mirror to humanity and that is to be admired regardless of what images are compelled to appear. This much every living creature shares and it requires no extraneous analysis as it is placed in front within the dissemination of multiplication, not division and yes, you can consider this a metaphor for a larger universe astonishingly simple that we have made an abstraction of...and yet when we abdicate..something returns to life renewing itself as it was there all along underneath the Detroit, one calls them "ghost gardens"

Turn on the radio. I hear music wafting over the dried blood on the pavement and smoke over there coming from the next block. ...the music grows louder as if broadcast through a tin can.

I think it's a lost message from the Continuum..delayed by light years echoing from over there under that sewer grate.


  1. month long journey ends on the morrow. I'll send pictures soon.

  2. Good to hear you survived your epic journey and I look forward to seeing and hearing about it. If you are like yours truly, you will need a month to reorient yourself to the routine, but sometimes the routine can be restorative depending on how things went ( hee-hee) Take care.