Tuesday, September 29, 2015

The Future Is An Open Plain

Janet sat in the lotus position at the base of the acacia tree.  Mara's army was relentless.  It raged, it cajoled.  Among the many lies it told her, a precious few truths sparkled like dewdrops in the dawn light.  The army assailed her night and day.  It teased at her desires, filling her at turns with yearning and revulsion.  For three days and three nights she endured voices that spoke over her and through her, voices that issued death threats and insults, or that tried to tempt her with promises of wealth beyond imagining.  Once, General Mara himself came before her arrayed in a cunning disguise -- that of true love.

He was seductive, but in the end he wafted away on the East wind.  Janet remained silent and unmoved.

Following the three days and three nights, Janet, still in the lotus position, spoke her first words in reply to the onslaught:  a few whispers of gratitude to the worlds of the living and the dead, and of compassion for all beings.  She then fell into a heavenly slumber, her dreams populated by singing birds and honest friends and flowers that swayed to sutras threaded in the breeze.  She felt as though she anchored the world and it pivoted around her.  She could see all the faces on Mount Sumeru; they looked content and serene, their inner fires harmonious with their Buddha smiles.

Janet has dreamed continuously ever since, and it is this dream in which we all live and die and are reborn, over and over again.  Namo amida butsu.

Monday, September 28, 2015

The Book: Introduction

Since 1977 I have written in my heart every sorrow, every loss, every slight, every fury.  I have watched and listened until it cost me almost everything.  Yet somehow I always found still more at the bottom of my purse.

Along the way, there have been such joys.  I felt exhilaration with the thunder, the fire, and the earthquake.  I've thrilled to cuisine, to music, to the company of men.  I've cried at the exquisite perfection of a sudden Spring rain.  I marveled at the beauty inherent in every face on a mid-town bus.  I have carried the dying to their graves and the newborn from their cribs.

There are times I feel I have always been.

Voices carry, but they come and go.  I remain to scribe the lusts and follies, the bonhomie and battles, the history and future of us all in this, the Book.

The Book


(PARTIAL) TABLE OF CONTENTS:

1.  Toltecs, Aztecs and Mayans:  The Vision Quest
2.  1917:  Benzedrine  (The Japanese)
3.  Other Voices, Other Rooms
4.  1936 - 1972
5.  Needles, Guns and Glass:  Lots of Laughs
6.  Altamont and the Psychic Wasteland
7.  The Rules
7a.  Pay to play, then pay after you play
7b.  You have to give to get
7c.  You must give once you've gotten
7d.  Notes on etiquette
8.  Shabu Madness
9.  The Council
10.  The Game
11. Cops and the People In The Wall
12. The Sylvan
13. Twisting to the End
14. The Gift
15. The King:  Shadows and The Man in the Hat
16. Three Methods of Time Travel
17. Revelations:  The Antichrist, The Beast, The Darkness, and The Light
18. Just Desserts
19. The Future Is An Open Plain

Saturday, September 26, 2015

Tip A 40 For All My Homies...

Lynne Spalding, Paolo Netto, Hudson, Rob Peacock, Peter Guerin:  I love all of you, and tip my pint to you.  Thank you for having lived your lives, and I will always honor you.  God bless, and best wishes...

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Dad At Colusa Regional Medical Center

When I was a little boy, my father would always tell me, "Life isn't fair."  But he was wrong, like he proved to be wrong about everything.  Life is exceedingly fair, and no one gets away with anything for very long.  My mother was more correct:  "It always catches up with you in the end and kicks your ass."  Whose to say?  It's not about naivete or cynicism, delusion or realism.  It's beyond blame and fault.  It's about memory.  How does our memory serve us?

In most non-sociopaths, memory is a faulty thing.  Better to rely on faith than on memory.  I personally have a memory like that of an elephant.  I can't remember specific calender dates (making me a bad plaintiff), but I can remember the tone and gist of what's come to pass.  I'm kind of unique.  (Also, I smell funny to some people, but that is a nonsequitur...)

If memory serves, I was subject to abuse at the hands of those who had me as their charge to keep.  I was mistreated, invaded, assaulted, constrained, and tormented.  I was subjected to chemical restraint at Saint Francis Medical Center in San Francisco -- illegal in the state of California.  I was told by the property management at 230 Eddy, "I don't want to know why you're qualified to live in subsidized housing.  Then I'd be guilty of discrimination."  I was told by my social worker at San Francisco's General Hospital's Ward 86 (get it?  You're 86'd:  the last bar you can be thrown out of in San Francisco) -- I was told this:  that in the case where I was powerless against the powerful, I was to blame for the situation in which I found myself.  The only defense those who did these things had was that it left no physical mark besides the cigarette burns I inflicted on myself in order to obey the voices, using pain to anchor myself in reality to save myself.

But this is not about me.  A lot has been about me, but this is about everyone but me.  I've never needed a boyfriend I could cuddle with more in my life.  I'd even sleep with Matthew Barney right now if it meant a modicum of comfort and a transient moment of bliss.  I'm so blind to the world of cause and effect sometimes, no matter how in it I am mired.

So my dad left the hospital against medical advice.  At least, that's their story and he's abiding by it.  There's only these key pieces of evidence I have:  he was non-ambulatory patient who for months had threatened to leave, and had accused staff of holding him against his will, but only last night did they call and say, "He's threatening to leave against medical advice."  I told them, "So all you have to do is refuse to assist him in leaving.  No sweat."  Then this morning, I got a call from dad saying he was at the casino and needed a ride home.  I assumed it was a bullshit call.  I phoned the medical center's skilled nursing facility and asked the nurses station, which is right next to my dad's room,, "Is he still there?"

She put me on hold.  Big tell.

She came back on the line to say he left AMA.  I swear to God (of whom the sociopaths have a certainty -- bless their hearts -- and in whom the rest of us have to gin up faith), I'm going to get a lawyer (possibly via this blog post) and have a case.  We are a poor, well-educated family which has always turned it's nose up at litigation.  But this smells like an out-of-court settlement situation.

What do you, the Perry Mason fans at home think?

Saturday, September 19, 2015

On-trend Right Now

Grunge.  Mia Zapata.  The Cramps.  Over-sized German Army coats.  Combat boots and floral print dresses.  "I smell sex and candy."  Winona Ryder in REALITY BITES.  Apple Martin.  Flannel.  Telenovelas.  Early Sarah Maclachlan.  Guided By Voices.  "Just because you're paranoid doesn't mean they're not after you."  Orgonne.  Philip K. Dick.  Diana Vreeland.  Group stalking.  VANITY FAIR.  "I'm a loser baby/so why don't you kill me."  MKUltra. Heroin.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

Movies That Were Unintentionally Hilarious: LUCY (2014)

Scarlett Johansson is the girl to party with.  Just don't get on her bad side.

Basically, she gets roped by the Korean mafia into being a drug mule for some of the best dope ever manufactured.  One of the heavies kicks her in the stomach, into which a bag of screaming shit is sewed, and the bag breaks.  She immediately overdoses and catches fire -- I mean, for real.  The girl over-amps and it's not just in her head:  she physically, objectively levitates and hits the ceiling, then flies around the room like a witch from Club Universe.  It just gets better from there...  "Hello, my name's Scarlett Johansson, and I look hot in Versace while I kill evil motherfuckers with my god-like brain."  She discovers a taste for this rather empowering successor to flakka and meth, and instead of crashing, burning, and going to rehab, essentially becomes a deity.  And of course, there's Morgan Freeman in a cash-grab role as the stentorian (when is he not stentorian?), avuncular neurologist she contacts for "help."  Not help with twelve stepping, but help slamming and jamming until the bitch is time travelling and divulging the secrets of the universe in a way that would make Philip K. Dick put down his rolled up dollar bill.

This empty calorie action romp is gleefully immoral (drugs really help you transcend time and space to become a ruler of the universe) and sabotages any case Luc Besson wanted to make about his issues with women.  I give it 4 out of 5 stars -- it had me screaming at the screen:  "Ooh girl, I wanna party with you!  I got some shit, come on over!"  Highly recommended for those of you at Walden House (although it's more triggering than BREAKING BAD.)

Friday, September 11, 2015

Wake Me Up When September Ends

Three thousand miles away, there was tiny little flyspeck me still semi-thwacked from partying the night before at my South of Market residence hotel.  I boarded the 21 Hayes outbound to go to my job as a Grants Assistant at Catholic Charities.  There, on the bus, I overheard two women talk about planes crashing into the World Trade Center in New York.  Not until I got to work did I understand the scope and breadth of the tragedy -- we all of us huddled around televisions in conference rooms as we watched the scene unfold over and over again.  America had been attacked, a city devastated.

Brian Cahill, then Executive Director of our agency, the mission of which was to serve San Francisco's needy, disabled and elderly, told us we had the option of staying at work or taking the rest of the day off.  I took off, on foot, to look over what I could of the city that had always been my home.  I walked from Hayes and Stanyan to Haight Street.  I was immediately struck by the silence.  Everything and everyone seemed unable to make a sound.  There were no planes, few vehicles, and no chatter on the sidewalks.  Pedestrians were pretty scarce, actually -- a tourist trap like Haight is usually thronged that part of the day, teeming with visitors.  The few people I saw were all gathered at those storefronts that had televisions on.  Those televisions were the only source of sound.  At a pay phone near Buena Vista, a handful of gutter punks stood around with the receiver off the hook and were feeding quarters into the phone and listening.  But I heard no words, no conversation.

I ended up at my boss Ruth's apartment, where we watched footage of a woman from some 80-something stories up drop her shoes out a window, and then jump.

It was horrifying, and that horror continued for years.  Today, the wounds inflicted that day are still gradually healing.  The scars will always be there.  September 11, 2001 was a day of heroism, fear, sorrow, shock, denial, anger, and in small, humble places, tenderness and caring.  As a human, a former meth user, and a Buddhist, I am of course absolutely aware that everything is relevant and everything is connected, that there is no inside exclusive of any outside, that all hearts that are living beat, and that even the dead speak.  In fact, though few are heard, can we say that anyone is truly silent?  Yet that day, at least in the surface world of samvrti satya (the apparent world of cause and effect), the silence was overwhelming.  It was necessary, unavoidable, blameless, appropriate -- yet it was also in some ways detrimental and crippling.  As the activists of the 80s reminded us, silence equals death; and didn't the NYPD always tell subway riders, "if you see something, say something?"

I guess we can debate which is more appropriate, silence or talk.  Then again, we can't have one without the other.

In an abrupt, 180 conclusion to this remembrance of an infamous day from a life-long Californian, I'd like to quote Willie Jolley:  "The past is a place of reference, not a place of residence."  I'm not going to criticize how anyone else observes today, but I'd just like to say I intend on avoiding television, accessing social media sparingly, and thrusting myself into the present as wholly as possibly.  Blessings and love to everyone.  Take care.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Taking The Bait

I've done it, you've done it, we've all at times done it.  (It can be a very fruitful pitfall, however -- I've so often been the recipient of blessings after having taken the bait.)  Still, this is worth keeping in mind:

"If you are willing to look at another person's behaviour toward you as a reflection of the state of their relationship with themselves rather than as a statement about your value as a person, then you will, over a period of time cease to react at all." - Yogi Bhajan

Sunday, September 6, 2015

Could You Repeat That?

Yes, everything you were saying during the last six years.  I didn't catch it -- I was busy listening to real people in the material world.  Artificially induced psychosis can be so difficult!

"SPEAK AMERICAN!"

Thank God Sarah Palin is from Alaska.  I'd be embarrassed if she were from California, and we've elected Ronald Reagan and Arnold Schwarznegger as governors.  Republican governors.  Yeesh.

Saturday, September 5, 2015

Who Hears Their Cranial Implant

Talk about "delusional belief systems" over and over again?  I have to admit, I'm a little stumped.