Thursday, October 6, 2022

A Window into Existence

Born into the scope of

sun and moon and stars and night

into mother’s sweet embrace

upon an ever-spinning and wondrous planet

servant to its parent star,

expelled from the womb of darkness

and transformation

in a state of sweet oblivion.


Born into the prospects for love and hunger

laughter and grief and

ceaseless adventure

with a unique genetic imprint

yet simply another member of

the human race – Homo sapiens.


Born into family and tribe and nation

yet forever alone with the

wonder and burden of self.


Born into a kaleidoscope of

emotions,

a labyrinth of escalating ideas,

the enigmatic world of dreams and

the wonder and enormity of

consciousness.


Born into

a living world,

a reality devoid of guarantees,

filled with the many textures

and surprising dimensions of

the unexpected.


Born into the living world

moving inexorably

along time’s arrow

tied to the cosmic symphony

ultimately destined to the finality of

the joy molecular.


Eventually to discover

there is no

singular solution to the

enigma of existence,

no one way to live a life,

no escape from

life’s ultimate conclusion,

no mysterious rescue,

no salvation from the

tenacious grip of reality

and the forward movement of time.


Ultimately to learn

the art of surrender

to the ultimate truth

that promises no alternative outcomes.


A magnificent and wildly haphazard

trajectory from birth

to death

within the rhapsody and dance

of the cosmos.

On occasion, my mind careens through my past and collides into the sweet and bitter taste of memories of friendships come and gone. Over the years I have experienced the deep loss associated with the death of many friends. The names that occur to me are Beatrice, Samiha, Najma, Warren, David, Bill, Chris, Robert, Nina, Noburu, Philip, Michael, Robert and others.

I imagine that they have all gathered, both living and dead, in one place as if summoned to a sumptuous feast filled with color, and light and erotic and sensory images of the fleeting past. At this gathering, I envision a continuous slideshow displayed on a big screen in an endless loop – you know the kind I am thinking of as on display in the memorials of the recently deceased. Such displays rarely if ever display the individuals involved not at their best and most gracious selves. At this imagined slideshow, there is no such inhibition.

All the beds slept in both luxurious and mundane with erstwhile partners. All the exquisite and banal couplings with organs engorged and engaged at the beckoning of love’s insatiable fever. All the anticipation realized or diminished. All the passion spent or eroded by circumstance. The dance and inherent rhythms of bodies in their thirst for both substance and pleasure.

All the friendships accumulated in idle remembrance and fond recollections over the years. The bond created with childhood friends on the block outside the tenement apartment (1E) in my Bronx neighborhood. Visions of sultry summer days with the neighborhood fire hydrant spewing its content, and the bitter cold of winter sequestered in our fortresses of snow and ice as we staged joyous assaults upon our manufactured enemies with our hastily made collections of snowball weaponry.

Friends and enemies intertwined within the web and matrix of all things past. All the intense conversations of youth; all terribly meaningful at the time, but more reminiscent of that self-absorption so characteristic of adolescence.

At this spontaneous banquet, the guests awaited an erudite statement of some significance from their host regarding why they were all summoned. With a great deal of embarrassment, I realized that I had nothing either cogent or significant to say to them. I was speechless. What I finally uttered was pathetically inadequate: I said, “You are all here by pure happenstance; how this came to happen is a mystery to me It seems to be the physical manifestation of one of my exotic thought dreams.” This comment was met by an agitated state of annoyance and confusion.

My dear friend Beatrice, who died many years ago at the young age of forty-one, was never one to mince her words, spoke out, “Are you kidding me, This is why I came out of my sweet repose!”

In a hurried attempt to rescue some semblance of respectability I then said, “Beatrice, I am sorry; I did not mean to offend. I have such fond memories of you. To all of you, my dearest friends, gathered here, my sincerest apologies. I just didn’t know what to say – I was overwhelmed by this amazing gathering. Since you are here, please enjoy yourselves.” For some reason, this pathetic explanation was considered plausible enough and the party continued. Many of those present had no connection whatsoever with anyone else. I did my best to introduce as many as I could to others. As a result, many stories were exchanged that provoked uninhibited laughter, surprise, amazement and sometime disbelief. It turned out to be a wonderful event.

I noted that of those in attendance, a preponderance were women. This reality reflected the fact that I have always felt more comfortable in the company of women than with those of the same gender. However, regardless of their sexual orientation, they were all kindred spirits to me. I have remained in contact with some of these friends, but many have moved on with their lives. I wonder about them and where there lives have taken them.

In life, we accumulate friends, lovers, companions, acquaintances and colleagues. The experiences that are associated with them are all stored in long-term memory – to be called upon later. In life, one is born into a family of one kind or another, a locality we recognize as place and a tribe or nation. Bundled with all of these intricate and interwoven facets are a particular language(s), culture and an unwritten code of acceptable behavior. In this way norms are established that are viewed as natural to young and innocent minds filled with enthusiasm and excitement in the mere and daunting prospect of living. It is only later in life that these imposed values are subjected to scrutiny and questioned within the elaborate matrix of the thinking brain.

Golden Moment

Outside in Early Morning

hours before dawn

camping on the oregon coast

full autumn moon

breaking free from the

embrace of tenacious clouds,

castes its light

upon my solitary figure

creating a multitude of shadows

everywhere.



A flood of clarity

fills my being

the subtleties and magnificence of

this wondrous convergence of

air and sky and the moon’s caress

upon the living world

awakens me.



As a creature bless with consciousness

transient and fallible

yet capable of understanding

the true nature of my

minuscule place within

the wondrous nature of the cosmos.



A golden moment

I want to share

with dearest Julia,

here we stand within

our brief sojourn

with reality

uncluttered

by the human propensity

for distraction.

Friday, July 15, 2022

Beauty and its Manifestations

 




Modern humans who are living in the world where reality itself has been manipulated and distorted by the imposition of an artificial and contrived environment have become disconnected from the intrinsic beauty of existence. This disconnect I believe is the source of much of the upheaval and apparent violent and destructive behavior of so many individuals.

There seems to be an unravelling of the social order. Turmoil, confusion and fear seems to have taken residence within the fabric of a society that has placed far too much emphasis on the individual at the expense of the common good. The dissonant nature of this kind of existence stripped of meaning has placed humanity on a collision course with a dystopic future.

Beauty can be found everywhere. It is everywhere apparent once the veil of the make-believe has been shattered. It is resident in every moment –

In the dance of sunlight in the morning sky,

in the infinite textures of light and shadow

that expose the diversity of the natural world,

within the myriad of expressions of the human face and

the wondrous wealth of life that permeates

this most incredible planet.


Beauty is resident within

every breath,

with the way the oceans greet the shoreline,

within the timber and rhythm of conversation,

the wondrous flight of birds,

the sheer power of storms,

the incessant pull of the moon and the

power of night,


Beauty encircles the day with

outstretched arms,

embraces the fiery displays

of sunset and starlight in

the dome of the evening sky.


Beauty reflects the symmetry

of the simplest flower,

swirling movement of rushing rivers

power of wind,

tempestuous seas,

belligerent volcanoes,

the many manifestations

of an active planet.


Beauty inspires the artist

to approach the awaiting easel,

visits the adventurer

through fantastic dreams,

sharpens the senses of

poets and musicians,

makes the world

sing.


Without beauty’s evident presence,

we are all lost

within a shallow and barren

existence.


Beauty is connection,

beauty is love,

beauty is the eternal hope

for sanity and grace

in a tormented human world.

Sunday, May 29, 2022

At the Abyss

 

At the Abyss

Uvalde, Texas May 25, 2022

 

Nineteen children

barely adolescents

life evident in every step,

filled with

playful enthusiasm,

brimming with possibilities,

drinking in life through

every pour,

engaging every breath with

shimmering resolve,

the world the canvas

on which they painted

with vivid imagination and a

tapestry of color.

 

Suddenly and terribly negated

by the fiery discharge of a

cold metal gun,

bullets riddling through their young bodies

destroying hopes and idle dreams,

exhuberant ideas,

incipient joy and so many aspirations

terminated in an instant,

locked in the grip of absolute terror,

negating their future,

driving their families to the very edge

of corrosive despair,

turning off the light of existence

leaving a blackness steeped

in hollow silence.

 

Nineteen children

slaughtered by a young man

with madness in his brain,

delusional and beset by

the demons of explosive hatred and rage,

nameless passions unhinged and deadly.

 

The scope of this tragedy would not be

conceivable or even imagined

without weapons of such ferocity that

only a few moments intervened between

the living and the dead.

 

There is another madness present,

large, insidious and looming,

a madness resident within a social order

that formulated the idea that all

citizens have the right to be armed,

encouraged to be fearful and ever vigilant

prepared for violence and stoked with hate

for the sake of profit and greed,

for the sake of a

corrupt and deformed ideology.

 

A madness that pretends that

the corpses of children are

the price to be paid for a contrived

and ridiculous idea of freedom

devoid of any sanity,

empty of compassion,

dismissive of the common good.

 

A madness so cold that

it sees no need to

take such random and brutal

termination of young lives

to heart.

 

A madness infused with such stupidity

that it cannot see the

consequences of its own

barren and disastrous conclusions.

 

A madness that if unchecked

will bring only grief and

wreak havoc upon the future

for us all.

 

 

 

Friday, May 13, 2022

Changing Times - an Optomistic Look Towards the Future

 

In the second decade of the twenty-first century, the political arena in the United States remains dominated by the male of the species. But like the trend within the demographics of this county that is obviously moving towards a majority of non-whites (projected to happen by 2045), there is another seismic shift that is unfolding in regard to the societal power and influence of women. This change is reflected on many levels by the following statistics.

Currently (2022), 57% of bachelorette degrees are held by women; 54% of law students are women; 50.5% of medical students are women; 50% of current students are women who are earning degrees in the areas of science and engineering. Since the days of my childhood, I have witnessed amazing changes in the area of women’s rights and women’s progress. Currently, there is no profession or livelihood that in not represented by women. This aspect of life that we have taken for granted was certainly not the way it used to be. There was a time when women were only allowed to participate in a limited aspect of the human world other than their expected roles in motherhood and nurture.

Given these statistics, it becomes quite evident that within a generation, the social and political climate will undergo a significant transformation. As women participate more and more fully within the larger culture, the tone and timbre of politics and policy will undergo substantial changes and the heretofore white male-dominated environment would become seriously threatened.

In many states – mostly in the American South – long dominated by white males, there is a stark realization that those in power will face a very different reality. The underlying fear of this eventuality is, of course, shared by many in these backward and repressive states where the development of educated and free-thinking people is discouraged and ignorance and religious intolerance is thoroughly exploited. This explains why in many states, legislation has been speedily crafted and made into law with the transparent aim of suppressing the ability to vote by many of its non-white citizens to the ludicrous degree of making it “illegal” to supply water to those waiting on long-lines to vote even in the hottest of climates. This subliminal fear also explains blatant attempts to control women even by imposing draconian measures to condemn and outlaw abortion.

There are backward areas of this country where Big Lies are freely supported and propagated. One of course is the completely unsubstantiated conviction that the 2020 Presidential Election was stolen. Another absurdity that is currently being codified in some states is that human life begins at conception. This purported truth flies in the face of biological reality. Clearly, a fertilized human egg is not a person; is not human. In fact, the human fetus does not become viable outside the womb until after twenty-four weeks of development. To suggest that the termination of pregnancy in the early stages of fetal development is equivalent to murder is preposterous and draconian.

The purpose of this kind of lie is to substantiate an absurd political reality that allows for convicting a woman seeking and abortion or those in the medical profession who could safely abort fetal development as guilty of attempted murder. The defense of democracy or morality is not the foundation of such assertions – they are driven by an exaggerated fear of a changing world in which women are no longer held captive by their gender, and men freely acknowledge and support a true equality of the sexes.

These attempts at changing the course of human history will fail as all fundamentalist and extremist ideas must, for they are ultimately unsustainable. The tragedy lies with the fact that many innocents will suffer unnecessarily due to this level of extreme ignorance and profound stupidity.

Thursday, May 12, 2022

Mother and Child

 

Across the boundaries of

arching time,

mothers have enshrouded their infants

with selfless love.

 

From first beginnings

descended from the ancient trees

forest primeval,

thrust into a world

mysterious and unforgiving

perilous rain storms

stalking resplendent earth

ice-bound cold

covering everything with

savage snowfall

descending.

 

Mothers seeking refuge

their infants clinging

breasts engorged

creating safe places

among the chaos.

 

Through the eons

civilizations taking shape

in the wilderness,

empires born

empires in the midst of

fiery dissolution

mothers prevail

giving birth

without fanfare

without justification

throughout the fitful generations

building the human kind

from bits of matter

into a human presence

across the boundaries of

arching time.

Thursday, April 14, 2022

Excerpted from Thoughts and Reflections Regarding Life's Journey

 

I seem to be in the midst of struggling with the prospect of ageing that dominates the horizon of my remaining years.  It is no easy matter to find accommodation with the ineluctable reality that body is no longer as capable of doing the complete bidding of my wishes and desires.  In regard to my intrinsic abilities I can no longer trust them as completely as I used to.  Of course, this comes as no great surprise, and to resist this reality is, of course, futile.

To me the only sensible course is acceptance.  Furthermore, a recognition of individual mortality has an additional benefit.  That benefit resides within an increased and more acute awareness of the wondrous qualities and subtleties and intrinsic beauty that imbues every passing moment.  The world presents me with a remarkable array of details and perspectives present in the simplest of experiences if I choose to open myself to them. 

In my mind, if I allow myself to be caught up within the intricate fabric of distractions produced and sustained by the modern world the unfortunate consequence is that the precious moments are lost within the crazy-quilt miasma of contrived existence.  It is, after all, an inventive and intricate shadow world that envelops the modern human world that constantly demands our complete attention.  Much of this shadow world is wrapped in the comforting domain of the pursuit of material possessions.  The potpourri of images and manifestations of objects that are continually fed into the sensory apparatus of the thinking brain are presented to us as palpable vehicles designed to enhance our chances for individual happiness whether it be a shiny new car, an ensemble of fabulous clothes that would improve our sexual appeal, all manner of so-called “hygiene products” that have become our necessary companions in the social world, labor-saving devices that are guaranteed to free up our time and bring us even more happiness, and on and on – the list is seemingly without end.

Moments lost to these distractions cannot be regained.  Life cannot be rewound.  Life proceeds moment to moment through a continuum of choices.  Modern living demands heightened unquestioned passivity to the multi-faceted norms that have been carefully constructed for mass consumption.  This intricate structure is indeed a reality of a kind, but it is not representative of the natural world and by its nature is impermanent and can readily implode upon itself.  Many examples exist of such an internal collapse have been reported through the course of history of human civilizations.

 

We are representatives of a sentient species – our home is planet earth.  We are by no means the sole inhabitants on Spaceship Earth, although we often behave as we should be and possess a seeming determination to make it so.  What we will accomplish, however, if we do not awaken from our collective stupor, is to craft an environment that will ultimately be unable to sustain us.  This is the height of stupidity, for we seem to relish the idea of killing each other over issues that are more contrived than real, undermine our collective future by our continued raping of the natural world, and endanger our future rather than embrace peace, harmony, and real and substantial social justice.

Without the presence of Homo sapiens, the earth will continue to spin on its axis, revolve around its sun and move through time within a vast and wondrous cosmos.  Our continued existence as a species is not required and is certainly not a necessary component of the working universe. 

As products of our collective imagination, the panoply of gods, ethereal beings, spirits, demons, apparitions, etc. will all vanish when humans are no longer extant.  They have no substance outside the realm of the human brain.  The universe, however, is real, time is substantial and each moment is transient.  Within this fabulous matrix our individual selves are created and move on time’s ineluctable trajectory until our individual brains cease to function and the molecular organization that sustains us unravels joining us once again to the chaos and ferment of creation.  We may pretend that this is not reality; we may put our faith in fabulous ideas of other-worldliness, but it is not matter for it changes nothing.  Self-delusion may provide comfort but it changes nothing.  We may choose to embrace death with the belief that there is something more, but it changes nothing.  Reality has no need of either our acquiescence or resistance, for when the brain ceases to function, as individuals we are no longer.  It is that simple. 

 

In my thinking, if I choose delusion over reality, I choose to engage the pretend version of existence and fail to appreciate the vivid reality that surrounds me.  What I do know is that while I continue to have a conscious existence it is my responsibility to fully appreciate that I am a living witness to the wonders around me no matter how brief my sojourn.  I am, after all, grounded to this Earth, lungs filled with the air that sustains me, a body that moves me through life and the marvelous organ of the human brain that is me.

If I can embrace myself so thoroughly and completely than I can embrace everything.  Once stripped of the array of filters that distort existence in order to fit into prescribed limits, it is then that I can truly see and understand what it is to be human.  There is an inseparable bond between the ability to see with clarity and love, compassion and understanding.  We are all, in fact, flawed creatures, imperfect on account of the evolutionary path of our species, mortal by design, contained within the architecture of our brains, yet we are collectively capable of so much more than the disastrous and unsettling choices we have made to date.

 

Think of the world we could craft if all humans were to fully incorporate the truth that we are all (the eight billion of us) members of the same human family rather than continuing to pursue the current idea that we are somehow intrinsically separate based upon contrived differences in race, belief systems, political ideology, sexual preference etc.  Think of the world we could craft if we finally stopped killing each other for no good or apparently justifiable reasons.  Think of the world we could craft if we seriously began to be responsible stewards of our earthly home rather than actively undermining the natural world that sustains us.  Think of the world we could inhabit if we finally took full responsibility for our collective fate rather than allow ourselves to move about in a delusional reality of our own making that presumes that a super-human being(s) is “watching over us.”  If we were to bring about our own self-destruction tomorrow, the cosmos would be completely unaffected and the movement of time would be unimpaired.  The human species is not a required component for the running of the universe machine.