Sunday, April 19, 2009

Should we all just throw in the towel?

Should I?  I think so.

But we should at least ask ourselves what it is we want to do with all the power we still so desperately seek. What do we want?

Their timing down in NYC, at least, has to suck. Building a brand new stadium where the best seats cost $2600 just for one game!? I must have read that wrong, but I fear not. If you build it, what will they do? (That film was done here in Buffalo, at what used to be called the "Rock Pile", where I saw Jack Kemp before he went quite daft, the first time the Bills made champions). We used to walk there from church on a Sunday. I doubt it cost very much.

The rich will watch the rich and the rest of us should really just walk away. We will not stand for games, please Cheesits give us at least a place to sit. If you build it, we'll go dumb (doubtful, but some of us sure will).

People are still  empowered to try for better understanding of our illnesses, but what happens once we cure them all? Will there be nothing left to try for? To reward? (Must we grow up in abject poverty to make of baseball our very life? Or can we be good enough from privilege alone, and lots of expensive lessons?) What, after all, can be enough when the very richest among us can never quite leave the game. There will be blood. There will be God, and I will not let you kiss your partner in public. There will be want, and I decree it.

We seek some replacement for oil, which is extremely unlikely, but let's say we get cold fusion, or even hot fusion, what will we want to do with it? Do we want to live in DisneyLand? Do we want to share all the wealth, or would we really like someone to bring us the drinks in our climate conditioned greenhouse? Perhaps we need always to be reminded that we've won. But against whom, pray tell.  I mean really, do pray tell!

Would we know enough to stop before the climate becomes completely out of whack? This time not from greenhouse gasses, but just from too much new creation of too much new heat. Shall we never go out of doors again, to hack out understandings for ourselves? What will be left to explore? Our minds? Will anything be left of them?

I think it might be time at least to ask those questions. I've spent my life an absence - I think this might literally be true. I look for myself, as we all do, in mirrors and albums and other people's recollections, and I am not there, except as a kind of outsized absence that is exactly what I've always wanted anyhow. I never do feel lonely. I've worked hard for my anonymity. I want to have no impact, simply so that I may remain free.  I think people wait for my invitation, which is why I get none myself. And I'm not really an inviting kind of guy, you know?

But I am quite implicated. Struggle though I might, I find to my amazement and beyond anything I deserve that people love me. Even though I lash out. Even though I bite. I am not free.

Still I resent the fact that even having no disease I must indenture myself to medicine, just in case. Without any job now, I must find some means for health insurance, just so as to not burden those who love me, who might need me to live beyond my natural term, whatever meaning that might have.

I resent the fact that even though it was I who chose to leave my wife, the absence of those ties has become a more certain trap to keep me from myself. She's owned me now for as long as it's taken my children to grow. She has the law on her side (like some waterboarder?), and so I must remain indentured, knowing full well that it is me myself and I who have betrayed my true art. I could have remained the starving artist had I chosen differently. I wanted in to my womb with my view, and I chose to leave rather than to engage that perpetual struggle when it was clear what was wanted in return. Or more like what was not wanted. Some boundaries are more difficult than others to find and to negotiate. Some make more permanency than others. I've made my choices.

Art too, is for me an absence. I marvel at all my students who once might actually have looked up to me; at how accomplished they've become. I taught them well, or rather played my small bit part, in encouraging their exceeding me. Even if by nothing more than my own recession. What could I have become in someone else's mind?

I starve for nothing at all, indentured to the love I have repudiated. We should at least ask these questions. I've made my choices, among constraints, taking that fork which seemed to hold the least constraint if not the most promise. It looks like I must have chosen wrong, but, as Buckaroo Bonzai might have been the first to say on screen, "no matter where you go, there you are!"

So, what the hell, right?

Shouldn't we simply be asking about the waterboarder's own personal motives? Who would want that kind of permission? Who would need it? What possibly could be the greater purpose one is so infernally certain of? Should we really always delegate up those choices? Why should we even care what goes on behind closed doors, or in the recesses of someone's inner mind? And what can drug tests reveal that performance evaluations can't? Can steroids make the man, or only just destroy him?

(Why does the Obama administration also not understand that it's not just the use of the ill gotten information, it's the getting of it which crosses the line?)

I want you out of my head, and I will perversely continue to put my own words together for my own good reasons which rehearse that flight I plan to make toward white light and ecstatic release. Moth from my cocoon. You may take your interpretations and shove them. Of God, of me, of even you, and surely of the earth, the planets, the ants and those by definition all not just identical but not even enumerable subatomic particles. I'll rehearse what turns me on, productive though it may not be.

Why must we predict the weather anyhow? Sure, in the days of wooden ships without electronics we might have needed to, in preservation of our various natural spans. Now, it's become entertainment, except where Mama gets up to dance again, to show us what she's made of. And then our models for prediction seem to run behind the actual weather. Always will?

I don't think you can get inside of someone else's mind except for purposes of fact. Encryption can only ever protect the stuff which wouldn't matter if we were all in this thing together in the first place. Name, rank and serial number, but you'll never know what I really think of you. Or at least it can't take torture to find it out. Why don't you make me like you just as you are, without silly cone projections which energize only my inner fear-o-moans?

I know there is something to love beyond the progeny. Inconstancy, once the seed's been planted. Where does this evolution go? What are its entailments? What are we keeping ourselves alive for?

Or is that just the wrong question, always?

I know there is some sense to life beyond my need to "get it". I know love liberates as well as ensnares. I know there is an actual boundary to all good things, and I know when it gets crossed. But I don't even know my own heart's secrets. I don't even trust myself. The one thing I cannot know is what I want.

It is that thing for which I live and love and tell lies. What I want. What has conspired beyond my ken for sure, to make me white and male and over twenty one, and therefore without excuse to try - at least to try - to stop the madness. 

Trapped without artistry, all I've got is good engineering prose to tell the design of no design; the plans made up of only details - the rest to be filled in by skilled experience. There is nothing you can torture out of me except my life, which is itself sometimes torture enough. And I'm free and white and over twenty one. What have I got to lose? Surely I have enough courage to make this tiny leap.

I do not starve yet. I have not been diagnosed yet. I have not betrayed any true love yet. I exaggerate. I lie. I do have my very own diagnosis. I have betrayed many loves. But I do not starve. The bastards have me against no wall, so why do I let them grind me down? 

Oh, yeah, that's right, I guess I don't. I forgot that I'm no victim. I actually am the man (how YOU doin', I asked some black kid the other night who likely wanted to intimidate me, but I was too drunk to know what I was saying back). Reluctant and no good at it, but for sure I am the man.

So, here's the deal:  On this particular fork of this particular road, there is only one criterion for success. I've been made so well, that like my favorite incredible one horse shay, or that 21 year old VW fox which I do aspire to drive bald tires and empty gas tank right downhill into the junk yard so that someone might at least scavenge it's new bearings which I won't be able to wear out, I think I should plan to wear myself right down, keeping my bearings if at all possible, and roll out in flame, sparks flying from beneath my seat, right out my greenhouse flammable gas emitting ass. 

I think I should keep trying to tell people, even when they really don't want to listen, that the Tibetan quest for the onion's pearl always finds nothing at all there in it's center. That the quest is all there ever is. That the story is the whole thing, and the conclusion always a let down. Because the story's over. And the only thing the climax was ever good for was to keep you reading. It made you want to turn the pages and shrink the intervals until you could inner words without even moving your mouth and now and again outer them beyond even the speed of Selectricity, and into your hands, as it were, I commend my thoughts (I'm not that grandiose - the words just popped out like that, for goodness sake!). Endless thoughts. Not Jesus who was lunatic projection onto someone just a Man. But the projection was a good one, and why not make it true, huh? Why not torture out from each one of us that thing which binds us each to other? That secret held perversely back at the center of our still hating fearful fulminating minds. That nothing?

Yes, I do think it's time to throw in the towel. To train our sights on better things than to reconstruct our world in our own image. The scientific enterprise now is modifiable by wisdom. Let's throw in that towel and dance with Mama who always owns our beat. Admission free. She'll have all takers. The contest's already won. And you can sleep with anyone at all without transgressing anything so long as you truly love them. So long as your love has been trued. So long as you accept the implications. 

So long, dear reader God. I throw in that towel. You are not there nor ever will be.

(sucking his thumb, Buckaroo Bonzai returned to his batcave, nursing invisible wounds earned in service to his conscience alone, which nobody really cared for, since they wanted only his body, which had travelled right through the ground under our feet, and he could play a mean  guitar, and was impossibly cool, but to himself not even real, which is why he went through the ground under our feet, to prove himself)

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