I haven’t taken pictures of clouds in weeks
but I still watch for them
and catch the angles in their form
that I used to believe
were spelling out
that only I was reading
I didn’t think I was special
with a power or a gift
somehow greater than the powers and gifts
held by any run-of-the-mill child
How much can a line spell out?
What does a triangle mean?
We all know what a triangle means.
It means change. It means God.
Why couldn’t anyone else read that simple shape?
An Overview, Continued
It has been a long time since I engaged in sustained cloudcalling behavior.
Here’s what’s been happening:
Work and school, community mutual aid, kids…laundry. Seeds.
Everything has been nickel-and-dimed lately. It makes me want to cry, how thinly I have spread myself…so that I have no reach left, no time left, to just sit and call clouds, to draw pictures and write lengthy emails to myself. Such things do not constitute a sustainable lifestyle.
There is nothing inherently dysfunctional about it, just that it is not condoned nor approved of by (…whom?…) and it is also not “financially viable”…
I don’t particularly care about money. However, it is a useful resource to have in exchange for commodities such as, oh…internet service and this phone and food…and…I’m actually realizing as I write this that I don’t need that much money.
…which brings me back to the issue of an interpretive revolutionary cloudwatching lifestyle not being acceptable to (…whom?…) and the pang of knowing that people who have a fair amount of influence over the structure of my life will be “concerned” if I seem to be living a lifestyle that is too focused on postmodern deconstuctionist esoterica, such as cloudwatching for the sake of establishing some conclusive indication of the structure and expression of metaversal forces and expressing the implications of these findings in such a way that they will somehow matter.
Oh, did you think I was watching clouds out of some flimsy fancying of a fluffy white God?
Actually, I feel fairly confident that there is some weight to my observations and reasoning regarding rudimentary language form, universal forces, and the origin of written language and holy story.
I think I have written out my theory at least a dozen times here, with varying degrees of coherence. So far, very few people seem to understand the simplicity of what I am suggesting on the basis of cloud pictures.
The structures of what we have come to know as letters and numbers are apparent in the sky. No. I am not talking about great swirling technicolor Hollywood hallucinations. I am talking about clouds that form 3 and clouds that form triangles…and all sorts of other wondrous symbols.
Of course, they aren’t symbols.
We made them symbols.
They are just the shapes that nature makes under the influence of particular forces, frequency and current.
I am not suggesting that this is a matter of noticing some shapes in the clouds and thinking, “Oh, isn’t that interesting?”
As I notice said shapes, a distinct subjective experience occurs. Meaning that I feel a way that, prior to cloudcalling, I had only felt the very edge of. It is a big round feeling, like mother of pearl in my chest and in my breath, and on my skin. It is the best feeling.
With this feeling comes the re-collection of awareness and insight, and I feel a certain fullness in my heart, my lungs, as I imagine how wide and how fine the currents must be, stretching out across all time, weaving tendrils and swirls through our human story, a golden thread.
It is not difficult to believe in this feeling. It is entirely conceivable that truth will prevail and people will understand the truth…someday.
Of course, some people understand the truth now…and billions more think that they do.
It’s risky business to declare an absolute truth, because no truth is absolute. It is, however, perfectly reasonable to suggest a scientifically-grounded and evidence-based hypothesis on the workings of the eternal world and what those workings may have to do with language, consciousness, and God.
It is not, unfortunately, reasonable for me to consider such a hypothesis. In fact, it is entirely possible that my pursuit of this articulation and my persistent interest in this topic is just simply not appropriate. If I were a theosophist or a physicist, or even an acknowledged artist, this goal of demystifying the mystery…the details and manifestations of which remain infinite and full of mystery…would be perfectly reasonable. It may even be admirable.
Realistically, in the context of my “real” life, it is a laughable pursuit, peculiar and even embarrassing.
“There is a 3 in the sky, and there is another. There is a face, and there is an arrow. I feel alive and connected like never before. I understand what happened, why people drew the shapes and why people tried to tell the stories of what they saw unfolding in the sky above them.”
It is such an elegant theory, so simple.
Of course, it is an inelegant world, very complicated.
I am consciously aware that much of what I do is toward the goal of one day being able to say what I’d like to say, in ways that people will be able to hear, and that they may want to listen to…if only because it is a good story.
Remembering You Remembering Me
I like the way some people
have parallel lives
and share the same
The way they come
to the same conclusion
That ache is real
the distance between kin
both known and unknown
stretches like fingers
that never quite find something solid to hold onto
So, there are these things:
a thousand miles away,
I’ll make love to you
while I dig in the garden
with hands half-hearted now
because I remember
how I felt you
and I knew you were there
but I didn’t know
that you were real
…and then I did.
I find you in so many, and I know that you are gone.
…but, look, you’re not.
You’re here now.
I can feel you when I write poems.
…and that is why I write poems.
This life and death
this back room talk
This writhing on the inside
and the writing on the walls
the squirm of fingertip
the itching of the palms
Outside, there is a park
and the grass is green
the sky is pure gold
and we say there is no beauty
in these simple little things
that are so big
We say we’ve seen enough
and that we’re tired
We haven’t seen enough.
If we had, we would know that we’ve not yet seen nearly enough
to feel our place
small like a pinprick
on the surface of this earth
I have discovered, over the past few years, that I really enjoy thinking about how different entities within formal and informal systems support or conflict with one another. It is still somewhat interesting to consider theory and language, particularly in regard to strategy, outcomes, and implication, but I am less interested in citing the state of the case – or the case of the state, whatever the case may be – than I am in figuring how to refine our various efforts to do something about it.
By my calculations, there are hundreds of thousands of people who are actively involved in grassroots resistance and justice advocacy causes. Millions more sympathize or – in many cases – empathize with a multitude of causes. Many of the causes overlap, because many social and environmental justice causes exist as a result of the same corporations or modes of economy and stewardship, the same mechanisms of abuse and exploitation.
It makes me feel good to think about all the people out there who are fighting for one cause or another, in such vastly multilateral and dynamic ways. To be fair, a lot of people are expending energy on causes that may actually counter the imagined common goal of freedom, peace, and the opportunity to be happy and live well. Similarly, some very important causes are profoundly under-supported, given their importance. The environment, for example, is an issue that it seems that we’d all – if we were reasonable – fight for. Not fight over, as in who will mine the mountaintop and who will dredge the oil…but, fight for, given that it is fairly important to all species and the future. Similarly, the issue of toxic modification this and that in our food supply…and drinking water…and…
Wow. There is a lot to be concerned about.
Why aren’t we more concerned? Why aren’t we freaking out?
That would cause problems, of course. People might quit their jobs. Other people might take those jobs, until whatever product was manufactured ceased to be sold, due to strategic corporate boycotts and support of local economies, which would produce more/other jobs.
I guess it would be a mess for a while, a sort of multilateral breakdown. Fortunately, there are plenty of people who have navigated breakdowns and who know how they learned to cope with a sudden rift in the status quo and a dramatic collapse in all function. There are people who have reconstructed systems a hundred times over, even if that system was simply their own little means and ways.
Last Tuesday, my friends and allies and I had a talk about suicide. We’ve tried to figure out other words for it. Self-demise? Life and death?
It has come up in the collective before. After all, we are a loose community of folks who have struggled in some way or another with life, sometimes in ways that pushed us to consider death. It’s funny though, even among survivors, it is almost a taboo topic. It makes people uncomfortable. It makes me uncomfortable.
I have had my own struggles with the issue of suicide. Yet, I have a hard time saying, “I tried to kill myself.”
Yeah, that’s tough.
There is something uniquely traumatic in trying to end your own life.
Today, when I picked my kids up from school, one of the first things my son told me was that the music teacher had seen the guy on the bridge, and so had a bunch of 5th graders. Rumor has it that the man jumped.
The kids talked logistically about whether or not he might have lived.
“It was like 50 feet, onto asphalt…so even if no cars were coming, it’s doubtful he survived.”
My oldest child is very reasonable.
“If you ever feel that way, like you don’t want to live anymore, please let us know.”
Children can be very certain that they will never want to die.
“I’d never do that.”
“Well, sometimes adults struggle with those feelings, for lots of different reasons.”
The boy told me that Mr. Ben, his teacher’s assistant from kindergarten, had killed himself. I hadn’t known that and it made me sad, because Mr. Ben was a musician and loved children.
I am tired of good people killing themselves.
Do you ever have a dream that you’ve woken up from a dream and you get out of bed still thinking about the dream, how the clearance carts at the craft store were filled with rugs just like the kind you like to keep in the kitchen, and also a crocheted polyester scarf, that looks like a winter scarf, but is light enough for summer, in a color called claret…and the man behind you was on the phone, saying something about a some complicated relationship involving the child he is holding…and in the dream you were hoping that he didn’t want to buy any rugs, because you’re buying them as soon as you figure out how to detach the scarf from the clearance cart. Why is it held by such strangely intricate little levered clips? You feel smart when you figure them out and you stand up and look at the man, and you smile because you are both wearing sunglasses. You look away when you remember the fever blister you have in real life. Looking at the near empty clearance cart, you comfort yourself by thinking that maybe he gets fever blisters, too, that maybe he even had one last week.
So, you’re thinking about this, as you climb down from bed in the dream you are still dreaming, and making note of how you’ll have to remember what the man looked like, because it is entirely possible that in real life, maybe this is what your soul mate (whatever that is) looks like.
You feel drowsy and a little lonely as you go downstairs and start some wash, because that is what you need to do this morning. As the water begins to pour into the appliance, you notice that the washing machine is different. You’ll need to call your roommate and figure out why you have a new washing machine…maybe it had something to do with the weak spin cycle on the old one, but how did it get into the house without you noticing it and why is it also a big gas-lit industrial oven, that has baking racks that slide out like heavy switchblades when you open the door, the flames roaring into life.
You realize that you’re still dreaming, but you nonetheless spend some time trying to turn off the fire that is shooting out of the oven that is not your oven.