Monthly Archives: June 2007

summer solstice

summer solstice is june 21.

in another life, we lit bonfires into the night. maidens bathed in the glistening rivers. men with large beards drank mead and punched each other because of those glistening maidens. you were one of those maidens, and i bloodied your father’s nose that night, but he laughed at me like i had just punched a tree. he was so drunk he couldn’t feel a thing. by morning, i had his blessing and bruises all over my face.

in another life, we dressed as kachinas and danced to the sun. in the back of our minds, we worried about the size of our crop in the morning. we worried about our children in this age when nobody remembered the old dances when the spaniards came to teach us of the feast of st john with the edge of a whip. we didn’t want our children to forget the way of the corn peoples.

in another life, you left me for the temple of vesta every solstice and this was the only time all year long you could go back to the place where you happy. before i was too drunk all the time, and the kids were grown and gone and i’m here chasing after temple prostitutes screaming your name, and the names of our children that i haven’t seen in so long.

in another life, we went together to the church to pray to st john that christ may return, and call us both home to his light. we are so old now, and all this summer fills our bones with memories of other feast days, other feasts. and we prayed that winter may come for us, quietly.

in another life, we were just monkeys, staring at the sky. we didn’t understand why it seemed like time had slowed down so much in all this heat. we sat on a branch and looked up at the sky and felt like we had all the time in the world now, in all this sun. we made slow love in that heat.

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save the earth, save himself

a homeless guy walked past the ritzy museum district café in the early morning when men in suits – like me – and women in gym clothes staggered up to the espresso machines for open eyes.

7:53 am, and the homeless guy is up and moving hard. He’s got plastic bags in his hand that look full of trash. He doesn’t look people in the eye. He goes straight to the trash can. He peers into the cans. He darts around a little, like he’s still too proud to rummage deep. He sticks a pencil down into the can – deep into the can. His shoulder-length hair brushes against the edge of the can.

he emerges with a single soda can caught on his pencil. He sticks it into a bag. He walks fast. he avoids the contractors speaking Spanish like old friends around someone’s gorgeous white chevy.

remember the observation of poor places: when paper is too valuable to throw away, we are in the third world. In America paper is everywhere. In Europe paper flaps around like pigeons. In Calcutta, streetkids look for anything fibrous, like paper to recycle it.

this homeless guy is dumpster diving for old soda cans.

watch yourselves, voting public, for if soda cans is too valuable to throw away, paper isn’t far off.

still, if i had been sitting on the patio, i’d have stopped the guy to give him a dollar. i would have told him that i wouldn’t have given him a dime if i hadn’t seen him saving the world one soda can at a time, and wished him god’s grace. maybe next time, i’ll be sitting outside and i’ll see him again.

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radio and good batteries

been reading up on liberation theology among the Jesuits of central and south America.

according to liberation theologists, the mistake of marxism was the exclusion of God. to bring about global peace and universal happiness, citizens must embrace Christian Marxism – and be “liberated” from the evils of capitalism, tyranny, and etc.

often, young Jesuits who are actively engaged in improving the material realities of the poor and oppressed fall in with the proposed “liberators”. sometimes this involves guns, and killing.

firstly, this is theologically flawed and rooted in the same urge as Marxism. those people over there have lots of money and stuff. those people over on the other side do not have money and stuff. the people with money take power, and do damaging things to poor people. the poor people, naturally, must be liberated from their oppression in the here and now.

theologically, i do not recall any incident wherein Jesus Christ “forced” salvation upon anyone that was not already dead or mentally deranged. In fact, he only seemed to heal living people, who had asked him for healing or had a family member ask for healing. basically, everyone who was able to get up and go to Christ received liberation. them that didn’t go looking for their own salvation often did not acquire it. liberation theologists are often deeply involved in socialism, or at the very least anti-capitalism. often, they are trying to “force” liberation upon others by the overthrowing of global systems.

Christ did not overthrow Rome. he did not overthrow tax collectors, or usurers. He overthrew the market in the temple, but that was physically located inside one temple, one time and was deeply related to the profiteers of religion. He didn’t overthrow all marketplaces.

and what’s so liberating about the overthrowing of global systems? by forcing liberation upon people, we are treating people like children who are incapable of coming to their own conclusions, their own little rebellions.

furthermore, speaking about the evil of power creates that evil, in a way.

governments exist because large numbers of people believe in the authority of the government. by rising against that government’s authority, verbally or violently, one ends up acknowledging the authority of the government. by defeating rebellions, governments assert authority. by fighting them, governments assert authority.

after all, one must acknowledge the power before one can destroy the power.

in liberation theology, i see large numbers of jesuits and fallen monks and nuns and priests falling into the intoxicating delirium of wordly power. For every man denigrating the wicked government, that is a man filling the room with the notion of the government’s power. with every man writing odes against capitalism, that is a man that places capitalism at the center of the world.

liberation theologists, i challenge you not to not speak of any power on this earth, if it is truly evil. quietly refuse to acknowledge the power by refusing to give it a name of power. act as if the guns have no bullets, and the uniforms are merely men in costumes playing strange games. pretend like government wickedness is simply there, in the air, like bad weather. do not try to stop the rain. distribute umbrellas. bring men together to dig canals to let the rain flow to the sea in peace.

the rain will stop in its own good time. even rome crumbled to dust on her own excesses.

bad governments do not watch the centuries of centuries. neither do good governments, actually. these things will rise and fall on the rules they have placed for themselves.

governments exist because people believe in the authority of the governments. churches do, too. when people stop going to the church, the church falters and fails and drifts quietly into the dustbins of history. this pattern of power can be applied to bad governments as well. if you wish to liberate people from authority, do so by liberating their minds from belief in worldly power.

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huh. i don’t think it’s translated into japanese. still… that’s freaky.

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think like a criminal

let’s play science fiction writer for a minute and a half.

watch this inane promo video for microsoft surface:

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the absence in this post is actually an invitation for any reader to post their favorite metaphor about being tired.

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after “the anger of achilles” by jacques-louis david

clytemnestra gazes down upon the boy
warrior, achilles’ face – her tearful eyes.

achilles doesn’t see the matron, or his bride
he reaches for his sword, his sharp pupils killing king

agamemnon, on the right of them all,
gives achilles one proud look
king agamemnon knows this boy won’t swing

someday, the proud stallion will buck
today, the boy will half-unsheathe his sword
then, he’ll stamp away

clytemnestra knows this, too.
and her eyes carry that sad accusation:
iphigenia is just a deer to those men
“you, achilles, anger because agamemnon
did not ask your permission first
with something you thought was yours

“if you truly loved iphigenia,
you would swing that sword.
after your ceremonial anger, agamemnon
is still the king; achilles,
vassal, bequeaths bride, boat,
life, for the man that kills his daughter
as easily as he tossed her
to patrocles’ murderous lover.”

iphigenia looks away pale and grief-stricken

also, relieved

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pictures came back from germany. by popular demand, i’ve scanned some and i’m putting them up here.

i’d like to thank everyone that took photos when it wasn’t me. especially the pro photographer that i ran into at eastside gallery in germany who seemed to put way too much effort into trying to make me look good with disposable camera tourist photos. (“seriously, dude, the light will never be good enough to make me look like anything but what i am, so quit playing with the damn angle and take a photo already!”)

a toddler took this photo in the streets of Wiesbaden. Behind me is a beautiful Roman Catholic Church that gets dropped from the tourist stuff, though this is more beautiful than the Lutheran church in the marketplace and just as old: St. Boniface’s Catholic Church.

in the english gardens with r_____ b______, we decided to walk to that thing over there.

look, we’re almost there!

victory is ours! we walked to the thing over there. this is what it looks like from the inside. notice the columns like teeth and this thing i’m standing next to like a tongue, announcing in marble the greatness of kings. that king, actually, wasn’t so great…

three blocks from my hostel and one from the place where the horrible wall used to stand in the beating heart of urban berlin, there’s a large goat farm. all around us, ruined skyscrapers wax and wane. imagine turning a corner in queens, and walking into a large goat farm.

this is the sniper tower. young men drank vodka with high-powered rifles waiting for their chance to kill in the name of communism. it looks like a mace, to me. an old medieval weapon, and a symbol of authority, and a young man sat inside with vodka and cigarettes to keep him warm, and a rifle that probably had a woman’s name when he talked to it. the state was his mother, his lover, his one true friend.

now, with much fanfare and huzzah allow me to show you the face of the man who made the call on the glorious day the wall came down. there’s a book about him, and i’m holding it. look the details up for yourself.

hm… where did the eastside gallery go? ah, there it is:

the pictures always finally return the moment one starts to forget the adventure. digital cameras are so instantaneous. old cameras with film always seem to come home from the developer at just the right moment to refresh the mind of the adventures.

end of transmission.

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things kids say, things kindergarten teachers say

-he was crying. i asked him why he was crying. he told me that he was sad because he didn’t have anybody to have sex with. what do you say to them when they say something like that?
-you’re five. You haven’t known anyone long enough to want to have sex with them.
-exactly. I mean…
-maybe when you’re in the third grade…
-but you can’t say something like that. what am I supposed to say that kind of question?

this book is on the table between them, because they are studying for a graduate class.

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young girl extrapolates upon aphrodite in the kimbell art gallery

why did they change her name?
that wasn’t very nice of them. she already had a greek name.
that wasn’t very nice of them at all.
she was born in a seashell and made of ivory.
maybe they were jealous of venus, the woman made of ivory, so they changed her.
they changed her name.
that wasn’t very nice of them.

(the girl was far too young to think of having her own name changed, but someday i suspect she will understand why beautiful woman full of love will think changing their name is very nice indeed, and she will never remember her youth when boys were gross things and soldiers were mean – as she described them in the paintings – and the beautiful women can only be beautiful if they are ivory pure. i hope part of you remember, little one, this confident innocence.)

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