somewhere between poem and stream, for national poetry month
Amus Thal she/her
It was you, Amus Thal, who never got the shirted pall down over your face so they never recognized grace
[Recognize your blame. Understand them. Don’t complain]
while it softly, coolly granted time, met them in familiar halfways, always arriving.
They are broken wavelengths, nerves connecting to their own ends, to avoid certain death and disconnect— how brave the cold. How buried the true dead emotions
They tastemakers never swallow Nothing reaches past the salt lick/ prairie dogs wait out the spitten rain in airy angled pockets just above their level of content
You never wanted to be their dog— rodential underminer of brutal fields— chased out to run among heels and mown meadows; they blink and cross a surface nurturance, in simulations spurred by spire and spite, for fields of rest dere served, by Thal Amus—
As inspiration thunders— emptying buckets of dead-of-night, preparing to treat the roots and dendrites with what serves them just fine
I’ve casually collected royalty cards for about 20 years. I like to study the differences in the faces. You know, take meditative mini breaks to gaze at images, as we do with art.
I recently posted a mention of the Suicide King’s head stab as being a lost-in-translation situation. I’ve met a handful of artists who associated with the haunting self-sabotage of this image. Just as I did and do. How funny to find out it is all a big misunderstanding stemming from generations of artists lightly tweaking what they see from worn copies (prior to the printing press). There’s something about the subtle decisions on facial expressions from deck to deck. The Queen is worried, determined, glum, drunk, manic, cherubic. There is one card where she has a teeny smile. Jack looks like a young boy who smelled something that turned him into a mustached man whose lip brow sits between himself and the kingdom, thereby proceeding him.
I know I’m streaming into my blog and therefore should explain that last bit, but it is already a lot that I’m forming sentences. No one really thinks in sentences except maybe TV characters like Carrie Bradshaw. Also, I explain references to the Book of Thomas and even Montessori in a video I shot last year using these cards. It’s a series of face morphs from card to card, shot to accompany an After-Death Plan song. We need to release that to the world…of course, ADP has been sitting on finished videos from just before the pandemic. I haven’t felt like sharing anything, except writing and that’s because I’ve been exposed to a supportive group of talented creators. One day we’ll all be okay again? Post-pandemic sages full of appreciation.
The power of the cards, to me, has to do with our developmental visual processing of high contrast colors, black and white with the flashing red. Yellow after we get out bearings on the first three. Then there’s the archetypal logic system, the four seasons divided into weeks totaling a year, a royal for each month, and a suit for each solstice. Basic highly metaphoric symbols that correspond to the four elements, then resound as one’s folds of vision and insight develop.
I’ll save it for the linear notes on the After-Death Plan video.
When I hunted for this picture, I found it in an email I’d sent to a writer friend last year. I’d gotten up early to write and was still stretching my brain waves out of a lucid dreaming state. Sometimes you can find a writer to correspond with who understands creative flow and you can say just about anything to them without it sounding weird. So I told him of the serpentine nature of my dream and what Jung said about the separation needed to birth new consciousness…and something about the order brought out of confusion in a process similar to the birth of the cosmos out of chaos. And of how several myths describe creation as separation.
I’d helped a friend move a lot of stuff after decades years of marriage and my lat muscles were spasming in my sleep, which probably translated to snakes in my back, which probably translated to the deeper processing about the destruction of a tribe member’s relationship and stability. I never did process the loss of my friend’s partner as tribe; I had to choose sides to help my person through the pain. Honestly, they’d nested in a way that had all on autopilot and something had needed to change for some time. As friend, all you can do is take notes for your own relationship, unless the person asks to hear what you think. Then hope they remember that they asked your opinion, so you aren’t used as a scapegoat once their anger/hurt recedes. Best of luck in those situations.
Anyway, the dream was a reframing; it broke a ouroboric cycle and from that came the divine creation of transcendence to greater meaning renewed from the rubble. Or something like that. I’m not currently in the thick of it. There were some million militia march madness dumpster fires everywhere then, as the shadows of a blaming world came online in their isolation, flooding the solitudinous with that brand of high school bestie posturing and not “overthinking” anything…in the least…except for perhaps ranting on how they’ve been wronged.
The worst shadow attributes of blamers were everywhere. Even a few people I’d liked enough to invest time on became negative peekers who lurked around policing people’s actions, rolling their eyes at their expression, and overestimating their importance when it came to the lives of others. Tragically, not as much good comes to people who do not celebrate fortune (unless their own). It’s basic law of attraction: fortune avoids those who avoid fortune, and their bitter pills. Envy is about low self-worth, which can be hard to dig into and heal. A lot of people turn to mantras or songs to generate a balance of wavelengths. It beats sitting around nodding about how narcissists and toxic people hurt them, when often they’re comfortable and didn’t want to read any further into looking at themselves or their projections. Too much effort! Overthinking! Or, someone scolded them as children for being too precocious or high-and-mighty. Told them that their forming opinions didn’t matter because they had not yet formed. Anger at this is a necessary stage, but forgive the souls behind such bad handling of stress, responsibility, and sometimes resentment of lost youth. Free them, free yourself.
I’m still trying to get the book FutureYou together, speaking of explosions and rubble. I need to bring in Cere’s ex sooner but can’t do flashbacks because it would further confuse the sequence. Think I’ll introduce him early via text.
[Cere is hanging out with Maena and Emma. ]
My phone buzzed. It was him.
“Everybody shut up.”
I’ll have to take you back several years for you to understand the psychic poverty I feel when I hear from him. Only thing worse is the constant feeling that I’ll never hear a thing from him again. None of these intense feelings of abandonment are even his fault. Most of them anyway and the rest is on me. I made a joke about it: Two anxious attachment styles walk into a bar and ignore each other. Rim shot: Ba dum tssh.
I looked at the text. There it was, short and sterile like a note to pick up milk on your way home—whatever hole or hearth you call home these days. I hate uncertainty. It’s like locking everything down in a waiting room. It’s like airport security when you’re late for your flight. It’s watching a train coming and not knowing if jumping in front of it would cause more or less pain. I’m so bunched up at this point that the preoccupation is all I have to move things forward past suppression–suppression that feels as if it is about to walk into detached repression and never look back. Rumi wouldn’t take that shit. You say what you want to say even if it’s crazed; no, before it gets crazed. Why am I so nonexistent? It’s probably that S&M pincushion he’s hung up on. I get that we feel nothing and hurt our bodies, but do you really want the mentality of a petulant and disconnected child for a lover? I realize I just described myself but my obnoxious discontent is wiser, seasoned…I daresay endearing? I mean, we keep the childlike state—keep the inner child’s freedom intact—but you have to curve the tantrums and the general qualities of an unexamined, immature human being.
She said as she stereotyped someone she’d only seen one picture of—fuck, this is some sophisticated posturing.
That’s enough of that. I’ll soon figure out a subscription button that doesn’t need a lot of extra steps. From there, I want to bring in some guest writers. Reach out if you want to get in on that action.
It was such a turn-on to have my subconscious hacked, being alluded to often but never directly addressed. You’d weave me in your fictive formula of taking bits from various people, flipping the POV like an atomized burger chef—or perhaps it was remiss unconsciousness steering—then I’d accuse you of witchcraft and here we are. I’m sorry about the knock at your door.
Knock knock knock!
“We know you’re in there! Come out with your pants up!”
But Jake, let’s call him Jake, had never done anything before with his pants up so that request fell on deaf ears, I guess. Jake did manage to get his pirate shirt on and one boot. He bounced and skirted across the floor on a single leg like a pogo stick while trying to put on the other boot. But he had that pogo shoe on backwards, you see—the wrong foot in the wrong shoe—, so with every hop on his left foot, he veered right. Until he bumped right into the windowsill amidst all of the confusion. The single fragile boot fell to the floor as Jake clawed desperately at the window frame. His hip had hit the sill, his weight thrown toward the open pane. She wanted to call out to him but that would suggest she’d been there.
Jake was a self-narrating fool, you see, so she couldn’t admit there was anything there or that would make her the objectified extra. She deliberated over whether this was fair. He hadn’t done anything but try to slip a bit of love to her. It’s just that the ending was clear. He’d ride off into a cardboard sunset, go be a hero somewhere new for a spell. Except he wasn’t a hero, was he? She’d have to write her own history. And while carefully deliberating, poor Jake had only the curtains to hold his hand. Out the window he fell with a final salute. Goodbye Jake, we’re proud of you. I just hope that everyone knew you were set on changing your ways.
The muse left me for a polyamorous cad who grew tired almost immediately. Now our visits are plain-spoken, almost sad. Take place on the ground without wing or abstraction. It is as if we are at a holiday party catching up with a run-down of our accomplishments: How was your year? Well, I’ve been fine. Ron has faced some changes. They rounded up the men and put them in a pecker house where they were trained to work as peckers. He took right to it; world’s oldest profession.
One very lucid day, the muse was going on about Venus being a disco ball. And “Kiss me with the radio on. The waves they bend my favorite song.” It was a complete creative cop-out. I think the muse was trying to look unaffected by the actions of the cad so broadcast this big happy-happy-joy-joy routine. It was hollow.
Here’s hoping the muse will become tender again without needing a twelve-step program or a priest. I will wait and meanwhile try to provide a motivating soundtrack.
A good friend will hold you by your feet and dangle you over the abyss to show you the footholds in the walls. A good friend will suggest a twist or kick for momentum or that you use bat technology to scream yourself off the walls. They’ll send you training tools like books or quotes or brushes; suggest new mediums: bristles dipped in tears, malleable dreams where sleep is a long luxurious blink. How it all works together to flush the sight of shards of memories worked around the nerves in sympathy. The body forgets its process while a good friend refuses your censorship, rides the shame to shamanic exodus. Holds the flashlight while you climb out of the abyss.
I get that half the esoteric groupies are D&D flunkies but this is a whole new level of bullshit.
“You sound like a conspiracy theorist. All that knowledge too much for you, Mr Crowley? You losing your shit?” I reached down and patted the chair. “Have a seat. Maybe lay down flat like the earth you live on.”
It’s too bad Greg didn’t do social media because he’d really enjoy some of the fringe theory groups. But he didn’t do social media. He’d get too upset. It’s wild to think about what Facebook would do to him with its groups and gangs of people engaging in relational aggression. Maybe they don’t think people can sense a bully/mean girl/gossip routine but sensitive people might. And sensitive people can be broken. Have you ever seen an isolated person experience paranoid psychosis? I have and it is awful. I like making Greg feel okay. He might have quirks but I can handle it because we clearly agreed to be friends. We’d determined a while ago that being annoyed with each other was okay and temporary. At least I think. Right now he was staring at the ice cream on his spoon as if he wanted to fling it at me. Or maybe that look was more about hunger.
He tossed the words at me real quick before taking the bite. “Um, duh, if the earth were flat then what about Atvatabar?”
“Atvabar?” Damn. I was the one who bit. Asking him a question could delay me by several days.
“At-va-TA-bar.” He pretended to choke on his soft serve. “You’ve never heard of AtvaTAbar? Are you kidding me?”
I sighed and took a seat. The “Are You Kidding Me” game always took awhile. It was a scolding really. Emphatic face gestures, eye popping, deep distant hilarity—a dawning of hilarity at the idiocy of the ape in front of him—some chicken neck stretches, hands at the waist, elbows out with a couple of stick legs strutting forward and back. Because of his emphatic preening, it took forever to get to the point. He beat around the bush like a prizefighter jabbing the shrubbery in the kidneys, remarkably light on his feet.
“I get it, I’m an idiot. You know all. What is AtvaTAbar?”
Horrors of everyday reality face collective indifference/ routines and ambition/ dollars against indifference/ state of the country/ the persona mask/ guns allow kids to be shot; anyone they’re mad at, shot/ defenseless people identified but not sheltered or soothed/ confrontational device implicates reader/ army of invisible sufferers/ male authority: father. profiteering boss. turncoat angel. god/ inferno: suffering, dislocation, hidden spiritual costs, rapid social transformation/ industrial evolution: altered community, personal identity, social values/ city as darkly paranoid as the remote/ chartered: mapped, liscensed, controlled; choked with commerce/ reserved and rented as buses, boats, planes/ rent your mind/ intellectual property with a rental fee, subscription-based agreement/ own a physical chunk of brain with each purchase/ else streamed for 20% or 15 for complaining; 13 to automate a response/ signs of illness, exhaustion, anxiety, despair; healthcare/ eat what’s bad for you; watch, cry, die what’s bad for you/ rush to the gloried doom/ hereditary authority from the palace to the board room/ proletarian pawn of selfish higher powers/ authentic intelligence/ consumer, consumned, sadly died of consumption
It’s death, it’s always been death; except for when you’re realizing life. From there it’s realizing death, fear of death, avoiding death, and—if we’re lucky—solving death.
~ Maena, from FutureYou
Aspiring angel, tell me enlightenment solves suffering
tell me detachment is true compassion
tell me you know about righteousness
The lady will have a great ruin
He smells like musk but sucks the freedom from the room with those moods, as if his is the only true anger. He writes of how I wouldn’t understand human’s search for meaning. Pats my head like a good little vessel carrying man’s miracle. It’s 2021, are we still on about breeding machines and sex machines and body parts?
mend the globe, poet
repair our relationships
I put laughter in a time capsule/ you thought the box was empty/ and so it was
Everyday I become longer details/ a barricade of What and Where/ the Who more undefined/ still there
A road uncircumstantial till it’s gone/ I walk on/ pause
to chomp on elder loss and sibling witness/
love & awe, the next meal
Time can flick the value of a lesson
to come back overgrown in the lusty spring
you’ll “take care of it some sunny day,”
said the epiphany worth repeating
I wanted to impress Maena because she impresses me. And I thought no one could hear me. The shame that I’m doing it wrong squeezes my rib cage where the joints move to allow the lungs to expand, a parasitic backpack I carry like an infant nursing as though a separate helplessness. Not wanting to put it down where I can constantly see it—and when it feels gone, I know it can sneak up on me. What does it want? Blood, proteins?
Don’t say resurrection and peace because I’ve tried that so many times. I could make Halloween a day of the week. These are not demons and they are not saints; they are like emotive entities tied into me, living in my nerve endings. First thing in the morning and late at night they speak—not in words but in the feel of words and sometimes a symbol breaks through. Longfellow called the human voice the organ of the soul; these voices might be several organs come together, the beginning of tissues, a petri dish of consciousness that agreed to manifest. Agreed in pattern, agreed in likeness, agreed in tension, agreed in fear and solace. Agreed to try again and be our own children. I’d carry the obedient and the willful, the lost and the weary, the brave, the angry, the fools and the wise; carry them with me as family. Family tired of fighting and reconciled. You would not tell your lungs they are bad. You would not curse your eyes for all they’ve seen—no matter how much society says conflict is motivation.
We passionate automatons, clinging to story, clinging to a cast that exists outside of ourselves that we can relate to through a tight character we believe we should be. I ride the winged ram to the heavens so we can name the stars in the next galaxy, perhaps stand on the next new earth unfolding new myth under a new sun. And conjure the beasts who will take us there on their own form of oxygen. Star creatures.
Where else to go but middle earth, where else but cracking time, where else but the reaches of the ocean and the limits of our knowledge in the limits of our senses in the limits of our minds in the limits of our fables. Stuck on those first stories and the gender of holy trinities. Stuck, just separated from nature and caught up in tribal warfare and witchhunts and drama, lazily redeemed with religion and not internal peace. I welcome you, Maena. Come to me. Speak.
It took the story of the twin to explore another explanation for Maena’s presence without worry of madness. This was my gene, divided; my split sister who I took into me. Our brain, our voice, our heart, her soul. After I knew for sure, or rather wanted to know for sure, I started courting, summoning, and pleading with her.I could feel the way the others took over in the moonlight, in the filtered reflection of the unseen sun casting safe hiding spaces for shadows. They can grow desperate there but it’s more like feral and afraid. So many dullards will tell you that welcoming parts of yourself makes you insane; theirs are lives only realized by the measured light of day, while the natural world has use for all variety; its imagination conjures everything and tries to keep what functions. Expressiveness is key.