Go lie on the earth. A long time. Watch. And listen up..

moon030217g-y8

I spoke to Moon, Goodnight..

Nice tsunami today..

Were you the father, or the mother?

Listen to all the stuff I am talking about..listen because I have a lot to say and because it needs to be said (spoken,heard,remembered,relished) and- listen now- because it matters it does, listen (shh! I’m talking!) there are things that matter and will matter (make a difference) in the long run (and soon, very soon, too) please. Please, listen..

dinosaurs (all kinds), dragonflies the size of ducks, Siddartha, earthworms, pinworms, ringworms, Y’shua, chipmunks, whales when they still walked, cephalopods, termites, giraffes, slugs, shamen, SWAT teams, syncophants, swindlers, sword swallowers, sea slugs, frogs, Madonna, Gilgamesh: more noise. Much noise. Their noise.

Shh, please listen now..

to me.

Me, Goodnight..

Watching Mom just laying there, looking up, and moaning, and going away..

It’s the look of vacancy, of emptiness, where even the emotions of extreme engagement are barely discernible and able to be seen often only the flurry of flailing arms and gentle fists. Mom is “cold get me back to my room when are we going home I’m thirsty I’m cold where are my shoes when are we going home are we back yet?” She groans in gutteral chants, echoes against the emptiness, an almost-manic moaning that is loud then not loud but never stops..

Are we going home now?

Yes, mom, tomorrow

No today

OK today

when is he coming

who?

someone is coming he is bringing something from home

what?

Something I hope he’s ok and didn’t..

MOM! Look at the window!

What?

And for a few minutes again the moans and groans, painless physically, who knows emotionally, or if there is even a spiritually left? There are others, so many others here under one roof, under the same sky, under screwball heaven. There are jams of wheelchairs in the hallways, hollering, cursing, crying, calling. Does anyone know where they are, what day it is, who’s your daddy?

I try to sing something low and slow but she can’t hear. And there is the stink of somebody’s shit in the hallway and here comes the aide to clean it up but still it wafts, in waves it wafts and the moans now groans, perhaps a song perhaps the only way to scream, continue..

and now Mom is up on her elbows, wide awake, but not wanting to leave the room. She has a roommate who I never see- I look in the bathroom to see if she is in there dead, but I have only seen her once and then she was fighting with her nurse, You’re better than me! Leave me alone! And the pictures on her wall show a happy anniversary (50?) with a happy husband and happy children and grandchildren and now I don’t now where she is. I only know this about her: she is not in the bathroom.

There is nothing on mom ‘s walls- we don’t have to prove our love for her to others, that’s been done and if we loaded the walls down with pictures she would see none of them and know none of them- us- her progeny, her issue, her genetic touchstones with eternity, in the near galactic future anyway. Her comprehension extends now (it seems) to water, cold, some pretty colors, “home” (whichever one I don’t know and neither I think does she).

Shit. (the smell and the circumstances) Call it a prayer or call it a curse. They both sound the same. The line in McCarthy’s The Road: “There is no god and we are his prophets.” Or, there is and we are: Look! Look!  This is the way the whole world ends, the whole world ends, not with a bang, but a

whimper….

and claws scuttle across the ocean floor while we lie etherized on the corner of Main Street and Vine waiting for the Christmas Sale at Target or the end of the world whichever comes first. Both will be accompanied by moans this year. And aging cheerleaders in fading, fraying sweaters jump up and down in the twilight of the American empire urging the crowds with no money to find some more and buy some stuff “Duty! Duty! Duty! Gooooooooooo and Groooooooow GNP GNP GNP!”

She lies staring through eyes with no twinkle  at a ceiling where no conjured or suggested dreams are possible. The TV is off and even when it is on it is no more than a light and nothing but noise and there is no music and there is no laughter, maybe never again. Mom! Smile! Laugh! But she doesn’t know who I am or what the words mean or when she is going home, so

Shit.

Again.

It’s cold It’s cold When are they coming? Are they here?

Words of Love..

 

“When genuine friends of God..repeat words they have heard in secret amidst the silence of the union of love, and these words are in disagreement with the teaching of the Church, it is simply that the language of the marketplace is not that of the nuptial chamber.” (Simone Weil, Waiting for God)

This is important. Because the Great Sausage Grinder that carries so much weight in the American Church doesn’t allow much gristle to make it into the morning’s meat patties. Or any fat whatsoever, or any extra spices. Or much taste. Bland is the standard; that way, aberrations are easily discerned.

Screw it. Pass the pepper, and the sage. Throw on some onions, and add some fat- some chicken fat- fried!-  greasy and crackling. Grind it all down again, one more time with fresh basil, and garlic and cilantro, and a spoonful of sugar..just because. Now grill that sausage over hot-fired mesquite, sprinkled with Jack Daniels, and slathered with a puree of sun-dried tomatoes, olives, and oregano.

Good.

God.

Now, eat:

“I was afraid it

would screw up my art

and I would end up

writing sermons

instead of songs.”

(James McMurtry)

“Humankind has not woven the
web of life. We are but one thread within it.
Whatever we do to the web, we do to ourselves.
All things are bound together.
All things connect.”
(Chief Seattle)

Even after all

this time

the sun never

says to the

earth

“You owe me.”

Look what happens

with a love like that.

It lights the

whole sky.

(Hafiz)

In your light I learn how to love.
In your beauty, how to make poems.
You dance inside my chest,
where no one sees you,
but sometimes I do,
and that sight becomes this art.
(Rumi)

Everything Is… (a poem by Candy Shue)

Everything Is – by Candy Shue

(from The Rambler)

autobiographical.

The newspaper

you read this morning.

The coffee you drank

while you were reading it.

The article about the couple

getting married at McDonald’s.

The toast you buttered

to eat with your coffee.

The knife you used

to butter it.

The truck that was double-parked

in your driveway.

The guy with the hand truck

who parked it there.

The smell of the cigarette

stuck in his mouth.

The music on the car radio

playing “Me and Mrs. Jones.”

It is all a part of you,

inextricable.

Even the strangers

standing next to you

at the post office

as you imagine what

you’re going to do

with your life

someday.

You’re alive, right here,

right now.

Aren’t you?

You’re here.

And here, right here.

The Dilemma of Death (part 6 of a series)

“Man is literally split in two: he has an awareness of his own splendid uniqueness in that he sticks out of nature with a towering majesty, and yet he goes back into the ground a few feet in order blindly and dumbly to rot and disappear forever. It is a terrifying dilemma to be in and to have to live with.” (Ernest Becker, The Denial of Death, The Free Press, 1973, p.26)

I watch my dogs lying in the early afternoon sun. They are on their sides, utterly relaxed into the small variations in grade beneath them. A dandelion clump pressed against a ribcage does not seem to have the power over them that the corner of a misplaced pillow might have over me. Both of them are asleep within moments of lying down, utterly at ease in a safe place with their “pack” (myself, the other dog, and the cat who will occasionally make an appearance). They sleep as if they have been very busy all morning, like they’ve been running and running and are now exhausted. But they have not been especially busy at all. This is how they always rest- wholly and completely, without a single anxious thought about the future gnawing at their psyche. What looks like exhaustion to us is, in fact, perfect relaxation, complete wholeness between the dogs’ consciousness and physical bodies, without a single thought toward “splendid uniqueness.”

“The lower animals are, of course, spared this painful contradiction, as they lack a symbolic identity and the self consciousness that goes with it.” (ibid.) In other words, animals have no awareness of the one way journey through physical life which they, like everything else, are on. They give no regard to their own Death; they are not anxious about tomorrow. (Tomorrow? What is that anyway?) Obviously, on some level, carnivorous animals are aware that the physical death of their foodstuff is a desirable state. And it may well be that some animals- dolphins and elephants come to mind- may recognize a consciousness within themselves that is finite. But humans are the only ones who institutionalized the awareness of Death Impending. Humans are the only animals who allow “Death’s second self” (That’s Shakespeare for Sleep) to be interrupted, ever, by thoughts of Dying. Humans are the only ones who can become neurotic about the prevention of things which might be harmful enough to cause death, or who are able to be addicted to substances which alleviate- in always failing measure- their preoccupations with Death.

Every faith tradition has some dogmatic and/or doctrinal tenets that deal with the awareness of Death with which all humans live. All faith traditions acknowledge the pain- fallenness, insanity, suffering- that accompanies this awareness of Death, and the vital need for acceptance of both that awareness and of Death itself. In lieu of that acceptance, the adherents of some faiths are given the option, within their faith’s teachings, of looking beyond death, into eternity. (I’m not here in this series to judge the content of various end of life scenarios, only to acknowledge that do exist and perform vital functions in the whole lives of many persons and communities.

The commonality of our pain takes different specific forms but all of them have dirt in common. All of our lives, after Death, end up in some way, in the dirt. As ashes, or sealed within a metal vacuum which slows down but does not stop the process of decomposition, or laid directly onto the dirt which begins immediately to absorbs the liquids and fats of life, dirt is our bed, sometimes quickly, always eventually.

It is dirt over which we stand in “towering majesty.” It is dirt which contrasts so harshly with our names, our perceptions of our Selves, and the legacy we imagine ourselves leaving behind. It is dirt which covers our face to the world and finally blocks the world to our face.

Dirt is just..so damn final!

And that’s our dilemma. It is a dilemma for every human being on earth, too, and has been since the very first time human consciousness reached into an imagined future and put the 2+2 of life and death together. It added up to dirt then and adds up to dirt now, despite all kinds of conveyances, rituals, religions, and proposed alternative scenarios which have been placed in front that final “resting place.” (And note that phrase- “resting place.” It is one of many, many, many phrases and words used about Death which attempt to take a little bit of Death’s sting away.)

Elysian Fields await, beyond the River Styx, near the New Jerusalem, in the sweet by and by. We’ll visit some of those places and see what they might reveal about our fears, and our hopes.