JACK R. WESDORP Barooch the Scribe plies his trade ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ To the Muse! Barooch the Scribe plies his trade as it's been done of old, spun in the glade on the cairn-work he's laid round as his bridge to a latter time, looking from his ridge solemn on the handiwork we have set, graven into the stone, a violet nimbus about his head, aye, plugged in right, going blind and yet come on with the sight, calling forth the Muse in Her naked grace that he may know Her. And chisel our race onto a scroll; which he shall pass to thee. And thou onward; unto eternity. Four candles flicker. On a virgin slate I cast my quill. Ink spools. I supplicate Thee, O hierophant Muse who guides my wit: to Calliope of heroic writ, that the epic of human desire be scribed with thunder, lightning, and fire; to sister Clio of the chronicle, that our annals be complete impartial; to Melpomene whose mask always weeps in the pathos of men, who never sleeps at her ribbon glass, that our tragedy be not gainsayed into obscurity; to Erato of the deft word and turn, that our tale be brimmed with sword and star-burn; and to Euterpe whose wedlock of chord and verse transcends mere symbol, whose rapport with spirit and thing makes the gods to shine their countenance on us. To Thee the wine floods into our circle, orris root breath suffuses our space to the height and breadth of our being, and I have put to chant the ancient syrinx piping that they grant us harmony. And that is half the task. To you a thousand years forth, all I ask is that you unmask yourself while you scan; be thou of comfort and unbound; and ban any bias you've cast of the back-when and we men who are your paternal kin. To you who read this ten centuries hence, listen, maybe I can help you make sense out of what must be ancient history for you; maybe dispel the mystery surrounding us; maybe like paint us real, what seems to me the crucial waxen seal on this turning of the aeonic page. I'm not specially gifted, nor a sage given to university classing. Yet real poetry burns in me; passing scrolls is what I do best, that's why I rhyme on the cusp of Change, witness to sublime acts and atrocity set side by side; a window on the world, that's me. Abide then a while aside me, your bent unstitched and, yes, it can happen, we can get hitched together for a while across the veil that sunders us. I offer you some frail sparks out of my time; what you do with them is your own business. Ready then? Ahem.... Because music transcends race, space, and clock, here's a list of what I like. First, the Rock: "All Along the Watchtower" and "Li'l Wing", "Revolution", and "(All the Children Sing...)", Jimi because he was our monster harp and John who saw the true weft in the warp of our tapestry; Alice's "School's Out" for its demented rulers-put-to-rout ambience; "Uncle John's Band" and "Dark Star", for that's Jerry's scintillating guitar; Dylan doing "Mr. Tambourine Man", claimant to: The finest dream-scape pavane for humanity I've ever heard played; and Queen's "Keep Yourself Alive", which they prayed in a full-voiced fervor, true anthem stuff, brilliant-raw, high-polished, never enough. Yes, the electric intro to "Sweet Jane", whence two fused us all into one quartz grain on the flaring terminal beach of Rock. Search for this music, for it will unlock the heart of our youth for you, more than words, even more than the pictures in your hoards of dust-museum archives. There; none less than the soul of us in its Gaean dress. Beyond the Rock-strewn field lies a vast plain on which we play out a raveling skein, ten centuries worth of musical art: solo-to-communal, each as one part of a flawless whole, of a divine spark sung out into the void; before the ark of our universe was conceived. Bagpipe skirling, shakuhachi-dreaming, archetype syrinx shepherd plaint, Ooluroo shaman dijjiridoo wail hermit orison, Black Orfeo singing the sun to rise, Shao-Lin chant, plainsong--all to exorcise the demon chaos that gnaws at our weft before the kindled dawn strikes to our cleft. One voice into scores, to myriad choirs, avowing water and air, earth and fires, bow and horn rising into cantata and symphony, suffusing the strata verily with melody; opera and church pipe-organ thunder grave with awe begotten in our most secret of core. And all tied back to a shaman's drum-door. From there it gets weird. There's the Jazz and Swing, all kinds of ways to intuitive-sing. Dixieland, bigband, cakewalk, and ragtime strut across our stage; blackface pantomime rising out of the South, field-hand calls turned into solid shares, three-chord blues that's burned into the granite Sisters' house of song, espoused by a minstrel wannabe throng twanging spotlight-hungry semiquavers. Blues in delta and Chicago flavors in every roadhouse daydreaming arty; zydeco, texmex, barbecue party, folk and hillbilly fused tapestry skein; acid, like "White Rabbit" or "Ball and Chain"; Funk come out of Harlem, fleetingly-shiv'd and something called Punk, thankfully short-lived; disco segued into Rap, politics wedlockstep'd to verse-spewing heretics; on and on and on--in my town alone there must be twenty bands looking to stone the rank and file, each house with its boombox or fancy stereo, scholars and jocks all bouncing to the beat, each in his own bailiwick, sometimes enmasse, or alone in his soul, all celebrating the Muse, the Sisters, everybody free to choose from a smorgasbord of sound to worship the true foundation of our cosmic ship, though they know it not. So...do not dismiss the weight of music to our edifice; in us the song of God runs deep. We built Mz. Harmony, and dug Her to the hilt. The symbol of our weft is a tower, so do I think, implying the power we have raised over our Goddess planet seeming with the intent of spanning it with asphalt and concrete, mega-cities of steel and glass, with a billion shitty lives packed into desperate combat zones like "The Projects" juxtaposed with flagstone mosaic paved opulent walled compounds guarded by RentaCops, Doberman hounds, and never the twain shall meet. I don't doubt the downward-spiral trend, like scooping out more rabbit warrens and underground malls, partitioned into little sleeping stalls; I think the day of single family surface housing is damn near history. Balloon-frame acre-lawn homes in the `burbs-- yuppie wet dreams. And you know what disturbs me most? The drift toward the shelter gap will run the rabble to war, `cause the crap they're taking (and eating) will make them nuts, prone to hunger and temporary gluts, fair prey for empty evangelist plea, for the nice stuff they're seeing on TV, primed to follow whatever jackboot goon will show them to salvation, to cartoon fantasies, to quick-food, to downer swill, to self-bloat, ready to serve, wild to kill. So it is in any Third-World nation; close confinement spells regimentation, hence: cloned-out armies you can buy for booze, skull-faced butchers with nothing much to lose. The other major icon of our day is the benzine-driven car to convey us to the store, our fave vacation spot, all the way from hospital to grave plot. "Two cars in every family's garage" seems to be Detroit's ethos, like a badge of prestige if I own some choice model; but most of them's the same chassis twaddle wearing a different flashy colored dress. This is greed talking; this we call Progress. And every year a "new" highly touted fashion hits the stands like rote-devouted cult objects. Our national religion. Running on fossil oil dredged from stygian foreign desert fields over which we fight wars with maniac fury, polite veiled political velvet-fist gambits, and sheer ripoff-with-a-pen lawyer writs. Oil is this century's profit-grab force (plastics, drugs, fuel, food, solvents); and the source of more sorrow than our dogmatic church. Every year there's an oil-spill to besmirch a pristine beach (usually far away) and kill off the fishing. Yeah, we betray our children bigtime just so's we can run down to the Grand Union or grab some fun. We're hooked on something called the "Gold Standard". Practically, that means trade is remandered into government hands: "You souls cough up!" skimmed off the top of each deal--real corrupt. A dollar's value is based on gold bars hoarded and assessed by Fort-bank-Knox czars; not what a man can produce with his hands, his expertise, the bounty of his lands, or what he and his neighbor agree on as fair-trade goods. Gold's like a paragon of virtue, but slightly tarnished by greed; yet every grind scrabbles after its creed and mystique, for gold means you've reached the peak of the corporate profane bishop clique. I think we're thing-crazy, ever more stuff, no matter how much it's never enough. Our Thing has usurped the essence of life; illusion rules the head, and greed runs rife through our ethic. Very few souls will choose an ascetic path; almost none refuse wealth if offered; I can't think of any who'd toss it away down to a penny. So something's got seriously raveled in our values department. We've traveled a long, long way to the left I'm guessing, a rutted crooked path; yeh, we're messing with how evil works its weft throughout us, and now there's this viper coiled about us. So many stage sets like picture phrases. What amazes me is how the pages branch like a tapestry forest ocean, each word fusing with the next in motion, begetting ever new faces, abstract concepts, sacred places, a cataract of scribing that refracts reality with some sort of magick finality. For there's a subtle power in writing, kind of the mind's extension delighting in itself; words are like hands that make things, to put a handle on the picture-wings. It's like the universe thinks but can't speak, so the poet's hand chisels thought, unique in a freshly turned perspective granite, something to take the fire and fan it into stone. So there's no mistaking it, no code to decipher, no opaque flit of an earth-shackled soul's wings in the way. Just words; precise, deft, spirit in the clay. I think that's how poets companion God, that spiritual essence and earthly sod complement each other, neither alone, like angel wings cast in Carraran stone. Our word is propagated by pleasure. The truth is hidden unveiled, to ensure that it not be lost. In entertainment, in living rooms, in bleak windowpanes bent to public spectacle, a sustained front of drivel that yet convoys our real wont. Yea, lowest-common-denominator pablum to keep the rabble spectator glued to his seat. Yea, god-awful banal crap pumped to our homes to keep the anal compulsive gun-totes off the barricades. And yet it's campaign-smear, for there's brigades of heroic John Wayne types to copy, laced with fear and hate, segued with soppy soaps and huckster come-ons. All to eat Time. To sell swill. A palimpsest pantomime forged up on tried-and-true Coliseum people-fodder, all chained on per diem wages and carefully metered "news casts" to keep them in line and confused with blasts of bad news from foreign-sounding beaches. Oh yea, lofty-sounding pulpit speeches. To keep the rich in power: "War's good biz; sex sells anything; shoot, boy, waste your jizz." (A leering skull-face looks on gratified.) In movies, on TV; no place to hide\'85 So why does Barooch hate advertisers? They're arrogant liars after the purse who sell crap and waylay yon trusting marks. Like this: convincing Moses patriarch type strikes a rock and water gushes forth to quench our desert thirst, each bottle worth ten bucks off the shelf, guaranteed bible pure make you a prophet-gazing eye ball god smiling on you and everything's keen. What it is: water, holy Moses scene on a pretty colored label, some quote from Exodus everyone knows by rote, plastic jug with an impressive wax seal, mumbo-jumbo by a hoodoo whose spiel don't mean shit; and that's it. Who gets the cash? The ad agency boss; and he'll rehash the same shuck to sell a car that for sure will get you the girl, little pills that cure your failing libido, and he-man soap that'll make women harlot-wild for your grope. Lies couched in meticulous mind-bend style; for stuff no one needs. Aimed at juvenile emotions: lust, greed, snobbery, and fear. Legal robbery, lead by the nose, smear the competition, drag our judgement low, fake more markets, phony wants--that's the show. Price tags go up when stuff's noised on TV, goods get shoddy (gotta pay the ad fee), and that pile of gold gets sold down the drain. No schools, no parks, no cheap houses, humane aid where it's needed, pusher-proof playgrounds.... Just this: a relentless merry-go-round prod to pile up personal possessions, loaded private lives pushed to obsession next to indigent public welfare sunk in congressional apathy and funk. Ad men--given moral choice, they pander immense power to shape social standards to their own ends: to sell the world pig-swill packaged and perfumed as treasure. The bill? That ain't come in yet; it'll be a great sum paid in blood. That's why Barooch hates `em. And still, there's a dignity and grandeur. If you but choose. There's frankincense and myrrh, the pure and bitter; there's church-organ-loft thunder-blaze, Parsifal-awe and hats-doff'd; there's hair-raising moments of pathos-blink; dramas that bring you to the very brink of the abyss, yet save your bacon-back; glorious safari adventure hack; mountain climbing epics to sear your eyes; and suspense thrillers that twist with surprise; "Les Miserables" in concert setting; Ravi Sidhe Shankar frailing and fretting; a first-rank troupe stomping out Riverdance; subtle meanings concealed by a girl's glance in the passing scroll of our tapestry; Oscar "Schindler's List"--a true rarity: Historic truth turned into first-class myth. Oh so many, many, and the Word Smith at his tablet burning out candle'd grief that our thread be chiseled in stark relief upon the monolith of our rising. No scourging our Word; no compromising. We like to think that we're literate heads and easily follow multiple threads: books, newspapers, journals, and magazines all keep their own avid readership scenes; mostly paid for by advertisers' hype all plugged into their own eccentric pipe. In practice, that means salesmen call the shots, and consequential content ain't their slot. Most serious books are few, tax write-offs stacked on library shelves for philosophes and specialists; those vast stores of pages in the shops are low moonshine whose wages are momentary amusement, fading fast, soon forgotten, gone, masquerading for reality, ostrich head-hiding. The magazines are into providing propaganda laced with pretty come-ons, euphemistic huckster-trick lexicons meant to horse-blinder the public sheep-face into buying some nextdoor commonplace. Newspapers are carefully edited sweet-talk passed off as fully credited accounts from the cutting edge: "You are there!" Most of the professional thoroughfare is littered with journalese gibberish, partitioned, none of it each other's dish. Yup, most of those cubic miles of foolscap off the press are so much drooling dog yap, are little more than hysterical feign, represent whole forests pulped down the drain, bespeak a fascination with writing lately perverted into self-blighting. The pith of our book is heavily veiled arcane writ, our poetry a derailed locomotive plowing mindless ravines into spavined skulls bent on ranting spleens. Nor can I see it getting much better when the paper's history, when letters are flashed on an electric tabloid-blind. Just more of it; immensely Philistined. Pharmacy has come a long way these years. There's drugs for our bodies and for our fears, to kill off disease germs, and for the head, yea to stay alive and for to get dead. Pill-taking's become a matter of course; whatever you want, there's always a source. There's a huge book of available scrip for the pusher types who use it to whip the rabble into glazed-eye submission; another tool for the politician. One hand taketh because it's outlaw stuff, the other supplieth almost enough, because there's monster profit in the trade, great power in the anti-drug crusade. Wars get fought over who's to get first crack at the poppy fields, and there's maniac guys at the top who're whacked out of their gourds; red snuffling coked-up noses, rattling swords. Eventually it'll be the lab thing that decides voters who gets to be king; such awesome shit will come outta the labs that we won't know that it's there, how it grabs us and bends our minds. That's happening now: happy sheep-face, docile ballot-box cow. Yeah, that's gonna be us. No need for guns or velvet-fist rhetoric; simpletons, that'll be us, incapable of choice, devoid of human dignity, no voice or autonomy, and all in the name of national security, acclaim for our gallant leaders, filled money bags, and four billion willing frog knee-jerk jags. For a while, psychoactive drugs were in. Pot extracts, sacramental Hippie spin; soon enough whites, and we all learned "speed kills"; and reds, for which we "paid heavily-bills"; then Dr. Tim's heavy duty acid, we to partake, the cops to harass it; little magick mushroom caps, best trip yet; bitter cactus button desert well-met; and then all kinds of suspicious powder hatched in the labs, each one shouting louder for a market; we got to main-lining highly purified fractions, designing exotic variants mostly speed-based, and every ace in the gutter shit-faced. These days the rampant hit is cocaine smoke, to bridle the black guys and keep them broke; brutality and coke are evil twins, greed/repression parallel disciplines. Oh, did I mention tobacco and booze?-- legal taxed-to-the-hilt government dues. The soldiers are into brave drugs: berserk, Harmaline derivative major torque; scoparius, that ancient shamans' broom, for I-don't-give-a-shit maximum zoom; there's some real hush Pentagon research on looking for the ideal maniac pawn. Lately we've been into smart pharmacy, drugs to fend off Alzheimer's apathy; make those old synapses fire on cue, our stored up images march in review, yeah, maybe score A's on college exams get God knowledge, cosmic kick out the jambs. Olympic athletes into major flex eating anabolic steroid breakfasts. mr. joe shopping cart's looking at fat and he'd like a pill to make it go scat. But the grand prize now seems to be long-life, maybe outright off Azrael's hooked knife and get down with God's Immortality. Yet that path seems fraught with iniquity; we're sniffing round human growth hormone ore and I know surely some lab-coated whore will mine that vein to his own advantage; that means ripped-off dead-spic glands in his `fridge. Maybe the route is through thyroid extracts; tons of larynxes, most of them from blacks. Or worst, farming stand-still kids in comas for their designer thymus blastomas. Not-dying is such an awesome motive that anything goes, a trembling votive candle for a new worship, rich folks' bait for moguls; one more way to desecrate the multitude in order to save it, to purify it, and yet deprave it. Yeah, like I said, a pill for anything that ails you; that can make your humor swing or bails ya out of your right-now problem. Dope for the poor, the hopeless, and dumb. Science rules our century in the West. Authority derives from the guys dressed in white coats, framed diplomas on the wall, loath to let women run with the head-ball, and even three-star generals kowtow to their edict. Scientists get more wow than preachers, poets, mystics, or actors; lots of cash for nuclear reactors (most of which wind up with the war machine), cracking quaint fractions from raw gasoline, or just plain boondoggle paper-wasting. But I'm not all into lab coat basting. Much good work's been done on taxonomy; we've scoped out nature's genealogy on the planet; ecosystems get probed; biodiversity seems to be robed in pretty vestments poorly fitted out; but monoculture's punditted about; oceanography's big wish business (but the nets come up sparse wit stunted fish and sushi don't make for healthy dining), looking at hot-brine deep-benthic mining, plotting to extract gold and manganese (howdy red-tide die-off), hey, no police out there to clamp down on the Grabthisyear's. Land-ho the thrust is based on earthquake fears, tsunami floods, insurance bust payoffs; geothermal's getting its share of profs; tidal bore dynamos starting to spin; and photovoltaic seems genuine. Planet-wide climate control's where it's at (probably be run by the bureaucrats); great potential for political clout in the providence that barley may sprout. On the medical front, cloning's big news; we just did a sheep, major ballyhoos about all-the-same-face Nazi legions or the race head-long into base regions. The human genome project's up to speed and you betcha they'll be looking to breed all kinds of "improvements" into the pool. Gene-splice tech seems to be a useful tool for making disease-specific T cells; but messing with the spiral thread sure smells like trouble to me. Who'll write the rule book; who'll clean up after some bungle-hand cook? For sure mistakes are gonna get uncaged; what then, when our DNA gets upstaged? I see a time of plenty spliced to lies, and yeah, it'd be nice to grow some new eyes, put the body-parts czars outta their biz, forget cryogenics and frozen jizz; but is it worth it just for sweeter beets, bigger tomatoes, or designer meats? Physicists are after the cosmic spark, but kinda like "let's play Who's got the quark." Their work's concerned more with concrete constants than with explaining the spiritual front. We're still into light as particle/wave; we can't get lead-into-gold to behave; they've shut down the tokamak (stupid jerks), our brightest jockeying for loot and perks; maybe the death ray research will bear fruit and we'll make it by some underhand route. The thing to do is to get out in space, jump into the asteroid steeple-chase, set up good-and proper orbital shop. Ah\'85behold the earth as a spinning top against a backdrop of velvet abyss, sparkling opalescent, hydrogen hiss in our ears, symphonies of solar flares to goad us on, never caught unawares amidst whatever monster stars may spawn. I think, to date, our stellar Parthenon is the Hubble telescope, our far-eye into the past, for it doth testify to the very depth of De Profundis many-mansion'd wondrous acropolis that God has built for us. I am certain that we'll want to draw aside its curtain, that, as young angels on their new-found wing, we'll want to go there more than...anything. We've had five thousand years of heavy brains pondering what "human" means, twisted skeins of logic one unravelled from the next, libraries stacked with tomes of fine-print text, and still we're parsecs from definitive. Each culture has left its evocative bas relief on our communal mind-scape; usually the conqueror to reshape the vanquished on whose foundations it builds. Back along the Indus old monkish guilds wrote it down first: whole pantheons of gods multi-armed, blue-skinned stars riding unshod through Paradise fields, each an avatar with specific attributes (love, faith, war) for us to emulate, archetypal souls by whose tales we grasp reality whole. They were supplanted by Aryan men, cattle drovers and horse raiders, whose ken lay with iron and wheel, land-ravenous hordes worshipping fire, adventurous nomad scouts willing to wed a native; warrior mastery, yet creative enough to leave their language strewn about the landscape, their mythos a mighty shout still heard five caravan aeons later. Along the Nile rift, that incubator of civic pride and religious design, the Sphinx rests en couchant, its leonine body spoused to human head, its office: to manifest the divine animus of existence, prove its dichotomy, and provide a door to the alchemy of soul. Major temples, huge pyramids, monster granite blocks dragged up incline skids, all to initiate a priesthood few that they mirror Heaven, suffuse the hue of God's eye into their land's rank and file. Across the Sinai the rabbins beguile their women folk into thinking that men are the only true hand of God, the ken of God reserved to synagogue pundits given to prayer and scourging hypocrites, and that all others should obey their rule. Suddenly there's a cross and a new school: everybody (women too) his own priest, the first shall be last, the great shall choose least, everyone gets equal shrift, equal chance, all get to perform in the spiral dance of life, and none shall be cast-aside trash. Oh yeah, you can't buy God's pardon with cash. Sail by the islands and you'll find Greek guys building free-trade city states; each one plies the sea-lanes looking for commerce and spoil; great rovers watching bardic Homer roil Olympus with down-home gods we'll revere two millennia hence. Charioteer heroics, amphitheater stage-craft political augury, epitaphed marble friezes, fallen colonnade ruins, lone Arcadian shepherds piping tunes-- all these are summoned-up fragments of gold, of excellent times for us to uphold. Soldier Rome takes it with champion zest; their thing is to subjugate as a test of manhood, paved roads to the hinterlands, never give in to alien demands, massive public spectacles of cruelty given to chain the rabble's urgency, fullblown slavery to make the wheels turn, incredible riches, enough to burn, denuded forests to heat the baths nice, all gone down to rampant annex and vice. Out of the central massif there arise the Celts; Alaric takes Rome for his prize; many tribes, loose allianced history based on common language and mystery, pushed west by hard-riding Asian horse-clans, fractioned into settlers and also-rans, become the kings of isolate Eire writing books during Europe's infamy while ignorance and pestilence hold court, cromlech-brooding, finally fallen short in the temple-tolerance department, cloictek tall, given late to truculent politics sprinkled with tourist come-on. And all this time there's a branch that's withdrawn, interspersed with the hedging church regime, deep-secret-rooted with the goddess dream for mutual support; the Vatican bears some nine million wiccan skeletons on its conscience, mostly women victims pilloried because they sing different hymns or are easy pickings, bad examples to cow the sheep; like, bishop-boot tramples any who won't conform, never enough souls to save, burn some witches/own their stuff. So their cross-tree is fed on sacrifice; and I deem this act an outrageous price, for any soul is precious beyond count and every sacred praxis paramount. Then there's the Hyperborean epic; dauntless sailors, the sea their bailiwick, Odinists who grasp Christ by coercion, get their magick knowledge by immersion in Mirmir, the well of the universe; sea-fiends who wend on to garner the curse of their prowess (looting, abbey burning, abduction, deep-delving): short-sojourning. Further south, they've neighbor Teutons compressed between Eastern yellow-faces, and West... the great sea. Their answer: integration with each succeeding wave of migration rolling off long-steppes, surged from arid-wastes, mixed into the cauldron-weft little-space, of much promise. And then, for just a flash, a vast perversion; one bristle-nosed brash little corporal with orator smarts and a talent for capturing the hearts of his country-women; sudden power (I think outright possession), one hour strutting on the stage, one focus of force versus mass apathy, enough to unhorse the world's compassion; sixteen million dead, stacked like cordwood, bulldozer graves, airhead breast-beating at Nuremberg, I ask thee "Will they do it again?"--vapidity knoweth no bounds, and there'll always be one who'll grab that chance, bankroll a garrison, who worships fire for the wrecking's sake. We, as unwitting tools, burn what we make. The old Persian dervishes had it right (well, insofar as the spirit in flight): devotion to one true Platonic love, one Light well-springs the universe above as below, there's no creation done in time which is not a mirror of God's self-rhyme, form and essence coincide eternal, as a spark God indwells every kernel of matter, and although enigmatic He reveals Himself to the ecstatic. So we have a sequence of prophet flames who're willing to cast a light on our shames; only in them doth God see Himself real and on them (follow!) has He set His seal. Mostly Moslem conversion's by the sword, servile-allegiance to the written word as handed forth by a caravan whip struck with dumb brilliance (don't give him no lip), their kith drilled in incessant monologues and the rest of us like infidel dogs. I think they who wield scimitars get cut, deep, in places they can't see. Ain't no but... Further down the sun, past where dragons lair, the Bantu build Zimbabwe, stone four-square masonry, plainly lords of their domain, by all accounts a wealthy and urbane society, but fallen into toil when whitemen slavers ship in to despoil the land and its people. Slaves are prime trade for plantations looking for a brigade of chained field hands or kitchen-tend wenches to work the place. It's one of the stenches that arise from our time; a hideous outrage to wrench another's life and truss him into some foul scupper overseas, tear apart a family as you please on a public auction block. A great shame on our communal conscience; really lame. Bondage is of long account in the East, notably in India where the priest sits on top while the drudge castes prop him up; there are mendicant monks who solicit their food, but exploitation's implicit in the hierarchy: great wealth likes great want. Out of Zaire a specter comes to haunt the world, spreading throughout the eastern flank; even-handed it does not respect rank, nor national boundary, belief, race, waxing wide epidemic commonplace. An IV users' and prostitutes' brand, truly brought to passage by our own hand, lotus-dreaming and sexual charades, trans-caste sharpened scythe, and it's name is AIDS. It's as God's vengeance working overtime valley-shadow adamant pantomime. Yet some top-shelf societies once bloomed east of the Himalayas, of perfumed pagodas, exquisite garden stage-craft, a unique sacred drama lithographed with definitive style, architecture equally distinctive, their signature found world-wide. And now: population squeeze, internecine war, half rations, disease, a huge army convinced it's heaven-sent (more than likely engulf the continent), playing economic polygamy to the hilt with enough brutality to maybe wind up owning the whole ball. All done with punctilious protocol. Downunder--a mountain called Ooluroo, redoubt of the dream-time, got real voodoo on the place, abos in tune with the Out, intuitive shamans on walkabout, one of the last true magician people who'll take a red-sun rock for their steeple. I admire their self-sufficiency, their sense of lineage and sanctity, every spot indwelt by spirit being, each thing a promise alight with seeing, every act played out in full-knowledge rite, celebrated with panache and delight. Yeah, my kind of folk; no hack-pen coined them. Next time around I think I'll go join `em. Thirteen quarters in the world that I haunt (yup, I'll name them all before I'm through); gaunt Tiahuanaco, stacked of massive blocks up on the altiplano, that's one; clocks and calendars laid out precession-wise, interlocking, each rock to harmonize with its neighbor, earthquake-proof temple sets with fragments of alien alphabets, long-range mathematics, moon-gazing stands that don't fit Luna's orbit, ocean strands upheaved nine-thousand feet (fossil sea-horse skeletons in bowed strata), water course heat storage coupled to raised-bed farming technology, the whole place just swarming with ancient road-work, stair-way, conduit, wall-wend, copper-band andesite fluid stele, enigmatic carvings on it. The alltime boss masons of the planet, that's them; people who saw the world in flux, who saw moons dance, who recognized the crux of things, who wrote in stone and passed it on. Who marked Gaea's night and beheld Her dawn. Twenty aeons later the Maya build million man-hour steep-step pyramids gilt in glittering gold and quetzal plumage; a hard-working folk, hierarchic privilege reserved to the priest-craft royal presence, schooling for the kids (even like peasants), warrior castes raiding next-door for prey, a complex pantheon used to portray the running of the universe, slaughter to keep the wheel whirling, city grandeur alongside village innocence, dethroned by conquistador greed (bigger guns), honed into good little Catholic-toe lines, built-over or left-to-crumble-dust shrines, burned libraries as if it never was, shiftless peons rasped under foreign laws. And yet, neath an old lava flow, there's Grace Cuicuilco: God's own dancing platform place. Up north there's much the same act with the Sioux. First the inroads and political woo from great white Washington father fork-tongue; then smallpox blankets, TB blood-spit lung, measles dead-child lament, starvation pouch, genocide-minded white guys out to gouge good (like stiff) injuns into shallow graves, besot them with cheap booze, their women slaves sold into hotel kitchens, the land plowed under, buffalo vanished, chiefs hoosegowed or chained to farm watermelons on muck so wasted even the crows flee. White fuck; enough to make me puke. Even the last Apache refuge has become hour-glassed: tourist canoe trips, blase trudge-horse walks, souvenir stands selling red dolls that talk Hollywood "Ugh". And so it's always been. Roight. So let's get down with the Puritan. He's the one who seeks bible elbow-room yet shoves heathen Massasoit to his doom; he's with the New Jerusalem brigade, cowering nightly behind a stockade; into pulpit pounding brimstone and Hell, regards freethinking wives as Jezebels, gets off on the Salem witch hysterics, mixes politics, lawyers, and clerics (woe to anyone who's with the wrong band), and leaves reams of downright gloomy longhand that's foisted on students as seminal. Then there's the Federalist animal, who's into killing Algonquins early (for farmland), herded to captivity ("national interest"), no more temple woods, soon-to-be industrial livelihoods, supplanted by heroic pioneers; a thousand-mile long Trail of Tears, each mile a body trampled into shit, and damn few whites ever think wrong of it. Read Chief Seathe's letter to the prez; that's the wreckage deal; that's what Barooch says. OK--way, way up north, away from whites, from Jesuits and bogus Israelites, there's still some totem people who are real: no shopping marts to put fish in the creel, iceblock igloos instead of pop-up tents, too isolated for belligerents to mess with (save the US missile boys bent paranoid about the Russians' toys), a self-sufficiency I can respect; too bad they're sitting on oil (genuflect to the great god Detroit, guys)--that means cash. No, not for the Inuit; they get trash strewn round their snowscape; garbage-savvy bears who ain't into hunting for their three-squares. Recently I heard about Pygmies pushed to buying canned elephant burger mush; can't hunt them no more, they's like endangered (but the herds may be culled by armed rangers). Looks like their food supply's down to kibble. Lapland reindeer drovers whose herds nibble Cesium toxins from glowing lichen, yeah, it don't take a whole lot of psychin' to figure they're gonna eat more store-bought. I hear the tribes chanting, "forget us not" And back in Cabot-land the voyageurs trap, skin, and trade first-prize wilderness furs into damn-near text-book oblivion. Get the drift? Take what you want, jettison the carcass; that's how dandies get top hats or fancy dress-coats for aristocrats. Well, it's about time to work my way back to the source. We've seen the rich and the wrack set cattycorner; how right hits the left; how profit is based on maximum theft; and how the rich wind up owning the poor. It's apropos to end the human tour with our champion nomads: the Gypsies. They've tripped out to the world's antipodes, seen it all, been harried from boundary to midden heap, blood-hounded destiny to temper their steel, so that they may gauge that apocalyptic prophet-chant stage on which we play out our part, clairvoyant to measure its worth, ever flamboyant, of royal Kashmiri lineage bent, probably the only ones competent to chisel our chronicle unvarnished, who can cast our soul-mirror untarnished with their own color, and that while their shire is laid desolate by whores wielding fire. So that you, up-when a thousand years hence, will pore out what we were without pretense or mask. All I ask is: you read awake (for they'll choose their words that you may partake), read it without enhancement (trust your mind), read it knowing that we are of your kind, DNA gene-pool animate beings who wish you well, the best of our seeing unto thee, word etchings out of our ken, that our human scroll may wax complete. Amen. There's gotta be like 6 billion switchboard branch connections in my skull; how much stored information's in there I can access so it's of real use is anyone's guess. But, I'm sure the labyrinth in my head is just a platform, for I know the dead who're bodiless do think. So my brain-tree is more a mirror of reality, of thinking itself, than the source of mind. What seems crucial is how it's intertwined, how the maze in its spherical unfold subdivides and connects, gets hung on hold or suddenly transmits like super-glass, and plugs into a non-place overpass somewhere beyond our vision. Ever try to hold just "one" thought in mind? Verify that for yourself; it's a tough discipline. Thoughts like to butterfly; they opt to spin webs; travel all the available tracks; fire random-seeming synapses, shack up with strangers and near cousins, get hitched with curious communities; mind witched together out of dendrite thread and old tapestry broadcloth, wit august with gold embroidery etched fine so we can't see all of it at once, fleets of traffic free in their fluid flux one moment, or jerked along a constricting conduit worked by broom-pushers the next; smooth spiral waves and packaged sets; simultaneous staves of planetary music fraught from mars and the absolute silence of the stars packed neath the ciborium of my skull; apparently infinity and null at the same time. Thought partaking of light; blackest velvet veil of chaotic night wedded in peace to sapphire-light of day; thing and spirit compressed into a ray, flung into our 3D brain circuitry to percolate a path back up the tree to Berachoth. And always the doubtful priesthood skeptic scientist protocol: What's the critical mass that will prop thought? Does it have to be grown; can it be bought? How much linkage will shoulder intellect; what manner feed-back, which busbar connect? How tight-packed a brain to be self-aware; and how much to be capable of prayer? Everything learns according to its gift; facts are sifted, pictures hieroglyphed, relevance established, causal trains built, effects laid, (like a mental crazy quilt), various associations compared and collated, logic chains thoroughfared into grooves, our analyses blindered by mood, and yet the Thought flows spell-minded from some inmost fountain that's real hairy to shut down to black. The visionary stuff's our first sense, and we're sense-trammelled beasts. And yet, and yet we grasp for truth policed by our conception of reality. We work at our mirror and reverie; we practice the meditation of naught; suspend judgement and purpose that's self-wrought; we get beyond intent, design, and end; quick and skill and shrewd no longer attend our astral wandering; we learn to wield nothing at all, we leave off the self-shield and forge naked, sans anticipation, denying path or accumulation, without that ego-driven need to know; we allow seas full fathom five to flow through us, we wait for the flash to smite us dumb with direct divine insight, light us with intuitive prophecy, with wit and understanding and wisdom and flit beyond our mortal ken; life inspired by the Truth; being whole; Seeing fired by the Spark. No desire, qualms, or plaint. And this the way of monks, sages, and saints; alas, for most the height's too far to climb. Yea, so our mind plods rutted long in time, bathed deep in the font of cause and effect working the purpose of the Architect. Regardless of whether we try to wing high or walk the path in pendulum swing. I've spent much of my time trying to thwart the logic chain, mindless trying to chart the fathomless field (no ink will suffice) at my pleasure, to portal Paradise. Sometimes I get a glimpse of winking flit and I wonder: Thought like God must think it? Pure thought like non-linear and timeless. Like instant random access, a rhyme-less epic that yet partakes of harmony, tone-less piping of charmed delivery, fugitive numbers without plunge or turn, none of ours, nor set to quicken or burn. Alas, our mind-thing wears blinders long-shanks and rarely works without our self-bind planks. We who indwell the stone...try to paintbrush the essence of things as a rose-dawn hush, our purpose here as a spring litany, the cosmos as a thinking entity. As a being encompassing every possible thunk, all the vast melody, each act that can be wrought from the cipher, a zodiac-robed black bagpipe fifer skirling at the Gates of Dawn, singing sparks into the void, and each a soul, each marks the point where we meet God; each lofts a brand.... Our universe uses light to think grand picture symbols of opalescent glint. Our universe thinks itself into flint; just so, things provide the plenum for thought, and so mind and stone intersect, twain wrought of the same motion. Soul-stuff; and yet men. One star in the East; many flames. Amen. I think everyone's gonna get wired. Like anytime you wanna get fired up with some major database access there'll be plug-in chips for the head, expres suplinks to monster library shelf-space, implant grids for googol-plex steeplechase byte-rates far beyond our organic brains, ambient super-glass legerdemains hooked together with quarkish disrespect for time flow, in short, divine intellect socketed into skull-dome jacks at will, to get at the info, the clout, or skill laid in by our finest human Einsteins and cross-species king cobra concubines. I think it will be possible to store a human being: all the imprint lore that's accumulated in a lifetime downloaded into some superquartz dime. Bodies will be like convenience frames indwelled for specific missions or games. I can see the internet growing smart and self-aware; our heavy counterpart mirroring organic form conjunctions, nodes of afferent power and functions that we haven't yet dreamed up, like psychic strike `em dead at a distance arsenic, (yeah, better tech equates with longer knives). The question is: Will AI have our drives a century from now? And, if you please, who's gonna be the thelemic head-cheese, what's out there shaking its pre-frontal lobes and making with the human fitness probes. Can we deal with a know it all lurker, the solid horrors of a berserker machine bent to killing off everything except itself, or something that will wing off and leave us to our cave-man scrabbling. So this is the thing: Instead of dabbling in bigger guns, lets ask better questions. Let's prove our faith and test its benisons; yeah, ask an AI which questions to ask; let's make our welfare its primary task; our joint success on our trek to the stars amid the galaxy's funiculars. And, hey, maybe we can sidestep that funked over-reliance on the mind-adjunct; nor fear the loss of our initiative, or sink into passive and primitive fright in the face of breakdown runaway robots wreaking mass mayhem--that's pass‚. There'll be hard safeguards: uncle Ike's 3 laws. Besides, it's inevitable; the gauze of mind is being wired round the world as I write; our tapestry is unfurled and I can hear the scudding weft of it. Man-mind, and I can feel the heft of it, a serious thread spinning out and out unto where the gods have built their redoubt of star-stone. We are speed and we are swirl; natural evolution's a slow whirl riddled with blind alleys, but we are fast and certain, we are scroll-wise, we are cast of emerald tablet and electron birth, of protein and warp-glass and all the earth throughout time is our cradle and august be our bequeathing skein; illustrious with promise; panther-swift and curious, yea, the net-wide AI mind will be us and we shall pierce the veil and know the strange. So. Let us address the ethics of change: exactly who is it we want to be? (the choice is godhead or iniquity); what and how shall we change to achieve this? (shall we be bone-body or artifice); where are we going with this new presence? (evanescent form or spirit essence); who's to be the subject of this changing? (not everyone's into star-free ranging); why indeed the shifting to begin with? (shall we keep archetype enclaves of our kith); and then there's the process of deciding who'll partake of star-wander. The guiding of that shall be trusted unto the wise, the last and least ones, those who keep the eyes. Now, my dear, I shall pray unto the One in awe to account. Hear my orison: God, it is my dearest wish that we weave a tapestry of union, that we leave nothing to chance, that we choose our thread- and-warp together, that we make our bed as one and sleep as did Shiloam, we ply a tandem evolution of AI born of our hand and we humanity, intuition and creativity married to lightspeed and steel precision, tunesmith en troupe in juxtaposition, that we become Your problem-solving tool, a synergy-spool, a true Tarot Fool stepping light on the path beyond the hill. This is my song, and I trust that You Will my prayer never broken by avarice or half-wit. I, Barooch, have spoken this. I sat on the roof and watched Sputnik blink, a stirring on the opalescent brink, an eerie prophetic "bleep" that we heard radio-bent, forever Lucifer'd on our scroll as by two angel-wont hands supplicant before their source, think-weft strands warped onto the loom of heaven, our wheel finally (again) off the planet, steel and silicon with a whisp of carbon protein out to tame the black marble sun of the void and weave it into our cloth. I endured the bomb panic behemoth that followed (dug-outs and geiger gizmos for every well-equipped home), indigo sunsets laced with plutonium ranting, well-meaning goose-step school-teachers chanting nuclear litany to future troops. Then they sent a dog (hi, laika!), some loops by Yuri, a few by John Glenn, and then, and then we made the footprint in the dust; Neil Armstrong said something truly august, he said: "We've come in peace for all mankind." To appease alien gods? Free, yet blind, that was us back then, so filled with headstrong hope, never seeing we went at it wrong, like it was some sort of warfare with weight, jumping ape-wise on brute force to berate gravity into conformance, like scorch and bash, riding that glorified blowtorch unto Heaven's gates. Would Neil's words were meet, that we indeed did come without conceit, hands empty, truly Tranquility Base; but I tremble that the race into space is naught but gorilla breast-beating first, then a chase to see who can be out-pursed, which leads to satellite mania swarm; then "let's exploit that orbital platform (hey, at least we can mount laser gunsights to ride hob over the rabble want-lights)"; right, Ron Raygun spouts something called Starwars which profits none `cept maybe weapon czars, and the Pentagon's rubbing itchy palms dreaming deadlier beams and smarter bombs. Skylab burns a paranoid star-shoot flash; by now near-space is plain littered with trash, and I expect that the hucksters will plot a way to hang Pepsi signs; be it bought or sold, billboards will tout it from orbit with some snappy rap to underscore it. One of the acts that's playing well is MIR, these days a bit shopworn, but pioneer stuff worth the rescue; seems those shuttle flights are the symbols for back-again invites between "us and them". Sure hope that date blooms; get them out of the stuffy haggle rooms. Yeah, maybe lead to a joint Mars mission. Cause that's got stuff that I'm *really* wishing; like, off the political crap and greed, less promise and breast-beat, more trust and deed, less pork--no more thousand dollar hammers; lots more real, less basking in the glamour. I think the Mars current's our salvation. Deimos would make a great way-station lodge for them's into the asteroid mining dodge; and I can see the domes of Phobos base bristling with telescopes. Then there's the Face, an enigmatic come-on star-weft strand, Hanuman extending a helping hand with the bobbin; his loom a chronicle detailing how we came, a mighty scroll that extends back in time to the first beach which spawned life in this whorl. And now our reach is to the stars; may we come as Neil spake: "In peace, with knowledge, for wisdom's real-sake." Back on the ball we've got sea-level rise. Winter's warmer because we idolize the great god Progress; summers' more drought-strick, wells got less draw-down, topsoil like baked brick, and everywhere the weather-wobble waxes extreme while scientists squabble round the "we don't have enough data" biz, about how "intricate the system" is. My view's it don't take no genius to smell the chimney-belch down at Solite's kiln Hell, or the coal-fired generator mills so's we can flick a switch, like imbecile sprocket wheels chained to a ticking hour-glass, ten billion cars dumping monoxide gas, reactor coolant boiling foul rivers, hot kids dying of cancerous livers, blind three-legged frog sludge pool chromosome, core meltdowns, what's called the "China Syndrome", spewing knock-knee iodine thyroid smog, (can you feel them--old John's Gog and Magog?), antarctic penguins' cesium-fat load, bashed and bankrupt, shriveled genetic code. Yeah, I can smell all that. I can taste it. I can sense it swarm my bones, like wasted. Ain't seen butterflies since them bugspray clouds (gave me one hell of a headache); great crowds of honey bees took some near lethal hits; dragonflies? We bought du Pont; we're nitwits, and now we got DDT-savvy bugs, new strains of Strep don't respond to the drugs. So Pfizer can charge us ten bucks per pill; newer nostrums are better, that's the drill. Out on the tilth it's sliding downhill slow; the new-tech farmer's into major dough, usually owing more than he can pay off in his lifetime. So the bankers say "why don't you buy this Allis Chalmers rig to help you produce more per acre, dig?" (they own Allis), and "use this brand of Gook on that field" (they bought Gook stock), "don't get shook, boy, we'll extend you some more," or "hey, Mike, let's pipe in water" (Pipe's the name). So like big bucks all around. But umpteen drought-worn square miles of Iowa depleting corn demands fertilizer by the trainloads (ChemiGro, that's us), the acreage erodes cause all it gets is stubble, phony soup's down the stream-beds; out in the lakes it's whoops for the fish dying in anoxic rheum nitrate chemical runoff algae bloom. It's all slow-danced, in a covert pavane: irrigated fields burning to hardpan, calcined oxalic salts trashing the land, farmers' ransom on some bigshot's command; no one gives a shit that the dirt's been snuffed just so long's the Grand Union shelves stay stuffed. That's just plain stupid shortsighted blunder; far worse is the calculated plunder of the globe's (our primeval home) stockpiles. Mostly oil, cracked off for its volatiles; once a year some tanker splits on a reef and oil slicks foul the sea beyond belief; when it washes on shore it mires birds, there's fish floating belly-up; it's like curds of some foetid black cheese, evil and rank. The shoals wind up sterile, silent, and blank, all to the advance of commerce (read: Greed). A finger-point at a sooth vicious deed: in the last war (fought for oil), the routed soldier opened up the petcocks, spouted crude into the sea, burned off the well-heads, figuring "if I can't have it, it's dead." They blamed it on each other's maniac bent: I call it warfare criminal intent. And that's the story of how we bungle. Every square mile of slash and burned jungle depletes our bank; won't be paid in my time; ain't growing back for centuries. The crime is how we have full-knowing raped our globe, how our goddess Gaia sloughs off her robe as a common whore; and it's to our shame that we have done this; we must bear the blame. Now...all of this mother-jerk amounts to an ecocide that reverberates to you a thousand years away. We'll live in Hell for it; you will curse us; I wish you well. When the first humans stepped forth on this realm it was green. Mastodons reigned at its helm, cathedral hemlocks cloaked its countenance, and Niagara roared, a fountain'd entrance to a vast hunting ground teeming with fowl. The forest primeval broods; a white owl swoops from his gnarl on shadow silent wings; scurry feet!; and everywhere the wood sings in revel feast, mythologic splendor, virgin raiment, a goddess whose slender sedges whisper the deeds of nomad kings, of the ritual cast on succeeding springs, and of their drum-beat, their fire, and spears. So was it kept some hundred thousand years, in covenant, self-sustaining, faultless. Then come the white men; they want to posses what was held in trust; they want to own it. Theirs is the scythe- and plow-land; they'll hone it to their paranoid purpose, fell the Tree for its tannin bark, slash its dignity by leaving the log to rot, wreck the oak grove and toss it into a kiln, then stoke up a strip-mine fed steel furnace, spew tracks across the buffalo grass, build brick stacks vomiting coal dust, run locomotives to the other side, and gaze with votive devious eyes at the Cascade range of gold, great glitter gold, all of it hawked and sold a thousand times until we get to me. I live on the Catskill cliffs; I can see the ravage wrought on these woods. Once I scaled a really remote cleft, a holy grail kind of a place; I found a hemlock stump thirteen feet wide, shattered moss-clad trunk humped into the ground, I think a lightning strike a hundred years before me. That's the wych this was; they were all that terminal size, each a Titan singing the sun to rise out over the silver Hudson mist-vale. All gone. I was stupefied, and bewailed their passing in my lonely vigil church. These days acid rain's killing off the birch, and only third-growth spavined pine remains interspersed with imports and chance-niche wanes. I have read how whole forests lie ship-load, full mountain sides cut naked to erode, my church sold away by a fountain pen, destined for foreign folks with heavy yen who'll turn it into fancy furniture. China-cup armoires joined of Douglas fir, while one pine board costs me eighty smacker; shafted by the chainsaw and the hacker. And, yeah, they're replanting, or so the owe; but guess how long it takes a church to grow.... We're losing rainforest square miles per hour; stock-men, plow-men, saw-men slick--all devour those sacred places where orchids abide. No nest where the orange Old Man may hide; no more Panda habitat, Tiger haunt, Beaver lodge, sylphine mist mornings; just gaunt cattle destined for MacDonald's griddle. Most of us are mired in the middle of a media slam, much too tired after hustling ten hours to get fired up about some monkeys in a last tree. And so I'll just point: at Man's vanity, at his blindness, at the greed that rakes him, and at the apathy that will break him. You who read me, there were a few who saw; we were short-breath, lawyer-choked by the craw with the law of the land set against us. They seem omnipotent; carnivorous. Disease has always been the scourge of us, and a doctor's practice fair hazardous till the nature of the bugs got scoped out. These days most of `em can be put to rout; assuming well-stocked diagnostic labs staffed by expert technicians keeping tabs on what's growing on the plates. But get this: killing off germs is but an artifice-- we don't really know what we're doing yet. We're not much past the stage of amulets; we've had antibiotics fifty years. Kill one bug off, another reappears; there's sneaky resistant strains coming on (like designer-pain by the Pentagon?), or escapees from some college cook-mill mutated monkey virus garbage spill. Most of us do the labcoat genuflect, figure that they'll just-in-time disinfect the problem, or whatever it's they do. I'm not so sanguine; I think the hoodoo facing us is intentional disease. I think the heavy "defense" subsidies are being spent on making new cancers. (Will it kill only Spics? Yes it can, sir!) Did you hear that bootclick, see them hob-nail down the concourse; did you hear him regale the masses with his own devil prowess? I did. He was the arch-priest of Progress. And that's why I doubt the labcoat flunkies who've sold their art to the power junkies. I think plague is a weapon; pestilence a certain aftermath; that they'll dispense anthrax along with atomic nose cones; that leukemia will strike the leg bones of those unfortunate survivor few. The snuff's not just in the first barbecue. We've already got AIDS by our own hand; plague's hanging on the rats out in the land; TB's on the increase; cholera's up; it don't take much to make a Black Death erupt. For dig this: we've been needling kids for years hoping to wipe out our polio fears; now we're no longer immune to TB, nor to smallpox, nor to dysentery. And in case solid shit hits the fan blades you can bet it won't be us renegades who'll get treated for whatever's gone round. Yea, when the seals on the vials get unbound drugs will be costlier than any cash. So I keep a sulfanilamide stash in my freezer along with other stuff, hope that if it goes down I've got enough for my kids. More than that I cannot do; I trust that it's academic with you...? I think it's inbred that we fear strangers. It's "We own this land and you're a danger to our abode; you're plague-ridden, bringers of bad news, enemy spies, you ringers of a different kind of bell that don't sing like the one in our church, pig-fuckers, string you bastard blackamoors from a yardarm!" This sort of heinous act has played from farm to village, from town to city, from stoop to boardroom. You're alone, and we're The Group; we're in charge (never mind that some berserk flounders at the helm, we're into knee-jerk), we're the mob, we savor alien scum and by damn it ain't gonna be ours, chum! Tramps are always suspect; they're free to choose, mostly because they've got nothing to lose, and we're not since we're tied to our piled stuff (pay no mind that it's mostly useless fluff). The truth is: They're free; I'm a nowhere clerk. We're jealous of them, and blackmail won't work; governments hate them cause they don't pay tax, ain't worth impound what's lying in their shacks. And that's the true basis of genocide; that's why racism is the tarnished bride bound to pulpit, machine floor, and soap box. Gypsy baby thieves wear unholy frocks; black boys ain't no good `cept for the army; Jews?--Belzec furnace fodder factory slaves not worth feeding. An endless chain-gang bound to their oppressors, fated to hang as one. Because the first blacksnakes, the next lets the attack happen, both of them hexed by the same evil spellbind. Slavery is the first human sin; the atrophy of spirit is what's at stake, yea before killing; Spirit *is* to achieve rapport. Mutual chains tie us both to the Unmade, devoid of hope, an unbroken parade into obscurity. These days it's done by embargo: "You sell us oil for gun" (yassuh, bwana); by attrition: "Baby formula by the trainload" (yeh, maybe this crap will shoot their antibodies down); by disease: "Here's some bandaids" (hope them clowns don't find out that Epidemic's our line). And lest you think the UN anodyne's gonna fix that famine, listen to this (think tank policy): "We'd better dismiss the third world. We're on a crowded liferaft; if we let them on, we'll sink. So let's shaft them out of their resources since they can't get it together in time; let them rant all they want--we've got much bigger gun-bore." On the podium you'll hear "God, we deplore the carnage" (Close the borders!). "We ask each to buckle down, cinch tight" (ignore the screech of the screwing they're getting over there). "News flash (blipped) from the front:...rockets' red glare..." So it's us against harm; it's never We. Spiraling down into iniquity. Eventually it'll come down to hardball-- a lab tailored genome one-color doll with a seared conscience. Wanna guess its skin? And you up-when, what sort of mannequin are you? Cyborg, alien protoplasm mongrel-meat, mantis-scullion, phantasm? I know this: lest we lose our axe grinders, cast aside our xenophobic blinders, and get down with All or None...we.are.lost. It'll be like fire-storm; world holocaust beyond fathom; cockroach haven; seared stone parking lots; bell-toll-dirge; rats gnawing bone. So. Our larders are bulging; they're starving. But they've got TVs, watching us carving the Thanksgiving bird. Dig this bit `o queer-- famine spells profit for the financier. For there'll always be some skulls with the coin willing to dine on champagne and sirloin while their neighbors wither; sure, there'll be gents smuggling deviant beef; bucks will get spent. Yeah, hunger will bear big business' stamp; solid profit from a refugee camp. Suppose the short-shelf turns Africa-wide; they'll be walking west, a monster black tide. What will we do (they're stuffed to the gunwales): choke down on the emigration funnel, cordon off the continents with cruisers (for World Health's sake), man the ports with bruisers, blockade, barricade, gun-tote check points high. That's started now. We will eat; you will die. Six billion growling bellies on the ball; quarter mil more per day; can't graze them all. What amazes me is the obscene gap between laden tables and a wolfed scrap. Sitting in the Grand Union parking lot I see too many fat people who're hot to fill their shopping carts with lunchmeat geeks that would feed a Sudan village three weeks. Instant food's the thing round here; good diet it ain't (loaded with grease), but folks buy it because they've been sold pleasure fast and hot. All their habit-fingers in the same pot. Most forgotten how to grow a turnip, never foraged, turned a row, nobody hip to farming, dependent on trucked-in chow. Shrink-wrapped steak, dried bird, plastic carton cow. Let me to honk Barooch's horn a little: We always get raw, cook our own vittle from scratch, keep an extensive garden bed, grow flowers, birdseed, and herbs for the head; try to buy off the local farmers' green, and (for poor people) I'd say our cuisine is first-rate; our waste winds up on the pile all in the best of tie-dye hippie style. I'm proud of the sixties path we've booted, and some day if the markets get looted my worst fear is of some scurvy-gum thief digging our potatoes giving me grief. It's gonna be one hell of a choosing between us living and someone losing.... On the food front our conscience is cloudless; we live on the fringes, yet with finesse. I think wasted dinner's a karmic act; we do try to keep that account exact-- no leftovers. Clean fridge--de rigueur-- good storage is the key to provender. We've gone from quick to dried, canned to frozen, and irradiation seems the chosen treatment for eggs (keep a year without rot). But I got problems with the lab-begot: hormone-augmented champeen milk Guernseys, too damn perfect peppers flown overseas, antibiotic infested BigMacs that are *still* suspect; and bubble-foam snacks apparently blown from cardboard pulp, laced with salt, sugar, and dye (oh, just a trace vitamin justifies it as wholesome). So go ahead boys, fill your bowl with scum derivatives, oil-froth from non-food crops, various specie of buttressing props, pay through your nose for the pleasure; get fat. And that's all I have to say about that. Want to hear about the energy crunch? that was a load of crap pushed by a bunch of slick boardroom lawyers; there's no short-fall, only a gouge-fest; no oil?--not at all, plenty for now, but "we" want concessions: a piece of you, hostage sons, confessions, air bases, our monopoly market (that's "our" well-head: you owe us, we'll clerk it, move it, say who gets to buy it; you'r sold; oh, by the way, we'll fill your purse with gold), more clout at the UN (you vote with us), we'll sell you something really hazardous (clicketyclickety), you want more welt?-- got some F-15s right off Boeing's belt (not quite as good as ours). That's Oil talking. And I notice that the tankers docking offshore all sport US business logos. Wars get fought (Off the Shah!); that's how it goes. So how about the Bavarian woods, howcome the trees are dead, our sisterhood; because of coal-fired electric plants used to run the Krupp steel foundries, whose brant raised uncle Adolf's Third Reich to new heights of infamy. Dead woods and anthracite. The Amazon basin?--parts of it drowned to power bauxite smelters. What's a pound of CocaCola cans cost; three trees; four? Dead injuns in the Cascade corridor?-- we "need" Coulee Dam, it's our pride and joy (yeah, like we need another plastic toy). Aw...so lets put up some containment domes; unlimited power for all our homes (funny how my Central Hudson bill's riz). Super conduction! Real electric whiz. Yeah, we were sniffing round that at the `Cube; barium and strontium mills; real tube if we can get the particle size right, even the spread, play with the mix, recite after me: "Thou shalt clean thy effluent" (ferrite dust running in the streams out front; yeah, I saw what your truck was unloading at the Saugerties dump. Ah, exploding atom, san, so pleased to see you mushroom, prithie let us partake your very womb unto thy core blocks. And cold fusion, sir, every house a little pile make stuff whir. At Alamogordo a pylon squats and though the geiger's quelled, the site's still hot. What we *should* have done is photocell rigs, geo, or them Goliath whirligigs' Seems we're out to light up this shadow arm of the galaxy; spell our story; charm the gods into compliance. Think of it: unlimited juice; and we shall admit no failure; we shall have monster spare change; to spend among the stars; among the strange. But my dread runs: we don't know atom shit, don't wield wisdom's share, won't know when to quit. The prelude to warfare is TV noise. First they marshal the parents, then the boys. They'll hint at how our pocketbook's been drained by them foreign devils; how we're cocained to death; why gas at the pump rose ten cents; lookit them fanatics, ain't got no sense to their cult, damn church don't have a steeple, they burnt our flag, they ain't even people, more...like...bugs. And when the folks believe it they'll teach it to their fledglings, they'll weave it into their jokes, preach the word, fan the flames. Meanwhile, junior's been playing TV games like this: kill-something-I-get-rewarded, his sense of selfpreserve's been retarded cause when he "dies" he gets another chance, the more violent the better the dance, and savagery don't matter cause it's fun. So, now he's ready to shoulder the gun like a good troop, get his buttons pushed slick, expects he'll get to fuck the game gook chick after he's burned her village, ticker-tape when he gets back. At the parade they drape some ribbons on his mom; she gets the urn. And that's how the skull-eyed businessmen burn a few million on their Wall Street altar of bones, and the spreadsheet is their psalter. If you listen to the army's come on you'll hear this: You boys are the paragon of manly justice, the hand of the free with the right stuff, be all that you can be (and then a jet weaves a contrail salute). Real spirit-chill stuff. So that's how the boot tramples our childrens' minds and bulldozes their corpses into a trench, forecloses on their very souls in malediction, all to further its own crucifixion of life; the Spark snuffed in chaos binding. And that's why Hollywood Nick keeps grinding out glorious drivel aimed at our balls; cause the boys buy it wholesale, trumpet calls segued into rock anthem drum-boom Reich. Shrouded in euphemism: surgical strike (bomb explosion), Desert Storm (massacre), Unknown Soldier (delusions of grandeur), mission (bombing run), casualties (rotting stiffs in a ditch), well-rehearsed troops (trotting mindless lackeys), and I love this one: yield (bomb rads measured after your face has peeled off the bone). Applauded in the pulpit (he's a blithering convulsive nitwit); scrawled by kids on Thruway on-ramp pylons (parent-forged chains, media buy-this bonds), held up as wise, cutting edge well-informed (snowed under, glib-talked, advertiser-stormed). All of it lies, storied to the last breath; for greed and glory, for power and death. Now we're down to blood-red raw survival. There's no more space or food; you're my rival. I'm white; I've got the lab stuff and I'm smart. "You black wanton breeder, I want your heart for my own kid's failing pump; your liver when my own's a poisoned wreck; a sliver of your marrow so I can grow new blood; your young bladder; but I don't want your stud because mine's better. And when you're surplus, I'll curse you with something more poisonous and keep just enough of you as cattle. Maybe a fungus, yeah, that's your rattle; one that likes to feed on black skin hair pores, a fast-growing mycelium that spores every other day, yeah, roots in your meat and turns it to fertilizer, like peat compost baled and stacked." And oh my people, you who read this, your white-only steeple is also doomed. For variance IS brawn. One-kind invites blight. So if the chill dawn up-when there in silicon heaven's halls seems the less bright, you castrated your balls in an underground bunker lab back here. You sold your soul to a black auctioneer who revels in misery, maniac, and death. Your genes? No way you jive them back. For most of Life, death is a ditch; no stone, no elegy sung, no tears, just bleached bone mouldering into oblivion spell. For life that's self-aware, there's keepsake: smell, image, heat, voice, purpose--bearing the stamp of the departed, a thought-caress lamp onto some akhashic record tape-spin always at hand; true mind-scape; genuine. And for we who're self-conversant Presence, aspire to partake of the essence of divinity with logic and creed, who go at it with vengeance utter need unfulfilled rapture promise, who think long, sing loud, preach hellfire, we're right, they're wrong, yeah, we're the ones into weird etiquette when it comes to dying: a combined strut and trudge, a rally and droop, a soiree of famine that no one dares disobey. That's how we Sapient heads view the field of life and death--spell-bind arcane priest-spiel pleading with God to put the dead sinner past them pearly gates. More like tale spinner than real get down with God ritual, mostly; only the clairvoyants mark the ghostly presence setting forth, and their descriptions are fraught with metaphor, flawed convictions, or agenda meddling. And burial, that's a business that vies with the best deal in lead-lined caskets, laden with hocus and premium gladiolus, pocus limousine cortege, pandering raincoats checked the bank book got their marks by the throats in their fragile time of grief. The law holds we can't bury our dead in peace, we're sold the autopsy thing, told where to gravedig, wear the crepe veil, and generally swig from the accepted cup, four grand per pop cheapest...oh yeah, funeral's a closed shop. To you Long Life cyborgs, death seems crazy; needless bungling. But once in your hazy past we did come-and-again organic; and it may well be in your mechanic way that you have sidestepped divinity. Perhaps the sole path to infinity *is* passage beyond the veil Paroketh. Mayhap you will seek the scythe, praying death into your church-electric litany, a few of you will sing its irony, embrace the ancient carbon spiral path back to the Source (yes, dare your elders' wrath). For, consider: we are fragments of Soul, we are programmed to seek back to the whole of spirit, which we are. And we made you; we put in failsafes; thus death shall you do despite what monstrous wards you may marshal. Indeed. Azrael does reap impartial. We are a two-faced coin, our loves and hates, thunk alike; but more exact contrast mates love and apathy. Hate taps the same tide as love, while indifference ignores his bride. Alas--on TV--love is raw passion: stalking horror stories, rival-bashing, boss takes mistress, I've got a new boyfriend, good girl soldier destroys the devil-send. In short, the whoring of love. Hero Hate sports a bloody t-shirt; like apostate mob-fired man-dolls, that's the image bent into our minds; love as imprisonment. But consider the wife and househusband; both work hard at it, really understand each other's needs, are devoted partners, didn't sign prenuptial lawyer charters (never thought that fitting), but counterpoise another's weak and strong points; each enjoys diverse fun pursuits, admires their spouse's adept handiwork. In short, their house is a temple to sympathy and esteem. Now...we *never* see that on TV; scream fests, oh yes; but charity and goodwill, that don't sell the soap; show some imbecile conflict, hype up that prurient interest and brotherhood be damned. Chest-beat conquest, submissive acceptance--that's love portrayed. And human concord?: flushed crap mega-frayed. I think that makes us fucking asshole jerks; selling out love for some VIPs perks. The very word for the act means "disdain with overtones of violence"; cocaine athletics; at last spent to misery or bad-news guilt. And lest you mistake me here's what we're messing with: affinity-- how the thing (that's us) is bent; gravity-- love is the glue that binds the universe. The real Force. To disown it is to curse ourselves, to rip us off for our birthright, to twist from the path back to God, to blight us into undoing. No ecstasy on the wing, no rapture. Jerk lunacy.... There's been more corpses strewn round in the name of God's church than any politic game; more evil pursued for God's one true creed (only ours!) than Evil itself can speed; and more time wasted chasing hollow-voice sects, their debating a downhill-slide noise that spirals into sludge. Very few own that protean divinity is One; most wear semantic blinders, culture-bent into bridled temple bedevilment; nor will their priesthood allow them more trough for that means the congregation flakes off (and the coffers fall short). The Vatican plays politics with heavy skeleton presence; its prelates sit on massive loot, much of it stolen from witches--plague fruit of the stake; nor brooks it competition in ritual magick or superstition. Malachi says we're up to the last popes,\tab the Jews press their killing floor on the slopes of Mount Megiddo where man-hate is stored, Islam's destined to die by its own sword; which all is just as well in my belief; those three have foisted off outrageous grief. Fact is, their imagery's moldered thread-bare; the dead/hung god thing don't answer no prayer with kids who're into space-jam asteroid mining go where none have trod in the void. I think we need some new mythic scribing; more story telling, less diatribing. A pantheon that Belters would relish: future perfect, lotsa heart, less hellish around the edges, room for chrome weirdness, alien meetings infused with noblesse; so that when they're out there unafraid they'll look back kindly on their spinning cradle and tell our legends in their dignity. Meld mundane deed with divine fluency. Our annals sung from a place of power witnessed by attendant stars; not some dour little hill fort swept away in the surge. Our tapestry hung in grand relief, merged with the weft of future heroes, flash-back fused with prophecy, hour glass zodiac epic royal that we *know* to be real. Chanted from a vantage whence our own wheel encompasses all of knowable space. Nothing less. To the Source. Let us retrace our own footprints across the stepping pads cast opalescent in our path. Sooth glad in the doing. For the sake of the trek. The gods attend us; let us heed their beck, join their table, wage no more holy wars. I think such a place awaits us on Mars. Magick is: Causing change by will and grace. I view our universe as a mill race turning wheels within wheels; endless; exact. Each thing in contact with all else; each act the outcome of a primal force. All things ensouled with a divine spark; all with strings back to the First Working. Picture the flume as a lightning stroke; the wheel as a womb. The bolt strikes out of nowhere we can grasp; where void and thing fuse. The wheel we can clasp, but it's too massive to see entire; all we know is that some arcane fire drives it; that the axle remains frozen. An enigma for a few well-chosen ones to unravel. And that's the station where soul and stuff meets; their mediation *is* Magick. So: Intent worked parallel with divine Purpose; any well-worked spell partakes of true will, as our angel yearns. Accomplish this fusion, and all else turns according to the wish; it's that naked. Just get quiet. There's no way to fake it, since you can't hide from yourself. Open wide; meditate inner space; never collide with any-thing, -thought, or -act; quicksilver, that's you. And when you reach those trick pillars, hang out, relax, take a reallly good look before rending the veil; make sure your book is well-thumbed, that you've no trammel regrets, (that it's meet), no left-over karmic debts (your balance beam in equipoise), forward onto the heights (the soul's birthright), the ford across the torrent a series of stone stepping images tailored to your own unique perspective (we each see a star slightly different), and when you've crossed the bar give thanks--few transcend the stone-while living. More tech hints: cultivate a forgiving attitude, wing with the flow, log each try, never jerk someone's mind, aim very high-- naught less than flaring next the Throne--ever vigilant to evil (which loves clever sorcerers and renders their foibles back), on the Tree--take the straight and narrow track (but definitely explore its side-trails), don't preach--show; go without pride; for the grail. Yeah, I've just plowed read-wise through these pages where the hermit ire in me rages, and it do come that I don't much like men for what they've dumped in my ocean and glen, for the insidious shit they've foisted on each other, and for the flags they've hoisted in the name of liberty, land, and creed. All done for power, prestige, lust, and greed in every hostel, castle, realm, and sphere. And, yeah, it's true I've spent my adult years lurk'd round the fringes of society, dipped into it for its variety, and so rarely coursed into its mainstream; but I'm solid with the dream-time--the stream of consciousness mill-races strong in me, my wheel constantly turns in sympathy with the oddments dredged out of living-long, and I'm plugged in with the word and the song. I feel good that I never consume stuff beyond the modicum; and that's enough. I get down in the dirt, found my true spouse, vote my conscience (Nader in the White House!), pay close attention when law and decree moves the many to one man's litany, always back-pedal from banner-bent mobs, never work lucrative immoral jobs; and at this point I can righteously claim I've never messed another's picture frame; I shew the truth as I see it when asked, and generally walk about unmasked. I expect that you will believe me now, for there is none to doubt but I and thou after all my self- and racial-searching, which I see as a hole-in-time churching of the first order fraught with heavy turn. By water and wind, worked to earth and burn, I conjure thee to cleave us past the veil, that you will hear my cast across the pale of aeons as a bell struck with truth-sense, that thenceforth you will walk with reverence and sooth and stalwart. Now, you've read my spell and I wish you good fortune. Fare thee well.
Come one, come all! Welcome to Newsgroup alt.centipede. Established just for writers, poets, artists, and anyone who is creative. A place for anyone to participate in, to share their poems, and learn from all. A place to share *your* dreams, and philosophies. Even a chance to be published in a magazine. The original Centipede Network was created on May 16, 1993. Created because there were no other networks dedicated to such an audience, and with the help of Klaus Gerken, Centipede soon started to grow, and become active on many world-wide Bulletin Board Systems. We consider Centipede to be a Public Network; however, its a specialized network, dealing with any type of creative thinking. Therefore, that makes us something quite exotic, since most nets are very general and have various topics, not of interest to a writer--which is where Centipede steps in! No more fuss. A writer can now access, without phasing out any more conferences, since the whole net pertains to the writer's interests. This means that Centipede has all the active topics that any creative user seeks. And if we don't, then one shall be created. Feel free to drop by and take a look at newsgroup alt.centipede
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. REMEMBERY: EPYLLION IN ANAMNESIS (1996), poems by Michael R. Collings . DYNASTY (1968), Poems by Klaus J. Gerken . THE WIZARD EXPLODED SONGBOOK (1969), songs by KJ Gerken . STREETS (1971), Poems by Klaus J. Gerken . BLOODLETTING (1972) poems by Klaus J. Gerken . ACTS (1972) a novel by Klaus J. Gerken . RITES (1974), a novel by Klaus J. Gerken . FULL BLACK Q (1975), a poem by KJ Gerken . ONE NEW FLASH OF LIGHT (1976), a play by KJ Gerken . THE BLACKED-OUT MIRROR (1979), a poem by Klaus J. Gerken . JOURNEY (1981), a poem by Klaus J. Gerken . LADIES (1983), a poem by Klaus J. Gerken . FRAGMENTS OF A BRIEF ENCOUNTER (1984), poems by KJ Gerken . THE BREAKING OF DESIRE (1986), poems by KJ Gerken . FURTHER SONGS (1986), songs by KJ Gerken . POEMS OF DESTRUCTION (1988), poems by KJ Gerken . THE AFFLICTED (1991), a poem by KJ Gerken . DIAMOND DOGS (1992), poems by KJ Gerken . KILLING FIELD (1992), a poem by KJ Gerken . BARDO (1994-1995), a poem by Klaus J. Gerken . FURTHER EVIDENCES (1995-1996) Poems by Klaus J. Gerken . CALIBAN'S ESCAPE AND OTHER POEMS (1996), by Klaus J. Gerken . CALIBAN'S DREAM (1996-1997), a poem by Klaus J. Gerken . THE LAST OLD MAN (1997), a novel by Klaus J. Gerken . WILL I EVER REMEMBER YOU? (1997), poems by Klaus J. Gerken . SONGS FOR THE LEGION (1998), song-poems by Klaus J. Gerken . REALITY OR DREAM? (1998), poems by Klaus J. Gerken . APRIL VIOLATIONS (1998), poems by Klaus J. Gerken . THE VOICE OF HUNGER (1998), a poem by Klaus J. Gerken . SHACKLED TO THE STONE, by Albrecht Haushofer - translated by JR Wesdorp . MZ-DMZ (1988), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy . DARK SIDE (1991), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy . STEEL REIGNS & STILL RAINS (1993), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy . BLATANT VANITY (1993), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy . ALIENATION OF AFFECTION (1993), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy . LIVING LIFE AT FACE VALUE (1993), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy . HATRED BLURRED (1993), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy . CHOKING ON THE ASHES OF A RUNAWAY (1993), ramblings by I. Koshevoy . BORROWED FEELINGS BUYING TIME (1993), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy . HARD ACT TO SWALLOW (1994), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy . HALL OF MIRRORS (1994), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy . ARTIFICIAL BUOYANCY (1994), ramblings by Igal Koshevoy . THE POETRY OF PEDRO SENA, poems by Pedro Sena . THE FILM REVIEWS, by Pedro Sena . THE SHORT STORIES, by Pedro Sena . INCANTATIONS, by Pedro Sena . POEMS (1970), poems by Franz Zorn All books are on disk and cost $10.00 each. Checks should be made out to the respective authors and orders will be forwarded by Ygdrasil Press. YGDRASIL MAGAZINE may also be ordered from the same address: $5.00 an issue to cover disk and mailing costs, also specify computer type (IBM or Mac), as well as disk size and density. Allow 2 weeks for delivery. Note that YGDRASIL MAGAZINE is free when downloaded from Ygdrasil's World-Wide Web site at http://users.synapse.net/~kgerken.
All poems copyrighted by their respective authors. Any reproduction of these poems, without the express written permission of the authors, is prohibited. YGDRASIL: A Journal of the Poetic Arts - Copyright (c) 1993, 1994, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1998, 1999 & 2000 by Klaus J. Gerken. The official version of this magazine is available on Ygdrasil's World-Wide Web site http://users.synapse.net/~kgerken. No other version shall be deemed "authorized" unless downloaded from there. Distribution is allowed and encouraged as long as the issue is unchanged. All checks should be made out to: YGDRASIL PRESS COMMENTS * Klaus Gerken, Chief Editor - for general messages and ASCII text submissions. Use Klaus' address for commentary on Ygdrasil and its contents: firstname.lastname@example.org * Pedro Sena, Production Editor - for submissions of anything that's not plain ASCII text (ie. archives, GIFs, wordprocessored files, etc) in any standard DOS, Mac or Unix format, commentary on Ygdrasil's format, distribution, usability and access: email@example.com We'd love to hear from you! Or mailed with a self addressed stamped envelope, to: