Monday, November 28, 2011

Counterfeit

I'll pretend to love you
so you'll keep making me sandwiches
and I'll try to figure out how to keep you happy
without losing my mind

but the days wear on
and my patience wears thin
behind this false smile
my teeth are clenched
and grinding

when you talk
I look over your shoulder
out the window
at anything else
but you

our love is counterfeit
at least mine is
built on a lie
hidden under false hope
and whitewashed
with a fading coat of lust

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Stonemason's Lament

You. You were right about everything.
A warm blooded ghost casting shadows on my eye.
I. I knew it from the start.
Suspending reason to chase my love of sorrow.

I'm the one who reads a book twice
and expects words to change in the meantime,
while in between time, print is dead,
each syllable a mortared stone
art's illusion suggesting life
when the only possible change
is destruction.

So when you look back
(I don't expect you to look back)
You'll see me running crooked circles
around these crumbling monuments
forever bearing witness to ephemeral truths
locked in cold, dead stone
or as close as human feeling can approach.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Mother Nature and Father Time

Mother Nature and Father Time

Mother Nature never changed a diaper.
Father Time don't understand the moonwalk.
She just lets her children figure things out for themselves,
While he's marching on and on across their corpses.

And all the children sing and dance forever.
And all the children march and carry praise.
And all the children smear their gold dust into tired, blinded eyes.
All the children cry and kick at bedtime.

Mother Nature doesn't care about her babies.
She only ever cares that there are more.
She spreads her legs and welcomes any suitor.
Mother Nature is an eager, lusty whore.

And all the children clutch her apron strings.
And all the children shout and scream “she's pure”.
And all the children crave to suck her supple breast.
All the children do is break her heart.

Father Time doesn't care about his sons.
He only cares that they will keep on spinning.
He will not listen to them whine and talk about their feelings,
Father Time wants the trains to run more promptly.

And all the children try to make him proud.
And all the children want to catch his eye.
And all the children try to play when he gets home from work.
All the children scan the darkness for his face.

Mother Nature and Father Time went to market
And all the children stayed right here at home.
Mother Nature and Father Time went to the Milky Way
And all the children got was a lousy T-shirt.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

The Gun


My words do my dirty work
droppin simile like napalm
and metaphorical carpet bombs
destroying empty streets
paved with bricks of doubt
enshrouding complacent city states of mind

and as I contemplate this piece I cease existing
in the conscious world
as words take over
moving through me

bringing you a message of divine inspiration
and sweet sadistic desperation
simultaneously

I become the gun
focusing an explosion in one direction

I sharpen syllables like shuriken
split my lip with a pencil
and spit this infection through your brain
while I grab the wind like a samurai sword

the last lost wandering ronin on a mission from God
to slay haters and masturbators
with more to prove than offer
and weave resurrection science
over hollow corpses
to bring them back and ask what they learned

droppin shit from so far over your head
you think it's chocolate rain
and turn baby bird mouths to the sky
to take a hit to your tongue
and trip with me until I'm done
dumb, undone and spun

and I'm gasping for breath
grasping for meaning
drunk on the word
and lost in plain sight

I reach into my darkest corner
rip the lid off a box of secrets
and dare you to look at my truth
I love and I bleed, I lie and I lead
I eat fear like an orphan gobbles chocolate
I FUCK like a demon possesed
and I fight like a dozen howling wolves
to live a life worth the price of admission

starving, snarling, stinking, and alone
naked and shaking
there is no room for death in me
there is no room for shame in me
one heart and one soul burning
with the passion of a thousand suns
I am the gun
and I do not fear the fire.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Pound Puppy

On her second day
at a three day kill shelter
she found me
with her bright eyes full of dark rain
and a hyperactive tail that drew my eye

I was looking for a cat
because puppies are dumb
chew everything
and piss all over the carpet

But she was cute enough to tame
and learned to come without a leash
we laid together afternoons
and dug up the neighbor's garden

On the way out one morning
I forgot to latch the door
and she ran

To the old man down the street
singing a recycled, borrowed lullaby
through tired teeth

So now I keep a plate of kibble
on the doorstep

Whistle strange melodies for her
and double-check my locks

Hoping she'll run back for a walk around the block

Or five

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Requisitiuem

I.
The wise wives say when separating
One should never watch the other disappear,
For every second that you linger
Delays return another year.

II.
Stolen glances past the shoulder
Catch eyefuls of salt
That stain shirt sleeves
And collars
Crusted thick and white

Where strained expectations
Meet and polish sharp again
Their edges against

Words too hard
Words too soft
Words not spoken
Words that can not

Will not
Write speak forget forgive
Themselves

III.
I cast a cold shadow
Over my eyes
And spit ice
Under my throat.
I gouge you from my flesh
And sow corn in the furrows
To harvest for the welcome feast.

I save my salt
To preserve our meat.

IV.
hands clasped, off-cast
skin of the mantis
outlasts
courtship and blood
amen

Monday, October 31, 2011

Thoughts on beauty

Back in Germany, I was telling my friend AWOL about this girl back in the states I was in love with. My high school sweetheart, half-italian, half-jewish, huge breasts, long, thick brown hair, sweet brown eyes and a smile that could just melt you. I was heading back to the states, we were both newly divorced, she was graduating med school, we had been in the gifted classes together back in the day.

And AWOL, who was a couple years older, out of the service already, and living on the economy over there said

"So she's smart."

yep.

"Beautiful"

yep.

"Big ol titties"

you know it, bro.

"Has a nice personality"

the best.

"And she's gonna be a doctor, so she's gonna have money."

I guess so, but I'll be doing alright myself.

"Is she loyal?"

uh, I dunno, I guess.

"Cuz if she ain't loyal, she ain't worth a shit."

And then a few months later, she broke my heart and crushed the pieces into powder.

I still don't think I've recovered from that, and it's been eleven years.

I keep finding her in other women, projecting her like the bat signal on a smog-filled sky, and giving too much of myself, too soon. Living on hope instead of honesty.

Still insane, repeating the same thing, expecting different results. Maybe some day it will work.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

White Tiger

I don't pretend I can hold the wind
make a horse drink
or talk sense into a woman
or any human

but sometimes I pretend
to be a lot tougher than I really am

the question is
how thirsty
have you become

and how much blue ocean
you can hold in your belly
at once

my love comes in waves
that break on the sand and scatter
tiny castles, overtop the levees
washing away truth
your fingers write inside your eyelids

my love shines warm on your face
undemanding, unrelenting
and merciless
it will burn you to a cinder

so it's probably best to hide
behind the sunscreen and umbrella
you're better off
not dipping toes in my foamy surf

unless you want to get real
and stop running
from your reflection
in twin blue pools

beautiful child
showing brave
for the ash-white tiger
come to eat your fear and pain,

I swallow darkness,
cleanse mud,
and burn lies off impure gold,
Little girl, are you afraid of light?

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

How To Be A Great Writer

I guess this counts as a cover poem, like I posted the Ginsberg a while back, this offering of Bukowski's is my absolute favorite poem. 


What's best isn't what he says, but what he doesn't say, I wonder if you can hear it?


how to be a great writer


you've got to fuck a great many women
beautiful women
and write a few decent love poems.
and don't worry about age
and / or freshly-arrived talents.
just drink more beer
more and more beer
and attend the racetrack at least once a
week
and win
if possible.
learning to win is hard--
any slob can be a good loser.
and don't forget your Brahms
and your Bach and your
beer.
don't overexcercise.
sleep until noon.
avoid credit cards
or paying for anything on
time.
remember that there isn't a piece of ass
in this world worth more than $50
(in 1977).
and if you have the ability to love
love yourself first
but always be aware of the possibility of
total defeat
whether the reason for that defeat
seems right or wrong--
an early taste of death is not necessarily
a bad thing.
stay out of churches and bars and museums,
and like the spider be
patient--
time is everybody's cross,
plus
exile
defeat
treachery
all that dross.
stay with the beer.
beer is continuous blood.
a continuous lover.
get a large typewriter
and as the footsteps go up and down
outside your window
hit that thing
hit it hard
make it a heavyweight fight
make it the bull when he first charges in
and remember the old dogs
who fought so well:
Hemingway, Celine, Dostoevsky, Hamsun.
If you don't think they didn't go crazy
in tiny rooms
just like you're doing now
without women
without food
without hope
then you're not ready.
drink more beer.
there's time.
and if there's not
that's all right
too.

Monday, October 3, 2011

I am become whore, purveyor of words

It's no great secret that I am poor.

It's just damn hard to find a job that pays anything close to a decent wage with the black marks I have on my background.

So I've come up with a novel idea to help raise funds, pay my bills, and get a little further up off the ground than I currently find myself.

For the LOW LOW price of $5 US, I will write a poem for you.

The obvious go-to is a love poem for your boyfriend, girlfriend, wife, husband, etc, but feel free to think outside the box, fathers, daughters, sons, mothers, sisters, grandparents, BFFs, your dog, yourself, whatever you want immortalized in the unique verse that ONLY taojoannes can offer, I can get you for $5.

I specialize in romantic poetry, but I'm not currently in love, so let your love be my muse, and we both gain in the process.

Here's an example of a poem that wound up getting me engaged to a wonderful woman that I just couldn't keep Saturday Night Sniffles

It's good for any occasion, anniversary, birthday, Christmas, Valentines, weddings, engagements, funerals, divorce, graduation, expulsion, surgery, WHATEVER excuse you need to express to someone how you feel about them, or someone else.

But why do I need to pay a poet? I can just write it myself.


Poets need to eat, too, and your special someone deserves nothing less than the BEST expression of your truest feelings. You might understand your feelings, you might not, you might know how to evoke those feelings using the beauty of language and imagery to communicate, through language, on a level deeper than words alone can penetrate, you might not.

What poets do is take our feelings like love and pain and find those images and sounds that resonate with those feelings most strongly in the human consciousness, then we arrange them artfully for maximum effect.

You might not even like poetry, but I bet your girlfriend does, and while she would surely appreciate your amateur attempt at putting pen to paper, she would appreciate EVEN MORE the fact that you cared enough to hire the very best.

NOBODY writes poetry like Tao Joannes writes poetry, and I can make it as pathos-dripping, erotic, shocking, funny, or plain as you like. It's all about helping YOU express what you want to say in the way YOU want it said.

So how does it work?

Couldn't be simpler. You send a paypal payment, we connect via email or chat or google+ hangout or skype or telephone, you provide details about the subject, the theme, the type of poem, style of poem, how you feel about the subject, and, as best as you can, WHY you feel the way you do.

I then take that information, chew on it for a while, let it percolate, and then translate it into an EPIC poem, which I format in LibreOffice with or without additional graphics, and save as a PDF document which I make available to you. You can then print it and/or frame it, or just email it to your target.

What I recommend is to read it to your subject, because nothing makes it more personal than that moment, coming from your own lips. For bonus points, you can even memorize it, to show that EXTRA bit of effort and caring.

For a few extra dollars (another $5) I will print it out, sign it, and ship it to you.

But what if I don't have a special someone?


No problem, if you don't have anyone in mind and don't want me to write one about you, yourself, but still want one of my one-of-a-kind verses, you can send $5 for a signed print of any of my poems, many of which are on display on this blog.

Some examples:
LOVE
Kiss
LOVE and LOSS
Missing You
LOSS
numb
DECAYING RELATIONSHIPS
I Want To Say I Love You
REMEMBRANCE / IN HONOR OF
My Name Is Not


Choose an Option
Contact Information

Saturday, October 1, 2011

ID vs Evolution


Evolution does not disprove the idea of an intelligent designer of the universe, and an intelligent designer doesn't rule out evolution.

There's a concept in computing known as "genetic algorithms" which arises from the recognition that, no matter how smart we think we are, there are certain systems that are simply too complicated for us to think our way through them to a solution, such as a neural network, which is a sort of simulation of a brain. 

So what a genetic algorithm does, in the case of neural nets, is quickly find a solution to a complex problem.

You start with criteria for an optimum solution, so you know what you're working towards.

Then you come up with a way to test for that solution, by subjecting the neural nets to a challenge, or series of challenges. The closer the neural net comes to approaching the ideal solution, the higher the score you assign to it. 

Then you generate the neural nets. In the first iteration, completely at random.

After subjecting the collection of nets to the test, the highest scoring nets are kept, the rest are culled.

The survivors are then "bred" or combined to produce child networks, and a certain percentage of the total collection are again randomly generated, or influence by randomness.

Repeat until you get something that works. 

Now if there is an intelligent creator behind all of this, maybe it recognized that there were things beyond its capacity to hold in its mind, and so it set up the starting conditions for this experiment to approach some sort of final goal, a solution to a problem it couldn't solve, and it came up with this reality as a way of running that experiment.

Maybe that final goal is the production of consciousness which can completely comprehend and commune with that creator. 

Science can't prove the existence of an intelligent creator, neither can it conclusively disprove it. All it can really do is disprove proposed characteristics of what that creator may or may not be. 

Until such time as a means of conclusively proving or disproving all possible manifestations of such a guiding or creating intelligence, the possibility MUST remain open, according to the rigor of scientific discipline. 

So the existence of "God" is an untested, untestable hypothesis, or if we're feeling generous, a theory.

There may be something to the idea of fractals or a fractal-like construct being involved. At the lowest possible level of reality, we've discovered four basic forces, the weak and strong nuclear reaction, electromagnetism, and gravity. 

As coincidence would have it, we've also discovered four basic building blocks in human DNA, which we call adenine (abbreviated A), cytosine (C),guanine (G) and thymine (T).

And then it gets weird, because most mystical traditions that have arisen include the idea of four elements, directions, winds, rivers, as allegories for the fundamental substance of existence. And in most cases, those are further grouped into a simple duality, with two of the four in each of the two groups.

The most obvious and well-known example of this is the tai-chi tu, or "ying yang" symbol, which elegantly describes the four fundamental forces, and informs the I-ching, which describes the 64 possible unique combinations of those four forces (when you consider that two of the forces are interpreted as transitional or "moving" from one state to another).

Not that it's much better than any other similar system, but it's certainly the most systematically disciplined. 

Now, whether this is a result of some sort of divine intelligence communicating with its creation, or simply a natural result or function dependent upon the way the human mind works, who knows? It, as of yet, can neither be proven nor dis-proven in any but the most superficial ways. 

So this myth remains "Plausible" and I can't tell you whether or not an intelligent designer exists. 

Friday, September 2, 2011

numb



I'm so hungry it hurts
but I can't bring myself to eat
The pressure of tears makes my eyes bulge and the world spin
but I can't let myself cry

You told me I never let my emotions show
because I keep my cards too close to my chest
I told you I'd been hurt enough for twenty lifetimes
and that it's usually my own damn fault.

For feeling too much, too soon
and giving portions of a long shattered heart
to thieving magpies like change to the homeless
so forgive me if the tiny fragment I've got left
is as black as I like my coffee,
and cold as that coffee gets
when I let it sit out overnight, alone,
and I can't trust anyone, least of all myself.

I want what you want,
but I'm done accepting conterfeit checks
and rather than pretend I've got the feeling,
I'll fake the numbness.

Without risk, there is no gain,
without loss, there is no pain,
but the only thing I have left to give
is everything that I have left,
and I have to hedge my bets
to keep from losing it.

But I guess I put enough on the table
to feel it when you took it home with you,
and I guess that's the pain
that reminds me I've got something left to lose.

Fuck you very much for inspiration,
at least pain moves my fingers 'cross the keyboard,
It's easier to tell a secret to a stranger
than to give ammunition to someone who can use it.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Saturday Night Sniffles


from Twisted Princesses

Saturday Night Sniffles

Saturday Night I sought the fever
but all I found were the sniffles.

It wasn't your fault.
You were wonderful,
beautiful, magical,
vivacious, dynamic,
delicious, delectable,
and divine.

I was delirious,
whacked out on cold medicine and your smile.

I was looking forward to Saturday,
and you,
and poetry.

Your poetry
my poetry
the poetry we could make.

But first we heard the professionals.
As we listened.
I understood why they're as paid
as my dues aren't.

I listened
To the poets and the language of your body.

Without touching you I imagined how you felt.
Your breasts straining under thin cotton
stretching your longsleeved
green and white ywca tshirt
The firm curve of your jeans.
Red white and blue panties peeking out.

I felt each time you trembled and didn't know it,
I felt the abandon when you laughed out loud
at the words.

I watched the windowshades of your soul roll
up and open so fast
the spring rod kept spinning for a minute.

I wanted to write a poem that could do that.
I want you to blush when you hear it.

Dinner was fine,
3-2 beer and sloppy hamburgers.
You were still glowing,
growing brighter when I
suggested your place for poetry,
with a quick stop at the liquor mart on the way.

You called me a functioning alcoholic
and asked my last name.

I told you and I blamed it
on my Irish and Cherokee heritage.

Then it was Van Gogh's ear and Rachmoninoff,
until you said, "Enough Ginsberg!"
and we laughed and agreed
he just went too far, sometimes.

Then you read to me of breasts,
and the beloved, and death.

I couldn't take my eyes off you.

I listened to your lips
and the language of your body.

The words dripped from your tongue
like sweat from the small of your arched back
should have been dripping on the mattress.

Your nipples pressed against thin cotton,
through your pink "I have issues" tanktop.
I asked you where I could
get a shirt written in braille.

What I wanted to say was
nothing at all.

I wanted to touch you,
whisper poetry in your ear,
inhale the scent of your hair.

But I had the sniffles,
I couldn't speak my soul through a kleenex.

So we played cribbage
when we were too drunk to sightread.

Laughing and talking through my snotty nose
till we couldn't keep our eyes open.

I went through a whole box of tissues
and a six pack of red stripe.

I'm looking forward to next time,
And you,
And poetry.
Your poetry.
My poetry.

The poetry we can make,
When I throw my words through your window
And the shades snap up.
And you can see your soul
Reflected in my eyes.

I'll feel you tremble without you knowing it.
I'll feel the abandon when you cry out loud...
At my touch.
Sometime after I'm over
the Saturday night sniffles.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

New Toy, New Reading, Old Poem

Starting next Wednesday, March 30th, I'll be hosting an open mic down at the Brick and Mortar in Cocoa Village.

So I went over budget and got me a handy-dandy little digital recorder box thing. It's only a little bigger than my cell-phone and delivers album quality stereo digital recording.

The idea is that I'll record the open mic performances, get permission from the artists to broadcast their work, and do a monthly podcast featuring the best of the bunch.

To test out the gear and the podcast service, I did a quick version of "I Wanna Dance Like Gene Kelley" which you can listen to, here.

To subscribe to the podcast, and get fresh content as soon as it's delivered, use this link.

Monday, March 7, 2011

News and such

Man, I have been busy as Smurfette on payday lately, so have fallen off the blogging for a bit, but will be coming back as life settles in.

Tonight, March 7th, 2011, I will be performing some poetry at the 321 Local, I don't know exactly what time, but I've got a ten-minute set settled and am going to be sandwiched in between some rock bands or some such.

Sounds like a good time. Here's the info.

http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=188607727840822

In other news, brick and mortar has asked me to start an open mic series at their storefront down in Cocoa Village.

I'll be there every 4th Friday, starting March 25th. The intent is to build community and get a slam team together and ready to compete in the 2012 National Poetry Slam.

And, I've set up a podcast. The first episode is a audio collage featuring George Bush and Darth Vader. Go Check it out.

Oh, and go check out my books, too. You need some new literature in your life.

So I gotta hop on the ten speed and ride to work, see you at the 321 local tonight!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

diggin holes


When it comes to dangerous women
i'm like the croc hunter with a drug-fueled death wish
lookin for a beauty
i'll stick my thumb in her bum
and flash my baby blues
at her snarling maw
reach in and snag a heartstring
to tie around my neck
before I throw her off the bridge
like a cinder block

I pick the winners
in a roomfull of stable women I will find the one
that had her first abortion at 12 years old
in the TV room of her trailer
administered by her father's left foot
wrapped in a leather engineer's boot
because he wanted her to stay an only child

so now she smokes and snorts and drinks
to outrun the memories until she passes out
and she gets raped so much
it seems like a hobby

and I say I wanna bring a tender touch
but baby, I'm the toxic pretender
lookin for a stockholm hostage
I can infect like an opt-in tumor
enthrall in love with a capital D
with my weaponized sexuality

I'm just looking for another hole
to stuff my bullshit in
and if it isn't deep enough
I'll keep digging in

my twisted princess to have and to have
to hold and to suffocate
own and control
and kick to the curb
when I'm tired of playing house
till I catch her back
on the bounce

I'll treat her like a goddess
to worship and adore
as long as she keeps me happy
because I love you only means
I love the way you make me feel
and nothing makes me feel
very good
for very long
and I get bored
very easy

i'm addictive
best taken with other drugs
cause complications
and decrease tolerance

by the time they pry her loose from me
both our asses will be covered in clawmarks
and the screaming lies called promises
will still be ringing in deaf ears
and hollow hearts
till something new comes along
to fill the holes

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Un Dunga Dook


ten million years ago, right here
give or take a couple thousand millenia
bo chaka came back from the hunt
with a fat sack of elephant meat
and his youngest son
cho locka cho
with the cowlick dredlock
and a heart full of pure love said
un dunga dook

which means nothing in the here and now
with unlimited text cell phone internet plans
and ten million digital channels
but what he said to his father that day was
daddy, where have you been

and bo chaka the brave
with his well-scarred flesh
said son, I killed me an elephant
but it sounded more like
un dunga dook

un dunga dook the boy said
how did you do that daddy

and daddy said un dunga dook
with a little help from my friends
T-boy and shorty,
and lazy-eye ned with the limp

we went to the jungle and ned hid in the branches
and T-boy hid behind the tree
shorty went to scare up an elephant
and chase his fat ass right to me

and when he ran up I told it a joke,
to keep him distracted while ned jumped on down
and T-boy hit him low, shorty got the behind
and we got us some meat for the town

cuz cain't none of us take daddy elephant
by ourselves, we get squished just like grape
but un dunga dook son with a little bit of help
we can be something more than an ape

and un dunga dook, poetry was born
it a hot cave in a swamp in a jungle
and ever since
we been trying to get it right

but that's a fallacy
a pipe dream
a phantom in the wind
because there is no right
when you share it
when you paint the world with your heart and breath
or peel paint with the force of the stench
it's all good

un dunga dook
it's not about
looking cool
being right
fitting in
or being proper

connect letters
into words
string words into lines
lump lines into something like stanzas
and with enough truth you got yourself a POEM
connecting two minds, two hearts, in telepathic synchronicity
like Corsican colonies feeling communal pain
we beat with one heart, scream with one voice
the fittest beast only in company

because a poem unshared is like jizz in a sock
it might feel good, but nothing will come of it
and a poem in the wind is like dandelion seed
carrying love and pain like a desert monsoon
sprouting weeds in the gardens of stepford
un dunga dook

speak your heart
speak your mind
and fuck anybody who says they didn't like it
it's your poetry
it's what you're made of
so make love to my soul with your wind

Saturday, January 15, 2011

You have a day off. it's cold outside. What do you do to stay warm and hibernate at home?

That's a great question, there are a couple different options.

1) Just stay in bed, bundle up in the blankets with a flashlight and read something stimulating, like Guacamole Baseball.

2) Call a friend to come over and get in the blanket with you, twice as much body heat, and maybe a little calisthenics if everything goes well.

3) Stand in front of a hot oven with some cocoa. Remember to turn frequently for even browning.

4) My favorite cold weather activity is sorta a combination, I like to get into a big cast-iron tub, with a friend, if possible, point a forced-air heater at the side to get it nice and toasty, and read and drink hot chocolate in the tub for a couple hours.

What's Good?

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Three Kinds of People

   Human nature and experience is usually best summed up and communicated through pithy, sweeping generalizations and clever pie charts, supported with bullshit, unverifiable statistics pulled straight out of the rotten, stinking asshole of common wisdom.

It is in that tradition that I present to you my own simple classification system for people, as relates to how they judge my actions and efforts in life.

The worth of the information is usually in calibrating my behavior and improving the fruit of my creative labors. Your mileage may vary.

There are three kinds of people, cosigners, haters, and other.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Friendly Verse: The Wizard

On the minute of the hour of the morn of the day,
The wizard came out to play.
Sublime and mundane, serene and profane,
The wizard learned how to pray.

"Free me from the shackles my own fists hold together,
Whisper secrets
into my crusty eyes.
Power flows to and through me
I am vessel
I am the skye."

And silence met the wizard's words
as sea meets shore and air meets land
as fire crossing millions of empty miles
meeting flesh
becomes God's active hand.

At the minute of the hour at the close of the day
The wizard flew back to his home
Clear intention like a raptor
diving, striking in the night
The results, as of yet, unknown.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

On Censorship and Huckleberry Finn


Before we get into this, I want to warn you that I will use the word "nigger". I doubt I'll use it 219 times, but I'm not going to resort to "the N-word" as if it were some sort of linguistic voldemort that will come into my room and cast the cruciatus curse on my muggleness.

It's a word, a tool, a symbol. In and of itself it has no power or importance. What determines the effect and impact of the word is how it's used. As George Carlin said "There is absolutely nothing wrong with the word “nigger” in and of itself. It’s the racist asshole who’s using it that you ought to be concerned about."

That quote sums up my position on this Huckleberry Finn censorship beautifully. I think we can all agree that "nigger" is a foul, ugly word, but what determines the danger it presents is the context in which it's used.

I've even used the word myself in poetry.

So let's talk about context.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

1-1-11 The Sweat Lodge

On the way to Okeechobee for New Year's lodge

 When I tell people that I regularly participate in Native American sweat lodge ceremony, I usually get one of two reactions.

"Didn't some people die in one of those?" or "What's a sweat lodge?"

Yes, I tell them. Some people HAVE died in sweat lodges.

James Arthur Ray held a "Spiritual Warrior" retreat at the Angel Valley Retreat Center in Arizona that resulted in the death of three participants and the hospitalization of twenty others.

He packed 55 people into a 415 square foot lodge, covered it with plastic tarps, kept them in there for two hours, and brought more hot rocks in every fifteen minutes.

The farm land on which we hold lodge in Okeechobee
Needless to say, he wasn't really following traditional protocol.

Oh, and he was charging $9000 - $10,000 per person for the five day retreat.

This isn't how a sweat lodge should be run, and is a gross perversion of the practice, in my opinion.

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