Monday, February 17, 2020

on personal reflection and poetry

There are moments when poetry, helps one resolve inner tension.

Today two very nice missionaries asked me to consider their cult-like message, and rather than have a long conversation to help each other examine the possibilities, I kindly indicated how my life experience and personal research had put me on a more rational path. Polite or no, I regretted my comments later, feeling like I was a bit of a jerk and, in contrast, knowing they were off sewing seeds of misinformation. Perhaps a better outcome would have been had were I to have broken bread with these young people to allow time to share, rather than fend off a thoughtful exchange. Nevertheless, writing this short poem helped me reflect and heal my internal bruises of sentiment, somewhat.

Consider writing yourself poetry sometime if your insides ache.

a childhood spent swimming
in a magical pond 
'til frozen contemplation had me walking
walking its surface, along
pursuing knowledge and wisdom, their own reward
still ice skating with friends 
might be less absurd

Friday, February 14, 2020

States of Change: Chapter 23: Vacationland (Maine)

States of Change is an ongoing work of serial fiction.
The speculative story-line seeks to inspire thought on ethics, culture and our planet's future.

The year is 2076, decades after Oosa's defederalization. 
Fifty independent States have forged their societies from revolutionary technology and ideology.

"The panel chair acknowledges the representative from King County for five minutes."

"Thank you Mr. Chairperson. I graciously ask the panel approve Bill LR 7420 for submission to state parliament requesting the change from Maine's currently official, outdated nickname to The State of Mindfulness."

"For thirty years our state has gradually come to terms with the bittersweet, post-fed world."

"Well prior to The Fall our once proud nickname, The Pine Tree State, broadcast an air of natural beauty and plentiful resources that every citizen of Maine can acknowledge was authentic. Indeed, we ramped up the harvest and destruction of those natural resources as part of old Oosa over many decades. And when Disney, Appleverse and Amazonplex relocated their eastern seaboard theme parks to our state, our grandparents sadly sold our state's soul for a pittance, making Vacationland Maine's economic nomme de guerre. In those final years of Oosa we become the tourist mecca. In pursuit of fortune, we also clear-cut more than ninety percent of our forests, losing ninety-five percent of our indigenous wildlife including seventy-three outright species extinctions."

"Karma comes to Frogtown, some might say, and when Oosa fell apart after the Hawaiian incident, our great state fell into an economic wasteland like so many others. One could argue our state was blackmailed into eliminating resource trade in exchange for austere, internal conservationism. Maine could have simply shifted our exports overseas, like so many of the other fallen forty-nine, instead our great state of Maine contemplated its inner Zen."

"The war that was consumerist capitalism nearly tore our state apart in those Oosa days. Populist leadership tempted the material vanity of our egos and though the streets ran with fool's gold, our spirits as sapient beings were nearly lost to the Trillionaire Fairy-tale and its evil phantom, Trickle Down policy."

"Nevertheless, Maine had its Awakening. From grassroots efforts to our fully volunteer legislature, Maine has brought self-sufficiency to all of its communities, and more importantly self-respect. Some may criticize the Neartopia that we constantly pursue. Robust animal rights, sustainable human population, and organic social networks to name a few of our achievements. The construct that is Maine has guided us on a path where the focus is not on desire alone, but fully incorporates the three-fold path of modern mindfulness: compassion, reason and desire."

'To that end, I seek the panel's support to put the long overdue Vacationland moniker to rest, where it can serve as a reminder of a past we have healed from. With joyful humility, let us make Maine recognized the world over as a progressive example for all of the greatness of being. Let our state here forth be known as The State of Mindfulness."

"Thank you representative. A worthy contemplation. Let us reconvene for a vote after the mid-morning silent meditation. Namaste."

Thursday, February 13, 2020

Midweek Haiku

frozen macadam
damp leaves deaf to the white noise
sparkling crystals 

Tuesday, February 11, 2020

Superpower Cycles: from Beowulf to The Boys and Beyond

Having watched the recent series The Boys, I sense we are coming to the end of a cycle where false superheroes reign in the modern psyche. Arguably, humans have had such heroes since the earliest stories of gods and mortal heroes. Yahweh, Hercules, Beowulf, Superman, Dr. Manhattan, etc. etc., each has taken on the guise of a being that visits justice on the evil doers among us.

The Boys, like Watchmen before it, presents a grittier look at superheroism where it meets human nature. In particular, these two stories investigate how individuals abuse their superpowers for corrupt gain, paralleling much closer the political gears that grind in the rear world. In some ways, superheroes provide escapism, but that escapism can reach dangerous levels if we ignore real world issues, locally, regionally and globally.

Though I'm sure superhero movies will continue to sell their black and white battles between good and evil, I wonder if society might be taking a hiatus to consider the real heroes at work in the our world. Those people that are working hard toward refining better ethical standards, spreading compassionate efforts to lessen suffering, and in general serving as stewards toward greater planetary health.

Fiction will surely still inform us as individuals and communities, but perhaps the real superheroes, each and every one us, will begin stepping forward with greater regularity to forge mindful, progressive change.

Monday, February 10, 2020


healthy precipitation
i know the water cycle reigns
solar obfuscation
eventually down the drain

friendships come and go
cycles like seasons
crash course in communication
something new to grow

politics is a hurricane
flooding the landscape once again
the choice of death confronts us
self-immolation or slow drowning


(composed Summer of 2018)

Friday, February 7, 2020

Leap Day

The sunset rectangle around my flat's window-blind fades to gray-black. I verify the door-cam’s night-vision mode is active and there's no movement outside. Sliding the deadbolt free, I shift the small tower of Amazon packages from the February chill inside. I relock it just as I begin to get the jitters. The first of the month when I restock always feels like a  jump-scare horror flick. Storing my sundries in their places restores my calm.

One unopened package remains. Unlike my Prime deliveries it is wrapped in thick, reddish-brown paper with my name and address written in looping calligraphy. The custom puzzle shop I have a subscription with feels like a dear friend. I unwrap the parcel slowly with anticipation. Will this month’s entry be carved from hardwood, or machined in stainless steel? 

Box open, a business card displays Enigma Chocolates on one side and on the other the cryptic line: “Leap Forward One Day at a Time.” I lift the artifact from its crepe’ paper nest. The heart-shaped device I hold in my hands glistens like a large Fabergé egg frozen in cellular division. Each emerald facet is inlaid with silver roman numerals numbered one to twenty-nine. 

Experimentally, I touch the silver capital I. The puzzle-box emits a warm soft glow and the facet swings out as if opened by a tiny ghost.

Behind the tiny door lies a small prize. Other puzzles I’ve solved have had prizes, but this is the first that promises many. I retrieve the chocolate flower and surprising myself I pop it into my mouth.

The intense flavor washes through my very being. In the process my tidy apartment unfurls before me reknitting itself into the haphazard wooded glen outside my childhood home. I am eight years old and in the middle of receiving my first kiss. A mere peck to be sure, but in this mindstate it seems to last for hours, and then days one end. I simply observe---the fear, excitement and the innocent joy of the moment.

Am I to be a prisoner in this heavenly throwback moment?  The scene tints green, finally morphing into the jeweled heart before me. I stumble to the bathroom in orgasmic waves of dizziness expecting full-on nausea that never comes.

I look at my phone and I’m only half surprised to see a full day has elapsed. Without delay I return to the puzzle-box and open facet number two. In staggered succession I binge psychedelic memory after memory. I don’t know what the chocolates are laced with, but I live in nirvanic moments for the next four weeks. 

Each split-second moment unveils a deep love experience of my past. Agápe, Éros, Philia, Storge. Moments with my parents, friends, lovers, and Nature--each trip more scintillating than the last. Except for bathroom breaks and hyper-rushed meals I am in a timeless state of ecstasy, sacrificing a day for each chocolate induced memory hidden behind its emerald door. 

And now, I open my eyes to February 29th. The final unopened, emerald door confronts me. Tears stream down my cheeks in the face of a privileged life taken for granted. With enlightened resolve I set the emerald heart on the coffee table which overflows with the plastic husks of convenience meals.

I walk to the front door and open it. The sunrise has just begun. Sunlight feels like a smile on my face, and I inhale deeply. Whew, I reek. First a shower, and then it’s time for a long overdue walk outside.

Wednesday, February 5, 2020

Insidious, Magical Thinking

Spreading falsehoods like sunlight, on a mythical biscuit

World culture has a bad case of cancer now, and it's been festering for centuries. The widespread confusion between fact and fiction has coaxed humanity's path away from mindful stewardship of planet and civilization.

Arguably, selling fiction as fact has been long heralded by the religions of the world offering afterlives and absolution to mortal humans dealt a hand of suffering. Those mythical stories seem to have made the soil fertile for the cancerous growth of accepting and embracing lies about reality. Corrupt senate trials, trickle-down economics, humanely slaughtered animals, cost-effective Mars colonization, curative gemstones; the falsehoods go on and on serving those seeking to preserve power and mislead people by the millions.

We need to wake up. Not all opinions are created equal. An uninformed, uneducated opinion applied to matters of policy leads to national cults that invade the body politic and poison the world's ecosystems.

Let's keep the fiction labeled as such where it belongs, on the fiction shelves. Speculative ideas and stories can motivate us, sure; but those motivations should engage reason and compassion in their implementation to give us any chance at moving Earth forward for all its indigenous species.