from & for sugar
because the light is beautiful
from & for sugar
‘Cause otherwise, he’s going to have to go through this.
He is so much better off. With the naked stoned hippie woman. In the great ride open.
I am on top of the Empire State Building leaning on the railing which I have carefully examined to see if it’s strongly made. The sound of it comes all that way, up, to me. A hum. Thousands of ventilators far away. Now and then I hear an improbable clank. The air, even up here, is warmed by it.
To the north a large green rectangle, Central Park, lies flat, clean-edged, indented. A skin has been pulled off, a bandage removed, and a small section of the Planet has been allowed to grow.
I think, “They have chosen to do this in order to save their lives.” And then I think, “It is not really a section of the Planet, it is a perfect imitation of a section of the Planet (remembering the zoo). It is how they think it might look.” I am struck by their wisdom. Moved.
The elevator is not too crowded. We are all silent and perfectly behaved, except a little girl who is whispering something to her mother. Her mother holds her hand and bends down to listen. The little girl giggles. Hunching her shoulders and screwing up her face. She has told her mother something outrageous.
In the lobby are people who are really doing it, not like us, just looking around. They wear the current costume and read the office directories beside the banks of elevators. I realize there are offices in the Empire State Building! It is not just a tower to look from!
It all starts coming in, on the street. Each one is going somewhere, thinking. Many are moving their lips, talking to themselves. In 2 blocks I am walking as fast as they are. We all agree to wait when the light turns red.
In the subway it is more intense. Something about being under the ground? It is horrifying to let it all come in, in the subway.
A gust of dirty air hits me as I rise out of it at the 7th Ave. subway exit. I am relieved, perhaps because the buildings are lower, the street wider, the intersection a jumble of crazy angles?
∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞ ∞
Years ago, somewhere inconceivably else, I could have been given a strange assignment.
He was a short man, gray haired but mostly bald. He explained the thing to me in a homey kind of office.
“I can fix you up to be, actually be, a Native of a World,” he said. “You won’t be like them, you will be one of them. Think the way they do, see as they see etc with exactly their physical and mental equipment. You can see, of course, what this means! It means your data, for the first time, will be absolutely accurate. You will, in every sense, know what it is to be one.”
I have forgotten all he said about the reports I’d have to make on my return, but I can almost remember the taste of the potion I got. Brassy, but not too bad.
And what is happening during moments like that on the Empire State building is simply that the potion’s effect is flickering out. There are moments of wakefulness, and it all starts coming in.
You see it on the faces of the others. They are all more or less drugged. Many are as straight or straighter than you are, but are pretending not to be. As you are pretending not to be.
It is then, while watching the ones who are actually doing it (not like us, just looking around), that you realize there are only people more or less drugged into this vast, insane, assignment.
There are no natives!
On one occasion a Dog-Rib Indian chased a squirrel up a tree until he reached the sky, where he set a snare for the squirrel and descended. Next day, instead of the squirrel, the sun was caught, and darkness at once ensued—in other words, the sun was eclipsed. “Something wrong up there,” thought the Indian, “I must have caught the sun.” So he sent up a number of animals to try to release it, but they were all burned to ashes. Finally a mole, burrowing through the ground of the sky, succeeded in gnawing the cords asunder. But just as it put its head through the ground, a flash of light put its eyes out, and it has been blind ever since. The sun, however, after this experience, travels more carefully.
—Alexander Porteous, The Forest
Alpha and omega, the beginning and the ending, which is, and which was, and which is to come.
On those stepping into rivers staying the same other and other waters flow.
The chemical composition of seawater, the Science Men tell us, is identical to that of human tears.
And seawater, they tell us, is from where, on this planet, all life did grow.
I believe that, in a mobius strip of time, the tears shed by us, created the oceans, from which came us.
So. Don’t hold back. Let them flow. All your tears. Like water flow.
And upon them, someday, you may sail. Sail to Caledonia.
* in an alternative universe
for Carter Camp
My grandparents were “removed” by jackbooted thugs when the cavalry came into our village and forced us at gunpoint to leave our ancestral lands and walk to a prison in Oklahoma. They rarely talked about it but all the old folks of our nation spent the rest of their lives yearning for what they had left behind and what they had lost. In fact that yearning still lives inside me too. As a part of the cost of “manifest destiny.”
Too many Americans think the native genocide in this country is “ancient history” but my Grandmother and Grandfather were alive when our nation (Ponca) was torn from their lands and “removed” to Oklahoma. We lost a third of our people on the long march and the ensuing concentration camp. We were reduced from a thriving people of over 3,000 to around 400 by the end of the century. The final solution damn near worked. But genocide takes many things from a people besides all the lives. My nation still suffers its effects today in many uncountable ways.
The Americans shot several million rounds at me when I led my people at Wounded Knee in 1973. I shot back at them and never considered my citizenship any factor, we were fighting and both sides were trying to kill the others. Two of my soldiers were killed but no one ever objected to it because they were Americans. I was targeted in an up close assassination attempt and damn near got whacked, if I had been I doubt anyone would have said anything.
The only possible opening for a statement like this is that I detest writing.
Peace, love, contentment, to all.
To that day. When we all go together.
Into the great wide open.
F. Scott Fitzgerald saw it. To the bottom of every bottle. Which, early—44—killed him.
No matter. He got it right. Wrote the Great American Novel. The Great Gatsby. Which ends with this:
Most of the big shore places were closed now and there were hardly any lights except the shadowy, moving glow of a ferryboat across the Sound. And as the moon rose higher the inessential houses began to melt away. Until gradually I became aware of the old island here that flowered once for Dutch sailors’ eyes—a fresh, green breast of the new world. Its vanished trees, the trees that had made way for Gatsby’s house, had once pandered in whispers to the last and greatest of all human dreams; for a transitory enchanted moment man must have held his breath in the presence of this continent, compelled into an aesthetic contemplation he neither understood nor desired, face to face for the last time in history with something commensurate to his capacity for wonder.
And as I sat there, brooding on the old unknown world, I thought of Gatsby’s wonder when he first picked out the green light at the end of Daisy’s dock. He had come a long way to this blue lawn and his dream must have seemed so close that he could hardly fail to grasp it. He did not know that it was already behind him, somewhere back in that vast obscurity beyond the city, where the dark fields of the republic rolled on under the night.
Gatsby believed in the green light, the orgiastic future that year by year recedes before us. It eluded us then, but that’s no matter—tomorrow we will run faster, stretch out our arms farther . . . . And one fine morning—
So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.
The green light, it will never be attained, as Fitzgerald knew, on this continent, by white people. Because they do not belong here. It was a mistake, for them to ever to have come. To this place. Because it is not their place.
The green light, they can bask in it—the white people—when, “boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past,” they return to from where they came. Where they should, forever, have remained.
the little bird; all that there is
He had a penis eight hundred miles long and two hundred and ten miles in diameter, but practically all of it was in the fourth dimension.
—Kurt Vonnegut, Breakfast Of Champions
The above Wisdom is basically all I have to relate about the recently concluded great tsursis involving the US government shutdown, debt-ceiling limit, blah-de-blah-de-blah.
Such as the deeply brain-damaged pentecostal retrovert, heretofore an assumedly sane stenographer, who commenced insanely barking, there on the floor of the House, when the nation’s duly elected Representatives, dutifully, in the last act of this most recent kabuki, voted to accept the latest kick-can, that would move the next moneyed tsursis, ninety days or so down the road.
So barked she:
God will not be mocked. The greatest deception here is that this is not one nation under God. It never was. It would not have been. The Constitution would not have been written by Freemasons. They go against God. You cannot serve two masters. Praise be to God. Praise be to Jesus.
Back in the day, we used to have what were called “building-shouters.”
These were mentally divergent individuals who felt it Necessary to go, every day, to some particular building, and there shout at it; yea, verily, until their lips bled.
My friend Danny, he used to work at the Los Angeles Times. He, and all the other reporters, would report each day, to the Times building, there to do their journo work. And also, each day, would report a building-shouter. Who stood outside the building, all day, every day, during regular working hours. Screaming at the building. Till his lips bled.
No one was ever quite sure. What it was. That moved the building-shouter. To shout.
But shout. He must.
Once, Danny and his people, they went out on strike.
So too, did the building-shouter.
He did not return. Until his fellow, indoor, recognized workers, they also returned.
He, clearly, the building-shouter, considered himself. Part of the Process.
One of the many unforeseen and unacknowledged effects to flow from the Age of the Intertubes is the mainstreaming of the building-shouter.
People who are mentally divergent, who have nary a clue, who are born under the sign of the propellor-beanie, who are fit best but to drool, may, thanks to the intertubes, pound out their nonsense, all day, and all of the night, and building-shout, alpha to omega, to such a crescendo, that their divergence, may, in the course of things, begin to creep into the brainpans, of beings heretofore considered at least fitfully sane.
Language, as William Burroughs aptly observed, is a virus. And insane language, it can spread, as easily and as virally—and maybe even more so—as sane language.
And so we have: today. Where most all the American “political blogs”—from the “lefty” StormKos, to the “righty” RedMentalState—are primarily occupied by some form of building-shouter. People who have nothing, really, of worth, to offer. But the cords on their necks, strained and swollen. And the projectile, nonsense vomit, ceaselessly flowing, from their mouths, into their fingers, and, from there, onto their keyboards. And on out to us.
To stain, if we might read it, all of our beings.
I don’t know. Maybe it’s just when I was born. Or maybe it’s brain damage.
Most likely it’s both. With something more, other, besides.
The reason why, I can’t climb aboard, whenever comes round, the latest death ship.
Debt ceiling. Climate change. Poisons. Population. Nukes. Nimrods. Drones. Wild-eyed crazy people, wielding knives.
So. Let us all. Rend furiously our garments. Weep. Cry in our beer. And at the sky. For all. Is all over. Humans—wring us thy hands—they do be succeeding, in killing all the planet.
What baby-blind arrogance.
To believe a little bone-throwing nascent mammalian species, can croak an entire planet.
What I meant, above, about “just when I was born,” is that, right when I emerged in this life from my chrysalis, was when Lovelock and Margulis first announced what was then known as “the Gaia hypothesis.”
Which, to put it simply, postulated that the planet is one giant organism.
I, instantly, saw it a little—ahem—furthur.
That not only is the planet one giant organism, but it is also conscious.
And, basically, I haven’t worried, a day, since.
(For, as ever, mi Anacaona, and all the Taino. And also for all and every life extinguished by racist genocidal killers, such as the unnamed victim of the unrepentant ARacistPoet, member in good standing of the smirking laughing gas-chamber StormKos, a.k.a. the DailyKlan.)
They say it came first from Africa, carried in the screams of the enslaved; that it was the death bane of the Taino, uttered just as one world perished and another began; that it was a demon drawn into Creation through the nightmare door that was cracked open in the Antilles. Fuku americanus, or more colloquially, fuku—generally a curse or a doom of some kind; specifically the Curse and the Doom of the New World. Also called the fuku of the Admiral because the Admiral was both its midwife and one of its great European victims; despite “discovering” the New World the Admiral died miserable and syphilitic, hearing (dique) divine voices. In Santo Domingo, the Land He Loved Best, the Admiral’s very name has become synonymous with both kinds of fuku, little and large; to say his name aloud or even to hear it is to invite calamity on the heads of you and yours.
No matter what its name or provenance, it is believed that the arrival of Europeans on Hispaniola unleashed the fuku on the world, and we’ve all been in the shit ever since. Santo Domingo might be fuku’s Kilometer Zero, its port of entry, but we are all of us its children, whether we know it or not . . . .
—Junot Diaz, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao
Much about the Admiral is not known. Where he was born, and when: these are not known. The arc of his early years, when and what he studied at the University of Pavia: these, too, are not known. Where he obtained his ideas of geography, this is not known. The Admiral, it developed, did not know geography: he believed, to the end of his days, that where he landed in 1492 marked the far eastern fringe of Asia.
What is known is that when the Admiral stepped ashore on Hispaniola, he brought original sin to the New World. For the policies he pursued there exterminated that island’s people, the Taino. Every one.
“All the Indians of these islands were allotted by the Admiral . . . to all the settlers who came to live in these parts; and in the opinion of many who saw what happened and speak of it as eyewitnesses, the Admiral, when he discovered these islands, passed sentence of death on a million or more Indians, men and women, of all ages, adults and children. Of this number and of those since born, it is believed that there do not survive today, in this year 1548, 500 Indians, adults and children, who are natives and who are offspring of the stock of those he found on arrival.”
Today, “the Taino survive in the shape of one’s eyes, the outline of one’s face, the idiom of one’s language.” All the rest, is gone.