January 19, 2018

William Blake “The Garden of Love”

Filed under: Dance of Death, Poetry, Scientism/Technocracy — Tags: , — Russ @ 10:15 am


The original printing from engraved copper plate.

These days this poem directly evokes how the scientism religion assaults the human body and soul with agricultural poisons. More broadly it describes the industrial Mammon onslaught which is destroying the Earth. This was part of Blake’s meaning.
The Garden of Love
I went to the Garden of Love,
And saw what I never had seen:
A chapel was built in the midst,
Where I used to play on the green.
And the gates of this chapel were shut,
And ‘Thou shalt not’ writ over the door;
So I turned to the Garden of Love,
That so many sweet flowers bore.
And I saw it was filled with graves,
And tomb-stones where flowers should be,
And priests in black gowns were walking their rounds,
And binding with briars my joys and desires.

October 12, 2017

Calling All Mammals


In his essay on the story of the Grand Inquisitor in Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov, D.H. Lawrence expressed his belief that not everyone can look directly at the sun. Rather, humanity needs “nature-heroes” to mediate the overwhelming light. Thus Lawrence agreed with the Inquisitor’s credo of Miracle, Mystery, Authority. Plato, too, believed only a few were capable of rousing themselves from a bemused contemplation of the shadows on the wall of the cave in order to emerge into the full light of truth.
All our political struggles are more or less mundane manifestations of this circumstance. Everyone claims to want freedom, along with any number of alleged political desires. But almost everyone’s actions directly contradict this. On the contrary, almost all people seek Leaders. The Fuhrerprinzip is the most universal trait among all whose mode of social organization has ramified beyond the primal tribe. Authoritarian followership of every type, celebrity-worship and fundamentalist cults of scientism and technocracy, have almost completely replaced whatever once existed of politics in the true sense of positive community democracy. Politics is Dead. Instead the masses look for the hero who will mediate reality, which means help them escape from reality. This is the reality for which even the physical sun has become nothing but a post-modern metaphor. But the true political need is to Occupy the Sun.
The false version of the sun is to mediate it through fossil fuels and greenhouse gases. Humanity wants to warm the Earth, however ultimately destructive this is. The idea of physical warmth seeks psychological comfort, the simulation of psychological, spiritual warmth, just as poison-based junk food, and the idea of technocratically guaranteed food security, is superficial comfort food. This is how the desperate masses try to fill the void inside, where we’re sundered from our home the Earth.
(In the same way, via fraudulent notions of “democracy”, the people struggle to maintain the illusion of control and stability. Thus the corporate system’s indoctrination and propaganda entice regular Americans vicariously to feel part of the elite technocratic project. This is supposed to prop up the idea of security, stability, even as this same corporate neoliberal project eradicates all safety, security, stability, control, independence, freedom.)
Ecological destruction, such as the systematic and deliberate campaign of climate change, also is nihilism out of resentment. It expresses hatred of the home we abandoned.
All that’s left is the brain-dead lust for material stuff, and the vicarious ideal of control. For this vain pursuit we sundered ourselves from our home, ripping open the void we never can fill.
We struggle to use the worthless material stuff to fill the void, but this never can work.
Therefore we also try to fill the void with sanctimony and hypocrisy, which are the ways we try to maintain some sense of self-respect even as we vicariously live through dreams and fears of the uncanny power the corporate technocracy has amassed and will hold for as long as the cheap fossil fuels keep flowing.
This is what Marx called the alienation from our species-being. And today is any action beyond Mammon even possible? Or, like Lawrence also feared in his Grand Inquisitor essay, must all action and the very idea of action exist only within this Mammon framework? We see how almost all thought and action, even the most allegedly “radical”, is completely submissive and subservient to the productionist, extreme energy, high-maintenance technology, Mammon framework. It sure seems like all remaining “politics” is just attitudinizing and play-acting, nothing but a decadent consolation fetish.
Why is civilization infested with the climate crocodiles, to give the most typical example, those who cry false tears and wring false hands over the climate crisis even as they enact and avow the extreme energy civilization which drives all climate change and forcibly represses all attempts at mitigation and adaptation? They are rampant because of this ambivalent extreme. This is the most extreme example of the general hypocrisy and fraud everyone evinces toward all the environmental and socioeconomic crises, every so-called “progressive” cause and idea and value.
We have sundered ourselves, or let ourselves be sundered, from our home the Earth. This places us in decadent limbo where we have no peace and nowhere to turn, which results in the frantic restlessness and thrashing and wasting and destroying which is the typical day to day activity of “civilized” humanity. All the (corporate) king’s (technocratic) horses and men never can offer sustenance to fill the void. It’s all a bottleneck, all shoddy, all fake, all wicked. Inequality and organized crime erodes what gains civilization temporarily made, even for the rich. But since all are the equivalent of meth addicts, they can’t relinquish productionism/consumerism. Nor is any political action possible, as the system forestalls it in thought and deed. (An example of the masses’ being forestalled in thought is how I can find no one who even understands what I’m talking about when I call for movement-building, even though this was a standard concept in political writing just a few decades ago.) In this decadence the only thing left to try to fill the void is hypocrisy, the ultimate death of all human integrity.
Therefore we have:
*Climate change and the industrial food system = Decadent comfort and false warmth to fill the void inside where we threw away our ecological and spiritual holism.
*Climate chaos and poisonism = Destruction out of nihilistic resentment and denial of what we know we threw away.
Now we look at the eclipsed sun (but must wear glasses), want to look, but need the mediator, the “Leader”. We incarnate the ambivalence of finding the sun riveting and bearable only where mediated, only where eclipsed. We see only shadows and cannot distinguish good from evil.
All this is from the perspective of the false individual, the fake people who threw away all biological and social holism, all that’s ecological, artificial as well as natural; and embraced anti-ecological individualism amid totalitarian massification, all of which is humanly false and which doesn’t work from any practical point of view: Socially, economically, for public health, social stability, peace and safety, anything humans ever could truly want and need. This is the great bottleneck, the monumental dead end the human project has reached. All that exists today, including and especially everything touted as most “modern”, “progressive”, “scientific”, “hi-tech”, is antiquated, backward, cramping, derelict, the luddite province of the dinosaurs. None of it’s new, and none of it works. It’s all one bottleneck forestalling all human aspirations and attempts to think and build something new and constructive. The necessary first step for anyone, any individual, any group, any organization, any small mammal in the underbrush pondering the passage of geologic/historical periods, is to break completely in mind and soul with this bottleneck, burn your ships once and for all, and think only the necessary new idea.
In desperate decadence modern dinosaur civilizationists look everywhere for a replacement for what they threw away, the home they forsook. But there is no substitute. The only new road is the highway home.
The obscuring symbol crawls the sky
As if to abnegate,
Spots the blaze too bright directly to see.
Only plastic eyes mediate the light.
We want to see but cannot see direct,
The better to brush in evasion
The mystery the symbol fathoms,
The best to look most ardent just where we can’t.
Just as,
We work more frenetic than ants,
More angry and toxic than wasps,
To crank the blaze of the star’s heat.
We lust for the warmth we can’t survive,
Therefore invent mediating fantasies,
The confections and mirages of rhetoric and technology
To shield us from our yearning for warmth
And free us to stoke the inferno forever.
This ambivalent extreme,
Destruction we know and desire,
Scorch and poison, is to kill ourselves to feel alive.
What void do we strive to fill.
What did we throw away and now dream of darkly.
And now behind shields we yearn for that same ray
We throw up the shield against.
Our eyes strive to see what would blind us direct,
Our souls build an oven around ourselves.
We then encase us in asbestos,
And hope for: the best?
Hope for nothing.

August 21, 2017


Filed under: Climate Crisis, Dance of Death, Disaster Capitalism, Poetry — Russ @ 4:17 pm


The obscuring symbol crawls the sky
As if to abnegate,
Spots the blaze too bright directly to see.
Only plastic eyes mediate the light.
We want to see but cannot see direct,
The better to brush in evasion
The mystery the symbol fathoms,
The best to look most ardent just where we can’t.
Just as,
We work more frenetic than ants,
More angry and toxic than wasps,
To crank the blaze of the star’s heat.
We lust for the warmth we can’t survive,
Therefore invent mediating fantasies,
The confections and mirages of rhetoric and technology
To shield us from our yearning for warmth
And free us to stoke the inferno forever.
This ambivalent extreme,
Destruction we know and desire,
Scorch and poison, is to kill ourselves to feel alive.
What void do we strive to fill.
What did we throw away and now dream of darkly.
And now behind shields we yearn for that same ray
We throw up the shield against.
Our eyes strive to see what would blind us direct,
Our souls build an oven around ourselves.
We then encase us in asbestos,
And hope for: the best?
Hope for nothing.

July 26, 2011

Shadow (A Poem)

Filed under: Poetry — Russ @ 3:42 am


(It’s been almost a year since I posted any poems, so I figure it’s past overdue that I post some. This one’s an oldie without any political content.)
A prone cracked dun leaf awaits the wind,
The sky of deception limberly waits
On its shaded perch
                                           sunshy of day’s fates
Till the air tilts a sound, eyes spinned
Into vigilance.
                                The moment won’t rescind
Its dreamy quietude.
                                             The haze inflates
Too sleepy for that, the day sleeps its dates
As well.
                  The limber sleep silently grinned.
Time can freeze. The spots fade the conjured form
To nothingness.
                                   All the waves softly blend
The moment opaque, as volition wends
The minutest twinge of a neuron. The storm
Drags down impotent static protest,
Claws brace frame for teeth.

August 1, 2010

Ave Caesar! Morituri te salutamus. We Salute You!

Filed under: Poetry — Tags: — Russ @ 6:56 am

The sunset of the liquid fire
Plays upon the liquid of our lives.
The sunset of life plays upon the water,
Reflecting the same memories
Of dying light, of life that’s almost over.
The nostalgia tempers the fear,
And memory cheers
As the light scrolls over the surface,
The facade of reprieve.
As the plumes of carbon water
Rise slowly, inexorably,
To quench our thirst;
To bring their black to trap all light forever;
We know the thrill of Oedipus’ self-blinding,
And the solace of the drowning man
Who surrenders and breathes once more.
So the seas die,
And so before we die,
We dance one last drunken dance
In the rays of the last sunset.


July 17, 2010

Four Poems

Filed under: Poetry — Russ @ 2:12 am
A shredding moment of frost isn’t enough
To change our attitude –
The fresh seal of morning stooped to grace
Our yawns with beatitudes,
And almost piqued our interest.
Time rains so steadily, an uncaused storm,
Steady patter and white noise is a stifling erosion,
And everything muddled by jade.
I look across to your eyes, a haziness
Clouding ideas with cold coffee to perk it up.
A fine museum of weariness slouches by.
An empty space for daydreams,
Memories enchant with drowsiness,
Bland smile a residue of a long-dead moment.
Alone I can laze, stretch, drag outside and ponder,
Losing time with reminders of dying,
Like these slow hours dying by.
Where did all that shine go?
How did the rain drench this discard of my soul?
Right and prayer, weak effigies, dilute through the stops
Like failing strength, and fail, and fall, weak like we feel.
Or they’re just a mirror of what we are.
I don’t need the shine any more.
I’ve forgotten enough to turn and go,
And follow you out through a different exit.
This is for a moment, one recollection of where we diverge,
Balanced, twenty minutes history,
And then it fades like a ghost summoned then blasted by the wind,
Just fuel for its spiteful play,
As it disperses the hopeful lonely face away.
Our pride and drive to conquer makes us worship
Freedom down the centuries.
In our age of the tyrant’s good hunting
Where our souls sleep with freedom,
It makes sleep violent; we awaken constantly.
We scan the darkness
But can’t see where freedom lies.
But the wish inside our vanishing sight,
That freedom shares its own dream and seeks to be lived again,
As we could reach to touch it,
Just a minor glance, not truly felt,
To print the dream’s periphery,
To edge it softly toward us…….
Are we certain of this night?
Is it an ecstasy we dream?
To awaken, we could fear it was never phasing there.
We try these windings of thought
To mark out the path from our spirit inside to the life without;
The magic wave across the moonlight suggests
This spangled plain as sky to us and not the darker fate,
To wrestle silent all night and fall asleep too late,
To wake again beside the faith in freedom,
The counterpoint to fearful dreams,
Contrasting toward our yesterdays, another silent tide.
If we felt the next reminder we were reaching through the night
As if loneliness would be negated and blessed by reality.
Where the appointed sentinels of night
Patrol the milestones lost of light,
Each midnight receding as in a backward flow of time,
Each a false sanctuary which helpless tears of memory try to render tangible
In hours of waking prayer,
We cast this dream between us as the last struggle to share the night;
We can cross ourselves with interludes of silence.
So I sleep with you, beside a silent harmony,
Without forgiveness of the silent fate
My night has doomed for me.
Summer’s pageant, judgement to appeal
Of distant wind, tomorrow’s promised ice –
The wish for love is a pastoral
I dreamt with you, one summer, long ago.
The new dream is a colder spring;
A rain of hope and haze over the aftermath,
Sprinkling starfall evaporates back to the sky
To resume its fixture as stars;
So the rain and hail becomes affixed.
The spangled banner of night is our history
Written across the night sky.
The waves of yesterday still radiate;
They pretend the rush of lovecould renew
Our dying feelings, lost like love was bright
Reflection; still I wish to see you there
In the moonlight clearing,
Beckoning me to you.
Summer’s poetry wished its rain between us;
The empty range bleak truth can call its own.
I reach through the hail-blight, the rushing lines like comets
Calling me to step across the line of light.
Do you wish to move slow, is delay the secret
To mortgage more time for the old harmonies?
The love which compasses our childhood dreams,
The tears, the drowning joy, the religious faith?
And the antique travail, glowing like a sunset;
Faith in fate, dying, but still a sensation.
Do we lie our liberation into ice,
And life’s generation into violence?
Death was promised as well, and we want to forget.
So love becomes a played-out tragedy,
And shelters in the shadows of collapsing truth,
Stale echoes, soul fabrications.
This song of faith is an afterthought of being,
Like the nonexistent starlight that still hypnotizes heaven.
Here a sort of life lingers, pretending,
A promise we pretend has no threat to reveal its lie,
Never to pass into treason, lost like love was bright.
Still my eyes follow traces of your memory,
As if you still existed
When I finally thought I saw you.
Destiny, please wait, just a few more hours;
My tired limbs struggle to hasten to you.
The circling stars measured endless time’s seeming,
But the seeming’s now fleeting,
Trailing waves of dead sentiment,
And now opposing winds push me back while I pursue.
What sound directs me, in approaching you?
I glance off tangents, mesmerized by chaos.
I wilt upon a thought of death, never having found you.
Yet I stumbled once upon a moment of belief,
And there, a glimpse of heaven beyond you.
There I mark your silhouette,
And there I find the strength inspired
To run again toward you, to clasp the flesh this time,
And not just in the dream of a thousand times before.
I always say today’s the time,
And my sedimentary utopias pile up.
I dreamt I found a way to love and promise you divinity,
And forget you ever walked away from me.
Then, drunken in the starlit waves of specious sanctity
I dream lame melodies, tinny chimes of fate stirred by empty winds.
History might miss us,
Storming wildly over the horizon’s massing millions,
All eyes blurred away by the violent stirring light.
I could worship you before this,
I could wish your fate forever,
You could answer me with comets,
Pulsing symphonies of beauty, marked by fireworks,
There to drown us all in ecstasy.
I shiver, I fall tired between the darkness,
Hearing magic trails of crystal sound to echo from the ends of time
To lead me onward, as fate tests weakness and strength.
Dreaming you, I was always dreaming me,
And climbing up from the memories,
If I sometimes stumble and fall back a bit,
I no longer feel I begin to fall forever.

June 26, 2010

Darah’s Baptismal Sky (a poem)

Filed under: Poetry — Russ @ 2:54 am
As Darah sits at the window,
Her eyes scan dreamward,
Scanning the sky for a space which pleads for an image.
She searches through her hours,
For the recollective moment which redeems her faith
And offers a glimpse.
We only paint our own portraits,
Each moment just a subtle stroke,
Just a tangent in the tinge.
What does she hope for, what does she dream?
Which is the image she yearns to see
When she regards the cloudy sky?
Does she dream of flying
In revelatory invisible suns,
Looping them into her hair in braided halos,
Sparking glints of her own light,
Because she despairs of an afternoon’s image?
Does she fantasize Michelangelo’s sinews
To wield the chisel of freedom,
To liberate the latent form?
We can only read ourselves in anything,
And any word is lost in translation.
I can only dream of a moment felt, not spoken.
Our expressions betray and limit us,
But that’s all we have.
So Darah will paint again,
And I try to dream of what she dreams,
I dream each painting a baptism of sight,
Willed by hope onto the world’s bleak ceiling,
Baptized in the gentle bath of her soul.
I’ve also seen the gray canvas in the sky
And I’ve wondered, what shall I see there?
What dream do I wish to paint?
Darah dreams, as she ponders her new dawn,
And her sky is only her own,
Beholden only to her dreams.
Darah wants to paint the sky with her dreams,
And her dreams are just ready to fly,
Just now, as her new sun rises.
She’s still at the window,
And she still sees gray,
But that’s only her canvas,
Waiting to receive her eternal voice,
Dreaming of speaking her dreams.

June 24, 2010

Two Poems

Filed under: Poetry — Russ @ 1:01 am


Spirit beckons future, where it’s calling us to hear
The force which hails us forward as we meet the rising years.
Run to meet the bugle dawn, time won’t wait much longer;
We must arise, transcend, alive,
Uplift our eyes toward rising suns.
The call resounds from future dawns where our voice will ring stronger,
And stronger still beyond this strength the surge of freedom runs.
Fate corrects the fables as men wrote of them before;
Our songs were searching higher winds up where the brethren soar.
The dream demands conviction, thought demands a mandate.
We must rewrite the future word,
Not fantasy but genesis;
Our minds expanding toward the vistas we create,
Our ears hearken to nature from the radiance and bliss.
Freedom’s wine will flow from where its fermentation dates,
The new spirit beckons where the enemy deflates.
We sing the constitution, the medley of our hearts.
We shall reprise America,
A generation shall expose
The new fault lines of justice where the will’s endurance starts;
The dream recedes, the darkness flees, the vision grows.
Your eyes were always filled with light,
Reflecting what you always dreamed
And could sense in your soul was true.
The light always led you forward,
Toward a vantage where you hoped to see
The meaning you always sensed,
Where your gaze would stagger dazzled
As all horizons streamed away,
Revealing the endless seas.
In your dream’s eye,
You long watched the scenes proceeding by,
Exotic lights, the moon and stars,
Their shimmer over a painted water,
And a gentle darkness implying peace in the scene;
An implied peace whose only belying hint
Was the breeze you could sometimes sense at night,
Implying a world beyond.
How long have you dreamt of this day?
This day which symbolizes
All the rays of hope aligned,
Where you now set off to find yourself,
Commit your sails to the singing winds
And cast your nets to the sparkling waves
To capture some of the light for yourself,
To match the light
Which has long adorned your eyes.

May 24, 2010

Four Poems

Filed under: Poetry — Russ @ 7:40 am


Each night I dream of a redemptive night
Where drafts of nightmare resolve to new dreams.
The lonely darkness brings forth a new sun;
We survived the night by purging this dream.
The winds of the cyclone give way,
The devastation collects itself again.
We reverse the old fate where our spirits detach.
(And yet there still the past could rescue me
If I could reach you the moment before
You slide away to infinity….)
The conscience of the darkness is the dream,
We waken to the new light we create.
Awakening, we leap through staggered layers of shadows,
All the antediluvian debris,
The words, beliefs, taboos, and songs.
Do we still sometimes attend the grave at midnight?
Listen silent through the night for echoes to our whispers?
But the only echo is the truth we already know,
Which our nostalgia in arrears
For a moment pretends to forget.
So we cherish midnight vespers tricking down the walls around us,
And have moments of suspense of belief,
Relapses against tomorrow’s cold sun,
Where we must follow fate.
Where fate is breaking, where it revelates,
There the marches sound for us,
Dashing us upon a purpose,
To see the new light on that date.
There’s a frail span of time, luring the way to language pent
And struggling, softly whispering the way to fly.
It trembles into images, communicates to senses,
Innate the play is written to the eye.
A current, froth and depth inscrutable,
In motion, turbulent, hinted terror, lunging to the sea
Forever, to drift infinite;
Such art was promised by the suspended day,
Now a waitful watch, the latent heresy
And wasteful rush of centuries to drown and drown
And carry down the light.
                                      Enveloping at summit depth
And tense to be realized as life, the promise fructifies
And harvests the dreaming spirit, to life and light,
Approach of day to wake the prayer
And write it out in starborne verse
To redeem the lost time with a new game.
There’s a frail span of time, bringing to day the language spent
Exhausted, softly gasping its way to die.
It sparkles in its vestiges, luxuriant in senses,
While sunshine marvels its way from sky to sky.
The stillness blackens to dawn,
And history summons its time,
At first to crawl portentious and hesitant.
But we’re bright with suggestion of yesterday,
Haunting our sleep with visions of primal fire.
We wake with throbbing drums echoing from our dreams,
Heedless of the shadows that scatter to chaos,
Rubbing our eyes in desperation.
Wit for betrayal is the human genius,
A talent scorched in the ancient smithies of murder and war,
A song sung by Homer and Thucydides
Echoed ever after in the flashing refrain.
Perhaps war is our tomorrow,
The future dons its wardrobes
In visions which ghast before our pregnant terror.
Our dreams beheld the future in suspense;
Now we wake to the forced rise and the forced march,
The witless trails history has torched
Through the futile receding years of oil.
The brazen mountain looms,
The mystic surprise blasting rockets and fire
Through the chanted waking dream of the Millennium.
If God could arrest the dawn,
If time could tattoo a braille,
(If a child were all we needed)
Then the rest could keep.
It could lie ruined and forgotten under a pile of dreams
Recycled through sated sleep.
But this unreciprocated tithe is too precious to evade,
Its implied grin completes the cycle of betrayal and redemption,
And there,
Life truly becomes One.
I stand at the edge of forever,
   and glimpse the shredded pictures of every story
   ever told before.
I hear the distant winds,
   which circle into all memories
   and grace them all to starry fixtures
   etched across the void.
I sense an endless mystery
   which surges with a purpose,
   fired by yearning faith which resonates
   our underlying souls.
It spells a waning story
   through letters’ hazing distant line
   that conjures its horizon
   out of nothing but our dreams.
Without redemption’s hope,
   and lost against tomorrow’s emptiness,
   we listen only for the echoes
   of every song ever sung. 

May 10, 2010

Fates of the Sea (a poem)

Filed under: Poetry — Russ @ 2:58 pm


There are weeks upon the water
Which weave their legend through the moon’s traverse,
In and out, a solitude in earnest;
Light and wave break eons old against the ship,
As if each wave is just a life rehearsed.
There seems a promised void in the water,
Dream-like, cheating light of its shrill domain,
Where treasure-wrecks and monsters haunt the vault;
A dark prayer magnifies our adventure
Where votive sense refracts the dark terrain.
  The sea is a rhapsody
  Of trial and failure, penned to light,
  Its rippled runes submerge our art,
  Its desolate infinity
  Is sung through its own story where
  Our ship can trail its solemn wake –
  Across the trackless face the vision parts.
At the edge where our senses divide,
Surrendering agency, aping the waves,
The sea’s play with folds of light entrances,
No longer as object fraught with being,
But pregnant with song the wasted light saves.
  The sea is a rhapsody
  Which shimmers back the shifting lights
  To give a universal psalm.
  We only find one moment’s ghost
  To grace our windy, tear-stroked eyes,
  Nirvana wrought in broken lines,
  To sing the lumined sense of sea-swept calm.
There is a sleeping chant implied by water,
Record of primal dreams luring us down.
As cold as our fatality the gulf
Expands to broach hallucination-trails,
A relic of sense to cheer us as we drown.
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