Sunday, October 17, 2010

Fresh from the Yoga Farm

Sadhana: Night & Day

Swamiji has asked me to transfer the lavender plants
from a broken wood barrel – now toppled
to one side near Krsna temple – into two ceramic blue
containers where they will not die.

This task, as with the many asked, I agree to gladly,
though in this instance see that perhaps
a Karma yogi not-me might take care of this joyful little job
opportunity whilst I serve elsewhere: likely in the kitchen or the orchard.

There are trees that need water there.
We all know: water added to earth & air guarantees
trees will bear fruit eventually; in addition,
I offer prana, singing Lakshmi mantras
into the many tiny ears of these tender-hearted trees,
whom I hope or imagine discretely listen,
with subtle green sonic organs hidden in their leaves.

~~~ ~~~ ~~~
The moment night became too cool, feel the body bolstered
by a breeze of evening heat, rustled loose from that blue-black abyss.
On that too-hot tejas day, I dove
into the man-made pool so I could get the cool back: diving into a ‘Bliss Divine’.

On the dock of this pond called Vrindavan, I smile a salute to the sun
with the intention of tanning my gums (which is an old Swami Vishnu trick, I’m told).
Though this trunk & limbs flow through twelve full poses, my focus rests
over my nose, where fiery areolas form fluxional suns who arise & set & rise & set.

Sweating after effort, I shed a layer of t-shirt & shorts & use my skin to swim three
cooling loops around the fountain. From the far side, facing east, I am given vision
of the secret rainbow resting therein: that Self-same sun being split into its constituents
by the perfect scatter of water gone airborne, as if practicing ecstatic Asana.

~~~ ~~~ ~~~
Back on the dock, my chilled skin is sizzling in the oven of said sun. I turn & spit;
a sunfish investigates, then tastes. That nobly bold or dumb one bites my saliva and flees
to the deep. The spit stretches like trite cheese on impossible TV pizza. Seeing this,
the orange sunnies all hustle up, swarming to the surface, hungry for any potential-ojas left over.

Here I pause to take a picture; pause to capture the day’s last light. Here
I pause to wonder what happened to that pure, white Puja milk from last night:
when the deity is clean, do we just dispose of those holy leftovers of devotion?
Or can I try a bite?

The central fountain sends concentric ripples dancing over this underwater Vrindavan.
Refracted shadow & light climb the well-worn rungs of the wet wood ladder,
climbing through the heavy-set tendrils of an eternal willow.
How a trunk draws water from the earth,
shadow & light arise in ripples: rising how
kundalini is drawn to the crown of a ripened spine;
the way a fruit always falls, in time.

Friday, September 24, 2010

These Are My Essays

I am applying to earn my Masters degree in Writing and Poetics at Naropa University, in Boulder, Colorado. These are the application essays I put in the mail today. This is super-personal stuff,so please just don't tell me if there are any terrible spelling errors. I'll find out soon enough if there are. Enjoy!

Statement of Intent

Things fall into place. Though at any given moment the path appears random, retrospect reveals a progression of experience leading inevitably from one lesson to the next. The karma I carry with me in this life has continuously uprooted and replanted me around the world, ensuring that I meet certain people and arrive at essential realizations only when the time is right. Now again, I am like a fruit, overripe and ready to abandon the nourishment of my by-now-familiar Bogotáno tree; ready to leap, floating for a moment before finding fertile ground in which to spread new seeds. I feel overwhelmingly blessed to rest in the knowing that Naropa is the piece of earth I seek.

The source of inspiration for the course of study I intend to pursue can be traced to a series of dreams in August of 2008. Having graduated from college in the spring, I spent the summer as headwaiter and handyman at a boutique hotel and restaurant on an island in Wisconsin. Anticipating the change of seasons, I made concrete plans to move to Red Lodge, Montana, to become a bartending ski-bum. Alas, it seems there were more subtle plans already in place. Three consecutive mornings I awoke with lingering images of being trapped on a ski lift, rising into storm clouds; or of arriving at the top of a mountain without my equipment, proceeding to drift uncontrollably into the abyss. The ominous intensity of these dreams shook me to the core, and I made haste to change course.

Of course, our modern-day divination system (Google) led me directly to the Sivananda Ashram Yoga Farm, in Grass Valley, California. At that time, my experience with Yoga was limited to one-semester of bikram as a sophomore; however, I instantly recognized the Yoga Farm as the obvious next step upon my path. I lost a significant cash deposit by abandoning the Red Lodge agenda, but awoke the next day from a blissful dream of flying over paradisiacal island chains with a voice, booming out from a bottomless pit in my chest, saying, “You are on the right path!” It is great comfort to have confirmation, even when you already know.

On the 1st of January, 2009, I arrived for the start of 4 months as a Karma Yogi in the Ashram’s work-study program. This was by far the most transformative time of my life, and my experiences there continue to inform my daily existence. In addition to establishing a steady meditation practice, I soon became one of the Ashram chefs. I have always loved food; now I love feeding people too. This was also my first exposure to the complementary sciences of Ayurveda and Vedic Astrology. The discovery of this ancient wisdom was akin to finding a blueprint and a headlamp after clumsily stumbling through an unlit maze for what appears to have been years. The holistic system of self-knowledge that is Yoga gently revolutionized the way I think, speak, act, and eat, and launched me on a course of accelerated evolution that continues to this day.

Having said that, the aspect of yogic life that remains closest to my heart is the spirit of bhakti. Before arriving at the Ashram, I was skeptical (at best) about religious devotion. I assumed I’d just do the asana, stimulate my academic mind with scripture, and enjoy the tranquil Sierra atmosphere while merely tolerating the daily kirtan and intermittent religious rituals – probably watching aloof as people in orange robes washed rocks, gave clean clothes to voodoo dolls and tossed julienne-cut coconut into a supposedly sacred fire. How silly of me.

Like in a nightmare, where I flee an apparently evil pursuant: if I simply turn to face it, in direct but loving confrontation, that which I most fear becomes a source of supernal strength and elation. With the help of Swami Sita, Swami Guruprasad, and world-renown kirtan performer Karnamrita Dasi, I soon realized my deeply devotional nature. They aided me in understanding that bhakti takes many forms. In my case, it finds expression primarily through athletic performance and literary endeavors. For example, Swami Guruprasad, the resident tantric priest, noticed me reading for hours on end, and lauded my concentration. Never before had I considered my incessant literary indulgences from this empowering perspective!

Another wonderful surprise was the way my writing practice exploded with inspiration after mere weeks of Yogic immersion. There were days when, in all honesty, I had to give my karma yoga hours short shrift, being inexorably drawn to my journal or computer to hastily transcribe the flood of conceptions flowing through me before they disappeared downstream. I almost forgot to notice the joy of watching, with eerie detachment, as whole poems arose spontaneously on the page. Such ecstatic, humbling fun!

This is the state I expect to recreate at Naropa. I believe Naropa is the ideal environment in which to pursue the careful combination of my writing and contemplative practices. I hope to discover a course of study based in bhakti, blending the composition of devotional poetry with a special focus in Sanskrit song and translation. I sense that Naropa is the place where my ever-evolving meditation practice will encounter the structure and guidance it needs, while simultaneously engaging with the rigorous academic context I am seeking. For two years I have said I would not go back to school until I knew exactly what I wanted to study. Now I do, and I’m devoted.

Since I left the ashram, I have lived in Maine, Mexico and Minneapolis. This past year, I have seen the 4 corners of South America and am currently living in Bogotá, Colombia, teaching English and learning Spanish. My visa will soon expire, and I had been agonizing over what to do, where to go. Since this Master of Poetics idea dawned on me, I have been thoroughly energized and inspired. The effortless discipline I am experiencing while creating this application is evidence – the ever-sought confirmation – that this is precisely the path I've been preparing for myself. This preparation has again occurred without my conscious knowledge – but if I'd known what to do before now, I would have missed all the fun and adventure of discovery unfolding as I dance up the mountain!

There are many paths, but only one peak. I believe that ultimately, my path spirals toward some form of teaching. This TEFL venture is the latest in a pattern of tutorial roles that goes back to the 4th grade. This time, I have learned a level of self-sufficiency heretofore unknown; it has truly been a crash=course in adulthood. It has satisfied my nomadic instincts, and allowed me to establish a common humanity with people who carry karma far different from mine. I have become socially functional in Spanish, and have developed the unshakable confidence that I can harmoniously handle any situation I might encounter – in the classroom, calle, or otherwise. But while I enjoy the process of teaching, the TEFL world has grown rapidly dull. Recently, in an advanced class, we discussed Jorge Luis Borges, Paramahansa Yogananda, and one of my poems. My enthusiasm became contagious! I vastly prefer these topics to endless speculation over modal auxiliary verbs and prepositional phrases. This expedition has been an enormous blessing – however, I am ready for my next lesson. Above all, teaching has taught me that I am still a student, and always will be.

Having wandered long enough, I now know precisely where to go, and why. I am craving the opportunity to once again engage with a community of lively, thinking people. While I have met many amazing people in my travels, I have become disheartened by the lack of intention present in the general population. I thrived in the high-vibrations of the Ashram community, and I hope to find yet another group of intently focused individuals at Naropa. Employing all the tools of discernment in my developing toolbox, I sense a deep need for grounding, for a stronger sense of community, of home. I long to plant my feet firmly on the earth and grow roots that allow my more subtle selves to branch out endlessly.

Bogotá, despite its many charms, is not a place where this grounding is possible. It is a hectic, sprawling, heavily polluted city of nearly 10 million people, and it exhausts me on a number of levels. Therefore, outside the academic realm, the principle attraction of Naropa is its location. I know Boulder well, and I cannot wait to arrive and settle down. With such easy access to intense exploration, I will gladly carry my tent, sleeping bag, bicycle and skis with me. I believe the surrounding beauty feeds Boulder’s cozy, vibrant community, creating an ideal setting for the life I aspire to lead. I am overcome with giddy anticipation as I imagine the joyful potential future I am here attempting to manifest.

I must also mention the awe I felt in reading the brief biography of Professor Andrew Schelling. His list of publications and description of interests resonate in a powerfully familiar way. He seems to be doing (or has already done) everything I hope to do! For example, “the ’conjunction of wilderness expertise’ with homegrown radical politics and an immersion in Asian literatures” is a strangely precise summary of what I hope to work towards over the next 2 years.

Having mentioned this hypothetical future, allow me to describe what I have in mind. After 8 months away, I will arrive home in Minneapolis on the 25th of September, 2010. I will then drive to Grass Valley, where I will spend October as support staff for the Teacher’s Training Course at the Yoga Farm. As soon as I can separate myself from the magnetism of the Ashram, I will move toward Boulder, in order to be comfortably acclimated in time for the start of the Spring 2011 semester.

Having completed the degree requirements in December of 2012, becoming well versed in Sanskrit along the way (maybe Hindi, too?), I eagerly anticipate an extended journey into India to further my studies. Swami Guruprasad has enthusiastically invited me to visit the Sivananda Ashram in Kerala, and I fully intend to take him up on this generous offer – when the time is ripe. I feel I must first seek further orientation in my higher purpose, so that I might travel beyond mere sightseeing. I have seen enough of the world to know beyond a doubt that what I am truly seeking is not found without, only within. All I need now is a supportive place to sit, to study and to write, a situation where diverse seekers gather for satsang. Is not Naropa ideally conducive to these simple aspirations?

In conclusion, I humbly request this assistance on my journey. In my mind’s eye there exists the potential for a wonderfully fruitful relationship between the Naropa community and myself. I intend to be a student-teacher for many years to come, and I would be both incredibly proud and profoundly grateful to continue in pursuit of my highest dharma as a contributing member of the Naropa community.


Supplemental (Self-Indulgent) Essay

It seems paradoxical that my primary inspiration to write stems from the very impossibility of the poetic attempt. Impossible because language can only ever point towards its subject, because words, like all symbols, are forever one step removed from the reality they aspire to portray. I think of a cairn: the cairn describes a path, but is not the path itself. A poem – simple ink upon paper – can never truly reproduce the experience from which it springs. Therefore, the poet’s best hope is to use the available word-stones to craft a small tower, marking the way towards a new experience. The Word, as way-shower, has illimitable powers of ever-fresh creation. This, then, is the worthy, worldly task at which I joyously toil.

Wisdom traditions around the world recognize the powerful influence of the Word. It has the ability to incite revolutions or invite needed rain, depending upon the vibratory harmonics of the chosen phoneme sequence. The Bible tells us that, “In the beginning there was the Word…” (John 1:1). In Christian traditions that word is ‘Amen’, while the ancient rishi’s of India pronounced it ‘Aum’. In both cases, it is understood to be the basic vibrational framework upon which physical existence is constructed. From Hindu kirtan, to Gregorian chanting, to numerous Native American ceremonies, employing sound to produce profound effects on one’s self and surrounding environment is a pervasive human practice. With this in mind, I constantly strive to find a symbiotic balance between sound and meaning in my work; and in this pursuit, two books have particularly influenced me: “conVERSations”, by Kamau Braithwaite, and “Skywriting by Word of Mouth”, by John Lennon.

Lennon first shocked my literary paradigms sometime during sophomore year, with his linguistic contortionism and irreverence for linearity. He lets words wash over one another, making meanings overlap, allowing what is written and how it sounds to exist in productive tension. Most writers seek to fix meaning; Lennon intentionally sets his signifiers afloat. At the time, I was just starting to see language as a multi-dimensional phenomenon. Lennon’s light-hearted – yet deadly serious – literary manipulations, helped me welcome into my writing a divine wildness of word-choice and purposeful abstraction of structure. My first attempts to incorporate Lennon’s influence were overzealous, but over time I have assimilated ‘skywriting’ so that its strange playfulness echoes throughout my work. This is a process.

The tension between what is written, how it sounds, and what it means, finds ultimate expression in the work of Kamau Braithwaite. He puts his vast theoretical work into practice in the book, “conVERSations” (although I hesitate to call it a book, due to its radical multi-textuality). Using his ‘video-style’, Braithwaite transcribes a 1993 conversation with Nathaniel Mackay (including audience participation), supplements it with textual elaborations, then intersperses sonic poems written in what he calls ‘nation language’, while running footnotes create a counter-narrative, challenging the privileged, ‘primary’ text. These different narrative strains are identified through varying font style and size, choices so dynamic that the result refuses categorization as mere literature – thus, ‘video’.

Braithwaite’s poems demand to be read aloud. This is the secret to deciphering their meaning, because the written words are slashed and cut short, carefully distorted to form a hybrid poetics that aims to establish an authentic literary experience where none was previously recognized. For Brathwaite, ‘nation language’ represents the merging of oral folk traditions from the Caribbean with those imported from Africa, under the structural umbrella of the colonially imposed Spanish and English. This alchemy of forms and influences is startling, and expands the limits of what I previously imagined a book could do. Braithwaite, therefore, provides a useful blueprint for how to successfully inter-textualize my diverse interests, which span, in brief, from quantum physics, to the Mayan calendars, to geo- and exo-politics, to shamanism and Sufism, to viticulture and gastronomy, and of course, to semiotics and linguistics.

In my own writing, I seek to combine the organic imagery made available by abstract, right-brain inspiration, with my hyper-intellectual, linear left-brain tendencies, to create a unique style that speaks to both the heart and mind of the reader. I hope to create poetry that is pleasing to the eye and ear, intuitively soothing and inspiring for the soul, while also able to entertain the analytical, academic brain. I want to perform mystical poems in front of a raucous crowd, while simultaneously submitting them for literary deconstruction.

Technically, I imagine most of my poems will be considered free verse, but they are all highly organized. For example, the prose poem “Final Relaxation” consists of 12 stanzas, representing the 12 basic postures in a Sivananda-style asana session (the final pose of which provoked the poem). Each stanza has 7 lines, to honor the 7 occult energy centers located in our spinal cortex. This specific asana practice, developed by Swami Vishnu-Devananda, is intended to progressively harmonize and awaken the chakras; the poem is intended to echo this process in print.

In addition to poetry, I have experience with journalism, short fiction and creative non-fiction. I was a staff music writer for the Arts section of the The George Washington University Hatchet for three years, and what began as a travel-blog at the beginning of 2010 has evolved into a patchwork narrative of how I survive since I left home. Blogging is the no-mans land of genres; most of my posts are short, disposable, creative non-fiction that sometimes rhymes. Yet there is something deeply appealing about this synthesis of forms. It is an alchemical process of expression, ideally melding the base metals of poetry and prose to create spontaneous literary art otherwise unachievable.

In this way, Jorge Luis Borges has exercised tremendous influence over my thinking. His concise vignettes are like tiny doors that open into vast realms. Borges’ artful sketches are like poetry, in that every word is crucial, yet they take the form of short fiction. They are considered fiction, despite the profound truths they point towards. I am attracted to Borges, not only by his mysterious, metaphysical themes, but by the ambition of his true literary aim, which he states quite explicitly in his poem, The Moon, describing a time when, “a man / Conceived the unconscionable plan / / Of making an abridgement of the universe / In a single book”. This ‘abridgement’ is a constantly recurring theme in Borges’ work. In addition to labyrinths and mirrors, Borges is obsessed with the concept of a one-word poem that contains the entire universe. In The Parable of the Palace, the poet is beheaded for theft after uttering his brief composition, because its raw power swallowed the vast palace in its entirety. Borges claims, “the text has been lost,” but he is clearly describing the Word, ‘Aum’.

Before I conclude, I must also mention my brief experience in bookmaking. My lovely parents run Photobook Press in Minneapolis, creating beautiful, custom books. For Christmas 2008, I gathered some high-quality scraps and hand-made 17 chapbooks, each with a unique cover, as gifts. The collection, entitled “Ear Sum Pomes”, begins with A Vesper Sotto Vocce and ends with a Morning Song. The content in between theoretically describes one wild night of the mind.

In my life, as in my writing, I pursue dynamic synthesis, whether with the spices in an Ayurvedic recipe, or by linking ancient wisdom traditions with modern science, or Sancho Panza with Arjuna, or Spanish with Sanskrit. In my experience, the “Aha!” moment that readers and writers crave is most often established through these unexpected connections. I seek to reveal the underlying unity of seemingly disparate topics, to create a many-varied voice that emanates from One Source, with characters arising and falling (like in life) across prose, poem, and the occasional diagram or drawing, so that the reader may access an experience yet unimagined. In his essay, The Poet, Ralph Waldo Emerson describes how he, “has a whole new experience to unfold; he will tell us how it was with him, and all men will be the richer in his fortune. For, the experience of each new age requires a new confession, and the world seems always waiting for its poet.” Here in this New Age, I offer my confession.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Deviotional Poetry of the New-style


Today was given a vision of the archetypal Tiger.
I spent two years at two different high schools and both flew
the black-and-white flag of the Tigers. The morning of my birth arose
in the Chinese Year of the Tiger. That was exactly two zodiac cycles ago;

now on this eve of a New Cancer Moon, Tigers flash into focus
on the blackboard of my forehead, a Tiger struts past, looking left to flash
His awesome jaws, just to show me how His startling stripes create impossibly
stark contrast against His bone-white Tiger teeth.

This animal in my mind, how may I tame him?
True my Tiger is tranquil now but don’t be mesmerized:
He will lull you to sleep and eat you.

Such self-consumption certainly sounds unpleasant: destruction from within,
mauled and digested, left for dead, a fresh carcass to feed the lucky scavenger,
and by what? What force of will outside my own instigates this graphic tragedy?

“None. Free will alone accounts for how experience unfolds,” Tiger whispers.
Now: I hereby choose to alter course in that finest moment of choice, moving to embrace the beautiful fiend who pursues me, feel him purr, make him family.


Your Name

As soon as you gave it, it was gone and all that remains
in my mind is your eyes and in my heart is your glorious aura; aching,
our colors seem made to match exactly, which is maybe why
I need no measure of time to be sufficiently inspired to invite
You into my life right now, or forever.


Broken Story of a Voice

…and s/he spoke of immaculate conception,
redefining the term ‘conception’ through its root: concept,
or thought, thinking, I imagined, that were our
intentions made immaculate, we might find new life in the Christ,
be reborn for a loving Virgin Mother, the Divine Feminine
energy finding harmony with the Father’s strength and mercy,
His fierce pursuit of Truth tempered by Her patient Grace, so pure…

…but that this serpent lay at the base of the tree of knowledge, spiraling up to look Eve in the Eye - speaks of our spine, and the divine, spinning energy centers snaking up our trunk…

…and how the Star of David explains these principles perfectly, even more so when you include the swastika in the center, to represent the eternal cycles operating within the perfect balance of Wisdom, which allows the many to know themselves as One, and Compassion, bestowing Heaven on Earth, abundance, ‘as above, so below’…

…but to be no longer ruled by psychopathic patriarchs, not to be led by empty humanoid vessels bent on spreading Fear, clones with zero sense of compassion or consciousness other than getting their jollies off seeing the perceived plebeians suffer; how still we must trust in the ultimate efficacy of karmic Justice, knowing our only role is to continue offering forgiveness, for truly, they know not what they do…

…and those forces we might label Evil are in fact catalysts, crucial characters in the 3-D drama of Our awakening. They are the ready manifestations of the deepest, darkest unacknowledged aspects of our collective Self. We require their instructive influence at this time...

…but nightmares are so exciting! A fresh opportunity to turn and confront the demon pursuing you. And if you do, lovingly acknowledge this former source of Fear, do you realize how much celestial Love explodes out of that interaction? The Law of One states (Ra, Book 4, Session #83)…

“… that by far the most vivid and even extravagant opportunities for the piercing of the veil are a result of the interaction between polarized entities…”

…and this is why, as we continue toppling toward a tipping point of positive intention, our collective closet is being emptied of skeletal shadows, and the Powers-that-Be are becoming the Powers-that-Were but first they are going to throw everything they have at us. Like children. There is nothing hidden…

…but don’t misinterpret the Word. Apocalypse only means ‘revealing’ - granted, on the grandest scale. So say goodbye to your ghosts, and get ready to focus on divinely aligned co-creation, inviting the Light of the Father to help us honor the body of our Earth Mother, with us standing in-between as equals…

…and from where I sat s/he showed me a blue diamond planet, no longer
reflecting the light of its local star but giving out a supernal glow of its own,
illuminating its neighborhood in space, a supreme paradise, built by and for
its Light-bodied occupants…

…and in this way I was made to Awaken, newborn, to bear witness
to this Self-created state of affairs, where when I walk
the Path spontaneously arises underfoot, and if I stumble
over a stone or clandestine ditch I know Just who to talk to…

Monday, August 2, 2010

Early Poems of the New-Style

Primarily for the benefit of my Mother. These can also be found as Notes on my Facebook page.


Pimples are appearing like spinal notches
down the front of my body. It started
on my forehead. "Funny," I thought
"that is where my Third Eye would be."

Next it was my nose, like Rudolph on the peak
of Everest, standing on his tippy-toes, reaching
up just one more desperate little milimeter,
simply because he was born to light up the night.

My lip is split. A dehydrated slice sits precisely
in the center of the quasi-symmetric curls of flesh
which represent my bottom lip. Flesh most vicious
every morning when it had almost healed.

Shaving today for the first time in too long,
I nicked the newest one. It began to bleed,
red as that original apple for which this lump,
forever caught in my throat, was named.

I suspect my chest must come next.
Welcome! My heart is wide open.
Further down I'll omit for now, seeing how
that's just nothing for public consumption.

One day I will lay naked.
Nothing I can do then.
As it is, was and will be.
I am clothed for now in flesh by highest consent.


Rant 7 June 2010

How often do we exercise the true mythic form of Freedom?
Must we be so ever fervent, this incessantly faithful to the easy lure of party lines,
assuming some expected trust, obviously now already unearned
based upon the endless litany of false-flag attacks and desperate subversion tactics
to which the population at large has been subjected, agreed to, once upon time,
while demonstrating how scary forced evacuation in the Southlands is or will be,
and how interminable internment camps become, and quickly.

Somehow I never remember offering any sort of submission,
be it to a law well-known to be innately unnatural, nor
to assist in the completion of bureaucratic quota sheets
which support a system designed to promote clones destined
to achieve that status so often sought though only ever offered
to Officials who are (who?) willing to haul all such stinky bait with them
when they go, and go they will, to become lost on assignment,
stumbling blind and deep into the darkness where all incarnate
fish swim and feed, learn to fight, sleep and wake up in time to die.
Like true legends. So who then next will bite said tempting hook?

Okay what, so try Freaking Out today just to see what happens, and then or
ask those folks just home from detainment in G-20 Toronto, not forgotten, if it was fun,
or not.


An Imagined Apprenticeship

For tutor I choose sea turtle (not Nemo)
so as to learn to surf star-gate currents
zooming just under the surface
of Earth's oceans, those veins of the Divine
floating close to Light-speed, even past it,
no matter.

I'd spend my nights writing (like now)
propping my spine upon the chiropractically-magical
curve of his or her tremendous shell:
the type of exo-skeleton which one day might
sit atop the skull of Earth's one true beholder,
becoming the new crown of Atlas.

Watching whorls of star-coral unfold
amid triple-helix spirals busy
sprouting bouquets above below
around and within us, we slide
across the uncreated floors and shelves
of the cosmic undersea scaffolding.

Having turned through an obscurely curving corridor,
fraught with lost fish lingering in caves
laden with temptation, we emerge from that
shadowy canyon and plunge past the precipice,
flying like cartoon Coyote, only we know not
to look down or allow doubt.

This is how we stay weightless.
Trust us, it's safer that way.


The Earth Will Not Explode (Giving Birth)

And there: did you sense that subtle boom?
that muffled rush of stardust, a newborn unformed,
contemplating which shape to take?
Awake within the womb, so warm, and then what?

Lava playfully pushed into this ocean of existence to see how plain
dark and freezing it is, so full of resistance, and insistence
on confusion and fear it is at these heavy depths; so hot we streak
toward the surface in as direct a path as possible,

-- though some aberration is expected,
and, naturally, patches of atoms will tend East or West --
seeking to explore those sacred spaces,
places less dense and more rife with light,

impelled up by not-knowing-any-better,
yet all the same, always weighed down by a pervasive blur,
this fresh molten starflesh, formerly amorphous, stiffens and stops,
still not shallow enough and now growing slowly dead

of separation, having ventured too distant from our core source,
but clearly not yet near enough our local star,
and so caught in-between becomes this infinite range of
statuesque spires, seeming almost moldy through the gloom

though this deep down we know what brittle fossils we've become,
inevitably destined to erode when the oceans overflow
then drain, there abandoning all evidence of man's random art
to wither in the heart of the wind, under the breath of death's sun,

with plans to be reborn inside the final sunrise
witnessed by our shrouded eyes on the blessed being Earth.
Tired of being blind inside a storm of time distortion,
we temporarily chose to be toads so we could watch the earth explode

into life! Finally! enough groundswell has gathered
and our galactic island triad is all set to surface
into the sea of Spirit, a crystal child born warm,
blinking open in the Dawn of crazy new age fame.

Terra, is her name.


PS Hey Mom, cut my hair today. Here look:

Friday, July 23, 2010

Scenes, as Seen through Colectivo Windows

A dog. This beautiful brown lab, standing alert in a deserted gas station. She is holding an empty Coca-Cola bottle clamped in her jaws. It sticks straight out sideways from her mouth. Her searching eyes watch the other dogs, the passing traffic. Entirely earnest. Claiming that corner, that Coke bottle. Because she can. Like: This Is Mine Now.

Two twelve-or-so year-old kids, niños with backpacks on, in a foot race for the fun of it. In the middle of the street. Again, because they could.

Beautiful women. I try to act normal about it but they're everywhere.

Former world-number-one DJ Paul van Dyk is hosting a dance party here on the 13th of August. There are posters plastered all over the city, encircling every telephone pole and covering every graffiti-free wall. It is advertised as a 'black party', which, I assume, means all attendees are encouraged (required?) to wear black clothing. Mr van Dyk must have a lot of black lights. Anyway, I saw one poster (only one, out of thousands) that took the advertising intensity to a new level, openly proclaiming that "Once you go black, you'll never go back". And I understand the point they are driving at here, but where I'm from, that phrase suggests rather something else. Something else entirely.
Furthermore, having seen Paul van Dyk in Buenos Aires at the start of March, I here publicly attest to my continuing ability to 'go back' to the more interesting music to which I have become accustomed.

(There is a great one here. Now missing, mis-filed in my memory. Somewhere, some one remembers. I'll send an intern to go rummaging through the dusty filing cabinets in the basement of my brain. Funny how yesterdays files find their way into ancient drawers to co-mingle with age-old reportings.)

Large and small, all sizes; from dark to caramel, the odd vanilla or exotic strawberry, there is an embarrassing overabundance of beautiful women in this country.

I pass by the EcoPetrol sign up la Septima several times per week, sometimes twice a day. It has a big smiling, plastic green lizard sitting on top, with its tail stabbing through the O in Eco. No shit. "EcoPetrol" is an oxymoron so obvious, I can only hope and imagine that the Namer often reflects and laughs at the slyly self-depricating self-awareness of it, the blatant linguistic tricksterdom involved, the contradictions encoded to the degree that this idiocy passes for advertising, a sophisticated marketing scheme, somehow acceptable precisely because it is so damn bold, so bald.

Blockbuster video still exists. I've seen it; it's true.

Way out Calle 26, otherwise known as Avenida El Dorado, near Carrera 66, a man was sleeping on the sidewalk. His upturned head was tucked into the cement corner of a storefront, but his body was entirely exposed to the morning sun. It was almost 9 am. To be honest, this did not strike me as immediately unusual. The bus driver touched the brakes as we passed. I continued watching the window. Then I noticed an aberration in the sleeping mans jeans, just below his belt. Well, obviously, his half-erect penis was protruding, propped up through his unzipped fly. Of course it was; why wouldn't it be? I've since rationalized, accepting my suggestion that maybe it was a prank, a realistic fake. But wishful thinking rarely leads to stable logic, far from any form of truth.


There will be more where these come from.

Dinner at Chez Daveed

We've been cooking.

Over the last two weeks, Patricio and I have enjoyed delicious home-made dinners at least 5 times. One time, Diana came over and put her chef-school skills to work to create a feast of veggie curry, complete with mango and crushed cardamom seeds; there was such depth and complexity to the dish that I was able to finish off the copious leftovers in little more than a day and a half. Unfortunately, there are no pictures of this deliciousness.

These pictures are of a more humble meal I created. So we have kitcharee (read: Indian)-style rice and beans, spiced w curry, ginger, cumin, some aji picante and a base of ghee. Then we have our veggies, sautéed in oil and garlic: fresh red and green peppers, carrots, and onion. Then we boiled the baby potatoes until they were super-soft and mushy to be a vehicle for the soupy beans, contrasting the crunch of sizzling vegetables.

Vegetarian, well-rounded, and scrumptious. Hot sauce always helps, as does the salt and beer pictured. The other thing about this meal, is that my big Budweiser cost more than everything else together. All the veggies and potatoes were something like 2,800 COP, which is $1.50 US. Beautiful.

I believe Patricio had jugo de mola in his cup.


Feeling damn-near civilized, I tell ya whut.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

For What It's Worth

So today I had that classic, tragic song by Buffalo Springfield in my head all day.

"There's something happening here,
what it is, ain't exactly clear.
There's a man with a gun over there,
telling me, I got to beware.

Stop! Children, what's that sound?
Everybody look what's goin' down!"

Now lemme tell you, "that shit was goin' down" (Uncle Dick) tonight in downtown Bogota. Independence day stampedes, pickpockets and smoke bombs rumored to have been built by rebellious students punctuated an otherwise tame evening.

Tuesday, July 20th, 2010 marked the 200th anniversary of Colombia's independence from Spain. This accomplishment is largely credited to General Simon Bolivar. He was at various times, and often simultaneously, President of Venezuela, Colombia, Bolivia and Peru. The main square in Bogotá, as well as innumerable other cities and towns throughout Latin America, is of course, Plaza de Simon Bolivar. Bogotá's edition is surrounded by the principle halls of court and government, truly grand and gallant structures, as well as the most imposing cathedral in the city.

The plaza was thus the place to be for the bicentennial celebration, the prime location to watch the fireworks.

It was a dry night, and clear. We'd heard they would close the gates at 7, but the surrounding streets were already so packed that we quickly knew we would not make it to the square. I was with my Argentinian amigo Patricio, and a mixed group of gringo's from Hostel Sue: Australians, English, American, I think that's it. Lina, who is our loyal local, and manages the front desk at the hostel, was originally with the group as well.

There was a wall of police enforcing a boundary, because the area around Plaza de Simon Bolivar is only so big. As a group, we crawled our way slowly forward through the crowd. It became steadily more packed. At some point, we stopped at an intersection. The gibbous, Scorpio moon was overhead, above the mountains in the Eastern sky. Jupiter was huge, shining over the city, further to the South and West.

There was a crush, as streams of people crossed in opposite directions. A middle-aged white-man passed us, obviously on his way home, with his girlfriend carefully clutched behind him. He said "if there's a stampede... watch out."

Two minutes later the air was tinged with a palpable panic, and I believe I then placed my left arm straight up in the air in order to lead the retreat. "Disculpa, disculpa. Perdon." We'd slithered 20 m back up 6th when the first bomb sounded. I heard it, and turned to see a small-tree-sized plume of white smoke.

The second explosion, moments later, did not appear to produce any smoke.

At first I figured it was a failed firework. The second opinion offered was tear-gas, intended to disperse the crowd. At last, Lina explained her smoke-bombing student hypothesis. Their precise motivation remains vague.

Patricio had his wallet nicked from under his poncho; I had 23,000 pesos pulled from a zipped pocket. Impressive, really.

Boom! Instant forgiveness in action! I say: Thank you sir, brother angel, for providing me the opportunity to practice!

Anyway, then we went home. Enough intensity for us. Several groups made their way back separately. Patricio, two Aussie lasses and I scurried back first, and had beers in hand before the next crew arrived, followed eventually by the last two girls, who had walked ahead of the group from the very start. Right back where we began, we sat in the Sue courtyard and listened to the fireworks.

I wish I had pictures. I'm glad I didn't bring my camera.