Friday, April 30, 2021

Regarding The Poems

 Thank you for looking at the poems!

A quick note.  I often edit a piece quite a bit after it goes up.  The more-or-less final version, the one that settles in, arrives after a few days of the initial posting.  (It's almost fair to say that a true 'final version' is like the Holy Grail and not likely to ever materialize). 

Admittedly, this is a feeble strategy.  I use it simply because it gets me to edit faster and more attentively than if the poems were merely tucked away in a folder.

The big downside is that readers who visit right after a work goes up are often met with a less-than-stellar version.  For this I apologize.  Again, my only excuse, albeit feeble, is the quirkiness of my own craft.

If you have comments or suggestions, or potential topics you'd like to see, you can email me:

owlwholaughs@gmail.com

Fly Well in the Dark,

OWL



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Thursday, April 29, 2021

Poem: Fall To Winter

 

Fall To Winter

 

scholar profuse of stylus,

scratching wisdom in wind.

clouds scroll by, tablets of shade.

their renaissances baffle your earnest searchings.

you crave more, new poetry,

green and steadfast, arrogant and busy,

stuffing lessons into your old, rigorous coat.

 

in winter you pray, forelimbs to the ground,

arthritic, fingers translucent,

crown stark as no nimbus.

you hunch under ice far too smooth

for wood or skin, but still hum,

 

hum still,

 

inside this exoskeleton of celsius,

offering mobiles of small, icy gazes,

silver and bright, stoic yet gawking

at the moodiness of snow,

and the way that stones,

breaking through, cemeterial,

maintain their deathless grins.




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Saturday, April 24, 2021

Interview With An Author

 

Interview With An Author

 

I:  Thank you for coming here today.


A:  It’s a big deal for me, thank you.

 

I:  You do seem to prefer to stay out of the limelight.  Does that create a tension with your fame?

 

A:  It does.  But … I get overstimulated around people, too much dopamine.  I live a lot in my own head.  Hence the worlds I’ve created.  … Plus, it’s painful.

 

I: Painful?  You mean going out in public?

 

A:  Yes.

 

I:  How’s that?

 

A:  There’s so much potential for flourishing and happiness in humanity.  But parasitic power structures shut the potential down.  I see it more, whenever I go out.

 

I: That sounds like Invasion of the Body Snatchers!  Can you give an example of that.

 

A:  Well, I don’t want to get too specific, as I’ll get attacked.  But we’re talking social control mechanisms.  … You know, as in ‘the future of an illusion’.

 

I:  Religion? 

 

A:  That’s one example.  Though of course religion and spirituality can be wonderful and healthy.  The parasitic control mechanisms are part of every institution, the very fabric of society.

 

I: This is an existential issue, then?  People being shallow and conformist, sleepwalking through their lives?  Or living in quiet desperation?

 

A:  That’s seems right.  But existentialists are often part of the problem.  Nietzsche’s misogyny is one case.  

 

I:  But Simone de Beauvoir wrote the Second Sex.

 

A:  Yes, she succeeds in challenging the social programs in our heads.  Also, W.E.B Du Bois.  He addressed racism, and related states of mind, such as his theory of “double consciousness.” 

 

I:  So racial and gender injustice are a big part of this parasitic power structure.

 

A:  Racism, sexism, and other forms of oppression are all around us, in ads, shows, bureaucracies.  They dwell in our own behavior.

 

I:  Is this conscious?

 

A:  Not often.  If it is, it’s horrible, of course.  But unintended bias can be just as bad.  So-called soft racism.

 

I:  And oppression helps those in power stay in power.

 

A:  The powerful make the oppressed groups a scapegoat.  That way they evade accountability.  And build a loyal following of the privileged group. 

 

I:  White privilege.

 

A:  Absolutely.

 

I:  So, when you go out in public and see--

 

A:  Look, it’s not just oppression that I’m talking about.  Say you have 1000 people who start out as equals, on a level playing field.  Now, some small percentage of them are going to realize that they can control the rest through manipulation, using fear to circumvent common sense and logic.  This small percent is also driven by their own fear and insecurity.  A need for approval, greed, domination, that sort of thing.

 

I:  Wow, and so that results in?

 

A:  The kind of parasitic power structures I mentioned above.  Fear controls people’s behavior and makes them serve unhealthy, greedy leaders.  When you are broken this way, well, you are harnessed, you are used by the parasite.  The vampire feeds.  It affects your entire psyche.

 

I:  Donald Trump is clearly on your mind.

 

A:  Yes, and isn’t it sad to go out in public and see--to just see it--right there.  The effects.  The rulership of fear.  The victory of conspiratorial anti-logic.

 

I:  But we also--

 

A:  Look at Xi in China, Modi in India, Putin in Russia, Duterte in the Philippines, Bolsonaro in Brazil, Chavez in Venezuela … in fact most of the world is controlled by fear-mongers.  And so it has been since the beginning of civilization.

 

I: That far really?

 

A:  How old is patriarchy?  It’s hard to even comprehend the crushed potentials of so many thousands of years, during which women were silenced and treated as property. 

 

I:  It is hard to fathom, but it is so true. 

 

A:  Fear tends to win.  It has won.  We humans have never lived in a civilization where fear wasn’t the dominant control principle.  We need to realize this.  The deck is stacked toward fear winning.  A change would be truly revolutionary.

 

I:  So, what is the solution?  Is there a way out?

 

A:  The solution … actually there has been progress since, say, the 18th century.  A combination of science and prosperity has led to enlightenment.  Major movements.  Still, we’re stuck in a catch-22.

 

I:  How so?

 

A:  Because people are more psychological than rational--

 

I:  And so get manipulated by propaganda.

 

A:  Propaganda, demagoguery, false advertising, and when necessary, enforcement by police action.  A citizen’s mind suffers a multifaceted control system.  Bureaucracies, religion, entertainment, everyday rituals, they all play a part in harnessing people for control.  Feminists have always known this.  They talk about consciousness-raising.

 

I:  Like what "woke" means for Black Lives Matter?

 

A:  I don’t want to speak for BLM, but I assume it is similar.  Realizing, well, that you’re in something like The Matrix.  Or Pleasantville.  Everyone is programmed to believe obvious lies.

 

I:  Obvious lies?

 

A:  Not only obvious, but you have to force yourself to believe them, or pretend to believe them extremely well.  It’s a loyalty test, this fawning subservience.  It breaks the soul and harnesses it to the dictator.

 

I:  And the solution is?

 

A:  In some countries, the brainwashing has been too successful and complete.  North Korean citizens cannot get free of the parasitic bond, I'd say, not without external help.  


I:  Why?


A:  Punishment is swift, efficient and vicious.  Sometimes the whole family of the offender is imprisoned.  Also, strict, efficacious regimentation ensures that most will internalize worship of the dictator.

 

I:  Surveillance technology is getting stronger, allowing Orwellian monitoring and loyalty scores.  This is what is going on in China.

 

A:  Yes. 

 

I:  And what about here, in the USA?

 

A:  First, realize this:  Trump almost succeeded in becoming a dictator.  He turned a large bloc of mostly White voters into a cult following.  He conned them into believing that everyone else is out to get them.  It’s the ancient strategy.  Fear wins out. 

 

I:  This is a dangerous time.

 

A:  Absolutely.  Those with ears to hear, listen:  democracy faces an historic threat.  If the USA falls to tyranny, the world is locked in a doom-spiral. 

 

I:  How so?

 

A:  When fear wins, it leads to war.  And the next large-scale war will be nuclear.  The USA has thousands of nukes.

 

I:  Okay, so, how does this end?

 

A:  Most likely badly.  And not because we don’t have great potential to live with open minds in wonderful, happy societies.  It’s not in our nature to go to war.  This is about the 1000 people scenario I mentioned.

 

I:  Where a few realize they can control the others.

 

A:  Yes, that is the way it happens.  A few people use fear to subvert the reasoning process and monopolize power. 

 

I:  It’s a con job.

 

A:  Yes, one that uses an exploit in the human psyche.  And the way out is pretty simple.  Just be able to recognize the con.  Realize that we are all better off if we work together.  That being motivated by fear and greed is not the best we can do.  We can be motivated by something higher, the Good. 

 

I:  Aren’t we motivated to do Good already?

 

A:  Yes, but that motivation is co-opted by the larger system of parasitic control.  For instance, Trump’s cultish followers think he is God's agent, when in fact he is conning them and fanning their racism.

 

I:  How does this relate to gaslighting? 

 

A:  Gaslighting has always been around.  Constructed realities that not only defy logic and empirical verification, but are immune to them. 

 

I:  Whoever controls Q controls the Q-anon crowd. 

 

A:  Right.  Or Q gives power to Trump, by declaring him to be a messianic savior.

 

I:  And the only way to be a climber in the power structure is to support the gas-lighter’s reality.

 

A:  Yes.  The climbers fawn all over and worship an Emperor who wears no clothes.

 

I:  While praising the clothes as the finest they've ever seen.  So, you said there is a catch-22?

 

A:  Well, education is the inoculant.  You know, critical thinking skills, science, emotional competence techniques.  Healthy ways to evaluate and work with our passions.  

 

I:  We don’t get taught these? 

 

A:  In college, maybe.  If you choose certain majors.  But the parasitic power structure doesn’t want wise citizens.  It wants insecure, vulnerable, ignorant citizens.

 

I:  So education is the way out--and yet few people get educated, at least not the right way.

 

A:  Correct.  In a nutshell:  to defeat the parasitic structure, you need education, but the parasitic structure controls the institutions of education.   A catch-22.

 

I:  What about people like Greta Thunberg or Noam Chomsky?  They challenge the power structures and have a large audience.

 

A:  Thunberg is a threat to the parasitic system, given our shifting times. But she, like Chomsky, is mostly drowned out by other more conformist messages, conveyed through mass media.   

 

I:  But it could get better? 

 

A:  Maybe.  The old ways are being seriously challenged.  Gay marriage is now legal.  Who would have thought that, ten years ago? 

 

I: There’s talk of a Universal Basic Income, which is like Social Security, except for everyone.

 

A:  Imagine a world with UBI, where robots do most of the work.  Humans could live meaningful lives, with dignity, instead of being stressed out all the time.  We could work on achieving our potentials, instead of working to make someone else rich, while we barely get by.

 

I: That’s a possible world?

 

A:  It’s clearly possible. And we can overcome fear-based ignorance.  No one today challenges a women’s right to vote.  Just one hundred years ago, it was still an anathema to a big chunk of the US population.

 

I:  Changes in culture show how we can change.

 

A:  How adaptable we are.   Prejudice and war are not foreordained.  We can steer culture, instead of it steering us.  


I:  It is an amazing time.


A:  As I see it, the future of humanity can be heaven, a UBI and eudaimonia, which is total flourishing.  Or it can be a totalitarian hell with loyalty scores and genocide, as we’re seeing with the Uighurs in China.


I:  What is the deciding factor, do you think?  


A:  Younger generations, maybe.  If they get the time, but ... 


I:  But?


A:  It could all end at any moment.  Civilization gone, just like that.


I:  We shouldn't give up, though.


A:  Never.  But ...  It’s just so sad that many people are still living in cardboard boxes, or literally must break rocks with hammers to earn enough money to pay for their next meal.   There’s so much that is …. so sad.  And I am quite tired of facing the ignorance.  It's all around.  Right outside my door.  The programmatic parasitic power structures ... the fear and hate ...  I … I'm just a thinker.  A puny, flawed one.  A copy of the weakest caricature of a prophet ... not even close to a Moses ... and he didn't even get to ...  

 

[At this point the Author requested a break and did not return to finish the interview]



=======================

Thursday, April 22, 2021

Poem: Red Light

 

Red Light

 

caught eye, night’s degenerate ring, 

stalking above the undercarriages of dirty thoughts.

do you see the worms stranded on the street by rain?

the nightcrawlers that could have been lips?

in the vodkas of passenger seats,

the lipstick smeared jugular tantrums,

the necking, the sucking sex,

 

you see it,

 

the kind of street drug 

that tears the shell off the crab in the hiding heart;

pulls its claws off as if removing splinters.

you see it, the intersection

of satin on denim, crotches obvious.

the seduced, the lust-bitten,

pretending under daily masks

to be acting now as well.

 

you hear the asphalt-burnt groans,

boiling up off the urban griddle,

to die at last as last sighs. 

they wave farewell, crooked fingers

clung to warped floorboards,

 

and

 

those gutted prom roses on wilted chests,

and the sadness of teenage char.

there, half alive, for just a moment, is death itself,

there, the outline of a skull,

pressing up under once-happy ovals,

bursting at the failed expression, breaking through,

testing the lie.





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Sunday, April 18, 2021

Poem: Boulder Hit By Waves

 

Boulder Hit By Waves

 

terra firma pilloried,

the condemned prone,

 

talons of water

worry its bared gut,

 

vultures of froth misting, a hover,

to devour slow.

 

so white their beaks

above the altar of basalt,

 

fate ensures the audience knows--

that Great Harm,

 

to invoke fire to forge rock,

 

to found a world

of crawling, walking, hungry blood.

 

Creation diverted

from ease and cloud,

 

chained to volcanoes.



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A poem of catharsis.  Not meant in resignation, but rather in resistance to injustice.

Friday, April 9, 2021

Poem: Pale Rain


Pale Rain

 

they wait like skulls

for liquid flesh, 

but the pale rain offers only 

a faint hope.

 

when lean droplets

scatter over their layers,

it seems they weep sparkles;

it seems, though impossible,

that they are glad to cry.

 

to weep is to live,

especially in a trench

that gnawed away purpose,

leaving only outcasts,

and heavy specters.

 

to weep is to live,

especially for worn out stones,

impaled on the fork of a gulch,

morsels for the desert.

 

================================

Thursday, April 1, 2021

Poem: One Soul

One Soul

 

yesteryear

not so climactic after all,

romps of drama on the ropes,

masks over a stubborn gallows

waiting, waiting, always waiting in the wings

as you parade

through all kinds of fantastical plays,

such prescribed mazes with cued lines.

 

and when you look back you see

plywood walls of fairy castles--

what can never be again,

no matter who you are supposed to be now.

 

all of it dancing along, singing,

through the hardships and joys,

near dooms sticky and brutal,

near monsters slayless and hungry.

 

always so close

and yet somehow, here comes love, yet again,

and so you dive again and again,

for the danger and the joy,

the honor, the wept kiss.

 

you do it because you’ve done this escape before.

even though it all ended forever--before.

 

you’ve seen the face of death.

so so so so so so so so so many ways.

 

all the games, though, and the laughs

and the lack-of-boredom and tears

they circle in the roundabouts,

and yes it’s always about that stage, 

turning, turning, till you’ve had so much,

and now you’re finally ready to leave.

 

finally.

 

that finale.

the inexpressible, the inescapable.

the burning of the script.

the act to end all acts, finally,

for the very first time.




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