Monday, December 19, 2011

Sap Mgmt.

Just to let you know I’ll be in for the next six months. You see the days need a bit of order. It’s what I will be doing in the vines. Cutting back the old growth. Pruning. It’s all about sap management.

It’s what I’ll be doing too. In Plaissan in a yurt. Cutting back old growth. Learning to stretch into myself. In the vines it’s what makes everything fruitful, the control of the flow of sap. Having realized that we humans are all sap too, I figured it should work for me too. Sap Managment Inc. is what I am calling myself. It’s a total self-service business.

So for the next six months I’ll be in the vines, or my cell in the big house that’s just up the hill from the yurt, cutting back. Making room to breath new breaths. One after the other, like the years in the vines.

Order. Consciousness.


Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Another Day

I was back in the vines again today. The pause after the harvest is done. The last full moon before winter is waning, the cutting back begins. I was happy to see the vigneron and his wife, and they seemed happy to see me. We exchanged the stories of our lives from the last chapter which ended several months ago. I could say it was an uneventful day, but then what day that we are alive is un-event-full.

There is a woman, I don’t know, who is going to the psychiatrist. The psychiatrist uses images in situations to get into what the patients are feeling. This doctor uses the images as a relational object, a tool that allows her to ‘work’ with the patients. In this case the patient is the woman that I was talking about, the one I don’t know.

For example, the doctor says to this woman patient - you are standing in front of a sink and the faucet is running.

The patient replies to the doctor – I pull out the plug so that the water can run out, and I clean the sink out with my hands.

The conversation goes on. How do you feel about doing that, what are you thinking when you are doing that, what does that bring up for you etc. etc. Well they get to the crux when the woman, who is the patient I don’t know, starts remembering that at 8 years old when her alcoholic father was slapping her mother around, she had taken a frying pan and whacked the father. The father quickly proceeded to pass out on the ground.

She thought she had killed her father. Imagine what would run through your head at that point. It did for the woman and she consequently pushed aside, into the shadows, those reactions for the rest of her life until that moment with the doctor. When the doctor asked her what that invoked in her now she says two words. .Culpability. Guilt. Then is silent for a long time.

It seemed hard to believe she could forget such an event. At least that’s what I thought until I tried to think about myself at 8. It was long ago but still within my lifetime. It was me - and as I realize when I remember something from a long ago time – it is me. But thinking back to 8 years old I could remember nothing. Zero, neither good or bad. Just nothing.

I know something must have happened, and if you told me something from then I would probably remember it. But randomly I could bring up nothing. I suddenly thought how the woman I don’t know could have forgotten that episode and the soaring – Culpability and Guilt. – that came within that moment. Why would you want to remember it.

That’s who we are, the events we are made of. Remembered and forgotten, they etch themselves into our brains. Like deeply embedded lines of code on a computers hard drive, if the right buttons are pushed they dictate how our program operates.

We’re complex, we have code in our brains that was written tens of thousands of years ago that’s being added to at every moment we experience. With this we make our life. We are all working on our own hard drive which is connected to a network that spans all time. Meanwhile our shadow is constantly hiding, following us, shifting shapes, insinuating itself into who we are.

It’s amazing we aren’t all screaming and wailing in the streets. That is an event itself, and it happened today. That’s why it’s hard for me to say that it was an uneventful day even though it seems all I really did today was just more immigrant labor in the vines.

Sunday, December 11, 2011


Hank is way out on the edge. Every moment has become critical, and the moments just keep coming, one after another. Fatigued, broke, with everything on the horizon but nothing in hand. Hank is full of potential, but then again he has been all his life. It finally has dawned on him he has to act, that time is running out.

The realization did nothing however, to change anything. He still was ensconsed in his life, and everything had recently got more complicated. Perhaps that was the cause of his realization. He found it hard to remember which had come first – his crisis, or his need to act. In any case he had little idea what to do.

His first response was to run, flee, escape, but he had no where to go to. It was this fact that had left him, if not frantic, at least perplexed.

There were moments now when he felt pressed against something opaque and yielding. He could never break through it, but now he was so far in, that he saw no way back out. There was no light at the end of this tunnel, just an omnipresent dim glow which was so diffused that it seemed to come from everywhere. He was paralyzed with the thought of suffocating and cognizant of the fact that paralyzed folk can’t move. This was the edge he was on. An edge so far down that it was without a precipice, leaving Hank without his default option of falling to get started.

In his everyday exchanges Hank admitted to be worried. There was no way to explain more. Who could feel see his churning thoughts. How could he describe the weight of his limitless potential. And why describe it, no one cared for either his reason why all potential was limitless, or his explications of why his was un-actualized. Even Hank had tired of them.

No, the time had come to act, to move, to get on the ball. If he could just get started…

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Carlo's Day

Carlo woke up with an anxious sensation. He tried to ignore it and switched on the reading lamp above his head. He read a few pages absently. He realized it was futile and reluctantly got out of bed, something was pressing on him.

He went downstairs, saw a note on the table. It was written in the hand of his wife. Carlo discussed with himself and decided that he would read it later. He saw his shoes, slipped them on and went out to collect his mail.

He walked back into the house sorting a thick bundle of letters. When he entered the front door he fixed on the wall before him. He stared at the pictures grouped up in front of him - his friend Art, his brother in law David, his brother Al, his niece Alma. He remembered tomorrow was Art’s 81st birthday, he thought of the rendevous he had made with Art’s wife for tomorrow. He had told her he would call today to fix an appropriate time.

He felt a pang of sadness and doubt. An anxiety rose up in him. Carlo sifted through the mail, picked out a brightly colored envelope and began opening it. It had no return address and for that he chose it. It seemed to correspond to his feeling. He pulled the letter out of the envelope. The page contained just one word, large and precisely written, it covered the entire page. It said HAPPY. He quickly looked up again scanning the photos on the wall.

He looked at the page for a long moment. HAPPY. It was part of what he felt but there was a sensation much larger lurking behind it. There was a second page to the letter. Carlo wasn’t curious. He had no desire to look at that second page. He already knew what it would contain. He wanted to stay with just the word HAPPY.

Carlo turned his gaze away from the letter. His hand containing the letter fell heavily by his side. He stared at the photos hanging in front of him. He seemed to be divining some minute detail contained within them. He felt the anxiety rise, it spun around his brain before descending and coursing through the rest of his body.

He walked to the living room and sat down. He took the letter he had opened and turned to the second page. It contained a single number written over and over in large colorful script. 80, 80, 80…

Today was Carlo’s birthday. He was eighty years old. It seemed like an enourmous number. It seemed it had come upon suddenly, but he realized it had taken an entire lifetime. He breathed. He reflected. He wondered. Sometimes he felt sage, grateful, aware of the many good deeds he had witnessed and performed. Other times there was sadness, and doubt. He was anxious when he thought of his picture with the others on the wall of the entrance to his house.

He sat with the letter in his hand for a long time staring at the numbers covering the page before him. Eighty, for him it wasn’t a terminal number, but he knew it was close. He put the stack of letters down and thought of Art’s wife - Judith.

He needed to call her. Tomorrow was Art’s birthday. Last year they had all went out to dinner for Art’s 80th. He remembered them laughing at having made it so far in relatively fine form. He remembered the look in Art’s eye when they were singing happy birthday. Behind the laughter was the look of the anxious sensation Carlo was feeling right now.

He dialed the phone. No one answered for quite a long time.

- hello

- yes hello Judith, it’s Carlo.

- oh Carlo, I was just thinking of you. Happy Birthday.

- yes, yes Happy Birthday. Last year Art, this year Me. I guess I’m always just one step behind him. And if that’s the case this looks like it will be my year.

- don’t say that Carlo. Anyway, are you still coming with me tomorrow to visit Art, or should we just meet up there.

- No, let’s meet up first, I can’t go alone. It’s too sad.

- okay Carlo we’ll go see him together. It will be better that way, I’m pretty sure that’s how Art would like it. I can’t believe just last year we were all laughing together. It’s weird, one day laughing, two months later we’re not. Something just happens and it’s all gone.

- that’s whats making me so worried, I just keep seeing all the memories disappearing. It’s like when we cease to exist our memories are erased with us.

- Carlo, stop. Please.

- But what will become of all the memories I am.

- I don’t know Carlo, perhaps they just become some sort of energy. You’ve been a good man, you’ve created good feelings, happy memories. Think of that as energy, in the mean time remember what Art always said - Carpe Diem. And it’s your birthday today dammit.

- Okay Judith. What time do you want to me come get you tomorrow.

- Well the cemetary closes at 5, so come over for lunch and we’ll go from there. In case you change your mind and want to go alone, just leave me a message and I’ll meet you over there. Art’s in plot number 73842, you’ll need to talk to the man at the gate before you can get in.

Carlo hung up the phone and sat there looking at the letter opened before him. HAPPY. He breathed deeply, got up and prepared for the day.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Hanks Ongoing Future

Hanks future arrived the other day. He’s in it right now.

It’s raining out. The windows are still open in a last attempt at forgetting it’s late fall, but the ‘a bit more than cool’ breeze blowing in won’t even allow that illusion any longer. You see Hanks future came with a certain amount of clarity. At least, he told himself, he had seen it coming.

In his moments of self professed clarity he would often see himself lying in an almost empty, carpeted room. There was an strange sense of order that came from the emptiness he found himself surrounded with. Within himself he felt a void that he couldn’t precisely place though it seemed rooted in a nostalgia for something that never existed. At times it came with the warmth and odor of a woman. Though that could have been just a whiff of the birthing process that he pictured himself in.

Hank readily acknowledged that he was a victim of false promises and exaggerated claims. He was less forthright with the fact that on occasion it had been him at the origin of those claims and promises. Whatever their origin, there was no longer any denying he had been living a clouded existence filled with noise and bluster.

Now there was no more psychiatric babble or ladder climbing dancers. This was the future. He was in it. It was as silent as death. It was dark and fecund. There was only the sound of breathing. In Hanks case that was a rasping, rattling, in and out that kept weakly pronouncing that something was still clinging to life.

In this future it was silent. Hank was alone. After one, there was nothing left to count. In his exagerrated states Hank would pass the time counting – one, one, one, one… just until it became limitless. He would feel exalted, graced, but eventually he had to stop. Immediatly a wave of nostalgia would wash in and Hank realized clarity had come with a stiff price.

Breath in, breath out. Breathing in the pain was like diving under a wave. It washes over and another is before you. Dive under again, and there’s another, over and over again. In this future it’s all he could do, breath in breath out.

Hope it would pass. Hope it would get better. Hope grace would be bestowed. Hope in, hope out. Limitless.

Seamlessly Integrating Endless Conflict - for Fun and Profit

I just friended my childhood sweet-heart on facebook. Drole le vie, je dit ca parce que je suis en train de making moves on my current gal at this very moment. In short it made me think of something to do with determining the critical path. But that isn’t what I want to tell you.

I friended the old neighborhood girl and then went to check out her story on facebook. Not much different than most, husband, kids, friends, family. Her son is in the army somehow and there was a post that he was away somewhere learning to fire a FGM-148 Javelin. It’s a shoulder fired missile. There was a video attached from you-tube which showed a field demonstration of the latest Raytheon/Lockheed Martin (Hughes/Martin Marietta) must have weapon. Wow.

Thinking back to my childhood and that sweet little girl up the street, I remembered that having fireworks gave you a standing on the block. The bigger they were the higher your standing. Fireworks were good for getting girls. But at the time fireworks were not so much illegal, as expensive. So after seeing that rocket fired I was curious how much that little FMG-148 Javelin missile was costing us. And really what was the son of my childhood crush doing so far from his home blowing up expensive vehicles of someone he doesn’t know.

Well the cost was, of course, enormous - $125,000 for the launcher and $40,000 per missile, plus the support and repair and blah blah blah. In any case since the first missile came online in 1996 there have been approximately 30,000 missiles produced and the total project cost has been $4,5 Billion dollars.

But that isn’t that shocking. Just like banks receiving billion dollar benefits, it's just how it is nowadays, and who are we to ask how or why. What I came across looking for the cost of this little military jewel (it does has rave reviews from its producers and end users) was, however, a bit more shocking, .

Smell this – it stinks.

I googled: FMG-148 Javelin cost. The second hit had a figure in it and I went there for more detail. It turned out to be the Call of Duty Wiki site.
Call of Duty (a series running since 2003) is the popular video war game all the kids play on the x-box and playstations etc. (it’s 2010 edition - Call of Duty/Black Op’s - held the record for the largest ever entertainment launch in history for any form of entertainment. Sales from the game worldwide reached US$650 million within five days after its release. That record was broken by Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3.). This video game site has all the detailed info for playing at full action. The players go to this site to learn how to use the weapons to ‘improve’ their game.

There it is - the FMG-148 Javelin – in the game it looks like and is called exactly the same as in the battlefield. The site shows how to use it and in what scenarios it is most efficient. The description of the weapon and it’s highly detailed use in ‘game’ situations is coldly similar to the description and field use laid out in the Raytheon/Lockheed Martin web site.

Suddenly I saw the young son of my old flame and hundreds like him responding to the growling sergeant assigning positions. “Sure I’ll do it, I already know how.”

It dawned on me as I read this how sick we have become. We have been buying our kids expensive games so they can sit in their rooms not only being totally desensitized to killing but actually training for war with real life weapons in actual combat scenarios. It's too complexly integrated for it to be an accident, and so the question is always begging – who is it profiting from this illness.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Wonderful. P2

I made the call from Heathrow on the transfer from Paris to Newark. I got my brother. He said the word - - my father had already flown out. I had, would upon my arrival have, missed him. He had been teetering on the precipice for months, I had misjudged his balance. He had fallen hours before I arrived. He fell silently, smoothly, everything in order. My presence, in the end, would have been for me. It’s the desire to see our kith and kin before they depart on grand voyages.

I thought about you today in the vines, it’s funny how present you’ve become in your super-flowering state, you command attention with your balancing act. I was working my way through the rows, taking out any, and I thought all, unnecessary growth when I came across a small birds nest built within one of the vines.

Oh. Four tiny brown speckled eggs huddled in a nest intricately woven within the new shoots. Alive - delicate, precise, against all odds, and yet there it was, and for the moment full of life. Ah - there you are.

When your friend and I had put together our little book of sweet smiles and you had critically given it a good look I remembered you being in disaccord with my statement that the beauty that surrounds us is less staggering than the beauty we can imagine. At the time I countered with my blasphemous reasoning, but upon seeing that nest today, so wonderously there, I suddenly became conscious that you were right. We are incapable of imagining something so unexpected and perfect – beautiful - in it’s being.

I spend a short moment with awe, and you, bonheur. I smiled out loud, then went on with my work. Did you hear me screaming your name – P.......

Do you hear me whispering it now – peace.

Falling Slowly Down the Stairs. P1

I didn’t get a call at 3 :30 in the morning telling me that you had fallen, coming up/or going down the stairs we will never be sure of, and were not going to make it back to the plane we were flying on together.

Your call came in the early evening, though it seems like gravity has started pulling you down to your cellar floor too. From what you say, it sounds like you may be booking flight on the same plane my sister is on.

It seems the most shocking thing that can happen.

We pre-view so much, but there are some things that happen out of our fixed order. It bamboozles on fundamental levels. The future becomes limited. Time appears finite. The sense of loss/losing is unrelenting and sorrowful. I wish I could help you, but I am limited to thinking of you. The veil has opened to you, and only you know what that conjures up.

You may not know it but you have spared us. Kindly given to us the luxury of watching you, listening to you, feeling stunned along with you as you stumble slowly on the stairway. Your balance right now seems so tenuous. I am helpless to aid you regain it, in only that sense our frustration may be equal.

I am hoping for you, not even that you don’t tumble and fall, because we all do that eventually, but just hoping that if you do fall, the trip down isn’t so painful, that you are aware, and knowing that you are loved, and that you are LOVE.

I am so sad to hear of the route your trip calls for, I was really looking forward to seeing you.

If you need anything -


Monday, May 2, 2011

Just to Prove I'm Alive, I Will Send Out a Missive...

Just to prove I'm alive, I will send out a missive...

Contemporary news... forget Japan, forget Libya, forget your inherent bonheur, Osama is Dead.
The word is out and the crowd is cheering the news! It's shaping up to be the happiest news since the great wall of iron rusted down when I was a boy.

Luckily I had my rendez-vous already in place at the U.S. embassy in Marseille to renew the kids passports. Worldwide heightened security and all. It's the last time they will need me to be present with them. It's times like this we are happy to be together. Marseille - the ancient port of shakanary and the American embassy that's been doing business there for some two hundred years. It's always a fun time, though with everyone at serious giddy level red it may be less so if they want to get technical about the photographs I've got (I took them at a photo booth for 3 bucks in lieu of the 20 buck official photographer), or then again more so (if they have a military helicopter hovering overhead, or even stationed on the top of the building).

Official government channels, they are our only remaining religious liturgy. Mysterious and exciting, damning or joy giving, they have it all. Or should I say they HAD it all. It seems like no one likes it visceral anymore. I mean, what's up with Osama Bin Laden. Will we see Osama dead, or do we just have to take the bosses word. Old school government channels had it we paraded the body through the streets. I realize we are civilized now but at least give us some blurry night vision navy seal helmet-cam video of the raid.

It seems like we are giving up everything and getting nothing back, it's so Vatican II. We are getting nothing. This story about throwing the body into the sea and all, how about at least a shot of that. The Heroic Seal with the corpus corporis at the door of the helicopter. The dead body shot would give a nice sort of closure to this whole disheartening chapter in the Al Queda story which is threatening to run longer then the entire Star Wars saga.

In any case, after cutting back the vines all winter, they have started growing again and are now demanding more cutbacks, so after the big day today with Osama literally dis-appearing, and the high security trip to Marseille tomorrow, it's back to the vines Wednesday. I thank Big Daddy for that, plants growing is the only old time religion I can get these days.