Commentaries on the Poems

Tree of Birds:

“…when the old man opened his mouth and spoke…” In the 1960s, a Swiss scientist named Hans Jenny discovered that when he conducted the vibrations from a singing human voice to a stretched membrane dusted with sand or powder, the vibrations caused the sand to coalesce into clear and repeatable patterns. Some were highly geometric, others chaotic, depending on the level of dissonance in the root tone. But when he directed his singer to pronounce specific vowels, the sand took the shapes of the corresponding letters from the Sanskrit or Hebrew alphabets! (Curiously, modern languages like Latin, English, Japanese, etc. did not have this affect.) One of the many things this suggests is that within any given sound an alphabet may lie hidden, and a whole language may be nested within the harmonics arising from many sounds ringing out together. To extrapolate from this perception to one that considers all sounds as part of one wave, and that if one listens closely enough to one sound, like a bird’s song, one may hear echoes of older music lingering in the gaps (much like the way old memories often echo in our present experience), seems to me now not so far-fetched.

“They say she kicked him in the ass…” Many folksongs, like those of the ‘Mad Maggie’ genre, tell of a fed-up housewife who, too mad and violent for her husband, walks to Hell and finds the Devil is not man enough for her either.

If This is Madness:

Comments on the asinine 19th century myths linking artistic creativity (or “genius”) and insanity. Basically this perverse notion stems from the Enlightenment desire to rationally explain and control every aspect of reality. Human artistic expression, being unpredictable, arational, and more concerned with the felt essences of things than their purely physical appearances, fell outside this rational schema. Thus, the artist found him/herself increasingly both stigmatized and celebrated as exceptional, and non-academic, ‘unsanctioned’ art considered a sign of moral degeneracy or mental illness. In this way, we have become even more alienated from ourselves and more vulnerable to the relentless advertising that manipulates us to rely on the Market instead of ourselves if we want things of beauty and meaning in our lives. The genius/insanity link has gained a certain romantic allure, personified in the artist as self-destructive rebel (i.e. Jackson Pollack, Antonin Artaud, Jim Morrison, Kurt Cobain, et. al.), but really it is this re-defining of a basic, essential mode of human expression as a mental illness that causes the “insanity”, not the fact that the person can create. As Allen Ginsberg so famously said, “I saw the best minds of my generation destroyed by madness, starving hysterical naked…”

 This poem opens with some childhood memories before I begin to rant.

Saj’ for my Alien Girlfriend:

“Alien” is not the most correct word, only the most convenient. I don’t know where she really comes from or what her true form looks like, and I am content not to ask. In love, time, identity, form and dimensionality feel like costumes we take on and off at will as if we were wearing nothing at all except light.

“…the mythical Simorgh…” The Simorgh comes from Persian mythology. Attar’s the Conference of the Birds features this creature as the ultimate end-point of the birds’ journey: what he is to them, so God or the Self is to us. The Simorgh corresponds to the phoenix in East Asia, the Russian firebird, the North American thunderbird, and Quetzalcoatl, the serpent-bird deity of the Mayans.

The clubs and their urinals are the punk clubs I hung out in, like One Step Beyond and Marsugi’s, in San Jose in the late 1980s, where I had many coming-of-age experiences.

Ruminations on Dreams…:

I wrote these all over the course of a day, and liked they way they all flowed together, though I did not intend them as a series.

I:

“Area 51”, in case you don’t know, is a real, ultra-top-secret military base in Nevada. The US government and military still deny it exists, but go anywhere near it and you will promptly be chased out by security personnel or black helicopters.

The site features heavily in UFO conspiracy theories and the notorious Roswell, N.M. ‘flying saucer’ crash in 1947. Legend holds that the remains of the craft and the bodies of the alien crew were, and are, being held there, and that the US government has reverse-engineered the saucer technology. Or made a deal with the aliens for their technological secrets…At least, this is the legend.

The blue light I refer to comes from a dream I had in February, 2009. A mass uprising took place, and people filled the streets of Oakland as far as I could see, surrounding the police and National Guard in the City Center. Something changed though, and next thing I saw were many tractor-trailers in the street, doors wide open, and people stampeding into them, desperate to get out of the city. Safety, however, turned out to be giant camps in the desert, like the ones being built on the Mexican border supposedly to house illegal immigrants.

Once inside, the people were kept under a strange blue light as the poem describes. My dream-guide allowed me to experience the effects of this light: after about 30 seconds, my blood felt like liquid lead, and my guide took me back outside. Imagine the worst depression you’ve ever felt, and then imagine feeling that way always along with thousands of other helpless people in a concentration camp in the desert. :

II:

“…the ziggurat of Ahriman.” Ahriman is the dark god of the ancient Iranian Zoroastrian religion. He is roughly equivalent to Satan. The Babylonians built massive step-pyramids called ziggurats, symbols of the king’s divine might.

The ancient Hebrews claimed that the Canaanite god Moloch demanded human sacrifices, and especially liked the flesh of children. (Again, see Ginsberg’s poem Howl.)

“Out along the Rio de la Muerte…” The Road of the Dead runs along the base of the San Andres mountains in central New Mexico through some exceptionally dry and barren terrain. The Spanish conquistadores traveled it when they came searching for the Seven Cities of Gold, and they christened it the road of the dead because so many of them died there. Occasionally, some explorer or hiker will still unearth some armor, coins, or other relic from the expedition.

Today, this road also leads to the White Sands missile range, a US military research installation near where the first atomic bomb was developed and tested. Its proximity to such an aptly named trail is only one of many symbolic synchronicities surrounding the Bomb’s invention.

The various references to the atomic bomb and to the simultaneous discovery of LSD I drew from two dreams that came to me roughly 10 years apart.

In the first dream, I met, in a parking garage stairwell, an older gent in grey tweed who I understood was one of the Reality Masters, those beings who, according to some legends, guide, direct, or control our collective destiny.1 He read a poem I had just written, and I felt his mind tracing the chains of causation in my life that determined my use of each word and each dot of punctuation in the poem. After some conversation, he announced, “Now it’s time for you to experience the illusion of rebellion.”

I bolted out to the highway, where an endless mass of cars, headlights blazing, charged towards me. While I ran I heard the Reality Master’s voice telling me the story of how this came to be:

“Not so very long ago, the gods birthed a new star, a very precious star, which was their favorite, with a special destiny. On Earth, scientists invented the atomic bomb, whose power came not from the splitting of atoms, like the scientists imagined, but from the seed of light at the heart of a star. When the first A-bomb exploded, it sucked the life from that new, favored star of the gods, killing it instantly.”

He went on to explain how the Bomb also shattered the shield around us that regulated the flow of cosmic energy to our world, as if we smashed a window. The gods then punished us by stepping away, letting this raw energy flood our world; in effect, they gave us “every single thing we asked for.” As if this murder was not bad enough, we unforgivably made things worse not only by not apologizing or making amends, but by refusing to even recognize what we had done.

As the Reality Master showed me this story, I ran from the cars. I burned with anger and turned to face them. Suddenly, an Uzi machine gun materialized in my hands, created by my rage–this is how it was to be, post-Bomb: the time-lapse between our projections and their manifestation would become near-instantaneous, due to the uncontrollable surge of energy now upon us.

In the second dream, I found myself in a store, a cross between the deli where I worked at the time and the porn shop I worked at before that. By the entrance to the porn arcade, several Men-in-Black types sat at a round table, sipping coffee or wine. They seemed uneasy about me. My task was to shovel out a swamp of chicken salad from a back room. This was hopeless, for the room filled up much faster than I could shovel it out.

Then one of the gentlemen, a slender, younger man, vaguely Asiatic-looking, gripped my arm and said he had to take me away from there. He had vouched for me to his fellows, so they made him my handler. We got in his white DeLorean and sped off down a wormhole maze of freeway ramps and loops that never quite reached the vast, empty, freeway system overhead. All along the ramps, the concrete barriers had been pulled aside and reconfigured as encampments for the huge numbers of homeless people.

As we drove, my handler said he had to tell me a lot of things and I needed to listen very closely. Seeing him on the verge of cracking up, I put my hand on his shoulder and told him to pull over, whereupon he told me how the Bomb and LSD came into the world together. In fact, the Bomb’s detonation made LSD’s arrival possible, for because our civilization denied the existence of other realities and dimensions, that denial warped the normal interplay between my handler’s dimension and ours. The A-bomb shredded the veil, as per my earlier dream, and so marked the beginning of the slow end of our current paradigm. Furthermore, it was now absolutely necessary for LSD to exist because we no longer had any choice but to start exploring those alternate realities.

My handler was from a place analogous to the ‘fairy realm,’ now also going through a dramatic shift due to our activities. Every time someone took Acid, he explained, it opened a portal to the place he came from and allowed them to enter our world. They came here searching for a way to influence our affairs and to teach or learn something from us, since they no longer knew what was going on either.

In light of this dream, the history of Acid appeared to me in a different light. The waves of UFO sightings in the 1950s and ‘60s: their attendant men in black, abductions, and other weirdness: the ‘alien conspiracy’ paranoia; the CIA’s LSD mind27 control experiments of the ‘50s; and the CIA-involvement in the drug explosion of the ‘60s all started making a different kind of sense to me.

IV:

“What if the calendar told time…” If Copernicus’ and Galileo’s placement of the Sun at the center of our solar system presaged the dawn of our modern, rationalist age (Apollo was god of the sun and of science and reason), what psychic changes would occur if we imagined a different stellar body at the center? I have heard that the old Earth-centered model of the Ancients is still mathematically valid, except the math proves more complicated than the newer heliocentric version. So I wondered if the math for, say, a Jupiter-centered solar system would be valid also?

“The universe is heating up…” Apparently, it is. Look online at
www.livescience.com/environment/070312_solarsys_warming.html
or
www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2008/10/081013124220.htm
for accounts of the rise in the planets’ temperatures and anomalous events at their poles and equators.

“Cymatic vibrations” are the type of patterns formed by sound waves, as in Hans Jenny’s experiments discussed earlier. This sketch of a time-machine rests on music’s ability to stir up memories and our visionary imagination, to ‘take us there’, as it were. My theory posits that the musical intervals used in a particular time and place can allow access to the mindset of that culture. It is similar to how theater uses props and language to create in the audience’s imagination the sensation of being ‘somewhere else.’ Essentially, I’m arguing that reality is imagination and vice versa.

The Akashic Record, according to Theosophists like Madame Blavatsky and Rudolf Steiner, exists in a kind of hyper-space and contain an energetic record of every event that ever has and will happened, and every bit of knowledge that has been and will be known.

1 . Such as the Council of Nine, which may be part of Tibetan Buddhist mythology. I say “may be” because this legend came to light in the West via a string of theosophists, spiritual charlatans, and Nazi-funded expeditions seeking to validate Aryanism. Whether or not Tibetan Buddhists really believe such a thing in such a form remains unclear.

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