"Heaven has a road, but no one travels it; Hell has no gate, but men will bore through to get there."

Friday, December 28, 2012

Walking Off The Pier

When I was young, chaos often seemed to blow through my life frazzling expectations. In certain moments, however, as if looking through a crystalline window as snow fell, there was clarity- if for an instant only. With it came meaning and an ecstasy which fleetingly illuminated the whole universe- powerful enough to touch even my tiny corner of it. I felt like I was running in the cold at peak speed for a few lung-splitting seconds coming to stop at the end of the pier with a quick intake of precious air, breathing free, and transcending myself as I dropped into nature.

Standing on that pier today, I watched cold green waves roll over an even less-inviting beach under the last faintly glittering leaves of a row of exhausted cottonwood trees.  Their companion willows seemed to be weeping indeed against an obscured and almost invisible sunset. I was again having such a moment- and it seemed to last for hours.
To my left I could not help but notice the pointy dome of the incongruously majestic Baha’i temple. It’s pearl whiteness exceptionally out of place in the grey sky, as if it should be far across a bigger and different sea sitting in Istanbul next to a substantial mosque. The pathway to the lake was as wet and slippery as the streets of an old and dreary Venice in my mind.
In front of me across an unwelcoming Lake Michigan, I imagined that state’s west coast. It would be scattered with quaint and friendly resort towns. To my right were the towers of the city that had been my kingdom for eighteen years- appearing as indifferently to me as when I first met them, yet still every bit as large and metallically beautiful. Had I been a robot, I would have likely felt very much at home. I was hard-pressed to contrive an effective way of paying them their due, knowing that without my consent or support they would endure a long while without me.
A silver and auspicious British air jet shimmered like Excalibur on its runway and would be leaving at 8:00 am the following morning. There would no doubt be champagne to be lifted with my new world-traveling partner in crime to toast our immense New Beginning in London. Castles, cathedrals, boy choirs, Her majesty and every permutation of Arthurian lore aside, I was about to start living a childhood dream which was to begin in only a tiny handful of hours. I felt the pulse of my life on the cusp of a gargantuan possibility with power enough to transform me back into myself.
I remained stuck in the moment and obsessed with memories. I was struck by how fragile and insubstantial but unnervingly powerful they were- especially the ones that reach far back into your past and being like the fingers of a skeleton both sharp and cold. I had just captured some of these in a book of poetry I had completed called The Practice of Longing, abandoning journaling for rhyme. Still there seemed not room or time enough to recount, share or explain with any substance the person I had become after my time in this place. I pulled a rather grade school-esque spiral notebook from my excessively trendy Clive backpack- complete with a Kevlar lining- somewhat like the one that shielded my heart. Possessed by a strange feeling of unity, I began to write.
Scarcely having a page filled, I realized with a start and a pang in my stomach that capturing this profound whirlwind of life and rendering it immobile long enough for any “normal” sane person to examine and make sense of it would be daunting at best. On top of that, I was haunted by the thought that with media venues and publications existing ad infinitum, how could a gay, once born-again, neo-Platonic Christian pagan, Kansas-born, white, politically incorrect Republican/Libertarian turned Clintonite who had watched his mother die while dating his first boyfriend and attending the nation’s most conservative college, and who witnessed the Berlin wall falling from the posh suites of Capitol Hill power-brokers and then survived by the skin of his very bare teeth in Chicago… courting debauchery at endless bars and circuit parties from New York City to South Beach and surviving the crushing loss of his greatest love really compete?
Struck by the irony of this observation with the force of a back-handed slap, I resolved it was time to let the game begin anew. 

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Christmas Wish List TOP 10

My response to reactions to this week's tragic killings is going to be delivered in the form of my holiday wish list:

1) As a nation, we stop taking every tragedy as an affront to our "way of life" and as an excuse for a retreat into scandalously emotional navel-gazing and ACT to solve the problems involved- no more guns for civilized people, better care for mental illness, and a recognition that...
all those quiet, nerdy, dark, gothic, misfit, sexually-questioning people everybody loves to heap disdain and ridicule on turn into the serial killers from suffering abuse at this society's hands.

2) We appreciate the plight of the millions of people whose problems though not touching on mortality still require empathy and assistance- those of us without a job, health insurance, the ability to take a vacation to gain some peace and perspective, ETC. While not as grandiose as headline murder, these necessities of life deserve empathy and support. A little less time on self-preservation and more on inspiration- of both ourselves and others.

3) That our news media realize that emotion is not the story- the story is the problem to be solved.

4) That it doesn't take abject tragedy for us to appreciate the essential need to respect, value, listen to and care for each other- not because it is American or religious, but because we are human beings and it's Right. Less about family values- more about valuing families- arising from birth, friendship or citizenship in the world.

5) Let's encourage honesty and creative expression and appreciation of beauty in 2013 with less numbing violence in the addiction to sports, bad movies and bullies of all sorts. 

6) Let's put down the cell phones and email and FB and actually go out and have coffee with a friend to talk about our lives.

7) Let's all (including our antiquated Supreme Court) wake ourselves to the reality that people love different others in different ways and that the genie of sexual choice is out of the bottle and not going back in! Freedom always wins- eventually- because it is required for our existence. Our gay people need to reach outside their own circle so that we can all be family. Straight people need to get over themselves and accord others the equal right to expression, love, marriage rights and benefits.

8) Dump the foul fake "religious" and church-created teachings and lies that keep women, minorities and gay people down. Let's walk the life of Christ- not in fear and judgment and self-loathing which keeps us at the mercy of the powers that be- but with the bravery and strength and faith of Jesus the rebel, the outsider, the different, the questioning and the transcendent.

9) Let's all get outside of our boxes and ask more questions. There is much more to our life than just our lives.

10) Above all, let us question and oppose those "conservative" members of our government who are anything but- who waste and squander resources, people, good will and high intentions. For our few worthy and courageous leaders we should offer up our voices and support. And from them, we should demand they reach for the stars.


Purple Man's Crystal Kingdom

Ninth Gate

Never has anything evil been quite so relaxing...

Thursday, December 6, 2012