Wednesday, April 28, 2010

how to escape from saving the world

first of all - need i say it - this can't be politically correct. we desperately wish to save the world from pollution, the underclass, volcanoes, economic collapse. yes, indeed, we hope to save the earth from everything except ourselves.

the conservative wishes to feather his/her nest, as does the liberal, the radical and everything in between.

take the first. everything is about me me me. my bank-account, my home in a gated community, my children and their private schools. dare i venture: this breed has no social conscience and must be forced by circumstances to be mildly generous when the mob refuses to let them eat cake.

ah, but does this really differ from the liberal? as long as i'm comfortable, i'll take part in parades, support good causes, walk the talk, and so on. unfortunately, these too wish to make the world safe for themselves.

and the radicals! power, power, power. every theory a grab for it. one friend recently called himself an agrarian revolutionist. well, we know what that led to in cambodia. pol pot forced everyone back into the jungle, deserting the cities and giving young boys machine guns to create the killing fields. my friend, he too benefits from the present state of affairs, and digging in the dirt the last thing he'd ever want to d0, being a truly civilized creature.

who's left? the spiritual, certainly. abandon ambition, live in the present, the universe is perfect as it is, one huge ashram. so many rules, the way to eat, sleep, and have sex without enjoying it. they can't escape ambition, the desire to recreate social life in their own image.

uh, maybe the messiah complex we can't elude, deluding ourselves into thinking we might. however, one thing we can all do is pick up garbage and paint out graffiti. kathmandu drove me crazy (so much for the sacred east). trash lay in the street in front of every home and business. in ten minutes they could have cleaned it up. and the human poop above the burning ghats sending bodies on their smoky way to the next life, how could they not smell it?

or take europe and graffiti. returning in the nineties after the fifties and sixties. i simply couldn't stomach the desecration everywhere. so much for the home of sacred beauty. this tortured public art sets my teeth on edge.

so, you can save the earth except from yourself. get out the plastic bags and the paint brushes. eternity begins at home.

redone pics of 'why torture is wrong, and those who love them'

obviously, it stirred up this tragic meditation.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

on giving up my room

is it spring fever bringing on this rash act? two housemates moving out. the whole constellation changes. the landlord brings a couple from the alternative community, a masseuse and a yogi instructer. they've known each other six months. i know they'll soon be yelling and throwing pie tins. every couple goes though it. not only that, they've lots of friends. i suspect the living room will fill up with clouds of ganja.

of course, he may not rent to them, the two of us left protesting. however, it's unlikely two more hermits will be found. alas, those types i like living with, being one myself. all of us go out to socialize, at home quiet and secluded as mice avoiding a cat.

true, summer's a coming. the lookout, house-sitting. at the moment it seems it will last forever. however, i need a plan. argentina? that's a thought. i did a report in the sixth grade on south america and i've never made it beyond costa rica. am i ready for adventure, not having a purpose? where could i meet lovely women and do the tango, clicking pictures the whole while?

it's a risk. what if it doesn't work out, like the time i gave up a scholarship to stanford in directing, returned to new york to find the director who'd promised me a job had inherited money and skipped the country? damn, that was the kind of winter that tries men's souls. i ended up in london at xmas, watching the gas-meter wheel go round. i didn't travel for another twenty years.

okay, okay, time has passed, a significant birthday coming up. if i don't take the leap of faith and stupidity, when will i? as my therapist friend says, almost all people wait too long to kill themselves, too bed-ridden to do it in the end.

trouble is, i'm not sure i believe in my old myth of myself, ie. poet destined to become posthumously famous, his plays performed to universal acclaim. that was the purpose of the peregrinations: experience finally set down in deathless dialogue, sonnets that made even street-people weep.

yet i believe we have to keep renewing ourselves, until death do us part from this our well-seasoned body.

photos from 'why torture is wrong, and the people who love them.'

ironically, people move to this town to get away from the cruel world. can theater overcome this oversight? check it out,

Sunday, April 18, 2010

and they shall no everything and come to nothing

it's a very strange time. we've all the knowledge that's ever been discovered by humankind at our finger-tips, all the creations: music, dance, movies, history, the list never-ending (almost). yet many prefer ignorance. 'let's throw the bath water out with the baby.'

have we lost our stamina? t.s. eliot maintained we can't stand too much reality. my god, the reality we can stand seems little enough. yet perhaps we do more knowing less, a cause for optimism in the face of change. bizarre, how much is lost upon those who would adopt a certain posture to save themselves from ambiguity. i call it 'the mad tea party.' angry and crazed. if they can preserve their little piece of the world they will be saved.

alas, in a hundred years we'll all be dead. give that a thought. of course, the grand religions promise paradise, eternal life, and rebirth. and i'm not immune. the last seems the most interesting. at least you can imagine you've met your friends (and enemies) before and will again, each a parent, then lover, slave, teacher, acrobat to entertain. even if this means the joys and pains of a bodily life don't end for a long time.

heaven, on the other hand, envisioned by the imaginatively impaired, seems a pretty dull place. the devil has all the good lines and the best people choose the fires of thought in hell over the blindness of bliss.

what i mean to say is, whatever you have is better than what you don't. i hope my friend ed, once an avid cyclist and now a paraplegic, will find pleasure in expanding his mind with an ipad and the one finger he can move. it's not easy changing from the physical ecstasy of rolling down an incline to climbing the steep mountain of an educated and enlightened intelligence. i wish him well.

new photos at

a few old opens by a younger and wiser me:

and last but not least a brief peek into the artistic process:

Monday, April 5, 2010

gambling is fun, if you don't win

that's on ebay, i mean. twice this weekend i won what i wanted, but just barely. i calculated what i thought others would bid, then went a bit higher. right both times. poorer, but proud. and ultimately foolish.

consumer therapy (as my mother called it) can send you into a tailspin, downward spiral, to debt, bankruptcy, and the grave. how i've avoided it for so long i don't know.

yes, went on a binge of buying this weekend. first, the new camera. then lenses, a flash, adapters. it all got out of hand. i'm anxiously watching my bank account to see if it all passes, my teeth on edge. the stress of watching the seconds click by and quickly bidding in the last ten, well, i'm a wreck.

of course, i love getting packages in the mail. as a kid i mailed off cereal boxtops and plagued the postman every day, worse than a barking dog. and nothing's changed. i could say, 'amazon is theft,' but i love it. usually i buy books. that's pretty cheap. and when the gifts come, i rip off the packaging like it's christmas.

luckily, it's like alcohol. something in me pushes me above water, i take a deep breath, and go sober for a good long time. that said, everytime i turn on computer or walk down an alcohol aisle, temptation returns. what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger, until it kills you.

new photos. a co-housing anniversary celebration:

and a look at the tortured fig tree just a few feet from the front door: