Monday, August 20, 2012

cynicism, the last refuge of the romantic

last time i wrote, i feel i slipped into it. maybe not. i haven't re-read it. basically, i hope i said, books make us human. and oddly enough, the readers of them are the winners. alas, i seem hardly able to finish a volume, browsing, browsing, browsing. am i looking for the answer to my existence, why i only get one time at bat? hey, come on give me another chance! the echo of so many stories, so many poems. 

since language what i'm passing to the next generation, if i could just invent the perfect word, not yet known, the perfect phrase not yet written. our's is the age of artifice. or we're the generation waiting in the lost and found. unfortunately, only going viral on the internet would prove i've made my mark. 

i remember a lecture on science. the professor drew an amazing mathematical formula on the board and pointing to the very bottom, said, 'you'll be lucky to add one number, one letter, to the history of the subject." alas, i thought, i can't even figure out my income tax, and i've basically no income. that's why they invented the zero, for me. 

no, i don't really feel that bad about myself, and after i vanish i won't feel a thing, all ambition truly vanitas. on the other hand, i'd like to be cheerful. trying taking more prozac didn't work. i became unsteady on my feet, tumbled down the steps of the back deck and rammed my head into a tree. that did drive a bit of sense into me. i cut back on the anti-depressant. too bad, because it let me laugh more easily, speaking to people i didn't even know. 

what i've noticed: as folks grow older, they tend to project their own decay on the world. i think i finally succeeded in making pictures of this, i called them nostalgia. ah, if memories were enough, we'd all have some embalmed. 


Wednesday, August 8, 2012

dirty socks (what makes us human)

how did i come to this astonishing conclusion? empirical evidence. only the human species wears foot coverings. I could have said underwear or peaked caps. you catch my drift. only homo sapiens are ashamed of their bodies, with good reason.

let's not go there. maybe there is a chickadee making raincoats. I don't want the fact to blow my whole thesis. after all, the question of what makes us human matters to everyone who reads. and there's the first genuine gold clue. a chimpanzee wearing glasses might look like my neighbor (unquestionably). i still have yet to see one open the mail and burst into tears. chimps don't get bills. 

karma? does it matter? yes, not in the next lifetime but in this one. our deeds add up. and there's the platinum part of our answer to our question. we collect garbage. not only that, we create it generation after generation. we call the repositories books, formulae, science, libraries, porn stores - and the energy mounts. no one has to reinvent the hydrogen bomb. we've already got it.

symbolic language, the erring, inexhaustible source of history and the microwave oven. every generation adds more litter to our knowledge of the past. newborns soon learn to read old newspapers and begin writing new ones. the smelly laundry mounts, adding infamous fascination to the pile. i possess more lethal energy than a rattlesnake: my car. and i'm glad of it. even though my faith in my ability to control it far exceeds my ability to do so. 

look at these pictures of the fire burning near my tower, a kingdom lost by the lighting of a match. no, my own life completely out of whack. like unwashed dishes in the sink, i keep collecting my creations for future generations. ah, the poor kids.

the chips fire, expected to go to 32 thousand acres, now 16.

you can follow the progress of the conflagration here:

Thursday, August 2, 2012

anxieties of the red moon (fire and smoke)

i have a confession to make. four months ago i didn't even know what a nephrologist was. words like that only exist in games like scrabble, i thought. to my chagrin this identifies a specialist in kidneys. good gravy, i never considered them that much, never having had a kidney stone (i hear you want to die). yet, here it is, a high count of creatinine in my blood. does that make me a cretin? no surprises there!

my bladder looks like india, filling and emptying. little sparks of light flash as a new shot of urine enters. my kidneys do look like the beans. my prostate faint but enlarged. i roll over as the technician rubs me here and there with a cold electronic device. hyper-tension? the doctor, a wonderful woman from romania, says, "small for someone your size." now i curse all the anti-inflammatory pills i ingested recklessly over the years. "they curl up a bit a the ends. i'd say, working at half capacity."

at this point my blood-pressure does go up. she says, "it sounds worse than it is." consulting others, i find a friend's uncle lived sixty-five years on one kidney, and 70,000 transplants happen every year. still, i'm not the happy person i used to be. actually, i can feel the tension in my body. doesn't a poet/artist need the hot wires to create? i always considered it par for the course. the doctor encouraged me to get a blood-pressure indicator. 

let's see, i'll take it now. 134/76. okay, that's not bad. i have found the top number will drop into the 120's after i exercise. where it should be. unfortunately, it's often in the 140's which indicates anxiety. what else is new? isn't everyone in the modern world insane, so i'm normal? have you heard of black swans, a term coined by nassim teleb for the unexpected events which we can't predict and upset everybody's apple-cart?

for example, everytime i go to town for days off, i find out another friend has died. young, old, it doesn't seem to matter. if it happens next week, i'd better be glad it's not me. or take this case, i came back three days ago to find a major fire brewing on the forest. we've put out dozens of abandoned campfires this summer, and finally one gets away, a thousand plus acres and growing. nothing like a flight of black birds to get my blood boiling. 

thus motivated by intimations of mortality, i have scanned and posted my last travel photos, down the maya trail though mexico and guatemala. and thinking about evolution, i've put up pictures of patterns in rocks around the base of the lookout. yesterday, i clicked and clicked, the smoky sun and bloody moon, the towering clouds of smoke, fascinating. not exactly the end of the world, but why not?