“I can feel it coming in the air tonight, oh Lord. And I’ve been waiting for this moment for all my life, oh Lord” Can you feel it coming in the air tonight, oh Lord, oh Lord”  In The Air Tonight – Phil Collins

My mailman told me 3,000 dolphins have washed up dead on the Peruvian coast. No one knows why or how but there is speculation. Conservationists claim the cause is acoustic testing offshore by oil companies. If true, it’s yet another awful price we pay for our nation’s careless heroin like addiction.

Mailman believes it’s the result of global warming, and, as do many authors hawking doomsday books, it foretells a lead up to a realization of the Maya’s “Long Count” calendar, marking the end of a 5,126-year era; the end of humankind we should expect on Dec. 21, 2012. Personally I think it’s possible this theory is nothing more than their calendar had to end somewhere.

But I am no shaman or Nostradamus so I wouldn’t know. But what I do feel, not see or hear but instinctively know in my mind’s eye, is America is experiencing a union immemorial existential zeitgeist; a feeling that something transformational is in the air; a thing symbolized by the Occupy Moment soon to be an Occupy Movement that stresses the collective; not a trickle down of power from anointed leaders but empathetic expressions of young people everywhere sharing a KONY 2012 style flash mob connectivity for universal good, enabled by a generations scientific electronic revolution breathing action into the axiom that once a consciousness becomes true for enough of us, a tipping point, it becomes true for all of us.

Whatever it is something wonderful is transpiring that I haven’t felt since we joined unison in another time when America cleansed itself with chaos; the Aquarian period just prior to the Nixon counter-reformation; that tumultuous revolutionary heartbeat of the pioneering 1960’s. This phenomenon is visible in a simple truth; the undeniable way people look each other in the eye when they meet, sharing their passions through access to ubiquitous Internet connections; making it possible for the first time in history to broadcast the knowledge that a metaphysical occurrence is at hand.

Despite the cynical rhetoric permeating the silly season; (that period just prior to the run up of a presidential election) the emotional tone of this new consciousness is esthetic, optimistic and loving. This transcendent occurrence is an event physiological, rational and intellectual; yet it doesn’t take a formal education to understand we are beginning to feel we are all in this drama together.

In a pseudo Id sense, springing from the Freudian psychoanalytic theory of the psyche that is unconscious, a primitive instinctive impulse is shouting that we must all pull together to meet a challenge that fought together will transform our thinking and ease our spiritual recovery. It’s a Rastafarian philosophical awakening that informs us that the purpose of life is working collectively to produce the goal of happiness; the crux notion that we can not get there alone.

A shift in consciousness is occurring that will leave the Virgo influences, (those feelings of having lingered too long at the party), that spawned the exaltation of celebrity behind and foster a new popular mind dream exemplar that to be noble, virtuous and moral for the sake of everyone is not pious or religiously grandiose and dogmatic but essential to effect the coming about of a world we all wish, had we our druther, we could make.

This ephemeral thread that connects us, this chord of music that lives in the public spaces both in us and outside of us, this metaphysical phenomenon is surely happening, after the thirty years of Reagan inspired selfish disregard for anything save ourselves, evangelized by the divide and conquer power élite, is a trust for and a loyalty to, not only each other, but to the whole of humanity.

Maybe it’s all just wishful thinking; a kind of mass hysteria. Dylan said “If they could see my mind dreams they probably put my head in a guillotine”. I wonder; can you feel it too; the ending of one thing and the beginning of another? Are the Mayan foretelling the beginning of the end; or are the seeds blooming signals of a new consciousness;.the end of a beginning?


Believers Redux

“Believe in me, help me believe in anything; cause’ I wanna be someone who believes; and I want to be someone to believe” — – Counting CrowsMr. Jones

Even before there was consciousness he wanted to believe; believe in the light coming through the womb wall of the black-haired flamenco dancer. It took all his believing to push himself out into the unknown. When he arrived the first thing he believed true was the unconditional love of his mother.

After that it was easy to believe; to believe in everything. The Church was next. It had the cathedrals and the robes and jewelry and all those pious believers. It had the Pope on his throne in the Vatican with his own army. But then the priests turned out to be fucking the kids; the first big lie.

Next it was the State with its government by the people and its courts and its cops with their badges and all that power he wanted to believe in. Then came the consciousness revolution of the 1960’s challenging every one of the institutions and moral principles and he saw that all that power came out of the barrel of a gun; exposing each lie upon which society was based and all of that grandeur was shot to hell. 

Then business was the engine to believe in with its great gross domestic product and the building of magnificent things. He saw  the lie this time even more fleshy and jaundiced; saw that the monied few fueled the war machine and wrecked destruction on the many and greed was cancer and poverty the greatest violence. The lies stacked up so high he needed to grow wings just to stay above it. So he did; and he flew and he burned.   

And then she was there. Finally he found Love; and surely this was the Holy Grail he could believe in. When he found her music played and magic was made real and all mysteries were revealed. When the clouds parted and the true sky shown through he saw that hers had been the biggest lie of all. She had told him that she cared about him.

And so he came to know just in time that the only thing he could believe in was that very first thing; that dancers belly from which he sprang and him self; and then he knew the truth. He must become someone worthy of believing.


“You can’t stop us on the road to freedom. You can’t keep us ’cause our eyes can see. Men with insight, men in granite; Knights in armor bent on chivalry”. Van Morrison – Tupelo Honey

It’s a small and select but distinguished circle of friends I have been blessed to acquire over these past thirty years here at lands end. We have shared glorious and tumultuous times together; and sometimes neither has been mutually exclusive but often one in the same. The good times have made us happy. The bad times have made us what we are.

We know each other better than we know ourselves and none of us would fear any of the others writing our obituaries. We are men now seasoned, tested with challenges met and overcome, survivors; great and good with hearts of gold kept open on purpose. Winners all to be sure; yet not one of us are like the others; we celebrate our natural abilities and accept each other with our faults.

We are not a cult of personality but men who must be who we are; wanting to do something more than be something; the latter a recent fascination of social media, Facebook and Reality TV. We are men who admire character; not fame or acclaim or popularity for its own sake but un-cynical believers in the karma of right livelihood.   

We no longer audition since self promotion feels too much like bad form. Brando did not audition; the Lion does not either. The Lions audition is walking into the room and all who know see; for the things we think are instinctively known by the cognoscenti, charisma and charm are not a foreign thing nor are they shunned. But the greater attribute, what is prized above all else, is authenticity. We are men not motivated by celebrity or recognition but rather forged by lending steeled voices and actions toward those things we each think greater than ourselves.

The only invincible men are in the movies. The rest of us are simply mortal. Russell Crowe’s stoic Gladiator philosopher Marcus Aurelius said “It is royal to do good and be abused”. In the end he fell to evil and like all great men is remembered as an inspiration to the value of heart and spirit; often shown more by how we fall than by how we live.

No one can win all the time. Even great men fail and fall. But as Marcus posited; “what we do in life echoes in eternity”. This may well feel like cold comfort but in the end it is all we have. How we fail and fall and how many times we raise again matters.

The cowardly Roman Emperor Commodus slew Marcus and for evermore throughout the ages the code of pride and honor and dignity Marcus exemplified is revered and emulated and arouse the hearts and souls of men; guideposts of how to live a great life, while Commodus’ name is assigned to the bowl we all use daily, the commode. 

In Willy Shakes “The Lion in Winter”, his telling of one Christmas during the reign of Henry II, as the King prepares to kill his sons the Princes, one fearfully says “I will not beg”. The other Prince says “you fool, do you think it matters how a man falls?” The first Prince retorts “when the falling is all that is left; it matters a great deal”.

My friend awaits a billionaire angel, now en-route to meet him, in the hope that the whale will gobble up his labor of love and righteously promote and advance his life’s work; a vocation, not trying to be something but to do something; something great, and bring well deserved redemption.

I visited him yesterday to break bread and imagine together what wonders may await. As I ponder the excitement and the possibilities now just a hairbreadth away that must be coursing through his dreams I know if the stars align in his favor and he shall be victorious his talent and empathy will guide his assent to majestic heights.

But if he should fail and fall I trust his character will absorb the body blow of yet another false promise and he will rise up again; unbent and unashamed, secure in the worth of his path, to fight the good fight once again. Should he win, altruistic, I have no doubt he will spread his fortune far and wide. Should he lose I trust his character will sustain the heavens falling and his pride and dignity and honor, built these many decades brick by brick, something no man can take away, will not be laid asunder.

As I think about this; the knowledge that he is out there, alone, on the ragged edge, where angels fear to tread, burning and flying, yet calm in the center of the vortex of one more tornado, awaiting fate, my will demands it spirit him to OZ. And it is this thought that causes my heart to soar like a Hawk. 

An Event Psychological

When you reach a certain age you don’t expect to meet anything you’ve not already experienced to one degree of another; not much can happen that turns your head or shakes your soul. You figure there’s nothing you haven’t seen or heard or experienced. I thought so. I was wrong.

It’s Sunday night at 6pm and I’m relaxed in my power recliner for the premier of HBO’s vampire series “True Blood”. It’s blaring out from my TV screen when I hear a shout over the din of the TV and the tires singing on the highway from the busses and cars outside my open window; and then another scream. I can’t make out the words except for the plethora of “fucks”. A minute passes and the voice interrupts again; this time with more vigor; sustained now; constant. A man is shouting in obvious distress; not from a physical assault it seems but out of frustration, anger and desperation.

The voice builds to a shattering crescendo of cymbals. It sounds like one of the various homeless lunatics we let wander our streets at night and howl at some imagined unknown affront. This begins a fifteen minute shouting tirade that becomes more desperate and anguished. His is the sound of a man whose heart is breaking; shattering; dissolving. He is begging someone to “stop lying”.

Once the noise reaches the greatest octave possible for the vocal chords of a human being I imagine the pain and suffering he is expressing to be beyond his capacity to endure. I have never heard a human being in such a grand mal seizure of grief, sorrow, misery and woe. He is wrenching up a Christ on the cross suffering serenade. It’s clear now from the screaming guttural cries that he is having a total psychotic breakdown. He is over the abyss, in the tube, five by five, tumbling and diving straight into hell and screaming bloody murder all the way down. Wild dingoes are eating his soul.

In the apartheid prison in South Africa, 3,000 African and 37 of my fellow European inmates, overheard, over a period of six months, three executions by hanging. The government was murdering convicted “terrorists”. The entire population were locked in our cells for the hour it took for the hangman to enter the prison in his pickup truck, set the noose, release the trap door, nail the coffin shut and drive away and we heard every bit of it since the silence these events created made a pin dropping sound like a sonic boom.

Two or three days before the deed the prisoner was locked in a tower on the prison grounds not unlike the Tower of London where the condemned await their fated neck tie party. Knowing they were to be stretched and dispatched with a quick sharp pain and would be no more, having no loved ones present to give moral support, the condemned would scream, shriek and bawl; a sickening prolonged howling conjured from the final fear of a highly organized death march.

That constant soul quaking noise was interrupted periodically by guards that either beat or drugged the victim with Thorazine or both which temporarily stopped the sickening lamentations. The language emanating from these lost souls was foreign to me and when I asked my mates what was being said it was always the same. The terrified dead men wailing were crying out for their mothers. It was a sound I would not want to hear again. The damned begged for prolonged life. Sunday night man was begging for that quick sharp pain. He was already dying.  

His sounds were worse; much worse. The condemned knew they were soon to be no more but the victim weeping Sunday night sent forth the primal guttural wale’s of a man who knew he must live with his torment. I never heard a human being make such unworldly sounds like this before; maximum torment; torture.

When I realized the grief-stricken pain was coming from my next door neighbors house just 20 feet from my chair I listened to make sure his distress was purely emotional. Had I determined he was in danger I would have dressed, maybe grabbed my pistol and went over there to ask; can I help? But this was something else; something emotional. I thought it must be some variation of love lost; either by the news of an actual death of a treasured loved one or the loss of a woman he believed he could not live without.

At some point every man and maybe every woman, though I doubt women experience emotional pain in the same way men do, reach a point in life where they lose all hope and facing an overwhelming cataclysm find themselves completely alone staring into the abyss to find nothing stating back a them. It is at that moment that, hopefully, they find their character; and that is what keeps them out of the abyss.

The cops showed up and waited on the porch until a giant guy with a pensive shocked look on his faced pulled up and bolted up the stairs and then the cops split. He was safe from their clutches but this damaged brother was well past any saving. He was gone, no longer human, falling headlong at twice the speed of gravity completely despondent, doomed and beyond the earthly plane where the milk of human kindness could touch him. He will be forever damaged by this event and I doubt he will make it.

I’m an emotive guy myself but felt my feelings cheap when I heard the sounds of a man who cared more about a thing than I would ever care about anything. It was likely a woman who made him this despondent, this desperate. It was Eve that took out Adam, Cleopatra that wasted Mark Anthony and Virginia Hill that ruined Benny Siegel and Whitey Bulger would still be sunning in San Monica if not for a woman, so I’m leaning that way.

You can die from any kind of excess; drinking too much water will kill you; breathing too much air will do the same. It’s the survivors that know when to quit. No matter what attachments we gain; if you want to survive this Passion Play you’ve got to have nothing you can’t walk away from in thirty seconds flat; if you feel the heat of hell around the corner.

Empire of the Damned

“One hell of a way to spend Easter Last words of Jesus Christ – Sam Stone – John Prine

We passed the bag that held the bottle as the waves crashed on the sparse sands of Shoreline Park. It’s Good Friday tomorrow and a Full Moon occurs; an emotional time, a time of romance, fertilization, and relationships so the star gazers say. The Oakland night is eerie damp and cold and the wind sends the travelers in search of shelter. Like planets in their own orbits they revolve around each other without ever intersecting, inhabiting a circle of solitude, clueless, rudderless, warped and unborn; the starving class.

They couldn’t figure out the jumps from being born to growing up to dropping bombs to having kids; derailed men with empathy killed off;  lost men standing outside homes and watching the normal people move around inside the warm sacred rooms. The night pulls their own indistinguishable family experiences out of them.

How often have I wondered where these homeless brothers go; down in some hidden valley where their sorrow can not show; this dramatic nether world peopled with derelict, disappointed somnambulist; feral thieves burned out and displaced who dream of returning to families they too once had, now wandering, shivering in the harsh elements alone, their fierce refusal to reject their decisions has left them venting demons, allegories of mutilated love; their impoverishment is psychological, their crime pathological carelessness. They live where love is unavailable and hatred the only form of intimacy; in desperate retreat from a legacy of self-destruction, enraptured with the unexamined life too tragic to contemplate drowned out in a sea of cheap red wine.  

These unhooked souls form a kind of tribe of the living dead, deracinated men trying to escape a sense of shame that they only vaguely understand. They have receded long ago from family, from society and though drink and pills and powders, from themselves. Now they spend their nights agonized, alone, because they just didn’t fit in, living a life that is disappointing; suffering and looking for another one away from post war trauma, haunted, returned from their heroic victory devastated in some basic way that’s mysterious still, from dropping bombs and killing people that they couldn’t even see, never getting any real breaks, now in abject isolation in a man-made desert. Their lives are slight; the weight of their sorrow is not.