Noise

“For the most sensitive among us, sometimes the noise can just be too much.” – Jim Carrey – upon hearing of the death of Phillip Seymour Hoffman.

The cross city bus clamors out a murderous seasick solo backed by an orchestral scrum of whizzing internal combustion engines in uproarious brawl spewing invisible air and ear pollution death while begging for second gear; both instruments of audio-olfactory destruction, an offense to the ear and nose from landlocked personal space-ships bumper to bumper on the narrow streets of San Francisco’s North Beach neighborhood; all, along with the antique streetcars sing out a cacophony of noise so disturbing I had to hold the phone, physically 1,500 miles away from the action, six inches from my ear.

Our story’s hero Jeff is laboring, careening up and down intensely inclined ski sloop streets chasing said bus while he screams into his cell phone at me “Man, the first thing you’d notice if you came back is the noise”. I tell him he’s preaching to the choir. The air in my environs of northern Wisconsin is so calm I can hear the sound of autumn leaves rustling along the well-kept lawns and iridescent blue birds singing their daily arias.

Writers flood into big cities, whether they know it or not, to be uncomfortable; since like the late, great Charles Bukowski opined “no one comfortable ever wrote anything worth a damn”. The city is life on steroids; it’s intensity keeping us all tense. The boulevard is a raging river of humanity and sometimes inhumanity. There is rarely a shortage of stimuli upon which to opine. Here the writers cup runneth over.

Our hero confides he’s been reaching back into his past to make that connection that sooner or later, sooner I think for some of us given recent societal developments, we all eventually make; that DNA linked memory to our roots. Jeff is currently covered by a warm blanket; surrounded by like-minded west coast social justice warriors – yet when looking back over his shoulder in contemplation of revisiting comrades from his mid-western past; he is floored, repulsed and catatonic over the addiction he sees in his childhood pals adherence to the new ersatz fascism; the redneck noise that is Trumpism.

In the same way it’s nearly impossible to escape the noise coming at us all like a Chinese parade, from eight different directions all at once; it’s the same for our natural inclination to decipher the content and arrange it in some assemblage of bite-size order. Is it as it seems? Is the new avalanche of information overwhelming our capacity to upload, sort-out and categorize it’s meaning and importance so we might get a handle on our collective future?

It can’t only be me and our hero who, overwhelmed by the noise, wish solace in heeding the wise voices from our past. Timothy Leary’s advise was “tune-in, turn-on and drop out.” Or the angelic voices of groovy guru of the day who suggest wandering in an open field for mindfulness training. Or the Birkenstocks environmentalist who insist we head back to nature and hug a tree; or the mental spiritualist that whisper meditation is the key. Maybe the best of them are the Tantra yogi’s who claim sexual pleasure is the way in and out; that the answer is a bit more of the old in and out. Being a hedonist myself I tend to flow in this direction.

Yet, with escape valves in place in case of overload and prayers to the universe for guidance, I can’t help myself wanting to sort through the noise and discover, like a pathfinder, which direction to point; for myself and others. The Stoics posited that the philosopher left the cave, examined the outside world and returned to tell the others of the joys and dangers outside the cave.

Now they’re be a noble and heroic cause; to be a fearless scout in the face of unknown dangers; to be a trailblazer for the greater good in a quest to report, interpret and transmit the findings. The conundrum seems to be we can’t translate through the noise to know what’s coming if we disengage from it.

In the end I’m left perplexed. Shall we try to make a path through the noise though we fear not knowing the answers and fear worse not even understanding the questions? Are we all just like our hero; wishing to be heroes; but succumbing to the dictates of surviving the day and reach for the safety and sanity of just catching that bus? #rednecknoise #Stoics #Trumpism #CharlesBukowski

Addicts

” Your heart sweats, your body aches, another kiss; is what it takes” – Addicted to Love – Robert Palmer Prowling junkies came a’ cruisin’ last night, sifting scented debris, rummaging tipped trash can detritus in the setting sun; their black bear bellies growling with gnawing hunger. The carnage set right as the sun burned through the sky, your angel face fused in billowing cotton candy clouds, an ember glowing in the dawn. Secreting my treasured image, sleepwalking through first light a grateful somnambulist; I give the day away. As dark gathers into the sky wings of light grow dim and die. Purple dusk fades to orange blush revealing dark armies of pointed spruce in the shadows; my mood wistful in these hours when hearts are naked. A little fog drifts over the lake hanging like gauze, mixing with the chimney smoke that ties the roofs to the heavens; a fine smell of burning pine wood fills the crystal air. The light is holy tonight; set free from a candle brought from Chinatown in San Francisco. I astral plane home lying ’round with friends left; chivalrous Knights beautiful and wise; the good they did in thoughts and wild deeds live on, echoing, keeping sneers from lips of sour scholars. Men and women from which came sweetness, joy and philanthropy and in the end mystic sorrow. When I left the talisman was lost. Nomadic transformation, peripatetic metamorphosis from that place to this, my path now marked by twinkling stars in northern hemispheres; walking under stony skies; burning steps ricocheting, reverberating and resonating in this sacred and sublime wilderness. Hard days came and went; some froze in place, some hide in terror, some ran away; some spread their wings and soared like eagles; finding wisdom not to fear shadows in the night; courage when days of danger truly dawn. Unselfish love was our pulse; gifted without a price. The more we practiced it, especially in the face of withering indifference and rejection, the richer and greater we became. I saw your apparition tonight while surfing the carnival; the ghost of the girl kissed on the tilt-a-whirl. The love struck aroma of home-made banana bread baking like the scent from the nape of your neck carries me home. Your wild calls throwing caution to the wind; massaging needle marks from main-lining your memory pounding in my marrow. Till the sky falls down and I dream again and it ends in you and me; how I’ll wish you were here.