Saturday, May 29, 2010

The Prince of Pop

When I got my first television set, I stopped caring so much about having close relationships.

They always say time changes things, but you actually have to change them yourself.

I think having land and not ruining it is the most beautiful art that anybody could ever want to own.

I suppose I have a really loose interpretation of "work," because I think that just being alive is so much work at something you don't always want to do. The machinery is always going. Even when you sleep.

I try to think of what time is and all I can think is.... Time is, time was.

I never understood why when you died, you didn't just vanish, everything could just keep going on the way it was only you just wouldn't be there. I always thought I'd like my own tombstone to be blank. No epitaph, and no name. Well, actually, I'd like it to say 'figment.'

I like boring things.

I have Social Disease. I have to go out every night. If I stay home one night I start spreading rumors to my dogs.

Fantasy love is much better than reality love. Never doing it is very exciting.

Love and sex can go together and sex and unlove can go together and love and unsex can go together. But personal love and personal sex is bad.

Everyone will be famous for 15 minutes.

Dying is the most embarrassing thing that can ever happen to you, because someone's got to take care of all your details.

The symptom of love is when some of the chemicals inside you go bad. So there must be something in love because your chemicals do tell you something.

During the 1960s, I think, people forgot what emotions were supposed to be. And I don't think they've ever remembered.

Don't pay any attention to what they write about you. Just measure it in inches.

I used to think that everything was just being funny but now I don't know. I mean, how can you tell?

Everybody has a different idea of love. One girl I know said, "I knew he loved me when he didn't come in my mouth."

I'm afraid that if you look at a thing long enough, it loses all of its meaning.

I'm the type who'd be happy not going anywhere as long as I was sure I knew exactly what was happening at the places I wasn't going to. I'm the type who'd like to sit home and watch every party that I'm invited to on a monitor in my bedroom.

I've decided something: Commercial things really do stink. As soon as it becomes commercial for a mass market it really stinks.

If you want to know all about Andy Warhol, just look at the surface of my paintings and films and me, and there I am. There's nothing behind it.

Some people, even intelligent people, say that violence can be beautiful. I can't understand that, because beautiful is some moments, and for me those moments are never violent.

Isn't life a series of images that change as they repeat themselves?

It's the movies that have really been running things in America ever since they were invented. They show you what to do, how to do it, when to do it, how to feel about it, and how to look, how you feel about it.

America is really The Beautiful. But it would be more beautiful if everybody had enough money to live.

Once you 'got' Pop, you could never see a sign again the same way again. And once you thought Pop, you could never see America the same way again.

People need to be made more aware of the need to work at learning how to live because life is so quick and sometimes it goes away too quickly.

Death, I don't believe in it, because you're not around to know that it's happened. I can't say anything about it because I'm not prepared for it.

Sex is more exciting on the screen and between the pages than between the sheets.

The most exciting attractions are between two opposites that never meet.

The most exciting thing is not doing it. If you fall in love with someone and never do it, it's much more exciting.

Being born is like being kidnapped. And then sold into slavery.

In the 60's everybody got interested in everybody else.

Since people are going to be living longer and getting older, they'll just have to learn how to be babies longer.

People should fall in love with their eyes closed. Just close your eyes. Don't look.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Evil Empire

When we consider the morally bankrupt, devilish, over-sized, greedy and disproportionately powerful corporations we generally come up with corporations like Microsoft, Bechtel, AIG, Halliburton, Goldman-Sachs and Exxon-Mobil. Yet somehow, Monsanto, arguably the most devilish, over-sized, greedy and disproportionately powerful corporation in the world has somehow been able to disappear in a cloud of lies.

Monsanto has spent billions of dollars trying to depict itself as a visionary corporation, a world-historical force that is working to bring science and an environmentally responsible outlook to the solution of humanity's most pressing problems. Whether you are concerned about population growth, the future of agriculture, the quality of our food, or the health needs of the population, we are assured that Monsanto will find the answers.

But just who is Monsanto? Where did they come from? How did they get to be the world's second largest manufacturer of agricultural chemicals, one of the largest producers of seeds, and soon the largest seller of prescription drugs in the United States? Is Monsanto the "clean and green" company its advertisements promote, or is this new image merely a product of clever public relations? A quick look at their history reveals clues as to why Monsanto is known throughout the world as the most evil and unethical corporation on the planet today.

Founded by Missouri pharmacist John Francis Queeny in 1901, Monsanto is one of the world's largest chemical manufacturers and an agricultural giant that is indeed taking control of the world's population, one seed at a time. Just about every non-organic food product available to consumers has some sort of connection with Monsanto. Corn, soy and cotton can be found in just about every American food product and upwards of 90% of all corn, soybeans and cotton are grown from genetically engineered seeds, also known as genetically modified organisms (GMOs). These genetically enhanced products appear in around 70% of all American processed food products and Monsanto controls 90% of all genetically engineered seeds. In other words, Monsanto controls and owns patents on most of the American food supply.

Since the 1980s, Monsanto has become the world leader in genetic modification of seeds and has won 674 biotechnology patents, more than any other company. But Monsanto is not only patenting their own GMO seeds, they have also succeeded in slapping patents on a huge number of crop seeds, patenting life forms for the first time in history, without a vote of the people or Congress.

Farmers who buy Monsanto’s Roundup Ready seeds are required to sign an agreement promising not to save the seeds or sell them to other farmers. Farmers must buy new seeds every year, and they must buy them from Monsanto. Monsanto has actually hired an army of private investigators and agents to secretly videotape and photograph farmers that may attempt to reuse their seeds. These “seed police” as the farmers call them have infiltrated community meetings and attempted to pressure farmers into signing papers giving Monsanto access to their private records. Quite fittingly, farmers have described Monsanto’s tactics as similar to the “Gestapo” and “Mafia.”

Monsanto tries to pass itself off as an innovative agricultural company, when in reality they produced two of the most toxic substances ever known polychlorinated biphenyls and dioxin (Agent Orange). Monsanto may also be responsible for more than 50 Environmental Protection Agency Superfund sites ( uncontrolled hazardous waste sites), and they’re the masterminds behind some of the most dangerous products on the market today:

* Genetically modified crops (Monsanto provides the seeds for 90 percent of the world's GM crops)
* Fertilizers, herbicides and pesticides
* Aspartame
* Recombinant bovine somatotropin, or rBST, a genetically engineered growth hormone given to dairy cows to make them produce more milk

Monsanto has also considered using what’s known as terminator technology on a wide-scale basis. These are seeds that have been genetically modified to “self-destruct.” In other words, the seeds (and the forthcoming crops) are sterile, which means farmers must buy them again each year.Yet, most farmers cannot afford to buy new seeds every year, so collecting and replanting seeds is a crucial part of the agricultural cycle. This is the way food has been grown successfully for thousands of years.
Further, the traits from genetically engineered crops can get passed on to other crops. Once the terminator seeds are released into a region, the trait of seed sterility could be passed to other non-genetically-engineered crops, making most or all of the seeds in the region sterile. If allowed to continue, every farmer in the world could come to rely on Monsanto for their seed supply and this is not a company that you want in control of your food supply.

When you consider that one-in-four food labels is inaccurate, that the F.D.A.'s testing is weak at best, then how can we trust one corporation to have so much control over our produce? The answer is, we can't. Monsanto's Mon 863, Mon 810, and Roundup herbicide-absorbing NK 603 in corn caused kidney and liver damage in laboratory rats. Scientists also discovered damage to the heart, spleen, adrenal glands and even the blood of rats that consumed the mutant corn.

This hasn't slowed down Monsanto's profits thought, in 2008, Monsanto cleared over $2 billion in net profits on $11 billion in revenues. Its herbicide, glyphosate, alone is estimated to bring in a revenue of $1 billion in gross profit by 2012, enabling Monsanto to further drive herbicides into seeds and to price those seeds at a premium price, further driving price up on the farm and in the grocery stores which will be deadly for farmers who in 2009 saw their income decline 34%.

Because Monsanto claims that its GMOs create higher yields and therefore comparatively higher revenues per acre for struggling American farmers, they're certainly a tempting option. On the surface, that is. Monsanto controls its seeds with an iron fist, so even if you happen to own a farm next to another farm upon which Monsanto seeds are used, and if those seeds migrate onto your land, Monsanto can sue you for royalties.

Additionally, if you use seeds from crops grown from Monsanto seeds, a process known as "seed cleaning," you also have to pay royalties to Monsanto or they will sue you. Monsanto has recovered $15 million in royalties by suing farmers, with individual settlements ranging from five figures to millions of dollars each. But in keeping with the Orwellian nature of modern marketing, one of the first phrases you see on the front page of the Monsanto website is "we help farmers." Funny. In a cruelly ironical way, that is.

Stronger Monsanto herbicides, compatible with herbicide resistant seeds, are giving rise to mutant super weeds that have adapted and are rapidly spreading through the air to farms that don't use Monsanto GMOs, destroying obviously vulnerable crops. Say nothing of the inevitable mutant bugs that will adapt to the pesticides that are implanted into the Monsanto Mon 810 genetic code. And if further studies indicate similar organ damage in humans, the externalized costs to health care systems will begin to seriously out-weigh the benefits of this so called cheaper food.
On January 15, the Obama Justice Department launched an anti-trust investigation against the corporate behemoth over its next generation of genetically modified "Roundup Ready" soybean seeds. The very next day, the U.S. Supreme Court agreed to hear the case Monsanto v. Geertson Seed Farms, which challenges the safety of genetically modified agricultural products, the centerpiece of the Monsanto empire. If the investigation fails, farmers will have to switch over to the next generation of Roundup Ready seeds in 2014. And the cycle of corporate abuse and monopolization will continue.

Numberless Forms

I seem to have loved you in numberless forms, numberless times,
in life after life, in age after age forever.
My spell-bound heart has made and remade the necklace of songs
that you take as your gift, wear round your neck in your many forms
in life after life, in age after age forever.

Whenever I hear old chronicles of love, its age-old pain,
its ancient tale of being apart or together,
as I stare on and on into the past, in the end you emerge
clad in the light of a pole-star piercing the darkness of time:
you become an image of what is remembered forever.

You and I have floated here on the stream that brings from the fount
at the heart of time love of one for another.
We have played alongside millions of lovers, shared in the same
shy sweetness of meeting, the same distressful tears of farewell--
old love, but in shapes that renew and renew forever.

Today it is heaped at your feet, it has found its end in you,
the love of all man's days both past and forever:
universal joy, universal sorrow, universal life,
the memories of all loves merging with this one love of ours--
and the songs of every poet past and forever.

~Rabindranath Tagore (1861-1941)

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Tantric Buddhism

There are an infinite number of paths available to us which can ultimately lead us to enlightenment. Of these innumerable paths, tantra is often considered the highest form of self actualization because of its ability to interconnect and unite all forms of reality, to mingle the physical world with the spiritual. No longer separated they become an integral part of one another.

Tantra is a diverse and rich spiritual tradition that deals with deep meditations, rituals and symbols. Tantric Buddhism is known as Vajrayana and is represented by a vajra and the ghanta, a bell. The vajra represents the masculine: skillful means and compassion. The bell represents the feminine: wisdom, emptiness, and nirvana. Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud believed that symbols such as these could be used to access our sub-conscious, the parts of our mind that are kept hidden from us: symbols as a means to transform the mind.

Tantric symbols use sexual polarity to symbolize the twin concepts of insight and compassion. All goddesses are symbols of insight while the gods represent compassion. The union of compassion and insight symbolizes a non-polarized state of being or the mind of enlightenment, which is represented visually by showing two deities engaged in sexual union.

Tantric Buddhism views the body and sense experience as sources of knowledge and power. Tantrics believe the body to be the abode of bliss and affirm that desire, sexuality, and pleasure should be embraced on the path to enlightenment. Moods of exuberant delight, graceful sensuousness, and reciprocity characterize the sculpted and painted couples. They exult in an open and unashamed affirmation of sensuality in a religious context.
The process of enlightenment with Tantra is realized when the senses, the emotions, and the intellect are cultivated and brought to their highest levels, so that our deepest memories and responses are awakened and converted once more into the pure energy from which they originated. Tantra realizes the continuous connection between all human states and conditions, this realization is brought about by using more than eight million tantric mudras and their combination's in meditation as well as advanced sexual postures. Our deepest feelings and pleasures become the raw material for our transcendence into enlightenment.

Tantra asserts that, instead of suppressing the power of visions and passion they should be cultivated and made use of. Because sensation and emotion are the most powerful human forces they should not be suppressed, but harnessed toward the ultimate goal. Properly channeled they can provide an unparalleled source of energy to the individual, as well as society, by transforming them into enhanced expressions of love and passion.

Tantric Buddhism teaches that all these natural forces can be tied back in to the greatest power in the universe, love. Love is the pure expression of compassion, and this universal compassion is the ultimate social virtue... some would even call it god.

My I Love You

I am your sunny day
you are my rain
I am your heart
you are my brain

I am your coffee
you are my tea
I am your desert
you are my sea

I am your audience
you are my clown
I am your jumping up
you are my falling down

I am your ice cream
you are my licorice
I am your dandelion
you are my first wish

I am your sky
you are my deep
I am your open arms
you are my running leap

I am your way home
you are my new path
I am your smile
you are my laugh

I am your finish line
you are my race
I am your praying hands
you are my saving grace

I am your favorite book
you are my new lines
I am your nightlight
you are my starshine

I am your lullaby
you are dream
I am your kiss goodnight
you are my everything

I am your hello
you are my adieu
I am your best friend
you are my I love you

Monday, May 24, 2010

My Inspiration

My great-aunt May has always been one of my favorite poets. She met with presidents, rubbed elbows with celebrities and was friends with Robert Frost. She was the free spirited black sheep of the family that everyone loved but no one understood. May lived for writing, she felt it was the only way that she could truly express herself. Her poems are filled with relish for nature and her knowing symphony with wild creatures. May rejected religion in place of a knowledgeable awareness of the world that she perceived through science and logic. Her descriptive power and her ability to make us see objects sharply and in new ways made her a poet unlike all the rest.

May was obsessed with cognitive abilities, physics, and frequently wrote of atoms, swarming particles and the cosmos. She believed that nothing was independent and nothing could possibly know itself. She said that the universe and reality could only be known through an interplay or dialogue between the perceiver and the world.

About the poetic experience May wrote, " I see it based in a craving to get through the curtains of things as they appear, to things as they are, and then into a larger, wilder space of things as they are becoming". This sentence and the following poem represent not only the drama and passion that is May Swenson's poetry, but mine as well.

Not able to be honest in person
I wish to be honest in poetry.
Speaking to you, eye to eye, I lie
because I cannot bear
to be conspicuous with the truth.
Saying it, all of it, would be
taking off my cloths.
I would forfeit my most precious properties:
distance, secrecy, privacy.
I would be exposed. And I would be
possessed. It would be an entire
surrender to you, eye to eye.
You would examine me too closely.
You would handle me.
All your eyes would swarm me.
Whether you are one or two or many
it is the same. Really, I feel as if
one pair of eyes were a whole hive.
So I lie, eye to eye
by leaving the core of things unvoiced
or else by offering a dummy
in place of myself.

One must be honest somewhere. I wish
to be honest in poetry.
With the written word.
Where I can say and cross out
and say over and say around
and say on top of and say in between
and say in symbol, in riddle,
in double meaning, under masks
of any feature, in the skins
of every creature.
And in my own skin, naked.
I am glad, indeed I dearly crave
to become naked in poetry, to force the truth
through the poem
which, when it is made, if real,
not a dummy, tells me
and then you
my whole self,
the truth.

A poem by May Swenson

Sunday, May 23, 2010


I asked the moon,
to tell me the secret,
behind her luminous light.

She told me she shone,
for her verboten lover,
the sun of noonday bright.

I asked the stars,
to share the joy,
of lighting the moonlit sky.

They recounted to me,
the story of time,
and endless years gone by.

I asked the sky,
to show me his dreams,
of the world that lay below.

He spoke of the movements,
of texture and color,
of existences continuous flow.

I asked the night,
to show me the mystery,
behind his blackened veil.

He uttered the secrets,
that humanity keeps,
the entire inscrutable tale.

I asked the wind,
what drives the passion,
that enlivens her to breathe.

She whispered of unions,
infinite threads of existence,
the lives that interweave.

I ask myself,
who I am,
and what I will become.

I am the joyous enigma,
the paradoxical lover,
the passionate dreamer,
of songs yet unsung...

Friday, May 21, 2010

The Sacred Prostitute

Aphrodite is the Greek goddess of love, beauty, sex appeal and fertility. She was born from the foam of the sea. When Cronos emasculated his father, Uranus, the blood drops that fell into the sea generated the goddess. The Zephyr gently blew and pushed her to the shore of the island of Cyprus, where she was received and dressed by the Graces, then taken to Mount Olympus. She is the embodiment of both her father's cynicism and his phallic sexual imperative. Aphrodite represents the uniting of feminine and masculine energies through sexual union.

Aphrodite’s origins pre-date the ancient Greeks. She is said to be older than Time. An even more ancient deity exhibiting more aspects than love and beauty, she can also be recognized as Astarte or Ishtar. Her origins were Babylonian and Sumerian. Her domain embraced all the natural world, animal and human. She is a multi-faceted goddess, her powers were associated with fertility and growth, harvesting of crops, birth, life, love, death and fate. She was also worshiped as the sacred ‘prostitute’.

The breath of the west wind bore her
Over the sounding sea,
Up from the delicate foam,
To wave ringed Cyprus, her isle.
And the Hours golden-wreathed
Welcomed her joyously.
They clad her in raiment immortal,
and brought her to the gods.
Wonder seized them all as the saw
Violet-crowned Cytherea."

She is the pure erotic impulse, libido, imagination, fertility and fruitfulness. She can manifest as artistic and aesthetic inspiration and the desire to give birth to something remarkable. She is associated with nakedness, courtship and lovemaking. By personifying a transcendent image of the seduction of mortals by a goddess, Aphrodite mediates feelings of immortality to the human from the divine.This is the oceanic experience of timelessness in orgasm.

She joins nature and culture by using love as an art form. Her well practiced skills are continually complemented by her attitudes, sentiments, and moral values. She promotes a lifestyle which declares boldly that we should take our fill of love, where and with whomever we desire. On a very practical level, Aphrodite is embodied in aphrodisiacs and their effects. Aphrodite is an enchanting sexual fantasy. Her allurement is nearly universal.

Hail Aphrodite
Maiden born of the Sea
She Who Shines Brightly
Ever Luminous Morning Star
Radiant Goddess of Feminine Beauty
Mistress of the Maiden's Sensual Allure
Eternal Venus of Beauty & Grace
Dancer in the Light, of every Woman's Eye
The Maiden Who lives within Mother & Crone
Feminine Sensuality Eternally Re-born in Woman

There are pleasures and dangers in her enchanting attentions. Aphrodite inspires a compelling, subjective state. Euripides called love the "breathes of Aphrodite." She seeks intimacy and touching of the most private aspects of our lives. Aphrodite was said to be as beautiful as sunlight on the sea and wherever she stepped, flowers sprang up and the air smelled as sweet as spring. she was a creature who craved loved and passion and thus she spent all of her extra time flirting and making love. She is attracted to creative men and engages with them as their

She possesses the type of allure and beauty which produced classic romances, the Queen of Sheba, Delilah, Cleopatra, and Helen of Troy embodied many of Aphrodite's qualities. She brings life's mystery with her, and mortals can never possess her fully. She appeals to men through reflecting on their personal anima, using seduction, flattery and inspiration. She awakens a man's perception of latent talents. She embodies the dual capacity to delight and lead astray. She can awaken not only desire, but also resignation and despair. She appeals to him consciously and subconsciously. She can be a physical, intellectual, or spiritual companion simultaneously.

With little or no regard for the future, her perception of time is discontinuous as is those under her influence, her lovers feel "suspended in time." Therefore, each moment must be experienced anew, irrespective of past commitments or consequences. Duration is not valued as highly as the experience. Importance is attached to the intensity of sensations and gratification. The sense of search and urgency for freedom compel Aphrodite to new affairs. She's a free spirit, at all times spontaneously realizing her whims.

Aphrodite not only engenders, but enlarges life. She possessed an empathetic and sympathetic relation or connection with others. She experiences the world through the same portal as the person she communes with, allowing her to understand the way that they make sense of reality. She is the Erotica and the fantasy lover of any whose imagination she stimulates.

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Written on the Body

Time that withers you will wither me. We will fall like ripe fruit and roll down the grass together. Dear friend, let me lie beside you watching the clouds until the earth covers us and we are gone.
~Jeanette Winterson

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Fencing the Commons

Before industrialization brought about capitalism and capitalism brought about privatization, society believed that the land was not something to be owned but something to be cherished and cared for. The earth was held in common and we viewed private ownership of land as a sin against God because this earth was his creation and we were mere stewards of it. Towns set aside small plots of land for the building of houses but the rest of the land, the tangible and intangible aspects of the environment, the "commons", were to be taken care of and enjoyed by the community as a whole.The commons created a collectivist community that not only grew food together and cared for livestock together but also brought the people together to create strong community bonds based on interdependence and cooperation. Towns were self-sustainable and since the townspeople depended on each other and the land to survive, their existence depended upon their connection to one another and their understanding of the health and needs of the earth that sustained them. Sharing land in common built strong families and strong communities.

In the early 19th century American farming communities were confronted with a new alternative, factories. In the spirit of the Industrial Revolution Henry Ford dreamt of an unbroken line of human laborers acting as cogs in a machine to manufacture goods in the most efficient and profitable manner possible. Ford broke the craft of building products into constituent parts and highly skilled mechanics who used to take pride in their creations found themselves turned into mere assemblers, reduced to performing a limited set of tasks. Instead of craftsman people were delegated the task of tightening a bolt or fastening a single rivet while being timed with stopwatches, thousands of times everyday.
By 1910, these once-independent craftsmen refused to accept what they experienced as the mind-numbing and degrading division of their labor and began to walk off the job. They registered their revulsion at this systematic destruction of their knowledge and skill and walked off the job in droves, calling Henry Ford a slave driver. It was apparent that the Ford Motor Co. had reached the point of owning a great factory without having enough workers to keep it running. For the year 1913 alone, the employee turnover rate reached 380 percent. So great was labor’s distaste for the new machine system that toward the close of 1913 every time the company wanted to add 100 men to its factory personnel, it was necessary to hire 963 of them.

What was Henry Ford to do? All these new factories and no one willing to sell their freedom and alienate themselves from their families and land. What do you do when people refuse to sell the most precious and intimate parts of themselves, their very identity, refuse to be purchased like an object and used like a machine? The answer was simple, privatize the commons and take away their livelihood. Industrialization was the means and capitalism the ends. Sell off the public lands and create property taxes, making it impossible for communities to self-sustain.
An industrial empire blossomed, one that was bent on the conquest of the earth's goods. Ford's terrific effort to manufacture wealth prevailed and brought upon society a deadly conflict, one that deprived it of life itself. The conflict is a war between technology and the ordinary human functions of living. Human inventions turned humans into inanimate objects creating a moral and spiritual suicide. Without the commons people had no choice, they were forced to sell their dignity and their humanity in order to care for their families. Families and communities were torn asunder. Fathers went off to the factorizes working 12 hour days, no longer able to parent their own children. Children left the home in search for work elsewhere. Traditional values such as cooperation gave way to competition as people were forced to compete for jobs that they never wanted.

Our culture and politics are intrinsically tied to our economic system and an economic system that turns people into objects that can be replaced, separates and pits people against one another, treats the earth and her people as nothing more than a means to make a profit. Capitalism works like a dog chasing its own tail, one can never have enough money or objects in their lives - in other words insatiable desire is programmed directly into Capitalism. Possibly the biggest problem created by Capitalism, however, is that in order for money to be made a product must be sold to someone willing to buy it. Mass production compounds this problem by producing vast quantities of a given product, requiring vast numbers of buyers. In order to solve these problems the upper crust of America, Henry Ford and his compatriots, decided that they needed to make the populace to be dissatisfied with their lives and to convince them that satisfaction could only be found by purchasing the very same products they were working so hard to create. In a capitalistic society contentment with one's life and circumstance, formerly a virtue, become a dirty word. Capitalism reveres the pursuit of happiness while vilifying anyone who dares to be happy with their life the way it is. The lives and the communities of the agrarians were forever changed, their relationships with the land and with one another lost to the sands of time, and all because the suck of the others is so unreservedly gluttonous.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

~Rain Dance~

We dance in the rain,
Under the light of the moon,
It falls down in rhythm,
As it sings us a tune.

We sway through the raindrops,
Touching bare feet to land,
Your breath on my neck,
As we dance hand and hand.

You whisper sweet nothings,
As gently we sway,
Your hands search my body,
You sweep me away.

We pretend that we're lovers,
Under the darkness of night,
Escaping the world,
Till we see morning light.

Time seems to stand still,
We're locked in embrace,
We fall to the ground,
As my lips find your face.

Your wet kisses on my skin,
You whisper my name,
And to think it all started
With a dance in the rain.

Monday, May 17, 2010

The Compound

What started over a year ago as a joke between close friends has now turned into into something that we're all committed to see through to fruition. "The Compound" as we so lovingly refer to it as, has become a lifeline that many of us hold up as the light at the end of the tunnel as we wade through college, jobs and the mind numbing existence that is life in modern America today. In an effort to better prepare for our future life many of us have been looking in to the communal living experiments that have taken place over the past 50 years in order to learn from their successes and failures. The main objective of communal living since the 1960s has been to repersonalize a society, making person to person relations the core of existence to promote greater intimacy and fuller human development. By rejecting the established order on which capitalism rests, competitiveness and production is replaced by unity and cooperative work. In communes people pool their resources and work together instead of against one another because an emphasis is no longer placed on competing for material goods, but instead on friendship and family.When people find out our communal plans they tend to attack it with their preconceptions of what a commune would represent. More often then not images such as drugs and free love associated with the 1960s are visualized. Many people assume that we are Lenin-style Communists, cult members or free-love druggies. In actuality, communes have existed since history has been recorded. For example, the Puritans who settled in the Massachusetts Bay Colony may have been one of the first utopian communities in the United States. In the late 1960s more than 2,000 communes were formed in the US.
Communal life idealizes social unity and maintains that humanness exists only in intimate and collective life. The commune that we envision would be referred to as a "service" or "intentional" commune in which people pool resources and agree to live a certain way with a motivating philosophy. The primary tenant of a commune is anti-materialism, not having any more than is needed in order for there to be enough to go around the world. It is our belief that it is wrong that some people own 5 million dollar houses while others don't have enough to eat. We are each committed to vegetarian and veganism because we recognize that there would be more food to go around the world and far less environmental degradation if people ate green instead of livestock. More importantly we reject speciesism and recognize that we are all Earthlings, humans and animals alike, sharing the same planet and struggles of life side by side. We believe that neither one has the right to harm the other for their own purposes, especially when the killing of animals is not only entirely unnecessary but harmful to all.When communes first became popular in the late 1960s and early 1970s it was due to a rejection of capitalism and a desire to return to the basics.It was groups of people who believed in sharing and dividing everything on the basis of one's needs. People started communes in rual areas, seeking a return to the land that they had been alienated from. Through agriculture, communes became more self-sufficient, not having to rely on outside income as much. The growing of food gave a feeling of accomplishment, a connection with each other and with the land. In this way people found a sense of unity with one another and the land. Industrialization boomed after World War II causing the economy to flourish. Many of the young people who grew up during this prosperous time expressed feelings of estrangement, isolation, impersonalization. While their parents were focused on material accumulation after having grown up during the Great Depression, young people felt there was something missing in their lives, a void that needed to be filled. Advances in technology which produced both the atomic bomb and television, made people feel detached from their environment, they felt that they were not in control of it, too far removed from it, and beyond understanding it. Even when it came to food, people felt detached from it or alienated from the process which produced it.It was also because of television coverage of the Vietnam War that people for the first time were actually able to view the consequences of warfare. The My Lai Massacre, for example, vividly showed American troops slaughtering an entire village -men, women and children. There were reports of American soldiers raping women and displaying other barbaric behavior. The print media allowed young people to communicate to other young people. Several underground periodicals devoted specifically to the "get back to the land" ideal were important to the development of the rural commune movement. Along with the prosperity resulting from post World War II, there grew an emphasis on education. Young people had more leisure, education, and security than any previous generation, providing them with the opportunity to question the established order and reflect on alternative options.
Probably the single most potent contributor to the communal movement was the political disruption and what was viewed as hypocrisy of the system during the 1960s. Although the majority of the American people were against the Vietnam war, it still dragged on. Many felt it was hypocritical to claim to be a democratic nation when our President continued a policy that was not supported by the people. Because of Watergate President Nixon had to resign from office and the assassination of those with new ideals such as President John F. Kennedy, Bobby Kennedy, and Dr. Martin Luther King shocked the country and resulted in many viewing the actions as reflecting a moral deterioration of the United States. Furthermore, the violent break up of political protest resulting in the killing of four students at Kent State University, the deaths of two black students in Jackson, and the assassination of the of Black Panthers leadership, further lead to the disillusionment of young people.
It was the combination of industrialization, technological advancement, prosperity and materialism, political disillusionment, and moral decay that brought people from all around the United States together to flee to rural utopian communes in attempt to escape the Establishment and take control of their own physical, cultural and spiritual environment. In our day and age with technology advancing at a mind spinning rate, it is increasing the potential for further alienation of people from the land and from other people as well. As a result of technological advancement, our economy has moved toward corporate production so much that the small family operated business is becoming a scarcity today. For example, with every new K-mart, Walmart, Shopko, and Target the small town feeling is becoming less personalized. Another example would be the disappearing small farmer due to competition with agribusiness.
We believe that when people are removed from their means to make a living and forced to work as a commodity for a big corporation, the mechanical and impersonal conditions result in alienation, personal dissatisfaction, and a loss of dignity and sense of purpose and with the turn toward Republicanism we see harsher conditions for the working class and a widening the gap between the "have's" and "have not's" and with this widening gap even more crime and social problems will befall the U.S. We believe that communal life is about justice, sincerity, honesty, humanity, and peace. Communes teach us to rethink the status quo, question authority, and stand up for what is right. It is here that we wish to raise our children and live in peace with each other and the land which gives us life.

"You that hide behind walls
You that hide behind desks
I just want you to know
I can see through your masks...

"You fasten all the triggers
For others to fire
Then you sit back and watch
While the death count gets higher

"You hide in your mansion
As young people's blood
Flows out of their bodies
And is buried in the mud...

"I think you will find
When your death takes its toll
All the money you made
Will never buy back your soul."

~Bob Dylan~

Suggested readings

Mary Kay Blakely, Living On The Land
Richard Fairfield, The Modern Utopian
Geaorge Fitzgerald, Communes: Their Goals, Hopes, and Problems
Rosabeth Kanter, Commitment and Community: Communes and Utopias in Sociological Perspective
Edward Morgan, The 60s Experience: Hard Lessons about Modern America
Betsy Streisand, Creating An Instant Extended Family
Rachel Meunier, The Farm: Communal Living in the Late 60's and early '70's

Sunday, May 16, 2010

~Lucid Dreaming~

"To die, to sleep; To sleep, perchance to dream. Ay, there's the rub:
For in that sleep of death what dreams may come"
~ Hamlet, William Shakespeare

I always thought that dreaming was nothing more than living on a different scale of consciousness for a time. As a child I adored lucid dreaming, it made me feel powerful, I had the ability, even if just for a short time, to know two levels of consciousness at the same time. I felt like a sorceress with magical powers.

In sleep, mental consciousness continues on, only in a more subtle way. Every so often you have that amazing feeling in a dream, the overwhelming feeling of having a real flesh and bone body. Most of us can't remember dreams , we can't recall the moments we fall asleep nor the moments we awaken. Lucid dreaming is the ability to know that you are dreaming without waking yourself up from the dream.

Tibetans believe that nurturing the ability to know the precise moment in which we fall into sleep and the awaken, as well as knowing the in-between state for what it truly is, will help us very much at the time of death. When you fall asleep to dream or fall into the "sleep" that is death, you are entering a bardo, an empty space that exists between moments of time. Whether you're dreaming or going through the stages of death, you are existing in the "in-between". As you're waking up from a good nights sleep or awaking into a new life as a reincarnated being, you have just left the bardo. Sleep is a way of preparing for death. Life as a mirror image of death.

For the last six months or so I've been asking myself the same question over and over again throughout the day, "How do I know that I'm awake right now"? I can always think of experiments to perform in order to test myself. I ask myself this question because a good friend of mine told me that if I ask myself this questing enough times and over a long enough period of time, I will someday discover the key to lucid dreaming.

I never understood as a child why it was that I was so obsessed with lucid dreaming, I think I might understand now. I want to know death and be ready when it comes. Even thought I was unaware of what I was doing, I was preparing myself.

Last night I remember asking myself the question, " How do I know that I'm awake?" and you know what? I didn't have an answer and I knew that I was dreaming.

Friday, May 14, 2010

מביא שלום

On the day you were born you stopped a blizzard and the sun shone bright, welcoming you into this world.

You filled your pockets full of rocks, even though we kept telling you not to, as the tide came in and the waves came chasing after you, you lost your pants to the ocean.

Hunter ate a baby bird that you were trying to rescue; I’ve never seen you cry so hard.

You found out where meat came from and you never ate it again, you were 8 years old.

Your favorite sound was ripping paper, by the time you turned 1 we had no books left.

You knew the name of every superhero ever created, you were 3.

In kindergarten you won district for writing a story about your favorite superhero, your dad.

You wanted a dog so bad you cried, you named her Muggles.

You showed me your muscles every morning and asked me if they’d grown.

Her name was Stormy; she was your first crush.

Her name was Summer, she always tried to kiss you, you said it was disgusting.

You were devastated when they broke your Lego dinosaur and I found myself yelling at 5 year olds.

You had a job fixing doors, just like daddy.

Your first word, Baba, which is Arabic for dad.

I never put you down and was worried that you couldn’t crawl.

I took you to play in the leaves, they scared you to death.

Your holding a peace sign in almost every picture I have of you.
You got into the refrigerator, you broke all the eggs onto the floor quickly followed by a chocolate pie, syrup, and butter….the floor was carpeted.

You flushed everything down the toilet and giggled as it swirled out of sight.

You climbed up the bookshelf and tried to fly like Peter Pan.

You had RSV, I’ve never been so scared. I held you against me all night crying.

You yelled at a boy in your class for using a hole punch on leaves, it almost made you cry.

You loved your third grade teacher so much that for an entire year you went to visit her every Friday when she became too ill to teach. You played games and read to each other. She told me that you were special, that she had never met a child as kind and intelligent as you... they all say that.

You would always throw dirt all over yourself, dumping it in handfuls over the top of your head.

We laid in the grass, making pictures out of clouds.

We lay by the river reading to one another all day long in the warm sunshine.

We go on grand adventures on our bikes together, you documenting nature with a camera.

You chased the ducks wanting to pet them but ran away crying when they got too close.

You stood there, ready for your first day of school, smiling like it was the best day of your life, my heart was breaking inside.

You told me that you hated money and wished that you never had to see it again.

You stood up for all the kids who were made fun of.

At lunch you sit with the kids who eat alone, the ones you thought most needed friends.

You wanted to give all your allowance to hurricane Katrina victims.

The news broke your heart, we got rid of TV.

The earth found a true champion in you, I’ve never seen anyone love her more.

You were a crazy child who couldn’t sit still for 5 seconds.

You had a blood curdling scream that drove everyone nuts, I loved it.

You whispered in my ear, telling me that we’d always be best friends.

I couldn’t get you to stop peeing outside.

Sometimes you’re so sensitive that everything brings you to tears.

You built towers just to knock them down.

You refused to take your Superman cape off.

You never missed Elmo’s World.

You always make me smile, even on the worst of days.

You’re my best friend.

I believe you’ll save the world someday.
You make wishes on every dandelion you see.

The neighbor boy steps on snails, I’ve never seen you so mad before.

You cry when you think of people destroying the planet, you tell me that you can feel it suffering.

You can’t understand why people eat meat, you judge them harshly.

We played Pokémon everyday that summer, you had to win, if you lost, you cried.

You are an amazing writer, so eloquent and beautiful.

You are an artist in everything you do.

You decided that you wanted to be a girl because you believed boys to be mean and selfish.

The rain just stopped, you run outside and begin collecting snails in your hands and gently placing them back into the grass.

Other boys want to play war games, you can’t figure out why.

You refuse to cut your nails.

You refuse to cut your hair.

We play Monopoly, you try to quit before you lose.

You can’t help but to tell the truth.

You’d put yourself into timeout if you thought you’d done something wrong, even at 4 years old you had a very strong sense of what was right and wrong.

I play you Billy Joel, placing earphones on my tummy, you dance.

I tell my life story to you, all my hopes and fears, dreams and aspirations, even in the womb you’re my best friend.

We tape ourselves singing together, we can’t stop laughing.

You love choir you drive the teacher crazy.

All the girls at school love you and do anything to be near you, you’re completely oblivious to this.

Your best friend moves away, we’re not allowed to say his name, it makes you cry.

I listen to your heartbeat; it’s the most beautiful sound I’ve ever heard.

In the nursery, they call you peanut.

Daddy stays up all night holding you, he never wants to put you down. You don’t sleep through the night until you’re almost a year old.

You tell me it’s like everything around you is yelling at you, grabbing for your attention. You cry, you tell me you want to be like a normal kid, we cry together.

You tell me that as soon as you grow up and get big, you’ll marry me.
Your hair grows long and you tell me that you hate material things; you wish you never had to buy anything ever again.

Muggles and you fall asleep curled up together every night.

I tell you that you were right, you were having a brother. I’ve never seen you so happy.

During every sharing time at school you talk about how unethical it is to eat meat and hunt.

You lecture about recycling and pollution. You beg people to ride bikes, you’re in 5th grade.

You choose to attend a fur protest for your 11th birthday.

I’m afraid that you’re too grown-up for your own good; you are such an old soul.

Animals are drawn to you, they sense your peaceful spirit, we all do.

Sometimes you’re too passionate, it clouds your judgment but it also makes you, you.

You’re helplessly loyal.

I learn something from you every day, you’ve been one of my greatest teachers.

I’ve never seen such selflessness; you’d give the cloths off your back.

I beg you to stop giving all your toys away and then feel bad because I know that you’re a better person that me.

You adore foreign music and films.

You still ask me to tuck you in every night, it makes my heart happy.

You walk across Salt Lake protesting for the child soldiers in Uganda. You tell me that you need to support other children, you’re 9.

You always root for the underdog.

You stay up all night long, playing with your new kitten. I can hear you through the wall, laughing.

You hug trees.
You start a recycling program in our neighborhood, you’re 8.

You’re a 10 year old existentialist.

I tucked you in, you sneak out the window. I get a call from the neighbors telling me that you’re playing in the sprinkles, you’re 4.

I feel unworthy to be your mother, secretly I know that you have more to teach me than I do you.

For my Beautiful Boy