For the Caterpillar

In many ways, I know that nothing I tell you will change the course of history. The vanity of time doesn’t allow it to be changed by the whims of men. And the nature of perception is so deeply coded in the ways in which we understand each other – in which we hide from each other. So deeply rooted in the ways in which we are taught to protect ourselves and in the things we are taught to destroy that there is little I can do or say that will stop the universe from coming at you.

And I know enough of you to know that you will not change course – and you shouldn’t. Your destiny lies beyond whatever you are set on facing. And even if it doesn’t, you’re too much like me. Too set on making the universe yield to your will. Too strong headed to break.

Too strong to break – sounds a bit like a mad cow yes?

And, of course, it is this very strength that will break you. Not just once – again and again. It already has. And as you continue to carry weights that are larger than your capacity your capacity begins to grow. But you can only carry what you can carry – and then you can only carry so much more.

“It’s the greatest thing you’d ever imagine

But you’ll never know until you’re there”

But even as I write this words, I realise they appear to be nothingness. A void of platitudes that carry no weight. The cracks never really seem important until they break down the house. And only when looking at the ruins will you properly identify the source – and even then it might not be apparent. So I’m not particularly concerned with your actions, your decisions – you have always been the master of your fate, you just have to figure out the waters (and that’s the easier part).

What I am concerned about is grace.

Amidst whatever life throws at you I wish you grace. Grace that comes from knowledge of circumstance, understanding that the turmoil of the sea has not been caused by your rowing – and cannot be stopped by it. Amidst the chaos I wish you a still soul and a wandering mind. I pray that your soul is always in contact with your skin. That you might find time to feel the wind and smell the rain. That you might catch every sunrise and sunset.

You have chosen to die – and nothing will stop you.

But, till then, I pray that you live.

Uprooting the Tree (Or, There’s the Forest!)

When you finally stumble upon the truth you will be amazed at the number of times you have come across it. The number of times you have shrugged it aside, blocked it, misunderstood it, ran from it, hidden away. By this time, however, it will already be too late for most of the things. And the ways in which the world has changed will fall into place – and the signs will seem demystified.

“Though you can see when you’re wrong, you know you can’t always see when you’re right”

Hopefully, by this time you will have enough experience to understand that there are others, and that the signs differ according to the paths you take. Hopefully, by this time, you will have learned that the intersection is one of the most dangerous places to live and that oncoming traffic will not always be friendly. Hopefully by this time you will have learned how to tread lightly, how to move out of the way while standing your ground. How to stay firm even when your heart is fleeing. How to run when your soul is rooted to the ground.

Hopefully, by this time, you will know that there is a reason there is little to work with. And that those who chose to create more are often demanded to do more. That no matter how far you stretch yourself you will never be able to fill the void in their lives. That there is a reason there have been things that have been regurgitated and re-said.

“(they) said all we ever need is love.

We see the same things

We sing the same songs

We feel the same grief

Bleed the same blood”

 

“I am a Jew. Hath not a Jew eyes? Hath not a Jew hands, organs, dimensions, senses, affections, passions? —fed with the same food, hurt with the same weapons, subject to the same diseases, healed by the same means, warmed and cooled by the same winter and summer as a Christian is? If you prick us, do we not bleed? If you tickle us, do we not laugh? If you poison us do we not die..?”

Merchant of Venice, Shakespeare

By this time you will have learned how to die.

And get back up again.

Soft Landings

By the time we had begun to take apart the metaphors that we use to keep ourselves up we thought we could fly. Perhaps this, in itself, was a testament to the metaphors – definitions of who we are were always strong enough to adapt to the changing world. But were we?

Robbed of our metaphors we spiraled into a freefall.

We are still falling.

*

According to newton, acceleration due to gravity is a constant 9.8 metres per second squared.

Even at our most still we are seated on a rock that is travelling through space at 460 metres per second, tethered in place by the sun.

We can barely afford to move faster.

*

The faster we fall  the closer the ground gets.

But if no one hears the splat – did it happen?

The cart goes behind the horse

When you get tired of dragging yourself around you will begin to look for someone to pull you through. Perhaps it is around this time that you will realise that you can only organize your life around your feet. And that your shoulders can only carry as much as they can carry. Perhaps then you will learn to deconstruct the load. To consistently shift the burdens and the ways in which you are carrying them. Perhaps then you will learn that when you carry more than you can, you break. Perhaps you will learn to know what you can’t lift before you strain yourself.

I imagine the first time you avoid a weight you will feel guilty. I imagine you will try to equip it best you can. I imagine you will keep looking over your shoulder as you walk away, wondering if there was more you could do. If there was more you can have left it with, more you could have given.

I wonder if you will be adequately prepared to stand straight – after all, you will have spent a long time hunched over. I wonder if you remember what it feels like to run, to jump, to walk, to look back, to rest. Or will you learn the joys in these banal things afresh? See life with a new fascination. Will you treasure this fascination?

I wonder if you will notice yourself getting stronger. Moving faster.

Maybe it is about this time that you will turn to look at the loads you once tried to carry – that you will begin to organize them in your own path. Maybe it is about this time that you will learn to run towards yourself – gathering momentum as you grow.

 

Travel On


You owe your freedom to yourself.

This is not a rallying call. A call to fight against or to challenge. Rather it is a call to question. Identify your freedoms and pursue them. Work towards something rather that away from it. Work at a deliberate pace, always being cautious of your fellow labourer – they too have their struggle. Find people along the journey who would grow with you and grow together for as long as is necessary. Listen to those who would destroy you but do not dwell in their company, nor wallow in their thoughts. Remember, your task is noble, your journey is long.
So travel on, brave soldier,
travel on.

Travel on, brave soldier,
travel on.

Though the night whispers all your demons. Though your broken battered inside proves you wrong. Though the concrete jungle scares you and those who save you often prey you – travel on.
Through the sunshine through the rain, through the traffic, through the pain – travel on.

Grab a Flashlight

 

Of course one must be careful when it comes to trying to understand the way language turns and twists, changes and morphs, adjusts itself to fit in the cracks between what we would like to express. Furthermore, it is very urgent that we pay attention to the syllabic breaks between a backbeat and a forward slash. It is here that the mysteries have hidden themselves. We hear them but understanding comes later – like a revelation we claim it as our own. Undiscerning of the source we imagine that our own indicators are our own.

Which makes it easier for one to switch indicators on us.

This would not be so dangerous if it wasn’t that we blindly follow our indicators wherever they may lead us. And, in not noticing the change of indicators we fail to notice our life shifting course. That is, of course, until we find ourselves somewhere unfamiliar.

It is at this point that we begin to go back. To re-anallyse. To understand again. It is at this point that we realise that we have been following the wrong indicators. And the breadcrumbs that we left to show us the way back have long been consumed by the crows we refused to kill in the name of our humanity.

This, of course, is why language immediately became important. Language to read the signs, to understand the indicators and to stay focused on one’s own. But ownership is a capitalist concept. And the self is only a piece broken off from a couple of others and trying to make room for its existence – is there space outside the whole for the singular to exist? The indicators we chase continue to be intertwined with the whole – the whole keeps shifting to accommodate for more – to make more space. And the indicators keep shifting.

And we keep chasing them – paying attention to the way language shifts and morphs, turns and twists hoping this time we won’t get lost.

Taijitu

But, when it comes down to it, the truth will always reveal itself to those that seek it. Though frayed by history the truth can’t ever really be erased. The truth, like the heart, is stubborn. It refuses to be stilled. And this is important because it is the truth, like the heart, that keeps us alive. It remains coded in drum beats, kicks, snares and hi hats. It remains coded in sighs, shrugs, eyerolls, absences and inflections. It remains coded in gaps, sanitations, assasinations, allegations and coincidences. It remains coded in moments, desires, motivations, results, responses.

To the discerning eye, the truth will always be a place that can be arrived at.

Perhaps it is this knowledge that destroys those who seek.

Perhaps it is this knowledge that fuels those who seek.

Perhaps it is naivete about how deep the frays of history can cut.

And that it is not for lack of power that history fails to conquer truth. It is not for lack of will. It is not for lack of effort – and deliberate effort.

*

But, when it comes down to it, the truth will always be outside the reach of those who seek it. The truth is stumbled upon, like a man off the edge of a cliff – and an endless fall. The truth is a vortex that appears and disappears at will. And truth and time are fruits of the same tree and it continues to grow taller. Those who seek shelter increasingly risk serious injury come harvest. The tide of truth cannot  be avoided. The tide of truth cannot be found.

Perhaps it is this knowledge that destroys those who suppress

Perhaps it is this knowledge that fuels those who suppress.

Perhaps it is the tide, ebbing and flowing, ebbing and flowing.

And all there is, is swimming.

And all there is, is drowning.

 

Menediction

This one, then is for the men who destroyed themselves that others might live. I write for my father, the saxman and my uncle, the painter. For the men who let their bodies be the bridge between the past and the future. Who remained firm, refused to break – broke anyway. For the misplaced aggression, for the protection, for the control – for the balance.

I write for the men who had mastered the art of stability, love, presence. Who were there even when their bodies were screaming leave. Who followed the rules no matter what it meant to them. Who chased their demons around the world looking for understanding. Who still question.

Who persist, who give space, who come back, who come back, who come back, who come back, again. Who have sacrificed at the same altar that scarred their past. Who were torn, shared, distributed. Who were unselved.

Who stayed, who strayed.

Who stood in death’s way with quivering feet.

Who ran.

For the shoulders that got weary, but knew no rest.

For the gypsy men. Who danced around the world, who spoke, who listened, who learned, who spread knowledge. I write for the exchange, for the hours of debate, the circles and circles of logic that gave another inch.  Another inch. Another inch.

Who threw their bodies in the toil towards the dream. Who shared, who loved, who lived, who laughed, who tried.

Who kept trying.

Who keep trying.

Thank you.

Husago

It is the people we hold onto that hold onto us. As we shake people off, we too are shaken off. Maybe it is through this process of simultaneous release that we find ourselves alone. Like the layers of a snakes’ skin we shed each other, find others to hang on to, find others to hang on to us. Slowly and evenly picking the weight that keeps us closer to whatever form of balance we need to tell ourselves that we are growing. That progress is happening. Or even that we are at peace with whatever form of stagnation we have chosen.

Maybe this is why they say you are alone in the end. Having lost all energy to hold on to anything, the things you hold on to begin to let go of you. It is in this isolation that we are to find peace. To be still and within ourselves, but even this peace is something that we hold on to. And in losing our grip we lose that too.

How does one take care of needy concepts?

Do you wait until they find themselves disproven? Or do we bury them in the past. Find a little corner somewhere in the maze of our mind and shove them there. Do we recognize when we come up against them? Do we see the pieces of ourselves that we have violently shoved aside as we violently shove them aside?

“So we beat on, boats against the current, borne back ceaselessly into the past.”

  • Fitzgerald, The Great Gatsby

Is it then that we constant lay and unlay traps for ourselves? Circling around the same spot, trying to gain enough momentum to throw us of tangent at such a high velocity that by the time we finally discover ourselves we are unlike ourselves. Then maybe this distance daunts us. As if we somehow knew we were going in circles (despite talking about progress). As if we have been betrayed by this false truth that we encounter. As if the mirror we left to hold to ourselves refuses to show us the image we want to see. And so forward we go, to go back.

There you are.

Again.

Again.

Aain

Ain

Ain’t

Ain’t,

Ain’t th

Ain’t that s

Ain’t that so

Ain’t that some shit.

 

Swing Low

The heart is an amazing organ. From the day we are born to the day we die it never stops working. Over an 80 year lifespan the heart will beat over 3 billion times pumping over a million barrels of blood through your body.

That’s a lot of labour.

Perhaps this is why the heart demands reason. Why it is the heart that asks why. Everyday it asks, firmly, quietly. Give me a reason today. Tell me why I should keep this blood in circulation. I have been doing this for a very long time and, honestly, I have very little to show for it. Why?

The mind is easier to convince. All the mind needs is a path to follow. As long as the mind can tread along a path, it can ignore the labour of the heart. As long as the mind can see something to work towards, it will demand the work of the heart. Perhaps this is why they say ‘there is only so much the heart can take’ when they talk about death. The heart, dragged along by the mind, stops. This, the heart says, this is not working. This is slow destruction, the unravelling.

The slow unbecoming.

There is less. Everyday there is less to give and more to take on. Everyday there is more to be done and less being done.

Perhaps it is the slow burn of the unraveling that destroys one. How every step seems like a step that can be controlled. How hope slowly slips away. You don’t wake up one day and think it is over. You look up and realise it has been over for a long time, and recognize how long you have been running against brick walls. Perhaps it is in this looking back that the heart gives in. It’s not just in the crushing from the weight, but in seeing the emptiness in it all. For the heart has only asked for one thing through everything.

Reason.

Every beat, over 3 billion times, it has asked for reason.

Perhaps it is the absence of this that does it in.

And to continue seems like an odd reason.

In many ways then the mind preempts the heart, keeping the heart from destroying itself . And the heart keeps the mind tethered, ensuring that there is meaning to whichever brand of madness the mind choses.

And so we oscillate.

And so we oscillate.