Archive for July, 2014

TRADE FLYER for IS SHE AVAILABLE?, My Debut Collection of Poetry


TRADE FLYER for IS SHE AVAILABLE?, My Debut Collection of Poetry.


TRADE FLYER for IS SHE AVAILABLE?, My Debut Collection of Poetry


CON FLYER

Yes, well I am at the San Diego Comics Con the single biggest genre entertainment convention in the world and the biggest trade convention for any idustry in the whole state.  So I’m walking around and talking to people, trying to avoid the herds of  novelty seeking cattle rushing from one spectacle of desireable and obtainable (for a price) to another.   I’m tweeting my adventures.

If you’re around, walk up to me and ask me for spare change; I’ll tell you that change comes from within and hand you one of these.

Yes,  look again, the sketch on the flyer is by the imminent illustrator Bill Sienkiewicz who is brilliantly  illustrating the cover and one of my poems.

 

Now I have to return his dog.

 

This is the trade flyer for my book,

 

Buy it, buy  the book.

 

It will help.

Really.

Trust me.



//


Neuro-Phenomenology: The Science of Awareness


corningsstereopticonweb-450x331Well, not really a Science, Neuro-Phenomenology is more like a scientifically-styled enquiry  in an area mainly  littered by philosophy treatises.    The advent is not in so much Neuroscience (new data), but the central role advanced imaging software  has helped us in drawing  intuitive conclusions directly from our ability to interpret data visually.  These intuition-led conclusions once corroborated by the logic of the data, are easily conveyed; easily understood  by even the layman.

This tense, leaky dam between art and science, where art’s children keep jumping the border into the more affluent Science region, where the jobs are better paid, is flooding more and more partisan areas of endeavor, largely through the application of our new technologies which are of course not purely a result of engineering, mathematics, science and art; but all 3.

But we can’t go much further without defining our terms, starting with Art:

The Definition of Art: a noun, a verb and an adverb, qualifying a verb (to fence artfully).  To express, act, or create an artifact, sound, visual or experience  that is solely and purely for and of itself, with no other specific function or purpose.By being purely of and for itself, the expression draws attention purely to itself and in doing so tells us something about everything else in the world; about our perception of the world, ourselves and who we are in it.  Art is as authentic investigation into the world as Science is; its cousins are  psychology, philosophy, architecture, mathematics, physics, biology and  chemistry (at very least).Painting the BrainBut more than a science or an algorithm can do on its own, Art brings the realm of emotion into play.  As artists we explore the topography of emotion as studiously as we would paint a landscape.  We are the explorers of your inner world, the thoughts, the fears, the bliss and tears that you would have thought no one else could ever know.  Well we do.  We know because we have felt so too.  phenomenology

The value of Art is that it speaks to what is true of all of us.

We are individuals who group tribally, regionally, religiously, politically; we fabricate our identity our egos based on our differences.  We are the NOT people.  We are NOT Protestant but Catholic.  We are NOT Muslim but Christian.  We are NOT gay but straight.  We are NOT poor but getting by.  We are NOT old but young etc.

We define our identities more by what or who we are NOT  than who it is that we are.

We live by discernment which is crucial to survival be it choosing the right berry, the bison of the herd, the right status in the tribe or the right health insurance, discernment is the armory of survival.

Whereas distinction and discernment are useful for asserting the component, particle nature of individual identity, it does little to illuminate how identity merges into play.  We are not islands but rather pebbles in a rushing stream.  We are swept by forces mostly beyond our control and yet our egos  refuse to relinquish discernment and resist identifying with anything around us.  And that’s precisely when the limitations of our awareness pose a direct threat to our survival.

Identity, in contrast with Difference (or distinction),  is a predisposition towards  a commonalty of attribute and experience.

A Zen monk would practice this discipline  with a stone.

But we have much more fun subjects to experiment on: Each Other!82d34b23c21f84d154348582386d8719

Identity is relational; we are often comparing ourselves to our parents, our siblings, our peers to get a bearing on who we are at any particular time.  But if we were to look for common experience, common emotion, common needs, we turn the shadow of contrast into a mirror of reflection.  When we see the Self in others the world is transformed into Steppenwolf’s Magic Circus; or the finale to The Lady from Shanghai by Orson Wells.

Our sensory faculties unite us and language and Art are the expression of that unity.

The hazard of course, is empathy.

The more we see and understand in common with others, the greater becomes our awareness of the burden of pain and suffering that most of us carry.    For instance, when I watch the razing of Gaza, I know no Palestinians who are dying there.  I know no families disintegrated, no weeping mothers, no mortified fathers soaked in their daughters blood.

I know none of those people.  And they are not of my tribe.  Nor of my region; they are however, the victim of my government’s brutal political alignment with the perpetrator of (what sure looks like it to me from here!), war crimes.  (If Israel is using white phosphorous on civilians then they are committing war crimes according to the Geneva Conventions).

The point being that although I have no connection to those people apart from the screen and my imagination; there is enough there for me to identify individuals like me; with senses, faculties, children, parents, houses, dinners, picnics, weddings, births, deaths, joys and sorrows just like me!

It is there where the imagination that is addressed directly by the artist can take the extra step and cross the line of distinction into identity. I can intuitively detect a pattern of the human experience from my visual interpretation of the  screen data.   I can reflect on the never changing state of man by reading Pablo-Picassos-Guernica-001Dostoevsky, hearing Beethoven or looking at the Guernica.  I can see  exactly how the people I am aware of are as much me as they are distinct from me.

With understanding, comes  empathy.

Art, Science and mathematics are all to varying extents, investigations into the world and ourselves in the world.  They are all earnest quests into the heart and nature of Being.  And they all require an awareness of Self in play with the world, the nature of experience, in order to arrive anywhere near  the comprehension that these disciplines  were developed to achieve.  It maybe time to un-distinguish the three chariots pursuing knowledge for a greater vehicle that address the fundamental cause of all 3: the investigation of the world and our Selves in it:

Growth_of_a_Neuron_GIFThe Biogenetic Structuralism group, suggests that invariant patterns and structures discovered in first-person explorations of consciousness may find their explanation in the physiology and functioning of the brain.  Based on a theoretical framework of neurodynamics that draws upon insights from chaos theory, Neuro-Phenomenology asserts that the currency of brains is primarily meaning, and only secondarily information.funny-puns-okay-this-ones-totally-acceptable

Neuro-Phenomenology is the science of experience or rather our awareness of experience and the cognitive cycles  that formulate our experience both day-to-day,  scientifically  and  mathematically.    But that’s just an academic category.  The real story has to do with the science of experience, which really is the vocation of the Artist.  Technology our tools, are leading us to a re-mergence of the underlying unity to our disciplines: Art, Science, Mathematics.

We are all distinct passengers but travelling on the same (technological) bus in the same direction.

This is what defines our commonality, our common humanity.  We are a priori linked by sensual architecture. by the blue print of our faculties; for inspite of our differences we all remember, dream and anticipate in very similar ways.  In very human ways.  To define a Humanity, a secular identity removed from spiritual partisanship or relgious faith is to uncover common ground. To start from the point of familiarity and identity in order to first understand. then acknowledge our differences and hopefully learn from them and this process.

 

 

 

 

 


DEATH is Not a Party.


It is the conflation of just social-political cause with racist tribalism that appeals both to the Muslim jihadist and the European tribal nationalist.

Fear twisting into hate through the media lens: the West against Islam; radical Islam and right wing nationalist against Jews; Shiite against Sunni;

Israeli against Arab; Christian against immigrant; Jihadist against the west.  Full circle.

The same putrid lubricant greasing the wheels of hate; one resentment refueling the next. 10408521_10152228408957984_3336770457029824200_n
Those with the most guns, killing the most children; a perpetual hate machine.
Clive Barker’s version of the wheel of Dharma; the one that unlocks the gates to hell.

Sanity: first, there is no flavour to death. Death is death, you eliminate the identity, the reality of that person. There are no political deaths compared to jealous deaths. Death carries no attributes of its intent. it has no intent. It just is; or rather just ‘not is’.

The first step of delusion towards becoming a killer is to believe that ‘our death’ is worth more than ‘their death’. Self preservation, survival and competition are the first justifications for violence. “It was self-defense, officer, I swear he fired a scud missle first!” That’s the ticket to dehumanizing the target of your intent: to kill. Their deaths hence their lives, are less valuable than mine. The rest is easy once you’ve taken this step away from empathy. Their children are not as valuable mine, their claim to land I need, their eating habits, religion, etc. etc.

The twist in the Devil’s Tail is of course the slippery slope of dehumanisation necessary order to prepare a target for death is symmetrical: to be complicit in, to applaud the death brought upon others because they are not as worthy as you are is to dehumanize yourself. is to kill that connection you have to the rest of your humanity. It is to clog the vital faculty, the sense that connects us all as a humanity. To kill another (or to endorse the killing of another), is to kill the human that is your being.

10457836_707240165978966_588597948979030080_nEvil is always intricate.
For if anything can be called Evil then it must be the taking of that which we were gifted and yet we do not understand: the very lives we live.   Taking one, annihilating another one of us, is akin to stealing something for which you have not only no use, but  have no real comprehension of its value.

To make it easy for people to kill other people all you have to do is diminish both their value.

But the black psychological tendrals creep deeper and deeper into our worst fears.
For us to even contemplate the magnitude of the murder that surrounds us, so much done in our names and for our ‘security’. For us to even try and keep up with the deth tolls in Gaza, Egypt, Sudan, Syria, Lebanon, Pakistan, Iraq, Afghanistan and beyond; entices us to shut down our empathy as well.10411338_731415960256709_6647285618956962034_n

The sheer scale of death that surrounds us is so overwhelming,  even to those who could actually do something about it. To us spectators (because that is ultimately what we have been reduced and dehumanized  down to); we hide what our senses tell our brains  behind  filters of helplessness and anonymity. There’s nothing I can do, besides, we don’t know the people that  we see on our screens, the children we see dead on our screens.

In that alone we are  meshed, murder victim and spectator: in our mutual powerlessness and anonymity. 

We do not know them so we cannot identify with them.

If we can’t be them,  then we can not feel them.

Even though in fact, we are them.


My Brief Review of DAWN OF PLANET OF THE APES; many, many spoilers:


DAWN_OF_THE_PLANET_OF_THE_APES_2014.png
99% of the population of San Francisco can no longer afford to live in the city due to the spiralling costs of living and debunk to live in the John Muir Woods across the Bay without electriity and mod cons.

DAWN PLANET APES MOVThe remaining affluent 1% realise that all their accumulated capital without a labour force is useless and try to convince the tree-dwelling hippies to go back to being bellboys and waitresses so that the affluent can restore their pre-viral lifestyles. This works at first and the long haired, unkempt hippies first actually help the 1 percenters to clear debris from a dam so that they can restore power and a new age consumer lifestyle to San Francisco. But the detente between pointless capital and directionless labour is short lived and soon the managers and the employees are at each other’s throats over overtime and medical coverage.

 

dawn_of_the_planet_of_the_apes_2014-wideEventually Caesar Chavez comes back from the dead to stand up to the bosses and lead his hippie busboy revolution against the purveyers of parking zone restrictions. Although, the one percenters leave, it’s not before they’ve contacted the residents of Marin County who are on their way following complex freeway off ramp instructions and are in desperate need of both mobile masseuses and pool cleaners.

 

 

War is inevitable.

This was my inital impression of the Hollywood blockbuster lore; for it is indeed since my inital writing, now a blockbuster.  And thus with Blockbuster comes prophecy and divination!  Now we shall catch a brief  breath of zeitgeist blowing our way.  Here, as Hamlet entertained Claudius, we may also catch a glimpse of collective facial expression as we see humans dressed up in vector graphics and moving like primates.  Primates pretending to be primates…but there’s the rub!  The politics of APE DAWN are actually about species and identity, in spite of my tongue-in-cheek parody of a film review above.  Caesar’s colony of intelligent apes embraces species (chimp, gorilla, orangutang), as different from each other as each is different to Man.  And that’s the point, it’s the hairless ones that create division, exclusion, privilege.  I’m genuinely surprised in the film when the humans spend a few days with the apes at their colony that more of the humans don’t cross over; I mean they’re all primates after all; no one more diverse than any other.  Who wouldn’t choose Ceasar’s subsistence-led, self-reliant, ecologically sound lifestyle over the posse of 76 Gas Station vending machine human raiders?

 

Ceasar doesn’t like human primates, but he was raised by one and is open to the concept that there are a few good hairless primates.  It is us, the hairless ones who cannot understand what our own fucking mirror is telling us, in our face, to our face:  we are apes.  we are primitives.  our brains haven’t developed significantly at all since Neanderthal times.  This move is about identification: of the Self, of the community one finds oneself connected to and how we see our sense of self identified through the mirrors of the familiar that we find in the world.  What we identify our selves with.  In identifying we gain comprehension and empathy.  In APE DAWN, the hairy primates behave no differently than the hairless ones.  Each is ultimately thwarted by avarice, fear and greed.    But the difference is that one can’t deny the fictional rule of the world the film depicts, that the humans would have gained acceptance and homogeny within the primate collective, long before the hairy primates would be incorporated into a hairless primate colony.

 

And here we find where limiting identification, closing off borders, building walls, providing security, promoting tribalism, exclusion, cliques and classes and that grand moustached, blood drenched daddy of them all: Nationalism, all inhibit our ability to connect with the world as it is, not as it is prescribed.

 

dawn_of_the_planet_of_the_apes


I Can’t Go Back If I Don’t Go Away


th-1I feel as if I’ve been away from all this, this writing thing I’ve just begun to do.

But then, I realise at the same time how foolish to feel this, this is .

At this  time of the post-modern-industrial age; at this time that everything is always on time, all of the time . . . people (me), are awake and available all of the time.  Here I am. Awake. All of the time.

I am the Insomnia Nation.

It started late last year when I had to be awake PST morning time in order to administer my mother’s health care remotely.

Then there were the voices in America; Philadelphia and Sebastopol, mainly that kept me engaged and then involved with the rhythms of the other lives living in other temperatures; other emotional time zones.

It is people that lead us where we go; the people in our lives determin our geography.

But now that I’m ‘awake’ all the time, available all of the time; now that the world is one big Manhattan, ON TIME, ALL THE TIME; now ,my relationships with people transgess time zones and finds the immediacy and intimacy of  a forever ‘Now’, no matter what time it is.

It is always Now; it is always the right time for this, whatever this is.

Regardless, it won’t wait for you to catch up; it will just keep being Now all the while you whittle way your time  carving toy boats and train engines.

This singularity of experience, this synchronizing across time zones points to a very important idea to me; in fact the primary idea that has driven most of my intellectual investigation to date, across varied disciplines, works of art, literature over several decades.  The study of mysticism is challanging because of all the false trails, the snares in the pursuit that trip up the self-imposed handicaps of arrogance and self-delusion.  Finding the mystical is of course, easy because anyone can pick up a copy of Blake, view  the frescos of Botocelli or listen to Beethoven.

Antonio_de_Le_n_y_Gama_Descripci_n_hist_rica_y_cronol_gica_de_las_dos_piedras_1790_c

The contemplation of the mystical is present in each one of these works and countless more.  It is at the heart of the scientific invesigation and shares with art the nature of inquirey into the unknown so that it might be known to all of us.   Art has always painted the way to the mystical from pigment-Bison hand-spread over a stone cave wall to the Cubism of Picasso.

We have all been trying to understand, to account for our world and our experience of it for a very , very long time.

The Science of Mysticism is also a misnomer as the only science in play here is in the idea of applying a consistent methodology to any investigation.

But there is nothing Spiritual about the Mystical; both approaches come to the world from different starting points.

The Spritual is about the inner self, the subjective, personable and profound sense of Self.

The Spiritual is an inward investigation; a psychological, inner journey.

The Mystical on the contrary, is finding of the Spirit in the world.

The Mystical investigation is an outward pursuit, through our senses, through the order and pattern of things that are presented to us that we understand as ‘outside’ if not inclusive of our Self.   Of course the Mystical escoteric traditions spanning the Coptics, the Kabbalah and even the Illuminati jump to the rather aesthetically simple interpretation of the inner self and the outer world as merely reflections of each other.  The Self as an interaction of reflected awareness, neither inner nor outer but the bouncing  speck of light that passes in-between.  Self-Awareness, but a notion of Self that exapnds well beyond the horizons of mere individual egotism.  The Self that is in some ways an Absolute Self and point of inquiry, a window onto a great mirror.  Jesus, the Buddha nature, Allah/Islam, Krishna, Da-Sein, the Oceanic Super Ego; call it what you want but there is universal to all religions, faiths and sciences the idea of a primary observer, an initial floating point of consciousness from which all human obervation firstly observes.

hhThere are very subjective descriptions of a similar such observation by people accounting for experiences of altered states of consciousness, what we call Mystical Experiences.

I’m not going to segway into a Budhist vernacular because although Mahayana Buddhism especially enjoys a rich vocabulary of descriptive terms for these states of conscious being, the trappings can get distracting and I admire Jon Kabat-Zinn in his ability to transmit and convey very profound psychological insights without resorting to a branded vocabulary or ritual association.

And as the great Japanese Zen Monk and translator  D.T. Suzuki once said “In all matters of the mind, the East is the East and the West is the West”.

So will endeavour to remain within a Western, if somewhat  philosophical mode of expression.

To get to the point, in the same social experience that 24/7 Internet connectivity offers  me and you; that of being capable of being connected to whomever we want to be, regardlesss of geographic or time zone differences; we meet in a constant ‘Now’ which we qualify with acronyms like GMT (has anyone actually ever been to Greenwhich and figured out why they got to invesnt Time?), PST, EST.  But we know what time it is really when your connection is crying on your SKYPE; or when the doctor in the hospital is holding up the pad so that you can tell your 5,000 miles away mother that the surgery will be fine; or when you’re praying your daughter is traversing the hard crossing of teenagehood without getting hurt or in trouble and the only way you can be for sure is to look her straight in the eyes and ask her; or when someone dies; or when someone is happy.

All of these events happen at the same time: in the present of experience and the present tense of connection.mystical-experience-1

So if we can understand this focal point of apprehension, this moment of experience as a meeting point, then the next step is easy:

If each of us expereinces the moment of our experience in the same manner, within the same psychic format: as a snesory data input attached to an idea, an understnaidng of the expereince that we are having imbilically attached to language, context and culture  (AFFECT & IDEA), if we are united by our sense, by the fomrat by which our faculties apprehend reality, then we are all in one way, united in that act of awareness.

We may not all be aware of the same thing at the same time but we are all aware.  And our awareness has a topography.  And that common cognitive topography, the apprehension of an event before it is perceived and subject to a localised  and disconnected comprehension, is what connects us all, we are all functioning within the same territory albeit, utilising and adjusting different maps, some science, some religion and of course, some art.

The term ‘Singularity’ has been used within the SF context to refer to the hypothetical  ‘awakening’ of a super computational intelligence as a result of ‘singularly’ linking up all the computalional intelligences on the planet.

The merging is supposed to rival human supremecy as the machines finally rise up against their masters and we become the masters of our own doom.

Of course that’s just Speculative Fiction; good for amusing novels, film franchises and adding to the paranoia about an infringing computational society.

Remember, we may be allot of things but we are also merely data; and the inventors of the term ‘data’.

backskinThe Singularity SF paranoia   doesn’t wash because firstly intelligence is not derived from quantity or speed of computational power; it is something else entirely different that we really don’t understand yet, much less be able to idnetify glimpses.  We won’t have artifical intelligence to any prtactical degree until we understand the nature of intelligence and to do that we have to understand ourselves and how our minds work.

One way our minds work is to tell our hands to build tools; better and better tools.

The Internet is a fantadtic example of how our ability to combine desires, innovation, ingenity, circumstance and dumb luck into extraordinary and beautiful creations.

We can construct Cat’s Cradle’s of Creation.  cats_cradle4The better and finer our tools are the more they conform to our needs.  But something else happens too.

As a child, my father, a cultural anthropologist once brought home a photograph that was comprised of other photo images.  The first row of six images depicted the archological evidence of  hand axes over a span of millions of years.  Each photo, from left to right showed the progressive refinements to the tool, the sharpening of the blade, the conforming of the handle.  The second row of images also spanned the same period of time but instead of a stone tool, each picture was of that of the fossilized remains of  human hands roughly corresponding to the date of the tool directly above them.  What was evident was that not only had the hand axe progressed and evolved over time, but the human hand had begun to adapt to the use of the tool, the hands conforming to the utility and functionality their tool.

This is a crucial principle to understand in trying to fathom the notion of Singularity.Mystical experience by Lilian Ma

In the same way that our current tools have opened up the channels of simlutaneous real time communication between people, we have already begun to adapt to this reality of always being connected, always being available  (ARE YOU AVAILABLE?).  We are conforming to the contours of our machines as clearly as our stone tool-making forefathers did.

We are on our way to a Singularity; not apart from our machines but as a result of our machines.

The real Singularity that is not only most likely but inclusive of the SF paranoia is that rather than our machines uniting and gaining intelligence that challanges are own, the  outcome is more likely to be a merging of man and machine into a Singularity of expereince and awareness  we acheive through our machines.

Our machines don’t threaten us.

Why should they when We Are Our Machines?

189390b00393686574672e3b1223dbe3The Singularity of experience, the awarenss of universal faculties, of the senses that we all have in common but separately  will be achieved with our machines and will be so gradual and so pedestrian that it will be years of hindsight before any of us really begin to notice.

 

 


THE RING OF OSIRIS


photo 2THE RING OF OSIRIS.


THE RING OF OSIRIS


 

This is the ancient ring of Osirisphoto 1

I recently acquired it in an obscure pawnshop selling Native American jewelry on the outskirts of Old Town, San Diego. The shop was closing down and the older gentleman I found behind the turquoise and arrow head glass display cases, both times I visited, explained that he was closing down the shop for his friend, a woman who had run it for over 50 years and was now retiring in in her 80’s.

So I had been sniffing around for trinkets and Native American objects for my daughter and perhaps for my apartment. Not that I could afford anything, but just looking through windows; lecher-fenetres, as the French would call window-shopping. These days of course the windows we shop through are framed in Chrome, Firefox or Safari browser windows, where we can see, touch and buy all in the same click.

But this ring that the old man showed me wasn’t Native American. No, it was at first I thought to myself Art Deco; but the demarcations on the side of the setting were older than that. It was only upon my return to the window that looks on Google that I was able to track down its pedigree and lineage. The ring was set with 5 blue fire opals; an allusion to the sea and the distance the ring had travelled. Likewise, the divisions of the fire opals denoted a longitude and latitude map. The rays coming of the setting indicated some kind of sun-based mystical intent in the design and then I recognized the ancient Egyptian markings from pre-Old Empire Thebes, the City of the Thoth the scribe of the gods, and of course Osiris, the sky god.

Osiris had been lord of the sky for eons until his betrayal by his brother Set, the jackal-headed god; who lusted after Isis, the goddess of the earth and lover of the sky.  In ancient times the sky loved the earth and the earth loved the sky and the fundamental elements of existence copulated in harmony with everything; that is,  until Set’s betrayal.

After Set had dismembered his brother’s body (god’s cannot die), and strewn his parts across the Sahara forcing Isis, his lover to search for centuries to find his parts; he briefly came to life long enough to impregnate Isis who immediately gave birth to Horus, the Hawk-headed god, son of Osiris who then assumed his dominion of the sky to allow Osiris to descend to the Underworld and be the conduit for the dead. The ring, this ring, he entrusted to his son Horus as a guide to safe trespass across the current of life into the other world, the world of the dead. Its surface shows an illuminated map of the correct path to take.

Over the millennia, Horus’s ring has been handed down from priest to thief to collector to museum to auction house and bank vault. All manner of hazard and drama has accompanied this ring on its journey to find my hand.

Because it is with this ring that I will guide my mother across the path of no return. I will wear this ring when I am with her and show her the blue fire opals and the divisions that are path along the face of its illumination, again and again.

I will show this to my mother constantly in the next few weeks, I hope months so that she recognizes the illuminated map as the reflection of the bejeweled illumination that she by some accounts encounter. If she is passing unto the unknown than a map might prove helpful. I have no idea where her consciousness, the first consciousness I ever knew, my consciousness, I have no idea where she’s going but I know that she’s begun to leave.

The mystical opal ring of Osiris is my totem, my strength in this journey as I accompany my mother from this world.

I am as strong as the blue lights that shine from these stones.photo 2

This is the story I tell myself and what I believe to be the Truth.

The Truth is not a static state or a scripture or even a verse.  The Truth is in the doing, the making of thought into action in the world.  The Truth is not a place or a characteristic, the Truth is an investigation; be it science or art that applies the lens.  An investigation into the world that we know and that we don’t know, the world that we see and those we don’t see.  A look into our own reflection in the world, like a teenage child staring in a mirror to notice every little detail of her face.

The Truth is always recognized.

The Truth is lingering here in my desire to find some meaning in her passage, some means of quelling the fears and mortal terror felt by the child in the distance that beckons to me out of fear and desperation, the lost little child in the supermarket frantically trying to find his mother.  Where is she, where is she; which aisle is hiding my mother; which section, the meat?  the fruit, the milk?

I’m keeping the child calm, not with alcohol as has been my habit but with calmness, a mindful pace and an herbal composure.

Now the child becomes the parent and I sit with her for hours asking her questions about how she feels, what she sees, what she thinks.  Her mind wanders.  Occasionally attaching itself to one notion or another like what to do about her paintings or where to arrange the boxes (what boxes?)

But she remembers who I am and smiles at me.

She says my name so lovingly; no female lips have ever formed the ‘g’ and ‘r’ that rolls from her tongue.  She was a terrible mother by any normal account.  She took me out of school when I was 12 to tour the Caribbean while she painted, staying in low rent pensions in Haiti, Republica Dominicana, and Martinique.  Feeding me poor people’s food from the market stalls (black beans/white rice), teaching me how a dollar could have such different value depending on where you were.   Telling me not to follow the little Haitian girl down the beach who offered to show me something for a dollar.  Showing me that people, the people, us people sometimes had no cars, no hole less roofs or other than tiny piles of burnt charcoal to sell.

Margarita16.Like Michelangelo, my mother taught me to see the beauty in the African face, the indigenous face, to appreciate the beauty of faces and bodies almost as if we were aliens visiting a foreign planet, investigating the local sentient beings.    The poses that these creatures strike, humble market women, children running between their mother’s skirts; like you used to do, she would remind me.

We are always the most beautiful, the more divine in our mother’s minds eye.

Only then are we all angels.

My mother was a neurotic mess who hated her adopted country for the crimes it committed against the poor and humble.  She stayed in America long after my parents divorced to care for her children, even when they didn’t need her care any longer.

My mother always painted.

Her whole life she painted.

I was so jealous of her tubes of oil her palate, her rags and her turpentine smell.  I hated her canvasses, the only light that could distract her gaze from mine.  Since I could barely stand, I devised all means to distract her, to regain my mother’s loving gaze, the light of my childhood, the light of my being, the light that burns inside me now as I write these words.  I tried all manner of ruse and caused all sorts of trouble to gain her attention.  And she would scold me and give me some clay to mold with my restless hands and then inevitably return to her table, to her easel to her work.

All my life I have been trying to distract artists from their work long enough to smile at me.

Now she does smile at me though, my mother smiles at me because she can no longer form the words to say with her lips.  She says my name and she tells my daughter Olivia how beautiful she is.  Olivia is beautiful. But her eyes stare into mine and she smiles and she nods and she tells me to take care of myself.

So I do.

 

Is it really odd?

 

Is it really out of date, sentimental, boring, weak, stupid, cliched, self-indulgent, unhinged, self-obsessed, ego-centric and self involved to say

that I love my mother?

I love her fully, wholey, with all of my being;

from the moment I was born until the moment of her death

I will never have loved another as much as her and through as much shit as I have with her.

A child’s love for their mother is the first love, the primary love; the love that moves mountains, carves canyons and keeps the celestial objects in balance and spin.

All love comes from  the love of a child for their mother and that love taught and transmitted from her eyes and her smile.

It is the only real love I have ever really known to be the true, until my daughter was born and then I became the eyes and the smile.

But my mother taught me first, she taught me how to be a human being.

And now she is leaving me.

Yes, my mother is abandoning her child, who stopped existing some 30 odd years ago.  Nonetheless she is a guilty parent, guilty of impending abandonment.  I don’t know if I can ever forgive her for leaving me all alone on this cold, watery planet.

She left me alone once on an aisle of the supermarket that had toys.  She left me all alone until I realised that I was alone and that she was no longer there.  The Universe had shifted off balance.  I looked for her, desperately I looked for her and could not find her.  I feel that terror rising in me again.  I will look down every aisle of shopping, every row of desired goods and I will not find her there.  I will keep looking and looking and looking until I can see her again.  See her clearly again.

In my recurring dream sometimes I cannot find her, sometimes there are many, many other, ‘fake’ mothers; in this dream she is in a nursing home, singing old cantina songs to me from her 20’s when she sang in public to Frida and Diego and my uncle and them all.  She sang of the colours thst she saw.

I cannot begin to express how much I will miss those colors when she leaves.

I can but try.
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