Font Size

Allen Ginsberg stated “the only poetic tradition is the voice out of the burning bush.”

Understanding, which only comes slowly and over an immensely long (by our standard) period of time is almost always something  that happens when coincidence gives extraordinary depth to an almost banal thought.

That moment this week came for me when I began to read a book left here by one of the many artists and poets I have shared my life with.

The book itself is a nothing, a standard treatise on how to be a fearless creator. Every true creator knows from experience that trembling fear walks hand in hand, arm in arm, stride by side with the genuinely creative.

Our minds like to deceive as with imaginary ideas and ideals which essentially demand we castrate our self.

We are promised that if we turn into a “good” human being by following a few Commandments we will create works which will bring us truckloads of everything we desire.

Nowhere do I find the truth better said that in this poem…

WHICH ONE IS GENUINE

I once knew a woman named Benedicta, who
infused everything with the ideal. When one
looked into her eyes one wanted nobility, glory,
beauty, all those qualities that make us love immortality.

But this exquisite woman was too beautiful to
live long; she died in fact shortly after I met her,
and it was I who buried her one day when spring
was waving his encensoir even through the
cemetery gates. It was I who buried her, well
enclosed in a coffin made of a wood scented and
eternal as the treasure boxes of India.

And while my eyes remained fixed on that spot
where my jewel lay entombed, I saw all at once a
tiny human being much like the dead woman,
doing a bizarre dance, violent and hysterical, on
the loose earth. She howled with laughter as she
spoke: “This is me! Benedicta, as she is! I’m
trash, everyone knows it! And the punishment
for your stupidity and your blind head is this:
You’ll have to love what I am!”

I went into a rage and said, “No! No! No! No!”
And in order to give strength to my no, I
stomped the earth so fiercely with my foot that
my leg sank into the freshly turned earth up to
my knee, and like a wolf caught in a trap, I am
now tied, perhaps for the rest of my life, to the
grave of the ideal.

–Charles Baudelaire (translated by Robert Bly).

This is me! Benedicta, as she is! I’m trash, everyone knows it! And the punishment for your stupidity and your blind head is this:You’ll have to love what I am!”

In my heart I know that I and most everyone wishes to shout in the ear of those whom we think love us, “I’m trash, everyone knows it! And the punishment for your stupidity and your blind head is this: You’ll have to love what I am.”

This week as well I found by chance a story that reflected at me the Hell I lived in as a teenager knowing that my thoughts made me a criminal under the law of the land and, according to popular understanding someone hated by God whose death by whatever means would please God very much.

Allen Ginsberg stated “the only poetic tradition is the voice out of the burning bush.”

That voice out of the burning bush when asked to define itself replied, “I am that I am. I am. Tell them that ‘I AM” sent you

What an answer!

Picasso said, “I do not evolve. I am.”

With that “I am” Picasso claimed equality with the greatest creator of all.

Of course WE ARE but a fleeting moment on a wave that has washed out from the bosom of eternity.

Asked where he found the centre of the universe the great Shaman Black Elk said, “On Haney’s Peak in The Black Hills but in truth the center of the universe is in each person.”

So it is.

When we look for something we look for it everywhere but never see it.

Once I have seen something, that is completely understood it, I see it everywhere.

Never doubt that a small group of committed people can change the world for the better. Indeed, it is often the only thing that does.”-Margaret Meade.

THE RITES OF MANHOOD

It’s snowing hard enough that the taxis aren’t running.
I’m walking home, my night’s work finished,
long after midnight, with the whole city to myself
when across the street I see a very young American sailor
standing over a girl who’s kneeling on the sidewalk
and refuses to get up although he’s yelling at her
to tell him where she lives so he can take her there
before they both freeze. The pair of them are drunk
and my guess is he picked her up in a bar
and later got separated from his buddies
and at first it was great fun to play at being
an old salt at liberty in a port full of women with
hinges on their heels, but now he wants only
to find a solution to the infinitely more complex
problem of what to do with her before he falls into
the hands of the police or the shore patrol
-and what keeps this from being squalid is
what’s happening to him inside:
if there were other sailors here
it would be possible for him
to abandon her where she is and joke about it
later, but he’s alone and the guilt can’t be
divided into small forgetable pieces;
he’s finding out what it means
to be a man and how different it is
from the way that only hours ago he imagined it.

-Alden Nowlan.

THE RITES OF MANHOOD sums up perfectly why I have not looked for a partner with whom to share my life which is not to say people have not shared nor do not share my life.

The important thing is that by choice a very great many people do share my life as I share theirs.

All of them are people chance brought to my door.

What do I look for in people with whom I choose to share my life? Nothing. Absolutely nothing.

Why?

Because expectation gets in the way of seeing.

William S. Burroughs: “The child sees more clearly than the adult because the child has not chosen what it will and will not see.”

Jesus: “Unless you come as a child you can not enter the kingdom of God.”

All my life I have done my best to come as a child.

That decision which has cost me much has made me richer than the wildest dreams of avarice.

There are those who when they see a child are drawn to harm them.

I know from my own experience that harm can be and often is mortal.

Jesus: “He who harms one of these little ones better a millstone was tied to his neck and he was cast in the sea.

What does it mean, “harm one of these little ones?”

It means to cause them to lose their trust in that which Jesus himself called, “Papa, daddy.”

The word ‘ABBA” which Jesus used is the child’s word for father. Its use means great intimacy, great knowledge. How so, knowledge comes only from intimacy. The greater the intimacy the greater the knowledge.

Judith Merril: “We only really learn in conversation after sex.”

Nothing is more intimate than sex with another person. From that intimacy comes the greatest knowledge of all.

Society calls it, “Carnal knowledge.”

Yet unless we embrace carnal knowledge we remain the monster child spawned by the ideal.

Look at these words once more:

I once knew a woman named Benedicta, who
infused everything with the ideal. When one
looked into her eyes one wanted nobility, glory,
beauty, all those qualities that make us love immortality.”

Who has not murdered the object of their love with this nonsense?

The best of us are those who have been murdered by it.

That leads me to these words:

Twenty-First. Night. Monday.

Twenty-first. Night. Monday.
Silhouette of the capitol in darkness.
Some-good-for-nothing-who knows why-
made up the tale that love exists on earth.

People believe it, maybe from laziness
or boredom, and live accordingly:
they wait eagerly for meetings, fear parting,
and when they sing, they sing about love.

But the secret reveals itself to some,
and on them silence settles down…
I found this out by accident
and now it seems I am sick all the time.

Anna Akhmatova (translated by Jane Kenyon).

It was a cold night in Russia when Akhmatova wrote that.

Erich From: “To create presupposes love for that which one creates.”

We are told God loves us because God created us.

This, indeed, is true.

The poet sees what the Divinity Student is all too often blind to (bear in mind there are poets–and many of them–as blind as Divinity students–and there are Divinity Students who are not blind).

Read not to contradict and confute, nor to believe and overlook…but to weigh and consider.”–Francis Bacon.

Pablo Picasso: “I do not evolve. I am.”

He was.

Rebellion is not a sin. It is a sign of intelligence and of having a backbone. The sin of Adam and Eve was not rebellion. It was the excuse, the blaming of the action on another but our self.

Consider. Our mothers told us not to touch the stove or we would get burned.

Most of us–the best of us–got burned.

With that burning came understanding as with the burning bush came the greatest understanding.

Throw away the books.

Plato: “He who without the Muse’s madness in his soul comes knocking at the door of poesy and thinks that art will make him anything fit to be called a poet, finds that the poetry which he indites in his sober senses is beaten hollow by the poetry of madmen.

Amen.

We must embrace like a lover the Baptism of Fire.

Ignis Naturalis Regeneratis Ignis.

–Reg Hartt 2020–01–07

 

 

The wonderful Aditya Shankar came for my cartoon fest. He asked if he could live in my archive room (one I normally do not let be occupied). For Adi I broke my rule. Good thing, too. He fought the battle depicted here from that room.

 

UNSPECIFIED – DECEMBER 16: Boniface VIII (Anagni, ca 1230-Rome, 1303), encaustic painting on panel by Andrea Gastaldi (1826-1889), 1875, detail. Rome, Galleria Nazionale D’Arte Moderna (National Gallery Of Modern Art) (Photo by DeAgostini/Getty Images)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

« »