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There used to be a small, tranquil town, two mountain ranges over. It was supported by a steady stream of goods from local traders and the secondary economies that one will find in rural mountain burgs: a drug store, a diner that served delicious cakes, a cloth shop, and so forth. After November, the snow blanketed this little community, and because motor traffic was light, the town would remain as white as linen until the spring thaw several months later. It was a festive little village and the holidays were a time of great joy and celebration for its denizens. What I’m getting at here is that Christmas was a big deal in our idyllic township.
As the eldest child, at the start of every school year, I received a new pair of boots, and the older ones were passed down to my first younger sister, who handed hers down to our brother, and on they went down the line. The same descending transaction occurred with coats and nearly every other item that we owned. But Christmas was a different matter. Mother made a small economy out of selling goose fat to the larders, and that money went into a tin that once held Royal Dansk Cookies all the way from Denmark. Continue reading
A friend wrote to tell me they had a dream in which both of our families were attending an outdoor event and we had a chance to enjoy each other’s company.
This has been a hard week for many people, and if you’re like me you’re finding it difficult to enjoy anything right now. But my friend’s dream is helping me shake this feeling.
There is still goodness in the world. Now more than ever, we need to remind ourselves and our friends of this. Not to normalize, too much has been normalized, but to fuel us.
Struggle, until you’re near its end, so often feels like defeat. We need to be reminded constantly of the good things left worth fighting for.
Today is about nightmares. We live in a nightmare.
I have long suffered from sleep paralysis. Upon settling into sleep I feel the presence of someone approaching, standing over me. When I try to move I can’t. Why I try to scream I can’t. Sometimes I wake myself up attempting to scream. Sometimes I spend what seems like hours trapped in this state, only to wake the next morning with a sore throat, exhausted.
For a long period of time I struggled with a substance abuse problem, in part because I wanted control over my consciousness, my sleep.
I feel like I’ve been trying to scream my whole life. Something isn’t right. Power is crushing us from all directions.
What is power?
Do you believe in the power of nightmares?
Do you accept the necessity of a state apparatus?
What you ever seen one person killing another? This is power. This is an attempt at statehood.
A state is an organized body of coercion, convincing its subordinates that they need it. To the state you trade your freewill for protection. To the state you grant a monopoly of force. You pay the state to kill children. You love the state.
You are a vessel for state thought. You are so full up with it that you can’t imagine another way of being. You only dream state dreams. You only speak state language. You only love state love. You only think state thought.
The state is standing over you. Try to scream.
Try to stop paying the state what it demands.
There are people with guns walking around outside, looking for trouble, killing people. The state has sent them.
There are people killing people everywhere for the state. This is freedom. Freedom to work. Freedom to buy. Freedom to drink yourself unconscious.
You cannot transcend the state through spirit. There is no spirit outside of state sanctioned spirit.
Accept this world to find peace in the next: This is state thought.
You cannot break your deal with the state. You are owned.
The state owns you. The state owns your dream.
Welcome to my nightmare.
Someone dreamt their eyes were pooling with blood. I had a dream I found a bottle of cologne with one of my friend’s name on the label, under which was printed Architect and Philosopher. A friend of mine is making a maps to the landscapes in her dreams. Last night I dreamt about a party with too many staircases. This was after the destruction of Chicago, a new canyon dredged to fill with ruins.
As I write this there is a square glass filled with writing implements on my desk, situated eight inches diagonally from my right hand. This glass was a Christmas gift given by a boss when I worked in an office four floors above where I now sit. This glass was a way of saying I know I’m supposed to buy you a gift, but fuck you. Sometimes waking from a dream I feel the world is telling me the same thing.
Inside the glass there’s twenty or so pens and pencils and markers that came from other dreams: a Micron 08 I once sketched my son’s face with, a Staples Hype highlighter that I colored in the squares representing my vacation weeks with, a BP Zebra F-301 mechanical pencil that I used to complete problem sets for Technical Mathematics 215, a black ballpoint pen with my deceased grandfather’s name emblazoned on it that I rescued from his 1990 Lincoln Town Car after the transmission went and I almost drove it into my house then decided wasn’t worth the cost of repair.
These are all dreams. None of them exist, but I can vividly recall them. Memories are the superstition we build our lives on. We all know America was never great. If you don’t then why the fuck are you reading this? None of your memories are more valid than that great lie.
There’s a lot of superstition surrounding dreams as well: you can’t die in a dream, there’s a right way to interpret them, that we can understand.
This isn’t an attempt to trick you. Surety is.
We’ve all had dreams we didn’t want to wake from. Many of us have had dreams we return to. A smaller group of us have learned to navigate those dreams, have become conscious of the dreaming within the dream. Spiritual teachers tell us this is a way of training for becoming conscious of the dreaming within this dream. There are many volumes dedicated accounts of those who’ve done this, been able to accomplish fantastic feats because they’ve fully integrated this awakening. Last night my daughter asked me what I would do if I could do anything. Anything, I replied.
The grief of death is the refusal to accept the beauty of the dead cat’s smile. The grief of death is the lie of memory, and your attachment to it.
How much of who you are is a lie? How much of who you are today is the remembrance of yourself congealing in the bathroom mirror? How hard is it to forget all the times you’ve been hurt? When was the last time you forgot who you were?
Be someone else tomorrow. Be conscious of the remembering. Interdict possibility before the approach of memory. Write yourself a note so you don’t have to remember this.
one day the fire will light open the Ganges & the breasts of rain will wash our names as ashes touching the back of the sun Continue reading
It’s gone on and on
where the jet planes to Hedonism
a new version of myself
comes after you
turning like falcon and lynx
after my friends die
because all the maps were wrong
which caused a dire gape
another stupid way to say
the talon’s scales
the shame of feeling feathers
against the grain of cockroach wing
when we are high and small
enough to the eye
to be high enough
to feel the dying
on the other end of eyeless flight
We could be making bombs right now
but we lock ourselves in crying away
because a river of police
like picnic soldier
while we try to love a body
as you can love a cage
and not the empty space between bars
a life of choking
on the promise of love
and that’s how it starts
I found pain
but there’s a great big choir
in a great big room
singing like a ship
I used to think
the lyrics were
If I could be one thousand miles away
but still be me
I would stay
Now clap your hands