The collapse of the popular music sacrificial fire into millions of glittering coals marks the slow death of a sub-cultural era of psychic exploitation, repression, and propaganda. Beware of many last salvos as the conflagration expires, crackling and burning with a final extraction of warmth before we are free of the spectacle.

There’s been enough recycled commercialization through the grinder now to recognize the taste of the bodies being fed to us as having a same-old, lifeless lack of flavor.  To satiate our robust hunger for the flesh and bones of dreams we don’t dare for ourselves, the human fuel was piled high.  Every kind of expression, disposable and forgettable unless you happened to catch a particular body’s colorful spattering burst of color as it was consumed.

That’s just how the sausage is made, mind you. It’s true that sacrifice is what keeps us all alive.  Mindful sacrifice that is. Making an automated industry out of it—at the cost of a wasteland of the mind and the earth in its wake (never mind what those planting monoculture clones in the wake say)—hardly satisfies.  The junkfood consuming of the pRonographic never provides enough psychological nourishment.  It just gets you to the next storefront

Only the art which turns the one participating back upon themself is any damn good.  The point is to adapt us, to bring us back to ourselves with a fresh re-imagining that shakes us from our ossification of the routine. The pieces are always the same, it is in the near limitless application of those parts into a whole experience that one is reminded of their true humanity.

It’s easy to jump in the fire, throw some embers up in the air, and shout loudly.  Can you pull free the searing gemstone in the coals for us to see?  Without crying out? Look, there are glimmers in the fire.

Facing the dehumanizing trial of speaking across lines of distance has already been done, with more willingness to open the heart, more maturity about the difficulties that might arise, and more knowing when to wield the keen sword of wit when it’s time.

Untangling the hardship and confusion of speaking to someone who refuses to listen?  Been done with style, flair, and no small amount of insight.

You want ragged, road bitten humor with an edge? Quite a few gals out there know how to approach the monsters and deal blow for blow with a few human touches.

Or if its the mirror to society you want held up, then there are forces of unspeakable talent so frightening they weaken the phony system with every mere gesture.

A mountain of women have piled high whatever they could give to show us that smashing others isn’t enough, nor is it strength or smarts or even a good mock.

How many more times must one re-imagine the victim-girl as dispenser of brutality in the name of her owners before they hear the ringing of bells and understand the night has passed?

It’s time. Because we are in relation to one another.

I’ve heard tell that the force beneath the earth’s surface is like a dragon, and that if one doesn’t use their scientifically engineered tools of reason just right, there is a kick in the trousers.  What will people do when the sulfuric alchemical mistake goes up the drain and bathes the unconscious of the planet in hostile, un-adapted impulses of monstrosity?

Mentation-based living systems are tested to the point of migration or disintegration.  Specialist primates find their commerce-based systems of non-participation eroded to the core meltdown of mindless primitive operational procedure.

At the baseline, it really does come down to the food chakra.  Ingest and excrete, watch Mother Nature show us how it happens on a localized geologic scale.  Her sphincter is letting it blow and we get to watch the capacity push organism tolerance levels to the end of the indicator needle.

The baby-talk that “consumers” are to blame is boring, turn-of-the-century diaper scratch-and-sniff.  The alpha primates of the Hairless Ape chapter of Mammon Intergalactica didn’t give the beta and gamma primates a choice.  There was no town meeting, student gathering or community involvement in how the public would decide to use its resources, or even whether to use them at all. The public was never consulted.

There was no choice because there is no system of participation.  You push a lever every now and then to ratify choices already made for you, through a system that alpha primates dance a poop throw for themselves in the country club at your expense.

The idea that you can just say no to TV and automobiles is more baby-talk by delusional betas and gammas working on the alpha payroll.  The reward cycle of society doesn’t promote alternatives; in order to stop driving you have to exist: A) outside the system, and B) in places where legal ordinances permit you to have things like solar panels.

So while it may be fun and easy to turn one’s ire on fellow beta and gamma primates who “choose” to drive a faux tank and imagine themselves as powerful as their false-idolized weakling princes, it’s ultimately blaming the content and not the context.  It produces late-night comedians who can mock celebrities but not General Electric.

What is the “public” guilty of then?  Who said they were guilty at all?

The alpha primates, the ego-appointed weakling princes of our unconscious projections, are quick to dodge individual responsibility for their mistakes.  They project their own cowardice onto the imagined specter of an unruly mob of irrational public citizens who are really “at fault” for making them commit acts of irresponsibility, arrogance, and childishness.

Mother Nature has come down hard on them with a wallop.  Their relevant toys of in-duh-stry, all out of proportion from human dimensions, are about to have their allowance stripped.  Anyone with sense would do well to step well clear of this catastrophe of infantile dependency and meditate on what it means as a hero to encounter one’s limits.

I tend to lack interest in manufactured mediopoly concisions; too many false-prophets shouting and screaming.  However, exceptions always manage to creep in, as it should be. No matter what system we come up with, it can’t possibly include boundless life.

A catastrophe has occurred and there’s been a tremendous loss of life. I feel that, because it touches a part of me I resonate with strongly.  There’s scorn and self-righteousness being heaped on the empathy many are feeling for the suffering that has transpired.  This development moves me to comment on a part of me that I also resonate with strongly.

Thoughts and prayers are a form of consciousness-raising activity.

They don’t exist inside a vacuum, they are a taking of action. Expressing them allows the sharing of ideas that de-atomizes the community, strengthens ties and organizes people around their mutual interest. From organization comes a scaling of action from which changes are made to our environment. So there’s nothing small or ineffectual about one’s thoughts or prayers—thus the hysterical ranting against them by vanguards.

Caring is a dissident act.  If that’s all you do—feel for another—then all is not lost.  That’s where the tide turns—with the blood shaking your heart in an awful daring of a moment’s surrender which an age of prudence can never retract.

By that, and that only, have we existed.  The false-prophets have reason to scream loud, but they can never scream enough to drown out the caring of a single heart for another.

Last Saturday two of my friends got married.  I always get emotional at such times, though not quite the way people might think.  Panic and fear.  Excitement and elation.  Confusion and bafflement.

See, whenever two people make that conscious commitment to each other public, these are the sorts of things I hear:

  • “We’re going to defeat the entire Dark Destroyer army by ourselves—with a stick of chewing gum.”
  • “We’ve decided to fly on a rocket straight through the sun—and not break a sweat.”
  • “We’ll be, you know, rescuing the earth from the erupting super volcano—by eating hamburgers.”

Oh my goodness, my friends are going to rescue the earth!  Uh, won’t flying through the sun be a little like suicide?  How are they going to defeat an army with chewing gum?  My brain hurts!

Not that they should be saying something else.  This is marriage, the supreme ordeal of doom! We aren’t talking about a love affair, which is all about the fun (and once it stops being fun the gig is up).  We’re talking about epic quest stuff here, not mass entertainment stuck in the infantile view of relationship.

See, when two people take each other as their center, all other things are secondary.  Family, friends, communities, religions, governments, and corporations—all get second place.  That’s unacceptable—not only does it deny the obedience that is rightly owed some of these temporal authorities, but it absolutely destroys all other personal relationships.

This is often portrayed as the “ball and chain” in popular entertainment.  That crazy marriage has wrecked all the fun!  Don’t those two people realize they have to live in the real world?

So rituals exist to connect this unnatural act back to the rest of the world.  One’s allegiance is channeled back into the institutions of authority and privilege, lest people start getting ideas.  That they can, you know love another person and sacrifice themselves to that person regardless of suffering, regardless of death?

If that isn’t a harrowing adventure, big dude quest to save the world, I don’t know what is.

Can’t have any of that.  Must control the scope of the act so that only certain means of expression are allowed.  Only properly ordained types of people can be allowed recognition, because to grant even imposed rights upon any subset is to ultimately allow it for all.  This act must be controlled, sanctified by proper channels, and made into a sacred institution (that is, “safe” for local consumption).

In other words, the moral act of commitment is so dangerous it must be controlled.  Because God forbid these people actually start completing any of these impossible tasks.  Others might be inspired by them to jump into their own crazy act of unnatural disobedience.

These movies are very likely moving out of the theaters as I type this, if not already moved aside for the next installment of inefficiency Hollywood propaganda.

The question that comes to mind for me is:  Which of these two movies is an accurate rendering of the apocalypse?

This Is It begins with an acknowledgment of Michael Jackson’s death.  We the audience enter this experience knowing the ending—that the man we are about to see is dead-man-walking.  He has passed on.  And yet, through the magic of the movie screen we get to see him in the days leading up to his end, rehearsing a mega-galactic show.  When we see him, he is alive, yet we know he is dead.  This is the condition of being a god—both alive and dead, in two places at once.

I suggested in a previous post that there was something of the vampire in MJ, and seeing him during the movie I cannot help but think how supernatural he looks.  How supernatural his interactions with the other dancers, musicians, choreographers, and so on are.  One thing for sure is that MJ has total mastery over his music, his moves, and the presentation of both.  It is a supernatural experience, if you forget that he is mortal, as the movie has already stated.

What I enjoyed most about this movie is how we catch a glimpse of the show as it might have been, and how the creative process occurs as the participants work out the kinks.  It’s two shows in one.  Very much like life, because it is life and we know there is death because the endgame is in front of us.

It’s a glorious spectacle to behold, and yet the imperfection of the show as MJ tries to perfect it brings a human, individualized quality to it.  At the end, the film freezes to announce him as the King of Pop.  The show is ended, a life is ended, the movie is over.

Meanwhile, 2012 slakes our thirst for everyone to perish at the hands of impersonal forces.  You have the inviolable average white family struggling against the challenge of doomsday, with father doing most of the work and ensuring everyone stays together, everyone survives, and all interlopers are removed.

The doomsday special effects are everything one might hope, with entire buildings collapsing as thousands fall screaming into the black pit of destruction.  It’s been done before, in the first superman movie.  The death of Krypton is at least honest as it sets up a story situation.

In 2012 you get to watch billions die, the rich ensure their survival, and lip-service get paid to human values—allowing a few laborers to live long enough to become the next generation of slaves. How exciting!

Fear not, all will proceed as it has always done, with nothing changed in the fundamental social class of things or how decisions are made for the human race.  Even better, the predominantly white survivors get to settle in the new Africa and say they are where the human race began after the flood.  How convenient!

The movie truly ends about two-thirds of the way in, when the protagonists reach the islands of Hawaii, which have burst into flames.  It’s a genuinely sober moment in the story, when one realizes luck or skill or preparation will only get you do far–a message the rich would do well to contemplate.  They won’t—paying the Mammon dues will ensure their survival, right?  Nope.  End of line, program.  All fall down.

The movie ceases to be interesting after that and we focus on the passing on of life all doomsday movies are required to depict.  Don’t worry, it’ll all come out in the wash.  Give the audience enough special effects to slake their thirst for blood and a salve to their misery, but then bring them back from actually reflecting on their own clocks ticking.

The devil loves the old standby of “tell them there’s no hurry.”  Paid for itself all the way back to the beginning.

But with This Is It, the endgame is irrevocable.  Life does not continue on.  No ark of any kind, metaphorically or medically, is letting MJ perform a single show he rehearsed.  What we see is all we get.  When the end comes, that’s it.  Your number is up, no matter how frighteningly genius you are.

I watched This Is It and I felt whole, as if a truth had been spoken.  Yes, I’m seeing an edited program which excludes anything which might be construed as negative.  Yet I still found a sublime peace and sorrow at the same time.  All of us are headed into the last curtain call, no exceptions.

I watched 2012 and enjoyed the special effects.  Woody Harrelson stole the show as a crazy apocalypse nut.  But the story was all so phony.  Propaganda reassuring the owned that all will be well in a catastrophe.  It says more about the fears of the rich than it does about what the end of life on earth might be like.  The movie fosters a profoundly bleak, one-sided view of human beings.  At the end we’re right back where we started—get back to work, drones.

But MJ, standing alone against the actual, physical bulldozer coming out of the trapdoor on stage.  Trying to stop what in all reality is probably too late to change.  It’s complete farce.  Yet in that moment of the fool’s end I understood the fans, I saw the other side.  He’s gone, and I’m still alive—but even in the heartless heart of a vampire I see the good.

That’s what is known as sublime.

I got the summons from an old wreckhouse stringer, none other than Boot-beggar Head-squeezer The Constrained.  I get them all the time, but after getting one laugh-a-lariat gumption vacuum in the nowhere land I gave up.  If the big cheese biter won’t even bother showing up in un-person, sending some never-was crumb kneeler to tell me how much I will never ever whatever, I may as well pretend I have sour grapes syndrome and gnash them toothies.

This time, I dropped my six shooters and walked into the nasteroo un-gourge without a backup.  Maybe Xtine’s sharpening of the cleavers through ultrasonic screaming, or Hexe’s turning the ovens up to eleven (extra crunchy!), or Alexi’s diving into the morass of slavering munchuloids with a fake lightsaber and exoskeleton are rubbing of on me.  K prepped the hyperspace tunnel and offered me any number of below the belt stone knives and bearskins disguised as digital watch greatness, but I decided this called for no technique.

Make no mistake, Boot-beggar will stamp your ticket with dog doo ink and slap you senseless upside the sensibility.  You will get the viceroy gripper treatment on anything but your skull.  That gets saved so your teeth can fly out with a bloody pop as you watch them eviscerate your soul food.  Yep, your single serving size of batsplat is in your eye and out your sock.  You’ll be lucky if a piece of you wins the souvenir sweepstakes.  Every member of the wreckhouse loves a keepsake.  As long as they get to squeeze and watch the primary cell awareness squirm.

They don’t mention The Constrained because the outhouse ain’t working, no siree.  Here comes the rolf-a-lore, with a leverage on your shoulder blades that will make you watch the unfolding stupidity of nonsense puppets dangle before your very irradiated nose hairs.  Man, how long have I been living this genuine faux dungheap and wishing I could crawl more instead of less?

The hidden victims hadn’t crawled out of their capsules yet, but the mongering ankle-gores were ready for me.  All spines in full effect, a poison take-out trough prepared for the thousandth and one millenium since beatdown was coded into the particle stream of molten galactoids from the bubbling pampers of hell.  The preliminary foray of anti-humanors began the moment I stepped over the line and knocked the batteries off the ultra-Euclidean shoulders of the giant Moloch and Mammon elementars.  From there I was coded, identified, and shoved into a face full of fully paid for murder-death-kill.

I started sweating, and a gnawing headache seized my frontal lobe, while fluid accumulated at the back of my reptile gland and cut me to half auxiliary power.  Boot-beggar pulled off the masks and the insincere bystanders started screaming in-between attempts to breathe the jellified air.  Oh yeah, the wreckhouse stringer booting me full of insecurity and inadequacy, in the ultra terrestrial flesh, with alkaloid allies, miserable mopey minions, and vicious vicarious victims all flapping their arms furiously to get a bite in of my live brains before the surprise-you’re-dead negative round.

So yeah, it’s on, the big green dragon and I got nothing.  No quick, no slow, just an eternity of beatdown that can never be undone and I’m about to get shoed.  All unfolding before me, sneak previews all the way to the bone of what’s coming down the hammer stem along my spine.

Except I came back.

I move without moving, dodge without dodging, strike without force, free and easy as a nobody.  Lucerna’s training proves to be enough, I twist and turn, sing quietly, openly, dance with eyes on every small detail, swimming the luck plane with grace, genuine and true.  I am myself, lowdown loser Paul, but this time I feel it!  I can see for miles and miles.

Suddenly Boot-beggar starts running out of mo’, the energy bar shows up at the rear of the Oh-Crikey Coral and it’s not so certain now that I’m going down without a doubt.

Cause man, I got doubts.  I’m shining with them and it’s okay.  Nobody’s home, but leave a message ’cause I care to the max.

Final battle, and Boot-beggar throws the top talent up close and person, literally moving objects in my face to block my poise.  I’m cool, been fighting so long at full power with half a cup of noodles on good days, it’s just more of the same.  An entire wing falls off Boot-beggar and then the leaking begins, seriously blowing hot air out the door of the sphincter as the entire blood-eating externally internalized edifice starts to crumble.  The plan has to change, ’cause the no groove is bein’ played!

The rout unravels like a squid tentacle shot out a cannon, pieces of minion rejects fall away even though that’s all that’s holding the mind trench flowing with broken glass, the force field corn husks are rallying for a final desperate move.  That’s when I reverse course and swing past the avalanche of heartless and humiliation, causing the formations of prickly poison death to crash into each other.  The whole thing is done like bad ham in a fridge, and last person standing is dead meat.

Boot-beggar takes the blow, and staggers.  But I’m already flowing easily out the door as the jaws of fakery snap shut to erase this defeat.  No dice, no roll, got it?  Though the final griddle-waddle punt-waggle is there to catch me in a pincer attack for a group hump from behind, I wave my hand and within seconds I foible myself free of the whole affair, smoke rumbling out of the litterbox for human beings in need of odor control.

It’s a long haul out of the sucker pit, but K is there with healing potion snacks and the cats purr me back to main power.  The folks are hootin’ and hollerin’, slapping their knees with laughter.  What a story!  I swam the crocodile river and didn’t get wet.

Then it dawns on me.  I gave Boot-beggar the braaaat!  Oh, that old dragon got plenty more toys to break. All I did was not fall down this time.  But I held my own and kept it real, which I never ever whatever would have thought I could do, because I had been jacked.  From now on, that big green dragon will have a stain of pink on it’s nose.

The energy is so intense, that for a long hour I can hardly bear it.  I almost come down with an illness.  Yeah, like I said this isn’t Zelda on the N64, this is Zelda-and-then-you-die.

Then I start doing a stupid dance!  I put on Taco’s “Puttin On the Ritz”, and turn that sucker up loud.

Got-ta dance!  GOT-TA…DANCE!

The bohemian, the barfly, and myself go wandering through the streets of Hiroshima.  No particular destination in mind, forgetting the sights and talking about nothing. We pass through a covered market street and end up in a cheap bar.

Before I know it, we’re all throwing back a few and talking about nothing while drunk.  Numbing our senses to what occurred earlier in the day.  I recall me and the bohemian sharing a few words about the horrors—she’s perceptive with those big bright eyes of hers.  My guess is she’s locked it away for detached thought later.  The barfly is on familiar ground—ride the experience on other peoples’ brain points until he achieves some manner of liftoff himself.  Addiction to alcohol has its advantages I suppose.

Having lost our way, we grab a taxi to take us back to our hostel—it’s time to return in time for the visit of the survivor.  This is where my two acquaintances do better than me, having logged more hours in the consume alcohol skill than me.  Up until my visit to Japan, where drinking is a pervasive part of the culture (particularly for males), I’d never actually had a drink.  I’ve only been doing this for maybe two months.  I overshoot my limits, and am clearly wasted while we sit in a room and are introduced to the survivor.

She’s dressed in a nice business-casual outfit, with kind features.  There doesn’t seem to be anything physically wrong with her.  When she speaks, her voice is calm and gentle.  Our interpreter doesn’t miss a beat, so I almost feel like I am hearing the survivor’s own voice, through a screen perhaps.  But, bless the social safety valves of Japanese culture, even though I am an embarrassment they make allowances.  I sit quietly and resolve to be as unobtrusive as my state allows.

I miss a lot of the groundwork of her story, her family and what she was doing on that day.  But gradually as I sober up by degrees her story becomes clearer to me.  The woman explains how she was turning a corner around a building when the bomb went off, burning half her body.  Then every detail starts to imprint itself on my brain and I begin to remember why I got drunk in the first place.  I’m trying to escape, I must escape this horror or I will break down in uncontrollable weeping.

She is rescued and taken to a care-taking station.  Really just a place to gather casualties, the first steps at response.  Her eye has been destroyed and is rotting in her skull.  Her caretakers have to remove the eye but they have no instruments.  A piece of shattered glass without anesthesia is all they have to offer, and her eye is removed.

I didn’t know the survivor had a glass eye.  Her skin on the burned side doesn’t look at all like the horrible mess she described.  You would never know by looking at her that she has been through hell on earth.  The Japanese are very good at maintaining appearances, and I wonder what deep emotions she might be restraining so that we get the point.

Even though it’s unbelievably disrespectful, I stand up and walk out of the room, out of the building, back into the street. I can’t take it anymore.  This is a nightmare from which there is no waking.  It really did happen with real people, and the desecration, the inhuman monstrosity of it is forever.  Ghosts, everywhere around me crying out for my attention.

I find an alleyway next to a drink machine and buy myself an orange juice.  Then I sit on the cold asphalt of the alleyway and zone out.  Then I start to talk to the ghosts, try and understand them.  But untangling the mass grave is impossible.  This dark shadow of what we have done to ourselves is too big, too immense for one person to find an answer to.

The bohemian and the barfly find me after about an hour—how far could I stagger?  The bohemian says everyone was worried about me, and I say I’m okay.  You know, just needed a breath of air and a little sobering up, which is I suppose a rational response.  Our go-between/chaperones are upset with me, which I try to dodge by acting sheepish.  How do I apologize for my own weakness?  How do I explain to them how shocked I am?  I am guilty, and I am also having exactly the kind of experience this visit to Hiroshima was made for.

Barfly looks strangely subdued, which I’m surprised at.  For once, he’s not the center of a drunken drama and I’m the one making the group look bad.  We’re all sent to bed early, with me not in good graces.

Lights off, buckwheat mattresses and pillows out.  If only I could sleep.

Since it’s very nearly Halloweenie, I cooked up an extra special treat for all of you in the cauldron of my brain-pan.  A story of madness and horror served up from a few tender morsels of my innocence I picked up from the scorched stone of the past.

Hiroshima.  I’m there with a dozen or so of overseas students, the married couple acting as our American go-betweens and chaperones, and one or two Japanese guides who for the life of me I can’t remember.  I think they might have been locals associated with our school, because I seem to recall us getting a new guide in each city we visited.

Time to see the sights, day one is an arranged tour.  Specifically, the Hiroshima Peace Memorial Park and any nearby associated landmarks and exhibits.  Later that night, we return to the youth hostel to meet a survivor and listen to her stories.  At the time, I thought it was strange how the first part was given to us open-ended, without structure.  But now I see the wisdom in this approach.  We all have to come to knowledge of this sort of thing in our own way.

I had to admit I was looking forward to the whole thing, it seemed so compelling.  Here’s my chance to say I visited ground zero and had an unforgettable experience.  And wow, I figure the survivor will tell a pretty horrible tale and I’ll get the inside scoop on what it was like.  Godzilla was created by atomic tests, and Godzilla is awesome, so it’ll be cool right?

Leading with my chin.

We sort of separate into smaller groups along our usual lines of affinity and wander around.  There’s the monument to Sadako and the thousand paper cranes (called the Childrens’ Peace Monument), a girl who grew sick from the radiation of the explosion and tried to make a thousand paper cranes.  Legend has it if you can make a thousand, you are granted a wish.  She managed to make 644 before she died.

I dive into studying the monuments in the park, and we soon all split up.  There’s so much to take in visually, let alone reflect upon for meaning while still being alert to cultural references you are generally ignorant of.

I study a sculpture whose subject involves the ruined Industrial Promotion Hall across the river.  The hall is an iconic structure associated with the center of the blast, known as “the a-bomb dome” because of the framework on the roof which survived.  The sculpture is set up in such a way that when viewed you see an arch over the framework and a fire beneath the dome.

The icon, across the river, separated from us by time, yet plainly visible and still approachable.  An arch over the dome, a bow of promise and a bridge completing two sides.  A fire beneath, on the ground and beneath the ground, a hope and a light that what is dreamed will be.  That’s just scratching the surface of what’s before me, not even taking into account the text panels.

Everyone is quiet and respectful, there’s a strange sense of solemnity here even though it’s a clear sunny day.  Even the kids are subdued.  I try to stay focused, but every piece of art, every monument arrests you with the knowledge that this place is it, man.  This is where the deal went down.

I imagine that this might be the psychic after-effect hanging like a cloud over the place, and it’s just another interesting and cool part of the city.  I tell myself that I’m losing interest in the park, and the cultural nuances are beyond me anyway.  Time to have fun and leave this depressing park.  At least, that’s what I have to keep telling myself.

Don’t turn around.

So I cross the river using one of the many bridges to go visit the town hall.  I stand next to a plaque that says I’m standing at the spot where 500 feet above me the bomb exploded.  I didn’t know it at the time, but my best friend’s father designed a set of replacement doors that go with the hall, which is closed to the public.  I would have tried to muster up some pride for my best friend having a hand in things, however obliquely.

Looking up at the sky, I feel a weight pushing down on me.  That nervous feeling is coming back again.  I move along and make my way to the peace museum to meet up with the group.  I heard there’s a block of stone with the mark of a vaporized human burned onto it, cool!

For a moment, I’m actually glad to see the group again, even the barfly (as I called him).  The goal of waiting to get our tickets and move into the long line gives me something to distract the growing dread creeping up my spine.  No no no this is going to be cool, do you hear me, cool!  I don’t even notice how quiet my fellow students are.

The line is like a chain of souls entering hell, rising up stairs into the museum (we are no longer on earth), and then the facts begin to roll by.  Nothing garish or colorful like the dinosaurs at the Smithsonian.  A long winding series of interconnected display cases in the form of a timeline, winding back and forth through the museum, telling stories, showing artifacts.  I forget to take pictures, or maybe they aren’t allowed, I can’t remember.

What I do remember is the white wall stained by the black, radioactive rain that fell afterward.  Kelloids, strange tumors that had never been seen before, cut from bodies and placed in jars for display.  Charred pieces of masonry and iron twisted and transformed by incredible heat.  X-rays of glass embedded in human organs by explosive force.

The block of stone with the human imprint, a step taken from a bank entrance, is not there.  It’s been moved to another part of the museum cordoned off from the public.  But the pictures are there, along with others.  Two humans turned into a pair of shadowy streaks on the surface of a stone block of a bridge not unlike the one I crossed to reach the dome.

A couple?  Father and son?  Two best friends forever?  Take your pick and it probably happened.  These are just the ones they found.  The pictures and text are bad enough, maybe it’s good I didn’t see the real thing.  A human being reduced to a smear on stone.

There’s a guest book, which I sign, writing something enthusiastic in support of the museum’s purpose.  But I’m on automatic now, free of the line in the last section of the tour where you break free and begin to wander downstairs and back to earth.  Walking on a mass grave, a loud tumult in my ears.  I’m in shock, and it doesn’t matter.

I hook up with the barfly and the bohemian girl he likes, who hangs out with him because he’s not boring.  Probably the people I’m closest to in this group, which is pretty sad.  All three of us wander out of the park into the city.

We don’t care where we’re going.  The ghosts are everywhere.

050_mrmopeA few days ago I was reading the Daily Duncer, a fake newspaper that serves several counties in imagi-nation and I saw an adverse-tisement.  Looks like that slippery scumbag weasel Mister Mope was up to his old tricks again:

Hi suckers.  Need a life?  I got ’em all, only 5 cents, 10 cents or 25 cents for gumball machines.  You get free ghost and everybody will look at them and not you. No junk.  Girlz get speshal offer–25 more cents you get paper.  Tells you what think and say so nobody get wize.  Send money box 99.

Nobody would fall for that, right?  Well Mister Mope is ripping off kids, not adults.  Never trust a gumball machine junkie!  They’ll hook you onto a fake identity for life, all for a piece of cheap bubblegum!  And whatever that ghost does, that’s what people will think is you.

Insidious, because kids love to play pretend.  They want to learn how things work and they want to be liked.  Long after that ghost has stopped being fun, it’s still hanging around showing people sides of you they want to see, not who you really are.

Addictive, because even though it dehumanizes, it is much easier to let a ready-made part do the work for you.  Just say your lines, think everything is puffy clouds, and you won’t even notice when your life starts to resemble a ghost’s.  Ghost gets your life, you slide on by.  Pretty good deal for the ghost, eh?

The ghosts of other people are playing you.  You might have a ghost of your own too.  So back it up, back it up.  Who you with?  The ghost, the real person, the real you?  It’s all pretend, and you can trick that Mister Mope right back.

See, being an untrustworthy fellow, he is remarkably vulnerable himself to trickery.  Once you know you’ve been ripped off, or that people have been ripped off as kids, you can start to look for the ghosts.  Oh!  That person really isn’t my soul mate, they’re just some person who wants to be left alone.  Yeow, am I really that person’s hero?  Don’t they know I burp and fart?

Be yourself.  Deceptively simple wisdom, but like an honor code it calls you to know yourself.

Stop, and watch the ghosts.  What those ghosts got to do with you?  Me, I’ve got some bridgefront property with the most awesome gumball machines, evar.  Just wait until Mister Mope gets the postcard directing him to the alligator farm.

Prepare yourselves; this story is a long one. Go get a tasty beverage, and come back when you’re ready for the haul.

Mercury delivers an invitation
It’s taken me a few days to recover from the physical exhaustion and make sense of the psychological contents. Just in time for October, a Celtic New Year dawning as an old one draws to a close. A year filled with a series of transformative changes that happen once in a lifetime, if at all.

A lot in this post is difficult to say, because I have friends who love me and who enjoy U2 regardless of my personal journey and changed outlook. Yet, I owe them a lot. They’re part of the reason I’m in the psychic place I am now. It’s not easy being green, but I’m coping.

My friend Liephus, crafty Gemini that he is, got his hands on two general admission tickets to U2 at FedEx Field in Maryland. Without having to pay a scalper. He just has that kind of keen luck when it comes to these sorts of things. For example, he obtained good seats for a Baltimore concert during the Elevation Tour.

He calls me up with like two days notice. I have to laugh at the ironic randomness of it all. Back when I adored U2, I couldn’t get a ticket to save my life. Now (relatively) cheap and awesome tickets offer themselves to me as easy as pie. I’m pleased to say yes, because this promises to be interesting, given how I’ve explored my feelings for the group over the last year.

There’s a post I’m mulling over, on how exposure to UFO Girl adjusted my nervous system to pick up the effectively-infinite music of subspace radio. The narrative quest of seeking out alchemical, musical formulas and reclaiming our own soundtrack is difficult work. It’s relevant here because it’s allowed me to notice how we project onto rock stars our own need to shine and receive adulation, and how that makes us vulnerable to psychic contagions.

A locust on the windshield
Before I head out, my folks and K worry about the plans I’ve made to meet up with Liephus. We have a bit of an irrational row over it, which strikes me as odd. I know this is an adventure springing up out of the unconscious, and I’m aware of the potential for it to be impersonal. I take it as a sign to be cautious, because strange things are afoot.

As I drive out I notice a locust walking on my windshield. The synchronicity is not lost on me. The contagion of possession is already in the air. I resolve myself to be safe and to be a good locust. I direct power to deflectors, maneuvers and sensors. Hope they hold up to any magnetic radiation going on.

Liephus, my Hermes guide through this journey, is in good spirits. It’s good to hang out with him and catch up. We don’t get to do enough of it these days. Though perhaps just as my super-duper, techno-webmaster friend (who calls himself Turtle) was able to bust through the reefs to have lunch with me, so too is Liephus able to drop a line. With Liephus it’s all about the funny, as my pal Alexi can attest.

Arriving at the venue, I’m reminded of the coliseums of ages past. Bread and Circuses. Mass entertainment, controlled by a vast infrastructure of minders. Activists ply the crowd for signatures of interest in causes, as if a large gathering of people attending a performance in pursuit of a shared interest in a particular kind of happiness weren’t a dissident act.

A helicopter hovers overhead wasting fuel. A radio station reports on the event—I sometimes forget there ever was such a thing as radio. It’s been so co-opted by our owners I haven’t willingly listened in years. Blackberry, one of the official sponsors, is busy making their presence known with advertisements and salesfolk, who seek marks in the audience willing to take download suggestions.

I have a feeling that I’m likely one of the few people without a cell phone. It’s a double-edged sword, but here the mass-presence of such devices in a large group strikes me as fascinating. Each of us carrying our own personal computer, tracking device, telepathic connection to the collective, entertainment unit, information retrieval service and camera. Mephistopheles has wrought well on his end of the bargain.

What strikes me most however, is the sheer amount of energy all this consumes. The carbon footprint (whatever that really means) must be enormous.

Lefsetz talks about how the concert business might be in trouble as people make concert-going a once-a-year kind of thing rather than a monthly form of entertainment. His arguments tend to be based on price, aging super-acts that won’t be replaced, and a change in cultural pursuits.

He might be on to something—that’s certainly a phenomena that’s happened to me with movies—a once a year thing. And it’s interesting to me to consider how the decline of oil will affect this kind of public event. However, those are all external considerations. On a personal level, this grand spectacle reminds me of a long, dark parade. With everyone going under the knife to keep it going—the act, the audience, the backroom puppeteers—even me.

Into the lowest level
Liephus and I descend into the general admission pit. We manage to take up a position close to the circular walkway, with an excellent view of the stage. I prefer to be on my feet so I can dance, and close enough to the performers that I feel involved. So the situation is shaping up to be ideal.

It’s an international audience, a variety of classes and walks of life represented. There’s a group of Brazilians in front of us all chilling out and speaking amongst themselves. Behind us is a small, tight-knit group of Germans being stoic but probably enjoying themselves just the same. There’s a father with his young son. Teenagers, old timers, yuppies, working class. There are famous people up in the suites above us too. Good times.

The stage is dominated by a huge structure held overhead by four supports. A circular, stretchable dot matrix kind of video screen hovers above with a weird spike in the middle full of lights. In each of the legs three men in capsules hang suspended by chains to shine colored lights on the stage.

I read that it’s called “the claw”. I don’t know if that’s true, but it certainly is a weird structure. Reminding me of a four-legged spider. Maybe it’s supposed to be a spaceship and that’s what Bono was referring to during the night when he talked about taking off in one. My thought was the band built the thing out of recycled parts from the Pop-Mart tour to try and make back some of the money they supposedly lost on that tour.

There’s an ugly incident while we’re waiting the two hours for the show to start. A young drunken marine accompanied by a chaperone buddy begins hassling the crowd around him, nearly picking a fight with one of the Brazilians. This tall guy comes over and sternly warns the drunk to behave himself. I catch snippets of conversation that the guy is an officer and understands the drunk’s troubles, but he needs to behave.

It’s a tense scene. I’m on the lookout for a yellow-jacket to flag over, but of course there’s never one around when you need one. I just hope that whatever starts I can dodge it long enough for the crowd to immobilize the drunk (and his friend if he joins in).

The guy is already in the unreliable word salad of extreme drunkeness, but I catch him going off about having to go to Afghanistan. I’d be getting drunk too if that was in my cards, so if it’s true I emphasize. Despair at the real possibility of being stuffed in a pine box is no joke. But I exert all my psychic thoughts towards diffusion and avoidance. I do not need possession here, now.

Time is on my side, and they disappear. When you’re that drunk it’s a countdown to the toilet and/or unconsciousness. It does leave me thinking. Here I am attending a concert suffused with causes supported by the act, yet there are wars of criminal aggression going on right now in two countries, with a third still a possibility. Two Vietnams for the price of one, with a bonus round in the wings.

Losing the scent
The opening act was Muse. I hadn’t heard of them before until I looked up who was opening this concert, and I didn’t get a chance to YouTube them, so I didn’t know what to expect.

There were a fair number of fans in the audience familiar with them. Objectively I’d say they were good. Certainly leagues above Fun Lovin’ Criminals who opened for the concert I saw in 1997. I think they performed their task of warming up the audience very well.

Lots of bombast and heavy guitar riffs. Plenty of energy and enthusiasm. At times I picked up Van Halen and Metallica influences. But I found them forgettable. I guess “good” nowadays just means playing your own instruments.

Later in the concert Bono would thank Muse for opening for them, going on at length about how Muse was a number 1 band, about to be number 1 in the country. I wish he hadn’t said that. Because if that’s true, I couldn’t help but think U2 was more associating themselves with a relevant trend than offering a lesser-known band a chance at publicity.

After another period of waiting, U2 came on the scene. Finally! I’d only been standing patiently by for hours and boy were my dogs killing me. I was jonesin’ for a pick-me-up, but alas. Because Liephus and I were packed in by the crowd, and basically not motivated enough to go through the pay-drink-potty-repeat cycle, we hadn’t been hitting the vendors. I found this a strange development, because I usually enjoy a certain amount of inebriation during a concert. I took it as a sign I was meant to observe this event with sensors on full.

Larry the drummer came on stage first, which was a nice touch as he was the guy who started the band. The view was pretty good. Not close enough for a personal space connection, but definitely in the same room. The possibility of a human contact is at least conceivable. I’m as close as I’ve ever come in physical space-time to people I’ve looked up to.

The sound system is not so hot. Too much hard base and not enough clarity. I thought it was just Muse’s style, but once U2 get going I see the system is set up a certain way. If you don’t know the song you can’t understand the lyrics at all. I recognize the songs off the new album from the basic melodies, but that’s about it.

Bono’s voice is poor. I swear at times it sounds like a tinny squeak, as if he’s some kind of munchkin. His vocal range is shot. Worse than that, his charisma is way off base tonight. The show comes to a halt several times during the show so he can slap his gums about some soap box issue he wants to go on about. Dude, shut up and sing. Stop breaking the flow and harshing my mellow man.

The worst thing for me is many of the songs segue into other popular songs. For example, I Still Haven’t Found What I’m looking For turns into Stand By Me. I really hate this kind of approach. It hearkens back to Rattle and Hum, when U2 were accused of ingratiating themselves with various rock acts. It never comes off well here, I feel like they are trying to convince me how big time they are.

Dude, I know you’re big time. You don’t have to prove a thing. This makes me feel cheap.

The bassist Adam walks calmly about the paths assigned to him. He’s a Pisces so I feel a kinship with him, even if it’s unconscious. I dig how he walks about, showing his skill without much ado. It may just be cocky smugness, but it also might be the ability to just enjoy what he does and keep the whole thing together with tremendous art. I like what he’s doing the most—covering the gaps and keeping the show moving along with understated skill.

But I’m focusing on external realities here.

Into the death
I used to be just a concert participationist. That is, I relied on the artist(s) to send the message to me and I would do anything they asked to keep the energy flowing. Not anymore.

Over the last year I’ve discovered a quality within me, a psychological power to draw upon deep resources and share strength. One of the ways this expresses itself is when I go to concerts. I don’t just receive, I give. The artists reflect back to the audience their own need to experience being alive. And there I am, reflecting back to the artist that what they do is sacred, needed, beyond the infinite.

At first, the band members pick up on the unseen energy streaming towards them, nourishing them with encouragement. The first few songs, I see in their body language that they recognize something’s different. It’s kind of cool, because your psychology isn’t what most people are expressing, and that makes an impact.

When I saw Bob Dylan in concert, he turned towards me and reflected my giving back at me. I had to stop, and was arrested by a timeless moment, the moment of true art. Artist and audience on the fulcrum together. How cool is that?!

After a few songs, the band members (who I believe are all pretty tight and attuned to each other, as all long-lived bands probably are) start to dodge me. I can sense it. They don’t want my energy at all. Which is both weird and disappointing. I’m not being rational here at all; it’s a fantasy in my head, yet external reality matches the internal dialogue. I let go of my efforts and let the performance unfold without my input. There’s no room for it here.

Bono often exhorts the audience to clap hands, make peace signs, or sing along at select points. I refuse to participate. I am not of the crowd even though I am. Am I a damned betrayer? A voice inside me says “No, you are true, even thought it pains you.” It feels too much like audience manipulation to me, as if we were all at a 1984 Save For Hate Week rally, responding to the unspoken contract of words and gestures to act on automatic.

I also refuse to look at the bright screen up above, even though now I can hardly see the band because of their dodge. I force myself to look away from the programmed electric spectacle and seek out the real people behind the performance. I insist on a human experience. But they flee.

It’s as if the audience move to hide the performers when they might have to show themselves. People taking constant pictures with their cellphones and digital cameras, as if they could not hold this moment in their hearts even if they wished it.

The capturing behavior of the personal cameras make me think of the dearly departed George Carlin who commented on this very phenomenon. “How can people be nostalgic about such a concept as ‘a little while ago’?” But this is how people are now.

Yet I am moved by the songs that break through the inauthentic lifelessness of the wasteland to bear witness to living. Then I make my own devil sign as if I’m at a heavy metal concert. Considering the storm of heavy base this is not inappropriate. I sing aloud to myself.

Yet I know the double meaning of the sign. I am hexing as well as representing. I am crossing lines and upholding them. Those around me are confused and reassured because I’m giving mixed signals. I am anguished, however. To be both at one with the group and yet be apart from them is the suffering of the rebel. Strong and weak at both times, having to live on both sides of the line without comfort. I’d rather be part of the crowd, they must be going somewhere.

There is a sensation that I recognize as being part of the greater me of me. An experience that speaks to me a living spirit’s bridge to the time and space of now which I must inhabit between two points. That sensation comes to my attention now. I hadn’t expected it to appear here in this place, but it does so now, and I wait for it to give me a clue as to why I’m here. Who am I that I should be here now, in this dark parade, witnessing and consciously regarding.

I am not here in my heart even though I wish to be with those who are enjoying the concert with all my being. Am I spoilsport? “No, you are a true fan.” Have I changed? “Yes.” Has the band changed? “Yes.” I put my hands in my pockets and touch K’s talisman to reassure myself. Her caring for me I imagine will help me see this through.

Out of the depths, I try to remember a song I wish U2 would play right about now, but it eludes me. I spend the rest of the concert at intervals trying to remember the name, even though the lyrics come to mind.

And what am I to do?
What in the world am I to say?

I despair, because I know there was a time when U2 was a measure by which I knew myself. I could listen to almost anything of theirs and go to my happy place.

Then the highlight of the evening. U2 plays The Unforgettable Fire, without any crap, and for a single song I am reminded of the times when this passion of mine was true and boundless. I close my eyes and dance, back in my own Lorien and Revelstone.

Don’t push me too far, don’t push me too far, tonight

Am I pushing? “Yes.” What am I pushing? “Yourself, with expectations that are no longer appropriate.”

I’m only asking but I think you know
Come on take me away, come on take me home again.

What’s being asked? “To let go.” What am I taking home tonight? “A piece of yourself from this parade.”

I suddenly realize the last 3 albums of U2 have sucked for me. I’m in a slow fade out. Every concert I go to from now on will only have more and more sucky songs that I don’t like, the ones I do connect with slowly disappearing. Save for moments like these where some small crumb will remind me of times long gone by.

I understand now some of what Galadriel meant when she said she passed the test, and would diminish to go into the west, and remain herself. This isn’t an unfamiliar experience. I’ve already dealt with it somewhat in the decline of my favorite roleplaying game, Warhammer Fantasy Roleplay. But that is a post and a story for another time.

Do I really want to go through life on the “Fun-never” principle? That is, 95% crap to get 5% payoff? That seems to be what the times are all about now. But I have seen how it doesn’t have to be that way. I took it for granted before, but this time I see it. Freedom and responsibility at the same time. I want “Fun-now.”

No one wants to believe when their time has come, but now I am forced to believe!

Ashes, ashes
I’m sober, which I’d rather not be. My body is starting to feel the effects of this experience. My feet hurt with the hours of standing and dancing upright. Hunger and thirst start to gnaw their way to my attention. I’m a fasting hermit, sacrificing physical comforts for the sake of a numinous experience. That’s when the visions start to dance at the edges of my eyesight.

The tall guy who diffused the ugly situation earlier alternates between watching me warily and genuinely enjoying the concert. I don’t blame him for being cautious. My body language must be confusing people. I notice that a space is opening up around me, as often happens in concerts. People start to get the message that I’m different. That I’m here on weird business.

Out of the corner of my eyes Bono’s face becomes that of a ghastly insect. Well, he has played the part of a character known as “the Fly” in years past. He walks by on the walkway, trying to get people to throw their hands up. They do, but I hide behind them, I no longer want him to notice me.

In fact I can’t stand him when he speaks in between songs. He stumbles over his words as if he were a two year old; making statements about the world that seem so phony or off base I want to cringe. Near the end of the concert, for the encore, he comes out dressed in a suit covered in lasers and I look away as if he were trying to blind me with the stupidity of his costume.

The lights dim, and he asks everyone to light up their cell phone. He’s making a point about all of us being pieces of some big happy galaxy of stars or some such platitude. But I have no such tool. I am dark matter, a dark star, a dog star moving through the audience without a technological marker. It’s an incredibly disheartening and isolating a moment for me.

Bono sings One and Ultraviolet (Light My Way) during the encore. The first sounds like an accusation, the second a plea of grief.

Did I disappoint you?
Did I leave a bad taste in your mouth?

I admit, my mouth tastes like a skid mark right about now.

I remember when we could sleep on stones
But now we lay together in whispers and moans

The sensation is present again, so I strive to pay attention. There’s a message here that seems to be saying, “Come back to us, we are lost.”

Bono went off near the start of the concert about the band having a spaceship, which wouldn’t leave without the audience. I recoiled. I’m not looking for some fantastical escape plan. No one here gets out alive! I did the UFO escape back when I did X-Day 1996. The real life space program has run its race and there’s no golden ticket dude.

How would I come back to anyone who was lost? “Hear what is said.” Where am I? “At a crossroads.” Aren’t I already there? “Yes.” One foot in the real, one in the unreal? “Yes, now move your wounded, aching feet back and forth to the sound that approaches.” Is this a temptation? “Yes, this is a dangerous moment, as crossroads are.”

I am moved to imagine myself turning back to rescue souls still in darkness. But this spaceship ain’t me, it’s a savior fantasy the kind my false idol might indulge in. I’d love to fly high—I reach my hands to the sky like branches, but my feet dig into the earth like roots in pain.

Xtine once asked me in a letter to teach her. She had nothing to give, no wisdom or insight. I was so angry then, because I wanted someone to be my teacher, not be one myself. Now I’m looking at another teacher and finding I can’t stand the sight of him. Is this really the me that I wanted to be, could have been, wasn’t, is?

“You caught a glimpse of yourself, sought after it with all your heart, and now you have it”.

What the Hek do I know? “Enough to wrestle with this telling.” I had to be my own teacher, even as my false idols ran out of mojo, leaving me to face the nothingness of the real me. But how do I handle being this sucky? “You have something in you to see this through.”

As Bono starts up the last song of the evening (I peeked at the previous setlists online so I know what the odds are of various songs being played), there’s another song I wish he’d sing. But Acrobat is too real for this moment, too off the chart to be honored now. Bono sings the words to a crappy song I can’t stand, but I hear the song I really long for:

And I’d join the movement if there was one I could believe in
Yeah I’d break bread and wine if there was a church I could receive in

Whatever it is I’m going through, it’s right on. The sensation has delivered the message, now it’s up to me to understand. I believe it’s time for me to separate from this parade, before I plunge into a madness of sadness. Even though I’m wounded by the change in U2, can never go back, am fearfully worried by this strange experience, still I believe in what is occurring. Maybe I’m the only person free to act.

What will we do now that its all been said
No new ideas in the house and every book has been read

The magic has gone away, all things that could have been done have been done, there is naught left to do but die a little bit to myself. The earlier lyrics of New Year’s Day come back to me, and I go back to the beginning, back to the first U2 song I ever heard.

I—I will begin again.
I—I *will* begin again.

I willingly accept this passing away and give away my fantasies of U2. Then I aim psychic torpedoes at each of the band members in turn. Lock on. Fire. Blasts of energy bounce off their deflectors (I’m nobody, and they’re imbued with archetypal energy after all), then I watch as my vision blacks out, the entire dark parade collapsing like a paper doll (or a dry layer of skin) and burning away to ashes. A piece of me is gone forever now.

From a nest of myrrh
The lights of the stadium burn like flares, the half moon bright in the night sky. I’m back in the real world with both feet, which ache so bad I fear I will collapse. Luckily, my guide Liephus is there and he steadies me with his awesome mirth. I take steps and manage to hobble towards the exit as the crowd disperses.

I take a step, then another. Just as thunder boomed when I walked out the door of the haunted house, my deafened ears echo with silence as I depart the dark parade both externally and internally. There’s a echoing final tremor in my soul.

I leave the dark parade as if I were freed from a prison of the self. Crowds everywhere, vehicles, life continues. They may as well be symbols of life energy freed up by the end of the parade. I know that it wasn’t me. But part of me can’t help but feeling I’ve broken a spell, and souls are released into the night to live their lives again. Or at least my soul is my own, and the exodus mirrors the vast energies of my heart flowing back into the world.

The return home is not unlike a reminder of the continuing struggle of life. Hordes of people stuffed into metal subway coffins like sardines in industry. Not unlike the line of students marching into the meat-grinder / brick-maker machine from Pink Floyd’s The Wall. This is the ultimate face and fate of the rebellion and social consciousness U2 peddles.

Yet everything proceeds as if it were a dream. A silent song of witness bears me along and I behold with detachment and the fear/desire of being alive—threats of harm, disappointment, hopes that something important will break through.

For a moment, I recognize how many songs, friends and clues have been given to me that I might survive this very night and understand. It’s a sign of a process within me, a culminating act of personal discovery that has been building for years to emerge into consciousness.

Liephus and I reach the end of the line and part ways. I’m so grateful to him for being my guide, but I don’t know how to express it without sounding dumb. So I get in my beaten down, smoke belching car and drive home.

A need arises in me to make a conscious choice as to what the experience means, now that I witnessed a strange eruption from the unconscious, this dark parade. It is not enough to view the contents of the deep, one is called to make sense of them even if one does not hope to be right about the sense.

“Return. Shine.”

The song I’ve been trying to remember comes to me at last. Rejoice from the October album, the last U2 album I ever bought that I liked.

I can’t change the world
But I can change the world in me
If I rejoice

My journey started in 1983, bloomed in 1987, crested in 1997, weakened in 2000, and ended in 2009. And I enter October, the Celtic New Year, having completed a cycle so profound I can scarcely begin to comprehend it.

I should be upset. Instead I’m joyful. The journey is complete. I make my own music now, and I dance to the concert of my heart. That’s stuff I’ve been working on for a while.

Back at home, K and the kitties welcome me with their awesome vitality, even though it’s late. My mom dropped by and left a delicious dinner for me in the fridge. RC Cola and fried chicken spaghetti, yeah! I feel like Max from Where The Wild Things Are at the end of the story, safe at home to rest, having gone through the darkness and returned to find everything in its right place.

I crash hard. But I dream just the same, at first peaceful and incomprehensible, as if the dream itself is a part of what I am seeing. I’m in high school freshman gym class, sitting in the lines we used to while waiting for class to start, bored and constrained by rules.

Then a spirit wells up inside me and I spring to my feet. I dance, moving and flying like a wild dervish, defying gravity and convention alike while the song Rejoice resonates in my dream. Joyous feelings course through me, and the walls of my high school gym are replaced by a vast expanse of mountains in a high valley.

The last thing I remember before I wake up is that I’m about to do wonderful things and I know it because I and my song are together, flying in the same direction.

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