Monday, December 15, 2008

pack your metaphorical bags non-euphemistically!

Blogspot is the dumbest for trying to podcast.

Visit the new in lieu.

I promise it will make more noise than here.

of beauty, but that loses to the darkness

The light bulb
in the bathroom sparked
out again.

Our bathroom
is beautiful,
in its way. Its
outline sticks to me
even now in the dark: those water lines
on shower curtains, the faint
smell of their mildew, the dried bit of soap
waxed at the end of the hand soap dispenser,
the partly unraveled spool of toilet paper.

Here is housed
at least some obscured
of beauty, but that loses to the darkness
at the loss of a light bulb.

Yet, I believe.
A simple screwing fix will fix it.

After, I will again (easily and without hallway light)
prop up the toilet seat without inadvertently
touching the spots where pee
has splashed and dried. Then I remember.
At the very least
a week will pass without me
replacing what has burned out.
My hands will surely touch dried pee in that time.

Oh, the sickness inside of me!

Friends, do not despair.
In the inevitable interim of darkness
I will wash my hands often of their
foul mishaps.

When the hand soap runs
out, though, I will not replenish it
for also a week or two.

Oh, the sickness that is inside of me!

Yet, friends, there is salvation
in the kitchen soap.
Then once the kitchen soap
has failed I will get trendy
and deny our deep American germ
That in turn will turn
its course and disappoint me for its lack of permanent
Godliness. Then on and on. If I were a fisherman
I would be fishing
all day and never
catching fish.
I will come back exhausted (with Jesus frying smoky fish on the sand)
to my need
for a bathroom light, and I will understand
that even bathroom lights (God forbid it!) are temporary
gadgets we screw around with for only a time, here,

where the beauty is always obscure.

No, friends, the bathrooms we
are destined for…
oh, if you could only see
them! Nothing dimmed,
nothing blurred, no need
for the temporal strife of
and screwing.
Soon will be a not
yet bathroom and we shall
dispel with every cursory box of small strike matches
with their small flames of dis-flagellating hell.

Imagine it, all our shit
and no foul smell.

Friday, December 05, 2008

notations for remembering if nothing else

Some weeks ago Los Angeles caught fire. The television showed houses that people lived in burnt or burning, houses of flame. The sky turned ash gray. Ash coated the hoods of cars.

Today I have discovered wonderful music. Too much of it to gesture towards more than just three instances here.

The kitchen I began to paint back when I was young and idealistic, enough so to think that I would finish painting it before I was not so young and idealistic, is nearly primed completely. It's easier to become jaded than to scrape away years of paint. From the looks of things, all the years before me were painted with the same inexplicable reasoning that eventually lead to the banana yellow I first found here.

Piles of books and unfiled papers sit on the floor of the apartment. But they are nice piles recently.

From The Brothers Karamazov: "What's shame for the mind is beauty all over for the heart. Can there be beauty in Sodom? Believe me, for the vast majority of people, that's just where beauty lies--did you know that secret? The terrible thing is that beauty is not only fearful but also mysterious. Here the devil is struggling with God, and the battlefield is the human heart." This was a man's way of understanding that he might be capable of being saved, and conversely that he might be capable of giving himself entirely over to sensuality and death. Neither extreme seems attainable, but he then realizes beauty to be the hinge on which the door opens both ways.

I probably would have interwoven all these strands six months ago. Today I weave less when I write and I tell fewer jokes.

Several days back I was standing in an apartment in Venice listening to a middle aged Indian couple describe to me their frustrations with the other. It was complicated. It involved car repairs, and of course countless years of subtly refusing to give the other any sense of intimacy. The apartment was small. A small couch and desk in the living room. A large screen television against one wall. Piles of things. Over the couch, on the wall were two framed pictures. One picture was of a Hindu Temple at some great praying moment during the day, with a sea of bowed bodies, kneeling with their faces to the ground. The other picture was a still frame from a romantic scene in the movie, Titanic. This picture was twice the size of the other. Leonardo di'Caprio stands behind Kate Blanchet with his hands around her, both of them looking out past the camera, standing on the bow of the ship with the wind blowing in her hair. They both looked like they were performing for a movie. They should not have been up on that wall. I wanted to ask these people about it. I wanted to take it down. I decided to believe that the picture was already on the wall when the Indian couple first moved in. It was easier to explain leaving it there, even if for years, than anyone hanging it on the wall themselves.

Saturday, June 07, 2008

before bed

Insomnia is no stranger to those in the law enforcement business. I'm consistently surprised to hear who of those I work with, those who are hard-chargers as we say, those who run headlong into the action, but to hear that they can not sleep. not ever. at least not more than forty five minutes at a time. and for years on end.

I had a run in with it myself not three months ago. not sleeping more than four hours at a time. tired all the time, and then never able to fall asleep.

frued had some interesting ideas about dreams, and sleep. generally pinpointing sleep and dreams as a nexus between the conscious and unconscious.

this general take on sleep and dreams fits nicely with what I see happening to cops on the job. there's a strong ability to not question, to not dig into events emotionally, an ability to respond to traumatic things without all the emotional hangups and bogs that traumatic things are supposed to bring with it. this makes us extremely effective in perilous circumstances. we continue to execute. we do not tend to hesitate for grief.

but you can't deny emotion. all men have it in them. some of the most stoic, i think, are the most overrun with undercurrents of rich but devastatingly chaotic feelings. we drive them deeper into our subconscious. we are less and less tolerant of any nexis between the bottom dwellers inside us and the confident, precise actions of our exterior. i.e. we can not tolerate sleep, because it makes us vulnerable to things surfacing. we need absolute consciousness to keep things submerged.

I like to fancy myself on a journey for my unconscious self:

a journey to bring more of it into consciousness, yes... but also to be content with a mysterious knowledge that I do not fully know myself, neither the gross things, nor the powerful beautiful things.

Christians have given up so much of the fight for the unconscious things. I think partly the unconscious overwhelms us. Partly, we would not be taught by sinners and blasphemers, like Freud, who first gave us a glimpse of what the unconscious could hold. and he was definitely a sinner and blasphemer. I don't argue that.

but this bias against the unconscious has infected our ideas about grace, for better or for worse, you can decide for yourself. maybe you would choose a word more like "sculpted" rather than "infected".

we believe grace will be given to us for our unconscious sin, and we are all willing to admit that there is probably lots of it. how else could we explain verses that tell us how awfully sinful we are when we don't particularly feel that way on a daily basis. We believe grace will cover unconscious sin, but when it comes to conscious sin... it's not for sure. if you're conscious of sin, shouldn't you be able to stop sinning. and if you can't, doesn't that mean you lack faith. and if you're now conscious of a lack in faith... holy fuck it's snowballing.

this system gives us plenty of reasons to be as unconscious of ourselves as possible, at least of the sinful parts. And selective consciousness doesn't normally turn out well, it's either the good and the bad, or nothing at all.

I see this pattern reflected in the time honored method of reading our Bibles. Some of my earliest memories are waking up early in the morning at my grandparents' house and finding my grandfather, faithful stoic that he was, reading his Bible, attending to every word in it. Literally, his Bible was underlined, or boxed, or noted at every word. This was the shining image of the man of God I was called to be. Always, the image is of a man studying the Word of God first thing in the morning.

Now I find it curious. We would not, and no one ever did, claim that you must have your daily Bible Studying time in the morning as opposed to the evening, or midday. but it was recommended. and it makes sense. if the first thing you fill your mind with in a day is the Word of God, you are more likely to be thinking about it throughout the day. When you are presented with moral challenges you will have the Word of God on the tip of your tongue and on the forefront of your mind. You will be most effectively conscious of what you read.

If you read the Bible at night, what you read fades out into the abyss of your sleeping and you will hardly remember or be conscious in the least of what you read the next morning.

This seems to play exactly into the devaluing of the unconscious. Somehow, addressing our unconscious does not give us the concrete return on investment that we are looking for to believe that we are progressing spiritually or morally or religiously.

Yet, if we feel alright about our conscious selves most of the time, and yet admit that we are terrible sinners like the Bible sometimes implies, and we would posit that that terrible sin in us must be mostly in our unconscious, than what better way to pursue holiness than by allowing the Word of God to preach most directly to that terribly sinful unconscious, i.e. by reading the Bible before bed?

I have come to realize that I think God loves me, but I don't believe it. Tonight, I thought, I'm going to read the Bible to that unconscious part in me that doesn't believe I'm lovable and will not allow me to believe the things I can easily assent to. I am going to read that verse where Jesus says, "and lo, I am with you always, even unto the end of the age," and let the length of that statement stretch slowly out into my fading mind, let that thought speak to the very edges, the peripheries, into the very ends of my present concrete self, and maybe spill a little bit over to that other side, to the next age, into the sinful chaos I do not know, and the alienation from God I have not felt.

I think God speaks that far.

Friday, May 16, 2008

leaving south central

The gig is up.

I have three days of work left in south central los angeles. They're sending me to patrol the beaches instead.

They asked me where I wanted to go next. I told them, Watts, another division right next to Watts, or else as close to downtown L.A. as possible where there are still some really crazy gangs, like mara salvachrucha or something.

Of course they send me to Venice beach.

Those mother fuckers.

Now I'm gonna have to change the side bar to my blog. Who wants to hear from a blogger who works as a police officer on a beach? Yeah, so, today I gave another ticket to someone for drinking alcohol in a public place. It was crazy. I almost had to raise my voice at one point. Dumb. That's a dumb story. I'll probably have to start writing traffic tickets too and arresting people for marijuana.


I guess it could be worse though. I guess they could read this blog post, whoever "they" is, and decide to just fire me.

I'll make it back to south central again eventually. But I'm sad to be leaving.