Sunday, December 26, 2010

Cross-Country Road Trip (told thru cell phone camera): Pt. 11

Cross-Country Road Trip (told thru cell phone camera): Pt. 10

Cross-Country Road Trip (told thru cell phone camera): Pt. 9

Before leaving we stop off at a mountain pass and snap some pics.


It's a fun interlude and then we're back on the road to Tucson.

Cross-Country Road Trip (told thru cell phone camera): Pt. 8

We're gone.

Our work is done. We pack up and head out of Diamond Mountain. We drive to the next town and get in late at night. I still have the deer chorizo in my bag. David rushes off to the Pizza Hut before it closes. I grab the chorizo and head in there and make a request: could you bake me a deer chorizo pizza?

We sit and drink pink lemonade while watching Sportscenter on the overhead TV. David and I are covered in grim and dirt, deprived of a good, strong shower for the past few days. I'm hoping I don't smell too bad.

They bring out a sizzling platter pizza. The brown chorizo is ground up and spread over the surface. I take a slice and taste. My scalp begins to itch from the heat. I can feel the perspiration seep out of my head. The burning heat encircled my and tears formed. This is spicy.

I drink more pink lemonade. I give the rest of the chorizo away to the late-crew at Pizza Hut. They're cooking it and tasting the chorizo and, yes, they find it spicy too.

The next morning we wake up in Motel 6 and drive around for breakfast.

Cross-Country Road Trip (told thru cell phone camera): Pt. 7

We're finishing the job. The mood has shifted and it feels like we've gotten over a hump. Now it's a lot more smooth and controlled. Mingo (who calls himself "Mingo the half-gringo) offered some deer.


He said he goes hunting and has some white-tail deer that he made into a chorizo. I don't hesitate. Yes, I'm a vegetarian, but I'm not a radical one and if someone offers something from their heart I feel like it's something that should be accepted (as long as it doesn't cause harm). The deer has already lost his body so why not?

The chorizo is extremely spicy. But we're leaving tomorrow and don't have access to any pans or even a stove.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Cross-Country Road Trip (told through cell camera) Pt. 6: Grinding It Out

I look up at the sky when the earth becomes too much to take.

The temple is up a narrow mountain pass accessible only by foot or a daredevil driver. We walk up for what seems like miles. There are solar panels and solar ovens, and solar batteries. This mountain's side is just rocks and clay. Today I bring a pick axe. I work the mountain and break down the ridges. Sparks fly and rocks become dirt.

Cross-Country Road Trip (told through cell camera) Pt. 5: Diamond Mountain

The winter sun makes sleep impossible. It's 6am and I'm up. Air Force jets streak across the sky leaving cigarette clouds.

We begin working our way for miles up the mountain. I discover the lost art of hitch hiking. Normally this would be dangerous, but it's the desert and everyone seems to be doing it to get around. Thumbs out and I squeeze into a truck with a bunch of other contractors going up the mountain.

There is an enormous ditch of open pipes, lines, and tanks. The face of the mountain seems like a raw gash, completely open. We have to fill it, shovel by shovel. Malinda and I begin working.

Cross-Country Road Trip (told through cell camera) Pt. 4: Deserts That Go on Forever

We almost ran out of gas when we entered New Mexico. I was asleep and blurted out 'gas,' when I awoke. It's as if I in was in a symbiosis with the truck. David stared at the dials and realized we were quickly running on fumes. The lights started blinking and the cabin became quiet. We drafted off a truck for a few miles, and keep the foot off the gas going downhill.

We made it to a tourist center and they directed us up the hill toward a gas station. The tension broke and we could laugh again. We were a few minutes away from my nightmare: stranded in the desert with no town in sight. We were in between mountains so there was no signal and the sun was setting. The desert was becoming cold and I had put on my jacket in preparation to walk for miles.

Darkness by the time we get to Albuquerque. We stop at one of my favorite diners off the edges of UNM. When I spent a year in New Mexico I loved going to Mannies. The food was roughly made, but cheap and had huge portions. I could eat one meal and be good for the entire day. Mannies has $4 Huevos Rancheros that fill out a platter plate and $2 coconut/chocolate cookies that are roughly the size of a baby's face. I packed in the eggs and beans. She asked me the prototypical New Mexican question: red or green? If you like both red red chile and green chile sauce you give prototypical New Mexican answer: Christmas.

 The cook piled on the green and red sauce. I whipped them into the mounds of eggs, beans, and hash until the plate was a soupy ghoulash. David looked at me while eating his vegetable sandwich. Someone is going to be hungry in a few hours and it's not going to be me. I grabbed a baby face cookie on the way out and we were driving again.

David got pulled over by an officer an hit with a $70 ticket for having his high beams on. I'm considering whether or not I should drive considering the two incidents the last few hours. Finally at 12 am I take over. I'm exhausted by keep driving, through New Mexico and into Arizona. The roads are narrow and dark.

We make it to Diamond Mountain at 3:30 in the morning. We walk into the appointed RV and collapse. I cover myself in a bulky leather jacket. It's 4 am and my head is swirling. I'm awake by 6am and have a surprising amount of energy.

Cross-Country Road Trip (told through cell camera) Pt. 3: Okies and TX

There are still cowboys in Oklahoma. They wear boots and hats with no irony and eat meals in silence. We stumbled into a diner somewhere in the nether regions of Northern Texas or Western Oklahoma. Who could tell? It seems like another country. A terse country of flats and asphalt. Straight ahead like arrow lines.

Then we hit the farm regions and the silver silos rising above the land. Suddenly there's color and shape, dimensions that are more recognizable to my eyes.
Brown winter farms, trailers, truck flocks, and signs pointing toward the desert.

Cross-Country Road Trip (told through cell camera) Pt. 2: The Apps

Trucking through the Appalachians sliding down West Virginia and Maryland before htting the Western ridges of Virginia.
The Apps were beautiful and then treacherous. A sprinkle of snow became a storm, and then a blizzard. Accidents piled up as traffic came to a complete halt. We forged ahead and then the road cleared. The snow turned back into a sprinkle, and then a slushy rain, and finally a sunset on a clear road. We made it to Bristol, VA and ate at Cracker Barrel. If it was the first meal of the trip. Then we drove into Knoxville, Tennessee and collapsed for the night. The next morning was smooth sailing out of TN, across Memphis and Nashville, over the Mississippi River and through Arkansas.

We stopped at an empty Mexican diner in Arkansas. Late lunch and then on the road again.

Cross-Country Road Trip (told through cell camera)

We started off in NYC.  In the heart of it all. I got the truck from Penske, situated at the cross point of the Marcy Projects and an old Hasidic Jewish neighborhood. David and I picked the truck up on Friday afternoon, as one half of the neighborhood was shutting down for Sabbath. We drove to Ft. Greene and picked up supplies. Then we got a lock, and drove home. I packed up on fruit, yogurt almonds, aloe water, and potato chips. We woke up in the middle of the night, grabbed our bags and left. We made it to our Lama Lobsang Chunzom's place as the sun was rising. We packed the belongings into the back of the truck and set off that Saturday morning. Goodbye New York.
Across the shores of Jersey and into the heart of Pennsylvania and Dutch country. The land was green and lush. A lot of 'burg' towns. Mechanicsburg, Chambersburg, we stopped at gas station and chomped on yogurt almonds while the tank filled to $80.




Friday, November 19, 2010

Begging me to Sue

In the last 14 hours I've gotten two calls from different law firms asking if I want to sue. They'll be happy to provide me with the support and services I need. And they hint that I don't even need an 'official' injury. Any soreness or discomfort counts too, thanks to Florida law.

In September I was in a car accident. It was pretty bad or would have been awful if I wasn't driving a Honda CR-V. And if I hadn't been driving well below the speed limit. And if I didn't have fairly sharp driving skills. And if the other driver also wasn't driving a Honda CR-V. Yes, it could have been a terrible, awful, money-making enterprise if all those pesky, safety features weren't in place.

The other driver was at fault. 100%. I mean, absolutely 100 %, unequivocal, 'what the hell were you thinking?' at fault. So much at fault that when he got out of the car he couldn't even come up with an excuse, just a sheepish look. He tried holding his sides for a few seconds to feign sympathy but, as I wrote about before, I didn't look enraged so he dropped the injury pretense.

The police report also states the other driver was 100% at fault. The other driver's insurance paid the bill. End of story. Last night I got a call from Florida. I could smell the sweat of desperation on the line and thought it might have been one of those random prison calls from inmates trying to solicit donations or favors. It was a low-level lawyer, probably with a spreadsheet of recent accidents and police reports in front of him and the contact information. He was contacting me to ask if I was in an accident? I said I was and wondered if I was about to get a summons or lawsuit for maybe blocking someone's yard with my wrecked car before it was towed. Happily the lawyer informed me that I wasn't getting sued, but I could now take the opportunity -thanks to Florida law- to sue the other driver. I could get up to $10-20,000 AND -here's the great part- I don't even have to be injured. If I claim to even experience any discomfort, aches, pains, kinks in my shoulder, then I could be 'making it rain' at the next strip club very soon.

A few thoughts instantly occured. First, there was no way I was going to pretend to be hurt. Second, it isn't easy to turn down 'so called' free money. Despite all my years of ethical training and my parents raising me 'right' and being surrounded by good, ethical friends....when someone calls up and offers an unethical but plausibly easy way of earning a lot of money there is something deep inside me that stirs. It isn't a desire to say yes. It isn't a willingness to lie. But it feels like I'm watching $10,000 fly out a window and I want to yell 'WAIT!!! Don't go yet! Let's just talk a bit. Tell me how this thing works again." I didn't like that image of me watching money fly away, so I quickly thanked the person and got off the phone. I called my mom with a 'isn't that crazy' check-in. She confirmed it was crazy but the tone in her voice said 'don't even think about it, mister!!" And then she lectured. But Mom! I turned down the money and called you with a light laugh. It's crazy. Just crazy. Haha, so....anyway...back to all that college debt I have.

I met up with a fellow artist and we lamented on our financial deficiencies. Then I woke up and nervously checked my bank account and planned my expenses for the holiday season. Winter in New York bitterly reminds me of poverty. The chapped-lipped homeless, the driving wind, the subway begging picks up.

The thoughts of lawsuits and flying money were almost completely gone when I got another call this afternoon at my second of three jobs that I'm working to try to stay afloat. It was another Florida law firm. They had seen my police report. I sighed and told them someone already called me. "So you're going to go with them?' he sounded slightly disappointed. I told him I wasn't going with any law firm and that I wasn't injured. The lawyer reminded me that I didn't have to be officially injured. Any irritation, any aching, bruising? He was fishing. I sighed and thanked him for his time and got off the line. Then I felt the need to write. Perhaps as a confessional or maybe a check-in to confirm 'this is crazy. That's crazy. They're crazy. This whole thing is crazy' and have a good laugh.

A few minutes before the call I was using my break to fill out a fundraising check. I don't have much but I'm giving half of it away to charity. As I wrote out the check, I could see the funny little green bills. They were flying out the window. Migrating south for the winter. Maybe I'll see them again some time soon.

Monday, October 18, 2010

The War in Iraq Has Ended. Now Get in There and Fight.

My friend's husband is going to Iraq. Several months after the war ended, no one told the Iraqis or, more importantly, the Shiites, Sunnis, and Al Qaeda's cancerous cells which have continued spreading. The Iraq War is over. Welcome to the Iraq War.

He's going over as the violence increases while our ability to impact it shrinks. This marks the beginning of the slow rot, the Somalian-style descent into anarchy that will flare up over the next few decades, making oil prices jump, and American presence assured for several administration.

No one will save it. Not the Dems, nor the GOP. We are now stuck, especially my friend's husband who is an Arabic translator.

The choice of strategy is clear. We can admit failure, try to unite, and speedily withdraw. This is the noble choice. Then there's the British factional choice. Pit Sunnis against Shiites, Kurds against Turks, Turks against Lebanese, Lebanese against Jordan, Jordan against radical Wahabis in Saudi Arabia, radicals in Saudi Arabia against Iran, Iran against Taliban, the Taliban against the Pakistanis, the Pakistanis against Afghanistan. Keep this circuitous cycle going and generate a constant tremor of tension that keeps both sides running for guns and bombs. Eventually all sides will be so desperate for cash to continue war that the oil fields will be more valuable to them, than to American companies. They will remain off-limits, a cash cow ensuring more violenvce. And American gas pumps will be paying for it all.

Then there are the troops. The factor we always seem to forget at our earliest convenience. They will die, get injured, suffer PTSD, and come back damaged in a never-ending cycle in which we switch off sides, backtrack, double-cross, and triple-cross our frenemies. I fear they will be dying for chess moves, for our cleverness in tactics, and for our sloppy greed.

I hope I'm wrong. But hope is the one thing that seems to be in short supply in Iraq.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Dali Inspired

I just finished meditating and felt inspired. I grabbed my notebook and laid down on the proverbial and literal couch. I stared up at an old Dali print that's been in the living room. Occasionally I like to write non-sensical, non-sequittirs verses, slamming together contradictory images and the Dali painting is ideal for tapping into that artistic arrythmia.

The words scrambled out in disjointed cadence and I tried to notate it as follows

From bone hollow egg
sprouts chocolate red hair, pouring
out spidery cracks and crooks.
Spilling down the egg's obelisk
like busted souffles. Sea green
clouds curl over fingers that rise
from quicksilver lake.

Flowers pimple the coal-choked beach where
there, lovers clack tongues like galloping beasts.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

"Eddie Long Ya Wrong" (and other thoughts)

Last week I heard about the Black minister Eddie Long for the first time. There was a blog with a posting titled "Dick-Sucking Eddie Long Ya Wrong!!" with a blond woman with sunglasses on. I looked at the title and decided that this could wait.

A few days later more news broke about Bishop Eddie Long. He was being sued by 4 now-of-age men who all claimed that the bishop sexually seduced and abused them when they were in their teens. But I kept seeing this blond woman named "Cadillac Kimberly" with her vblog posting. I clicked on the link. I was amused, amazed, fascinated, but still perplexed. Who is Eddie Long?

If I'm to believe Cadillac Kimberly, Eddie Long is a degenerate. He's a con man, a liar, and the worst type of swindler who sprinkles Bible quotes into 'get-rich' schemes that only enrich his coffers. If I'm to believe Cadillac Kimberly, Bishop Long may even be a pedophile and a gay sodomite (add the word 'gay' is an important point of clarification because the term sodomite merely implies having sex in any area outside of the reproductive system of a woman).

At the end of her vblog she implored the members of Long's church to take 5 minutes and ask the Lord what they should do and to consider if the charges leveled against Long could be true. The short 4 minute clip is hilarious, profane, explicit, and maybe even slanderous. It appeals to my instinct for infotainment, gossip, ill will, and the subtle glee I feel when a man of power falls down. I had to stop watching the clip.

There are a lot of provocative and engaging things said in the vblog but I had to switch my focus away from the gossip and to what questions this brought about in my own practice, my own thoughts. I'm not in Atlanta, I don't attend a mega-church, and before this news broke I wouldn't have known Eddie Long if he was walking right next to me.

I googled Eddie Long and thousands of links came up about donations, volunteers, services rendered by his church to the homeless, the jobless, the destitute. Apparently his church has also donated to AIDS funds in Africa, hosted conferences for women, and looks to have changed a lot of people's lives. There were also links about his Bentley's, his lavish expenses, and high-flying ways. The question became less and less who was Eddie Long and more about 'who am I?'

Who am I to judge? Who am I to decide the intentions of another person? I have no idea who Eddie Long is, but I do know one thing: I'm not taking homeless people off the street. I'm not rendering services to AIDS patients, and donating thousands of dollars to the poor. That doesn't mean that the charges aren't true, but it reminds me of how much I have to reserve judgment on another, especially when it is so tempting.

The gossip is right there, all the necessary pieces: power, money, sex, scams, sinner or saint. All the things that make for pure pop candy and soap operatic intrigue. I could grab at the candy and gobble it down. I could fatten myself on the best or the worst of the world's judgment. But what good is it going to to do me? Is this going to help me in my practice? Is this going to help me become enlightened? Is this even going to make me feel better about myself and my life?

The question of Eddie Long reflects more on the ones passing judgment (me!!) rather than the object being scrutinized.

And what if Bishop Long didn't do it? Does he deserve an apology from me for being entertained by his pain? If I twist my ankle and someone takes joy in my pain how would I feel? The fall calls pain, but the judgment burns much deeper. I have been hurt before and felt the look of pleasure from others in my suffering. It is probably one of the worst feelings in the world. I have also been hurt and had hands of love reach out to help me up. The pain of the fall -in that split second- disappears and my mind switches focus to the hand. I become aware that someone is offering help, someone is offering compassion. And even though the physical pain may return, for one moment I'm aware of love. And it is impossible to feel pain or hurt when I'm in the presence of that amazing healing power.

But then there's also the moral question: what if Bishop Long did do it? Does that wipe away the thousands helped? What happens when 'seemingly good' people do monstrous acts? Does that cancel out the good? Should the homeless be stripped of their homes if they were attained through Bishop Long's so-called swindling? Should the AIDS patients have to give back their drugs if they were purchased by Long 'fleecing' his sheep? I think most people would say absolutely not, that to even suggest that is simplistic and ridiculous. So if we can't cancel the actions, what am I to make of cancelling the good feelings from those actions? It would be logical to conclude that if the deed can't be cancelled out, then the good karmic imprint can't be cancelled either.

As an aside I know many doctors who profess to hating their job. They despise their patients and hate the medical profession. Their passion is golf and they use their medical license to fund their habits and hobbies. But I also know that some of these doctors save people's lives. Even though they may only being doing the triple-bypass surgery so they can buy a new car, does that negate saving the person's life? Taking this truth to an exaggerated extreme: what if I found the best surgeon in the world: someone precise, sharp, always quick to make the right decision, and has never lost a patient. And what if this same brilliant, flawless surgeon had a deep hatred and ridicule for his patients, and was only doing the job so he could buy a mansion and fill it with child prostitutes and illegal drugs? If my mom needed surgery, would I avoid this physician because I abhorred his intentions? Would I risk her life in passing judgment on the man who is trying to help?

I don't have answers for this but it makes me think about my own prejudices. If anything, the Eddie Long situation is another example of how much ill will is still in my heart. I hope things get resolved in the best light. But more importantly, I hope that next time I'm less quick to enjoy in another man's fall.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Tropical Depression

There's a storm scheduled to hit Miami tomorrow morning around 9am. As a preview there was a torrential downpour this afternoon. I was walking out of the gym drenched in sweat after an exhausting workout and I looked up and saw pitch-black clouds. I could feel that the air pressure had plummeted and the smell of rain was in the air. Growing up in South Florida, I've become an expert on bad storms. All senses can tap into forecasting. Not only can you hear and see a storm coming, but you really can feel, smell, and taste it. It feels like being on the ocean floor after all the water has just gotten sucked out: you know the tidal wave is coming.

I duck-walked to the car, holding in all my sore places. I sped home but before I exited the parking lot, it had begun. Gentle tapping and then sheets of water falling in heavy layers. Howling wind and low visibility. The traffic slowed and I struggled to stay in my lane as the wind seemed to cut the tires out from under me. I got home and waddled in the door as the local weatherman was buzzing about a tropical depression that's set to hit tomorrow.

The tropical depression mirrors my own internal state that I've been struggling with the last few days. After a weekend of watching football and staying in all day, I felt lazy, soggy, and bored. I know I have work to do but I look at it and shrug. Last night I went to the gym and began cataloguing a list of my thoughts the last few days. The anger, annoyances, anxieties, resentments, fears. The list quickly filled up. Surrounded by news, sports, and infotainment reality TV I was slowly building a way to feel bad. I did a great job.

I wrote out the list asked to have these things removed. I also recounted and wrote all the things I've done to help people the last few days. Then I meditated, did mandala offerings, and went to bed. I slept well and woke up this morning feeling relieved. I began with my meditation schedule, stretching, and keeping my vow book like I do most days.

My Dad's glasses broke earlier in the morning. My mom said "so you said you were going to fix them, right?' I had said no such thing, but I smiled. Sure, I need to get out of the house. I got my Dad's glasses fixes at Dr. Levin, who I've seen since I was 12 years old. He wasn't in the office, but I thanked the nurses and left. I drove to the Nutrition S'Mart store. My mom has obsession with Dr. Oz. Anything he says, she will do or seriously consider. After meditating I found her watching the Dr. Oz describe his new super foods. Today it was Noni fruit. At Nutrition S'Mart I looked for Noni juice and was surprised: there were several options. I choosed the cheapest one that appeared to have a good quality and continued browsing. Dr. Oz had mentioned another food a week ago that Mom was curious about and suddenly I found it right in front of me: Chia seeds. The same chia as in ch-ch-ch-chia pet. Apparently these seeds are ancient sources of health and wellness to the Aztecs. Why not try it once? Then I grabbed some lacinta kale which just happens to be my favorite green and went home. I fixed some Noni juice mixed with apple juice and made a vegetable stir-fry with chia seeds sprinkled on top.

Feeling unusually energized, I went to the gym where I proceeded to work until I had sweat'ed through my shirt and into my shorts. Then I got on the elliptical machine for 30 more minutes. By the time I finished my shirt was shiny and I caught the beginning of this Tropical Depression. For the time being, my own tropical malaise appears to have disappeared into the rain.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Drala (by Kathalina Claudell)

DRALA
By Kathalina Claudell


" Life is a magical emanation" -Lord Budhha

'' You can shift your reality in one second if you get in tune with the magical world" -Lobsang Chunzon

"In Tibetan, this magical quality of existence, or natural wisdom, is called drala."-Chogyam Trungpa


Even thought, I'm a dreaming being,

half woman and half bird,

twin of the Little Prince and sister of a Snowy Owl,

aware of a few things in the cosmos,

I still can't describe most of what I perceive

or had dreamed...



There will be always something I may not be able to explain well.

Who can explain all this? Who can explain

how it feels when the clouds move above their body?

or when the waves come close enough to push us back on the sand.

How can someone explain the silence in the middle of the night

after long days of tears?

or a blank parenthesis

( )

where you decided

just to whisper kindly

to the nothingness

that is beyond your understanding

of "things and events" in this world.



Looking in retrospective,

how many times

we visited that obscure corner of the park

and talk to a tree, a caterpillar or any other entity.

Why we sat in that blue branch and not in the yellow one.?

Why we walked closely to those we feel may know us

from another lives?..

perhaps we want to talk to them

and we'll dream about them sometimes.



Then the days get tinted with the colors of our inner vision

the space turned purple when you didn't expect it

the sky become as a watercolor of Turner

where you couldn't find any figures, but depth

immensity,

sacred tones of white, magenta, cyan

that reflect their own presence in our thoughts.



Running across this landscape

as reviewing an old art anthology

where every piece is a unique composition

or an infinite instant in reality.

I see how those red brushes

reminded me a dance near to the fire in Andalucia

or a mystic encounter in Nepal with a tantrika.

It was not the painter who dreamed that image

while the brush draw the strokes,

but me who found in this creation

the comfort for the journey

glitters of

drala

magia...

Sunday, September 19, 2010

"...his mind has been completely transformed"

I was finishing up listening to a holy teaching this afternoon. After doing the offerings and dedications, I stood up and walked to the TV. I turned it on and the screen's black materialized into these colors and shapes. Before the shapes became clear, the voice jumped out of the box in mid-sentence:

"...his mind has been completely transformed."

It turned out to be FOX Sports.

It continued:

"After the accident..."

I flipped around on the channels looking for Sunday football. Recently I was in a bad car accident. It was my first official accident, although I did get into a 'fender-bender' years ago on a slick, rainy road when a pick-up truck whipped out of a parking lot in front of me. In that instance I slammed on the brakes and my car slide all the way into the truck that seemed to whip out in front of me and then just sit there on the road. But the damage wasn't severe and the cop didn't write a report. Everyone went on their merry way, with my Toyota Corrolla sustaining the most damage in a dented front bumper.

No such luck this time around. A week ago, I was driving down Biscayne Blvd at night. I was in an extremely calm mood, having just eaten dinner at a friend's place. James Taylor was playing, my windows were rolled down. I was going the speed-limit pass the heavy construction in downtown Miami. I blinked and a streak of lights zipped across my view. It took me a tenth of second to recognize that the streak of light was a car. In the next blink came several emotion and thoughts: what was this car doing crossing my path, confusion, fear, a sickening recognition of the possibility of death, and desperation to avoid.

My leg flicked my foot and mashed it hard on to the brake. My arms tensed and squeezed the wheel with a vice grip and turned right. My shoulders rose up, protecting my neck. But it was too late.

The streak of light drew closer and closer until it was a few feet away. I cursed and felt the crash. All of these actions, thoughts, words happened in probably a second or less. There is a Buddhist science that say there are roughly 64 thoughts in a finger snap. Being in an accident, made me aware of how quickly my mind could formulate entire worlds, thoughts, rebuttals, emotional floods, reactions.

After the smash, I was instantly aware of a few things in the next second and, roughly, in this order:

I'm alive
I'm conscious
I have eye sight
My arms and legs are free
I'm getting out of this car...ooops, wait let me check...
yes, the door is free to be opened
I'm getting the hell out of this car.

My body was moving out of the car when I became aware that I was in the middle of the street, and potentially walking into the middle of traffic. But my body didn't care. It rocketed out of the car and on to the street for a damage check.

My front was badly smashed in. I saw the other car. It was Black and identical to mine. I didn't see it because the street lights were out, making it seem like a blur of lights crossing my path.

The driver was Asian and holding his sides. I became annoyed and perceived it as a faux attempt at sympathy. My mouth opened to say something and nothing came out. I waited. I sighed, put my hands on my head and walked to the curb. The other drive apologized. I spat out my first words between thin, terse lips: it's all right. I was saying that as much to myself as I was to him. I kept saying that and became aware of something incredible: I wasn't angry. I didn't yell. I wasn't threatening the other driver who ignored a stop sign and veered into moving traffic. I wasn't cursing the world or my luck. I was all right.

Stopping that anger in that first moment was critical. Afterward, I found that I couldn't work myself up. Then I noticed that I couldn't even get angry and thought 'this is pretty amazing. Here is a situation in which the other 'outside' party is 100% in the wrong according to the traffic law. But I'm not angry.' I didn't accuse, threaten, or scream. We got down to business.

He was on his cell and I was on my cell. The police came. The car was towed and I came home. The insurance was notified. And then a check was cut for the value of the car. The value has depreciated but not that much because it was a Honda CR-V. The check was over the trade-in amount because the Honda was in extremely good condition.

I can say that at least in one instance, the concepts of emptiness and karma helped. I couldn't get angry. I got down to the business of fixing the problem. Transforming this accident and my mind.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Blizzard of Peace

I think back on the holidays and the seasons as the fall sets in. I remember when I first came to the city in the fall of 2002. War was in the air. Iraq was on the horizon I felt so strange b/c on the one hand I didn't want war, but on the other hand on a true gut instinctive level I thought 'but what does this do? Is this really about stopping a war, or just about being on-record about something that's happening.' Why wasn't it a peace rally? Why was it anti? By the way, this was years before studying Buddhism.

I remember hearing New School'ers talk about going to the protest and asking me if I was going to go and I wanted to say 'yes, sure' but I was frozen. Deep down inside something kept saying 'you know you can't go. It's not going to work. Your entire being will rebel against this faux liberalism, this defeatism that's overtaken left-wing movements.' What ended up happening is I would offer these sheepish muddled excuses about why I didn't want a war, but also wouldn't go to an anti-War protest. I didn't have the wisdom to even argue. Didn't have the scriptural logic of it but just an internal logic clicking through my mind.

When I was in middle school the Rodney King LA riots erupted after the not-guilty verdict. People were enraged. The administrators organized a gathering for students to vent their anger in the last two periods of school. I was 12, scared out of my mind but I asked to be excused from the rally. I would be the only Black person who didn't want to sit and a room and scream about the police while LA burned. People looked at me like I was crazy, an Uncle Tom, a sellout. But something deep inside said 'you can't go to this. It will just be anger. You have enough.' I was shoved down the stairs on my way to a holding room for those students refusing to take part in the rally. I still went, knees shaking. A part of my mind observed the insanity of anger on a macro- and micro-level . A few angry police officers beat up another person who looks like me. This triggers other people who look like me to get angry. But people who look like the police officer are angry and they let the cops go, which triggers many people who look like me to begin burning their own houses and neighborhoods. This spreads to hundreds of cities. People who look like me and then (mostly) people who don't look like me start burning, shooting, killing, stealing because of that initial act. Cascading waves spread to each city, then around the world on TV, in newspapers. And then on the other side of the country people who look like me shove me down the stairs because I don't want to share in their anger. Black people express their anger at racism by shoving a Black student down, by burning Black businesses, and homes. It occurred to me 'but this is the way it's always been going for Blacks, Whites, all people.' This. is. insane.


I left my body and observed this, bookmarked it in my memory as a short, fat, asthmatic 12-year-old nerd gingerly walking (fearing my legs would collapse from under me) toward the holding room for people who didn't want to attend the rally. After school people exploded out of the auditorium, screaming and shouting, faces twisted in anger. Windows smashed, police were called, and a new cycle was formed: people who look like me battling people who looked like 'them' and this all began years ago in LA with a traffic stop. I and the other people in the holding room ran, fearing for our lives, fearing that we would get swept up in 'government-sponsored' hate session that now flowed out into the parking lots, streets, and buses of Miami.



That's when I realized there was that voice that would pop up occasionally and tell me, provide refuge. I don't know where the strength came from to move, to retreat, to run -shaking legs and all. Perhaps it was my Spiritual Teacher this whole time, moving me quietly along.

I didn't insult people who went to the anti-War protest in 2002. I observed politely, quietly. I kept my head down and thought 'what's this all about?' One side screaming this, the other side screaming something else.

Then a week later my friends and I were at a bar and we saw the crimson fires exploding over the skies of Baghdad. Shock and Awe. The war had begun and we were watching in a cozy little Manhattan bar drinking beer and listening to songs on the jukebox. How absurd, how obscene. The bar was neither joyous in celebration nor somber. People were respectful observing, wondering how we should feel. Unsettled but not knowing what to do except drink. There was a deep feeling in that moment, in that room that we were about to enter the rabbit hole, a deep puzzling enigma of violence, pity, greed, absurdity. More drinks, more music! Eight years later we are still trying emerge from that twisted puzzle and I don't know what to call what has happened. Shock and awe.

The next morning there was a heavy blizzard that blanketed Manhattan in a hushing white coat. I went to my early morning class realizing I would be one of the few. The streets were silent and somber and mostly empty. Fresh snow was beginning to pile up in the inches. I trudged to an Alexander Class (posture and mindset). We were asked to engage in deep listening. I would listen to someone talk for a few minutes with all my body and mind. Not leaning forward, but maintaining a deep balance of listening and absorbing. We had to look each other in the eye and no touching.
My Australian friend Jono began talking about his feelings, the silence of the morning, the weariness of the start of this war, his feelings about being alone in NYC during winter. I'll never forget the deepness of his emotion, of his mind when it was just allowed to flow. I didn't interrupt him and actually listened to someone (very rare in our society to do that, you know?) With that level of honesty and connection, I could listen to someone for hours talk about their life, the war, zucchini, anything! Because with that level of honesty someone could be talking about "Star Trek" and they'd really be talking about themselves, their mind, my mind. It wouldn't matter, right? With that level of honesty, stillness, and listening a space was created. Then I spoke about my fears, the war and my conflicting feelings, the need to do something.

We were both crying. Crying and crying but connected. That turned out to be my protest. In the quiet, cold, half-empty classroom in the middle of an early morning blizzard. The day after the bombs had started falling I knew this is what I should have been doing all along. I should have been listening with deep love and honesty. Looking into the eyes and listening, absorbing and trying to remove my hate.

I'll never forget that. There was something very truthful about it. And like I said this was years before taking a Buddhist dharma class. I would always think 'how can I get back to that space, to that place in the peace, where true emotions flow and change begins to happen?'

If we could all be trained, if I could take it with me more, instill it with me more, spread that peace, that deep abiding pool of compassion, love, and openness.

Healthcare, Monsanto, Afghanistan, climate change, Tiger Woods. I'm tired of being outraged. It doesn't work. It's exhausting. It makes the whole world full of shouting, anger, violence, and unhappiness.

My parents watch MSNBC and I'm hearing the words 'should be outraged...' and my mind goes numb. I laugh weakly and nod as I eat dinner 'yeah, I'm outraged. Whatever it is, I'm appalled. You have my bile, my bitterness, my outrage. Add it to the stew.' Take it away from me, please. Take my outrage at others, add it to some bottomless pot and take it out into the middle of the Pacific Ocean and drop it. It would explode like some 1950s atomic bomb test. It would wipe out small islands, shake windows, send tsunami waves out for thousands of miles. And then vanish into thin air, shimmering waves of heat that would get absorbed. Or maybe my outrage would crash through the Pacific floor and strike the core of the earth. Opening up a hell mouth that would vomit up fire, forming a mountain of black marble. A stewing cauldron would be turned into a volcano bubbling up lava and ash. Creating new islands, new terra, new life from the cooling lava. Maybe that's how the world is created. From my ignorance. But ocean waves and rain cool the lava, shape it, they outlast the heat. The great endless waves of compassion overwhelm the biggest volcano and turn all that hell into new earth. Paradise.



This holiday season I hope the snow calms the fire.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Friendly Fire in Ensemble Studio Theatre's Octoberfest

The Ensemble Studio Theatre presents
 by Aurin Squire

directed by Denyse Owens
 
If a sitting American president is sabotaging a war, do his officers have an obligation to remove him by force? When two disgruntled high-level intelligence officers are forced into early retirement they begin kicking around a hypothetical "what if" scenario that quickly spins out of control.

Friendly Fire is a dark political story about what happens when old spooks, assassins, and friends get together and begin playing games.
 
September 25 at 7pm
on the 6th Floor at the Ensemble Studio Theatre

549 W 52nd Street, between 10th & 11th Aves (map)


"Friendly Fire" is a part of OCTOBERFEST 2010, EST's annual festival of new plays from the artistic membership.

Admission is a suggested donation of $10.

Reservations are recommended!

Email boxoffice@ensemblestudiotheatre.org or call 212-247-4982 x105

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Out of Retreat

I was in a meditation retreat toward the end of the summer in upstate New York. When I came out of it, I didn't feel like writing very much and then decided to come back home to Miami for a month. Now I'm resting in Miami, doing some research for another project and helping out my parents. Over the past two years I ping-pong between New York and Miami. If I had my way I would spend about 6 months in New York, 4 months in Miami and two months in retreat a year.

Dare I jinx myself and say things are going well? I could use more cash flow, but I have enough to travel a bit and take a month or two off. I'd prefer to have more of my dharma homework done. Still struggling with The Art of Reason. I finished all the quizzes and have taken an extended period of time studying for the final. I don't want to leave this class without really knowing it thoroughly. Maybe I'll take a practice final and see how I do.

My Dad has retreated even further. Strokes, blood clots, and decades of diabetes. It's a war zone. His speech is now reduced to single words and a lot of pointing, but the single words don't make sense most of the time. He's parked in front of the TV for 12 hours, interrupted by a few bathroom trips and three meals. I try to encourage walking, but he's resistant. There is no leaving of the house unless it's for a doctor's appointment.

And still, he smiles. He gives a 'thumbs up' as he struggles to and from bed, to and from the toilet seat, to and from the wheelchair. Every transfer completed is a victory. What counts as a victory is any temporary reprieve from potential injury or harm. I smile back. When I came back home, he was ecstatic. Extremely happy to see me. I've never felt so wanted and appreciated in my life. And at every meal there is still a sparkle of that.

His two most common words are 'thank you.' And it's not obligatory or just a toss-away. These two words are said in a whisper that is part relief and part exhalation. He is thanking me, but also being thankful. Thank you for another day, another bath, another meal. Thank you for another day of watching sitcoms, thank you for the blanket to cover his bare legs. Thank you for toilet seats, thank you for water, pills, thank you for being there. Thank you for coming back home. Thank you for being my son. Yesterday I served him lunch and he looked at me. Before he could say it, I blurted out 'thank-you-for-being-my-father-you-did-so-much-and-I-appreciate-it.' Then I gathered up the dirty cups and turned away. He nodded and began eating.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Morning Prayer

With joy, I move through the waking dream,
As the keys of logic rattle in my ears
I look for You, my Lama
I look for my Lover of Coral
And find that nothing is real. 

Why does suchness not stop when Angels leave?
Where does It come from when merit fields ripen?

Morning prayers.
Letters written on a stream
of deathless nectar.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Chi and Jedrak

Studying chi (quality) and jedrak (characteristic of that quality) which amounts to car (quality) and Chevy (characteristic of car). Thanks to Geshe Michael Roach and ACI 13: Art of Reason. The course is taken from the Commentary of Valid Perception by Master Dharmakirti (650 AD). I just can't give up this course. I keep reviewing it over and over again because it feels like I need to get more specific.

The rik chi or overall quality, combined with the dun chi or mental image. In some ways I get it, but in other ways I don't. They say you could meditate on this for years. I feel like I don't have that time. I want to get enlightened NOW. I'm an American, I'm impatient. My parents are suffering, my friends are getting gray hair, their hips are widening, I know people who have died while I've been studying.

I've been holed up in my apartment most of the week. If I could just get it together in my head. I'm going to keep trying.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

A Monk Named Intellect

I'm reviewing and re-listening to all the logic classes in ACI, The Art of Reason. On class one and review of the two reasons to study logic. Of course, the first is to see emptiness. But the second is to be a holder of the dharma. But there's also a negative reason: to stop me from judging others.

In the sutra they recount the story of a Monk named Intellect who started up a monastery keeping Vinaya vows when he was visited by a Monk named Pure Life. Pure Life and his followers began staying with Intellect. Townsfolk asked for teaching and Pure Life began going into town. He was asked more and more and started spending time away from the monastery. Intellect started judging and critiquing Pure Life. He thought something devious was going on when Pure Life went into town. He made a rule that no one could go into town any more who lived in the monastery. Pure Life followed the rule for a while but the towns people begged and pleaded. Out of compassion Pure Life left the monastery and started teaching again.

Pure Life passed on and was a fully-enlightened Buddha. When Intellect passed on he wen to hell for billions of years. He was tortured unbearably and he judged and tried to hurt the spreading of the teachings.

The punch line to this tale is that Lord Buddha said 'he knows this story because he was the monk named Intellect who went to hell."

I think about the anger toward Lebron James and his ESPN special "The Decision." I remember that the special raised millions of dollars for the Boys and Girls Club and I'm reminding of not judging what I see.

In a larger way, I think about all my petty grievances and judgments against people for their attitudes and behavior. I have no idea what's going on. Maybe that person who appears to be annoying, selfish and rude is raising millions of dollars for Buddhas and Bodhisattvas. Maybe the Republicans shrieks and even the Tea Parties stances are doing something that is very beneficial for Obama in the long run, and for the nation...somehow.

I'm acting in direct ways, more and more each day. But I'm trying to reserve judgment about who each person is and what they're really thinking.

Verses of Drumsong, King of the Serpentines*

By Lord Buddha

The sea is not my problem,
My task is not the mountains,
My job is not the earth;
My calling's rather to attend
That I should never fail
Repaying kindness granted me.

*Teaching by Lord Buddha recounting the story of a serpentine king, as admonition to his monks for quarreling.

Even a Cow Knows How...

By Master Chandragomi

Even a cow knows how
To take care of himself,
To eat a few clumps of grass
He easily comes across;

Even the beast can merrily drink
From a pool of water he finds
As bitter thirst Torments him.

But think now what it is
To put your whole heart
Into taking care of others;

This is glory,
This is a park of pleasure,
This is the ultimate.

......

The Sun
Climbs aboard his fantastic chariot,
Flies across the sky,
Lights up all the world.

The Earth
Raises up his mighty arms,
Bears the load,
Holds up all mankind.

And so is the way
Of those great beings
Who wish nothing
For themselves,

Their lives devoted
To a single song:
The well-being and the happiness
Of every living thing

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Brooklyn High

Cresting clocks round 12
fallen leaves from empty skies
hauling lunch from shelves
pounding stones un-knotting ties
Brooklyn noon-time lullabies

Friday, August 6, 2010

Kit-Sitter

These cats just sit there looking me with this look of boredom. Too bored to eat, too bored to move, too bored to live. It looks like all of us have come down with a case of August syndrome.

I'm sitting cats this weekend for my friends in Innwood. They're going camping upstate and their mellow house cats wouldn't be thrilled to be out in the humid dank of August. I agreed as an opportunity for a few days of thinking, writing, and studying. I try to raise myself from the stupor and the dull-laconic looks from the cats aren't helping. They'll sprawl out on the floor, indifferent to whether I step on them or not. They make no effort to escape or explore. There is nothing left to be seen in the two-bedroom apartment.

They yawn and lay in separate rooms. For their sake, I hope there is such a thing as cat daydreams. Do they imagine past lives as Roman Emperors and Cleopatra? Do they want to walk on two feet?

I could be writing but...it''s August. The writing will come. Later.

August Reflections

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Who is the Nigger? -James Baldwin (clip)

Night Prayer

By Aurin Squire

These words will sing.
Clear as a tear drop.
Clean like bleached bones.
A well-made verse,
Calls us back home.

Midnight Visions (written at 12:40 a.m.)

By Aurin Squire

In arbored hollows I carve these songs.
Chariots driven by beasts of sound.
Yolked to heavy burdened cries,
I ride the words like Cavalry.

Whipping equine legs and breast.
Necklaced blood on cavern chest.
Round and round faster the pace pressed,
under the measured driving stress.

Monday, August 2, 2010

Quail Eggs, Jellyfish, and West Hampton

Pat reached inside his bag and said he had something for me to see. I leaned back in my chair and patted myself down for the LIRR round-trip ticket I had just purchased from Atlantic-Pacific stop to West Hampton for the weekend. He found what he was looking for before I could find my ticket. With a flourish, he produced a tiny plastic pack with 18 petite bubbles with spotted brown and black orbs inside.

"Quail eggs," I guessed correctly before he turned the carton over to show the label. He looked disappointed that I didn't even hesitate in my answer. I brightened my eyes and re-answered: "Wow! Quail eggs!" Pat nodded and smiled. He got them from Whole Foods at Columbus Circle. They were next to the electric-green, avocado-sized Emu eggs and the grapefruit sized pearls listed as 'ostrich eggs.' Emu were several dollars for each one and an ostrich egg cost about $40. The quail eggs were $7 for 18 tiny eggs that equaled maybe 3 chicken eggs in yolk.

I never had quail eggs and was intrigued but my body pat-down had become slightly panicked. After several minutes of the macarena I found them lodged in between some papers. My mind could relax and return the topic of quail eggs. Boiling them seemed like the best way to maximize the experience. Pat also had some Celtic sea salt in his bag. The only thing I brought for this journey was an assortment of day old fruit and nuts. Next time I'll bring something more exotic.

Pat and I have gone up to the West Hamptons a few times. We meet up with our friend Pam, who has this vintage 1940s beach house, which she has restored to its glory days. The past few years we went up there, it was mostly to help in the restoration process. I removed rust from vintage art deco dining room lights, sanding off grim from kitchen cabinets, and did some minor detailing for chairs and tables. I also fought the sand dunes that were encroaching on the back porch and wall. A few metal stakes were pounded into the ground and we all helped insert some wooden planks to serve as a dam against the tons of sand that were being blown slowly into the backside of the house. Then I began shoveling the sand for a few hours onto the other side of the sand dam. A few new coats of paint and pounding down some boardwalk planks and the beach house looks remarkable. A high plumage of trees, vines, and bushes hides the cabin from the main road. On each side of the beach house are rows of New England mansions and modern-looking glass bird houses.

We got into West Hampton by 11:30 and Pam took us to a local diner in Hampton Bay. Despite the Hampton's posh image, there are still plenty of regular places that serve large portion diner food and we ate huevos rancheros, coconut cookies and a large wedge of bread pudding with seltzer water.

The weekend was amazing. Too many things to list and yet it was a fairly simple two-day getaway. All we did was eat, swim, talk, sleep, swim, eat some more, and go for walks on the beach. Cell phones were off most of the time, I checked my email once for 5 minutes, and no TV. Pam's house is lined with dozens of classic books. Her parents owned the house and she said they were voracious readers. Furthermore they lived next to a book editor so they were getting the best of the best for decades. Each room has piles of sea shells in jars, platters, and decorating the wall. I took the bedroom facing the beach and slept with the window open. I went to bed hearing the lapping waves and smelling the salt. I could sleep 8 hours every day if I went to bed near the ocean.

I also saw jellyfish for the first time. In fact the sand was pocked with the clear jellyfish glistening in the bright sun. They were without tentacles and harmless. I scooped up one with a sea shell and carried it back to our beach chairs.

In the morning Pat broke out the quail eggs. He boiled them for a few minutes and we scooped out 18 little brown-looking rocks. Pam toasted 7-grain bread and I buttered the bread and sprinkled sea salt on to the sticky side. Then I broke off pieces of the bread and wrapped the peeled eggs in the salty, buttery goo. Quail eggs taste almost exactly like chicken eggs. If I had a better palette I could probably discern what exactly was the after-taste that made it slightly different. The inside of the pealed shells was light blue and matched the beach house.

Pat broke out his 8 mm vintage camera with a 3-minute roll of silent film. Now I know why all those old 60s home movies feel so stage. When you only have 3 minutes, there is no time to waste. Every scene has to be thought out. Pat filmed the boardwalk and the patio.

Sunday late afternoon we crowded back on to a west-bound train. The car was filled with hungover teenagers with smiley face stickers covering their clothes and skin. We guessed -perhaps snobbishly- that they were probably heading back to New Jersey after a weekend on a party boat drinking and popping pills. Everyone was wearing sunglasses, texting, and occasionally moaning.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Buddhist Logician: Art of Reason

I finished another Asian Classics Institute class. The latest one is Logic: Art of Reason. The class taken from Master Dharmakirti (650 AD) and his Commentary of Valid Perception, which is a commentary on Master Dignaga (440 AD) and his Compendium of Valid Perception. The Tibetan monastery book used for this course was The Key to the Logic Machine by Purbochok Jampa Gyaltso Tsultrim (1825-1901) who was the tutor to the 13th Dalai Lama. The lecture series was online and taught by Geshe Michael Roach and available at acidharma.org.

The Art of Reason was one of the most challenging classes I've ever taken. And yet, I'm aware that the text was just a brief overview of all the major points of Buddhist logic. This is possibly something I'm going to have to sit with for a while. Even though I've done the homework, could memorize the study questions and complete the quizzes and final exam next week, it wouldn't feel right. I think I'm going to have to re-listen to the major of the lectures if not the entire series. Logic requires so much concentration and energy on my part that it's easy for me to get distracted. There are points that I get and have memorized but I don't truly understand.

They say studying this course puts into close contact with understanding dependent origination and that eventually leads to deeper understandings of emptiness. I expected a dry, dull series of lectures of negation (which is, after all, the ultimate point of emptiness). By the end of the series when I was reading the scripture I started to cry. To believe that this knowledge was almost wiped out by invasion of Tibet in 1959 is profound. But what's more inspiring is that great masters like Khen Rinpoche helped keep logic and debate series alive when the monasteries were struggling in the early days of exile in India.

The Art of Reason will be the 14th full course I'm trying to complete with ACI. There are a total of 18 full course courses. If I'm fortunate to complete The Art of Reason I will have 4 more full courses in the open series. It would be nice to finish the last 4 courses this year but I can't rush it. It's better to actually understand these subjects than just to do the paperwork.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

King Lebron and the Cleveland Mythmakers


I'm a Heat fan just b/c I'm lazy and just adopted all the teams of the town I was raised in. But I wasn't enraged when Shaq slammed the Heat or overjoyed when they get good players. It's sports. Chill out, people. The rage people have toward sports is proportional to the insecurity and self-hatred those same people have in their personal lives. For a town like Cleveland, this rage reveals more about its lack of character than the flaws of Lebron James.

Frankly I always thought the King James stuff was...silly. The throwing of chalk in the air at the beginning of games, the 'we are all witnesses,' I would see and think 'is there any irony in this or are you really pitching a 19-year-old basketball player as a Biblical prophet?

But people in Cleveland appeared to be quite serious. Didn't anyone notice what egoism such statements required and an entourage of enablers to feed this? Didn't the NBA, David Stern, Nike, the mayor of Cleveland, ANYONE feel a little embarrassed? Michael Jordan earned his crown. But Cleveland and the NBA was so desperate for another king that they held the coronation before the boy grew up. What they ended up making was a enfant terrible. It can't be completely Lebron James fault. He was a teenager being showered with millions. What about the adults in this scenario, what about Cleveland?

In Cleveland, no one could stand up to Lebron. The one possible upside about being in Miami is that plenty of people will stand up to him. He does not run the town, there will be no 'witnessing' and other fluffed up stuff. That just won't be tolerated without laughter and eye rolling. If any sports athlete tried to do that in Miami, they would be ridiculed. The great thing about ridicule is that it has a humbling effect. Even a king needs a court jester. In Miami he will find plenty of people willing to tweak King James and slap his crown off. Now the question is, will he be able to adjust to that? LBJ will either learn to grow up or isolate more within his circle of enablers.

Dwayne Wade, Bosh, the owner, and especially Pat Riley will not hesitate to sit him down and tell him 'it's time to grow up, King James. Enough with this.' And as a good role model, D. Wade rolls with almost no entourage. Riley, Alonzo Mourning, Bosh, these are all people who move as independent adults, not in need of coddling.

Detractors grasp at straws, 'what about you wanting to be a billionaire, Lebron?" That won't happen in Miami. But James spoke about being a billionaire like a rich kid who wants more. He already has hundreds of millions of dollars (and in FL, there is no income tax). Maybe he realized the difference between hundreds of millions and a billionaire is pointless. Why chase after a bank statement? Life is short. Get your rings, get your house on the beach, and be on a team of great players.

Cleveland was the ugly girlfriend who pampered and spoiled the immature but gorgeous lover. And then when the lover rightfully leaves because he has no real respect for her (b/c she has no respect for herself and is desperate to cling on) she goes into a rage. The hunky boyfriend has moved on to dating a more mature and more gorgeous supermodel. The supermodel will have no problem slapping his feet off the coffee table and yelling at him when he doesn't come home on time. Will the relationship be forever? Probably not, but the supermodel has a hot hunk, and the immature lover may grow up and become a man capable of being in a real relationship.

Sure, people in Miami will throw a party for you and let you party on their yacht, shoot confetti off and dance in front of a smoke machine like a U. of Miami throwback to the days of the Orange Bowl. But that was all after UM had already won championships (plural!!). But don't expect too much myth making down South without championships. He will have to earn the crown.

Cleveland never would have allowed Lebron to grow up. You need to leave home for that to happen and that's a truth even a king knows.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Tuesday Tanka

Naked man on train
Lounging in makeshift bedroom
Scaring away shy,
Staggering up to bare feet
Blindfolded for beauty sleep

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Sonnet 64: The Subway Train

By Matthew Paul-Olmos

The subway trains can be such the painful ride
These people with love in their hearts
Their eyes on each other, just so close inside
And the way they kiss goodbye, their travels never apart.

The streets of the city can just break your day
These girls with their hair and faces an smile
Looking at you as though you had a way
To break through the crowd, thick with denial.

But you continue on, through your everyday
Wondering which one will be next in line
She'll come unexpectedly from some random way
And youll know her when you see her like some bullshit astrological sign

And maybe youll write junior high style prose just like this,
But who really cares, the time will come again to hit and, or miss.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

Sonnet 63: Her Eyes are Vacant

By Matthew Paul-Olmos

Her eyes are vacant as some shit’on parking lot
And yes, I know at some intersection I found them draw’ing
But that was then and now its not
Now they are empty an on the floor crawling.

Her silences makes me sick to the sound
And its true, I once mistook her song for beauty
But no, now I know it is more like children drowning
Sinking deeper down and along into stupidity.

But nothing is worse than hearing her talk
Sentenced thoughts like a car wreck
And rather than listen, you’d rather be on the asphalt outlined in chalk
Pretending to sleep and hoping she’d slip on the glass and cut through her neck.

But there is one feature which I now do truly adore,
It is her absence and the ocean between us which no cars can go.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Sonnet 61: What Can You Really Do But Laugh

By Matthew Paul Olmos

What can you really do but laugh
At the ridiculous of some people’s minds.
The way their mind lets the time pass,
Burrowing themselves into the land of denying.

When they speak you can hardly hold inside a grin
At how incredibly stupid they’ve allowed their thoughts to go
And you want so terribly to just say somethin’
But they are troubled and they will never ever know.

Their days are spent in the shadow of the population
Only seeing so many colors, sights, and sound
Wanting only to bury further into capitulation
They are forever happy to be left unfound.

And so they wander the underside of the Earth just like that,
Never realizing that with just the slightest effort they would see where they’re at.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Sonnet 60: I Can Tell You About Crazy

By Matthew Paul Olmos

So finally I can tell you about crazy

I had ever only heard.

She seems from afar unique an amazing

But no, that is just plainly absurd.


And this poem has no chance but to turn to shit,

Personally I blame this to her.

She let her head overrun by jealous thoughts lit

Personally I blame this to her.


And writing about crazy is hardly worth the time

Words cannot capture the misguided’ness.

Only in my shuddering thoughts can I replay the signs

And hope they will fade into less and less.


As for the moment, they remain fresh,

And maybe this is all some crazy rite of passage test.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sonnet 59: Oh, What a Disaster!

By Matthew Paul Olmos


Oh what a disaster we can so quickly recognize

It takes not hours, nor minutes, nor moments

Like some unfamiliar scent in the air you can see with your eyes

And you know this is a wrong choice you’ve chosen


There is a twisting up in the clog of your throat

And crumpling down of the hope you had

There is a panic over your body whole

And your heart begins to grow a coldish gray over sad


And you wonder how your heart could have been so open wide

So blind and singsong

Off an on its own solitary lie

Singing some ridiculous song that goes on an on and on


And yes we should be so thankful for the lessons learned,

But really, what I want, is to set backwards my clock, turn and turn and turn.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Sonnet 58: He Got So Angry They Had To Tie Him Up

By Tatiana Suarez-Pico

Grandpa is pretty much dead, they said
he got so angry they had to tie him up
his mouth was dry and he had peed on the bed
He looked asleep one morning, granddaughter asked if he needed a touch up?

he gave granddaughter a half smile
maybe it was a grimace, the words wouldn't come
another stroke had put him in exile
and left him completely numb

Grandma soon realized he might be gone
she sat stupefied with watery eyes
She looked like a child who's been punished and she stayed awake 'til dawn
she's gonna be alone and soon will come her demise

I sat down at the table to mourn him and as the tea kettle came to a boil I stood to up to watch it blow steam,
I pretended it was grandpa leaving this earth in a gleam

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Sonnet 57: There Isn't A Crown

By Aurin Squire

There isn't a crown that hasn't been worn
No amount of wealth I haven't amassed.
Fame and good name; some times earned, some times born
Since time beginningless all goals surpassed.

Except there's one dream still unattained.
I have not stopped my mind from harming myself
The me that could never 'be' ignites pains
that smash my body, all the wealth and health.

This dream. This one thing I never achieved
Is the only treasure worth its wearing
May the One Dream grow and be conceived
with the instantaneous, highest pairing.

May the diamond way shine in these versed vows
Ask for the blessings, the Angels Allow.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Sonnet 56: Election Night 2008

By Aurin Squire

Pulled car over and wept till my chest hurt
Ohio's starless night covered my face
His voice poetic majestic asserts
The darkest night set us off into a new place.

In the Hilton Ballroom covered with screens
Screams, fists, backslaps, election beers, and tears
Ecstasy overwhelmed, slipped out unseen
Drove alone gone to emote without fears.

Fist pounding the wheel as news kept rolling
then talking to myself, coaching my smile
Cut to Hyde Park and tears started flowing
and didn't stop, didn't stop for miles.

Returned to party nonplussed by surprise
Only betrayed by my swollen red eyes.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Sonnet 55: Hlundruk

By Aurin Squire

Care for the worlds gone mad,
One Song who holds pure bliss.
No goodness good, no evil bad
Dance with the Angel of Emptiness.

Heart filled with love and a heart that loves no one
Your Blazing eyes pure stench and stagnation
From a single drop explodes the white sun
Highest Heavens erupts celebration.

Bend back rainbow arcs immensity
clouds pour the red and white flowers scatter.
Touched by crystal lips serendipity
Atoms reverse, time stops, undoing matter.

Wheeling crown of knives un-heads the sever.
Please stay close by in this realm forever.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Sonnet 54: Nine Days Straight

By Tatiana Suarez-Pico
I don't know what to write about 
I've been working nine days straight
Living half the dream fully, all in what a day may spout
My mind is full of thoughts and walls feels like a lot of weight

Iron lids doing a lenghthy to do list
trying to keep up with the rest and not let anyone down
taking care of words that drip like slow rain from awnings 
through the mist 
And stretching dollars with a frown

I haven't had a break or the break
But I can pretend this is preparation for the event
Living life, is that what they call it? I'm not sure I'm doing it great
Just running as fast as I can attemping not to miss a beat, 
I suppose that's what they meant

when they said that I gotta keep going, no time to relay 
only exchange looks with eyes that hook onto intentions, 
theirs and mine, and link like chains with zero delay

Monday, April 19, 2010

Sonnet 53: How Easy

By Aurin Squire

How easy it is to get thrown off-track
w/ sex, food, free internet, and cable
filling relapse gaps of the things I lack
needing to want more but incapable.

Staying up late hours for dumb nothings
surfing away the time with google links
waiting for that empty chat bell ring
another night fades to cyber unthink.

Taken vows to be a warrior saint
And do countless acts of angelic peace.
The cruddy black tar of this life paints
my wings to the ruddy snout of the beast.

Tired of repeating the same silly mistakes
Wondering what it takes for me to break.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Sonnet 52: Why Don't I Give To Those That Are Hungry?

By Aurin Squire

Why don't I give to those that are hungry?
All it takes is a second to reach in.
But in that inched moment, a mystery
that decides the factors of yang and yin.

Could be using it for liquor or drugs.
Could be a meal for a stomach tight fist.
Children and dog homeless, make hearts tug
Pleading cries that cut through headphones, insist.

Caring up to the point of convenience
They smell or do appearances repulse?
How far back in pockets are a few cents
Eyes blazing, neck twitching or, chests convulse.

It's a difficult defrost into the new
Every time wonder if there's more to do.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Sonnet 51: Silver Dangling From My Wrist

By Tatiana Suarez-Pico

silver dangling from my wrist
reminded me of her and me
how far we've come and so i went down the list
a simple kiss, a clasp of hands, and quick to sex inventive as can be

Now im here on this bed surrounded by beauty i can't grasp
i dont believe how good it is i have to tell myself to breathe
the weigh of a lithe chest and the warm embrace of hips make me gasp
energy concentrated around me- a wreath

i want to unclasp the silver around my wrist and set myself free
release our memories to bury 'em in the threading of the quilt
make them disappear by rubbing hard in the space between our faults til we can decree
there is little left but air and perhaps a little bit of guilt.

I wanna put those bags down and breathe, a release til i feel my lungs are just flesh and membrane
ready to fill with the smell of roses and the exquisite delirium of no restrain.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Sonnet 50: Morning Primordial

By Aurin Squire

Me popsicl'ed under green flower spread
Turning over, even my blue freeze tan
Pipes mute choked by dead finger lead
Basement boiler coughed winter in a can.

Cracked ribs xylophoned cross wood crucifix
Head twist like a red devilsans green soup
Me lay holy hands on pipes still unfix,
Hibernate metal bears jumbled in group.

Spread cheeks and winny a high-pitched sharp gas
mumble, stutter, shuffle to the water.
Mirrored down me face and gave it a pass
Dark shroud on city, 6 pass a quarter.

Open mouth and let out a growly sing.
Good Morning primordial functioning.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Sonnet 49: Emailing this morning to say 'I like you.'

By Aurin Squire

Emailed this morning to say, 'I like you.'
Long time since said without sarcasm.
Then I listed reasons we both knew
hoping to bridge our widening casym (sp?)

It feels so good to say it and submit
And not be all bottled up in my lock,
Waiting response over phone or in writ
sweet honey flowing from the hardest rock (i.e.)

Even if he runs, backs away, says 'no,'
Even if he un-friends me in cyberspace
I put it out there and gave it a-go.
Spoke myself into this flourishing place (e.g.)

Now, I'm in a lurch and left to worst-guess:
what if he runs, arms flung wide, and says yes!!!

Monday, April 12, 2010

Sonnet 48: Fancy Meeting You Here

By Aurin Squire

Fancy meeting you here, a place like this.
The drinks flowing freely, and please don't tip.
Plastic cups crushed underfoot, stale beer kiss
The fumes hit the noise resting on my lip.

A bartender's work is philanthropy,
Cupid arrows thrown in a mixer.
Buzzing hums massage the worker bee
Unpleasant drudge needs weekend elixir.

Won't you come home with me and stroke my feet?
In exchange I'll give you a skull massage.
And we'll cuddle/cry. Wouldn't that be neat?
In my illegal studio garage.

I'll pour the drinks and smile down the resent.
The sullen task, bartender's lament.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Sonnet 47: Apology

By Aurin Squire

I think about times when Dad was mean,
Only child syndrome of first-and-last served
Two men conflicted when I was a teen
A better son, he needed and deserved

Our cold car drives and the bone-deep gashes
of the silence we shared staring through windshields.
Blunt peculiar conversations lashes
our tongues into mute plastic shields.

Protect yourself from the alien son
who hates girls and brings over no school friends,
we're not going to bond on victories won,
I'm sorry it's too late to make amends.

Frequently wept when I thought about us,
Never much your son, not much to trust.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Sonnet 46: The Mix of Pot and Alcohol Makes Her Mind Go White

By Tatiana Suarez-Pico

The mix of pot and alcohol makes her mind go white
Her pupils are two orbits floating in the sockets
She dances thick-waisted, ass shaking- all contrite
A drink in her hand, she’s not there, her genius quiets.

She wants amor- something to let her know she’s alright
Man or woman, she promises to give unconditionally
But approval is needed quickly, she’s starting to look like nephrite
She’s having a good time, she smiles to her friends wryly

I see her glide to the bar, her hair straight and black
Her smile fading grimly
I want her to be healthy and to give her all that has been cutback
She glides back with another drink in hand- deadly

A woman falling apart but keeping it all together feebly
I want to help her so much but don’t know to do it deftly.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Sonnet 45: In his 90s he tries to pick up women with bovine...

By Tatiana Suarez-Pico

In his 90s he tries to pick up women with bovine
70 heads of cattle, “you want a picture?”
Alzheimer’s better than being drunk on wine
His memories- a second away from rupture.

He looks at those kids- “they ugly,” he says
What’s her name again? “Oh, right,” he pretends.
Sometimes he thinks he is in the Suez
The children think time has caught up and it’s time for him to make amends.

He wasn’t the best father
Liked to come home to beat up grandma
Showed up every few months and either
demanded sex or food to feed his maw.

But now everything has gone blank, he doesn’t say much and a granddaughter shaves him every three days
It mutes my thoughts that his last days are spent in a daze

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Sonnet 44: Saturday Sinner

By Aurin Squire

Refreshing scrub of a brillo pad'ed truth.
Contagious honesty like trendy flu,
takes quicker if you're long in the tooth
skipping over those blissed w/o a clue.

Black spiders unweaving the tangled snares
sucking the web back into the guts.
Dishonesty carpets pleasant affairs,
but mires the dancers in muddy ruts.

Now it's time for a splash of kerosene
guzzling waves perfume the fecal rug.
The match shoots up w/ angelic red glean
de-licing the floor from shit-eating bugs

Night brite'ed by apocalyptic fire
Liars burn up like a neck-laced tire.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Sonnet 43: My Phone Doesn't Ring As Much These Days

By Aurin Squire

My phone doesn't ring as much these days.
I could cancel my facebook account.
And I don't jump quick to jobs that just pay.
Time dead-ended outweighs the cash amount.

There is a wonderful arising grace,
seeing faces change on page and screen.
My own self-invented off-kiltered pace
before bowing and wiping the slate clean.

Seasons dates scrapped, scrubbed, rubbed the text out,
How you or I could even worry and cry?
Toggling music on the train, releasing doubt
in the season we watch everything die.

No one can sum total the busy-ness,
self-inflicted tasks of a pointless quest.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Sonnet 42: Green Light

By Aurin Squire

My body began to tremble.
I shot up in my bed around 4.
A phenomenon scarcely resemble
Spectacle witnessed by just 1, no more.

What it was I just don't know.
A rustling in the cool of the night.
Was it electricity I felt flow?
Transfixed emergence: a green globe of light,

From my chest, then spun in front of my nose
Emerald vessel, up came this green ark.
Unsunk ship wobbled a bit when it rose
Out the barred window, sailing into dark.

The light ship left a'waking waves of peace.
Three years later, my wonderings don't cease.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Sonnet 41: Grandparents with their souls almost at rest

By Tatiana Suarez-Pico

Grandparents with their souls almost at rest
while their bodies decompose, limbs die while their minds are still alive
"Trombosis," skin cancer, and dementia all put us to the test
We give money and some time cuz we want them to survive.

He shits his pants and her hands resemble stale, curly fries
A nurse needed to clean them up
She will let us believe they're alright even through their cries
Or a Cuban doctor with island medicine that makes her feel agile again, she won't require help to stand up.

Powerless we are to the pass of time
Doesn't matter how hard we try to make 'em right, it will still leave us marred
We see the path, what happens after their prime
A baby blue sky with a sun that's been barred.

We dig deep in our coats for a fistful of dollars that in a third world country will turn into a thousand remedies
Even smiles may come out of an envelope from the bank, but la verdad is that we're stuck in life with these maladies.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Sonnet 40: Canada's Ex-Boyfriend

By Aurin Squire

Quick to flash anger and slow to give love.
Whine and keep lists of all my friend's failings
Rarely will credit anyone above
unless medaled or when family is ailing.

My one shining trait: humility
You've probably heard me mention that before
Once I saved an ant from drowning in my tea
On Sundays I help grandma through the door.

On occasion, I murder and rape.
But not to worry: it's never in rage.
Youtube it. I'm vain about keeping tape.
Geography comes to life from the page.

Let's grab a burger, I'll slaughter some beef.
Did I mention I have ultra white teeth?

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Sonnet 39: Exit Player

By Aurin Squire

When I was younger I worried all eyes on me
Grimaced over steps and regressed
Feared scrutiny and what the world could see
Paranoid fevers overly obsessed.

Entering my prime, rejoiced in my place
Laughter booming and shine like a sun
I took all the oxygen and space
Center of the universe, the spring of fun.

Start the exit, slow from the bright lit room.
My face falls more into dusk and shadow.
No longer swallowing air, but subsumed,
by the eeking way things of this world flow.

When I am old, will anybody look?
At old men hiding in memory' book.