i’ll have none of that, you see . . .
none of the exclusivity of clubs
with their business of foundations,
divisions and the self-satisfied
whole-hearted embrace of conceits,
moth-eaten and self-righteous,
the mythopoeic and parabolic
spelled by men into stone and dogma,
the collision of sacred language with
parochialism and that left-over tribalism
exploding into disdain and violence . . .
how is it that vision ends and lunacy begins?
lead me instead to that inchoate space,
between saint and sanctity, soul and spirit,
bequeath me into the great yawning
where my mother thrives as Khoas unquelled,
where my father shines dressed in anarchy, where
my sister sips tears from the wan cheeks of sages,
. . . . . let us begin again
© 2013, poem and illustration, Jamie Dedes, All rights reserved
WEDNESDAY WRITING PROMPT
Tell us in prose or poem, what should we do, what should we ask for, when we know that vision has died and lunacy is on the rampage. If you feel comfortable doing so, share your response or a link to it in the comments section below. All works on theme will be published here next Tuesday. You are welcome – encouraged – to come out a play no matter the status of your career: beginning, emerging or pro. You have until Monday evening, 8:30 p.m. PST, to respond.
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Thanks Jamie…..my first response
. a vision requested.
early while driving. omen repeating
sometimes the sun comes lower after the crest
imagine them marching, slow & white.
will you name them?
in the wake all things come clear.
slow & white.
later below the peaks i tell him. he said it is
the dark crystal.
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My third response, Jamie:
of your place for theirs.
A seat for those who cannot stand.
An arm for those who need support.
An empathetic word for those who grieve.
Warmth for those cold as marble.
A smile for those downcast.
Small acts of give amongst the take.
Your strength amongst the enfeebled.
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From February 2013 (https://julijuxtaposed.wordpress.com/2013/02/22/the-exponential-demise-of-our-well-being/)
The Exponential Demise of our Well-Being
You know that sudden speeding montage of thoughts and images you get when a torrent of information flashes through your mind and your consciousness grasps their thematic connections and creates a glimpse of the bigger picture? It only lasts seconds but it’s revelatory and dramatic and, when it produces a physical resonance, can be said to reveal truth – be it the individual’s recognition of a personal truth or of an external reality. You shiver, feel sick, overwhelmed perhaps, or optimistic, even excited if the epiphanous moment is positive. It’s the kind of high frequency, moment of clarity that sparks creativity, spurs innovation and signposts direction – and of course, it can also incite utter panic. The fact that it’s not an everyday occurrence – besides probably making such events all the more meaningful – is likely a good thing: there is such a thing as ‘too much’ and systems, mechanical or biological, do not really appreciate being overloaded.
But what about the low frequency hum of the mundane? The unnecessary, interminable tension imposed by the government and its agents, who intervene for our own good like stereotypical missionaries: they’re enough to drive the sanest people to distraction. For a party which professes ‘small state’ governance, they’ve made spectacular inroads into nearly all levels our daily lives, with their micro-management and moral prescriptions. They’re like all-enveloping smog, systematically choking the goodwill, the patience and the hope out of an entire nation.
This bass resonance features large in our everyday domestic arrangements too. Life is a journey of relationships, private, public and overwhelmingly political in nature. Government is in your face; so is media hype. But maybe, so are your neighbours, members of your family, your friends, your boss, your ‘clients’… we are all someone intruding in another’s space. As the infrasound increases pitch and pierces the surface, the customary dynamics dance under intensifying friction with random acts of ‘true colours’ and out-of-character behaviour.
People are living precariously under perpetual and pernicious stress. (Sorry for the ‘Ps’) You don’t need me to tell you about the growing surveillant, authoritarian management-style; the stark poverty living side by side with gluttony; religious oppression and paranoia; conflict and invasion; economic malfeasance – the list is almost as endless as it is global – and the cost of such dis-ease, as we all know, is far more than monetary. We are being worn down by failure and blame and uncertainty. People can’t help but project their hopes and fears into the future, but how much can you channel or manage them when you are the puppet of puppets?
I see the low frequency as starting to have the same impact as the high. We are overwhelmed and panicked and most people are either fighting it off, drowning under it or veering between the two. This is a fight or flight lifestyle and it is unsustainable: you can’t operate indefinitely on adrenaline, can you? Not without serious repercussions to your physical, mental and emotional health. That would be like perpetual war…
Mental health is a spectrum. We’re all on it. We travel its width in both directions for the length of our lives and, if we avoid the pain at its extremes, it is surely by some merciful grace? But this does not mean that the rest of us are healthy individuals, communities or nations. Not when we live in a state of constant dis-ease.
For as long as they can, people cope as well as they can, with whatever resources they can muster and with varying degrees of success. It might be instinctive but it’s exhausting and dispiriting to exist rather than to live, so it doesn’t take any genius to understand why some will chose denial rather than face reality or the unknown; that many of those who cannot unsee and unknow, will seek intoxication as respite; and that recklessness will become attractive to some while others will withdraw and become frozen.
And people snap. Everyone has a breaking point – though I must confess: it’s somewhat reassuring in the UK, to know you are at least unlikely to be shot at. But, facetiousness aside – I don’t know about you, but I don’t want to discover where my snapping point is – I can’t help but imagine we will see and hear of many implosions, both in our personal spheres and in the News at large. There’s an ever increasing number of people who live every day at the threshold of a breakdown: people who are grateful if they merely find themselves no worse off at the end of their day than at its start. Every day. With no seeming end.
Lives of such fragility are surely unsustainable: they are certainly an obscene mark on a modern world. I fear that, in a climate of continual manipulation and confusion, gifted by the accelerating machinations of a powerful few, the exponential demise of our well-being is almost certain. But, just as pain and anger can be warning signals that something is wrong, so too is the hum and it is screaming at us to make the madness stop: to pay attention to real meaning and create meaningful solutions
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Don’t Get (From A World Where 2)
involved. Distance yourself.
Else you’ll be wound in,
A fish on a line, handed
responsibilities you can’t handle.
Care for those you help will absorb
all the time you can spend with yourself.
Stay sane. Hold folk at arms length.
Others who can afford it will fill the absence
You make with your lack of response
When a person falls, injures themselves.
Be assured their are professionals our society
employs who can deal with it better than you.
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Here is a post containing two pieces, one prose and one poem, which you can also find here: https://julijuxtaposed.wordpress.com/2015/03/03/a-frozen-spring/
A frozen spring
The behaviour of our world leaders is extraordinary. These creatures trot out one ridiculous line after another about whatever and whoever, seemingly oblivious to the irony of their expedient relativism, all the while projecting as if theirs was the light and the way. They make policies based on any outlying prediction of convenience that their hypothetical histrionics can fashion and these become as the self-fulfilling prophesies of their tragic little imaginations. I’d say you couldn’t make it up but I reckon they do.
The scope for all manner of catastrophe by their obnoxious, cynical hands is horrifying. And we keep being told that there’s no alternative; that it’s competence or chaos; mainstream or radical fringe; with us or against us; deserving or undeserving; ally or monster; either-or. Always either-or… To do this they oversimplify each issue and circumstance, scapegoating or sexing up, until it is reduced to a catchy, polarizing meme and then they feign consternation over all the threats and distress they’ve conjured. Or do they conjure up a load of threats and distress and then simplify them to polarize everyone…?
How are we continuing to tolerate such an industrialised scale of hypocrisy and hubris? How on earth are we still bearing their cold indifference to cause and consequence; the expedience of their cruel, misguided pragmatism? How do we stomach the interminable provocations and funnelled paranoia? I don’t believe our modern species is so readily predisposed to such superficial extremes. I think we’re far too full of contradictions and nuance once you get underneath the first couple of layers. Why are these creatures still being allowed to get away with their obscene behaviour? At what point will we admit we are complicit and have learned to love our chains? For, if we are not; have not: where are our blazing pitchforks?
And Mainstream News’ content and delivery? It mostly seems to collude to serve the Powerful. We get fed shallow headlines followed by even shallower analyses; celebrity big-up or tear-down; something about someone, who apparently should know better, not toeing the latest line; a report about a report on something so appalling that people cannot understand how it could ever have happened at all, must ‘never again’ but probably will; a few temporary and meaningless economic numbers, followed by even more meaningless analysis; another story of hair-raising incompetence or fraud, quickly justified or deflected; another populist policy to tempt, punish or placate, framed as anything but the tinkering that it is; merit given to sheer electioneering mischief… And on and on. Every day more surreal and yet so sterile.
There are moments, some days and some whole days when it’s as though my outrage and numbness have been whisked into a solid fusion. It’s like I’m flung, for a period, into suspended animation. The passion of impotent protest, crowding in and freezing my whole being. I know it’s a fleeting overwhelm of emotion and thought but, well, it’s visiting more often and staying longer. Sometimes I think I’m only saved from losing ‘it’ due to lashings of healthy irreverence, an eye for the wry and a great deal of there but for the grace of… And I wonder at the leadership which creates and depends on a world of fight or flight for its profit; at all those around the world for whom this designed overwhelm is an imposed, perpetual constant. How are there not more people running around, demented, with wild eyes, pulling their hair out? Or curling up in a corner and rocking? I think we are, though, in our souls. Is it just me being temporarily consumed by the fanned extremes of my own angst or am I tripping into the angst of collective consciousness?
For the global atmosphere is a heavy fog of fear and denial, so widespread, so deep, so prevalent that, whether consciously or subconsciously, it must overshadow and infiltrate every individual to some degree. Even if you’re paying only a little attention to national and international affairs and conditions, you surely cannot fail to be at least uneasy about the interminable, mind-blowing ineptitude that has put our world in such a state – however you measure yourself by pressing ideological instruments. And they are pressing, aren’t they? In this reckoning coming – for reckoning is our current trajectory – there will be teeth-gnashing and hand-wringing for everyone.
I have hope. It’s in that inextinguishable light contained in Humanity’s heart and mind and an enduring faith in our capacity for enlightenment and generosity of spirit. And I tell my shadow self that this grotesque age, too, shall pass. That the People will rise. That these monsters of narrow, selfish ideology will surely be slain lest our doom be sealed because, simply, it’s the grotesque or the rest of us. And I tell myself that, whether I’ll still be sane (please smile at that) or even still around for our healing, it matters little. Others will be. However long it takes. And that those generations will conduct themselves a bit better, perhaps for longer, next time around.
‘especially in times of dark‘
but especially in times of dark,
my hope alights and leans
on an enduring faith
in the human spirit
and the myriad illumined pockets
of kindness and enlightened thought.
They are as the stars in a night sky:
escape the density of beamed artifice
and they are constant; visible.
For the heart sees what it looks for
as much as does the mind’s lensed eye.
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Splendid poem, Jamie! I’m hot off the mark this week!
the Abstraction Monster
roughing its way
through pompous discourse
whose wifflers maybe don’t realise
quite how they destroy
all purchase on the sticks & stones
of things – real apples ripening
towards August drainage systems
against water on the brain…
George Washington’s Birthday
done by Charles Ives
complete with jaw harp
dissolving into glorious dancing
freedom justice beauty
our country (usually wrong) money –
Abstraction Monster friends
death-dealing to the tip
of the iceberg thought
real thinking dwells in all the open doorways
and river basins of the wide wide world
This comes from my 2016 ‘101 apolitical poems’ (ironical!) in which the first poem (posted here not necessarily as a contribution, just for amusement), headed by a quotation from my favourite long-dead politician, is:-
No amount of cajolery, and no attempts at ethical or social
seduction, can eradicate from my heart a deep burning
hatred for the Tory Party. So far as I am concerned they are
lower than vermin.
Aneurin Bevan (1948)
lower than vermin
therefore not really vermin at all –
not worms (Latin vermis = worm) or snakes
or miscellaneous bugs
not reptiles not fleas or flying ants
not wild animals not insects of any kind
difficult to control in large numbers
but maybe ghouls that go bang
in some dark pit at dead of night
at the centre of an impenetrable forest
whose trees are constructed
out of piled up old rancid dustbins
that haven’t been emptied for months
where not even rats will go
for a Sunday afternoon promenade
for fear of the calculated potholes
I wonder if ghouls that go bang
in the night really are lower than vermin –
there may be something even lower
ridiculous demons if they weren’t
so terrifyingly malevolent
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Here is my first response:
Our Insanity (From A World Where 2)
is healthy. Hurt others,
hurt yourself. Hospitals
widen wounds. Firemen
are firestarters. Doctors
avidly spread disease.
Dementia is encouraged.
Helpfulness and reasoned action
is criminal. Thought for others
will get you referred to a psychiatrist.
Multiple personality is encouraged.
Not knowing who you are is wellbeing.
Celebrate murder, envy, greed, selfishness.
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