"Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can break my heart..." Linda McCartney

Archive for the ‘Death’ Category

♫This Is The End

In Death, Despair, Life, Music, Musicians on January 26, 2010 at 11:49 pm

“Love conquers all.” “Every cloud has a silver lining.” “Faith can move mountains.” “Love will always find a way.” “Everything happens for a reason.” “Where there is life, there is hope.” Oh, well… They gotta tell you somethin’…” Charlize Theron as Aileen Wournos in Monster (2003)

This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end
My only friend, the end

Of our elaborate plans, the end
Of everything that stands, the end
No safety or surprise, the end
I’ll never look into your eyes…again

Can you picture what will be
So limitless and free
Desperately in need…of some…stranger’s hand
In a…desperate land

Lost in a Roman…wilderness of pain
And all the children are insane
All the children are insane
Waiting for the summer rain, yeah

There’s danger on the edge of town
Ride the King’s highway, baby
Weird scenes inside the gold mine
Ride the highway west, baby

Ride the snake, ride the snake
To the lake, the ancient lake, baby
The snake is long, seven miles
Ride the snake…he’s old, and his skin is cold

The west is the best
The west is the best
Get here, and we’ll do the rest

The blue bus is callin’ us
The blue bus is callin’ us
Driver, where you taken’ us

The killer awoke before dawn, he put his boots on
He took a face from the ancient gallery
And he walked on down the hall
He went into the room where his sister lived, and…then he
Paid a visit to his brother, and then he
He walked on down the hall, and
And he came to a door…and he looked inside
Father, yes son, I want to kill you
Mother…I want to…fuck you

C’mon baby, take a chance with us
C’mon baby, take a chance with us
C’mon baby, take a chance with us
And meet me at the back of the blue bus
Doin’ a blue rock
On a blue bus
Doin’ a blue rock
C’mon, yeah

Kill, kill, kill, kill, kill, kill

This is the end
Beautiful friend
This is the end
My only friend, the end

It hurts to set you free
But you’ll never follow me
The end of laughter and soft lies
The end of nights we tried to die

This is the end

Mend your fences with your families
Keep up with your friends
Don’t burn your bridges
Forgive your mean mom
Because
If God is your only friend,
Well then, my dear
You are
Pretty much
screwed

How Does It Feel?

In Books, Civility, Death, Life, Racism, Unemployment on January 14, 2010 at 12:05 pm

For all the talk about honesty and integrity and authenticity, the most life altering circumstance where these attributes are glaringly absent is during the job search process.  You may be driving on fumes, so hungry your stomach muscles are stuck in a painful concave or twisted up in a knot with fear about the phone and ISP bill that’s past due and you know full well there’s no income coming in this week… but when you show up at that interview you better look like you haven’t got a care in the world. You better act like you don’t need this job.

“People call me rude.  I wish we all were nude…  I wish there was no Black or White, I wish there were no rules…” Prince/Controversy

The hiring process as it stands today makes thieves and liars out 0f all of us. Worse, it transforms otherwise law abiding, tax-paying wives and mothers, husbands and fathers, sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, Protestants and Catholics, Christians and Jews into cold-hearted murderers of the spirit before lunch at Subway.  Given the choice between having my spirit killed and being shot 42 times, in this economy, I choose the latter.

The 21st century workplace is the new Roman Coliseum.  All it takes is the downturned thumbs of the masses for you, even you, to be thrown to the lions.  You don’t like somebody you work with?  Conspire to make the office environment so unbearably uncomfortable, the disliked person feels compelled to quit.  You don’t like somebody you work with?Don’t like the way they look, or the way they type or breathe? Subscribe to the belief that “most Christians” believe that religion is a cult?   Start a bad rumor about them.  Have them fired!

Never mind that person may have a child or two to support, or a mortgage, or car note, or college loans to repay, same as you.  Never mind that person you don’t like may want to look toward tomorrow with a modicum of hope and confidence, the same as you.

Never mind that every thread that constitutes the fabric of life is completely unattainable when one does not have a job.  You can’t make friends.  You isolate yourself from family.  You can’t own anything or even make plans.  You can’t provide for your children.  You can never let anyone in to know your shame and deprivation.  You are forced to keep terrible secrets.  You’re afraid all the time. You can never tell the truth.

And that’s probably a good thing because the truth is not what prospective employers want to hear from job-hopping, gaps-in-your-resume-having, slow-bill paying, deadbeats like you.  That’s just the way it is.., Right?

Standing in line marking time
Waiting for the welfare dime
‘Cause they can’t buy a job
The man in the silk suit hurries by
As he catches the poor old ladies’ eyes
Just for fun, he says, “Get a job”

That’s just the way it is

Some things will never change

That’s just the way it is
But don’t you believe them

They say, “Hey little boy you can’t go where the others go

‘Cause you don’t look like they do”

Said,”Hey old man, how can you stand to think that way?
Did you really think about it
Before you made the rules?”
He said, “Son”

That’s just the way it is

Some things will never change
That’s just the way it is
But don’t you believe them”

That’s just the way it is
That’s just the way it is

Well, they passed a law in ‘64

To give those who ain’t got a little more

But it only goes so far
Because the law don’ change another’s mind
When all it sees at the hiring time
Is the line on the color bar

That’s just the way it is
Some things will never change
That’s just the way it is
That’s just the way it is, it is, it is, it is

Performed/Lyrics Bruce Hornsby, 2004

Let’s just say for the sake of argument all that’s true?  What could anyone in this country or anywhere in the world for that matter possibly do that could be so terrible they may not be allowed to earn a living?  Or eat?  Or have a place to lay their head and store their stuff? To be?

W.E.B DuBois wrote in The Souls of Black Folk “…How does it feel to be a problem?” (page 5, paragraph 1)

It’s How It Feels Not To Have a Job.

Mother’s Little Helper

In Civility, Death, Despair, Feelings, Life, Music, Musicians, Society, The Bible, Twitter, Unemployment on January 10, 2010 at 6:17 pm

I think I’ll just let these lyrics speak for me here and now.  It’s my story, only without the “little helper.”  But I think on it. We’re not designed to be perpetually alone.  Even Adam had Eve.  I think I’m being conversant. In my mind I want to be helpful or funny. Only year after year, decade after decade, I find I am characterized as a “know-it-all.”   The penalty for this harsh, unsparing indictment is death, first by insult, then some public humiliation, then banishment.  You may not work, earn money or live.  It’s a death sentence. Life without the possibility for parole.

Mick Jagger and Keith Richards penned and produced this tune in 1966. Unlike the paradoxes of the bible, the language here is straightforward and impossible for even the lowest level of understanding to miss.  It’s a great song. Mostly because She is Me.  I hope I will find my “little helper.”

♫What a drag it is getting old

“Kids are different today,”
I hear every mother say
Mother needs something today to calm her down
And though she’s not really ill
There’s a little yellow pill
She goes running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper
And it helps her on her way, gets her through her busy day

“Things are different today,”
I hear every mother say
Cooking fresh food for a husband’s just a drag
So she buys an instant cake and she burns her frozen steak
And goes running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper
And two help her on her way, get her through her busy day

Doctor please, some more of these
Outside the door, she took four more
What a drag it is getting old

“Men just aren’t the same today”
I hear every mother say
They just don’t appreciate that you get tired
They’re so hard to satisfy, you can tranquilize your mind
So go running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper
And four help you through the night, help to minimize your plight

Doctor please, some more of these
Outside the door, she took four more
What a drag it is getting old

“Life’s just much too hard today,”
I hear every mother say
The pursuit of happiness just seems a bore
And if you take more of those, you will get an overdose
No more running for the shelter of a mother’s little helper
They just helped you on your way, through your busy dying day  

♫♫The Sound Of Silence

In Art, Death, Feelings, Life, Music on September 30, 2009 at 8:02 pm

The thing about music is once you have it in you, it’s yours forever.  No other art form burrows so deep inside your heart and your head like music.  You feel it. You crave it.  It creates sensations inside.  It makes you leap to your feet or can place you gently into a chair.  It makes you grimace, it makes you smile, it makes you laugh out loud.

It resurrects memories and sights and smells and tastes.  You see colors.  It reunites you with loved ones– or vice versa, the living and the dead.  It blurs the constraints of time or alters them completely.  Suddenly you’re twenty-five year old son or daughter is two again or you yourself are nineteen.  Music is the most powerful art form.

It’s not like a movie, or book or theater.  You can play whole songs in your head; your intimate, personal, private soundtrack  anytime, anyplace, anywhere. It’s portable.  No batteries required.  No equipment necessary.  It is all yours.  No one’s inner audio library is exactly like anyone else’s. No one may judge the sounds in your soul.

You can feel it by yourself or you can feel it in a group.  It can envelope you in melancholy and with the next cut, ecstasy. And the emotional explosion of excitement you experience when just one person relates to your inner sea. Music makes you feel good and makes feeling bad even better.

People fear death because they can feel just how much they’ll miss their music. Like a premonition– A foreboding.  Music is the moon that swells the tide of your being.  Music is your soul and your soul is you. What would it be like when music is turned off? It’s the SILENCE we’re all so afraid of.

Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence
In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
‘Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence
And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence
“Fools”, said I, “You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you”
But my words, like silent raindrops fell
And echoed
In the wells of silence
And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said, “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls”
And whispered in the sounds of silence
Hello darkness, my old friend
I’ve come to talk with you again
Because a vision softly creeping
Left its seeds while I was sleeping
And the vision that was planted in my brain
Still remains
Within the sound of silence

In restless dreams I walked alone
Narrow streets of cobblestone
‘Neath the halo of a street lamp
I turned my collar to the cold and damp
When my eyes were stabbed by the flash of a neon light
That split the night
And touched the sound of silence

And in the naked light I saw
Ten thousand people, maybe more
People talking without speaking
People hearing without listening
People writing songs that voices never share
And no one dared
Disturb the sound of silence

“Fools”, said I, “You do not know
Silence like a cancer grows
Hear my words that I might teach you
Take my arms that I might reach you”
But my words, like silent raindrops fell
And echoed
In the wells of silence

And the people bowed and prayed
To the neon god they made
And the sign flashed out its warning
In the words that it was forming
And the sign said, “The words of the prophets are written on the subway walls
And tenement halls”
And whispered in the sounds of silence

♫ ♫ ♫ ♫ ♫…

The World Is Closed

In Animals and Pets, Death, Emotional Intelligence, Unemployment on March 24, 2009 at 11:19 pm

I’m a very private person. I don’t put too much out there about myself. It’s easy to talk about feelings or to react to current events, or the arts and entertainment, politics, The View. But for the most part my life’s experience has taught me to be on my guard. Anne Frank wrote while hiding with her family in an attic during the Holocaust that she believed people are basically good at heart. I think she’s right: People are basically good at heart but the caveat to that is they are mean as well.

I’m discovering daily over the past twenty years I am just angry. I have cognition around my anger so I pray about it, I cogitate over it, I devise coping strategies and try very hard to act on these. I smile, I try to be nice, I’m effusive, helpful, knowledgeable, funny, ( I’ve read the bible from Genesis to Revelation), but mean people are not invested in me, my success or my future. It’s their mission in life to rid the world of people like me; to expose me as the fraud that I am. I am an angry person trying to look like I’m just like everybody else.

My anger has been reflecting back at me by my recent experiences at the dog park of all places. Before I got ThatOne, I could go whole weekends without parting my lips to utter a single sound. On Friday after work, I’d drive back to wherever I was living, shit, shower and shave and lie in bed where I remained until Monday morning. I have no friends. If I suddenly died tomorrow, no one would care or notice or come to my funeral. Now, I enjoy whole conversations with people who actually touch me, hug me, laugh with me and who call me by my name.

For Christmas 2008,  I saved $200.00 to entertain my son and his girlfriend. I invited them here where I planned for us to relax in the hot tub out back, swim in the pool out back, have breakfast at the Buffet at the casino a minutes drive from here and to show them around the Inland Empire.

It is really quite beautiful here, surrounded by black, craggy mountains with snow capped mountains off further in the distance, the historic old town, the ducks, the lake, the fountains, the ducks. Only it rained buckets Christmas day which was a Thursday, so out of concern for my son I suggested they come Friday instead.  I waited and waited and waited and waited. No one ever came. No one ever called. Part of the reason I hoped I would give birth to a boy 25 years ago was because I believed then that they’re more loyal to their mothers.

Finally I texted my son and told him I was disappointed. He acknowledged in his response that he should have called but that he just didn’t. I told him I was a big girl and that I would get over it. What do you think?

He came here for the first time this past Saturday. He said he was going to celebrate our not seeing each other in over three months by treating himself to a big meal. I took him to the dog park. He met Sharon, and Nancy and That’s doggie friends. Then we went to Claim Jumper. I had the gigantic chocolate cake and milk. He had top round and lobster tail and the crab cake appetizer, cheesy garlic bread and a mixed greens salad.

I recalled how in November I begged him to lend me $130.00 so I could pay my rent. He couldn’t help me. But he and his girlfriend took a trip to Puerto Rico and in April, (the same week as my #52), they’re going to New York.

All of these things and the crushing sadness I feel daily over my unemployment has made me more verbal than usual about my present circumstances. I have been telling everyone that will listen that I am unemployed and passing out my resume to any and all takers. So you can imagine my elation when I got an email response from a lovely woman I met at the dog park suggesting there may be a place in her office for me. But my experience did not leave me totally gullible. This was too good to be true and it was.

You see, it turns out this woman is trying to organize a team under an MLM opportunity called 5Links (http://www.5linx.com/opportunity/index.html). My heart broke in a strange way. I know now what Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, Sylvia Plath , Ray Combs, David Foster Wallace, Spalding Gray, Vincent Van Gogh, Jean Seberg, Donny Hathaway, Marilyn Monroe, Phyllis Hyman, Kurt Cobain knew at crisis time. They all knew just like I know now: Your arm’s too short to box with God.

“…But if it is from God, you will not be able to overthrow them, otherwise you may perhaps be found fighters actually against God.” Acts 5:39

If  this  pain and decades long misfortune is in fact from God, I may not escape this destiny. The lifelong struggle to escape will only make matters worse as I  become then a fighter against God. Clearly that’s a battle I cannot win or even hope to enjoy a modicum of success at during the brief, fruitless struggle. I’m a fighter against God. How can anything I ever do succeed?

The world is closed. I’ll never work again. I cannot publish a video resume. The world is closed. Like Zack Mayo said in An Officer and a Gentleman: “I got nowhere else to go! I got nowhere else to g… I got nothin’ else …”

“I’ve always taken ‘The Wizard of Oz’ very seriously, you know. I believe in the idea of the rainbow. And I’ve spent my entire life trying to get over it.”
Over The Rainbow | Judy Garland

“And now you know… the rest of the story.” Paul Harvey

The world is closed.

Soul, Sound/Fury, Soul

In Art, Death, Life, MoodzStrike on February 6, 2009 at 8:59 pm

Hey, don’t you know I’m human
I have thoughts like any other one
Sometimes I find myself alone and regretting
Some foolish thing, some little simple thing I’ve done

I’m just a soul whose intensions are good
Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood

I understand why artists go crazy or do terrible things to themselves like abuse drugs and alcohol or commit suicide, or succumb to mental and emotional disease. To possess a voice, a fiery passion burning in your bones, eating through your mind like a cancer with no outlet for expression or feedback is torment.

To know you are different and have everybody know it as well, only they don’t necessarily think that’s a good thing.  To always, always find yourself surrounded by people and not know anyone at all. To desire to be heard, but you sound like an alien so people ostracize you, exclude you or worse, utterly ignore you,  but never without first humiliating you. Passive aggression to the nth degree because the world says you have to be different, just like everybody else.

100 years ago, I was watching American Bandstand. It was Prince’s television debut performance. I recall him saying he didn’t care if anyone liked his music. As the years and several of his incarnations have borne out, however, nothing could be further from the truth. We don’t care if people don’t like us. We care that people like what we produce, whether it be music, or the dance, or acting or thoughts we labor to memorialize in writing. We want people to see, to read, to feel, to know, to care about what we experience. Validate our I Am. Acknowledge we were. Value the produce of our living soul.

“The soul… itself shall die.” Eze 18:4, 20

“…and God proceeded to blow into his nostrils the breath of life, and the man came to be a living soul.”
Gen 2:7

Edgar Allan Poe, Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, Sylvia Plath , Georgia O’Keefe, Judy Garland, David Foster Wallace, Spalding Gray, Vincent Van Gogh, Jackson Pollack, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Donny Hathaway, Marilyn Monroe, Phyllis Hyman, Kurt Cobain, Willy Loman, Amy Winehouse (at least,not yet)… Tortured.  Tormented.  Once living, now departed. Souls.

Just a thimble full of the blood of the lucky ones. Everybody knows their names. Their roads may have been torturous, but they were heard (Some, sadly though, not in their lifetimes) and we remember. How come that wasn’t enough?

Unlike latter day “artists,”  people who announce on national television that their goal is to be “an icon,” who produce and then churn out formulaic, shrill, hollow noises celebrated as music, manic gyrations characterized as dance or excrement (animal and otherwise) that masquerades as artwork, these men and women, these Artists,  were literally publishing their souls. Every word was agony to produce. Every sound like the moon’s influence on the tide.

They were not interested in celebrity. These men–  these women–  habitually raped their own psyches and dared to peer into cramped crevices of their own minds and hearts to reveal inconvenient, universal, often incontrovertible truths  hoping only for some intellectual reciprocity but never really having any. Everybody looks and listens but no one seems able to share.

The Artist seems always to be alone inside their head wishing they had someone to talk to. Sometimes being your own best friend is enough. Many times keeping one’s own counsel is unhealthy and unwise. That’s the price exacted for needing to understand and be understood. The Artist cannot subjugate one for the sake of the other. That’s why these voices are timeless, why these voices still resonate like a boom when you think about the words and music rendered mute by death in graves.

Maybe that’s why the Artist is never an example in books about highly effective people with useful habits. The Artist doesn’t revere Oprah or Dr. Phil. The Artist doesn’t necessarily find joy and fulfillment in weekly group meetings although many  have tried and more than once.

The Artist always depend upon the kindness of strangers, may consume mass quantities of drugs or alcohol. Some attempt to explain and excuse these lapses in judgement and struggles with self-control by repeatedly uttering clichés about needing to dull the pain when what they really want is to understand, be understood and not be misunderstood. It’s an all consuming desire.

Mean People know how to spot the “weakness,” the gangrenous wound of acceptance and approval and then pour salt in it. That’s their talent.  That’s their gift to the world. Mean People believe they have souls, but Artists are Souls, dead or alive. Our soul–  our life is  present in everything we do.

That may be why we think about life and death a lot and we realize… Death is highly underrated. Just as life is the beginning, death is just the end. Sandwiched in between the crispy, cookie crust is the creamy nugget center called living.  All good things (and even all not-so-good things) must come to an end, right?

The Soul, living, breathing, is not some ethereal, mystical entity that detaches from you and lives on. You are the Soul.  The Soul is you. You and your soul are one. Alive, it’s kickin’. Dead, it’s done. It’s what we leave behind that lives on for as long as there exists someone who’ll remember,  and values that your living soul produced.

Edgar Allan Poe, Virginia Woolf, Ernest Hemingway, Sylvia Plath , Georgia O’Keefe, Judy Garland, David Foster Wallace, Spalding Gray, Vincent Van Gogh, Jackson Pollack, Billie Holiday, Ella Fitzgerald, Donny Hathaway, Marilyn Monroe, Phyllis Hyman, Kurt Cobain, Willy Loman, Amy Winehouse, Heath Ledger, Michel Mercer, Betty Davis, Ray Charles, Martin Luther King, Jr., Malcolm X—  “A name is better than good oil, and the day of death than the day of one’s being born.” Ec 7:1

Death of a Salesman

Death of a Salesman

HYMAN

HYMAN

MARILYN

MARILYN

VAN GOGH

VAN GOGH

O'KEEFE

O'KEEFE

PLATH

PLATH

HEMMINGWAY

HEMMINGWAY

GRAY

GRAY

POE

POE

HOLIDAY

HOLIDAY

FITZGERALD

FITZGERALD

POLLOCK

POLLOCK

JUDY

JUDY

COBAIN

COBAIN

WINEHOUSE

WINEHOUSE

WOOLF

WOOLF

HATHAWAY

HATHAWAY

HEATH LEDGER

LEDGER

Writer

WALLACE
I’m just a soul whose intensions are good
Oh Lord, please don’t let me be misunderstood
Place Of Skulls | Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood | Benjamin – Marcus – Caldwell / Originally recorded by The Animals | 1965
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