Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Nightshade Honey

Golden glows the jar as it stickily sucks the spoon to its depths... bubbles swirl slow with bits of comb as the spoon settles, floating just above the bottom.

But beauty lies: you know you can't take even a taste, you don't want this-- this poison, this sweetness of molten gold... this escape, this dream.

You don't want the honey. You're not some kid sailing a dragon kite across skies of story. It's just plain dumb to try to step outside your life, plain stupid to think of being saved, of chasing unicorns. The honey is real, the jar is real, and the spoon, and what happens to those who taste seems real, but their mind-- their own story-sky-- is where it all happens. Nothing changes even if you do raise the woozy flowing spoon to your tongue-- only a collision of alkaloid and acetylcholine, a fever-fantasia of delirium. That people could mistake this un-real for new life, for revelation-- sad, but the hunger for dreams, for cheap comfort, never dies.

Nudging the silver handle you shift the sunken spoon and see it grows a second self, a fat honey-ghost that sheathes, amplifies it. Light hits the jar and flows down and around the spoon, throwing, twisting dull beams through the ooze. Lovely like ocean sunset is the sugar-sluggish gold, and you wonder if your pupils dilate at the beauty; you think of involuntary wide pupils and how contagious they are, like a yawn, how card sharps wear sunglasses to hide them. You know this honey would give its own forced dilation to your eyes, would flood them with light past endurance and past reason.

But: what you get from an experience depends on what you bring to it. The danger is too great to suck the spoon dry, but you'd like to be able to say: I have tasted it, I have faced it down, and the power is not there. Dreamers, you gave it the power that was rightfully yours. The jar is empty.

You want to show them
, want to kidnap them from heaven and bring them to the true earth of opened eyes. But you don't speak their language. You could tell them that honey is nothing more than thrown-up nectar and enzymes, you could tell of all the joinings implicit in a
honey jar -- bee with flower, bee with bee, nectar with enzyme, bee-keeper with hive, honey with jar-- and they wouldn't hear. All they know and want to know is honey joining mouth in simple sugar joy. All they want is sweetness, sleep.

From the back of your mind comes a thought, funny but with heft: you can leave it to settle in its amber or you can wield this spoon like a sword. You can taste beyond the sugar-kiss and steal the veil from the temple. A taste, then a few hours' riding the storm, is all it takes.
Fear is punier now, a gulp in a distant throat that's never spoken up for itself--unworthy. And before you can think again, you lift the spoon, watch its ooze spiral lazily back into the jar, turn the spoon to gather the stream, careful not to spill a drop, gathering the ooze into the spoon and raising the spoon to your lips and parting your lips and taking the spoon and closing your mouth around its brimming gold.

And like parachuting in reverse, it begins: crunch of impact, electricity enfolding tongue with
rot-green tentacles, composty yet sweet as a lover's secret scent. And the dreadful pull up, up, yanking brain miles above gut then colliding them somewhere in a cold, gray fright-cloud, thoughts scattered, sight scattered, the ground gone away. You--who are you? --scattered, the sky in fragments and the spoon dropped and the jar a far wobbling smile of eventide in the harsh nova of now. Light like knives, operating theater grim bright: mouth dry, eyes aflame, honey and honey-bee gone like dreams at midday, you stumble, struggle to stand, to live now in your choice, in this blurring, heart-skipping breathless world. Who knew it was pain they sought, death to self-- who knew sugar could be venom, could twist your tongue and your eyes out of your head?

Touching, grasping as you haven't since birth, grasping table edge, grasping table leg, grasping air, empty-handed, grasping with fingertips at the floor as it smacks you onto its smooth, hard newness... who knew they befriended fear and open sky this way? Who knew a fall could awaken the soul, raise it to its true territory?

Monday, October 19, 2009

Gimme a Break

This has been the topical season on WiHW... who knows why...

But check this out. Moneyed interests have hijacked Great Britain's courts to the point that, under that country's silly libel laws, you can be sued for calling BS on bad science. Or for reporting on toxic waste dumping. Or alleging that rich Saudis fund terrorism. Or making snarky comments about a soccer team.

Want to sign a petition? Sense About Science has one for you. You don't have to be British--Penn and Teller signed it. You don't have to be a scientist or even give a farthing about science. As Guardian columnist George Monbiot asks, "Why is this 13th-century law still permitted to stifle legitimate dissent?"

Thursday, October 15, 2009

You Mean I Can't Just Make Shit Up????

Pro-Proposition 8 Lawyer: "Gay marriage endangers traditional marriage and endangers the family."

Judge: "How?"

Pro-Proposition 8 Lawyer: "I don't know."

Judge: "FAIL."

Sunday, October 4, 2009

One Year

Today is Sophia's and my first wedding anniversary. It feels like it's rushed by in weeks, and it feels like it's been years, not years of tedium or angst, but years of building a life and living it. Perhaps appropriately, given all my life in death/death in life jazz, we spent the weekend at a family funeral which, given the personality of Sophia's family, was much more like a happy reunion. There was laughter and a sing-a-long at the graveside service--I definitely landed in the right place.

Sophia and I, separately of course, consulted her high-school freshman daughter Molly about what each of us was getting the other for our anniversary. Sophia in particular had a hard time finding me something because, as she put it, I don't want anything except iTunes gift cards and the books on my amazon wish list and those aren't very romantic presents. So she asked Molly what she thought I'd like, and Molly said, "Just get him a book about evolution or some weird religion, and he'll be happy." :) I hope they feel like they landed in the right place...

Friday, October 2, 2009

A Kaliesque Video

Henry Rollins isn't everyone's cup of chai, but here he is in Calcutta in a video directed by the great Peter Christopherson, of Coil and Throbbing Gristle fame.

Rollins has said of his time in the city of Kali, "Spending time in Calcutta really did a number on me. The way life and death are almost the same thing, the way poverty is dealt with, the sheer number of dead bodies you see, it's all pretty overwhelming. I will be back there soon."

Ahh, yes... death in life and life in death... the "Illumination" that She wants to give us. Rollins is even seen in the video doing a Templar gesture (2:37 -- Christopherson's direction?). I can't tell you how much I love this... Hank has been an artistic hero of mine forever.