A Poem to the Cosmos

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Two years ago, I was in New Orleans under the same full moon in Taurus that will shine tonight. I was at the end of a long prolonged break from the reality I had spent two years creating with a very special past loved one. New Orleans offered a change of climate while I sought to sort things out. It was also the first travel on which I sold my then newly published, hand-bound collection of short stories. I thought in a little over a month’s time the Mayan world was going to end. I felt accomplished that I had met at least one of my main goals: “publish a book before the end of the world on December 21 2012”.

Now we’re all under that Taurus moon again. And I am for sure on the road again. This time it’s a little different, though. Similar in that I seek a change of climate and new horizons, but there is no concrete heartache this time chasing me further onto the highway. This time of year has always offered unparalleled struggles, from the phone call notifying me of my closest friend’s suicide to the time I got attacked in my own home at the last show of the first Dream Oven. But each year these struggles have served to teach me and out of the darkness comes the light.

Since that time in NOLA, the Mayan world has gone and ended and I’ve survived into the new world to tell its tale. I’ve felt the cycle of death and rebirth a thousand times. I’ve brought its power under my wing. Learning everyday from my own finite nature. Watching the sunrise and sunset and growing stronger. At 27, I stand before you a wanderer. A man much humbled by the height of the mountains. Challenged by the length of the ocean. Encouraged by the depth of space. And stupefied by the sublime flagrant colors found everywhere at anytime. But I am no one and I continue to be honored by the presence of everyone I meet. Poets and architects, dreamers and psychedelic zen lunatics. The high rollers and the absolute dregs.

I stand here now in San Francisco on the opposite shore of this country from where I was born and look back towards the rising sun towards the east towards all that I came from and I think of my return visit to that old New Orleans full of magic only a few weeks or a month away. I stand here now and I wonder what further prosperity awaits me on the other side.

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A Poem to the Cosmos

A Fellow Dharma Bum

Over the last two weeks I’ve been rereading The Dharma Bums in preparation for my own western adventures. What really struck me, and I remember thinking this as a kid when I first read the book, is that Kerouac has two months of enlightenment while atop a mountain in northwestern Washington, and yet this is the shortest segment of the book (only ten pages long). The pages leading up to it actually feel like Kerouac is rushing to the end. Rushing to have his book finished and sent out to the publisher. But it’s more than that. The description of this enlightenment is mostly about the changes of weather and has a hard time making much sense to anyone because it’s written in an emotional internal non-narrative. It’s as if he has a hard time describing what he got up there, so he just starts describing everything at once: him singing to himself, the 60 sunsets he sees, the feeling of open air, storms passing by, trees shifting, the mice that live in the attic, etc.

I can relate this to my own experiences on top of mountains. After Vermont, I spent 6 months telling people about what I saw and what I felt before I finally was able to write it down. But even then I hit a very big snag. There are no words to truly describe the little death in all its glory. And even if the words can be found the memory moves further and further away from clarity as your current self rejoins society and the every day life away from your natural flow. It is like having two realities. In the one you understand anything and everything and for a moment all of it is still. In the other you are rushed around and really inconsequential things become so frustrating, the only reprieve is sometimes found in drink.

Oh Kerouac, you are my brother still. Together we are Zen Lunatics. Together we make tall tales out of the simple things other people overlook. And when we tell our stories, people look at us and tell us “Yes. Duh. Of course,” and refer us to a more “elevated”, pretentious source. But Kerouac, you and I are humble giants and we enjoy our childlike enthusiasm over dumb things others have explored.

Because this is life, isn’t it?
And life is full of joy!

A Fellow Dharma Bum

Point of Departure

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“At first I thought I was traveling through space and time. Then I realized space and time were all cyclical and I was only a small point in this grand departure.”

Photo of Feeling the Fall, an art installation at Plato’s Porno Cave: The Trial designed by Marshall James Kavanaugh and Augustus Depenbrock. Taken by Willow Zef.

Point of Departure

The Little Death

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an excerpt from the Dream Dialectic, The Little Death, released in March 2014. You can grab a copy either in person or by sending me an email. More information about the book is available here.

Sitting on top of an RV on top of a mountain outside of Brattleboro in southern Vermont I stare up at the night sky and become completely unnerved as stars swirl like galaxies above my tiny insignificant head. The feeling drops like a brick to my gut and I shiver with new found consciousness shocking light down my spinal cord in quick painful succession. The old ego dies. Its back breaks in two. I feel it. A quick snap and I am thrown through a wandering black hole of infinite nothingness heavy with the weight of a thousand stars. My hands legs and feet all fall out from beneath me. I tirelessly grapple with the sleeping bag trying to block out this insane vision of vivid reality. Sweat runs down my brow. I am cold sober and yet I am having the first purely hallucinogenic experience of this lifetime.

I am nothing. And therefore I am everything.

The Little Death often creeps up on the spectator like a ghost under frozen water. His density is the same as the blackest sun in the galaxy. His potency is as soluble and possibly more explosive than McKenna’s fabled “hero dose”. To some the Little Death is an actual life ender. To everyone a response of absolute fear is most likely. There are very many who exit this space of the mind insane and very few who come out with a full understanding of this wholly singular moment. But everyone who experiences the Little Death is forever changed.

In those stars I see my own insignificance. They are infinite and I am only one. I have never seen stars like those. So many. So pure. Eternal flames burning longer than time. Circling around each flame an even more infinite number of planets just like ours. Or drastically different. Life forms the human mind cannot comprehend. Life styles the human being was never meant to understand. Dimensions parallel and tangential. Everything is infinite. And I experience the ego shudder back in horror as it realizes its own lack of significance. It literally turns white with fear. A coward by nature. It sees its own death of importance and then goes on and actually dies. I an empty shell am left there for a multitude of moments without a single thought. No inner voice. Nothing.

And that is when the beauty starts.

The Little Death is the great life bringer. Out of the ash grows a truer soul. Once the ego is peeled back and discarded reality opens up like a flower. One experiences a connection with their own values and from this a better understanding for the workings surrounding them. For once they are allied with the earth the heavens and the hells in a counterbalance of various flat lines and linear meanings. They are no longer alone. They have infinite being in front of them. And behind them lies only more greener infinity. Past lives past traumas past confusions suddenly seem all that more wonderful in their dissolution. One and everything. The dreamer awakens and realizes his visions of extraordinary are finite and yet everlasting. One with everything. No other truer self than the self that stands allied with all that surrounds him.

In the dark the stars continue to swirl and a close by stream continues to trickle. Other than this there is absolute silence. The fear lies in the silence for at any moment something monstrous should come out and rip the boy to shreds. But it does not come. The boy lays there waiting and with each waking moment he feels lighter and lighter. With his own insignificance comes a release from all guilty delusion and bad tide. A final surrender to the flow that is his nature. He is nothing by pure calculation, and yet the ratio that briefs his untimely end is a golden ratio. He burns bright in the night like those innumerable stars. A star himself finding his own gravitation. For the first time everything is transparent. Nothing and everything. He shines brighter. The ego is long dead. The night consumes him. And he shines brighter.

We are all stars in a great sea of stars shining brighter than the universe ever saw possible.

The Little Death