Thursday, May 15, 2014

Finding Truth Between Ying and Yang

I want to share what I’ve come to believe the most beneficial concept I’ve applied to my studies. I wish someone had taught me this earlier, say in the undergraduate portion of my academic career.  It may be the sort of insight that one must experience, open mindedly, in their own time.

Avoid dichotomous thinking. The academic world, higher thinking, has a long standing history of separating into opposing camps that become their ‘religion’ or ‘political party’. Nature V Nurture for example, from developmental psychology. Scholars lose sight of their purpose, to seek truth and understanding, and become more interested in defending their petty intellectual pride by holding to their chosen theory like a life raft while attacking the threatening alternative. But time and time again, almost every time, someone comes along and says both ideas are true to a degree and the most correct understanding incorporates a blend of both. They are both right in what they say and both wrong in what they don’t say. The truth lies within the shades of gray. Bipolar thinking is the hobgoblin of small minds, to paraphrase.

Let’s apply this to a couple currently popular dichotomies under different schools, science and philosophy.  

1) Determinism V Free Will.

Sometimes referred to as “The great debate”, it's similar to nature vs nurture and will to come to the same conclusion, that what happens is the result of the interplay between these two forces. One would have you believe all of reality is already pre-determined/ pre-existent and so nothing new can come into existence, that all events in the future are unalterable, as were all events in the past. The other that humans have autonomy and freedom to act based on their choices.

There is a general scientific picture of the world that lends itself to predictability and certainty of outcomes and hence more to determinism than any notions of freedom or free will. Indeed in many minds, science is still associated with the deterministic picture of the world, as it was in the nineteenth century. Modern science, however, draws a picture that is quite different.
The world according to nineteenth century science was, broadly, as follows. Very small particles of matter move about in virtually empty three-dimensional space. These particles act on one another with forces that are uniquely determined by their positioning and velocities. The forces of interaction, in their turn, uniquely determine, in accordance with Newton's laws, the subsequent movement of particles. Thus each subsequent state of the world is determined, in a unique way, by its preceding state. Determinism was an intrinsic feature of the scientific WORLDVIEW of that time. In such a world there was no room for freedom: it was illusory. Human beings, themselves merely aggregates of particles, had as much freedom as wound-up watch mechanisms.
In the twentieth century the scientific worldview underwent a radical change. It has turned out that subatomic physics cannot be understood within the framework of the Naive Realism of the preceding scientists. The Theory of Relativity and, especially, Quantum Mechanics require that our worldview be based on a critical (scientific) philosophy, according to which all our theories and mental pictures of the world are only devices to organize and foresee our experience, and not the images of the world as it "really" is. Thus along with the twentieth-century's specific discoveries in the physics of the micro-world, we should consider the emergence of a properly critical philosophy as a scientific discovery, and as one of the greatest scientific discoveries of the twentieth century.
We now know the notion that ‘the world is "really" space in which small particles move along definite trajectories’, is illusory: it is contradicted by experimental facts. We also know that determinism, i.e. the notion that in the last analysis all the events in the world must have specific causes, is illusory too. On the contrary, freedom, which was banned from the science of the nineteenth century as an illusion, became a part, if not the essence, of reality. The mechanistic worldview saw the laws of nature as something that uniquely prescribes how events should develop, with indeterminacy resulting only from our lack of knowledge; contemporary science regards the laws of nature as only restrictions imposed on a basically non-deterministic world. It is not an accident that the most general laws of nature are conservation laws, which do not prescribe how things must be, but only put certain restrictions or constraints upon them.
There is genuine freedom in the world. When we observe it from the outside, it takes the form of quantum-mechanical unpredictability; when we observe it from within, we call it our free will. We know that the reason why our behavior is unpredictable from the outside is that we have ultimate freedom of choice. This freedom is the very essence of our personalities, the treasure of our lives. It is given us as the first element of the world we come into.
Logically, the concept of free will is primary, impossible to derive or to explain from anything else. The concept of necessity, including the concept of a natural law, is a derivative: we call necessary, or predetermined, those things which cannot be changed at will, or by will. Meaning that scientifically speaking, free will must exist, but so do events beyond the will’s influence.

2) Reality: real V illusion.

 This one lends its self to philosophical analysis as the question transcends scientific method. The evidence of reality is self-apparent, presumed and obvious, as it’s all we know. Thus the burden of proof lies on those who claim that everything we experience isn't real, so that is where I will start.

An illusionist might assert: 1. One’s experience is theirs alone and none can live in another’s mind. 2. All one can truly and fully be certain of is that their own consciousness exists. 3. So external entities are perceived, not proven to exist. 4. If one only accepts what is certainly known, then it is more logical to think everything only exists in one’s mind. Conclusion: Thus the mind we know exists is the only possible source for these perceived external entities. (Solipsism) An example: Schrödinger put his cat in a box with a vial of acid, and broke the vial from the outside. He theorized that the cat is both dead and alive. Because we cannot be sure if the cat is either until we open the box, we must assume both. Many quantum physicist believe that the only reason matter exists is because we focus on it. If I place a cup on a table and look away from it, it begins to dissipate into the cosmos, and only fully exists when I look at it. This is true on paper, because if nobody is looking at the cup, then the only way we know it is still on the table for 100% is if we look back at the cup.

A Realist’s response may go something like: 1. We perceive things. 2. If we perceive things, those perceptions are due to either external entities or an illusion. 3. Neither can be proven. The inability to prove an entity does not disprove it. 4. If entities exist then truth exists, as the fact of their existence is true. If truth exists, reality exists as truth requires a reality to be true about. 5. If illusions exist then falsehood exists, as illusions are false by definition. If falsehood exists, reality exists as falsehood requires a reality to be false about. Conclusion: Illusions existence is dependent upon a reality, similar to light and dark. If light did not exist, neither would dark. If our lives are illusions then there must be a reality underneath that illusion. Example: If reality is an illusion of the mind, all that exists would come from that mind. It then follows that the mind is omniscient, omnipotent and omnipresent. Yet the one is still subject to others (cannot control them) and learns things previously unknown from interaction with others. These limitations of the mind over its own creation is evidence for the ‘realness’ of others consciousness as well as one’s own. Moreover, the fact that we successfully interact with others, communicating with words representing ideas or things understood by both to be the same entities is evidence that there is something external and it must be real.

Both make strong, yet inconclusive cases. Let’s apply this essay’s theory to an analogous query that is easy to understand. How do we know that we all see color the same? We don’t. It could be that red is red is red and is seen the same by all (barring colorblindness). It could be that what one sees as red, another sees as blue, but they both refer to the perceived color with the same word, proven by the functionality of traffic lights. Our successful interaction with, dependence on and learning from others all indicate that there is something real beyond our limited perceptions. But it is also known that each individual’s interpretation of the same events are often different (witness testimonies).

 An unbiased, open minded analysis of the evidence leads to concluding that the most logical answer to the reality/ illusion discussion is that there are elements of both at play. There is the color (reality), proven to exist by agreement (shared experience) between separate individuals. But neither sees exactly the same thing (witness testimonies), meaning both also experience illusion, as two differing answers to a math problem can’t both be right. So, reality exists but everyone operates under illusion via their individual perceptions. There is a reality that is of our minds own creation due to illusion, but there is also the ‘true’ reality that is the absolute reference point we diversely perceive. Like investigators sorting through differing accounts of a bank robbery, when we take into account the full picture given we can eliminate anomalies, identify accuracies and deduce what happened.

I believe the two examples above lend strong support to the idea that the right answer usually lies in the shades of gray. And that the division into dichotomy is the product of different, incomplete perceptions that need one another to expose each other’s falsehoods and lead us to the most complete conclusion.  This makes things much messier, more complicated and more interesting.  But once we accept it, we are in a better position to learn and evolve.

Who is the strongest and who is in the best position to understand the following situation accurately? There are three men who decide to join the battle between the red army and the blue. Man one chooses blue because he comes from a long line of blues; two chooses red because they are the larger army and seem poised to win. Three needs to understand who is in the right in order to support either. So mister three spends time in each side’s trenches, gives both equal chance and then stands in no man’s land, between the two groups that now see him simultaneously as friend and foe. From there he can observe both at the same time. As with most battles, both sides have justifiable reasons to fight. Or they wouldn't. And both focus on the others wrong and their own right. Or they wouldn't fight. So who, of the three men is what an academic ought to be?

In closing, I implore you to be the third. Argue, don’t fight. Debate, don’t try to be right. Seek understanding with an open mind, but also a useful, active one that will go where logic and evidence leads and productively contribute to the search for knowledge and thus truth (there is no knowledge without truth).  This is how we sharpen one another and truly engage in education. This is how we progress and evolve. 

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Ch. 1


Book 1 of the series ‘Diary of an imaginary man’ or,’ who I almost was’: “A complicated birth”

 “I feel like Black Jesus got his hands on me and guides me through life to put me where I'm supposed to be.” – Tupac Shakur

                                                                 “A COMPLICATED BIRTH”
We lay on the chapel carpet
                                                                Seraphs listened sweetly
                                                                As we collapse as a tar pit
                                                          And herald emerald hearts sent
                                                                   To repent discreetly

                                                  The sky splashed through stained glass
                                               The Shepherd and his lamb watch shy eyed
                                                  As we begin breathing heavy and fast
                                                   Naked skin dressed with Joseph’s coat
                                                               Of falling fractured light

                                                                           The air’s thick…
                                                                        Electric flute winds
                                                                        We wade through
                                                                           A proven myth
                                                                    as Orgasms electrocute

                                                    (Two are One, Three are One, Five are One)

Pt. 1
“Jesus must be black” [Awakening]

It began as a conversation, ‘there’s no way to grow without pain’ he said, and she replied ‘there’s no superman that hasn’t bled. Every prophet  loses his head at the root of a prostitute.’

It continued in the chapel, where vibrations got me high and the wooden cross that hung over the pulpit began to sound like an emerald. The empty pews appreciated music on that day more than I had ever seen them on the Sabbath. A dove encircled in blue harmonized with the light and left me hypnotized. The sky, through the window, was purple and the clouds were pink. The sky, I thought, Must be His kiss- And He kissed my eyes again.

Circa 1960 she said “God accept all my sufferings, my tiredness, my humiliation, my tears, my nostalgia, my being hungry, my suffering of cold, all the bitterness accumulated in my soul… Dear Lord, have pity on those, with the guns, who persecute and torture us day and night. Grant them, too, the divine grace of knowing the sweetness and happiness of Your love” before her Comrades poured her innards out on the frost bitten pavement. She remains nameless.

I sat in a coffee shop, he told me of his manifesto and we dialogued on the misunderstanding of Marx and of Darwin; Marx was a prophet I said, not a revolutionary, or a socialist, He agreed and said Darwin was a religious man, and didn’t believe his own ideas, but only published them because they were his, I wasn’t sure; He had lived on the streets since the sixties. He didn’t shy from telling how he raped a few women, he said he wouldn’t do that these days though, it was too likely that one would get caught. It was easy to see how this was justified… the strongest survive. This didn’t bother me as much as I might think. My old roommate confessed to me that he used to molest people in their sleep. Jesus loves them both. The least I could do is not be disgusted and by His Grace, I wasn’t. He asked me if I could spare some money, he needed some brown (I noted how earlier he told me he stuck to green and I told him that until two years ago I used to smoke) I told him I appreciated his honesty, but only had the card I got us coffee with. He thanked me for the coffee, it was the coldest it had been in Austin in a long time, and school was canceled. He was a genius, he could’ve changed the world, solved the Middle Eastern crisis and the global food shortage, not to mention the world’s American economy, and he’s homeless and willing to turn a trick for smack. He reads, more than I do, and writes far more too. In fact, he’s rented over 5,000 books, and read them all, before returning them to libraries in different cities, It humbled me to be preached to by him, about the fearfulness of people, “if you’ve got something to say, you might as well shout it” he shouted (as he had been for the whole conversation) I’m ashamed to say I was embarrassed.

A year ago I watched them in religious rapture. They spoke as some angels do, like a jazz pianist hiccupping turrets on crack, but holy. I could tell they thought they could tell I was uncomfortable. “Who would I give my award for ‘best of show?’ the man on the floor, or the women who prophesied over him? The man in the front, who said their money would buy them … miracles and maybe more money” Yes, surely this was what I thought, as I stood there. I was reminded of my old Gestalt group leader, who as an expert in the inception of minds under the influence of emotional ecstasy, as well as Gestalt and Reichien methods. He thought he was the one to start me down a mystic path… Or at least that he would be the one to lead me through it… Or at least it seemed he hoped he would be. He taught me how to get high by breathing and then convinced me I hated my parents. He also over dosed on brown, he injected though. All of the sudden I was back in that Hindu place in Singapore. The gestalt man told me to remain present, there, with him, I saw visions of the golden idol, she had many arms, and a blade in each, they howled at my face, BE HERE, BE PRESENT, BE IN THE NOW! But I couldn’t, not when her arms danced before my eyes, I was going down the disposal, I was being grinded by the blades, I was on Salvia Divinorum, though I hadn’t partaken of it. Teeth chewed on mangled flesh and bones. Eyes. Teeth and eyes. More teeth. No tongues. Only teeth. Gnawing. Consuming. Devouring, bones. Wailing in the language of some angels. Tongue less angels.  The eyes were blind. They inhaled the stench of rotting flesh. The teeth, the teeth. The eyes. The raw, deformed human matter I swam in. The sulfuric smell of his breath, in my face. Full of rage. And endless network of flesh consumption, a physical narration of the state of the nations. This meat packing machine, with the meat, eating the meat, bones and all, with black hole mouths, would it devour it’s self out? Completely? Was there hope for a new order? Can man follow another path? Can blind eyes see? The Hindu woman idol was back, with her arms, and exposed golden breasts, her crown. She spit me out, And now I was here again… Surrounded by the ecstasy, the strobe lights, the people drunk and high on the holy spirit. All listening to the man, with the microphone, who taught them to get high by breathing, and chanting, and meditating, He reminded me of Gestalt. I wondered if he would over dose on the holy spirit… I gave the blue ribbon to him. I pinned it to his chest. He bled out on the pulpit. Every one said amen. I stood up, slid down the aisle I had been sitting on. A jumping lady hit me with her elbow. I didn’t hold it against her, how could I? She didn’t know what she was doing or where she was. Did I? Back walking along on the street I wondered… “On the day of Pentecost was Jesus a word wielded like a lever?”  But then again, why do I judge these people so harshly? And judge drug addicts and prostitutes and drug dealers and sexual miscreants and suicide bombers and violent pacifists and the blind guy who wasn’t really blind that I walked home who pulled a blade and took all I had on me that day and the guys with suits and ties who ride the bikes and try to convert me at my door step and president Bush and president Obama not at all? Not even Kim Jung Ill or Adminijab, not even Lady Gaga or Lil Wayne, not even R Kelly or Chris Brown, not even Martha Stewart or Ron Imus, nor Tiger Woods nor Ben Rothlisberger nor Kobe Bryant, but I do judge the racists in Nacogdoches and the racists up north who think we’re all racists who’re from east Texas...  Sociology and anthropology maybe… Or maybe pride? Or maybe I’m just another hypocrite like the rest… yes I know that much is true, I am a hypocrite. 

Tsehay Tolessa taught me the Truth. She said “They forced my hands under my knees and tied them there. They put a stick through these ropes and hung me upside down. They filled my mouth with dirty rags. I almost suffocated. They beat me, breaking my bones. Great pieces of skin hung from my body.  Then they freed me from my bonds and forced me to run with bleeding feet over a path with sharp stones. Next, they put me in a small cell containing 62 people. There was only room to stand. Stand on what? On bleeding feet,  on broken bones. The cell was completely dark and there was no air. Don’t ask how prisoners fulfilled their bodily needs. There was one hole serving as a toilet, but no one could get to it.” Tsehay could not even hold a cup, so others had to help her drink, She stayed in that cell for over a year, As a result of spending such a long time in darkness, she has not regained full vision, Tsehay Tolessa was tortured for her faith in Jesus Christ by Ethiopian Communists, She said that while they took pleasure in branding, breaking and slicing her skin they would ask her “where is your Jesus now?” She said she only took pity on her torturers, For they were more blind than they had made her, She said she knew the Lord was always with her, alive in her heart, “Jesus was there, in the midst of human waste, in the humiliation, in the blood and stench. He is more than a King ruling in heaven, a bridegroom. He is the one tortured in prison.” Were the last words I heard her say, And it made me think of Isaiah 63:9 which says “In all their affliction He was afflicted.”

I was back at TCs longue, after I listening to Tsehay, again. You might think I reminisced with guilt, but I didn’t feel any such thing. I didn’t go inside TCs much. I lack the confidence to dance and you could hear the blues music outside just as well. I was usually Smoking weed and dust with the doorman. On our way to TC’s my friend confessed that he was afraid of going east of Chicon street, I took pride in loving it there. His apprehension made me feel braver. The door man, Wigpen, as he told me to call him, called me kinfolk, I took pride in that as well. The truth was I loved my friends there, and I loved being known by name there. Every week, Kinfolk would bring his friends, all of us minors, all of us white, and get shitfaced and high. “T”, one of Wigpen’s employees would offer “massage for donations” to the outdoor patrons. I was her promotional assistant; I would always echo “she’s got those Asian ladies in the mall beat, easy”. I never got off the back of Wigpen’s truck bed except to get booze from inside or return booze inside, because he would provide the weed as long as I kept rolling the Js and blunts for us. He said I had a gift for rolling. Sometimes 6’9, who was the bouncer for that place, would take a few girls around back to one of those giant blue crates people move stuff in, or some construction places use as temporary office space, and make pornos. 6’9 would always joke with me, saying he could make me a star, I told him I’d need a script first so I could run it past my agent. The idea of having sex in its self terrifies me; add in a video camera, professional actresses, and the prospect of the film being posted on the internet. I misspoke earlier when I said I didn’t feel guilt, I feel guilty about the pride I felt about loving that place like I did, I wish I had loved the people more, and the idea of my being in that place less. One of my friends, who sold the medicines, sass, pills, syrups, smack, white chicks, cures for whatever ails ya… he called himself Black Jesus.

Slavery just got cleverer, it never left America. Media and ‘economy’ are the new whips and the upper class are the new drivers. The funny thing is, slavery is now our biggest export. Fucking genius. Pure evil. But maybe Black Jesus held the key to overcoming this new Roman Empire in a similar way brown Jesus did, suicide. It seems to defeat the slave drivers of this world, the slaves have to embrace the only power left to us, fearlessness, having everything to live for and thus everything to die for. How can you defeat an army of martyrs? Not terrorists, mind you, but martyrs, Jesus’s, Ghandis, MLKs…

I came back to the room with Tsehay, I wondered how He was afflicted when I was at TCs I wondered what He thought of me. I didn’t feel dirty, (I usually feel dirty all the time) I mostly just felt like I wanted to visit with Wigpen again. He always had good insights on anthropology and sociology. He told me of the differences between me and him and that our focus should be on our common ground, “skins just sand” he would say, It stuck with me. I always gave baby girl a kiss at the 2nd door, because she always gave me a stamp instead of a sharpie X.  For some reason that made me think of Judas, and I didn’t like that. I wish I could be Tsehay’s friend… But she didn’t even know my name.

Now I’m back in Afrika with the kids, in the slums, with their ribs like xylophones. Those guilt trip commercials didn’t seem to make it here. How did I? Why had I been chosen to see so much, to experience Kenya? Why did this place feel like real church? Jesus’ church? Why did their smiles radiate brighter than any of our false toothed, rich Hollywood idols? Why were they so joyful? Why was it so sincere? Few in America seem joyful…not sincerely anyway… and why did they want to tell me about Jesus? Why didn’t they ask for food, or money? They came to the rich white person, telling me about a gift they wanted me to receive because I was in need. Some of their faces covered in flies. They too were homeless, and I also met them on the steps of a church. Why didn’t they have the angry ideas that we have, about a cruel God who allows humanity to suffer? Where people really suffer? Everyone in America asks for money (from street walkers to pastors) … There were so many flies that the local people didn’t even bother swatting them away, not even from the babies the sometimes bare-chested mothers would carry, I swatted at the flies at first, but took pride in my attempts to not. As time passed, George, my family’s friend, who showed us around the slums, said he had grown up in that part of town, He opened up his home to us; He said Jesus gave him a job driving around rich people like us (not his exactly words). He called us his friends though, and we called each other family. This is a giant family after all. I was proud of myself for not realizing me, my two sisters and my mom and my dad were the only white people I had seen in however many months, pride in realizing something I hadn’t till then realized… Damn my fucking pride. It’s the worst of me, sometimes it’s my identity: Self-righteous bullshit, reverse racism, thinking my experiences somehow separated me from my peers. I was reminded, there in the alleyway, in a town in Kenya that didn’t even have a name, of Isaiah 64:6, “Our righteous deeds appear as filthy rags before God”. That made me feel better until I thought of whatever stained rag I had hidden under my bed at home, next to a DVDs or two. Then I realized, some day, I would get to live in George’s mansion in Heaven and make food with him. That would be perfect… I took pride in thinking that way because I’m an ass hole, I’m a piece of shit in a pile of dollar bill diamonds, George, and all of our friends, were diamonds in the British Empire’s shit pile. Imperialism. Expansionism. Exploitationism. Now I wonder if I should even write this, or destroy it like the rest of my honesty, Truth. Damn. The truth. What would Jesus do? Yeah, he’d tell the truth, so I press the floppy disk icon in order to save this. That’s the Holy Spirit, the Truth, telling the Truth, those moments when a liar like me tells the Truth, that’s the work of the Holy Spirit, not that tab that fills the offering plate. The Holy Spirit is in the smile of an Afrikan child who may or may not die of Malaria, if they survive starvation long enough, and dodge enough bullets along the way. Yet somehow… they’re joyful, more joyful than anyone I’ve met in the U.S… “Time is like the ebbing tide on the beach” I read, somewhere, which to me makes technology like a documentary of a whore house, preserving images of the human condition... Somewhere on that spider web internet there are videos of my friend 6’9 and his girls and some guy like myself is out there producing rags of righteousness to it… And if that’s true, I must be some sort of pimp, or rather, prostitute, a prostitute who prays: I have a place, hidden deep in the woods. No one can see it except God. An ashen tree stands beside it. And a great oak towers over it, protecting it from the elements and A honey suckle climbs the door post, and a blue bird nests on the roof, in the gutter and sings for me daily. My home is surrounded by apple trees, who give me tender fruit. And behind my house runs a crystal spring, who gives the purest water and beside it, water crests sprout in abundance. God has sent hens to lay manna for me and a sweet cow to give me milk and bees producing honey and the bushes around my house yield succulent berries and all around me the most beautiful music plays:  the song of the birds, and the lowing of cattle, and the leaves dancing in the wind, and the cascade of the river. No king could hire such music with silver or gold, it is the music of Jesus Christ himself, freely given. Yes this is where George’s family and I will live, and yet live still. This is where I have the joy of picking berries for him to eat and making wine for us to drink. And he will sing for me, in French, Swahili, Yoruba or some other tongue too beautiful for me to understand. “wa wa wa emimi mo, wa wa wa alagba ra, wa o wa o wa o. ha le lu jah, ha le lu jah. Le me ke za mulu ngu, m’ma lo a ke o ye ra. M’ma lo a ke o ye ra.” Lemekeza mulungu!!! We shall shout together, in the language of some angels. But I will understand every word and then we’ll build a fire.

Then we got back into his tour car, and he drove us through the town, speeding through every red light because there were militant gangs there too, who tormented with guns and knives. And my family’s skin smelled like money, money with which to buy more guns, and shoot more of George’s kinfolk. Yes, I think money mostly buys guns, literal or figurative. That’s probably why Jesus told his followers to take no extra money and not even extra clothes, that’s some intense shit, too. I wonder what would happen if I did that? Were the disciples ancient hobos? What would we have done to them, shoeless, homeless, and trying tell us they had a gift to give us? Preaching to us about God?

     I sit with my friend Derek; we’re trying to study for class on the fourth floor of the Union. We trade psilibicin vacation stories, his were colorful, mine filled a notebook in 5 hours and convinced me I had aged a hundred years in one day. Making me four hundred years old or so. He couldn’t help but bring up his cynicism toward American politics, THE NEW WORLD ORDER, and the modern church. I think the last part was because of the bible verses written on the back on my hand and the WWJD bracelet I keep on my wrist, always. He says there’s just too much bullshit in this world and too much that makes him fully aware that there’s no explanation other than there being a God. But then how can this God allow for drugs, rape, torture, murder, warfare. I had no explanation, I still don’t. All I could think of was a part of AFALMA’s (Afrikan Association For Liturgy, Music and Arts) report in 1991 which says “We believe in God, who conceived our existence and from whom Africa earned its identity. The powers of darkness have disturbed it but nobody could eradicate it. We are in the process of going back through the stories in order to fully recapture our identity. It is not necessary to trace back exactly the origin of Afrikan religion but it is important to stress that our religious experience is part of our everyday life. We want to fully worship God with an African identity. We are what we are because God is who He is.” Particularly the part about recapturing identity, I think this applies to all people. We’re all trying to recapture this distant identity. Some good version of ourselves we know we used to be and really should be. Derek told me that they’ve proven that Jesus was actually black. I think he must be right. Jesus is black and beautiful, as beautiful as George, and Tsehay and that Russian Lady… because they are who they are, and they are who we were, because Jesus is who He is.

So it ends with this: there’s something about Jesus that transfixes me, obsessively… Something different. Something powerful. Something unique. Something strange enough to be Truth. At this point people usually point out that if God were so loving, He would  stop all this of the suffering going on in this world. But it seems to me that if God Himself is going to take on human form and suffer the way He did, and be so near to those of us suffering right now, who are we to say we deserve more than God? To say it’s unfair for us to suffer and die, when He suffered and died for us solely because we rejected Him? Jesus is with all people who suffer. As long as we suffer, He suffers. And I love Him for that.
Yes Jesus must be black. They say the garden of Eden was in Afrika, and might still be, somewhere in the unknown jungle. I think we are, in some way, through progression, trying to return there, evolve into what we evolved from, even if we don’t acknowledge evolution, or original creation, our entropy laden progrevolution continues onward, and forward back to the future long forgotten and long left behind. According to what I’ve seen, Jesus, the man from Afrika, the paradox unifier, the living dead man, the the killer who gives life, the servant king,  the man who took all the sin on him and yet is holy, the joyful sufferer, the conquering pacifist, the new old man, is carrying us forward to home. 

Alluring refrain
breathes Grace
The passionate
often suffer from
a symphony
seems heaven Esq.
to me

He plays jazz music that reminds me of Night Hawks
every evening on an old low fi record player
in the room down the hall.

“in that (place) the notes aren’t
touching” “like their hands”
“(we) sound like coffee and
cigarette smoke” “drizzled (are) the streets”

“Ta dat, dada”
the brass chokes on a red ball
down the hall
down the hall
he’s playing a lament for fall.
“My girl, my girl, don’t lie to me
tell me, where did you sleep last night?”

Ch. 2

Pt. II
“The settling storm”

       I’m sitting in the passenger seat. The light green glow from the clock on the console that now reads one twenty-three pulls my attention away from the window. One twenty-three. I stare at the digital numbers, they stare back, maliciously. No, I won’t let them have this power over me, not any more. I return my eyes to the scenery outside the car. Suddenly I remember when I was here and where here was. This was my road trip with Andrew to Telluride, Colorado last summer. We’re on the border of Texas and New Mexico. We had just driven through a series of ghost towns. I’m pulled away from these realizations by the sights I now know to expect next. The sky above the prairie flatlands that ran out to the east and to the west from the lonesome country rode I was riding along, first seemed like an infinite abyss filled only by the blackness of midnight, then in an instant the void was filled in all directions with thousands upon thousands of glowing red lights for a moment, something like a pulse, and then all was black again. These flaming eyes were uniform in height, maybe one hundred and fifty feet above me and were simultaneous in their illumination. It’s as if the sky parted its invisible eyelids momentarily revealing its pressing vision. This would repeat every ten seconds or so, like clockwork. Roaring thunder shook the air and it was dense with vibration. My skin is now crawling over my body, hairs on end, frightened, but I’m still peaceful. The world lights up entirely, day invades the night, for a flash, as somewhere lightning must’ve just struck. In that moment I see three wings for every red light, surrounding me, continuing out as far as I can see and they’re spinning zealously. It’s curious to me that, despite the dense clouds, the blinding lightning, and the deafening thunder, there is no rain at all. Only the powerful wind propelling the wind turbines, and me. I look to my left, the driver is Andrew still, yet isn’t. I see his ghost. I see the smoke slowly ebb out from his nostrils as he exhales his last hit off his blunt. The smoke that fills the cab of his car causes a distortion of the red lights, blurring the edges, making it appear as if red halos surrounded the eyes. I long to be with the wings and the eyes, and out of this jeep carrying me to death, I don’t want to become a ghost, and I know that’s where he’s taking me. It’s now one twenty-four. We continue driving, while the hundred thousand eyes light up, the thunder rolls, the lightning reveals the wings of the turbines, and the wings spin in circles. This continues for an indefinite amount of time.
       I leave the car. This hadn’t happened before. I walk along the road, fighting to stand against the powerful winds. Up ahead I see that the road seems to end, disappearing where a giant body of water appears. I continue my slow trudge, and the water seems to be approaching me as much as I it. I’ve reached its edge. There are two distinct bodies of water, not one. They seem to be wrestling with each other, trying to occupy the same space, but remaining as separate as they are unified. I fall to my knees and peer into it. The water to the left is tinted blue, its essence is blue. I see the past, my past. I see the car ride to this moment, and the decisions that led to this moment, the situations that led to those decisions, and the life that led me into those situations in an instant. In a moment like the approach of an ambulance, when it’s next to you, and then passes you and pulls away, I now am staring into the red waters, the other waters. The future flashes before me, in a collage of image and time. The ground drops from beneath me. The waters are now vapors. Individual little balls of water, floating in space, suspended. Either the water had just separated, or the space between the water molecules just expanded. Yet it maintained its shape. The waters wrestled with each other, friction, a battle, a birth. Lightning. Electricity erupted up from the surface of the waters in front of me and reached far up into the sky. Pulling my neck backwards, and my head upwards. My knees still felt the ground beneath them, but the world had flipped, I was both on the ground and above it. The waters are the clouds over head. The bolt of lightning reached from the ground to the sky and fell from the sky to the ground. It was blue and it was pink and it was white.

This crucible earth spins in waning twilight  - Lives everlasting through fire and water are forged
Until this fog reality fades into hindsight  - And we finally see that which we always stood before
The graceful burden of blood wept by Truth’s Light  - A voice of one calling out from the lunar desert
We build black holes with our paper and ink  - and pour them in your lap, pressed, and measured
Light Fractures through stained glass windows, painting prisms  - Wine pours  from the bastard cup and bread of human flesh
The head that prepared the way, on silver, delivered from prison  - A mass suicide of saviors tangled in strings of barbed wire crowns
(rusting crosses, burgundy seeps into mahogany, agonizing vision)
Baptize me in the churning steams of a towering nebula  - bathe me with the tender kisses of a stellar flare
And I’ll emerge, reborn a warrior of peace  - reciting verse like baby’s breath and angel’s hair
A communion in the cosmos, techno color dream land  - I’ll daily strap myself into this electric chair
and for a neighbor- foam at the mouth, contort and   - vomit ash and thorn- for a stranger unprepared
L S D G zus                                                                           Silken sky, dusky glow
will you please seize us?                                                   Verbose fog
thrilling self fission                                                             light after light after light
Kaleidoscope vision                                                           a thousand days (pass in) a night
spinning saffron and neon                                               slick cement dense with
me sipping saucers of Freon                                            recycled shine
in my mirror home                                                            sign after sign after sign
incense burning as an emerald throne                          weary shifts decompress my spine
as cherry black birds dance back words                        a seraph spread a pinion
across an Ebenezer-esque curse                                     listen, stop. (now) listen.
inhale crystalline, clandestine smoke                            linger… longer…
exhale fire, flies and fumes                                              delicious emission

                                                                  Silent cephas

                                                                  Shy messiah

                                                                  Violet vistas

                                                                 Violent Delilah

                                                                Crescent ocean

                                                                 Full lotus lips

                                                                Silent motion

                                                               Malicious ships



                                                                 Azure Heaven  
                                                                  Bleu Celeste     
                                                                  Lapis Lazuli         

                                                            (Neptune caerulea)
                                                                      will you

                                                                  mention me?

Ch. 3

Pt. III: [purgation]
“To sleep is such sadistic sorrow”

“It’  solemn creature, this night. Wrestling with shadows, shifting hindsight. Flesh. Mind. Temporal bind. Dreams to fly, (flight when self idol appetite has died).” “Son, how do you feel about light? The only rule is a shattering of the past.” “Sir, surreal is my perception. (none are who they project themselves to be)”

Tangled in the sheets, near empty bottle next to my pillow, pills on the windowsill. Sleep? I’d love to. But all the liquor and all the sleep aids in the world wouldn’t lay me down. Twenty- one. Twenty, twenty, twenty… one. Twenty one years. Twenty one countries. Twenty five homes. Twenty Twenty. I always planned on dying at twenty-seven. But right now I’m twenty-one. Thirty seems like eternity. I’ve seen too much. I’ve lived too many lives to sleep. Experiences fill a lifetime. My cup’s in a bathtub. She’s there again, running circles in my brain. Such a crowded bazaar, the men in their white gowns and flowing white head clothes. Women, all in black, faces hidden. Scarf around her head, chador around her body, henna on her hands. She’s running through the street, screaming. Screaming isn’t a word to capture it, a word is such futile device. Pain poured from her mouth, like a dam now over flowing. The voice of true terror, child birth. Of all the people in the crowded street, she picks me. I look at her feet, at first. She grabs my shoulders. I stare in to where her eyes had been. Empty sockets, smoldering, still sizzling, singing. Her husband took an iron poker to her eyes. Blood covers her cheek bones, now exposed, publicly for the first time like when mascara runs in the rain. She’s still screaming, I’m un aware. It’s those two holes, voids all consuming. Just her vacuum eyes and mine. I’m. paralyzed. I’m. Nine. She’s blind. She runs past, like the passing of an ambulance. I’m nine. She’s blind. I think. Though something says she saw me. No one seems to have noticed. Sure, heads turned as she ran by, but no one has seen her. No one saw me. I see our tour guide up ahead; he shrugs and beckons the party forward. I asked about this, and was told it was rare for husbands to do this to their wives but was common for the Islamic Secret Police in Iran. What is this Islam? Surely the Quran cannot allow for such evil things? Much less command them. This was when I first decided to read the Quran.  I don’t like being the last in line anymore. I turn over, now facing the room with the white washed wall to my back. I caress the leather of my bible’s binding beneath my pillow. Jesus. Why won’t you work? I want to sleep… I’ve heard three days of sleeplessness leaves the human mind in a state of insanity. Did you sleep those three days you were dead?
     Singapore. We lived in the YMCA that summer. I was eleven. It was magical. I got my first pair of contact lenses because I wasn’t allowed to play football in the street anymore, I always hurt someone, and always returned bloodied in new places. I was running out of skin. My guardians felt bad for me, so they got me contact lenses. I was self conscious about my big glasses. The man who sold them had all of the appropriate equipment, stowed away in the hole in his wall, where he practiced etymology from a hole in a wall, somewhere in the back alleyways somewhere in Singapore. I was scared and excited. He was friends with my guardians, so it was cheaper. As we were returning to the Y… and… a parade! The streets were full of flesh. The skin I wore was perfectly suited for the occasion.  It was the Thaipusam Hindu Festival, it was an orgy of mutilation. It was a parade. My new eyes beheld visions that would define them. Flesh intertwines with metal. Silver and gold weaved in and out of skin, like a quilt. He wore limes hung from hooks that dangled from his chest and stomach like a teddy. She wore a metal mask, the hooks pulled the skin off her face in its four corners, and her forehead like tents. I wonder what creatures took refuge in the skin tents. Flies? Maggots? Inchworms? Larva? Angels? I used to make tents with sheets and couch cushions with my sisters, but we were the only ones to occupy them. He had a pole running through his cheeks, and a lime skewered on each end, he couldn’t close his mouth. I wondered if his jaws got sore. They pulled a giant peacock float, with ropes tied to hooks, which lifted the skin off their backs. He hung golden jingle bells from his back. Another wore a metal cage around his entire self. Some golden goddess rode on his bloody shoulders. My personal favorite, the bird cages supported by a system of metal poles skewered through one’s skin. The birds seemed happy, swinging on their little wooden support beams. I didn’t know skin didn’t tear like paper until that day. It stretches more like rubber. Everyone’s eyes were glazed yellow. And Empty. I opened my eyes. My bedroom stared back at me. My back snug against the wall. The clock on my bedside table mocked me. As did the bible under my pillow. My shirt was drenched. I took it off. I lay flat on my back now. Hands folded behind my sweaty head. Position three in my nightly routine. I cycled through the four positions countless times a night. Yet, pill number three, with my face in the pillow, had yet to smother me. The room smelled like skin. Metal and skin and blood and yellow eyes and dazed expression procession and metal in skin and metal in skin and metal in skin and I return there again and again and again. They jeer at me, mock my childish mind.

“Phantoms upon mirrored smoke, apparitions flit in the eye’s corner. The future flirts to reveal herself. A game of inches, this way, then that. And I’m enticed by guilty anxieties. The birthpains of foreknowledge. The betraying blade of false mindedness. Salmon swimming upstream. And I against her currents. She’s intent on impregnating me. That I might bear her consequence. Though it’s not mine, not my place.”

I lay flat on my back. His hand is in my mouth. My blood is on his face. I felt it surge through the veins in my lower lip and saw it in slow motion as it erupted. I was Vesuvius on a surgical chair while the hand of death amputated the cancer from my mouth. I was thirteen.
      His hands invaded my very self, my distant soul. I lay on the mat, which I previous stood upon, jumping, kicking, twirling, dancing, learning my body. Green belt. Martial art paints air with motion. I learned my body, but now he was learning my body. He was Persian, and my parents were in Iran, while I continued my lessons during the day and took care of my sisters at night. We were in Murdiff, UAE. This time it hurt, this time he squeezed so hard I thought my testicles would explode. When I went home and looked in the mirror, I was bruised. Mother, father, please come home.
     My mother watched as he invaded my mouth. The anesthesia wore off. My mouth bore the blade of a flaming sword. My brain became white, molten lava. I squeezed the edges of the table. I felt vulnerable.
     Today wouldn’t be different, I was trapped, I didn’t know how to escape him. My teacher wanted me again today; I could see it in his eyes. He wanted me more and more and more the more he had of me. I was afraid, I was sick, I was alone, I was strong, for my sisters, I kept it to myself. Did I enjoy it? Is that why I didn’t tell anyone? Who is there to tell? When I was 5 and it was my baby sitter, I could tell my parents. Then they fired her. This time I was alone. 12 is a tender time. But I learned how to escape my body, and watch the devil ravish it, from a far. I don’t live there any more, not when I need to escape. I live on the ceiling, the feeling of floating is so freeing. I learned to let the wind do the leading. I learned my body is not my being. And my being could be…
      I think it broke my brain, that day. Like the time I fell upside down from the second floor balcony. Time folded it’s self, the fastest way from point A to point B is to fold the fabric of time and bring them together. Pain lets us do this, it taught me to see. All things shall pass but the word of God will endure forever. Time was a black hole as I lost my senses, I saw a bright white light, I hoped I had died, but my eyes lied, I still lay in pain on  the operation table. My mother had tears on her cheeks. Why doesn’t anesthesia affect me?  Why can’t I be numbed to pain? Physical, or emotional, or spiritual… not even mental. I’m so tied into whatever energy surrounds me. Reality hounds me. My mother was so strong, she didn’t make a sound. My blood was on the surgeons shirt, and on the wall behind him, and gathering in pools beside my ears.
     I returned home. My tae kwon do teacher would pick me up every day before lessons and then drop me off after my learning was finished.  My sisters were waiting for me with our tutor, she was white afrikan, and a little cruel to us. I was afraid of her sometimes. But I was afraid of all women since I was 5, but mostly now I’m afraid of everyone; but especially men. Except for when they listen. So often adults would allow me to be their equal, this I loved. Now I can’t speak with men. They cause too much pain. Our teacher recorded buffy the vampire slayer and wanted us to watch it with her. Her Afrikans accent was delightful when she wasn’t angry, it made me want to do whatever she told me. It was the episode where there was no sound, and these strange men in suits would glide across the ground. I wasn’t afraid as I watched. But that night, when we were all alone, the demons came. They took the form of the images in our minds. The stood on the other side of the door, in a screeching silence of satan. We trembled, my sisters and me. We could feel them, hear them in the absolute vacuum of sound, see them in the black hole darkness. They tormented us all night. We couldn’t sleep that night. I would later learn how to get used to that. I wanted to leave my body, but I had to stay for my sisters, I think in that way, they saved me. Or Jesus used them to preserve me. Probably both. The next day, time folded upon its self again. Sleepless nights, after a few days, or a week, tend to stack on top of each other in my memory. Or maybe I just choose to forget. The demons would come every night, satan, or whatever name my tae kwon do teacher went by, would hurt me every day, and my sisters and I would pray. The demons were held at bay by the sound of Jesus’ name. I learned that darkness cannot occupy the same space as light. But in that place, there’s so little Jesus, and so much dark, they come right back as soon as you let your guard down. It’s like navigating underground caves with matches. But ultimately we learned how to see beyond vision, there’s a non-physical light. Jesus can guide the blind, with a little faith.

      I take another shot. Memories pass through my brain like boxcars boxcars boxcars. Number five and I feel dizzy. I check the clock again. Only seventeen minutes that time. I couldn’t afford to keep drinking this much. My tolerance to sleeping pills is too high, even with the aid of alcohol. Someone once told me, when I confessed my inability to sleep, that Spurgeon wrote, “Sometimes the most spiritual thing a person can do is sleep.” This made me fear I was trapped in the physical, and maybe that I didn’t really love God. But how can I not? When God loves me? I wish I could feel emotions. Then maybe I could confirm that I loved God with a warm fuzzy sensation. And maybe that feeling would ease me into sleep. But maybe sleep is an illusion. Sometimes the demons try to torment me still, but they get angry and run away because I’m not afraid of them anymore, and they get tired of getting burned by Jesus’ name. I’m blessed to get to see these things so vividly, experience is a good substitute for faith. I decide I’ll go far a walk. I started walking the night when I was 13 and lived in Cyprus. Something about wondering about cities at night was calming, and prayer came naturally. Sometimes I would walk all night until morning. Homeless people are just as interesting in foreign languages. And either way, here in America, and in Cyprus, I can’t understand their words, but I know exactly what they’re saying. They’re  asking, “How do you keep them outside you? I see that they torment you too, the spirits, but somehow you can’t be touched, the ones in side of me are clawing at you, drawing me to you, but we cannot touch you.” Darkness cannot occupy the same space as light. When I pray, they always become angry and violent. They don’t like to be burned. Fortunately for me, I finally lived in a suburb, so there weren’t so many night people to deal with. When I lived in Sharjah, Cyprus and Singapore, we lived in urban areas. Which were always so alive at night, but never so peaceful. I wrote a book about a boy who was possessed by demons when I was 14. It scared my parents, but it gave me strength to express my confidence in the power of Christ to overcome the darkness. They said it was too vivid and that people wouldn’t understand how something so evil and so good came out of someone so young. I never thought I was young, youth is just an appearance, and appearances are so deceiving.
        Tonight as I walked the streets, I met a woman who told me she was 2,500 years old, even though she was only 60. There were probably a few inside her. As I walked I thought about what had happened at school last week, I was learning Persian at UT’s summer school sessions, and one day they decided we should learn self defense as a way of learning the body parts in Persian. My Tae Kwon Do teacher was Persian. Those memories flashed back. I smoked a pack a day and drank till I forgot every night since then, which isn’t that unusual for me. The councilors at UT’s mental health wing of the student services building refused to see me. So I continue writing this instead. They asked me if I preferred to talk to a man or a woman (before refusing me service) I couldn’t decide, I’m afraid of them both. I’ve never chosen sex and know I never will. Maybe if there was someone to talk to. But I’m thankful right now, there have been so many people I loved because of being the way I am, that no one else has been able to love before. I think I’m just broken enough for to be useful. I don’t mind that I’ll never have sex, or kiss a girl, or be able to hug any one, because people trust me and let me carry their burdens with them. It’s worth it to me to be a vessel for His healing power. But I do wish I could forget… there’s so many things I wish I could forget. That sounds like a fair deal… let me forget and I’ll accept my role. Celibacy really is a gift, it’s just these images…

When my guardian angels get nose bleeds and then hang themselves from the nooses from the mobile hanging over my bed, I realize I must have been dreaming, wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up, wake up, I need to find reality again, where my real guardian angels wait to find me.

green legions lead them
the blood of martyrs feed them
my fear and guilt keep them
but we shall overcome
and defeat them
and then
We won’t need legs to stand
glass will return to sand
the trees will clap their hands
men and women will be man

Sitting on celestial rainbow rocking chair                         A son, in his father’s lap, paints a master piece
She quilts reality with threads of sight                              Gently he guides his son’s tiny, determined fingers
Love shines from her endless silver hair                          “Daddy, look at what I made!” he says, pleased
It’s impossible to fall from such a height                          He posts it on the fridge where the memory lingers
                           ~~~~                                                                                ~~~~              
He waters his human garden tenderly                               She swims through a sea of stars
Feeding fleshly flowers grass and trees                            Waves of time churn around her
Pruning people shadows of the Heavenly                         Orion sings sweetly of lover’s scars
Weeping bitterly over fallen leaves                                  Schizophrenic dreams surround her
                           ~~~~                                                                                  ~~~~                       
Intersecting, spinning disks descend                                  Love- binds Noah’s newest ark
Electric, magnet, cloud and ocean                                     Made of human lives, together sewn
He comes this time that we ascend                                    This time, carrying a history of art
Freezing crucible earth’s slow spin                                   -And brings prodigal children home
                         ~~~~                                                                                    ~~~~           
A butterfly lies in grass with a broken wing                       Indian brushes paint  a glowing sunset
Proving broken life is still a beautiful thing                        Of lilac, lily, hibiscus, lazuli bonnet
She perseveres despite just waiting to die                          Daffodil and daisy on skylines out west
Spread s contagious hope with wings open wide             Petals sing the waning day’s sonnet

I now realize that rest will soon arrive, in the form of a quilt, in the form of one like a man, who was, was a man, who is, and who is to come, a Love that will wrap around this planet and heal us, His tears will quench the flames of hate, anger, and war that we  have sparked. The storm is coming.

Ch. 4

Part IV:
“Walking the night to get through”
One night, when I was 13 and living in Cyprus, after the oral amputation, I was walking around the city with my friend. Some drunken teen agers in a car chased me for a while, just trying to scare us I hope. I lost them by hiding in an empty soccer stadium after jumping the wall. My friends and I always seemed to have run ins with the Cypriot version of gangs, mostly a group of guys who liked to go out and pick fights. My friend had a big mouth, but we had both learned martial arts, which gave confidence but we soon learned that it means absolutely nothing when it comes to a real fight.
Tonight, I was reminded of that night, one of my memorable journeys I’d otherwise forget. I walked under a bridge in Austin , half expecting to encounter a homeless person. Somehow I was always able to convince them that I was also homeless, probably because it’s true and we would usually talk and I would tell them that Jesus loves them. Some didn’t like that, so at that point I would leave. But tonight there was no one under the bridge and I slowly crossed Austin’s Mopac highway and hopped the fence of the cemetery. Fence hopping is more difficult with 4 Ambien… The graves reminded me of that night.

     We got back to my house in Cyprus at six that morning; the sky was a grayish hue of blue. There were brown mounds all over the front porch. They were dead dogs. Over a dozen dogs from the neighborhood that my neighbor (who didn’t care for dogs) had poisoned, and put on our door step. It turns out that they hated us for being Christians and were hoping that the police would arrest us. We learned this because there later was a rumor that Christians sacrifice dogs in their religion. None of its true. The police thought we did it, we were the only white people in our village so I guess it was a smart move framing us (we lived in Kolossi, a small village near Limassol, it was known because Richard the Lionhart had a fortress there, which was the site of one of my sister’s birthday parties one year). My dog, my best friend, Deira, was still breathing. She was vomiting foam. I cried and I held her in my arms, and forbid my sisters to come outside. After Deira finally passed, my dad and I dug graves for all of the dogs in the farm land next to our house, while the police watched and cursed us. We covered the graves with rocks after the police left.
       There was a fresh mound in the cemetery tonight. Someone lost some one. For some reason I have always shed more tears for animals that have died than I have for people. I stayed out all night, even though I had class in the morning. For whatever reason, I’m writing this, instead of doing my home work. It’s 6:49 and I need to get home work done by 8. When Deira was still alive, she would lay on my feet when I would sit at the table and write. I have a small sculpture of a boarder terrier dog on my desk, as well as a picture of her. Why can’t I move on from the past like other people? Every one lost a dog when they were a kid. Being there for it was unfortunate. Sometimes I wonder how my memories could possibly be true, did they break my mind?… But every time I talk to my parents about these memories, they confirm them… I’m not sure if that’s comforting because it means I’m not crazy, or shitty because it means I’m not crazy.
      The last time I stayed out all night was earlier this summer, before school started, I was in east Texas. My friend had recently been released from jail for cooking meth. It was my first time seeing him since he got out. I could tell he had already relapsed. He saw shadow people in the trees by the trailer. I remembered life here when my family went overseas. I was no doubt going to be different when I returned to America, but I wasn’t prepared for how different, but it did save me from the monster that consumed my friends back home, meth. He would twitch and mutter jibberish, he spoke in the language of some angels, he may have been over dosing. The rest of us were drunk, though I think some of them were also high. But I was asked to pray. It’s strange to pray, while shitfaced, in a meth den, death bin, with dead men, who thought I was a freak, and the type who often called me a faggot… But I knew they couldn’t understand. A- sexuality is hard to understand unless you’re like me, people will always assume you’re gay. I began to pray. I could tell there were demons. I guess it was something like an exorcism. I wasn’t sure if I believed in them until that night. But I did when I saw my friend stop jerking about uncontrollably and stop speaking in tongues as soon as I finished praying. The demons didn’t like it, and clearly attacked him harder while I prayed, but in Jesus’ name there is no loss, we shall overcome. But I couldn’t sleep that night either. So I walked around the pines all night. Much like tonight.
      I used to go to a youth group in Cyprus with my friends lead by a woman with an Irish name. I always thought she was a lesbian, which made me like her more, except that she was hurtful to one of my best friends who was also a lesbian. This is the stuff about the church that made me so sick for so long, how harshly we judge those who share our sins. So many gay Christians hurt the gay community. Anyway, this lady called us out for being too goofy and distracting at youth group. We were asked to leave her group. But there was clearly more going on around it than just our happiness bothering her. I think she was jealous that a lesbian girl and an A little gay boy were able to be happy and filled with joy during church, church is a party, not a sanctimonious rule session, that’s how Jesus did it anyway.  She made my friend cry, and that was all I needed to know to know that it I needed to go. We left together, and walked. That’s when I walked away from the church, I still haven’t gone back really, I’ve visited some churches though. It was this experience that turned me against God, not the sexual abuse, which I suppose is queer.
         But leaving was okay, there was a boy who would sometimes go there too, one time he had me over for a sleep over. He liked to wrestle. This made me uncomfortable, but I went along with it so no one would think I was strange. But one night he pinned me down and began to thrust his  pelvis onto my ass. I wasn’t sure what was happening, and froze. But when I felt his penis begin to harden I freaked out and broke free from his hold and ran. I walked to my friend’s house on the other side of Limassol. But returning to my point, I guess I just want to realize how much we’re supposed to love. Love people because they’re just people, the same as me and you and we and us. I do miss church though, every time I go I feel so healed, up to the point of interaction with the people. Praise music is magical in its healing power, but the critical and nosey “accountability” of western Christianity carve out more new wounds which eventually ruin the worship experience. It’s such a shame people try to manipulate something so healing. The energies flying around in the room from person to person when we’re all singing the same thing, it’s magical, it’s like an orgy of the spirit. You can feel it flowing through you, connecting you to everyone else, indescribable unity that I haven’t found anywhere else, a glimpse of the future, healing your wounds, getting your mind off of yourself and onto the Healer. I wish church hadn’t been ruined by Christians. I need it so badly. But I feel so judged and condemned when I’m there. I’m starting to learn to not judge those who judge me, which has freed me to participate. But sometimes someone says something and I’m back where I started. But I think some day when Jesus comes back, we’ll have forgotten how to judge. It’s kind of like the racists people up north that think all southerners are racist. I judge the church so harshly from the outside- labeling them judgmental, but in reality there are a lot of people there who aren’t judgmental at all in church, I’m just judging those who share my sin of judgment. We all do this, I think, it’s something I need to think about when I get angry at church, I’m judging them just as they judge me and Jesus said to turn the other cheek and love those who persecute you, I think He was literally talking about anti-christs in the church- you know those pious people who sit all high and mighty and condemn us queers. I think some people go there simply to hurt people that they’re jealous of, and that’s why so many people get hurt at church; churches let anyone and everyone in. Open doors are a beautiful idea, but one with a poisonous side effect. It’s seems to be common sense now that I’m writing about it, anything completely non-exclusive is going to have mean, hateful and hurtful people in it. But they’re the ones who need love the most. If I’m really to follow Jesus, I have to love the people in the church that disgust me, and forgive them with all my heart and find ways to serve them. The church is a call to service, which I think is at the heart of love… I need to go back to church, hopefully soon. I need to forgive the church, just like Jesus has forgiven me, and everyone inside the
church, and every one outside the church.
What it is that wants to come out                                     Seeps through fog as light
A crawling under skin waits to be found                         Moving beneath veiled sight
Blood is yellow and eyes are red                                      Finger nails wail, tear, itch
Piss burns as molten lead                                                   Cock, shit, son of a bitch
Shh, sweet now, pain has passed                                      Wash hands, flush, smile at me
“Weep for sleep” says monster behind glass                  Claw my face, shake violently
Three headed beast jerks to and fro                                 It’s only real if you make it real
“Give in, give in, never had control”                                Part lips, tongue becomes demon eel
Shadow people dance in the corners of                          My eye which is a moon’s half
The room is my mind is a dead dove                              And in the dark the Lucifer Me laughs
That churns between my teeth                                        All three, laugh, needing to feed
Brown and pink, one fell in the sink                                From gnashing of teeth, they’re eating me
So I pull all them out, one by one                                    They won’t be quiet, these mouth people
I only had six and a half, now none                                I’m glad they’re gone, teeth are evil