a thing about america, shame and fear

🎨 by Alec Goss

on America, shame and fear I’m intrigued by the older generation’s attitudes toward retirement and the habit/penchant of counting their neighbors’ money, commenting on work they had done, talking amongst the married couple of how they could afford it; longing for empire, for peace—requires a conservative vote or at least a big defense budget; social justice falls apart when you have stuff you want to make sure you don’t lose

(he’s mad you’re doing something original, he’s playing it safe and bleating his unimpeachable criticism ~ typical, boring, a result of owning a home and having a job with a bank, not being a creative entrepreneur, not going for it, not being heart-centered — not critical, not in therapy, not admiring the gods I do; hmm, not entirely true; this is clearly a discussion with myself about someone who does not exist—misunderstanding is the vague God we march toward, to overcome, to turn over all the rocks [8/4/22] this entry was a mistake, but also a liberty i took, since i can add anything anywhere and it will work, i will make it work, i will change “what it is” to accommodate what I just put there

there was something Gary Vaynerchuk said about online media—the volume of conversation (column inches) is more important than the content; talk is just fuel for making numbers go up—so you become a media mogul; it doesn’t matter what they’re saying, it’s that they’re there (in this Medium I am separating my influences, distinguishing my fathers, seeing what lasts when I turn away and return—architecture, infrastructure; is thinking a viable career? Ha, ha—the men in the industry read books, listen to podcasts, are on the internet reading, listening, discovering— @ Chris Hayes (lol the “real” Chris Hayes is not there, the newsman ~ makes me wonder about the many Chris Hayeses and their (Bayesian?) struggle to differentiate themselves; this is the high heat under which lesser animals and mouse pinkies spoil ~ being good enough, glancing at the clock, wondering about giving up, and how you’re gonna find safety, protection, guarantees of physical safety: water, food, shelter; it is good to itch your worry and anxiety;

the endless conversation about what we do, what it’s for—hunger, ideas, visions, memories; 🎶 dreams of long life / what safety can you buy

believing in yourself is the only bedrock, the lasting thing; everything else is engineering and self-defense which are fine professions, but going for it, relying on nothing else, no Plan B for when making art and selling art and learning how to CEO your art doesn’t work, because it never works out, it’s only open ~ it’s the intolerable openness that we can’t stand, can’t plug—we plug it artificially then long to pull out all the stops, get back to the raw, let it flow up in the gush, so from there on you never write a bad paragraph, it’s all gold filling, and workshops exist; older men are there, and women, and customers, towns, guilds, chambers of commerce, locality, government committees, a mix of professional and volunteer; writing is a way of learning the world and seeing yourself clearly, taking control of how you regulate your presence — I am observed, “he’s working, money isn’t coming in, will it, we don’t know,”—these are my questions this season, this era, still endlessly upwardly climbing

and insecure men saying “do it my way, you should do it how I have done it,” and on that note, only kindness and humility and sense of humor matter; ah, the philosopher totalizes the whole of the modern age at last, filing it away in one last place, last like all the others ~ so we’re talking about media; ah, man trying to form his tongue,

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it’s like we were more afraid of the word than of people needlessly dying — we were afraid to “be” something we thought we hated…there were some good articles about this, about what socialism means — i wonder how many men are ashamed of needing help? is this what america is? men’s shame of needing help? surely that’s what our country is built on: a masculine man with no essence of divine feminine in him at all — no, it was beaten back, he was trained as a soldier! but you know? at Grace Cathedral church in San Francisco there are two kinds of men pained on the wall: warriors and monks. To say we need readers, singers, men who are gentle with children…well, it’s been said, in art! People just stopped paying attention! They were reading the New York Times instead, focusing on the economy. It’s easy to focus on spreadsheets all day (and attend meetings where costs are discussed) when you never actually *see* a person, when you never appreciate a child or a working mother or brown people. I’m just thinking of all the people who’ve been in charge…and this coronavirus crisis is shining a light on what we’ve been and have to bear the cringing and then go to each other in shame, shame for what we’ve done and ignored and let come to pass. good riddance to false pride and vanity, glad it’s gone, and sorry for the dead. we will get through this even if it isn’t you and me who are left living at the end of this.

does anyone know what Socialism means?

wanting to know is the limiting factor, and it takes courage, because your life takes a different path (time expires; you reconnect with the price and fate of things) each time you ask a question you’ve never voiced before

to want to know means being ready

“Questions are places in your mind where answers fit. If you haven’t asked the question, the answer has nowhere to go. It hits your mind and bounces right off. You have to ask the question — you have to want to know — in order to open up the space for the answer to fit.”

to want to know means there’s an emptiness, a need, a want, a bother, an imperfection, an itch

all these words for “bad”
but a pain that signals a toothache is a pain that saves your life
James Baldwin said

(as I go reaching for the link, I will note that all writing online is is proving you were still here at the timestamp reached — we are all just cobbling together thoughts in the hope somebody reads and it makes a difference; I think workers and writers are a distinction, or maybe it’s artists and non…there is something a writer is that a consumer is not; the reader has a responsibility, a livelihood — this is the grinding of the gear of the whole argument, about identity and worth and “do your job,” “play your role”)

this is a creative nonfiction work of survival by the artist as a not-so-young man (age 33)

But for him it was his last afternoon as himself,
An afternoon of nurses and rumours;
The provinces of his body revolted,
The squares of his mind were empty,
Silence invaded the suburbs,
The current of his feeling failed; he became his admirers.

wanting to be one was fine, now I am one and it’s hard but I don’t complain, it’s divine, a calling, a relaxation into who I was meant to be — can my song be useful to you? Maybe not now — people like me die and are buried in a pauper’s grave; can you believe this?

“Love, death and New England.” That’s what Donald Hall said when asked what he writes about.

Love

death

and anecdote

is all we are; really, simply and purely, we are chemicals that have been raised by parents — and here it’s clear that poetry and news are about gratitude and reverence — an attempt to get the mind of the reader (the human who is reading) to get back to the way things should be — of course, “should” is a fraught word, very political, has everything to do with everyone in power and spreadsheets and seeing in general; we all see a different pandemic — we all have our lenses we have hammered for years. Now we will reinvestigate the meaning and terms of the contracts we are embedded in and ask very hard questions and take very rude positions, as should have happened 40 years ago. Somewhere along the line we stopped; it was made too easy to stay comfortable and keep the truth about other people’s suffering from ever reaching our hearts.

yet there is this anger, this wound

it has to do with men, yes, men and their longing for justice, power, right, good — we all must endure the firings of our aware mind every day from here to the end of this pandemic, and have sacred cows questioned and killed, we must become something else, this is the caterpillar becoming a butterfly

fathers be good to your daughters
daughters will love like you do
girls become lovers
who turn into mothers
so mothers be good to your daughters too

we are probably all just replaying our own personal Greatest Hits inside during quarantine so that when we come out the other end, we will know how and what DNA to replicate through all the various ways we have now to disseminate ourselves and inseminate the world with what we think ought to spread, grow, germinate, dominate, take over…

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Geoffrey Lewis

filling the blinking cursor with whatever comes up, letting the leviathan lead me to glory, singing popular music covers on video on Smule too, speaker, rambler