In today’s Wisdomism, I ruminate on Rumi once again. Enjoy!
AN EMPTY GARLIC
You will miss the garden,
because you want a small fig from a random tree.
You don’t meet the beautiful woman.
You’re joking with an old crone.
It makes me want to cry how she detains you,
stinking mouthed, with a hundred talons,
putting her head over the roof edge to call down,
tasteless fig, fold over fold empty
as dry-rotten garlic.
She has you by the belt,
even though there’s no flower and no milk
inside her body.
Death will open your eyes
to what her face is: leather spine
of a black lizard. No more advice.
Let yourself be silently drawn
by the stronger pull of what you really love. The Essential Rumi, p. 50
How often do we find ourselves distracted from the fullness of life by the old crone? How often do we miss out on the grand design because we are focused on one unimportant fig?
In this poem, I believe the crone represents hollow pursuits, including material gain. The crone has the young man “by the belt”. She has his full attention, even though there is “no flower and no milk” (she is lifeless, dried up.) in her. Meanwhile, the beauty of life passes us by until finally death takes us and we realize just how much time we wasted joking with the crone. We live in a world now where the crone has us distracted nearly 100% of the time. So often we must forsake the stronger pull of what we really love in order to survive. The crone holds all the keys and she constantly dangles them before us, tantalizing us, lying to us and telling us our dreams are just around the next corner. Just a few more years to retire. A little more money to save up. A little more of our lives lived and gone forever until it’s too late to do anything about it. No more advice.
We have the power to change the world. We have the power to write our own stories. All we have to do is turn away from the crone. All we have to do is look up from whatever has our focus and see the limitless possibility before us. We are only slaves because we choose to be. Because we believe the lies that have been ingrained within our collective consciousness. I, for one, choose to believe it’s time to wake up and follow that stronger pull.
I enjoy looking through my old writing notebooks. They’re like journals, only the stories are told in poems, scenes and stories. Enjoy this trip down my memory lane!
Love me, loathe me,
but please don’t
a torn curtain
my fantasy dances alone
inside a box
crying for mother’s milk
that dried up
dinosaurs dwelt in bars
drinking gin with God
of the diner is an old house
with many stories
to tell if one will
The Sound of Silence
within our hearts
has all the noisome answers
one can fathom.
Copyright 2003 Jason DeGray
We enter the alehouse as majestic as any lords to grace a social function with unique charm and wit. Having enjoyed the company of Gaia and her gifts earlier, we found ourselves in the most agreeable of dispositions. Aided by overpriced ale, we modified our moods to the desired fervor. Despite injury, the Duke of Slide is in high spirits and soon happens upon a doting maiden. His passions are secured thusly for the remainder of the evening. The Prince Perfidious is entertaining himself with idle chatter amongst some of the locals. And I find myself still weak from my battle with The Golden Worm two nights earlier. My weakened constitution was especially susceptible to the spirits of Alcohol and the gifts of Lady Gaia. This leaves me in an appropriate state of inebriation. For this reason, I took my leave and was followed by Perfidious. With the absence of the Better Part of the Duke’s Conscience effectively secured, he is now able to entertain his boisterous humors.
Assisted by Captain Rowdy they soon begin to enliven the house. On one attempt to acquire more ale the Duke spots one of the very agents who agitated him prior! The brash lord wastes no time. He advances toward his adversary, blood burning for revenge. A sturdy hand is placed on the evil agent’s despicable shoulder. The maiden, fearing danger, flees to the barkeep’s personal mercenary peacekeeper and begins to relate the tale unto him. The Duke whirls his foe around to face him. “Hey.” is all he says as that force of righteous fury and justice that became the Fearless Slide’s fist connects with an audible WHAP!! to the evil vermin’s eye. The would-be assassin plummets to the ground like a lovesick maiden in a swoon. Fear seizes the crowd and the moment is frozen in an eternal instant. The Duke merely points to his own wounded eye and understanding is conferred.
People return to their business as if nothing out of the ordinary had occurred. The maiden and the merc arrive to usher the agent out under his severe protest.
That night I saw a vision. The Princess of Swords was kneeling at the throne of her Queen. A most foul and wicked woman, the Queen of Swords is given to bouts of brutal and unfounded severity. She is administering a lethal dose of that same severity to her daughter. The Princess’ supplications and pleas for mercy go unheard. With one fell swoop of her mighty blade; The Horrific Queen separates the head from the shoulders of her only daughter. With no visible care as to her action or its consequence, the evil woman places the severed head of her Precious child above her throne to adorn the Krystle spikes that Rise from the seat’s demoniac back. Her daughter is now forgotten. The clouds swell and obscure my sight. The vision ends.
I don’t remember what I told her. I just remember I cried.
Under the watchful eye of two Japanese individuals having sex, we begin to explore those deeper places.
The Duke laments as the voice of old love and anguish pours sweetly into his ear. His expressions are daggers of pain wrought with tears and regret. He searches for escape.
I am in the company of the Hierophant. His divine wisdom shines forth and illuminates all the secret desires that have been dwelling in the innermost recesses of my soul. And I find the Aeon glimmering her way onto the stage. Definite steps have to be executed in order for a brighter future with the Ace of Cups overflowing its sweet inspiration into my thirsty and eager cranial mass (who would’ve guessed that these steps would be so definite and the execution so complete?).
I now begin to feel the pangs of loss and desire. I have recently divorced myself of certain obligations and commitments to one who had lease on my tender heart. Alas, she allowed our contract to expire. I always feel the emptiness of hell when I lose those that hold a special place in my heart.
Then arrives Sir Heathen, a personable old fellow from our university days. He arrives on his chariot of silver and greets us with his ever-charming smile. We venture off to the public house for an evening of entertainment that could possibly turn hedonistic if Coitus smiles upon we unworthy souls.
She does not.
…And we remained unworthy.
We dwelt in caves of pleasure and forgetting. A minstrel strums the beautiful chords of the flow and saturates the situation with a voice that cries out to be heard by the most sensitive places of your neglected fishome. We danced and laughed as we drank the night away one beer at a time. Shooting firewater into our gullets at absurd rates of consumption. Amidst a clutter of people we tried to define ourselves, to separate ourselves from the rest of this herd of individuals trying to separate themselves from the rest of this herd. We call this individualism and in all of its glory, tis truly a wonderful thing, but when forced into a situation unnaturally becomes a catalyst for inevitable disruption.
And then we moved on.
It would seem love, in one of its many beautifully twisted forms, is involved in this grand scheme of life, in the pursuit of grander visions than our noble spirits can envision.
But pause of a moment to be encompassed by the flow of melody. Crucial are the small things. They allow for the completions of the entire picture. Buddha told me that.
I’M A CARING MOTHER FUCKER!!
Tell them I proclaimed that very point. Tell them that those utterances of sound formed together and took a perilous flight to the ears of those present. Everybody knew and nobody cared. Such is Fortune’s wicked lot for my tumultuous life.
“It’s not my fault you went to the desert.” The Pirate Prince announces to me rather matter-of-factly.
“No, no its not. And it’s not your fault all the doors were opened for me because I did.” Was my quick retort.
“That’s exactly what I’m saying. We all have parts to play. Roles. Sometimes somebody drops out and has to be replaced with another actor. But all anybody really is, is an actor.” Perfidious continued.
“That’s Bullshit! Fucking Bullshit Man!” Slide has been offended by the Prince’s Bold Statements.
Tonight heralded the grand ceremony of the Bestowing of Title to Sir Heathen. For his service to his realm he was awarded the title of Baron von Sometimes. For he had recently returned from his quest for the Holy Batteries and he found himself victorious. ‘Twas a grand ball, good people. All the Lords of Order and Chaos were in attendance, each accompanied by their own pomp and circumstance. There was He That Is Not A Pronoun. The most Ordered of Order. He was flanked with Pompus I on his left and The Excitement on his right. His chariot was conjured from gold and clouds and was pulled by a team of the most pure and noble winged foozle bunnies that ever could have been created. Behind him came a cohort of golden Seraphim with swords of Blue flame. Their eyes were fierce and filled with terrifying tempests. Their hair was sunlight magnified. Behind them came Lucius and his most devout. It was truly a humbling sight to behold and it filled the viewer with peace and ecstasy.
Next came the Jolly Man. He was a most splendid being. Composed of a happy ethereal substance he floated on love and roses crowned with the Sun himself. In his court were the twins of Brilliant Fire: Yin and Yang. There was also The Lovers. Day and Night. Fire and Water, constantly entwined in a passionate dance of never ending tension and eroticism in their realms of purple and red. The zodiac’s representative was there, and the Monkey frolicked and played creating mischief in his wake as he enjoyed his time in the cycle of life. And the Jolly Man laughed as he paraded through the city for he was the deity of kindness, peace and travel.
Next on the scene was Oberon, the fairy king. Lord over all fairy-kind and the mischief they produce. He was followed by his Queen Fair and the host of fairy kind who entertained the people with mindless nonsense as they cut their purses. His were the gypsy folk who sold fortunes and potions to the sheeple.
After him came the Beauty Coitus. Mistress of Desire, Love and Chaos. She represents the light half of disorder. Those chaotic scenes of pleasure and pain that never mean much harm no matter the consequences of their catastrophic involvement. She was accompanied by her Pets: Porpoise, Coffee, B-Fantabulous and Hot Chocolate (the latter being picked up for no real reason other than pity). This entourage was followed by The Minstrel Lord Bard who enchanted all with his soul-numbing voice.
Last came He that IS iN Grammatical Error. The Dark Side of Chaos. The Lord of Destruction, Death and Extinction. He was followed by his hordes of agents and imps who were so beautiful that they were grotesque abhor rations too frightening to gaze upon. On his arm was the delicious Mistress G. She holds the Auspicious Position of Dominatrix and Slave, depending on the moods of her most brutal and avaricious master.
Stories continue, even fragmented ones. Enjoy!
The Pirate Prince reaches the corridor that leads the way to the Place of Serenity. He enters the threshold bravely. This admirable character of grace and charm. He is seen laughing with the portraits of children long forgotten and while they float upon the fringes of nightmare fantasies, She appears. An apparition lost, found her way into his domain. She watches him patiently from the corner, but her ethereal energy seizes Perfidious. The cold chill of terror spreads throughout his limbs like an enticing cancer. Fear seizes his heart and closes his throat. The gentle specter senses this and quits herself to the Melancholy Lord’s chamber where she may favor him with caresses and an innocent adoration while he sleeps. The chamber door opens and slams shut with a resounding boom. “Fuck it,” the noble heart muses while he proceeds to his chamber. But he does not proceed without anticipation and an excited worry. Ah, this brave soul known as The Pirate Prince Perfidious is a most genteel spirit indeed. His nature is charming and few can escape the snares of his Charisma. He is kind-hearted and gentle but a dangerous adversary if ever persuaded to wrath. Perhaps that is why he was part of our flow-cling. He is the son of the Pirate King Persian, a most ruthless and ignoble creature. The atrocities wrought by his menacing temper were too much for his son’s Zen nature. Thus, the brave Prince took his leave to travel and explore the vast unknown expanses of Possibility.
And he found himself within realms unknown to him. He brandished his sword with intrepid fervor as he began his voyage into the corridor. When out of the darkness springs the agents of He That is In Grammatical error to molest Young Prince Perfidious. A gallant battle ensues. He is outnumbered two to one, but his obstinate nature and strict code of Chivalry and Honor prevent his flight. A dark-cloaked despot lunges at the prince with a blade dripping the most deadly and vile of poisons. Perfidious retorts with a well-placed deflection and the battle continues. The Pirate’s flawless skill is not wasted on the devious assassins and try as they might they are unable to penetrate his formidable defenses. One of the assailants lowers his guard for a crucial instant. This is all Perfidious requires. He plunges his blade deep into the chest of the villain. Success! With a hiss the demon expires. The other, seeing that odds were no longer in his favor, flees in a fit of cowardice. The weary Prince then continues to his chamber where his spectral guardian protects him from further harm. (In another time and place he and this gentle apparition were lovers. Now they are separated by the thick veils of death that reside in the realm of aching spirits.)
Unsatisfied with the results of his insidious plot on the lives of the flow-cling, He that is In Grammatical Error redoubles his efforts, as well as the number of assassins. Four there are now. Screaming across the night like apocalyptic horsemen, unwanton fury burned in their eyes. They marked the Duke of Slide for destruction. The would-be marauders enlisted the help of the most licentious and despicable sirens ever to curse this plane with their presence. These unholy creatures stirred the desires of The Duke and his companion Captain Rowdy and lured them into the den of evil and despair. Oh, how our heroes were deceived and lulled into placation by the wiles of the demon women. They were sedated, but worse, separated. Sensing an opportunity, an assassin known only as Zee accosted the Duke. The attack caught Slide off guard and he plummeted over the railing of that palace of Treachery and Pain. The unsuspecting Duke landed with a thud on the unrelenting ground and lay motionless as stars performed a sparkling ballet inside his head.
Sensing success, Zee ventures down to finish off his prey. He is surprised to find the Duke recovered and awaiting him with sword drawn! The assassin draws his own blade and the fierce Duke strikes! Evil Zee pays no heed to his fresh wound and retorts in kind. Not to be outdone, the Duke responds with 2 quick strokes that cause Zee to stumble back in disorientation. But at that moment Zee’s cohorts materialize from the shadows that gave them life and accost the good Duke. He is taken completely by surprise and is overwhelmed. The roving band of restless infidels drags the Duke to a secluded lot and attacks him mercilessly. Though defenseless, the Duke does not cry out. He remains strong and soon he slips into the welcoming embrace of unconsciousness. The brutal Bastards finish with their evil deed and leave the Duke to die. They return to their palace and accost Captain Rowdy as he was in an enthralled slumber. The Duke of Slide awakens and stumbles, beaten and bloody until he finds recourse.
I find myself in the clutches of that golden liquid known as Mezcal. Pain is eased at the expense of my state of mind. The great worm has been vanquished by my brash deeds. ‘Twas an encounter, I tell you now. I had to endure 4 shots from the beast’s brutal belly before he became mine. But overcome him I did. And now his secrets will be revealed to me. I await the reception of his treasured wisdom with violent anticipation.
Enter the Princess of Swords into this grand picture, this masterpiece of debauchery and dysfunction. She explodes onto the scene with a tempest of feminine fury (as she tends to do. Hers being the element of fire, she can’t help but recklessly scorch those delicate souls around her).
But first let me explain myself. I am Kaiser Infinity Joenys. I am the bastard son of a bitch. My mother’s name is of no significance, I’m not even sure she had one. My father’s claim to nobility lies in his title only. Thus, I had to sustain my feeble mortal coil by whatever means were at my disposal. I have sold the superstitious their fortunes, cut a purse or two, played a while in professional religion and even entertained a brief period selling siding of Aluminum to people who love to hear the Song of Rain crescendo to an unbearable cacophony of asinine proportions. But fear not, gentle reader, I am not without my morals and resolve.
I ponder these times. And as the sparrow flies in search of whatever tiny morsels it can gather to sustain it’s young, the tiny creature is continuously amidst a sea of useless noise. I cannot help but to secretly pray for its maddening cessation and restoration of the natural flow of life. Oh we are wrought with folly! A stupid, boorish breed. Caring only for our next fix of convenience we scorn the very mother that birthed us! Best make your apologies now, you prodigal offspring and hope that the inevitable punishment be not so violent a lesson as to render this puny race extinct!
The beginning of a piece written during the Year of the Monkey. To me, this piece represents my world, The Realm of Possibility, in its purest form. A blending of the fantastic and the mundane. An ordered chaos of inspiring events. Enjoy!
THE SUMMER OF THE MONKEY
by Jason DeGray
And there I was, caught in an explosive moment. One of those epic engagements of Romantic proportions. Life changed as the monkeys played, and I sat on the floor of the great hall in my castle named Mallard with my faithful companions in attendance. Here we entertained the musings of invisible bards while their timeless music titillated the most passionate recesses of our brains. Speed humps were ahead for we three cavaliers of mundane existence filled with the most fantastic hopes and dreams any mind could ever conjure. Yet there we were, amidst the certainty of our Divinity. We heeded no harbingers of destruction for none could truly touch us. It was our spirit that caused us to burn with intensity while it slowly soothed the old wounds with a salve of Byronic Sadness and regret. We kept memories as favors of love from Mistresses of Mist and Tears.
As we journeyed through the thick fog of haunted woods, we brandished our armor bravely and smiled in triumph as demons fled from our presence. There were countless tales of our deeds, if not in the minds, then in the dreams of people as we passed through unknown but not unseen. Often we found ourselves in the higher planes of Gaia adventuring amongst places unfamiliar to us. We chose our weapons and as new worlds were opened to us we charged in on our valiant steeds: The Mistress, Marley and Mary’s kiss (a most delicate and slender beauty that turned the most breath-taking colors the more you loved her). These were our companions on our numerous undertakings. We were lords of a sacred flow.
A bunch of pretty boys in search of the next exciting hunt. “Why else would you all hang out together?” If only they knew. Souls were on the line in this theatrical production for the amusements of bored Gods.
“Take this coin. Give it to the River Keeper at the River of Destiny.” The story unfolds for the brave Pirate Prince Perfidious. He holds on to the fated coin with a desperate intensity. He would part with his life before he parted with his destiny. But wait! Don’t step over crumbling edges just yet! For…
…the stars twinkle a new chapter.
“The fairy queen waits for you under the Ancient Oak. Let the moon shine your direction.”
What is a brash noble to do with such complexly simple instructions? Ah, but that is what dreams are for…to tell us the stories only our souls can hear.
And now I find myself amidst happier passionate times as I danced with my lost lover amongst the Dwelling Places of Angels. We danced the Dance of Tongues that rivaled those of the goddess Coitus herself. We would pay for that Divine Insult with our hearts. The night quieted for us as she sighed and promised me the promises of soul-lovers. Those covenants come in soft breathy whispers gently, sensually traveling on a delicate air of precious intensity into the all too receiving ears of an enraptured lover. It was there I found myself–In an exotic place-in an exotic time. Life could be no better. But it dissipates and returns to lurk in the shadows of my heart.
I return to the noble Pirate Prince. A dashing young fellow of good wit and a charming smile. He had the aura that attracted a particular type of girl. Which he obstinately rejected for he was lovelorn for another. He played the part well. Don Juan is most proud of his unknowing protégé. But he is what he is, we are what we are. Cream style mocus saturating the scene. Social chameleons most sly and charming.
Why else would a bunch of pretty boys hang out together?
“So hold on,” she sings. “Take me with you.”
Alas we know not where we are going. That’s why we are a Love Cliché. Valiant young cavaliers intent on conquering experience as well as ourselves.
There was the Duke of Slide. Sketching pain across the grand table of our dining hall. He had been recently divorced from some twisted engagements of Love. He sat on the Precipice of the Monkey; deciding if he should fall and re-gather the pieces of his broken heart. The moon rose as he wept blood for the loss of that particular piece of himself that will eternally bear her name. Yet he is strong. His resolve is unequaled in the realms of Here or even There. And I Notice the gleam in his eye. That laughing charmer completely securing the hearts of many a maiden without much aid or care for the matter. He we admired for his strength and grace, for his charming affectionate aura that radiated from him and controlled every mannerism of his exciting spirit. But mostly he was admired for his intense passion and his connection to the flow that governs this adventure. Without him I would have certainly been lost.
And I? I found myself swimming in a sea of Broken Krystle—tiny shards biting into my weathered skin mixing blood with tears. It’s the sky that weeps for the raping of my gray shrouded spirit. I announce my plans to retire.
“They’re not going to give you a watch man. You should smoke a cigarette with me first. Look at it this way: you’re on the clock. You’re fucking them.” This retorted to me by the Duke in a most Hunter of vocal intonations.
Based on actual events!!! 😀
Walgren Spray was looking for something. That something was very specific. Some might even call it important. But what that something was specifically, Walgren couldn’t say. He just figured he’d know it when he saw it. Then again, he wasn’t really looking for anything specific so he couldn’t find what he was looking for to begin with. Soon, Walgren grew confused and tired of all the confusion and thought it best to forget the whole business.
…Now what were we talking about?…
Walgren Spray wandered into town. Not into any town in particular, mind you. Walgren didn’t make a habit of such nonsense. Wandering into particular towns often caused particular events to cascade into motion. And the worst kinds of events are cascading ones. Cascading events just don’t know when to quit.
Being directionless in no particular town led Walgren Spray to quickly become lost. But can someone who isn’t ever going anywhere become lost? I tell you they most certainly can. And often do for the sheer audacity of it. Lost in thought, Walgren’s misdirection led him off the Path. Now he was lost in a strange town and displaced in a dark alley.
Walgren Spray shivered as darkness inched toward him on all sides. He looked all around but there was no escape. The darkness drew closer cackling in Its empty way and Walgren huddled in a corner, whimpering like a puppy.
“Have you forgotten me so easily, dear Lord?” he calls out as the darkness swallows him whole. Well, he isn’t really swallowed because the darkness doesn’t have a mouth. But that never stopped It from eating like a starved caterpillar about to cocoon. Walgren was no exception. The Black devoured him and never looked back because It has no neck.
Everything was…Nothing. Darkness, darkness everywhere! Oh how terrifying to think! But in the beginning was darkness. Void. The canvas of creation is Black. This is the first lesson Walgren learned while swimming in infinity.
The second lesson he learned was delivered to him by the Frog Prince. A large, warty frog-ish thing with a crown of golden luminescence approached him in the Black and croaked a greeting.
“It’s not what you think. This whole thing man! You croak me? I’ll ribbit your head with the Way of It. Can you croak it?”
Walgren wasn’t exactly sure how to “croak it” or even what “it” was. But he was an Idiot Savant of the highest order and often nodded at appropriate times for no appropriate reason.
This acknowledgement encouraged the amphibious liege and he continued, “When it all WAS, you croak me, it happened all of a sudden. SPLAT!! Pollack, not Rembrandt. You ribbit?”
This time, Walgren shook his head like he didn’t understand because he didn’t understand. But he learned the lesson anyway. The first OM was a yell. A chaotic management of color. This was the second lesson Walgren Spray learned while swimming in infinity.
Walgren spray suddenly discovered himself to be in a desert. A desert can be defined as a sandy place with lots of sand. Or a beach with no ocean. Why was Walgren suddenly in a desert? Don’t ask me. I’m just the narrator. Ask the darkness of reality, It took him there. Regardless, there he was. Surrounded on all sides by the canvas wiping itself clean. Tabula Rosa was making Walgren’s desert smaller by the second. So he started crawling on his belly, frantically trying to escape the inevitable. But we can’t evade the inevitable. With a GULP!, Walgren was once again a speck of light against Nothing. A smushed fly across Its windshield. And he learned. All of reality is a diorama floating in the Black. This was the third lesson Walgren Spray learned while swimming in infinity.
Swimming in infinity isn’t what you might think. It’s not like swimming in a pool in that you don’t get wet. It is like swimming in a pool in that you float around a lot. Walgren had almost resigned himself to an eternity of ceaseless floating when he saw a speck of light way off in the distance. Curious, hopeful, and maybe just a little bit frantic, Walgren began to swim (like a frog) toward that tiny speck. Yes you can frog-stroke in infinity. I’m not sure about doggie paddling or the butterfly stroke.
The closer Walgren go to the speck of light, the more focused it became until it had grown into the smiling face of an angel. He sobbed with relief and threw his arms around the angel’s radiant face.
“What’s wrong?” the angel laughed.
“Pull me out,” begged Walgren, “It won’t let me leave.”
The angel laughed again and tugged on Walgren. He felt his torso clear the edge of reality. Pulled back onto the diorama, so to speak.
“Pull again! I’m almost back!”
The angel tugged again and Walgren cleared the Black and lay rooted once more in reality. This cosmic dollhouse named, “the universe”.
“What did you see?” the angel inquired.
“All was Darkness. None was light,” murmured Walgren.
“To be Forever God in Eternal Night,” echoed the angel.
“What does that mean?”
“What does it seem?”
“It seems a load of nonsense to me.”
“Then nonsense is what it will be,” laughed the angel and disappeared.
Walgren was alone in a strange alley in no particular town. But he was here, at least, and that was something. He could feel the ground beneath his feet, the cold wind on his face and smell the stink of civilization. That was fine with him. So he left the alley and resumed his adventures, because after all, Walgren Spray was looking for something…