Thursday, April 22, 2010


First comes knowledge,
then the doing of the job. And much later,
perhaps after you're dead, something grows
from what you've done.

This quote makes me smile:

Don't look for it outside yourself.
You are the source of milk. Don't milk others!

There is a milk fountain inside you.
Don't walk around with an empty bucket.

You have a channel into the ocean, and yet
you ask for water from a little pool.

Beg for that love expansion. Meditate only
on THAT.

I love the offbeat way he splits his phrasings at odd angles, jangled with the punctuation. His words remain powerful some 800 years after they were written. That (I'm going to go ahead and assume) is what he means by doing the job. It's not just a work-a-day make your money and get out kind of deal this work, this job worth doing. The job that we all should be doing. Creating something that lasts beyond our own selves and lives. That's what's worth striving for. The transformation of transcendant emanations. Or something. Anyway, I like Rumi. In the right frame of mind, he can really open up corridors of being that are quite lovely and wondrous.

Anyway again, this is a quote from the editors' description from a collection of R's stuff. It explains a kind of part of a sufi spiritual cosmology. It's a cool idea and one that fits well with my own (novel) project.

One sufi image of the lines of transmission (silsila) is a great branching rosebush that grows elegantly on many levels and within several worlds at once. Initiation and guidance come through the saints and keep the present moment dynamic and quivering with new growth. Majesty is that composite attention felt as a presence, dawn, a company of friends, a splendor that is prior to, and the source of, the universe. Rumi says it is a state of awareness best spoken of in terms of what it is not.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Sands of Iwo Jima

In any case, we were rip-roaring drunk, on top of which the speedometer was hitting fifty. What better reason for us to plow thorugh a park hedge, bulldoze over a patch of azaleas, and ram head on into a stone post? It was nothing short of sheer good fortune that neither of us was hurt.

When my head cleared from the shock, I kicked open the broken door and got out, only to find that the hood had been knocked clear off and landed thirty feet away in front of a monkey cage. the front of the car was indented neatly in the shape of the stone post, and the monkeys in the cage were most put out at having been so rudely awakened.

The Rat sat crumpled over, both hands on the wheel. Not hurt, just depositing the remains of the pizza he'd had an hour before onto the dashboard. I crawled up on top of the car and peered in through the sun roof over the driver's seat.
"You all right?"
"Uh-huh, a little bit too much to drink, though. Made me vomit."
"Man, Lady Luck's sure with us," said the Rat all of five minutes later. "I mean, look at us. Not a scratch. can you believe it?"
I nodded. "The car's a wreck, though."
"Hey, don't worry about it. you can buy another car, but you can't buy Lady Luck."
This put me off a little, and I gave the Rat a look.
"You that rich?"
"Seems so."
"Good for you."
The Rat didn't answer; he just kept shaking his head, dissatisfied. "Anyway, we're riding with Lady Luck."
"I guess so."
The Rat ground out his cigarette on the sole of his sneaker, then flicked the butt in the direction of the monkey cage.
"Hey, wouldn't we two make a team? Bet we could do great things."
"Like what for starters?"
"How about some beer?"
-Hear the Wind Sing, Haruki Marukami (Kodansha English edition translated by Alfred Birnbaum [my preferred translator of Maru's stuff])

It's been a while since I put on suit of my own clothes.
and even longer since I cast my shadow on a church house door
they say every sin is deadly, but I believe they may be wrong
I'm guilty of all seven and I don't feel too bad at all
I used to have wad of hundred dollar bills in the back pocket of my suit
I had a 45 underneath my coat, and another one in boot
Drove a big old Cadillac bought a new one everytime I please
And I put more lawmen in the ground, then Alabama put cottonseed
-The Drive-By Truckers, Cottonseed

Mike Cooley and Patterson Hood may be the greatest songwriters of our generation, and most certainly they're the most underrated. In my not-as-humble-as-it-probably-should-be opinion.

After taking a nice walk with the moms along a small section of Olmsted's Emerald Necklace and seeing the banks of Jamaica pond way overflowed, I headed home to head for the bed-e-bye, when I got a call from an old friend a mine from the 'phis (mem'phis), my friend Art.

The last time I saw Art he was part of the horn section for JJ Grey, who I happened to go see at the last minute, and there was Art, wailin' on the sax. We caught up after the show, and I told him to hit me up the next time he rolled through town.

Well, he rolled into town this past day as part of Lucero's horn section, and he told me if I was up for it to come down to the House of Blues cause he'd leave me a ticket at willcall. Course, I'm supposed to be at work, now in just about 2 hours, but I can tell you that's not happening.

Cause, course, I told Art, hellz rizza. Art and Lucero were opening for The Drive-By Truckers, and there was no way I was gonna let a little thing like work get in the way of the serious get down.

I can't remember the last time I saw a show. Okay, I do, actually. It was three days after my grandfather passed, and it was intense (w/Thao w/The Get Down Stay Down w/ The Portland Cello Project). But I've been dealing with this messed up shoulder for so long, which ironically was the result of a muscle imbalance in the back body and the side body (as the yogis have told me [or not really told me, but what I've put together from Yoga, physical therapy, and conscious attention to my physical being [Am I the only one who finds the paradox of the idea that the only way to truly transcend the illusion of reality is to become truly inter-physically mindful to be a hilarious tragedy?]).

So, while my shoulder's still tight, with a L of knots that traces the boundaries of left shoulder blade, I couldn't pass up free tickets to Langhorn Slim, Lucero, and The Drive-By Truckers. Or seeing Art, and Brian, and Ben again. I used to get blitzkrieged with Brain Venable on Sunday afternoons regularly when he played in a the uptown Jazz band down at The Map Room, and Art and I spent more than a few moments in the haze of craziness before, after, and during his shows with The Gamble Brothers; one of the first times I really found this thing, this crazed ecstatic flow in which I lost myself in the music and discovered the human bodies inherent ability to instantly translated spontaneously created sound into movement. The first time I realized that dancing was it, was all, was the thing for which I was placed on this earth to do (or the thing that for me is the ultimate in peak experiences [seriously, if I had to choose between dancing and sex, I'd probably choose dancing]).

And I can give you the whole thing. About how there are direct connections between the auditory cortex and the sensori-motor cortex, so, that if you develop and facilitate this (spiritual) practice, you can by-pass the neo-cortical rational processes and tap directly into the pure gleaned flow of life and existence thru that translation of sound into movement.

I could do that, but I, well, I just did, in the abbreviated form. Regardless, I knew, I felt, I sensed in the bark of my bones, that I needed to dance and find my way into the gruff growling purity of the dance. So, I told Art to go ahead and leave me a ticket.

And I went off to the HOB, blowing off work, and knowing that that was the right, nay, the only choice I had. I needed to get back to that place, that wildness of knowing that is the state of true wilderness in dance.

And Lucero were tight, great openers, and I started to really find my form, my lasting and never left connection between the music and my body; started to get myself back for wherever it is/was that I'd been gone to with all this with the intensity of purely non-stop research.

So, I had a drink with Art and Ben, and then the Truckers finally got underway. I wandered up towards the front and found a small place to move that was soon overrun, so I moved off, got a Jack and Ginger and then found a spot towards the back under the spotlight where there was room to move.

And so there I was, a blur of movement, a righteousness of intensity and spirit, a moment of pure transcendence that seemed to last beyond the bounds of infinity well farther beyond into the ranging bliss of sanyama/sunyata. If only for a second, if also within that second, if then actually immanating long drawn breaths of transcendence. If only for a second, or what felt like less than the time it takes for a second to pass. Yoking immanence and tanscendence within the bodily moving dancing melodic rythm of rumpus riffs and pure rock'n'roll (call it indie if you care to). Blurring into a bursting, following the curse of blessed takenness. Lost in guitar riffs, dissonance, and beauty. Lost in the dance. For the first time in much too long.