Monday, April 17, 2017


Ambavadi manipulated.

It’s 93 degrees in Ahmedabad at 10:20 am on Sunday. You begin to watch the temperature climb by degrees used in your homeland. Fahrenheit looks more impressive as well it should. By 2 pm it will be hitting 110 plus. Your pale western body sprinkled with freckles fears leaving the shade of your rooms. The locals are not moving. The day will not turn out as planned. You will be forced to stay and listen to the sounds of the neighborhood, as tiresome as they have become. The heat changes everything. Tolerance drops. You wish it to be quiet but it is not. How can anyone yell in this heat, you wonder? What happens without refrigeration? You shudder to think. The offal of cows gives you a good idea. The mad ingestion of spoiled food and other toxic waste. A place were hand wipes are rarely available. How utterly inconvenient and unhygienic. It is a mystery why it is like this, your Puritan society roots gasping in despair. Relentless and cruel, there is nowhere to go and nothing to do. A drink or any such diversion cannot be had. Stuck with yourself. There it is. A glass of water. Over and out.

The world has gone mad. Again. Starkers. Most sit by and watch it unfold. An imbecile in the White House, now turning a putrid shade of gray. We languor behind the screen of internet comforts voicing our displeasure. Doing nothing really. Some march and make a stink but nothing changes. White supremacy on parade. Half the country is in tune with it for Christ’s sake. Drop those bombs. It’s a beautiful sight. Rampant blindness tills the land into mudding mire about to drag all under. Thinking? The act has gone off the road to greatness down a back alley of unfathomable depths, despair lurking behind the door to grab any oxygen left. Sick fumes can be smelled for miles. All the world knows this. We have aired out dirty laundry and now there is no cleaning it to be had. Once we were strong but not now, not now. Even the scorchers of the land, who sell the people back their soul at a cut rate price cannot be saved. Their luxurious lifestyles will come to an end. We may find this a good and just thing but in the end it will not be such.

I watch this all from the heat waiting to fly back into the American orbit. I am conflicted. No longer is this world the place of dreams but then the new world, now old, is no longer either. How to put one foot in front of the other. To keep on. To find hope. It must be done for to let such treachery win would upset world order. Bleakness cannot pervade forever. The pendulum swings, it is a known fact, despite what it feels like at any given moment. Physics will win the day in the long run. We keep our spirits high trying to be the better person, trying to extinguish the darkness creeping over the land. It is the miracle of life that good can overcome bad. It is what so many of us seek and if at least half of us strive toward such a thing all is not lost. It is the way of the turning sphere; a hot, cold, and intemperate thing. Round and round. We will peak this crest and see the sun shine again if we want it bad enough. It is history. Read it and know that all will be well enough to continue despite our fears. 

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Eating Hearts

Stylized heart from Gray's Anatomy, the 
reference work for art students in 1970s.

In the beginning, I left. Choking on the pollution of the east coast. On the rings of restraint surrounding me, I walked through the exit and left. With no money or connections, I fabricated a life for myself, a new narrative walking out the door to something else. I knew I would die if I stayed. There was no money for college, the prospects in the office looked grim to me. What is a paycheck if the innards fry with every minute? I lost my joy before my virginity or with it, I cannot remember now. Constraint. I could not stand it then nor can I stand it now. A kind of sickness, I do not know. It is what I must work with. It is America. You can leave if you’re brave or reckless enough. So I left. Not knowing the time of day, week or month; not knowing how it might turn out, I jumped off the edge into the wide world.

When I listen to young women now, their fears, their self-flagellating behavior, at first I am perplexed. Then I see myself. I clothed my own destruction in literary fiction. Made a narrative out of the destruction of ego, the trip to the void unaccounted for and repeated, repeated, and repeated. The footsteps of my own youth echo in those halls. I had to do so in order to survive. I shut off the actions, the flaccid rapes, the eating away at my body disregarding the person attached to it and flipped it back on the knawing mess around me. Like Khalessi, I ate the fatty red heart of civilization so I could vomit out every piece of trash shoved down my throat. It was an enviable landscape though. On the surface, all looked lovely. The fancy homes, stately and well appointed. Shinier than mean streets. Rough mind games were played, convoluted and bizarre, but it was a place from which you could walk out of the ashes since the mental health care was significant. I watched those from six figure incomes get swallowed in the muck, imitating what they thought was the cool elixir of the ghetto. Pre-Hip Hop veneration. Not the real thing. An imitation that took more than it gave.

Stepping over the bodies of the dead, OD’d or mind gone or religious fanatical, I claimed another piece of life in the Midwest. It looked sparkly with all that silver white snow. Oh, what things lurk beneath the skin of the world. You often are not prepared. You did not read enough or the right books. But step you did, making another life for yourself. Shocking events sent chills down the spine. Surely this supposed god in heaven must be kidding. What have I done? What is the battle with death have to teach? I wandered in circles upon circles of discontent and disbelief. Surely someone must be having an easier time out there. I hope to find it. So much has happened since then. In the end you cannot tell what it all means. You can tell the tale. You can say, you can survive almost everything in time, if you want to. If you want to, you can make it into a song, or a poem or a novel or just another day above ground. When the happy day shows up it is so much more. All is relative and by comparison it will be so delightful, that momentary relief called joy. I can tell you this for sure.

Wait. Continue. Try to know yourself. Accept everything you can. And do something. Do not sit in the hell of your own remorse. I have done that and it does nothing but steal time and wear you out. Go. Go somewhere else. Forget the geographical cure curse. Go, if that is your way of being. Above all else, find out what is you. Your patterns, your needs, your vision of release. For only there will you come to some workable conclusion. All else is so much stuffing someone else wants you to eat. Don’t disregard the others, just know where you are in the scheme of things. This takes time. Give it to yourself, time is all the poorest of the poor, the richest of the rich have. Learn to use it. Reflect. Become. Believe. And live.

Monday, April 3, 2017

India Otherwise

Jain Temple in Ahmedabad

Video presenting interaction with Ahmedabad and CN College students.

Click here: India Otherwise

What would I do without  All donations welcome.


Livewell 2017 Rt. 228

There is a price to be paid for silence. Traveling far to unknown spaces to find it, then finding the arena to be too small. Women moan behind closed curtains, tattered, flapping in the sparse wind. There is a price to be paid for looking, an encapsulated reference to your dreams and aspirations. What will you see and how will it contribute to your being? Satisfaction, that hard won mistress beckons at uncharted openings. Often, you cannot come in since you do not have the price for a seat with those who do not know that suffering from hunger is more painful than detoxing from heroin. You find unconscionable doctors have convinced a legion of women from low to high, that Xanax is the answer. There is camaraderie in pain, the great equalizer. You are dumbfounded by the lack of investigation, the denial, the waving away of potentially disfiguring substitutes for a life. What do we want, us women, whose history is plagued with bondage? Hysterical, the research has said for decades, as cuff marks line our ankles and wrists. We begin to see them as bracelets fearing each other on the socio-economic level. Fearing each other in the presence of men. Distance is my only answer to the debate.

Screaming. I hear screaming no matter where I go. Either muffled in the hallowed halls of marble and linen or down the alley, where garbage flies fight with dogs for food. All this screaming. I can hardly bare it. You never wind up in the house of silence in the American desert, or far away from the tourist traps in the Himalayas. I do not know why this is. Escaping to the mountains only to hear the traffic on the highway below or some grass cutter with a seat of a Saturday afternoon. You are stunned by such things. The need for noise constricts your lungs, squeezes your heart. You grow tired of the search, renewed only by desperation. In the end, despite all, you find money is the only thing you’re lacking, or so it seems. Many a platitude is deserted on the grounds that a new level is reached and the answer becomes unclear. What do we know? It seems so vague at the finish line.

The air is full of burning rubber, plastic and shrilly honking horns. Magic lies underneath. It gets lost in daily activities with countless truisms. Help me from what I want as the wanter gets everything, luck running side by side her pronouncements. Maybe it is a pleasanter personality. The glossing over to make palpable. The lies prove thin as observation dictates another answer in the quest for a spot in the world. The pickaxe grows weary today. Your glasses are scratched. You want to see, to be heard. The sickness leaves you weak. A good word or image bolsters the loins. You begin again with another reviving narrative. We are stories, all stories we tell ourselves that shift from person to person, moment to moment. Without them there would be no stage to play on, no life to be lead.