Observation #1



Fear is the fuel of judgment. And judgment is not exactly perception. Do it anyway. But first, there’s the mirror.

Who is it? Is it real? Is it true? Where does this mind come from?

We like to say, it’s not personal. Don’t go thinking everything is so personal. But also. Everything is personal. Everything.

We are single

They want us to think we are single because we are crazy. Crazy is anything unique. They want us to blame ourselves. They want us to get plastic surgery. They want us to be “second-hand people” with second-hand ideas, second-hand appearances, personas, lifestyles, like Krishnamurti said but few people listen to people like him. We think we are too intelligent for that. We think we don’t need it. We think it’s not worth it.

We think we should mute our intensity. Because why take the word of a philosopher that the only way out of mediocrity, is to fully embrace the white-hot intensity of our consciousness. We think there is something better than that. Something better than the full potential of our own brilliance. Something better than the best thing you have to offer. “Mediocrity” used to be something that one would question. But now if you say the same word, you’ll probably only offend someone. In this way, we stand up for it.

We are single because we could never fit a pre-filled idea, and everyone knows it but they also don’t. We are single because we care about this moment right now more than about origins. We are single because origins are something we tear down and forget. We are single because options make us oblivious to options. We are single because we are not comedians, and we live in a place that just wants to be entertained.

We pretend that being different is something exotic, like it’s a value. But then mute our differences to make ourselves more desirable. And then push those same shit expectations on everyone else. But everyone else is corrupted except for us. Everyone else is brainwashed but us. We are free, but a lot less inquisitive than we believe. Brainwashed even by our own image, our own identity, thus rendered shallow. We pretend that we want something deep, yet deeply reject what that means. Crave the serious yet turn it down, staring us in the face.

We are single because we’re imperfect. Single because we are hurt. But this isolation is welcomed. This isolation is celebrated. Single because it is worth it. Single because we deserve it. For lack of imagination, clinging perhaps to a past we once had, an experience, but could never recreate. Single for lack of reality. Single because, even when not single, we think about what makes us so. Or what could.

We are small but we don’t always think so. Yet colossal for reasons we never asked for, and don’t want to be. Single because we have theories. Or for lack of curiosity. For lack of appreciation. And for lack of energy. For lack of creativity. Single for arrogance, intolerance, and stupidity. We are single for sensitivity. And more so, for insensitivity.

We are single for priority. We are single for lack of nuance. And literally, for lack of romance. We are single for personality. Single for lack of character. We are single for fear. Single for pride. And for all that’s petty. Single because we are better than them. But more so because we are worse.

We are single because there is always something better than the best you can do for someone.

We are single because we are singular. We are singular. Yet wary of true fragility and the total fullness of life, refuse to be so seen. We do not even think we are. Someone else is. Someone is whatever we define ourselves against. And this is how we define. Is to separate. We are single because each person we encounter is not worth as much as the pedestal we put ourselves on. Yet we quell our own fire. We are single from becoming, from embracing, the very thing we most admire, most strive for, here. Independence. Freedom.

And its own brand of rejection, for us to excel beyond. Disconnecting. There is a whole world inside a person. Then all its rivals. We are special, yet committed to normal. Our normal. That’s what has the right to exist with us, to stay. If we can find it. The rest is a waste. We serve and take what we already have, and no more. All this, there is nothing more American now perhaps. But it kills us too. We die for it. Die for more. Die to be more. Bereft, for all that could be. We, die.

And then we tell ourselves this is courageous.






Advice for a Power of One, Unclaimed

UNSOLICITED
UNAPOLOGETIC
PLEASANTLY DIDACTIC
SO FUCKING TRUE

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Judgment originates in the self.

If the group comes first, the self has final say.

Judgment is less intelligent than fresh observation.

Judgment is dysfuntional tradition.

Judgment is pretention.

Judgment brings justice sometimes. But not peace.

Judgment brings injustice too.

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Judgment is natural; it feels like survival.

Judgment feels relevant and righteous.

Side effects could bring a sickening feeling.

When encountering judgment, try to be patient.

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Somehow, we already know everything.

In the wiser lessons of history, philosophy.

Science, poetry, psychology.

It’s strange but doubt yourself first, to be great.

Observe the thought first, to think.

Assumptions without inquiry proliferate quickly.

A false foundation that frees no truth.

To want confirmation, in reflection: caution.

Trouble brews in demands to be echoed.

It’s strange, but doubt convention.

It’s not always flattering.

We choose the opposing action.

Truth beyond self, beyond judgment is too tiring.

Hard-won ideologies hardened our hearts.

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Experience offers a speck of “understanding.”

But experience too is misleading.

A wise idea says, do not reject the self, to please.

But perhaps the wiser: remember

Self is not so distant

From others.

Others have judged you too.

Others judge you.

You are no better than a half-baked idea.

Let us not forget. Go now

Beyond self, beyond power of one, to relate.

Look back perhaps to tradition, on this point.

Beware passive consumption of a person.

Relationship is not an expectation.

Or even a passion. That’s all yours.

Passion is all yours.

Speech

Something worth saying, is challenging.

Sometimes controversial, even polarizing.

But not everything controversial, is worthy.

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Don’t say “everybody,” “all,” “nobody,” “never.”

Don’t say “everything.” Just think it.

Don’t say “always.” Just hope for it.

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Beware of judgment passing for wisdom.

Listening is the most radical opinion.

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All There Is To Remember

I took photographs of the long row of palm trees in the way off distance that we’d soon enough cross in the car.

The palm trees looked like fairy flowers, the kind you pick and blow wishes off when you’re a kid. Like dancers of all different heights, lined up in unison. Like the way your heart feels inside, when free of comparisons and worries.

I watched you as you talked, for the right moment to take a photograph.

The first lights of cars on the other side of the freeway began to flicker on. Dusk was not that near. Some must have been daylights auto-sensing impeding change, prematurely.

I focused on the line of your jaw. You looked handsome but I didn’t tell you. The landscape flat, the clouds thin, orange trees and wiry weeds to the sides.

I wanted to talk to you about music, but didn’t. I was tired of feeling stupid. I do it to myself, I guess I find others to confirm it.

Later, once we’d settled in to the cabin, once we were walking, the mood was about to shift.

I sensed the irritation when I lingered too long at the top of the hill. I love you, I thought. I’m sorry. I had to take more photographs.

I’ve never seen clouds like this in my life. It’s special, I’m sorry. My heart was sinking. I had to get the pictures. I tried to take them faster.

I recall the gorgeous picture of the palm tree in LA, the one you’d sent me in the very beginning, when we first met. Large imperfect leaves reaching into irregular directions that collectively balanced out into an odd symmetry.

Not a banal snapshot; it captured a wildness. It wasn’t about the tree – it was the way you had framed it in the shot. Your style of looking. You get it. You were speaking my exact language. I thought “this is my man.”

I don’t know if it was on purpose or an accident, the innate sense of choice. What’s called an eye. Or maybe not even that – maybe you just understood how to capture a feeling.

“Why can’t you catch the next flight, I’ll pay for it” in a smile I could hear over the phone.

I don’t know if that was the real you, or if this is.

We have different sides of ourselves. I guess I held the sides of you, that you’d rather disown. I held them along with the rest of you, with all of you, or I tried so hard to, but from your point of view, maybe, there was only one side to be on.

It just, wasn’t mine.

Artists are immature. Artists just need to grow up. It’s just, not very adult.

I didn’t understand.

It was all a mistake, a misunderstanding.

I focused the shot on your silhouette in the light. Beautiful.

Hurry up, I told myself.

Hurry.

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My Stranger

 

The earrings I wore
like tiny weapons
bounce light

Off the shine
Of mountains,
Like sunrises flash

Through the curious
Peaks of your
Clear eyes crossing

The table.  Summer glows
Off weeds outside, drills
the roots in so deep.

Our history envelopes
One glance, gone
I wince.

We share a glass house heart.
A new sap trails off peaks we’ve been.

Sofrito and crème fraîche fall
Over thick red meat
And we saw something there

Really worth drowning for, then you
Face south.  Like curtains dropping
Over a river, eyes

At the border of beef.  Each cut
Slowly sawn I watch.  Edgily
Feeling it out.  Then,

Without saying anything, you
Reached up
And took off the checkered
Cloth.