SEARCHING (spoken word)
W.I.P. – super rough draft – just writing now
Sometimes you find what you are looking for in the most unexpected of places.
I spent most of my life searching, trying desperately to find something that felt true, something I could believe in, something I could sink my teeth into - that didn’t taste like rotten fruit, or leave me hungry again in an hour or two. Something that didn’t fill me in a way that I’d end up regretting my choice or feeling like I swallowed one of society’s sweet poisons.
I just wanted an experience that felt real, beginning, middle and end. I traveled far in search of that. God knows I traveled far.
First, I headed over to the college campus. Beautiful place, old buildings. The temples of our time. With high hopes, I knelt before the higher minds. I was more than willing to confess my ignorance, get their blessing, have them tell me what to do. Turns out they needed that too.
Before long I settled right in & I was loving it. Had my quiet little room and my stack of books on the table. Staying up late at night devouring the words of the wise. But these weren’t the prophets of old, nothing profit-able about those guys. These were the words of the modern messiah’s, the kings of commerce, sorcerers of science, wizards of Wall Street. The worldly wise, & their words were mine, (finally) - and I was eating them up - for a time, at least, I was eating them up.
But along the way something changed, a year went by, then two, and I had this growing feeling that the answers I was looking for, really looking for, weren’t in those books. The words were filling but they just didn’t satisfy. Like I was feeding my mind with undigestible food, or fattening myself up for a life of passionless pursuit. Either way, they’d lost their taste, for me. Like, whatever truth was coming down from the ivory tower, it seemed it was anemic by the time it got to me. I knew it was time for me to leave.
By this time, I was hungry and thirsty. So, I sought relief on the seedy side of town. I wasn't planning to stay long. I thought I’d just refresh myself and move on.
I watched the wayward wander the back alleys and cold dark streets. Trying to scrape up the currency to feed their raw desires, or be warmed by the flames of forbidden fires. I watched them chasing rushes & sporadic highs. & God they tried, so hard, to get as far from the pain as they could or to draw near to something that felt real. To change what they were feeling, for a while at least.
But the problem with that life, and those highs, is that nothing ever really changes. They might reach staggering heights, a cloud or two below where the angels fly, but they always came crashing down, landing on the same unsteady, sinking ground. Back to themselves, unchanged, apart from being a little worse off from the fall.
I have to admit, though, that their existence seemed more real than what I’d witnessed in other parts of town. Less pretense, less protest against their lower nature, they weren't in denial of their darkness, they knew that was real too. They were feeling for the pulse at least, getting closer to the heartbeat of life, albeit on the shadow side.
The reason I could watch them so closely, is that, for a time, I joined them. (I lived that life too.) I had stayed much longer than intended. Whatever money I had, I spent it, chasing highs, taking those trips. But (in the end) they just led me lower, ‘til the vices had me in their grips. Sad to say, even when those rushes seemed to work, they never really satisfied, not for long, at least. I knew it was time to move on, while I still could.
I had to make a living, had to survive, and God knows I was hungrier then ever. So, I took my college skills to the plastic part of town - hung with the Park Avenue crowd - the jet set, we had no regrets about living loud. But I was weeping silently at night when no one else was around. When the emptiness of my life caught up to me. Rich, but still not free. (Had to face) Facing the harsh reality that possessions are prisons if you pile them too high.
And I was hanging with the glamor gals, as we walked the crowded streets like they were aisles in a department store. Always reaching for more. Or at least something shinier than what we had before. I was looking my best, dressed for success. Just Insulated I guess. And those ladies, they never left home without their high heels, elevating themselves just a bit, keep things a little less real, those couple inches just enough to keep them safely off the ground, undisturbed by the heart beating just beneath the city streets. Seemed we were all elevating ourselves, one way or another. Just another type of high, in reality - this time I was out of touch, too. For many years, I lived like that. Had to find out that you can’t buy truth.
God knows I wandered into my share of chapels around that time. I sat silently on Sundays, listening to the priests as they preached to the flock from their little perches. I could tell that they cared, as they offered comforting words about the far side of death. Or whatever was coming next. But I had to wonder if they’d ever really lived. Had they died, inside, as many times as some of the folks they were talking to, or some of the souls down on skid row that I knew.
& These priests seemed to be speaking about the divine as if it was all light and love, all up above - separate and mostly silent these days.. But I don’t think he reaches down with his staff and his rod, I don’t believe that. I’ve seen the dark light of God. I think he’s part of it all. Through and through. Down in the mud, in the middle of the laughter and blood, and stirring inside of me too.
As much as I tried to convince myself otherwise, it seemed like truth had left these chapels years ago. So, I moved on as well.
I started to think that maybe I wouldn’t find what I was looking for. That maybe it was nowhere to be found these days. I was losing hope, and faith in the promises that life had whispered to me in my youth.
But still, I kept on going. Held my head up and just kept walking. Then one day I met some artists. I hadn’t known many artists before that but talking to them I felt renewed. They seemed alive, curious, engaged, in a way I hadn’t been in years. & there was something different about them. It was in their eyes. It was like they had seen something. Caught sight of something, the mystery, maybe? I didn’t know for sure. But I sensed that they had searched too, had wrestled with the truth, Like I had, and that they too had struggled, But in their struggles they had found something that I had missed. Like they’d been taken to the edge, the abyss, and had been changed by it. I didn’t know exactly what had happened to them but that’s what it felt like to me. I knew I had to stick around and find out. And I did. I followed them wherever they went. Found out my suspicions were true.
But these weren’t the kind of artists that you find painting pretty pictures in gardens or on a peaceful mountainside. I guess they might spend time there, but usually they’re closer to the busy intersections of life, or more likely still, camped out along the fault lines, the place where worlds collide. They’re just waiting for the moment when all hell breaks loose, knowing full well that heaven is in there too. The violent collisions, throwing off sparks, made all the more brilliant by the surrounding darkness. These artists were caught up in this too. Being torn and twisted by these same forces. They didn’t just witness this, they’re also participants. Feeling the upheaval and extremes, the torture and ecstasy, in their own souls. And they're capturing this on canvass, blank page, or just strumming along, being changed, themselves, in the process. It was such a sight to see & that’s the only place I wanted to be after that.
It’s funny, all those years I wandered, looking for the answers, searching the places where I thought they’d be, But, it was these artists who finally showed me the way. Helped me find my way home.
They’re the ones who taught me to stay close to the ground, and that it’s OK if there is some chaos around; that's part of creation. If you push that away, you deprive yourself of something real, something vital too. They taught me that you don’t have to be afraid of that. As long, of course, as you stay on the side of the sparks and don’t go wandering off blindly into the darkness.
It’s the artists who taught me about the mysteries of life. And taught me about death. They showed me how to die before dying, so at the end I can step lightly across, nothing really lost - while being fully alive on both sides.
But they didn’t teach me all this, by trying to teach me, they just lived that reality, they radiated truth, beauty. and life, and it reached me. It touched me - deeply.
And I try to live like them now. Feet firmly on the ground, feeling my way through this world. & I can honestly say that I’ve never felt so full, and so alive….. So alive.
Spark of Infinity (spoken word) super raw, unedited spoken word piece, in progress.
Adolescence was a confusing time for me. World wide open, instincts roaring, so many choices. High school coming to a close, eyes on freedom, girls, and college. Normal guy stuff. Like most of my friends, I was worried about losing my virginity. But I wish I would have been half as concerned that I might be losing my little spark of Infinity - the light Inside of me. But I was. I don't think it was just the sin in my. It’s like I got lost somehow, disoriented. It’s like the world grabbed me by the collar and spun me around; whispered in my ear, saying “it’s all out here. Everything you’re looking for. It’s all out here.”
And it seems like I heard that a lot in those days. I remember sitting in church on Sunday mornings, listening to the sermon. The preacher talking about heaven like it was some distant place, God's up on his throne, miles away, and the forbidden fruit was hanging on a tree. It seemed everything interesting was outside of me. So, what did I do? Naturally, I shuttered the windows, put out the light, closed up shop inside, climbed the spiral stairs, up into my head and out into the world. Never looking back.
And the world, man, it was something. All glitz and glamour. The place was shinier than a silver spoon at high noon. Amazing. And I was eating it up. Couldn’t get enough. Once I started on that broad highway, I was gone. & I remember seeing a sign that said ‘Consumer Nation’, population? Just an estimation ‘cause folks are flocking here all the time. Keep on moving, there’s someone right behind you. And keep moving I did. There was so much to get. The world was like one giant shopping mall, with carnival rides. & not the kind where you got to be this high (holding hand up). Everyone was welcome here.
So, I wandered from store to store, arms outstretched, always reaching for more. Eyes wide open. But what I didn’t see is that just as I was filling my shopping cart, at the same time, I was emptying my heart. Like that little bit of symmetry was somehow lost on me. I was too distracted. Too busy.
I was busy grabbing at things, anything I could get my hands on, (___,_____,____) and then gradually, those ‘things’ got hold of me. It was like some twisted, desperate embrace. We were circling round each other. Like a dance. Sad to say, we went on that way for years, And I learned that you can dance long after the music fades, and everyone else has gone away. Deep into the darkness.
And in that darkness I stayed.
And one night,I remember looking up at the starless sky, the place where my hopes had once hung so high, and there was nothing. It was empty. Just like the emptiness I felt inside. And I knew that the world had lied. It had looked me straight in the eye and lied.
But I had to keep moving. Emptiness: it really isn't empty, it’s full of pain.
[As we danced on, I swore I felt something beneath my feet. Heard a muffled scream and I knew. Cause there’s nothing quite as sad as the sound of tender trampled dreams. My hopelessness was complete.]
Months passed, years passed, and nothing changed - Just more of the same. Disappointment, depression, despair. I became resigned to the certainty that it would always be that way. I'd stay stuck in that place.
Then something strange happened one day. I don’t know if my partner fell asleep. If I loosened my grip, or if it let go of on me. But suddenly I was free. Somehow, I'd gotten free.
And as the fog gradually lifted. I looked around. Staring at the strangeness of the scene, and It just seemed so bizarre to me. I don’t know why but for some reason It reminded me of that time, at the carnival, just after the crowd has gone home for the night, sad, heavy, silence hanging in the air. And those folks are showing up with their shovels and brooms - to collect the discarded debris; popcorn tubs, plastic cups, ticket stubs, mountains of useless stuff. & it’s crunching beneath their feet like fall leaves - as they come to gather it up. Remnants of the ravenous hunger of society. It felt like that, somehow. My whole scene, the world I'd been living in, it looked so damn unnatural to me.
As I stood there, in that silence, not knowing what happened or what was next. I heard myself ask, “what do I do now? What the hell do I do now?” And I didn’t know exactly what the answer was. I just knew that the dance was done for us. I knew that part of my life was over. And just as I felt that, with certainty, I had a vision. I saw it, so clearly. It was that place, at the bottom of those spiral stairs. The place I had walked away from. It was still there. And the light, that I thought had gone out. It still burned. It had dimmed, but it still burned.
And I turned – and headed home.
Come On Down, We'll talk About It
Sitting in my old recliner, got a full glass in my hand. Whiskey's about the only thing that’s honest these days. Never breaks its promise. At least not to me anyways. Not like most of the people I’ve known.
Looking out my window. Winter will be coming before too long. I can't stand the cold. But the leaves are turning now, from green, to yellow, to that hopeless shade of brown. Hanging on, knowing full well their going down. I know that feeling. The leaves are about the only thing that does change in this stagnant little town.
& I’m wondering why I haven't moved from this place. In this neighborhood seems everyone’s either a beggar or a thief. Got their hands out either way. That’s why I keep mine in my pockets, or just stay home, like tonight, with the doors double locked.
Then I hear a voice, rising up from the cellar below. It say’s "come on down we’ll talk about it. Come on down we’ll talk."
These crazy times we're living in. People say that the world’s going to hell, To me it looks like hell met it halfway, & just kept coming, It’s got the run of the place now.
& it seems like the whole country has gone mad. No one gets along anymore. Folks are at each others throats, or standing back & casting stones. Make the Hatfields & McCoys, look like a bunch of altar boys. It's all disgusting to me.
Like I said, don’t know why I’m still here. Sometimes it feels like I’m just playing a waiting game with death. I guess it’s running late & I’m getting tired of holding my breath. I’m just sick of this place.
I hear that voice again, rising up from the cellar below. It says "come on down & we’ll talk about it - come on down we’ll talk." It’s a voice I’d know long ago
Still, the world just keeps on spinning though, Another round, (of) this twisted (little) game
Suns comes up, tempts us again, with new beginnings. Seems like the story always ends (about) the same
Not sure why I keep playing.
"Come on down, we’ll talk about it."
I hear that voice again, rising up from the cellar below
"Come on down and we’ll talk," it says.
"I feel your pain, & your latest complaints
But you & I, we both know
That the wound, the wound is old."
I have an amazing girlfriend
Crazy in love
Still, it’s complicated
But not in the usual ways
Not the kind going around today
She’s a mysterious gal, dark and exotic
& me, well, I’m just gray and neurotic
But things are moving fast, too fast
It's scary sometimes
I know you can’t go head over heels
& keep your feet on the ground
You have to fall in love
You don’t inch your way down
Love is messy, I get it
The whole situation, just needs some punctuation
We just come from such different worlds, though
She lives in the moment, likes to be free
& Me. I like a little more certainty
‘Cause I’m wound up pretty tight
I don't know how I ended up
With a wild-eyed Capricorn
& I tried giving her a ring
She just said something.
Some line about a saddle and a unicorn
Drives me crazy sometimes
I know you can’t go head over heels
& keep your feet on the ground
You gotta to fall in love
You don’t inch your way down
Works better if you let go, I get it
I just wish there were some guardrails
On the corners I didn’t see coming
But I guess it wouldn’t be love then
Finding My Voice
They say time will tell
But it don't know me well
So, I’m not sure about that
Besides, talk is cheap
It can't afford me
& Probably don't want what I have
I heard a lot of stuff growing up, but I had to find my own truth, my own way. Not listen too much to what others say. They’ll tell you things like -
Good comes to those who wait
& then they say I procrastinate
I wish they'd make up their minds
& Only fools rush in
That's why I'm late again
But I am never behind
Yeah, I had to walk my own path, & knock down some walls along the way. Cause the world wants to put you in a box, tell you to stay inside the lines. Or they say -
It's black or it's white
It's either day or its night
But I like it right around dawn
That's when I make my way
Through fields of grey
You won’t see the path that I’m on
It’s hard not to lose yourself in this world, or even know who that is sometimes. There are so many pressures and distractions. But eventually -
I had to cut through the noise
Find my own voice
Still wasn't that easy for me
Had two of ‘em inside
One of them lied
& The other was too afraid to speak
(Work in progress)
I don’t know if I’ve ever really prayed
I mean really prayed
Willing, honest, & open
It’s not that I don’t believe
Not at all
The truth is I’m just really afraid
It’s not a dread of his judgment and wrath
For all my faults and sins
I don’t think he works like that
I’m not afraid of what he’d do to me
But what I’d have to do for him
As long as I’m not sure that he’s there
Or if he’s just the man upstairs
Then, I have the rest of the house to myself
[I might have a few holy pictures on the wall
Some statues on the shelf] [Optional]
But I still have the run of the place, do as I please
But if let him in, open the door fully [or swap]
Some things may have to change
Furniture might get rearranged
And I’m kinda used to how it is now
So truth is, I like him distant and small
And I treasure my little stash of doubt
Just another way of keeping him out
So, I hang on to my little (stash) of doubt
& At the same time that I’m questioning his distance,
Wondering where he’s been
I'm leaning up against the door, & keeping him out
Praying with one hand
With the other I'm closing the door, keeping him out
But the truth is, (I’ve been pushing him away) (I’ve been) keeping him out
Unamed Spoken Word Piece.
(Work in Progress w/ Working Notes. Just Writing Now.)
*** Probable de-rhyme some of this - i.e. rhyme, then break for a while, then rhymes again ***
Truth is, I don’t know why I do most of the things (that) I do
When it comes right down to it
I’m mostly unconscious of the deeper forces that move me
The energy that animates as it flows through me
Think I’, Am I controlling my actions, or are they really just reactions, to life as it happens. Confronted by the raw reality of it (all) & driven by fear, hunger, desire, (guided by pleasure & pain) – blood flows, synapses fire muscles move. (syn/musc swap?)
But most of that has been wired in - from the beginning.
& beneath the surface, far beneath the surface, in darkened chambers, there are secret agents, hidden agendas,
costumes & camouflage, schemes and self-sabotage. Yeah, So much
happening behind the scenes,
playing out behind a curtain that never goes up. Inside (of) me.
Layer upon/& layer of complexity.
I That I never see.
Still I have this mind that convinces/tells me, that I’ve got everything under control, (all) makes perfect sense
Can explain all ____ ____ ____, (the) things I do.
(My life & myself) ]
I just did it because, really, the reason was, I (finally) decided I must. God knows I’ll never
do that again. (favorite) You know that old saying, where there’s a will there’s a way.
[& at the end of the day,] looking back at events, I’ll create a narrative around it all, a tall tale that I tell
Myself. Fiction/(to cure the around affliction of reality) just a bedtime story, really (to comfort a scared
child.) & If it doesn’t
help me fall asleep at least
it’ll keep me safe, out of reach (of the hands), the grip of uncertainty.
I can drift off (my little world) feeling safe, & secure
But, still, deep down, a part of me knows, that’s an illusion, thinking I control everything
The delusion - A puppet pulling its own strings?
Truth is I really don’t have a clue why I do most/alot of the things (that) I do.
But, do I have to.?
Truth is I (really) don’t know why I do most of the things I do
? Or - End with this as well X 2 ?
I don’t know why I do most of the things (that) I do
When it comes right down to it
I’m mostly unconscious of the deeper forces that move me
The energy that animates as it flows through me
How much do I have to know?
Billions of years ago, a lonely planet, shrouded silence, ______ (no one around to enjoy the quiet of the night) (around rhymes with shrouded) Clouds move in
Suddenly there’s a flash in the sky, lightning strikes from above ________________ (strikes (i.e. x 2) & stirs up the
muck/mud). Stirs it up, Just enough. Just enough.
In time, there’s movement (on the earth, in the mud,) as life slowly emerges (from) _________________
& life, It struggles, survives, mutates and multiplies. evolving into
Higher and higher forms. In this Amazing, beautiful, and terrible existence. It just pushes on.
Is it all unplanned or is there an unseen hand giving the marching orders, either way, life moves forward.
From chaos to complexity, it’s novelty by necessity --
& ) it keeps spreading out, spreads out
across the globe, as far as the eye can see.
These forces play out for millions of years, life acts, reacts, separates, comes back, tension releases, opposites attract...
The wondrous dance of duality, do that long enough, (eventually,) arrive at Humanity. Then you get the dance within the dance) (You know the one) she find him, he finds her, come together, their union creating a third. Beautiful, magical, practical.
One day all these forces, these vast, magnificent forces at work for eons, they've conspired, and converged, & now they come together again at the moment of my birth. Little me & the big mystery.
My birth -
Pain, confusion, struggle, (surrender,) as I emerge, moving from one world into another. Body and breath, welcoming hands, mothers breast, It's all working together - all perfect. I have everything I need. It was waiting for me. I hadn’t done a thing to make it happen. I’m fragile, eyes barely open, no words yet even if I could have spoken them. All I could do is cry out. (& I cried out). But that was enough. That was enough.
Fast forward a number years. Curious kid, takes a step, deep breath, walk a little farther out into the world. Retreat a bit when I need to, but I keep venturing out into the wonderful, wide open world. Magic and possibility, can’t wait to see what’s coming next. Experiencing, exploring, (so many lessons as well.) & I’m expressing myself, discovering who I am, Who I really am. Little creator within creation. Full of ideas and imagination driven by dreams and inspiration. & it's seems pure and simple, cause I’m not thinking so much yet, I'm largely carried forward, moved by those same forces that have been working in me, working for me, since my I arrive on this planet. I'm expressing them out. & taking it all in, feeling the fullness of life.
But sad to say, that state, that state, didn't last. Along the way things changed. With each passing year, It became harder and harder for me to stay open to life, inside and out. I started to close down.
It didn’t happen overnight, or all at once, but it seems the more I got out into the world, eyes wide open, seeing at the immensity of it all, the mystery, uncertainty, & wonder, well it came face to face with the harsh reality, (of) pain, disappointment, death. (all of a sudden I wasn’t sure if I wanted to see what was coming next. Too much terror, too much beauty sometimes, I guess.
I just couldn’t wrap my head/mind around it all. So I gradually stepped back, started to close down. Mentally, I reduced it to manageable proportions. Found a shelter in the storm, in the confines of my own mind. & the more I thought, the less I felt. Safer but separating myself as well.
& eventually, I feel into a state of forgetfulness, falling under a spell. (I had cast on myself.) I forgot those forces that had been working in me - working for me all those years. I ignored them. I became my own person, took over, & grabbed the reins. Grabbed 'em & I held on for dear life. Damn, did I hold on tight. Hands clenched in desperation, covered in perspiration, controlling every situation. I just couldn't let go. Even if I wanted to, I just couldn't let go.
But that grip, that desperate grip, (well,) it choked the life out of life. Drained it of it’s vitality. [Took a helluva toll on me. After awhile, I just wandered around with my head hanging down, i didn't even bother to look up at the stars or sky anymore, even the horizon was too much for me. All I wanted to see was the lock on the door, safety and security, (with their / limited visibility) [that/ was more than enough for me.]
By then, the wonder and curiosity that I had known, they were replaced by habit and routine, daily rituals to keep the mystery at bay, _________________ But I was locking myself away. Cut off from the world, from the flow of life, & my own soul.
I didn’t know why I did what I did in those day, If you asked me I’d probably tell you it’s the only sensible way to live. Practical, reasonable, there just isn’t much out there anymore, not that’s worth venturing out for, anyways. That’s what I would have told. But truth is, it’s not a choice I made consciously. I was/(had been) just trying to survive, protect myself, stay alive/safe. Didn’t know what it was costing me (though.) How much I would pay.
Even as I was busy denying the mystery of life by that time. Saying it was all a random dance, blind chance, no real meaning beyond that. . Life was (just) Lucky roll of the dice, (bound to - happens if you do it enough times) At the same time, I was denying the mystery of life, same time I had an undercurrent, of longing for something more. Come rising up from the depth/ from somewhere. It was something I couldn’t quite put my finger on. Like, deep down I couldn’t forget what I’d caught a glimpse before. In those earlier days. Maybe childhood, maybe earlier than that, too far back to see, ________ beyond me. ) But when that would come up, I’d just push it back down - think of how unreasonable it is , have a longing for something that doesn’t exist.
& that longing? it wasn't some childlike naivety, or immature wish to return to the womb, it was the voice, the echoes of those ancient forces. They were stirring deep inside of me, calling out, trying to break through/free.
Those forces, were always there, flowing, & that little shelter I build was just a reaction them, In trying to push them away, I was still being driven by them, really.
They're persistent as ________, if you try to push them away, They don’t just disappear, doesn’t work like that. They get stronger by the day. gathering steam. & they just keep knocking on the door, getting louder and louder if you/I ignore them. Eventually they'll knock it down, if they have to. Level the whole house if that's what it takes - to get through. & that's eventually, what happened with me. Destruction.
But nothing real, can ever be lost, & those forces did come to torment me, they weren't out to get me, in a negative way.. They were still working for me, for good, things were evolving as it should.
They they didn't come just to me or make me retreat again. They came to let me know they were still around. & they arrived with an invitation to come out. To come out into the world again. Take a few steps (beyond my place.) Try opening up again. Open a little more each day. Retreat a bit when I have to. But keep venturing out into the wonderful, terrible, wide open world. It won't/wouldn't be easy, they said, you'll suffer at times, & your heart will get broken, but if you stay open, (don't turn away), from that wound will flow the fullest expression of you, your (soul,) and you'll have a full experience of life, too.
[Optional - & if you don't well - it will cost you either way. you know that now.]