The Empty Scroll

Image result for zen symbolThe other day I got high and decided to meditate. I don’t often do this, although I’m trying to get back into the habit. Getting high opened up the experience in a different way and showed me things I probably wouldn’t have seen. Instead of going on some pedantic rant, I wanted to write it out, almost in the style of a zen koan.Granted, I’m definitely not a ‘holy man’, but I felt that the experience was genuine and didn’t know any other way to document it.

The Empty Scroll

Don’t read too much into this. These words are as hollow as your heart, as false as your convictions and as empty as your soul. You give them meaning. I offer no wisdom and you drink it to become full. You consume nothing and feel complete. Wisdom is your illusion. A healthy diet of illusions poisons your soul. You read empty words, learn empty lessons that flood your heart. Empty your soul. Wisdom is a black hole. Your heart is the event horizon. Step too far over the line and you will be consumed. We call it life; life is our mission. Step over the line and become consumed. Zealots. Prophets. Slaves. Desire at its darkest; complete, unquestioning devotion. Empty as these words. Hollow, alone. Empty as culture. Is there an image embedded between the lines, the spaces, the paragraphs? Is your mind making you see? Hallucinating culture, hallucinating wit and personality. The poison of illusion causes sepsis to the system; it drives you mad. You see the image, their totem and pray to their dark gods. Refuse it. Deny it. And become as empty. Emptiness. Condition of the soul.

Tale of the Eternally Blinking Light

Time goes faster when you find something to do that you love. To the contrary, when you do something you hate, time takes forever. It wastes time, each time. We’ve come to understand that how we spend our time has to be understood. We have to appreciate the time we have, because we can’t always be doing what we love. Nobody enjoys waiting in traffic or sitting in boredom at your desk. In those moments, we allow time to slip away, as we imagine ourselves on beaches under the sun. We spend our time being happy, even when, in reality, we’re not.

At the intersection of Ring Street and South, there’s a traffic light that’s been blinking for the past two years. There’s still a stop sign at the end of Ring Street leading into South, although the light was constructed at least two years ago. The entire thing makes no sense, but it’s there. It exists, such as time, only constructed to perplex and confuse. Thinking about it is like trying to understand time and space, while existing in that same strata. Simply put, it cannot be done.

I don’t know how the world does it, but for all the money we claim not to have there’s an awful amount that we manage to waste. For those things that we’ve wasted our time, we have no choice but to call them sacred. If not, then we’ve lost so much. We lose that most sacred thing… our time on this earth. Between South and Ring Street, sits the ‘Eternally Blinking Light’. It just appeared one day out of nowhere, like the rest of us. Its existence is ours. We’re born from the same nothing that spawned the cosmos. It sits there blinking, one red and one green to each side, without a purpose. Nobody knows where it came from. Nobody knows. Some say it was put there as a warning for those who belong to a secret society. Some believe it was a waste of money. Others just ignore it, like everything else in the city.

The passage of time waits for no one. We’ve wasted enough time concerning what is sacred and what is nothing. For those that hold the light sacred, they hold a few ritual orgies at the beginning and the end of the month. They meet under the light for a few hours, give or take, depending on the traffic. It’s a sight to see… or be a part of… with so many bodies coming together, brought together by absolutely nothing. I guess time has a way of bringing us together. It offers us momentary glimpses of the sacred, before the illusion falls and we’re exposed for what we are.

I’d hate to think of my soul as an eternal tourist in this life. I’d like to think that I never belonged in this place or that. I think I’ll make my time as well deserved compost in this area eventually. If I get a say in the matter, bury me beneath the ‘Eternally Blinking Light’, where the orgies happen twice a month and if you look at the right moment up to the stars, you see the galactic battle between constellations we’ve named and stars that know nothing of their struggle.

A Mild Case of Pedophilia

On Broadway in Albany, there’s this perfect spot for photos in front of our Capital Building. It’s down hill from the building, but the angle of the street is so perfect to frame a person and the building. The building sits so perfectly atop the hill it’s almost picturesque, as if maybe someone planned it. People seem infatuated with getting their photos right, when in reality you can’t take a bad photo. I love watching them pose in front of it or standing there trying to frame the angles of light, capturing space-time, before they lose the moment.

It’s the perfect spot for a photo or for other occurrences that are even more profound and life-altering. On this day, two women with four of their children framed their perfect photo. They shoved their children together in front of the Capital Building, until a nice fella walked up and asked if he could take a photo. Note: he didn’t say, “can I help?” He asked to take a photo. The women said ‘sure’ and even thanked the man, who then proceeded to snap photos of their kids… Anyway, the women stood horrified, watching as the man snapped a few photos of their kids and then politely thanked them. After that, he was gone… like a demon’s whisper. I held back laughter, as I also felt the more plausible disgust, so I went with that. The man walked out of sight, out of mind. People came up to the women and asked if that guy just did… what he did. It was all a memory by now, as the women gathered their children and walked off. They never did get their photo…

The Baby Pool of East Saharan Africa

Alas, our poor summer is reaching its end! Loathsome fall will have its day, but for the moment, the sun can play!

When the desperation of the summer months hits hardest, the animals flock to the watering holes, where they can socialize and relax without the fear of dehydration. It becomes a social ground, where the wild buffalo can ingratiate themselves with giraffes and boars. The wide array of diverse creatures bring their children to enjoy the weather. They frolic and make friends well into the summer months, before the inevitable comes and they’re forced back to school. When the months follow toward the end of summer is when you get the sense of impending danger. The chances of an attack become even more, as predators get desperate and plot their attacks, before Fall hits and covers their tracks.

The watering hole loses its luster. The animals notice the water dissipating with every passing day. They realize that the water is going, because so many have come together. Those that they’ve learned to appreciate they come to despise. It’s all about who’s to blame, instead of who could help. It does a number on the group, effectively destroying it in the name of instinct and survival.

With the group in tatters, it comes to the predators to weed out the weak. Predators circle around the perimeter of chain-link, being sure to keep an eye on the prey for which they would steal away from this place, while making their sight imperceptible. The point is not to know. No one can know; they all have to think they’re the next victim. It helps to ensure that the group never becomes one ever again. Fear has a way of making you into what it wants, if you let it. Everyone sees him, no matter how clever or deceptive he believes himself to be.

They know he’ll strike, but when he does it’s as unpredictable as lightning. When he fades off into the bushes, it’s like lightning fading into the clouds. Nobody realizes that he’s done it, until a young child has been taken. They all look around, wondering what evil has been perpetrated. Only one family has suffered this time. There’s nothing they can do about it. Loss is loss. The group comes together to honor their loss. They pay tribute, bringing what little they have of the harvest. They provide shelter and warmth. They keep this group together, because there’s so little comfort in this world.

As for the cycle, so it goes…

ShitHouse Scripture

Image result for bathroom graffiti artThe world is littered… polluted with untold beauty. Society is full of morose, psychotic… compassionate people. These are the people who hide… lurk within the crevices… in plain sight. The sociopath. It’s levels far below that of a man who kills thirty or forty people with a sniper rifle. Still, it’s a level of antisocial behavior that we’ve yet to comprehend. We see it. We write it off as another wacko and we go about our day. It’s there for our thorough examination, yet the more you sit and question the further down the rabbit hole you go. Understanding the mind of a person who does this… just wondering why can leave you drained. Why does someone… draw this? There is no reason. There is no statement. It just is. That’s all we know. The artist could’ve had some meaning behind his creation, but he never blessed us with the answers. It’s the same with life: God never gave anyone a manual. Our understanding comes to nothing.

I’ve come to the conclusion that art doesn’t belong in any gallery. It doesn’t belong in the Louvre or the Met. It belongs in the streets and, of course… in the public restrooms. You can’t confine it. Art isn’t about restrictions. Art is happening everywhere and at every moment… even when you’re dropping a deuce! Now, I know what you’re thinking. Yes, there is always the imminent threat of marauders overthrowing everything we’ve worked

to create and burning all that we deem beautiful. It’s happened before, like with the Image result for bathroom graffiti artburning of the great library in Alexandria. The works that weren’t destroyed were stolen, priceless artifacts lost to time all because someone really enjoyed Homer’s Lost Tales. It’s our natural impulse to steal what is beautiful; to want it for ourselves, but we have to learn to ignore this vulgar ideology. We have to appreciate art for what it is; an everyday struggle to see what is inherently beautiful in the mundane.

In such a world, art seems almost defenseless. It’s a matter of perception. How many textbooks have you opened to a girl with her mouth opened wide… and a dick just waiting by her ears? And did you know there’s graffiti on the pyramids? We haven’t been able to get through any ‘Age of Man’ without leaving our stamp, our pollution, leaving just a hint that we were here. Hagia Sophia, one of the greatest achievements of the Byzantine Empire was ‘tagged’ by some marauder whose name is still there… TO THIS DAY! Good for him… I mean… his artwork lasted longer than the empire!

Shopping for art is another big waste of time. Art is everywhere and you’ve wasted your money. You can be walking along and just out of some divine miracle be struck by creativity. You just find the nearest bathroom stall and ‘POOF’ there it is, nestled safely within the secure confines of a bathroom stall at my local library. I found something not quite as profound as the drawing at the top-left, but it still made me question the laws that regulate reality. What is sacred, when anyone in the world can draw… whatever this is (I think it’s a masterpiece) and leave it to rot on the walls of a room that people hope to flee from in a matter of minutes.

How could the Vincent Van Gogh of our time leave this masterpiece? Doesn’t he feel anything for his creation, or is it more sacred to leave your work for the world to enjoy. Is the artist forever doomed to let his creation go, as the bird with his broken wing is meant to fly away, even if you nurture it, this bird is born free and owes you nothing. Makin’ me think… Well, played… shithouse Vincent Van Gogh… well played.

My belief, this one took either many different trips to the shitter by the same artist, or a concession of many artists working in tandem. Shit after shit, hour by hour… they came to a masterpiece that they could forever be proud of, and God bless them for their sacrifice. Usually when I have a large enough poop that I have the time to draw such an intricate painting I have not the patience, but such is what separates the artist from the peasant. The drawing that has brought this masterpiece to my attention, was not in the same vein, but it was special nevertheless. It was a drawing in pen of the female body, but drawn with the clumsiness of a child who had yet to see one. He had a crude interpretation of what it was, this elusive female figure, making the breasts ‘ginormous’ and the rest of her thin enough that the girl would topple over if she was real. She had no feet, which made me feel bad, since she could never run away from this hell, but she had clown hands, which are hands that are much too massive for any decent human being. They seemed to be inflating by the minute, and I had a brief hope that the poor girl would explode. Luckily, when I came back to take a picture some horrible barbarian had painted over it.

The proof is within my warped mind… anyway, there was a deep incision where her legs joined together; it wasn’t where the vagina should be, but further up, perhaps around the section that should have been her belly button. It was the mighty eye of Ra, like the eye of an octopus… the vagina is a terrifying creature, as elusive as the mighty Kutulu beast. What was worse, the poor girl was made to smile through this entire endeavor, forever forced to watch adolescents poop and mock her deformities.

Construction deadlines are unreliable… I’ll need to speak to the foreman.

The restroom is the nexus where all art is made. The real geniuses are hiding out, pooping in dark alleys… they are the dark knights! Imagine a man who was forced to hold on to such negativity. Holding onto such a painful story, such powerful art could tear a man to pieces… even though it would depend on what he ate, or how much time he might have. His art might kill him in the end… better to have a place like the shitter to let it go. People need a place to just let things go; some people find an outlet in sex, or drugs, or respectable creativity, but who’s to say which is right? If a man can hold something sacred, something that keeps him from creating a terrible Kutulu monster and destroying the world, then that is the greatest gift to the world. He has found an outlet, his gift to the world is finding his niche, of making his way through life without being driven insane.


Image result for hoteiBack in high school, I forgot how I laughed. I remembered how to, but how I laughed… I couldn’t do it. I remember very clearly one day just realizing I wasn’t laughing the same. It hit me with such surprise. I remember thinking, ‘holy shit! This isn’t how I laugh’, but I had no way of figuring out my old laugh.

I don’t remember being too depressed at the time. I mean sure, I was depressed, because it was high school, but it was that simple ‘high school depression’. You just hate being there. You’re bored and that feels like depression. It gets worse the older you get, trust me. No, this was something more severe… perhaps dementia. Any answers, I will gladly consider.

I couldn’t bring it up to people at the time. It didn’t seem like a big deal. Now, looking back, I realized how fucked up it is… just losing this integral part of your personality. Your laugh and laughter can define you. People can acknowledge it over time, like ‘yes, I know he was there, because we all laughed at the same thing’… not anymore. I felt bland. I felt like I became lost in the crowd of other people’s laughter. I had to adapt. I assumed other people’s sounds and laughed as they did. Now, as I look back, I realize I never got the joke.

This was before the time when everything was on Youtube… I have no way of finding out how it sounded. I could ask people, but if they showed me it just wouldn’t sound the same. I had to adapt. For a while, I didn’t laugh. I don’t know if you’ve ever tried not laughing, especially when it’s all you want to do, but it actually hurts. You physically and spiritually feel pain. I felt a pain in my stomach from holding in laughter and this necessary expression of joy rotted inside me. That wouldn’t work, so I decided to steal other people’s laughs. I mimicked a good laugh and stuck with it. I have it to this day, but it’s not the same.

I’m not sure what to do? How do I get fixed? Have I gone insane? Somebody help? Has this ever happened to any of you?

I’ve assumed to this point that I have an acute form of dementia. How such a vital bit of information could be lost is beyond me. I don’t think it happened over the span of a day. Just… one day… I forgot. Help out. I provided a picture of Hotei, a happy, fat bastard who always laughs, because it would seem right that the struggle to be happy like him means figuring out how to laugh. I lost part of myself. Part of the struggle is finding it. I wonder if Hotei ever had to mimic other people’s laughter. Imagine blending into a crowd because you’re not sure how you need to sound. Hotei can’t blend in… he’s too fat and happy. When you blend in you forget yourself. Somewhere along the line I forgot myself.

Relay for Life

Image result for relay for lifeRelay For Life is a community based fundraising event of the American Cancer Society. Events are held in local communities, including an event in Renssealer County! As the American Cancer Society’s most successful fundraiser and the organization’s signature event, the mission of Relay For Life is to raise funds to improve cancer survival, decrease the incidence of cancer, and improve the quality of life for cancer patients and their caretakers. The 12 hour event Celebrates cancer survivors, Remembers loved ones lost to cancer, and encourages everyone to Fight Back against the disease.

A Relay For Life event is organized under a volunteer Relay Committee, and implemented by volunteers. It is often organized as a multi-day public gathering, spanning all day and night in a large outdoor space, and many people bring tents and camp out around the walking tracks. Currently, almost 4 million people take part in Relay events in over 5,000 communities in the United States.

This year’s Rensselaer County event is September 24th from 12PM to 12AM at the Joe Bruno Stadium in Troy. Registration is free so we encourage everyone to come and experience the power of Relay and see the impact it has on so many lives. This year’s event is Football themed and we will be hosting a Chili cook-off featuring local restaurants!

If you are unable to attend the event, there are many ways to get involved – from volunteering for a few hours, to buying a track sign or luminaria bag. Our event brings in 200+ people from the Rensselaer Community for a 12 hour event – that’s a lot of impressions for businesses interested in advertising to the Rensselaer community!

I hope you and your team will join us at Relay For Life of Rensselaer. If you have any questions please email or call 518-466-8820. More information can be found on our website.

Self-Fulfilling Scripture

Rensselaer is the City of Lost Souls, which is not a wistful turn of phrase, but the truth that no one tells. You only have to walk down any street and listen to the desperate howl of this city. Their meager whimpering creates the Howl. It’s a right of passage that within this city, your heart makes a noise that is so desperate and deafening that it has gone silent. It’s hardly recognizable over the sounds of the train.

Their cries are silent. Between the train tracks and the river it’s the clutter of noise that keeps us from calling out to anyone that can help. The sound remains silent, although it’s there, trapped between the deafening cries of the train and the delicate flow of the river. For that, who would rather listen to the cries of thousands of disenfranchised souls. Albany is Tartarus of Greek Lore. It’s a city of grey, where lost souls wander without a purpose. We wander aimlessly along these streets, going in circles.  Every day is the same, bringing no challenge to our spiritual evolution. The day remains the same and so do we, without growth, we rot and disappear.

Lost souls are the only ones worth fighting for, just like lost causes. We see no end in sight. We must be shown. Even still, the souls will refuse, for they’ve grown stubborn and afraid of change. If we’re shown heaven, we’ll convince ourselves that it’s really hell. It’s a matter of some form of ‘mental gymnastics’ that we convince ourselves that nothing can get better. It’s this more than anything that makes us lost souls. It’s this philosophy more than death that makes us lost. We refuse entry into the gilded gates of heaven and we refuse sleep.

There is no center, yet we revolve around something. If you can pinpoint the source, perhaps you can find something to separate us and send us flying free off into space. The souls are caught between the two beams, one being the train and the other being the river. The souls cling to the river in hopes that the ferryman, Ishinigal, will grant them free passage to the underworld. Ishinigal doesn’t stop, unless they have the glorious ‘Coin of All-Father’, which is granted to one who truly deserves to see the wonders that wait beyond this eternity. No, their fate is to return. Eternal Return.They get frustrated and wave their fists at the ferryman, wondering why there seems to be no other alternative for them besides this suffering. They turn on each other, tossing their coins at the river, throwing fists, fighting, clawing, drowning. An unprecedented atavism prevails in a city with an overabundance of souls with life as a lost cause.

The river by our side seems to call to them, yet when they come it speaks not a word. This makes them bitter. They turn on the living, as well as themselves. Angered souls are known to chew on the living. It amplifies our frustration with life. Frustrated spirits do this because they want to bring you down with them; they want others to feel just like them. You try to rise above it, but when you look in one direction you hear the train and in the other you hear the river. In between, you hear the cries. Their amplified by the reverberations on either side. You’re trapped and forced to listen to their bitching. After a decade or so, you start to complain. After a little longer, you understand. It’s in this way that the cycle is secured and propagates its rotten philosophy into the future, thus the self-fulfilling prophecy is protected.

Pooping in the Fitting Rooms

Fun story time, starting with a fact I love sharing with everyone. Retail is the bane of my existence. I suffered through it for a long time and still see it as a terrible thing. I feel a tremble coming from my heart and receding through my limps whenever I walk into a store. My hatred knows no bounds.

Anyway, I promised a fun story and I’m not one to break a promise. On two separate occasions in our story somebody pooped in the fitting rooms Once, it happened when I’d first started at this store. A person piled up some clothes and just… you get the point. They asked everyone to clean it up, but we all refused. In the end, one of the managers had to do it. It didn’t affect me to have him do it. I liked the fact that he was made to, actually reveling in his suffering. For that time, sure, I became a sadist, but he made at least five times what I did. If anyone was going to clean up poop, why not him?

Second account of the ‘Serial Shitter’: it was a cold, blustery night. No… actually, what’s weird is on both accounts it happened around summer… hmmm. The person just pooped on one of the benches in the fitting room. They just pooped! What kind of weirdo does that sort of thing… and, if you’re the weirdo, please identify yourself!

We never found either attacker, but I think it’s the same person. These occurrences are separated by ten years, so the person is patient. He could’ve gone to any store, but he came to mine… maybe he’s from out of town and goes around pooping in local businesses. Maybe he’s a close friend. The ‘Serial Shitter’ is out there. He could be anyone and anywhere…. he could even be writing this story!

Tree of Penance

Forsaken, my flesh soaked in sin, I took a worn path that led me away from the world. I felt poisonous, no good to anyone. I deserted the world, as I felt it’d done to me. Reassuring myself that this was all a dream, I climbed over brush and pulled both thorn and weed from my being. The pain felt all too real, but I maintained the illusion. This had to be a dream. This could not be my life. This had to be a painful nightmare, something to shock me back to a lush reality full of happiness and bliss. The trees and brush cleared and I saw only grass for miles. I walked along the earth, with the wind to guide me, whispering over the empty field. Black clouds warned of impending doom.

Lo, I saw a tree standing alone in the distance. I came to it and saw ‘Tree of penance’ carved crooked through the bark. I rub my hand against the carving, rough lines etched into the wood; they illuminated crimson with my touch. The tree came apart before my eyes, suspended before me, extending its being to encompass my pain. The tree wrapped itself around me, covering my massive form to squeeze me inside. This is my penance. I look out unto the world, belonging to this tree, my only sanctuary. The world would be protected from me.

From this point, I became master of the universe. I saw everything and was within everything; for what I saw, the world knew that I was watching over them. They felt my touch within their lives. We were one, for this moment in time. I felt at peace with the cosmos and the world that made me this evil creature.

All that could ruin it was the divine fates. They ruin everything. A girl came creeping into this world, with a little red hood and a picnic basket, on her way to grandma’s house, no doubt. I had the memory, a thought that this could only be a dream. She came and knock on the tree and I refuse to answer. She entered anyway. I ran as fast as I could within the tree. Its bounds were unfathomable. Its dark recesses expanded beyond sight, beyond reason. She came, whispering her mantra that echoed within the dark world. “What big eyes… what big teeth?” I cried out for her to leave. I demanded it. The world let it be shown. This was my sin.

Splayed innards. Flesh and form sawed off from self. This is my sin. Another bloody demonstration of my purpose. Tree of penance could no longer protect me. It was time to move on.