Kama, Patron Saint of the Doomed

 


Doom is the word. It holds a great deal of weight at the tip of your tongue. Sound it out and let it settle. Your ears don’t want to accept the presence of such a word in your vocabulary. It’s a word that everyone deals with in everyday life, yet only a few know the definition. Knowing is struggling. Knowing is being defeated by life or other forces that prove much stronger, greater, more capable of breaking you down and making you feel like less than what you are. Doom is the word. It can’t be written out of the dictionary. It belongs, just like hope and prosperity.

Doom is a symbol of greatest despair. It’s the ‘nothing left, game-over’ scenario, when you have nowhere else to turn. You’ve run out of options. You’ve failed in a way that nothing will ever get better. If anything, it’ll only get worse. A symbol of doom weighs heavy on the soul. You don’t often notice them right away. More often, you live such a life that you have to look back and see, before you can pinpoint the augury of your downfall. Think of the Statue of Liberty and what it’s supposed to mean to a person coming in after spending days at sea, locked shoulder-to-shoulder with strangers, while you hold your child close to you and hope that you both can weather the storm. Imagine looking up over the horizon of ocean that you’ve seen for days and seeing that beautiful sign of hope: a distant flame in the endless ocean, her torch, held high above inequity and doom. Imagine what you feel, what you think, what you understand about your future. It’s enough to fill a man with hope. So too is that point when you’ve run out of hope. So too is that point when you have nothing, but to accept your fate.

The ocean is doom. Your old life is doom. Doom is the point of no return, when all hope is lost and nothing can be done to save you. It’s been symbolized by mythical places, like Hell or Hades, but in using symbols to define it, we’ve lost what it means for the truly doomed. True doom is reserved for those beyond reach. It’s for people so desperate they’d flee across an ocean for a better life.

What is hope? Hope is wishing for something better. The doomed have to hope that they can be absolved of whatever sin has caused their suffering. Hope is beyond the ocean, yet absolution is so much further.

If you walk beneath the Dunn Memorial Bridge in Rensselaer, New York, you’ll find several things. You’ll find a baseball field with a tremendous history to the sport, although you might not think it. You’ll find the noise insufferable, as cars speed above on their way to the highway. Of utmost importance are the pillars that keep the highway from crashing into the river. Several artists perfected their art against the sturdy concrete, as a proper reminder that almost anything can be made beautiful with a little effort. I found this one (Top Left) of utmost importance, not only to our town, but to the world. I call him, Kama, Patron Saint of the Doomed, because we all need hope in some form. The last time I walked passed this place beneath the highway, I saw its trash bins overflowing, while crows pulled out leftovers and made off with them like victorious scoundrels. I don’t understand that symbol, but I’d rather find meaning in something more beneficial.

For the lost souls that roam in our fair city, there is Kama, Patron Saint of the Doomed. The fallen angel, Kama, sacred returner of lost souls, watches over us all. Predators threaten. Call the city a haven and that’s what it becomes. Treat it like one and you live up to your word. Deliver on this promise and it is so. Kama is the protector. He pushes those forces that would cause us harm out into the ether, allowing us to remain, like a bubble along the river. After enough time, the bubble will pop and Kama will return from whence he came. Until then, he watches over us. Kama takes the form of the spider, but unlike most spiders he has not set this trap. This is not his web. Our web was empty, this empty city would’ve been picked apart if not for him. Every so often the web will tear, threatening a collapse into oblivion. Kama holds it together.

Outside forces work to tear down what we call sacred. It’s only a matter of time before they succeed and we are torn apart. That doesn’t matter. It’s not the point to preserve what is inherently doomed. It’s the point to try. It’s the point to try. It’s the point to try. Kama protects us. Still, even with him as our protector, our fate is sealed. We’ll collapse into oblivion, yet we have this time to enjoy our empire of dirt. Let his name, Kama, Patron Saint of the Doomed, be praised.

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Eternal State of Boredom


The Eternal State of Boredom, so it goes or so it seems, from one bridge to another. It’s those things in between: houses, streets, cricks, parks, people, playgrounds that I wish to ignore. The entirety of these forms shall pass, yet, with any city, there can be said to be an ‘identity’ that’s all its own. It belongs to none of us, yet it has become who we are. This is the Eternal State of Boredom.

Every city has its identity. You can walk down a street in New York and feel the incessant rush of constant motion. If it’s not people moving it’s buses and cars, subways, trains, plains, taxis and people on bikes dragging tourists. They move in a million different directions. Everyone has somewhere to go and, what’s more, after that they have somewhere else to go. It’s constant motion, wanting more, needing more, and moving to sustain a society that would crumble to dust if the inertia ever stopped. I haven’t been to other cities, but they’ve all come up under different circumstances and it’s wrong to assume that every city is the same. Some are developed through ports and trades and find their identity in accepting a different form of culture from those that arise through other means. Others become ‘the party city’, like New Orleans, a place I hold close to my heart. New Orleans is a beautiful city full of all sorts of wild animals. You have rats in all forms. Some come along as ‘street beggars’, who act like musicians or do whatever they must to earn a dollar. I met a man who claimed to be a time-traveler needing a few bucks to fix his machine and get back home. He said he saw the bloody days of the French Revolution, as he went on about the clean precision of the guillotine, which he believed to be well ahead of its time. Now, how could I deny a man like that a single dollar?

Every city possesses an identity that, although it is also subject to change, this is something all its own. No other town can be like New Orleans. They can be similar, but nothing can compare. Can it be said, if I’m proposing an identity for every city, that these same cities can possess their own destiny? We’ve often thought a town to be something different, where people make up its identity and nothing else. If this is true, then what do we make of a town with a destiny? If this is true, we must look at the world in a new light, for what could be said to be the destiny of a town like New Orleans after Hurricane Sandy? While we’re on the subject, what about towns with horrifying scars on their past, like Hiroshima, Auschwitz or… well, how about you guys give me some fun one?

Salem, Massachusetts is a fun one that I’ve actually visited. I enjoy the town, because you can walk around the streets and have all the presence of a normal person walking around a simple, puritan town. It has the feel that nothing has ever happened ever to leave a black mark on their record. If you go down the right corner you can see what is an alleged ‘haunted house’ that belonged to the former mayor during the Salem Witch Trials. For those who don’t know, the Salem Witch Trials were a period of mass hysteria when people were believed to be manipulated by dark forces and thus, had to be tortured. It’s something that none of us would ever want to endure and thinking of that time sends a chill of fear, as you realize that sensible people can be denigrated to monsters with a whim of hysteria and terror. Now, of course, it’s become a show. They use their story to entertain the world, establishing their ‘pirate museum’, as well as their ‘torture museum’, where they show the dungeons that some of the people were kept to stew in their dark powers. It’s all entertainment, yet, during that time, the paranoia and mass hysteria created a far more sinister identity. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Salem_witch_trials

As it goes for my city, I can see no destiny. I see what I wish it to be, sure, but as for an identity that the few thousand inhabitants would agree upon, well… it’s something I wouldn’t want to admit. It’s something ugly in, not only its laziness, but its apathy. I call it ‘The Eternal State of Boredom’. I’ve struggled to explain our identity to outsiders. You look in on our city and see a mess. You see nothing and that’s a fair point that comes to define who we are. We’ve nothing to manifest an identity, so we turn to the train. Tracks cut the city in half, yet none of us ever follow them out of here, far away, moving beyond toward a greater destiny than what we’ve been given for so long. If a city has a destiny, does it find it on its own? How does a city possess its own destiny? How do we help our city find where it belongs?

I’ve walked along these same tracks all my life. I’ve seen people and places change, all the while the city remained the same. The Eternal State of Boredom is a product of a mindset that has already given up. We’ve failed to change what we perceive to be of no importance. We’ve ignored the warnings of the world, as our city somehow sustains itself without falling into the abyss of time and impatience. Roanoke is another city with an interesting history. Its people abandoned it or so the story goes. Nobody knows what happened to the ‘lost colony’, although similar fates have come to several cities throughout history. Boom cities came up when gold was abundant in the western states, but when the gold disappeared so did the people. The cities remained. Everyone calls them ‘haunted’ now. Ancient cities had to be abandoned as well, when either their water source became depleted or marauders came and enslaved their people. We act like that can’t happen today, but really, it’s only the technology that’s advanced… and maybe the cities, but not the people.

It’s important to see different worlds before they disappear. For every city an identity. For every city a destiny. If you want, you can walk down South Street or any street, since the train goes through everyone’s backyard and sit and stare at the tracks. They run by at the same time each day, creating so much noise before it all disappears into the crippling nothingness of our culture. The trains are something to see, not exactly New Orleans or New York, but something in the least. A train is a relic of a time when man and technology forged an empire. They’re modern day petroglyphs, marking a city that might have to move on if it’s identity is somehow forgotten. Even worse, if the identity was never there in the first place. We sit in reverence of the trains, skipping stones along our quiet river, sharing a subtle appreciation for this Eternal State of Boredom.

S.nake O.il S.alesmen

Image result for trumpWe had a feller come to town

claiming he could turn water into wine

when he couldn’t he blamed the sun…

we didn’t think much of it…

The next day, he was gone

to the town of Kul

Where stories came about of a man

who turned water into wine

and they praised him as a king

and the world came to see

and the world came to understand his wisdom

What is the wisdom of a man who turns water into wine?

It’s the miracle

We all want to be a part of it.

And fools rush in – because it only takes one

Like those late-night telemarketers – they know if they get one

It might as well be a million

You get one disenfranchised, desperate citizen that feels like he’s been screwed into destitution by his country

That’s all it takes

Snake Oil – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Snake_oil

There’s intellux and ‘male-growth hormones’ and viagra

and ‘making America great’ and ‘In God we Trust’

Boom – snake oil

How do you fight it?

When the people who are fool enough to use it

Praise its benefits

It’s deeper, deeper, deeper and deeper

Feel it to thrive, the instinct is to stay alive.

So… you’re saying… maybe they don’t believe?

Maybe their sense is more primal

Maybe they know to follow the one that swears to protect them

Because no one seems to want to protect

And so they buy the bullshit as a formal protest and claim to want to survive

And claim they want to survive… and claim they want to survive

Because America and Democracy come second to survival

And making America great means

turning back the clock

to when the KKK could march a million men strong on D.C.

And dogs and kittens lived in harmony

and every one every day one the lottery

and humble pie tasted like shit

and the Sun revolved around the Earth

and it only takes one to believe this shit

before we start thanking Ancient Aliens for the pyramids

and accuse scientists of hypocrisy

while we consume the oil of the snake

and thank the man

who brought it to our attention.

 

Lost Cultures of Columbia Turnpike: Kmart

Here it is… your moment of zen.

http://www.businessinsider.com/sears-obsession-with-wall-street-2016-3

For those who don’t remember (I haven’t written on this topic in a while), Columbia Turnpike is a long stretch of road that cuts through our town. I worked for many years in a store along this road. If you go up Columbia Turnpike now, you’ll see several abandoned buildings, some of which used to be thriving businesses or factories that helped to keep us afloat. Most of these factories packed up and left before I was born. These industries have an innate sense of survival. Unions gained momentum and threatened their ecosystem. The smart businesses went to China, while nothing became of those buildings… or the people who remained.

The fall of the Industrial Age has seen the rot of its decline seep into other facets of American life. Retail is no exception. The smart businesses aligned with China and other countries to get their wares for cheap, while exploiting labor that, while it might not be slave, still remains in question for morality’s sake. Factories shipped their business to other countries and invaded like a virus attacking a cell. You see this several times throughout history, especially with this being the time of ‘Giving Thanks’. The pilgrims left Europe, where they were certainly not welcome and had to kill many an ‘indigenous people’ to call this place home. It’s always been more a game of survival than anything…

I didn’t enjoy my time in retail, as is evident by the incessant nightmares that bubble up from time to time, where I feel the terror of being a part of that world. For those who haven’t endured it, I don’t know how to convince you of the terrible feelings that arise when I enter these places. I can’t walk into a Target or a Wal-Mart without feeling this sense of impending doom… most likely because I felt it for over a decade. I went into work without a sense that things could get better. Why should I? Every year that I was there things got worse. I grew accustomed to that feeling and, in all honesty, became numb. It’s the type of talk that a hardened soldier should use, not a man who worked far too long at a shitty store.

Again, I don’t know how to explain it. Sometimes hell is the same to people and sometimes it’s different. Retail was my hell. More specifically, Kmart was hell. My coworkers and I endured something altogether baffling, as we watched our corporate elites exploit the minimal resources we had. They squandered and destroyed, like any other invading army. The corporate world is no different. It’s full of sociopaths and pederasts. They visited our store from time to time, always with a firm handshake, something vulgar when it comes to their touch. Businessmen use the handshake to fuck one another, because a firm grip assumes something masculine. It’s perverse. I wish they’d fuck and get it over with!

Trust was never established between us at the store level and those in corporate, but it didn’t seem to matter. We watched our store rot away, losing more and more of itself. We knew what was happening, but it all came with this sense of being overpowered. It was helpless… a lost cause. I didn’t give a shit at the time. If they were going to let this place fall I couldn’t care. I wanted it, same as them. I think that makes me at least a little responsible. I worked with ineptitude, sure, but maintained a bare-minimum within that same work ethic. I did what I had to, not what I could, because going ‘above and beyond’ was something a fool would do. Why work harder when you knew the outcome? Why work harder when you knew you weren’t going to get a raise? Why work harder when you knew that corporate had you by the balls and were just waiting for the right moment to squeeze?

The day that lives in infamy within the retail stratosphere is known as ‘Black Friday’. Thanksgiving is a pretty terrible day as well, but nothing compares. If you’re looking for a way to lose faith in humanity… go sit in front of a store around 530 in the morning and wait. What the public doesn’t know about this day is that three workers our chosen at random from corporate to be sacrificed in an effort to appease the crowd. The names come down from headquarters. We have no say in the matter, although we hope that the most inept employee gets picked, sort of to ‘cleanse our ranks’, if you will. The number of those chosen actually depends on the number of workers per store. We didn’t have many, so they went with three… but I digress.

Three sacrifices are chosen a week before the event. We honor their sacrifices, making them honorary guests at a party all for them. We get them drunk and provide for them plenty of escapes from the realization. The affair is always solemn. You’re about to lose a friend and while you’re happy it’s not you… well, you have to make the best of things.

Thanksgiving day everything changes. We surround them in a dark room and pummel them with socks full of bars of soap. We beat them within inches of their lives, strip them naked and tie them to posts outside the store. This all starts around 12 at night. We have to get ready for the day… this terrible day. People are already waiting by that time. The smell of the rotting flesh, as the sacrifices begin to chill on the November air is something I’ll never forget. They sit for hours. People change in that time. They can’t help themselves. It takes only a few hours, as more and more people come along and wait in the lines, before they attack. The sacrifices do enough to distract the people from our store. It gives us enough time to prepare and hope not to be their next victims.

Around the time that they finish with the three sacrifices, our store is ready to open. We wait at the front behind the doors, until they open and we run for our lives. There’s something in that hunger that is altogether human. It’s desperate and pathetic and… just a shame. I think of what it could mean to have so many people together and have it mean something. Instead, they fight for video games and bath robes. I wonder what it all means, but it’s like trying to make sense out of the movements of those little fruit flies. For some things… you’re just not allowed to know.

The building is still around for those to see. I could’ve taken a picture of it, but I found this one all the more endearing. It’s a husk of its former glory. For some reason, I get a calming sensation whenever I look at this photo. I had to share it with you all. I think of it rotting and collapsing to dust and feel really good. Most people will never understand the significance of this temple. I’m probably one of them. Nothing can describe what we endured. Nothing can describe the true horror of those days. If you’re curious, I’m sure you’ll see and think back to that time with a sense of wonder and, if I’ve done my job, hopefully an open mind.

Muck Mouth Scripture

Image result for muck mouth#FreeMuckMouth

What do we do with our doomed? Those citizens that don’t register in our psyches as human, for those few, we have a lesser understanding. We see them pushing carts down the street far from the stores that they belong. We see them staring off into an endless world that we cannot see and wonder what could go wrong in a mind to create such a person. What do we do with them? How do we help? How do we make the world a little less fucked-up, so that maybe such a person could fulfill his destiny?

 

Spits at the wind

Spit comes back, sprays his face in mucus

Doesn’t even flinch

Sees the sun setting – stars waking, moon taking control

A whole world order rising and falling, rising and falling

“Stanky ‘D’ on a way down.” Muck Mouth says

Say what?

“Little grits… tight pussy… ‘D’ hangin’ low, ya mean?”

No… no one knows what the hell you’re talking

“English mo-fo… ha! Do you speak it?”

I guess not

He points to the sun, traces a line through the stars that we have yet to see

He sees something, I might never know what

Muck Mouth has a brilliant mind

It’s trapped in his shit brain

like the rest of us

Limitation

It always gets the best of us

We’re all trapped in muck

Muck Mouth’s brain

No discernible truth to this world

Just words to chew, salivate over, drool on ourselves

“Stanky ‘D’… no salvation,” traces his hand in the sky

I notice the sun and a line that follows over the horizon

Not the horizon, another line

It seems to be a space where the darkness drops over the light

Like a blanket collapsing over our sleeping world

When Muck Mouth sees the understanding in my eyes

He smiles – busted teeth, some missing

Good guy, great teacher

He speaks in myths and riddles

Sacred gods and goddesses made of night and day, light and dark, sun and moon

Their actions are coercion, control, power dynamics that our puny minds

Will never understand

Muck Mouth understands

If only, for me, to tap into the root of his wisdom

This is his scripture. —-I have no idea what the fuck you’re saying… and I think you know that.