Wednesday, December 29, 2004

Well, Jon is no longer feverish and hasn't thrown up blood or food today, but he's still going to be in the hospital for a couple of days. Jess and I are going to see him tomorrow if weather and the car permits. If she drives I can take more drugs and tilt the seat back so it doesn't hurt as much, so that's good.

Furlinghetti the cat has a lump or something on her chest, maybe a cyst, may be a tumor. With Oona cat carrying a big lump in her stomach that is most likely cancer I'm starting to get tired of all this death and dis-ease around here. I wonder what all these pain meds are doing to my liver? Can't be too bad or Jon would be dead by now, right? He gets a hell of a lot more than I do. So maybe I'm okay.

Listening to Tom Waits. I think the man is doing meth, his music sounds way too speedy to be straight. It's the sort of poems I wrote on speed in the 60's. The beat matches your heart. What I wouldn't give for some opium and a few hours alone....They are testing ecstasy on terminally ill patients. Gets them in touch with their emotions before they die. Seems to help. Howcum nobody wants to test drugs on me? I'd be willing to try some things. There's a new drug out made of deadly snails. They inject it into your spinal column and it kills the pain. Supposed to be 1000 times more potent than morpheine. Hmmm. 1000 shots of morpheine would stop your heart! Maybe they're geting rid of the people with severe chronic pain. I could live with that.

Boy it would be nice to sit in the studio with my kids, drinking some home made brew, smoking a bowl of home grown weed, and talking about those terrible days when I was full of pain, Jon was PVS and Jess only did drugs and booze when she was out of the house. Assuming she does them at all. I suppose next life I'll be doing just freaking great, no pain, no family tragedies, no dying cats. Probably no good art, either.

Soon as I figure out how, I'm going to upload some pics of my work.

Monday, December 27, 2004

In some cultures winter is owned by the Goddess of Death, the Crone. Things that sink down into the earth are thought to have died and will be resurected in the spring when the Goddess Eostre comes to the surface. Oddly enough, the male God, the consort, has a very small role in all this. When you consider how good males are at killing and burying you'd think the myths would be all over the role of the male God. But, back in the day when She was well thought of, I suppose death was looked at in a different light.
People often say that things would be different if we had to kill the food we eat, actually take it down, skin it, deal with the parts we can't eat.... the whole native thing. But we don't kill our food. We kill one another and then we just waste the meat. But the plants and cows and chickens that we do eat we buy ready to cook from a merchant. The merchant is considered to be under the domain of the Trickster. (oh no, here he goes again with the Trickster) but if you think about it, it does make sense. In our culture, here in Amerika, we take chickens for instance. We grow them in warehouses, never seeing the sun, never feeling the earth. We kill them in an assembly line and gut them and throw the parts into land fills where it can attract rats and disease. We wash them in chemical baths and huge vats of feces, water and for all we know, chlorine. The end result is sometimes dyed yellow to look somehow fresher. People like yellow food, they don't like skin colored food. Well, skin colored if you are a caucasion. That all costs x pennies. Then, we exchange the carcasses for more pennies than it cost to prepare them. The guy who buys them exchanges them to a store owner for even more pennies over the cost. He sells them to us for a couple of bucks, many pennies over the original cost.
This series of exchanges involve the use of coins, which are bits of metal which represent labor. But since we are trading more symbolic labor than actually went into the dead bodies, we are creating an imbalence of energy. Anytime money is involved you can see the work of Hermes, the Greek Trickster. Most people know Hermes as the messenger of the Gods, but in fact he was more than that. He was also the God of Magic and the God of the marketplace. Crossroads, where you sold your soul to play the guitar really really well, was sacred to Hermes. His temples were built there and offerings made at a crossroads went to him. He was also a bit of a cross dresser, sometimes known as a hermaphrodite because he was a God that like to live on both sides of the coin. Nothing trickier than thinking you got a babe on the make and then find that your partner has one too!
So this food thing today is an obvious sign of the rise of the fortunes of said Trickster. What about human death? Well, look at what happens when someone dies now. Instead of laying the body out in the dining room and having a feast to celebrate their going to live with the gods, we pay someone to take the corpse away, clean it up, fill it full of dead chemicals and then paint it to look un-natural. The clothes are phony, split in the back and tucked in. The box is often hermetically sealed. All designed to make Death seem somehow clean and safe and removed from everyday life. In other words, Trickster has stolen authority from the Crone. STealing is also a common trait with Trickster. Now since e pay someone to do all this to our dead loved ones, we see commerce is now a huge part of Death and commerce is a Trickster domain.
One of the things about Trickster, though, is that he lies. He tells you something is going to happen a certain way and then it doesn't. Sort of like how Yaweh told Eve she would die if she ate from the Tree of Knowlege. She didn't, he lied and that lie is the first of many in the Bible.
So everything in the funeral is made to look as if it is going to last forever. The stainless steel, hermetically sealed coffin, the chemicals poured into the veins of the deceased, the granite monument we place on the gravesite and the fact that no one will ever build a house or a highway over that grave. Except of course that the commerce god can easily arrange for the graves to be moved if the mall needs to expand. Or, like in one mall I know, you build the mall around the grave!
What the Crone says is that Life is a circle. Everybody lives for a time, then dies, and they return that borrowed body to the earth from whence it came. you know it came from the earth becasue you are what you eat and we eat plants from the earth and animals that eat those plants. Everything from the Goddess is returned to the Goddess and in exchange for that relationship we come to realize that we never die as in stop, but we return to life almost instantly... in a changed and new form. She brings us into this life as Isis, loves us as Aphrodite, feeds us as Gaia, and lays us down inside her as Crone. Trickster just gets us to waste our life playing stupid games and then robs us of our dignity by forcing us to pay huge sums of money (representing our labor) to have some stranger do those last few things to honor our loved one.
Trickster is not evil, mind you. He runs this show right now, but as a God, he knows that the Great Mother... his mother, too, is all-powerful and will come back again at some point to run the show the way she always does. She's letting Trickster have some fun at our expense, and because it's just a game she know we will not be seriously hurt. But I think if we play too rough, if we kill off too many critters, plow too many furrows, steal too many babies, kill too many loving children, Crone will appear and bury us. Not all of us, but enough to make Her point.
Picture this. China and Japan call in their loans, all 10 trillion of them. We don't have enough laborers to create enough things of value to pay back those loans, so we default. Now everyone knows our money is not worth the paper it's printed on, so they stop dealing with us. China has more than enough consumers to take up the slack. India has lots of scientists and programmers and such, and so on and so on. Amerika is bankrupted and the government collapses. It's a form of death, the domain of the Crone. Now, the country splinters as various factions accuse one another of being the cause of our collapse. Infighting is something Trickster loves to promote. Regions split off and keep their resources within their needs. People begin to have more gardens, because so much of the marketplace is trashed. We have farmer's markets... another Trickster arena, so He's happy. We barter more, home school more, fight a hell of a lot less, especially with no money to buy bombs. So a rebirth occurs. Several healthy states from one screwed up facist nation. Like the way Neanderthal would bury gramps in the back of the cave, we bury the nation in the back of our minds.... because a nation is a mental object, a phony creation. There are no nations when you look for them from space. We made them up. But these new toys will grow and go through all those stages of growth new living things do, until they screw up and collapse too. Rome did, Britain did, USSR did. They may try to come back under a new name, like a man who left his children might move to another city and call himself John Smith. New Amerika might involve part of the Northeast, part of the Deep South.... maybe even Cuba. But it will be a new nation, under the Goddess with liberties and rituals for all.
So I figure that even with Adolf Bush in the Grey House, killing as many people as he can by proxy, and his insane group of psychotics taking down the nation from the inside out, eventually the Crone has her way, the Goddess shows her strength, and we all sleep better in our beds at night without fear of a terrorist attack.... because who would attack a two-bit, down on it's luck country with nothing to threaten anyone and only a huge supply of natural resources? Why would any sane person invade and occupy a country so messed up it can't defend itself? How many Adolf Bushes could there be in the world?

Thursday, December 23, 2004

There's a stack of forms and folders on the little table in the living room.They're what I have to fill out in order to get disability status. I have to write down the history of my back and the projected future, allow strange men and women to examine me, ask me questions and even ask my friends and relatives about my pain and my ability to function. One aspect of this strikes me.... well, maybe many aspects, but one is that the first reaction to hearing about my back, the crushed bones, the herniated discs, osteoporsis or something... is disbelief. If I was so screwed up, how cum I'm standing here, or sitting there, in apparent good health?
Because I'm sitting here or standing there in a great deal of pain. There's a jolt of electricity that bounds down my left leg like a car battery being leaned against. There's the cold firey tingling that always exists between my shoulders, sometimes going down the back. Then the right leg gets started. All in the first hour of the day. But I have to convince these people that chances are leaning over a CADD terminal moving a mouse all day is out of the question. Then they have to realize that the ability to work in short clips of 15 minutes or so and then take at least 10 minutes to ease up the pressure on the nerves somehow eliminates most kinds of employment. That said, it would be interesting if the thing took a whole nuther tack. Suppose they decided that as an artist, what I have left is 100% of what I need, so I'm not disabled. But I bet it would be fun to have the government put in writing that I am a fully functional artist. Just for jollies, ya know.
Well, at some point I'll go fill them all out and send them off. See, even typing this blog is maybe 75% typing and 25% correcting, so I make a lousy typist/clerk. I suppose I could find some other kind of work, like a sauna clerk. If that exists I'd like a job that made me sit in a sauna a lot of the time, maybe testing new setups. That would work for me.
Once they're filled out, someone reads them and decides if I fit into a certain mold. If I'm close, and I won't be, they move me on the line. It goes like this until they notify me that they have refused my application for one reason or another. Eventually you get a lawyer and a judge sits in front of you. I'd like a good, long session while everybody says their piece, because by then I'd be screaming in pain and jumping up to limp around the room swearing. Then I'd open up my camera case and pull out my drug store and grab a bunch of pills and swallow them down, washing them with a juice pak laced with vodka. It wouldn't be an act, and I would get the disability check. By then I'll be getting a percentage of my pension, too, just because I survived long enough to qualify as "old". So the point is, that although I will be "poor" most of the income will last long enough for me to finsh some nice pieces, if I start NOW.
Suddenly I'm seeing projects and "problems" and series of archetypes. Such nice work and if I can start now, just in case the ole back decides to go deep south, I can still work small, I can do assemblages...doing some now, in fact. All light work, easy to do from a wheelchair if need be. Clay is always something a confirmed artist can do. But wouldn't ya know it, I'm also suddenly thinking large wooden projects, finishing Andy's family.
For years Andy has walked just outside the ring of light set by our bonfires. 12' tall, he is made of cedar and watches over the bonfire site as well as the nearby altar. But he always was promised a family, some siblings to watch over with. I have parts here and there but am just now putting them together. It will be a busy back yard if I pull it off and Andy will never stand alone. And then there's the hops vine we're trying to get to grow pants for Andy in the summer, some shorts or coveralls so he doesn't get sunburned. It will grow about 8"/day and eventually will send out many shoots to weave a nice year round covering for Andy and his family, too.

Monday, December 20, 2004

This is the day of the night of the winter solstice bonfire. This is one of the pillar holy days of pagans, pretty much worldwide. Even the other faiths celebrate this time. So, as I sit and think on the symbols of this time, I started finding things in my own life that met the standards as "high drama" or archetyipal life style.. somehow. Anyway, that kind of cold spell-stay-in-your-house kind of thought, past things, past people. I saw a small picture of my first wife, Jon's mother, back when she looked like a high school girl because she was. I realized that I met her thru Larry, who just died here at Thanksgiving. He was visiting her at the hospital, bringing her a meal of steak, baked potato and green beans. She was about 16 and pregnant. I helped him prepare the food and deliver it . She seemed kinda tough, but sweet. Sometime later, at an event, she was escorted in by a mutual friend, a kid named Oz. I turned to my friend Danny and said "that will be the mother of my son..." and she was. But before that, she had a child, a boy, and I can't recall what she named him or if it stuck. But I suddenly realized that my son has a half brother, about two years older than him. He'd be about 32 and he doesn't have any way about knowing about his brother and what happened to him. Very odd.The sort of stuff that makes you reflect. We could all of us have these half-siblings all over the earth. We don't know what happened to our mothers or fathers when they were barely teens. We might be related to a whole lot more people than we think. So we should think about that. I think we ought to consider how we interact with people in case Mom is in the next room. We know what happens when Dad is in the next room...Besides, we're all related.

Thursday, December 02, 2004

And now he lies
ashes, all ashes, all ashes
And now he lies
ashes, all ashes, away.
Gone into ashes
the passion, his passion;
Gone into ashes
all ashes, away.
Like salt to the ocean;
an ocean of ashes,
blown to the ocean
of ashes away.
Cold were his fingers.
it lingers,
those fingers.
Gone into ashes
those fingers - away.
Lost to us ever
he'll come again never,
gone into ashes,
and ashes away.
The best and the kindest
reminds us of ashes.
He ne'er closed those lashes
now ashes - away.

So, Larry in a bag, in a box, in a room, in a dull, dark, and lonely old world. I held his hand tightly, not unlike a lover might, as if by holding him tightly I could stop his slide downward to that dark room. Like leaving my boy, my child, I kissed his brow and told him we'd meet again. They asked me if there was anything they could do for us and I told them only one thing would work: Bring back my friend.

Thanksgiving for a winter survived long ago would simply not do for a friend removed from this life too soon. No amount of turkey or pie, no amount of gravy and wine could satisfy this hunger in my gut. The last of the best, aged over a lifetime, brought out once or twice a year for hugs and promises and pictures taken in the driveway. Two smiling faces, two cheery hands clasped around two sets of strong shoulders.... two friends parting the way it should be, with promises of next time and jokes and worries over long lines and lost baggage. But not this. Not this terrible slide from "Your friend is a very sick man." to "Larry passed, he didn't make it." No amount of food or sunshine or birdsong can cope with the vast emptiness.

The worse part were the wails. A sister driving to work, foolishly answering a cell phone while on the highway hearing those words that make no sense: "Larry just died this morning."

A friend of decades, soft and beautiful in spite of age and miles, somewhere across a newly emptied landscape, wailing like a hurricane through the wires, like a baby caught in a car door, like a father in a hospital hallway, like a friend caught in disbelief. "Larry died today."

Why was I considered the strong one, the one best able to take the box, the ashes? After all these years of mockery and laughter and shaking heads in disbelief at the things I thought to say.... why now, of all times, was I the one to bear the Crone's gift to the family? Such strength as this I never owned, never wanted, never claimed, never understood. There was no strength in carrying Larry back to his sister and brother and all the rest of them, only a promise made on the bathroom floor while holding furiously those cold fingers, stroking that panicked brow: "I'm here for you, buddy. I won't leave you." So I didn't, until someone else could take the box and carry it away.

I know the taste of ashes, I have tasted them before. I know the feel of ashes, I have felt them before. I know the stabbing pain of sorrow for a friend ripped away by Her bony hand. I have no strength enough to carry this pain somewhere, I am burdened with it until someday it puts me down. Kisses along the way, hugs from children too young to understand that shadow in my eyes.... nothing will do anything to remove that stone from my back. I trudge along carrying a smile and speaking a joke and not waiting to see or hear if any of it made an impact. Because it doesn't matter, you see. It doesn't matter when a friend is taken, that you went on and did some things and said some things. What matters is that on some lonely night, out back where they can't hear me, where they can't see my weakness, my shudders, nor hear my own soft wails, that my friend will not comfort me nor listen to me, nor be able to care enough to be there for me. But still he comes and still the hand upon my shoulder, the quiet eyes that never close again... these can be found out back, in the dark when it's just me and Larry and the taste of ashes.

So, Larry, don't be a stranger. Don't wait til next Thanksgiving to visit me. Without being greedy, or at least without wanting it to be greed, I'd like you to drop by from time to time. You can see the light in the window from where you are, I know. You can bring Teddy and the rest: Granddad Riley, Roderick, Shiela....the whole crowd. Bring 'em all to the fire and we'll talk. Hugs all around, barkeep, keep 'em coming.

Tuesday, November 23, 2004

For the last few years my old pal Larry came here for Thanksgiving. We always go to friends and have it with their family, so we end up linking several extended families into one. This time Larry wasn't feeling well. Sunday he was having trouble working his computer and still not feeling right. Monday morning he got up, went to the bathroom to shave and collapsed on the bathroom floor. We called the medics and while he lay on the floor I held his hand and told him to hang in there. At the ER we were told he was very sick. His heart was racing, his O2 was bad and then, in a few minutes, he had passed. My best friend, my oldest buddy, was gone.

It's hard to recall a time when I didn't KNOW that if I had a question or needed a shoulder to cry on, Larry was just a phone call away. He would send money so I could fly down to see my son in the ICU, or send a computer for me to play with, or photos of old friends. Larry could fix a computer, repair a car, heal a broken heart. He is the kindest, gentlest man I ever knew.

Last night I had a bonfire for Larry. I cried, I told him how I will miss those hugs, that sweet smile and helping hand. There is a great hole in my life now. Larry is smiling and offering to help, and it's hard to not cry even though I know he'd rather I smiled, rather I looked at the bright side. He wants us to share with one another, to see his life for what it was: continuous love and devotion to friends and family. He is a hard worker, an honest man, a man who loves people so much and yet never married, never had a child to carry on his name. He loves cars and music and phtography and people, not in any particular order.

Larry was the last man left, maybe the last person, who would really listen to me. My rambling thoughts sometimes go in fields that others are afraid to follow, or simply can't see the paths. Larry could always find a way to figure out just what the hell I was talking about. He never doubted me and I never could imagine Larry having a wrong answer or an unkind thought.

The selfishness of sorrow is that we want what we can't have. At the ER they asked me if they could do anything and I said "Give me back my friend."

I suppose we will swear to do better, to honor his memory. We'll lose weight, take walks, write our loved ones more often, try to visit mom and dad before they too pass. We may even do it. We may shake ourselves up and try to give our loved ones as many decades as nature will allow. We will love one another more openly and see beauty in the small things. Some of us will turn our lives around. Some will falter and fail. Over it all, Larry the kind, Larry the gentle....Larry the well loved... will be encouraging us to not worry about the results, that as long as we are trying to be happy it's going to be okay.

But for me it's not okay. I have lost another brother, another dear piece of my heart and the pain will never go away until I can hug him again and show him all the things I've done since we last saw each other. Larry will look at them even if he doesn't find it very funny, or pretty or even sensible, he will look and talk to me about it. We'll talk for years, until the sun fades and goes dark and then we'll talk by the starlight. Teddy and the others sitting around a fire listening to the pipes, watching the beauty and loving one another. I'm pretty tired, but the sun is shining and the birds are chirping and dancing.

See ya later, Larry. Write if you get a chance, call if you can. Don't go far. I'll miss you.

Saturday, November 06, 2004

Surprisingly enough, many of my friends are talking about leaving the country. The surprise is that I thought I was the only one that scared. See, it's not just that the Moron has been sent into the White House for four more years....or more. Many people think that they wouldn't try to toss out the Constitution completely, but I say, why not? Why not, indeed? They do it in increments.

We had most of the Bill of Rights deleted under the Homeland Security Act and nobody really got upset. Or rather they got upset by recognized there is no apeal. The Moron has power to do anything, anywhere, at any time. So all the treaties we have signed are deleted, all the civil rights are eliminated. He will do it slowly and precede all the increments with red alerts and other devices. By the time people understand that they live in a facist dictatorship they won't care. They'll be too busy worrying about their neighbors turning them in, or that they might say the wrong thing on the phone. They might be too busy trying to pay all the new taxes that won't be called taxes or will seem not to originate from the federal government. IN four years it may be that we have to temporarily hold off on elections, just for awhile, just until the threat to our nation is eliminated. Then they will go off and invade more countries to make sure the threat is never eliminated. And the People will go along, or they will simply go.

Thing is, most folks never got very far into world history. Even the Talking Heads on the newscast never seem to want to call up the patterns. I suppose it might be that they are too worried about ratings, but more than that they are afraid of the results if they reveal what has happened. If you think you are alone in a room with a homicidal maniac, it would be unwise to point at them at scream "You're a homicidal maniac!" just in case they resent it. So if you start blowing the whistle on a corupt and dangerous bunch of facists, you better have a fall-back plan. If you are right, they will delete you. If you are wrong, you are making things worse. But history is a great thing, especially if it's been long enough for the scholars to have written about how things happened. Like how Hitler got into the driving seat and was able to take over most of the western world. He did it by fear mongering and vote manipulation. Just like here. He did it by scapegoating, selecting a minority group with a different religion. He did it by selecting weak nations to invade first, to whip up the idea of invincibility. Trouble is, in this case, in our case, the Moron is advised by business majors, not history majors. And he sure as hell never read a history book. He likes to read stories about yellow ducks and spotted dogs and kittens. So maybe they don't realize that their Plan has been done before. Viet Nam was never real to the Moron, because he was too drunk to notice what was happening. Besides, none of his rich friends died or were mutilated there, they were all cowards like him. All of his advisors were learning how to cook the books and fool stock holders and bank examiners, so a ten trillion deficit looks like a good thing to them, not because it's a deficit, but because they got away with it. They are actually planning on creating the most powerful bankrupt country ever.

What do you get when you take the most powerful military machine in the world, bankrupt it, and then put a group of idiots led by a Moron in charge.... oh yeah, and make them religious fanatics. You get big wars of acquisition. We go after the oil, after the iron, after all the things we can't make ourselves....which is everything now since the factories have closed. Then you polute the air and water and earth, because God will make it better and besides the Moron never did very well in science class and since he accepted Jesus as his personal excuse for religion he doesn't beieve in science, except as it makes him bigger bombs and more dangerous weapons. I expect we will bomb Iran and Syria, but invade Nigeria. They have a lot of oil in Nigeria. We'll do it to liberate the people in the same way we liberated Iraq.

And the net result will fool you all. The oceans go up 3-6 feet so all them tanks of chemicals will pour into the aquifer and the oceans, killing most of the life there. That means a lot of folks will starve to death, which means a lot of plagues and pandemics. God will be talking to the Moron a lot as people start screaming for solace. He will give them more wars, more bloodshed, more taxes. Eeventually the rest of the world will have to liberate us as they pick up the pieces. Our best hope is that enough of the militray will rebel once it is too late to deny that climate change is a bad thing, and too huge to fix quickly. We may end up banning all nukes, living under a world regime of strict climate rules. That may mean the survivors will get to use wind power and solar power. That will be good because the winds are going to be terrific, and so will the tidal waves. Hydro power from ocean currents might be a good way to go.

Those who survive may face a cleaner world, but I suppose the Yawehists will figure out a way to see this as something requiring that they kill everybody who doesn't worship their god, but hopefully they won't have the means to kill too many. A death cult is often too weak and silly to last long. I hope. I may have to rethink my garden plans in a couple of years. I have to figure out what can grow at the base of a glacier. Iceplants! Not very flavorful, though....

Tuesday, November 02, 2004

Tomorrow Jon is 30 years old, if he lives that long. On the 7th it will have been 4 years since he was thrown through the windshield of his van and into a coma. Twice I have driven past the spot where it happened....looking for blood or something I suppose. Curiously, on the way there I drove over a part of highway where some truck must have spilled some red paint in the back and trailed a line of red behind it. For a minute or two I was pretty freaked out, but of course there wouldn't have been any real blood left after several days. Still, it was disturbing.

The other day the hospital called and said they were confused about the DNR request. They wanted to be sure they understood our intent, so I explained that if Jon were to have heart failure they should peform CPR, even use the paddles, but he did not want to be on a heart machine, nor breathe with a machine. I added that if his brain were deprived of oxygen for more than a very few minutes I knew the additional damage to the brain would mean there was then absolutely no hope Jon would ever be responsive again. The doctor said I was talking about "full code". After talking with him a bit I felt that maybe Lake Katrine had not been very "out front" with me about what kinds of DNR were available.

Lake Katrine called me a little while afterwards and said they had been contacted by the hospital and been told that we had wanted the DNR taken off Jon. I explained that I had been told that Jon's wishes were to be observed, that mere CPR was okay but heart-lung machines were out. She was upset with me and explained that there was either DNR or full code and nothing in between. I said this is not what I was told when we talked about this before and she got a bit huffy with me. She suggested she put a couple of doctors on the phone and we could talk about it some more...but she told me that the doctors had made their professional opinion known on the record and it wa in the best interest of the patient that he remain with a DNR. I knew what she was saying: as a father I had no rights. The doctors credentials would trump my desire to do what Jon had wanted. It was the day after I had been given my first epidural and I was a bit sick and woozy. I told her we would maybe have to talk about this later, that I needed to lie down.

I know now that it doesn't matter what Jon wanted, nor what I want. The doctors want Jon to die and clear out his bed for someone who has insurance and will pay his bills. Jon is on Medicare and his expenses are reimbursed at a fraction of the real costs. His life is impairing the ability of the place to pay for care for patients who might be helped and they have given up on Jon. They won't say this very often, but if you speak to them carefully and sound like you agree with this line of thought they do open up. They don't enjoy this pick and choose kind of medicine, but they do it every day. They try to heal those they think they can heal, and abandon those they think cannot be healed. The problem with this sort of thinking...aside from the Nazi-like results.... is that it is based on a paradigm. In this case the paradigm is that severely brain injured people never recover, especially after one year. This paradigm is not backed up by any real study of the people who are severely brain injured, but more on a sort of "gut feeling". In fact, many doctors I have spoken with at Lake Katrine have never actualy been in the same room as Jon, but they have looked at his paperwork and formed an opinion. Never mind that had they actually looked into his eyes while they spoke they would have seen a human being in pain and trying to handle his fate. Never mind that the nurses and aides who bathe Jon and dress Jon see that human in there. Bottom line is the bottom line. It's better for Jon to die so these doctors can heal others. Or not. In fact they may just go through the motions and go home, open a couple of bottles of wine and fall asleep in their favorite chair to the strains of some Italian opera.

Well, today we go through the motions of selecting a government. Never mind that in the history of the world, no facist state has ever voluntarily given up the seat of power. We go through the motions and hope we are wrong. The current regime has stated that they want to do away with the "welfare state" and given it's citizens the oportunity to invest in their own health care, to choose their doctors and not stand in line for care.

Jon has no choice, nor can he stand in line. His fate, should he live that long, is to die in a nursing home somewhere. My hope is that wherever they place him once they close down Medicare, is better than the hell he was in at the begining, where he lay in shit with open wounds, drenched in sweat and urine and gasping for breath while the nurse sat at the desk reading her novel. The fine republican governor of that fine compassionate state closd down several hospitals that were not making profits for the state and dispersed the patients out into that compassionate conservative world.

I voted. I never hoped, but I voted. They took my name and gave it a number so that when they count the votes they can compare the names and the votes and know who voted for whom. As far as I know the votes then go somewhere else to be counted elsewhere, or perhaps they simply shred the papers and mark in a book who is with the party and who is a troublemaker. I guess I'll go into the book of troublemakers.

Abu bin Adam, may his tribe increase
Awoke one night from a deep dream of peace
And saw within the moonlight of his room
Making it shine like a lily in bloom
An angel writing in a book of gold
Exceeding peace made bin Adam bold
And so unto the vision of the room he spoke
"What writest thou?" The angel closed his book
And then with a voice made of all sweet accord
Replied, "the names of those who love the Lord."
"And is mine one?" asked Abu. The angel shook his head.
Abu spoke more low, "I pray thee then, write me as one
Who loves his fellow man." The angel wrote and vanished.

There's more, but I forget the lines. I learned them many, many years ago when my sisters had to memorize it for school. The angel returns and shows Abu the names that the Lord has blest, and lo, bin Adam's name led all the rest! It's charming to note that it was considered better to love one's fellow man, even if one was not known to love the Lord. In fact, by loving one's fellow men, one loves the Lord.

Our President says he loves the Lord and by that he means, of course, the Christian God, the Silent Trickster who speaks in rhymes and riddles. It is clear that he has no love to spare for his "fellow men" because unless you are exceedingly rich, you are NOT his fellow men. His fellow men, his "base" as he calls them, are the millionaires who give him money and power. The power to kill hundreds of thousands of those who merely love their fellow men. Or those pitiful few who are sitting in wheelchairs, unable to vote or contribute to a political party. Those pitiful few who wait for the heart to slow and stop so that they may fly away, free at last.

The BIG THREE_OH Jon...... I'll bring a box of cupcakes for the nurses and I will slip a bit of frosting into your mouth. I know you like the flavor of chocolate. Last year you smiled so big when I did that for you.... It's not much, Jon, not much of a present, but it's all they will let me do for you. And it's the thought that counts, right? I think of you every day, son. I miss you all the time. Be well, sleep tight, dream dreams of pretty girls and bonfires and the sound of drums. Your daddy loves you.

Thursday, September 30, 2004

They keep talking about these new star clusters they find. They also seem to be finding a lot of planets these days too. As they show us the current concept of what the galaxy looks like and what the Ober-galaxy looks like we see these little gnat-swarms of stars and star clusters and galaxies all spinning and swirling. Now some of these galaxies are billions of light years away and are moving fairly fast and evolving as they are revolving. So the picture you see on the screen of your TV is a snapshot of that galaxy. The galaxy next to it and just above is slightly younger, but nevertheless billions of light years away and billions of years old. So if you thought about NOW you would expect them to look differently. The whole thing has by now spun into various paths and configurations, sudden accidents we didn't expect, some black holes we didn't know were there, tearing apart and swallowing the galaxy unlucky enough to wander near. Everything they tell you is wrong.

Now look out your window at the house next door. It, too, has changed since you looked. It's much closer, but still those light wavicles bouncing into your retinas are old, has-been bits of phtonic energy. The house has moved, the paint has faded. Down further we wander with our outdated vision onto the pavement and down Route 9 towards Saratoga. Cars coming at us, all older than we see, the drivers aged. One driver may start frowning at a radio show and the frown is started while we see the smile and expect a happy motorist. But by the time the body catches up with the vision, they are unhappy.

If we had shorter vision or longer sight we could look down Route 9 and see into the 50's at the hot rods and Buicks. Further down we see the carriages and horses and people hiking. Eventually the road turns into a path and then into a trail and firther back, dim against the sun we see large creatures covered in fur ambling past the ice cap. All older, all moved on.

Our reality is outdated by the time we analyze it. By the time we think about it the universe has changed. Our planet absorbed by an expanding sun, rudy and sullen and hungry. Our tiny souls drifting into the akasha planes before we can plan the trip. All time is relative, all existence is smeared and blurred by distance. This acheing body, this sad smile, all gone and drifted away by the time another observer can turn their head and see us. This rain has already begun to turn into a plant. This plant has already gone to seed. The snow has melted away to spring somewhere and am just now firing up the furnace. We're always behind and before.

How do we know if we are going backwards in time? If we are playing catch-up with the vision of the universe, flying backards into those strange days gone by when that star and that person and that plant all lived and moved and thought about things, when will we know the present? Behind us is our fate and yet we fuss about the rain that falls and smells so good but leaks into the bedroom and keeps me up at night. Al those glaciers gone flying backwards onto the summits and leaping up into the air as snow and ice and then falling back as mist into the mother womb of the sea.

Sometimes the lines converge. Sometimes one man's past is another man's future. Sometimes a child can save a mother.

The big bang may have been a crash. All things might have rushed into a common hole and this universe we see, this ALL that we look to, may just be a backwards searching memory, a life-passing-before-you kind of thing and everything we thought we did, we undid. Everything we got, every person we met we lost. But relative to everything we can see, there is a past and a future, we just sometimes get confused between the two.

If the universe is infinite and our souls are released upon physical death to live forever in the Glory and all that, then this bit of life is a hiccup and the long drawn out sigh of life is yet to come. We have plenty of time to look at all those stars, forwards and backwards. Time is relative and so are we.

Tuesday, September 28, 2004

We move on, we move on. We create images of ourselves along the Way, and we, for the most part, believe that we leave these images behind. Getting in touch with these images of ourselves can help resolve conflicts within ourselves left over from those previous lives. We remember high school in lots of ways but it's curious how often we hear about people dreaming about being in high school naked. Naked means exposed, open to discovery by others. Open to critiqueing. But the observer by observing, even in retrospect, causes the quantum collapse around a set of potentialities. If we observe our previous selves we change that previous self, and so that our present is changed. I suppose if you could control how you truly saw your previous self you could control aspects of your present self. Like self referencing is self creation.

Getting in touch with our previous selves. We remember having been touched by what it seemed might have been a future self and how that worked out. We changed in some way and that set our future. Say you recall a tme when you were brave. Amazingly so, you recall. Now you need to be brave. Something is facing you which presents such a challenge. You observe your previous self and you make this link so now you are brave or at least able to present this fairly enough so it works. Each success is a building block of a self and each brick can be changed. Imagine building a wall, a big wall made of bricks, all shiney red. So you paint one white. Matt white. What does your brick wall look like now? Do this a few times and then imagine that the wall is anything involving people, like countries, political parties...big groups. Look at the wall, think of the 'other'. America as one solid, same-texured, with one oddball. Suddenly you pay a lot of attention to that one brick, and maybe to a few red bricks around it.

Now imagine that the wall is yourself. That wall is everything you ever did to become what you are now. Now what do you do with that white brick, that one thing that catches your eye after all those years? Getting in touch with a previous self offers the chance to change and often the analogy is a ripple effect, touching all these others around the pool. If you think in 11 dimensions, the size of the quantum universe, it's a lot more dense and complicated. each riplle causes an infinite number of universes. Lot of responsibility.

Unless you just don't care and charge right in. Maybe you get so focussed on one thing you want that all others become less than real. When you were five looking for a gumball you dropped on the couch. Of course if you were the President of the United States with that kind of a mind, well you could screw things up badly. Like in those hot air balloon events where they drag in these so strange looking things, like a clipper ship hot air balloon, or a mantis ray fish hot air balloon... they come gliding in, on to the field and everybody looks, and really, they never do very well because their best feature is the way they look and sound, not what they are, really. A strange thing full of hot air lurching about trying to rise above the others.

Thursday, September 02, 2004

For some reason I started following a trail of thought I had awhile back. I'm kinda surprised I found the thread, but as I followed it through the maze I decided that if I could recall where it went I would share it. Here's how it goes, more or less.

I think it started with explaining how chakras and yoga work to my daughter. Why a full lotus is really about joining malkuth to that other chakra at the groin. Names are hard for me to hang on to, but that's why I'd make a lousy hermeticist. Anyway, as you follow the Central Pillar to the final glorious point you pass the two chakras, male and female principals and then on to the ONE. So suddenly I thought that Time requires two, which is why the ONE is beyond Time. But here's the deal. Without two things there is no time, but without two things there can't be a question and an answer or time to pose them. So the ONE can not be said to have self referenced as that would imply a point at which ONE was not self referenced, ie, a TIME when One was not self aware. And there is no time without TWO THINGS. So, logically, there is no ONE. Only two, the male and female principals. ONE is a myth presented by implication, by inference. You see two lines not parallel and you presume eventually they meet. You see TWO and you think there must be a ONE behind them. Each part of the TWO is a ONE in itself, right? WRONG! Can't be. With ONE there is no time. Sort of like an infinitely small measure of time. Try to remember your calculus. or the final measurement of Pi. No such thing. This really explains a great deal if you can wrap your mind around it.

When my sweety pie and I talk, we frequently manage to say the same things at the same time. I often know what she is going to say before she says it. So we talk as if we two are one. And in a sense, we are. We are, for instance, a couple. A team, a family, if you include the kids. But all those ONES are not real except by virtue of the illusion of duality. The trick is, the Great Illusion, that of Duality, is itself an Illusion of Itself. That is to say the principal of the Great Illusion is that there is a ONE behind all Things, a ONE which joins all things together. But at the end, which is still within the domain of time, there is still TWO. You don't self reference, I suppose. You still have the observer and the observed. You reference back to a previous self and or a future self, but never the present self because that is busy referencing the other two. That central principal is the Point of Illusion where things get murky. A threshold between two states of existence. And as I have pointed out, Thresholds are the domain of the Trickster, Master of Illusion.

Otherwise there would not be Existence at all. There would be only ONE. So I guess in the final analysis, Trickster IS the Creator God. Give the God it's due, Trickster did it All. Well, That's where I ended up. Now I need a beer and have no car as my sweety pie and my daughter are out getting school things for next week. So if she can understand where I am coming from, even from a distance, what do you think is the chance that they will recognize that I haven't been able to get a beer and my back is really amazingly painful tonight. Like between a 7 and an 8. A beer would wash those pain meds down nicely and give me some relief. Morpheine would be good too but I doubt the drug store would release any just on her say-so.

Indeed, Trickster is in charge.

Wednesday, August 25, 2004

For some time now you may have noticed that I've been bitching about my back pain. In point of fact the pain is not simply in my back but down my legs, down my arms and in my neck. The tingling is constantly in my arms and fingers and midback. The burning in the legs has slowed down, maybe because I'm trying so hard to adjust my posture, but the tingling has increased. Just so you know.

I called a massage therapist in town yeaterday. I'd been to see her before and it was very nice to have hours of no pain whatsoever without being dizzy from drugs. I mentioned that I had bought the last MRIs and radiologist's report and she asked me to read it to her. I obliged with her helping me through the technical terms and then she said "So what they're saying is that from the T12 down thru the sacrum your back is trashed." That's what I've been telling people for some time now but it's nice to hear someone else reach that conclusion. Friday I'm going to see her and get some work on the problem. I want to find out if the insurance will cover such treatments. You'd think it would since the drugs I'm taking constantly must cost a lot and without some kind of therapy on the root causes of the pain I'll be taking drugs for the rest of my life, wearing out my liver and kidneys in the process, but then the insurance says it covers accupuncture until you try to get them to pay and then they explain that they only cover accupuncture when performed by an MD. Why they think a western trained MD would be better qualified to needle my back than someone with many more years of training and experience is beyond me, but that's what they want.

I've been wanting to use my little tape recorder to get down some random thoughts for this blog, but I can't find the tapes or the machine anymore. The drugs trash my memory, which is why I wanted a pocket recorder to record my thoughts. By the time I get over to the computer I have forgotten so much of my line of thought I tend to ramble. On the other hand if I try to go without the drugs the pain is so bad I tend to truncate my writings so I can go pace around for awhile doing lamaze breathing. Right now it feels like my left arm is getting ready to go into shingles mode, like some brute is pinching my elbow and my right hand is tingling. One of the neat things, though, is that I can trace some of the larger nerves by where the pain is. So I got that going for me.

A born again Christian writes in the editorial page that God hates homosexuals and destroyed Sodom and Gomorra so gay mariages will result in God destroying America. I wonder why God hasn't destroyed any of the other cities in the modern world where gays are running around? Ptown on the Cape, for instance, is right out there in clear sight. Maybe He ran out of fire and brimstone so He's going to have to use nuclear, biological and chemical weapons this time around. Oddly enough, another writer pointed out that the King James version of the Bible was authorized by a flaming queen: King James. Well, I'm sure once the True Believers convert America into a theocracy we'll sort it all out. Shuffle all the gays, gypsies and pagans into Vegas and then nuke it. St. Hitler would be so proud of us! Nothing like a little rabid hatred after the morning prayers.

I wonder what would happen if we got a bunch of grandmothers to march on Washington to demand that their families come home from the war? I wonder if Kent State would be revisited? Most of my daughter's friends don't know much about the smaller demonstrations where people were clubbed to death or maced in the eyes and blinded, but they know about Kent State. They know it could happen again, to anyone. These folks don't care about who they kill and maim, or they wouldn't be so quick to drop cluster bombs on children.

It's really hard to stop the back from hurting when your heart is hurting.

I saw my boy yesterday, saw that he looked as bad now, four years after the accident, as he did when we first got him back to NY and into a decent facility. But all facilities are manned by people and these people have given up. Last night I saw Michael Moore's movie and saw a vet with brain damage trying to talk about things. If Jon ever talks again that will be about as good as it gets for him. We are making thousands of people just like that, many of them Americans. George doesn't care. His drunken happy daughters will never go to war, never risk their lives for others. That's all he cares about. If I were to take him to Lake Katrine and show him the crippled Americans dying there all he would worry about would be if they voted or not or if there was a camera nearby. Trouble is, it's about the same for Kerry. He's making money off of death. He'll never have to work again either, just talk. He'll be a millionaire by talking and hell, I can talk til you're blue in the face, why aren't I even remotely rich? I have $30 in the bank and a boy in a wheelchair who can't come home in part because his bedroom has two buckets to catch rain water from the holes in the roof. But at least our toilets flush and our lights go on, which is more than can be said for the poor slobs living in the countries we have liberated in the name of rabid American Christian Capitalism.

You might have noticed that tired old men with acheing backs get grumpy. We also get tired of being tired, tired of holding up our kid's heads to show them a poster on the wall. Tired of mopping up mucus from their chests where the trache leaks. Tired of waking up to cat vomit and dog shit. My friends tell me to cheer up and get on with my life. I'm not always sure I want to, but then, who would hold my son's head?

Saturday, August 21, 2004

Around 3 am I woke up to the sound of dripping in the bedroom. I knew the roof was, once again, saturated, cracked and leaking. I got out the buckets and then lay down to try to sleep. My sweety-pie was sleeping peacefully away. The lady can sleep through a train wreck. I jump up at the whisper of a mouse. Then I heard our guest, my sister in law, grumbling and thrashing about. She had placed her laptop on the desk directly under the stain on the ceiling. I know I have warned the ladies about this, but they thought my last adventure with the tar bucket had solved the problem. I have no confidence and was proven right. So with several buckets stuffed with towels to soften the sound everybody got back to sleep. The faint drip sound eventually drove me to the living room where I lay down under a throw and tried to get back to sleep. The old cat Oona decided she wanted attention and came up to yell at me and purr loudly. The cat has the loudest purr I ever heard. I grabbed her and in a fit of unjust anger, tossed her out into the rain. She hid under the car in confusion and the rain continued to pour down.

Now I'm up and about, drinking many cups of coffee. I let Oona in and apologized and gave her some wet food... she has no teeth. She happily purred and yelled at me. My neck is stiff, the back is sore, the eyes are red and in a couple of hours we're all going to go to a happy birthday party for a 9 year old, the daughter of good friends who live in town in a house whose roof does not leak, despite it being a hundred years older than ours. I like that house. It has a lot of funny little stairs leading to servants quarters, to the basement, odd little bathrooms with nothing but a toilet inside. It's the kind of house I figured someday I'd live in, except it has no tower. I always figured I'd have a house with a tower. Maybe the second floor of the garage where I keep my clay studio counts as a tower.

From that tower I can see the new beds in the garden I built last week. The second crop of lettuce is sprouting and the snow pea bed is ready to be cleared off and replanted. I added a couple of beds to the garden in happy hopes of growing more dried beans and other foods to augment our meager income. I have a barrel full of dirt and potato plants growing, secure from the chipmunks. It's something I think I got from Mother Earth News. If it works, when I turn the barrel on it's stand the potatoes will pour out and we'll have happy purple tater pancakes. If it doesn't work I'll have proof that chipmunks are even smarter than I thought. If it works I have another barrel I will cut and build a stand for next year. The raised beds have produced a huge crop of green plants, but not as many squash and beans as I expected. I have found out that birdhouse gourds not only love raised beds, but will grow over the top of nearby bean plants, driving them to the ground. If I can make birdhouses out of the gourds maybe I'll make enough money to buy dried beans to make up for my bad planning. Next year the birdhouse gourds grow on the fence, not in a bed. I'll add loofahs, too.

Jon had a stay in the hospital to deal with a urinary tract infection induced by a catheter. Instead of using a diaper and risk his skin breaking down, as it sometimes does, they shove a catheter up his dick. Needless to say the thing is sterile at first, but if the nurse drops it on the floor she uses it anyway. I've seen this. I mentioned the idea of using sterile catheters and she changed the device for a new one, but I know that when I'm not there she uses the dirty one. Jon gets fevers very easily but since the doctors have abandoned helping him emerge from his coma-like state, the nurses follow the cue and just maintain him. they talk to him, in much the same way you talk to a teddy bear or a car with a bum battery, but they don't really talk TO him. They talk at him and around him but not to him. He's inside now, not listening, not paying attention to the catheter being shoved up his dick.

When Jon comes to visit I can feel his hands take control of my hands. My chopping changes style, becomes more effective, more profesional. Jon was a good chef. He starts adding herbs I rarely use and lectures me on the overall look of the meal. Maybe this is a memory of his lectures from before the accident. Maybe I'm just imagining what Jon would be doing if he had used a seat belt back then and was dropping by in person to help me prepare a meal. Maybe his soul is still trapped in that broken form 100 miles away. Then again, maybe all I need to do to get rid of the pain in my back is accept the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal savior. Maybe all I have to do to get rid of the pain in my back is to accept the Lady Bjork as my personal savior. Maybe all I have to do to get rid of the pain in my back is to accept that my back is broken and stop paying attention to the pain. Lots of maybes.

The rain in Spain may fall mainly on the plain, but the rain in upstate New York falls mainly in our bedrooms. In my universe there would be a great geodesic dome over our living space, preventing the rain from dripping into my life. I'd have a few panels of clear glass, a few of stained glass and a few of solar panels for heat. I'd also be living alone, because I'm the only one in the family who likes domes. I'm also the only one who really believes that Jon comes to visit in spirit form and advises me on my cooking habits. I'm kinda used to being the only one who feels certain things. The typical shaman is a solitary person and even in the 21st century in an all white household filled with computers and cd players, the resident shaman is a lonely man. He misses his son, he misses having a roof that doesn't leak, a back that doesn't twitch and jolt with pain, and the feeling that the rest of his life will be all smooth and under control in a house with a lovely productive garden and a great looking tower where he runs off to create his art.

I still run off to the garage studio to create my art. The garden is productive, if only for biomass. My son still comes to visit, although nobody but me talks to him. And if I was smart enough to suspend a spider plant under the leaks I'd have an automatic watering system instead of an annoying household problem. Why didn't Jon mention that last time he was here, why does he always try to tell me how to cook? Oh well, he always liked cooking over gardening, and I guess a leaking roof was never something he had to deal with. I wonder if I could shove a catheter into that stain on the ceiling and redirect the drips to a bag on the wall? It's a thought.

Thursday, August 12, 2004

Sitting in the living room with my daughter, laughing at some funny cartoons. The phone rings. Jon is having a "not good day". Heart rate is up, breathing is down, blood pressure is off. Urinary tract infection because they always use a Foley catheter instead of a Texas catheter. They could use diapers or towels and a plastic sheet, but that means more work for the aides. So they shove a plastic tube up his penis and every now and then innoculate him with a bacteria. Fever of 102.7. If it goes higher should we send him to the ER? Yes, please. High fevers mean seizures. We'll keep you informed, just wanted you to know.

Now the laughter is gone, the smiles are gone. I have a headache. My back is tight. It's almost time to take some pain meds. Sleep will come in one hour slots, I suppose, as I worry about the fever.

If we lived in Sweden, Britain...even Finland, Jon would not have these fevers and I would not have this pain. Jon would be sitting in his chair watching the cartoons with us, his family. I would have a nice new disc in my back, or a pump squirting in low doses of morpheine or something to kill the pain. Jessie wouldn't be borrowing $100,000 to go to college. My car would have a rear bumper or we wouldn't need a car. The roof would not be leaking. Mold would not be growing on our ceiling. If we lived in a civilized country.

I can't get high enough to kill the pain without killing myself.

How to learn to love the pain, to admire the folly, to feel no remorse? They don't teach you this in those nice meditation classes. I'm not trying to learn how to relax, I want to stop hurting. Why won't they let me stop hurting? Why do they have to hurt my son?

There is no "why". It's just the way it is, here in America, the best of all possible worlds. Tomorrow the rain may be gone, the roof may stop dripping, the back may loosen up. I may just go eat some pills, maybe double up on the pain meds. Find a way to find a way.

Tomorrow or the next I'll dose up, hop in the car, drive 100 miles to hold my son's hand and tell him I'm sorry he hurts and try to convince them to make the effort to reach him, not to maintain him, but to reach him and explain why it's so important to shove a tube up his dick and make him sick. To give him fevers and seizures and a shorter life span.

Ancient blessing: Grandfather dies, father dies, son dies.

Live to see your grandchildren, have children of your own, your children live on after you have gone. Something like that. I still have a chance to have grandchildren. I can always move the family to Sweden if they let us in. Time to take some pills and watch some cartoons.

Saturday, August 07, 2004

Tonight I'm stuck in a world of pain. It doesn't make a lot of sense because I had reikei on my back this afternoon and didn't have any alcohol, no red meat. I watched an interesting bit of TV and went to bed early and woke up a couple of hours later in pain. Typical that my back would sneak up on me like this. I dug up some wildflowers this morning, so the shoveling might be the problem. The irony of this is amazing. If I do things which make me feel complete, like gardening or art, my back and arms knot up and lock up and then no pills, no herbal teas, nothing helps.

I've been told I'm too serious. I can't quite understand this. We have had our government taken over by bloodthirsty, religious zealots who think the idea of the End of Times is a justifiable goal. I have a son in a coma losing hope and running out of time. My back has crushed bones and damaged nerves and the drugs you take to help with one problem cause others. I sleep in one hour increments with my mind buzzing, my arms twitching and my dream erratic. But I'm too serious.

It's hard to think like this. I've been through drug withdrawal before and this is similar, but I haven't stopped taking any drugs recently, so where is it coming from? I thought about the rebound effect I get sometimes when I do the right things, like get therapy for my back. The muscles relax nicely and then snap back, tighter than before. I'm at war with this back of mine. I think it's winning. Lack of sleep causes pain, pain causes lack of sleep. This is where legal medical pot would be so handy. If I could grow the stuff I'd have a nice salad, saving my poor lungs and affter awhile I'd be nighty-nite. Instead I will probably be drinking hops tea some more and see if the mild narcotic will help me sleep. It's not that I can't get to sleep, but the pain wakes me up too soon to get into REM sleep.

When I was having reikei I had a vision just towards the end. I could see the wooden archway that is at the path to my garden. In front and blocking it was a seven headed monkey, like a hydra. I wonder what kind of spirit it was, maybe a messenger from trickster. Cut one head off and two more grow. Well, maybe a flame thrower would fry the bastard. What's the spiritual equivalant of a flame thrower? Peyote. Yeah. I should shove eight buttons up my butt and have a little trip. That would certainly be distracting but chances are my sweety-pie would object. Besides I haven't done that kind of thing in maybe 30 years and it would be a shame to stop my heart just to relieve a little pain.

What I need is a good massage and accupuncture. I wonder if the local accupuncturist makes late night early morning house calls? A sauna might do it but the sauna remains incomplete due to back troubles. Ah, there's the rub. Everybody who has enough skill to make the pain go away lives about 3000 miles away. I'm so tired, Uncle Albert, and I haven't done a single bloody thing all day. Except dig some wildflowers, try to help my back out and eat healthy. Strange. If I had had a half dozen beers or a few shots I'd probably be sleeping like a babe, but waking up with a migraine. Damn this body of mine, I wish we could work up a treaty of some kind.

Okay, the pain pills will kick in soon, if they are going to do anything. I'll make some more hops tea, take some more neurontin and hope for the best. That freaking mokey can piss off as far as I am concerned. Sooner or later I will pass out and maybe sleep for more than an hour. That would be great. Risa, if you want me to loosen up and lighten up come on down and use those massage skills on the tightest back you ever saw. Otherwise go out back and tell that hydratic monket to piss off. Tomorrow is a better day and I will never be hungry again. Sleepy yes, hungry, no. I have patty pan squash out the ass in my garden. Not the same as peyote up the ass, but it will have to do. If my daughter wasn't a vegetarian we'd be eating fried chipmunks. The little creeps are digging up my herb garden. I hate that. Ah well, pain and lack of sleep makes my grumpy. Maybe a good book on quantum mechanics will make me sleepy. Oh, yeah, it's not being sleepy that's the problem. I'm plenty sleepy. I just can't sleep.

Monday, August 02, 2004

A simple proposal came to me. As usual, I was weeding and meditating on the act. We've seen the genocide allusion and bigotry concept go by and thought about the idea that I was not killing, but trimming back, becaue I certainly know that all grass in interconnected and long limbed, so I was brushing aside. then I had the thought that really I was harvesting yet another growth which thru my action or inaction I had some responsibility for....well it just snowballed. Or dirtballed. Anyway, I have pretty locked onto the idea of Life as Change. that all life changes and all that changes is alive in some way even if I am ignorant of how to say HI. But I got into a talk with a fundamentalist evangelical lady who always assures me that God even loves me, the Pagan. She's cute, but she makes me think about, How could I say anything to make her understand anything of what I mean by "spirit"? So I practice speeches. And edit them in my mind while I weed. I figure the speches are changeing, ergo they are alive.

And what do living things do first off? They try to stay alive. Every living thing does things early on to stay alive, or.... they die, yeah? So everything tries to stay alive, usually by establishing some room for change, establishing "space". This often means killing other things. But it's okay, generally, if you kill "others", like so called weeds. Flowers, things that you like or make you feel good, can stay. That is pretty much a right of all living things. That said, I asked, What else is there?

If everything that changes is alive and everything changes, and certainly all things change, what's left over? IN my mind's ear I heard it as I was thinking it, probably whispered to me by Trickster. "GOD NEVER CHANGES" No, God in the Big Three is unchanging, all knowing etc. If God does not change, then God is not alive, or not living. This would make sense because the metaphor of life on earth is of non-life sustaining life, and God is said to sustain us. So God is the Great Unliving. Not the living dead, because they require human blood and you can't seem to shake them with anything but symbols, and you better believe in them symbols strongly because the strength comes from within. Then I realized I'd described Judaism, Christianity and Islam. But those date back earlier, maybe to a volcano god. Which could have been the Goddess when she was pissed. Maybe Yaweh is Momma Pissed Off. Shades of Glory.

But I digressed a bit. God as the Great Unliving is also the AllKnowing. Now, I know that gnosis is the domain of the Goddess, and gnosis is knowing, but gnosis is also understanding, the goal, the perfection. Yaweh's gnosis is imperfect so he's just allKNOWING, not GNOSIS. Now, as some thinker realizes that the creation of a God requires a quantum collapse of emense proportions, they understand that "Whenever three or more of Ye are gathered..." is more Hermetic, but Hermes was the God of messages. The point is that making a God requires a lot of people to think it up, to sustain it. If you sustain a God long enough it elevates up to a level where it is the Biggest Crab Grass on the Lawn! Or at some point, whether it was a god in waiting and a prophet delivered it to the people, or created by some prophet and sustained by the people makes not difference. You got a God out there. You brought it home, and by YOU I mean the people who sustain IT. You have to feed it, to pick up after it, teach it something, don't let it just lay around and get fat, like those Goddesses over there....

But the gods made this way are merely metaphors for the ONE, which, in a fit of self examination created the Living Universe, the one that thinks and changes. Slightly different from the Great Unliving which created it. We don't know how long the Great Unliving was about, thinking about itself until it established what it was and what it wasn't, which created duality and the illusion of time. Before two there was no time. By then the paradoxes of daughter creating mother cause a ripple effect of paradoxes and the Physical universe comes into being, the Group of Four. Four dimensions. Four directions, four elements, nice difraction pattern formed by fours and waves of light and radiation, what a blast.

I weed because it makes me feel good. I harvest to make food and to spread life, why I compost. Understanding compost is to understand entrophy. I realize that I cannot see the Great Unliving because it does not change. It can't wave, it has no fingers. Unlike me prying through the violets plucking out grass sprouts, God is reduced to sending tablets of stone down. But how could IT, the One send anything out? Couldn't, it would have to be one of the grandkids or one of the cousins. Someone with room to change and the inclination.

A people define their god by their habits, by their history, what they are willing to take on and to pas up to their God. You don't see vegetarians worshiping a meat eater very often. Sometimes they are picky eaters. Sometimes people get the idea that to make enough people think of a god a certain way you need to make them run in one direction. So they kill someone up front and the whole flock just runs to the right, then the left, tramplings can happen and it just never works out well. People who worship cattle tend to want to be in big flocks going in one direction. It's why congregations happen. Whenever three or more of ye are gathered in my Name refers to the creation of a Holy Name.

The trick with a Holy Name is that the fewer people who know it, the holier it becomes, so it becomes SACRED, like secret. It's a secret, don't tell mommy, and don't tell daddy, or uncle or whatever he calls himself...don't tell anyone, it's a secret. That just so sounds like a dirty old man about to expose himself to some little kid. The Burning Bush indeed. But there you go. That's why it's important to have esoteric knowlege, that is Hidden Knowlege. But then that's a damn secret too. And on it goes. All of Mom's brothers want to play games that don't seem "right". Like when you're asked to lay your son over a rock and slit his throat so He could drink the blood. Well, He didn't actually make the kid do anything except slit the throat of a living thing and let the God drink it's blood. Then in a few hundred years the God gets the kid anyway, because all living things die and are reborn.

Gods that are living must therefor die and be reborn. And in between Death and Life, Dark and Light, is the domain of Trickster. The God of threshold events and quantum collapses. He keeps cranking out new Truths and they still don't get the joke. He's just watching us until the ONE returns, and don't try to tell the ONE what Uncle did, because One already knows and doesn't care, because you've all been bad. You.... ate that fruit! That Bad Fruit, you thought that thought, slept with that person, worked on the wrong day, you're all bad and all your children will be bad, too and the ONE will not like you at all, ONE'll turn away from you. The ONE can't turn away, because the ONE is ONE and there is no duality so there is no question, no answer, no goal or destination, or anything living, because living is change and the ONE cannot change.

But the virtue of Trickster is that Trickster is OUTSIDE, coming from Chaos. Trickster can allow the ONE to change, or close enough for tunnel work. By holding up masks of all the faces of ONE and exciting the imagination through symbols, Trickster can empower the masks and give a form to that God. That is the example of trickster in his Creative Role as Great Mother or maybe Great Aunt, probably named Freya. But, as I say, once you've asked for one, created one and sustained one, you know they are living and so must die someday. Maybe in your lifetime and if you are devout enough, this will be a bad time, maybe the Last of Times.

I figure we'll all just go to the shelter and find one with nice eyes.

Thursday, July 29, 2004

As I stepped out of the studio and onto the path toward the house, I noticed that the honeysuckle had grown or something, maybe bent over from the heavy rain, but anyway, it was in my way. I had to step a half step to the right. I took another step and thought that I should come back and trim the bush back, maybe with a chain saw and cut it all the way back so I could finish that small deck and roof I have wanted to do for decades. Then, as I often do, I thought about what I was saying from the standpoint of the object in discussion, in this case the right of a plant to live in such a way that I had to take a step to the right, instead of merely remembering where the plant was, what it had looked like the first time I passed it. No, I thought about whacking a living thing so I wouldn't have to step sideways. Why there are people who pay money to go somewhere and step sideways while some excitable person plays loud music. Just amazing.

Anyway I was thinking about this concept of feeling like I had a "space" that I had to defend, even to a point where I would kill something in that space without my permission, or something. Although there are plenty of other animals who also seem to feel that way, starting at least with that white faced hornet growing a tribe in my lawn tractor. He loves his space. So I flexed my shoulders and thought about that space. I always think of my friend when I start flexing and thinking about my "body space" because he is so aware of his most of the time. He tries a lot to be aware of himself because he almost lost himself once or twice. Anyway, of course in defining one's "self" as selft you always have to deal with and define the limits at which point you are a finer "you" than this body is, was or maybe is soon not to be. Why do I "need" so much buffer room?

I got to thinking about something I see a lot of lately, mud, and all the things living in it, in a different space. Like the earthworm living in it's tube while being themselves something of a tube, as we learned in high school biology class. I think that with biology should be a smattering of spirituality. If, for instance, I had at least listened to someone read about that great story where the mystic shows the god a line of ants and reveals that each ant had been a god at one time, well maybe disecting that worm could have been a spiritual journey. There's a segment of a show I saw once where the young medical students are being introduced to their cadavers, being told something about them and a small lecture is made about respecting the dead forms. Well, it would have been nice to have the same lecture for the worms and frogs. They all have spirits and deserve respect and there I was getting ready to set back a living form to control a space I can't control anyway.

Think about that worm space, Many of us must have dug tunnels or played in the sand so the idea of soil on arm is not a bad feeling. Now expand that sense to where you draw up your consciousness into that long, thin form down under the soil and it's all your form. That's you moving blindly about sniffing. When you find something that smells good you open your mouth and dig into it, swallowing, digesting, modifying, transfering out wastes and expelling. You leave behind an imprint from the inside of your passage. How many times do I feel that I am leaving an impact of my passage? Being an artist it's easier to leave stuff, but if I look at the stuff...

I read so many times about Egyptians saving up fingernails, hair and such so in the afterlife all your parts would stull be there or something, as if cast off parts are something you'd ned when you had transcended form? They apparently didn't think highly of the idea of transcending form. Odd, because the butterfly certainly understands it. We all deal with the idea of a agg hatching into a worm which becomes a catterpiller and that turns into a cocoon or crysalis which then splits and turns into a big winged thingy that lays eggs. Yeah, it's a great story and analogy, but if you treat it as a template and extend the metaphor or something, then we think about that honeysuckle and that space not being mine to control, I sure don't control the space that I normally think of as me very well. It hurts, and I don't want it to hurt. And it didn't used to. Like the egg thing may have hurt like hell so many times along the way as it became a winged thingy, which then did something else. It stopped flying and fell apart, becoming soil, dust, that sort of thing, scattering out into the environment. The assumed form becomes quite large that way and just as tenuous as the form I had back in 1974. It didn't hurt and it didn't last. So if I had all my body parts saved in jars, maybe I'd have some back parts that could plug in, that'd be great.

Actually, an earthworm has no backbone to hurt. Although getting stepped on has to be real tough, even underground. Great apes dent the earth. But ordinarily I bet the thing is, just keep digging and sniffing. Eventually they must from time to time dug up to a dead earthworm, maybe torn by a shovel or something. I don't know what they do when they run nose first into dead Roy, do they pause and give some thought to "It could well be me." or by eating dead Roy, shoving him into their tube allow Roy to become, for a time, them. Do they eat crying over some wormy memory? Most would say no, but that is specieism or something because we have no way of knowing, without becoming worm bait ourselves. Which most of us will do, even if the bait is deferred by way of the crematorium. Or sent to a hospital, as my dad wants to do. Bravo, dad.

I have been told that my son cannot donate his body very easily in terms of organs and all. Except as a package to a medical school where someone can learn something from that form which once I assumed was him. I'm not so sure any more, in no small part because I am not exactly sure how I became that which I do not recall advocating for. I would have liked a lot more warranty on the back thingy, but then, interestingly enough, in terms of population the beings most impacted by sudden changes like death are bacteria. Which live in me and are always trying to eat me. Like little worms or tube thingys, eating me from the inside. Or if you like merely trying to get me to become them for a time. They may see this as a form of greeting. They have to be fatalists because if I ever do answer back it often takes the form of dietary changes to elimintae most of them, another genocide to my credit. But life goes on, changeing form as life does.

We got all these tubes running in all directions causing changes of forms which could all boil down to a confusion over the difference between "Eat me!" and "Hello!"

As I type I drink water from some unknown source filled with life forms becoming me or as much of me as I can normally see. Curious criteria for what I consider "me". I mean by and large the part of me that I can't see that mutters in the dark and plans things and projects itself through time and space, well that me I can never see. So just because I can't see it doesn't mean it isn't me. And since most of the universe as I am willing to conceed exists can't be seen, then there exists such a very good potential for my being infinite that by and large this should make my back feel beter. I keep asking myself is any of this going to stop the pain in the back which for some reason I seem to having a difficulty today. With.

Maybe it's trying to say hello, like a toddler fumbling it's first words. Maybe my form is stumbling toward a greeting. Well, trust me to misunderstand something like that. We must go through our entire lives screening calls we never knew we got. Like filters on an email program we don't know what we lose. Lately gnats have been buzzing around and now and then one flies into my ear. It sounds a bit like feedback from a microphone but maybe the guy is simply apologizing for his friends bumping into me like that. Maybe he was listening to his echo.

Maybe when I sleep my consciousness seeps through into the bed like water draining out of a strainer of sushi rice. Like a "sea in a bottle" my mind sloshes back and forth. It may seem calm to those watching but to one inside it might feel sometimes like a tempest. Wow. A tempest in a teapot would still seem a tempest to a bacteria, I'll wager. On his way to becoming me.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

This is from a letter I wrote to a friend, talking about how to convince the doctors where my son lives that he is responding to people. She suggests that when aides tell me stories about Jon reacting to them I should have them write down these stories to show the doctors in charge of his care....

I'll try to do this, if they have the time, but you know that these aides and/or nurses are usually talking to me as they are going from patient to patient and don't have much time to sit down and write something up. It's a good idea, I guess, but in the end what will the result be? They may fear "crossing" their superiors and risking their jobs, which could easily happen, especially if the superiors think I may use this information to get them in trouble with the health department. It'll come down to them saying they know more than the doctors do and that won't go over too well. Even if I have a 500 page report from janitors, aides and nurses saying Jon seems to respond in a coherent manner, what would be the result? They still don't have the funding for special therapies like HBOT, they still don't have enough aides for patterning, they can't give him drugs that the Medicaid people say NO to.......I'm just saying that this is not a democracy and no matter how many votes Jon gets for being "in there" ol' Doc Shroud can be perfectly within his rights to say "No, he isn't" and keep doing what he's been doing. The chief advantage might be for moving him, to convince the place I want to move him to that he is capable of being much more responsive. So in that case we are waiting for someone to get better and move out, or die and leave an open bed.....and we need Jon to be first in line on the "A" list. That's a hard one, because he's just another person waiting for a bed. ON the plus side, if the new place should ask the guys in LK if Jon is a problem patient the answer is "NO" and does the family support and advocate in a civilized manner the answer is "YES" so we have a good record to go on.
Does anyone know of a device to measure hand pressure? I remember various doctors measuring my squeezing capabilities to determine the extent of nerve damage in my back...I'm wondering if there is an objective test, like a grip with a dial. I could put it in Jon's hand and ask him to squeeze and on a good day he would squeeze and then I can record the pressure...maybe even document smaller pressures that I didn't notice. Another potential record would be measuring the electrical input to his hands. Even if the muscles don't move, if you ask for a squeeze and the brain sends signals to the hand, then he's reacting, right? These guys are going to want objective data. How much does it cost to fly a guy to Germany? I wonder..... if I can get Jon to Dr. Birbaumer's clinic in Germany, then we would have the expert using the equipment, seeing if Jon is "in there" AND in a country with universal health care! Something to think about. At least it isn't like the guy in Cuba with the stem cell therapy and nobody from America can go there because Cuba is "EVIL" damn socialists. Another thought I had...that book The Butterfly and the Diving Bell was written about the clinic where the publisher guy was discovered to be locked in, not PVS. As I recall the place became a major research center to explore this locked in stuff. Does anyone else remember that? More research for Will to do. Finally, here's a crazy idea from a crazy father..... I used to do a lot of theater stuff when I was a mace-swinging mail-wearing Viking guy. I liked to do puppets, white face mime etc. Well, there's this nice picture of Jon as a toddler looking at a marionette I had of a Scotsman. I was looking at that and suddenly had this thought of Jon as the puppet, all tied up from above. You move the ropes and Jon's legs move.... so in patterning they want the legs and such to move like he's a baby, right? Why not have a rig to hold him up vertical, move his arms and legs as if he's walking and let the feedback loop help him recall what it felt like and how it happened? Just a thought. Couldn't require any more equipment than a ceiling lift. It might take fewer aides than patterning and if you did it in front of a mirror he'd see himself move....

Hang in there Will, hopefully Jon will be at home soon.

Jon's doing alright, kiddo. Just between you and me and the several hundred others on the list, crazy Will the Shaman gets "visits" fairly often these days. I told Jon he can spirit walk over and sit inside my head and visit when I can't get down there. When it happens I can feel his body from my side, feel the trache, taste the crap in his mouth, the tube in the gut, the a distant feeling, but it's there. And in exchange he gets to feel my hands moving, taste my lunch, help me drink a beer...8-) It has helped him stay sane, I think, because it shows him that I am working on his problem even when I'm not holding his hand. I can tell when he's feverish this way too and call down to LK to tell them to check...he's always sick when I say he is..... Jon is rational outside the body, the chemistry is not there to upset the balence. The thing is, I think sometimes he thinks he's dreaming the visit and I tell him that if he is dreaming, it's a nice dream, so he shouldn't fight it. Then again, maybe I'm dreaming as I walk around feeling like two men in one body, maybe I'm just crazy now, but if I am it's a nice crazy...well, not really nice, but it helps me deal with my little problems. How can I be too despondent over my pain when I can feel that trache, and the back pain and the cramps in the feet and legs and arms.....? In this way my faith supports me, reinforces the concept that the soul, the spirit is not bound to the body and although it can be effected by disaster, the true "self" is free of such concerns. In the end we are all ONE and this life is just another in a string of lives, like a poem made of stanzas, some of which leave the spirit flying high and others which seem forced and uncomfortable. Over all we like the poem even when we get grumpy with the poet.

Will, Jon's dad

This feeling I get when Jon visits is like the feeling you get when you are sudden aware that you are drunk or high. You feel your thoughts are not quite connected to your body and it's possible to be more objective about the pains and such you normally feel, even to the extent of ignoring them. Then there is the feeling of someone standing just behind your shoulder so that if you turn your head you will see them standing there. I relax and let Jon "in". I feel his arms in my arms, his body slowly superimposing itself on mine. I can feel the places where plastic tubes come into his body and taste the plastic of the trache in his throat. It's useful for me to know how he feels but useless in terms of being able to talk to the doctors about it. In fact, it's important that I not tell them that we do this sort of thing, because as good Christians they would think very badly of a man who thinks people can control their spirit and leave their bodies.

I'm not sure what would happen if you had a party for shamans. Like if there were a room full of people dressed in whatever they think of as "party clothes", maybe feathers in their hat, like I wear, maybe feathered cloaks like the Central American shamans like to wear. We all have sticks of some kind, all have special rocks, special bits of flotsom, maybe animal friends like old Fred the cat, or spirit friends and guides. What kind of music would a shaman party have? No doubt drums would play up big, and a bonfire, maybe a sweat lodge. What a nice idea to be somewhere I could talk to others who know about spirit walking, about distance healing. I'd like so much to be somewhere I could talk about what it is like behind the veil, how the spirits assume form, the kinds of things you have to do or not do. They wouldn't look at me funny and move away. They wouldn't suggest more drugs or counseling. They'd show off their crystals and rocks and mirrors. Talk about dead ancestors coming around, maybe introduce me to their guides. What a nice party that would be.

But shamans do not have parties and do not come together for support groups. Maybe I should start one, if I could be sure that I wouldn't be in a room with some neo-pagans talking about urban pagan myths and wiccan spells. I don't need to hear from wannabes, I would just like to listen to some serious spirit guy talking about a bit of business done some equinox by a bonfire in the desert, involving birds and snakes, turtles and foxes, huge semi-transparent figures against the sky and some friend getting a good report on their latest MRI's. No credit, no claim to fame, but somehow helping those who need it. That would be interesting.

Monday, July 19, 2004

It's a lot like going to a jail, going to see my son. My wife and I, and Jon's half-sister drive two hours down country roads in order to have some relaxing moments before entering the world of traumatic brain injury. I showed them a historical Dutch barn that had been reconstructed and we took some pictures. We looked for interesting houses in some of the litle hamlets, chased an interesting bus to take a picture of it and then discovered that it was carrying a bunch of crazy religous zealots who once tried to convert Jess. Lots of things happen before you pull into the driveway and walk thru the automatic doors at Lake Katrine.

You have to sign a book when you arrive and there are two of them at the desk. There's always some confusion because they label them strangely, so that the book that seems to be for visiting families is actually the one for more commmercial visitors. A TBI survivor is almost always there to greet you and sullen, damaged individuals stare at you from their chairs until they recognize your face from before and then they wave. It always makes me feel better somehow when I see the wave. It means their memories work, their vision works, they can control their hands and arms. They know what to do when they see someone they know. Funny, isn't it, those things we never think much about when we live in the world or normal functioning brains.

You also have to sign a book once they let you in to the vent unit, and I often can't recall which desk has the sign in book. It all serves to make you feel like you are entering a prison, which of course in a way you are, but it's mostly to protect the residents from hurting themselves or being hurt by people from outside who would take advantage of them.

Jon was not having a good day. His forehead was hot and sweaty, his lungs were rattling, the sheets were damp and his skin was pasty and broken out. Another infection. Each one can take his life and I noticed the two IV bags hanging at his bed, empty. He'd been sick for a few days, but none of the weekend staff could tell me with what or for how long he had been infected. UTI, pneumonia? Doesn't matter, they both can kill and they are both treated the same way. I've been thru this so many times but it always scares me. He looked almost as bad as when he was down in Scottsdale, but still, much better than those terible days. No bloody wounds gaping and smeared with shit. No piss stained sheets or gum smacking, unconcerned nurses. He was being taken care of.

The room mate, Charlie, was being visited by his wife and fat old dog, Skipper. Skipper likes to sneak over and give Jon a kiss and wait near his twisted hand for a stroking. They tell me Jon gets to see the dog often and between this dog and the therapy dogs Jon gets a visit every day. I wish it would be Jon's dog, but Jon's dog was taken by a friend and it seems isn't coming back. Funny how people feel okay about stealing things from a man in a coma. Even his dog. Skipper is a kindly old dog who shows me clearly that she knows Jon is sick, but reassures me that she is there for him. Jon likes to have a dog nearby and smiles his twisted litle half-smile and he struggles to breathe.

I tell Jon about how we're trying to find a facility close to home, how we're arranging to fix the leaking roof and set up his old bedroom so he can come visit. He smiles at me a bit, with a film over his eyes, but the fever seems to be breaking and his skin feels cooler. I stroke his dampened hair, wash off his face and we turn the pillow over to a dry side. HIs hands are tighter than before and haven't seen a splint in months. they may have lost them, the aide says, as she hasn't seen him wearing one in a long time. I told her that the place has thrown in the towel on Jon, given up, no longer trying. She seems uncomfortable, but doesn't bother to contradict me. It's the truth.

She tell me about how she was telling Jon some funny story about Frank Zappa's kids and how he smiled at her. She told the other nurses that Jon reacted to a story, but no one believed her. the woman with the dog tells me he responds to the dog, looking at her and smiling when he has his hand on the dog's head. No one believes her, either. They don't believe me, they don't believe the visitors, they don't believe the aides or the nurses...anyone who says Jon is responsive is dismissed as imagining things. Otherwise they have to deal with the fact that he is locked in and understands what's going on around him, and that is too depressing a concept so they dismiss the stories. To them he's just a corpse waiting for the grave, a body filling a bed until he can find his way into the ground. Somehow that's easier for them than the idea that he may be someone who requires more care, not less, who requires equipment the government won't provide, nursing they don't have enough staff for, and more stimulation than he gets. Better accept defeat than accept that nobody with the power to heal, to help, gives a damn.

I tell Jon it's time to go, to drive back thru the rain and darkness to our little soggy home and he frowns and bites his lower lip. He pouts like he did as a child and closes his eyes, refusing to look at me again. My wife, his step-mother, bends down to say goodbye and give him a kiss. He looks up at her. Not responsive means he can't understand that we're leaving, so those appropriate reactions have to be labeled as "reflex", as if sorow at being left behind is a reflex, not an honest reaction. Well, maybe it is. Everybody hears about how coma patients can laugh and look and otherwise seem so aware, when they're not. But then a smaller group has read the studies that say 43% of the people diagnosed as "vegetative" are later proven to be "locked in" and get better and sometimes even walk and speak.

What to do first? Find a facility with beds free and fill in an application to move Jon in, except none have available beds. Fill in the applications anyway. Visit places and get to know the staff, except the staff is too busy to stop and chat and I don't want to get in their way. Research, search and more research, trying not to get panicked, trying to shut out the sight of the boy sweating, wheezing, maybe dying. Take it one step at a time, except there are no steps for Jon, no clear paths to some form of better days.

He was scared last night because of the problems he had breathing. I could feel the pain from the pneumonia in his chest, feel the rattle in his lungs. I could feel how he wanted to be free, to leave that bed. Our connection doesn't usually bring me those feelings except when he's pretty sick, and then I get the "pleasure" of sharing his feelings. I mentally stroke his head, tell him I'm somehow nearby and things are getting better. I know that if I call the place and ask about his fever they will tell me it's back, but no one will be able to believe I knew because he told me. Nobody will believe that a shaman father can join his shaman son on a plane of existence closed to most people. Nobody will even want to hear that spirits can walk and sick people can leave their tattered bodies to travel around. It doesn't matter what they believe as far as I am concerned. Their faith in their science and in their drugs is unshakable and my job is not to convert people to a piritual life, my job is to make sure the people of their faith don't kill my son through their ignorance.

I'm really tired and the meds are kicking in. My pain is fading away to a dull ache and my eyes are heavy. Jon is probably waking up to his daily routine. More meds, more cursory massage, more people calling him by another's name, ignoring the signs in the room asking that they call him "JON". I have to organize my thoughts and start looking up addresses and phone numbers. Time to Google around looking for a new bed for the boy to sleep in.