Monday, March 19, 2007

Homeless days

Years ago I was homeless. Like my father before me, I left school for the road, at least for a few months. The following year I did it again for much longer. I remember looking at the trains going by and recalling that Dad refused to teach me how to jump cars, something he knew about from when he worked on the Illinois Central. But I wanted to be a hobo.

I realized that few people really understand the hobo life because it's been outlawed for some time now. That's so curious, it's like a man sawing off his feet so they won't hurt. A hoe-boy is a man who will, among other things, hire out to mindlessly walk in line with others of his ilk, hoeing away in a cotton field, or tomato patch. If he had his own hoe, useful for many things, he could put in gardens for people who had houses but no time.

But the hobo did the same thing that tractors and tillers do now. So the hobo is not wanted, needed or desired. They are the homeless now and possibly crazy or violent or both. So from time to time the streets of NYC suddenly are cleansed of wandering workers and unskilled laborers waving hoes.

There were people who traveled the roads, even going into subdivisions to sharpen lawnmowers, kitchen knives and scissors. I remember, in the 60's how the last of them to drive slowly by seemed tired and quiet. Usually they chattered away about the weather and local dogs. Then they went away, maybe to end up drunks in some inner city park. Or CEO's of some multi-national investing slush fund. Never know, they survived on sharpening knives and putting in tomato patches, harvesting cabbages, knocking down bee hives. Lots of stuff got done when we allowed people to travel freely and work as they felt the need.

My son was trying to do that, but everything costs so much and the trains aren't the same. He's kind of been taken out of the picture now, too. Become a welfare case, taking from the public offering, so long as that service can be maintained. We may decide that sick people are a drag on the system, making us weak and subject to terrorism. So the government may use it's power to turn certain people secretly into non-citizens and by storing them in secret prisons overseas, can eliminate the problem of homelessness and abject poverty. Also this surplus we have of unskilled and skilled laborers who happen to need a lot of money to live on because everything costs so darn much, especially when you consider what the Chinese are paying their workers to make it all. Lots of cash up front. Fortunately the black market can keep our economy from collapsing, until, like in Afghanistan the black market is the bulk of the economy. Then national priorities change and that's when I worry about my son, because he isn't worth much to certain business types.

See, now if I had been taught how to jump on slow moving train cars, I could have been a hobo and taught my son how to be a hobo so he wouldn't have been in that VW van that morning and in a wheelchair today. It's Dad's fault, then, that he was worried if he taught me, I'd do it and get myself killed, or in a wheelchair the rest of my life. He shoulda handled it like he did everything else, hang the consequences, let's have fun!

I would have made a great hobo, although I think I would have liked to model it after the earlier hobos, with the hoe and bag hanging down filled with a shirt, socks and a harmonica... maybe some kerchiefs in red checkers. Cool.

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Sunday, March 18, 2007

Last Days of Winter

Well, how about that? Just a couple more days until Spring, the season of Persephone, and we got an extra 10" of snow just for sport. She doesn't like to wake up early and sometimes tosses extra blankets on just before she finally rises and faces the sun. I made coffee.

There's a new gallery in town down in Ballston Spa, called the Strolling Village Artisans. I checked it out, and it's very nice. They have the crafted jewelry and ceramic pots and some fine art. I left my card and told the guy working on the store next door that I was a sculptor looking for space to display. The next day the owner called. She was a gal who had done some teaching at the art center downtown about the same time I did, so she knew my name. I told her what I had fired, what I was planning and she was very excited at the idea of displaying Goddess related material in a shrine context. So she is interested in my building a number of small shrines with figures, lamps, bowls etc during the month of October. The other nice thing is that when I told her about my big wood-fired kiln she was very excited about getting a chance to use it with me, something I've wanted for awhile and now with my back in such better shape I think I can fix up the propane burner for the first 16 hours and then start stoking with wood for the next 6 or so. That would make a very nice high temperature firing. So life is good. Skidmore College professor Brodie, my old mentor and pal says I can use the studio there and the kilns, since I was an alumni. You can't beat that with a stick.Praise be to Persephone! Say Hooplah!

The last session on my back Thursday burned my sciatic nerve so I can't get the shooting pains down that leg... if I don't break anything else. I am 99% pain free for the first time in many years, and it might last a year or six months, plenty of time to get my exhibitions and gallery work done. I'm working on getting Jon's paperwork sent up to Saratoga as well, but we have to wait for somebody to die or something so a bed gets empty. But if he were within 8 miles and I had somebody helping with the kilns and I didn't feel the need for pain meds every few hours I can get a lot done.

Wednesday I was working on my Ishtar sculpture with there was a crash and I was down on the floor with a 4x4 and a 4" lolly column across my back. The support for the ceiling had slipped loose. We were supporting the place where we removed a wall until this spring when we can get up there and stretch 1x12 joists across the living room and properly support the ceiling. As of now there is a strange truss-like thing a friend suggested and which I had no trust in but was outvoted, mostly because it was cheaper. But it allowed the ceiling to sag 3" in the middle and all the sheetrock cracked. Now we do it my way. In the meantime I'm on the floor surrounded by a broken lamp globe and the couch has caught the beam and pole before it broke my spine! Was I saved by Ishtar, or was I attacked by Yahweh? Either or, I guess, but all I got was a long bruise and some tightness in the hips. Amazing.

So with thousands of troops going back to kill thousands of men, women and children, and the Goddess of Spring arising, what spiritual images can we expect? Well, for one thing Ishtar is both the Goddess of life but the Goddess of war. Like Shakti, she holds weapons aloft, tongue hanging out stained with blood, she dances on the earth and destroys those who would defy her. As she emerges from the earth she finds her lover-son Tammuz has usurped her and is sitting on the throne of power. She beats the crap out of him and sends him to hell to hang on the peg like her while she stomps around setting things straight. Can we hope that the Pres and his men will be kicked out of the seats of power and forced to face their crimes? Will we return to growing and nurturing and back away from blood-letting? It would bring about a balance and we need that. The thing is, once you evoke a Goddess with blood and violence it is often hard to calm her down. So my task this spring will be to monitor her actions and try to placate her with offerings and prayers. I need to acknowledge her pain and anger but redirect them towards the disarray created by the jerks in power. For instance, New Orleans and the gulf coast is trashed, people are begging for homes and food and jobs. There's a good place to start.

So make them gardens, plant them seeds. Think happy lamb thoughts and put out suet for the birds. Maybe we can make it through to the other side.

Speaking of which, Jess graduates soon and then my sweet baby girl gets to show the world how talented she is. Let's hope the world can see the advantages she offers. Because we gonna owe a pile of dough...Maybe she can design a gallery and then somehow get her dad into it. That would be fantastic. Ya listening, Persephone? Ishtar? Mama? Did you know "Mama" is an ancient name for the Goddess? She's here, she's there, she's everywhere, so beware.... Don't forget to get your Mama some flowers when she returns to the surface. She likes flowers.

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Friday, March 09, 2007

Almost Ishtar at the Gate

I've been reading a great deal lately about places around the Mideast but about maybe 5,000 years ago. It's just amazing what things seem never to have changed. Like all this killing being done over there, like fireworks of body parts: BOOM! BOOM! It just amazes me. So, of course, this is in preparation for sculpting and displaying several representations of the same (more or less)personage. This Spring stuff a-coming, with robins and rabbits, colored eggs and such, this Easter, what does it mean?

I'm always saying things about the Great Round and All, but I also ask myself, "What faith only gives meaning and not a way?"

In a non-literate society someone trying to say, "the Way" or "Great Round" as opposed to round... well, there had to be a way to express that, otherwise those concepts could only exist inside One Person, You. So I reject that, it's silly and there was, therefor, a way if you didn't have the technology to express capital letters(runes, ideographs). There is a way to express oneself in large letters. I feel, for instance, that my Dad walked hard on the earth, but not mean like. I see him in capital letters. The top of a column, post, is a capital. Top of the Totem pole is a real capper. But top of a list... not so important.

For instance, today they announced a recent report on the numbers of billionaires in the world, what a great surge of numbers there were. They listed by country the numbers and named the interesting, like J.K.Rowling of Harry Potter, Inc. And I thought no great disdain for these people, per se, except that in this fairly cut and dried syllogism whereby there is a limited amount amount of wealth at any one time, because wealth is labor deferred or material goods and, let's face it, this is a material and finite world...for all that wealth to appear in the hands of those 600+ billionaires, there must be a corresponding number of those left with nothing, and I thought what a grand idea it would be if just once, I heard a list of the recently destitute, along with names, quips and history.

But it will never happen, not on that station, because those supporting the station want to hear about people like them, or better so that they have a guiding star to be guided by and we are starting to be guided by a star, that Star, Our Star and non-others, Ishtar!! Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls, What about when spring comes and the Daughter of the Earth comes up in a mirrored journey to the one that got Her down in Hell (eventually to become Queen of the Underworld, Goddess of the Afterlife), so when she gets back, Her Boyfriend and maybe Son, is sitting on Her Chair, eating Her Grapes and pinching the serving girls' behinds! She goes ballistic, of course She does. Bottom line he gets to spend time Down Under and She is Queen of the Earth and the Underworld, Goddess of Passion and War.

And that is about the pose I am working on right now with my Ishtar for the Museum.

Goddess of Passion. It's funny, but when I think about the archetypes in our culture lately it seems that those who represent the Passions are either dying young, or becoming perverted, unethical parasites with slow faces and piggy eyes. I think of the guys and gals up Top of the Heap, the ones who should be most connected to the One slightly Higher than the Heap, the All, or as we say in Babylon and Sumeria, Ishtar. They should be passionate, but when I think of Cheney, Rumsfeld, Bush and the rest, I see piggy eyes, a monotone delivery that reminds me of either a psychotic, or an autistic, but no real passion. I did see piggy delight when Cheney was talking about shooting his best friend in the face and no son of a bitch could do a damn thing about it.

But the kids out on the street blowing themselves up, the Locals, as we like to say when we aren't describing them as something much less nice, well they are showing some passion. And a real sense of what comes next, after. Otherwise, seriously, why else would You do it? You would have to believe in it so strong that you felt like exploding, as Life around you explodes. That's passion, and blood. Rivers of blood flowing down the Tigris and Euphrates rivers, just like the old days when Ishtar was pissed. Her tongue is hanging out, stained red with blood. Her mace and dagger are streaming blood. Her Eyes are wild and open, Her Stare can kill you. Her best pets are Scorpions, which sometimes ride on Her Shoulders. Really bad-assed, pissed off Personage. Just like Down Under when she first went down to attend the funeral of Her Brother in Law. Her Sister, some say, freaked out... maybe it was something She said, the Way She Said It? Anyway it went bad, that was a long time ago, but both times it would take something special to set Her Off. Like rivers of blood into Her sacred Waters. Maybe it's time to check on things Upstairs.

The Way Up is just as hard, in some Ways, as the Way Down, and when the front down comes crashing down and there are all those Billionaires, all even in a list updated yearly....I'm thinking it could be interesting for those on that list.

It's odd how those who live by the sword shall die by the sword. Odd because if it's not a metaphor and we're talking about anybody who maintains themselves by using a sword, well, that's not many and not very interesting. Some kind of statistical quirk that accountants and tax collectors talk about over beers at the local pub. If it's about something more general and archetypal, then we should be able to apply it to lots of situations, even at random. Those who live by farming shall die by farming. Great, that works especially well in a pesticide rich environment, and a warning to us all to stay out of the fields.

Those who live by lying through their teeth and sending hundreds and thousands of trained murderers to go kill anybody, anywhere in the world who does not agree substantially with that single man's world view shall die, in their sleep next to their mistress with a monstrous estate that will keep legions of lawyers happy for years to come. Or shall die when legions of trained murderers come and kill anyone who does not, at least, substantially agree to another man's world view. In the past there were women who di this sort of thing, but it should be noted that they always had to be able to convince men to go forth and murder.

Ishtar had helpers, too.

There are these great stories I've read in preparing for this sculpture. Some of them indicated the great risks there are in waking up a Female to a mess in their Home. Especially Goddesses.

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Thursday, March 01, 2007

well I just don't know

Let's see... the words are being printed okay on the screen... This is my first try with this new way of uploading blog stuff without going thru a lot of nonsense. BUt nevertheless, this is an effort to forget about what was just done to me, make no bones about it! That is, my personal space was violated, and I volunteered. Lots of needles, not much discomfort, and now, in a week, I do it again to the other side. Then the third week they come in and do something to the nerves. I thing they bring in a binding arbitration or something. But I'm doing good on the Ishtar sculpture, given that just recently "we" decided to bring up the "Crazy ex-Wife Goddess" to the discussion and now I'm trying to figure out how to threaten with sword and torch and still cover one's breasts, because this is, after all, the 21st century and we don't yet have nipples. No problem, I have hair, and maybe even a scorpion to bring in to cover them nipples. Well this hurts, so lets see if I can actually post this.

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