Monday, March 22, 2010

"wild things in captivity"

by D. H. Lawrence

Wild things in captivity
while they keep their own wild purity
won't breed, they mope, they die.

All men are in captivity,
active with captive activity,
and the best won't breed, though they don't know why.

The great cage of our domesticity
kills sex in a man, the simplicity
of desire is distorted and twisted awry.

And so, with bitter perversity,
gritting against the great adversity,
the young ones copulate, hate it, and want to cry.

Sex is a state of grace.
In a cage it can't take place.
Break the cage then, start in and try.

(I was profoundly touched by this poem many years ago, but had forgotten the author and title. A friend of mine found it for me last night, as its words are especially resonant in my life now. It seemed far too cliched to think it had been written by Lawrence, but it was.)

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

epiphany by ejaculation

Yesterday, i was walking along the street, slowly overtaking a woman. She put her arm out to toss a cigarette butt. She glanced behind, and saw that she was about to throw it at me. Laughing, she told me she'd only had to do that once, to always be careful. People who toss their butts on the ground make me a bit ashamed of our country. I often good-naturedly say "civic pride" to offenders. I bit my tongue though, and we chatted for the next 100 feet, until she bumped into someone she knew, and i had a turn to make. If she hadn't met that friend, might i have skipped my turn? It would have been a bizarre thing to do, because i'd already uncovered what felt like eleven points of incompatibility.
What can you learn in 100 feet? She had a thirteen year-old daughter who bemoaned the non-presence of spring and couldn't appreciate that we'd been having a rainstorm, not a snowstorm. She was in college, aiming on being in the FBI and living in Virginia. She was black, and had hair that was unnatural...long and straight. It may have been a wig or extensions, and seemed out of synch with the fact that she didn't wear makeup. I liked her energy though, and based on that plus her body (perhaps athletic, with nice breasts), was having a sexual response.
I try to treat any single mother with an especially non-cavalier attitude, romantically. And i hate to say that i have a tiny bias against law enforcement types, but i do. It's unreasonable, of course, but not seems that about once a year, some story or video comes out making the NYPD look like the most barbaric kind of thugs, or political pawns.
So let's see...smoker, fake hair, cop, doesn't add up to "Pounce, rob!", is all i'm saying.
Yet for the rest of the day, i had sweet, lurid fantasies about her. I tailored them around the fact that we didn't seem to have much compatibility, but they ended up in carnal overdrive. I imagined saying to her, "I don't date, but how would you like to watch a movie together, and maybe rub each other's backs if we feel so inclined?" If she asked why i didn't date, i'd tell her i was impotent (which i jokingly thought might be a sane and fun way to approach all women, within a few years). Take the sexual tension away, yet find some way to touch her nakedly. In my fantasy, we'd become buddies, talking and cuddling, and at the end of the night i'd always give her the most tender massage...oil, skin, sensuality...eventually her desires would overwhelm her.
So much of my current headspace seems tied in to sex. My wounded spirit feels like an ever-seeking, devouring beast. My thoughts about making a baby, my feeling almost betrayed by having always been a "nice" adds up to feeling more sexualized, almost without respite.
I actually had a tiny window of respite yesterday though, which pointed up how unrelenting my drive has been. It was after i masturbated. In my taoist practice, i have orgasms without ejaculating, and ejaculate maybe once a year, just for the sake of doing so. I decided to do so yesterday. As soon as i did, it felt like a veil had been lifted. I felt unbothered by sex in any way. I felt the LUDICROUSNESS of my desire for children. Utter insanity. I saw how i had the most amazing life...a state of happiness that probably few humans ever achieve. Totally free to live and love and write, and play and swim and climb, and act and produce plays, and explore literature and to come, free to go, to Boulder or to Baghdad, who knows? And i'm not one of those who say that the best sex you can have is with yourself, but in terms of cultivating an orgasm, i can't say they don't have a point.
Let's not make too much of this "epiphany-by-ejaculation", of course...i think my moment of clarity was far more psychological than physical.
But it was a fascinating moment.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Exodus 2-14

The Egyptians began dealing "shrewdly" with the Israelites before Moses was born. Yet it was only when Moses is grown up that the Lord remembered Its covenant with the people of Israel. It is not just that the Lord would wait through years of human suffering before honoring a covenant, nor is it possible that God, with presence and knowledge absolute, would have to "remember" something.
In commanding the Israelites to despoil the Egyptians, is God saying that two wrongs make a right? Is it credible to propose that God could be capable of commanding that a wrong, any wrong, be committed? Could God be capable of the kind of prevarication necessary to say that the end justifies the means?
4:21 - 14:17
The implications here are staggering. The Lord "hardened" Pharoah's heart, so he would refuse to let the Israelites go. The Lord told Moses that this was to increase the glory of the Lord, by creating happenings that would proclaim Its greatness throughout the world. Time and again, when Pharoah seemed willing to let the Israelites go, the Lord "hardened" his heart, so the Lord could then be "forced" to heap greater and greater sufferings upon the Egyptians. A minor point here is that these actions seem far more devious and manipulative than one could possibly credit to any kind of just being. Monumental suffering and death, in the name of holy self-aggrandizement? "Dig My ass, you little watch Me crap a rainbow"? Of larger import, is what these verses say about free will. It cannot be said that Pharoah was using his free will; indeed, the opposite seems true. I'm not asserting or denying free will...intuitively, we seem free, yet unfree will might also "feel" free. But if Pharoah, and all the soldiers of Egypt, did not have free will, how could anyone ever know whether our decisions are our own, or simply the unsolicited intervention of "God"? The whole paradigm of salvation would crumble, for how can there be spiritual accountability without free will?? Perhaps i write these words entirely against my own will. The power of christ compels me!

Androcles and the Lion

-fall 1990
Another part-time professor had come to West Chester that fall, Mark Cofta. Enthusiastic and intelligent, and quick with a laugh. He taught a smashing advanced acting class, with nearly all the senior students in it. It culminated in my final project with Lou and Stephanie and Deremigio, CHRISTMAS AT KIRKBY COTTAGE, a Dickensian piece we performed in Philips Library, for the university bigwigs. I was almost sentimental about the end of two eras with Lou. I'd hung out with Mark a bit, and when he asked me to audition for a play he was directing at the Hedgerow Theater, i was excited. It was by Shaw, one of those writers whose voluminous output i had devoured. The Hedgerow was a semi-professional theater south of Philadelphia, with a semi-prestigious history. Located in the woodsy, well-off town of Media, they employed a full-time troupe of ten actors who worked for room and board and $50 a week, and rounded out their casts with non-paid actors. ANDROCLES is the tale of a lion with a thorn in his paw, which Shaw molded into a humorous morality play about Christians and Romans and persecution. I was cast as the centurion, and the menagerie keeper. I quickly knew that these were smaller roles i would thrive in. The centurion in particular; playing a blowhard authority type wasn't something i'd done much, but i slid into the bullying role like it had been waiting for me. I captured both forceful and funny, and it felt so great. Mark put a good group together. David Zum Brunnen, the theater manager, played the mocking Lentulus. A tall, talented actor with not much brawn played the supreme warrior Ferrovius. We gave him an incredibly thick wooly vest, which bulked him up. Bob Tochick played the lion and Spintho, the cowardly Christian. A New York actor named Rob was cast as the gentle Androcles, and a sloth-like troupe member played the Emperor. Miles Chapman played the Captain, and he and i became buddies. The theater was an amazing space, a stone edifice which had been built at the turn of the century. The rafters and balconies were beautiful. There had been a devastating fire two years before, and ours was only the second play since they'd reopened. You could still find charred wood. Rehearsals went wonderfully, until Androcles dropped out, on the advice of his agent. Mark asked me to take over the role...which was kind of crushing, for i had been so in love with my characters. But a trooper must troop, so...Androcles became a great role. Sweet and gentle, willing to die if he must, but unwilling to kill. I had good chemistry with my bullying wife. Saving the Emperor's life, and then dancing off with the lion at the end, was such sweet joy. I was also the torchbearer of a piece of history. The previous Hedgerow Androcles had been famous early twentieth-century actor Jasper Dieter. There was a painting of him on the wall, and i had heard of him in college. It was a December run, so i was still at college during rehearsals and most of the performances. I would drive the twenty-minute trip nightly, in my diesel VW Rabbit (which had no heat). The theater was cold, too, and had one of those industrial jet-engine heaters. One night after rehearsal, my car wouldn't start. I was offered a ride, but in the mood for adventure, i decided to hoof it. Sixteen miles of fartliching, much of it through the countryside. At one point i began hearing a scary, recurring growl in the far distance, which grew as i approached. It sounded like a bull gator. I finally discovered that it was a metal grated bridge, which roared when a car crossed it. In another deserted stretch, i felt a presence following me. A strange blue light began to grow, from where i could not tell. It seemed to be following me, but then disappeared. I stopped at an Acme store a couple miles outside of West Chester, and accepted a ride from a buddy i ran into. The trip took almost three hours. It was the furthest i'd ever gone on foot. The production was very well-received, and when it closed, i knew i'd be working with Mark again.

Monday, March 8, 2010

your body is a salad bar

Are we such simpering morons, so pathologically uncomfortable with honesty, so bound to judeo-christian psycho-sexual bullshit that we call non-malicious openness "crass", so unable to distinguish amusement with one's own quirks from ACTUAL RACISM, and so pathetically unable to focus on REAL PROBLEMS that we emotionally invest ourselves in finding a rock star's interviews "scandalous"?
I haven't even read the John Mayer articles, but from the highlights, i can only conclude that it would take a four year-old from a dysfunctional family to get upset.
I don't care 'bout that though...what i do care about is laughing. And i've been laughing at this video over and over and over:
Unless i'm very wrong, Mayer would find it brilliant, and buy the creators a drink.

Friday, March 5, 2010

"The Most Dangerous Game"

1932, directed by Pichel & Schoedsack

Wow. Absolutely, unequivically, wow. One of those films you can't stop watching, even if you had other plans. An early production of Merian Cooper and Ernest Schoedsack (KING KONG), it's funny, diabolical, crisply acted and directed, and visually a feast. This creative duo are more remembered for their big honkin' monster-sized gorillas, but the world's most frightening ape is not the gorilla - it's the species you see when you look in the mirror. Fans of KONG will be fascinated, as it was shot during a KONG production delay, with much of the same cast and crew (and even some of the same sets). Based on a fantastic short story by Richard Connell, it's the tale of a Russian Count, one of the world's foremost hunters, who lives on an island and causes shipwrecks with false channel lights. He hunts the survivors. Fay Wray plays a level-headed survivor, and Robert Armstrong her drunkard brother. The Count is played with sinister brilliance by Leslie Banks. Castaway Joel McCrea, a hunter himself, gives the Count his first real challenge. The film de-glamorizes drinking and hunting, unlike many other movies and books of the time (i'm talking to you, Mr. Hemingway). The only underwhelming scene was the display of the Count's human trophies. It turns out they filmed more, but audiences were so put off that some left, so that section was edited. Here's hoping the lost footage is found. Either way, call Aunt Esther and the kids, and get the popcorn.

Thursday, March 4, 2010


I woke up from a dream this morning feeling...tawdry. Pathetically common.
Usually i can count on my dreams to be flights of fancy. Sometimes i can spot a connection to my waking life, but often i can't, and happily, i don't even bother.
But this dream, how...mundane. Ugh. It couldn't have been a more perfect mirror of my life, right now.
In my real life, i'm attracted to an Indian woman. She and her family have been in the states for a year. They are strong of accent and steeped in their native culture. I'm not sure whether she and i have anything in common other than attraction and a light spirit. And i have reason to believe that her male relatives don't like me, as they can see the attraction between me and her. In my reckless fantasies, i've dreamt of having babies with this woman.
In my real life, i'm searching for a room to rent. I looked into a local commune, and decided against it, because i'd still need to work full time to pay rent, in addition to devoting a big chunk of time to communal work. I feared my writing would suffer.
In the dream, i've met a beautiful black woman. She's a bit of a hippie peace child like me, and very serene. I'm smitten. She invites me to live at her free love commune. I adore the idea. I'm going to a family get-together, and invite her along. She asks whether she can bring her older sister, who also lives in the commune. I say "Of course". Her sister is friendly, but she seems more pragmatist than idealist, and has a harder edge. She's also buxom, not my type physically. But i'm friendly. We arrive at the picnic, at a large mobile home near a little lake. Many members of my Mom's family are there. We all chat and interact. The sister starts to tell me how all the members of the commune are trying to have children, and she suddenly questions whether i'll be able to pay the rent. I assure her i'll be able to, but my mind is now full of doubts. Suddenly, i see the sister has brought one of the commune babies. He's just an infant, and she has him perched on top of an easy chair. I'm alarmed that she doesn't care that he could fall off. His proportions are all wrong, he's only a foot long, yet shaped like a grownup. I suddenly know that the commune is wrong for me. My family announces that they're going to Aunt Margo's, and they leave me alone with the sisters. The older sister says she wants to try me, and beckons me into one of the bedrooms. Unsure how to extricate myself from the situation, i go along, and i think we have sex. I come out, and my family is returning! They were just picking up Aunt Margo, to bring her back for the big meal. Everybody sits, and the older sister is chatting away with my Uncle Tom, as thick as thieves.
I wake up.
And no, i have no Aunt Margo.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

biological crock!

When the vicissitudes of life leave you wounded and raw, you find yourself inclined to abandon niceties and logic. The more attracted i am to a woman these days, the more reckless i feel, willing to ignore contraception...almost like some sort of biological clock, seeking to spread my seed (not that i'm the embodiment of of self-indulgent hedonism yet...of the four women i've been intimate with in the past two years, i held back with two of them out of concern for their feelings). But i'm learning that "biological clock" probably means very different things to different people.
Would i like to be held and rubbed every day of my life? With a hurt that i can feel in my bones, yes.
What more likely way than creating a mommy?
But do i want a child? A part of me does...a part of that may be selfish however, as having offspring seems the surest way to guarantee a self-perpetuating stock of loving intimates (or maybe your snot-nosed kid kills you in a patricidal rage...could go either way). My own parents are reasonably enlightened, yet they both believe that children owe parents automatic love and loyalty...a belief that points up the possibility that having children in this society is far more about selfishness than most would admit.
Is this reckless feeling also a tiny bit because i don't look like i'm twenty anymore? Maybe.
And is there perhaps the teensiest bit of my psyche that wants to put myself in an ill-advised situation likely to distract me from my creativity, in order to punish the women who chose to walk away from my love? That my being in a bad place might make them feel guilty...and also make them feel unattractive if the woman i impregnate is rather young? Double revenge! And might this all be a form of "punishing" society too, by throwing my life away?
Maybe not. Perhaps it's just a simple case of more general self-destructiveness. But those other thoughts are the broken places where your mind can go, in times of darkness.
A part of all this may be bona fide hormonal activity, too.
But it's mostly just feral, raw woundedness. Wanting to find some woman and unhinge her senses, giving her the most reality-melting sex of her life...making her cry from desire, and the need to have my sperm inside her.
It's the challenge of making a woman feel as feral as i, perhaps.
Reason to create a baby? Of course not.
But i never promised this trip down Psyche Lane would be Currier & Ives.
So why "Biological Crock"? Because "biological clock" can be an excuse that covers a multitude of bullshit? Yes.
But that's not the real reason.
The real reason is because i can't resist bad puns and goofing on funny accents.
Coincidentally, if some shadow agency wants to train an agent to ensnare me in a web of sexuality so profound that i give over my baby juice and divert my attention from saving the world (and self-involvement and cheesy sci fi) to messy diapers, they'd be well-advised to hire an asian woman. We all have our weaknesses. In my case, a bald, athletic asian woman who adores STAR TREK.
Just so you know.