Archive for September, 2007

the week in review

September 30, 2007 Leave a comment

It was a pretty good week here in COMO. The weather has been perfect, 80 & sunny, cool at night. It feels like a thunderstorm is blowing in and we do need the rain, its already gonna be a short color season.

Wednesday I went with Trevor to see the last poet laureate of New Jersey Amerie Baraka, which was pretty cool. He read his poem about 9/11 which led the garden state to abandon the post when he wouldn’t resign. It was pretty good asking a lot of piercing questions and bringing a lot of the ridiculous assumptions of The Black Iron Prison into question. It did bring up that tired old piece of propaganda about 3,000 jewish workers calling in sick that day, but he phrased it in the form of a question, and its one line in a long piece, but i could see why people would be offended. Mostly he just talked which was fine but i would’ve liked more poetry and less rhetoric.

Friday i went to a Shelter Happy Hour at my friend Nancy’s. We had good food and drinks and Nancy and Sarah Cleveland played guitar and sang songs. I did some poems and Rachel shared one that was particularly good. Leigh asked me to do a little poetry at The Voices multi-media installation on 10/18. I’ll be doing it if i can work it around my batterer intervention group.

Here’s one i didn’t read Friday but did a couple month’s back in Scout’s backyard. It would make a good John Fenn song (hint, hint, hint). I wrote it maybe a year ago after visiting my friend Harry’s church and really liking even Sunday School except the teacher made a couple of comments that i couldn’t really get behind. Later she said if you are silent people can assume consent so i raised my objections which were politely debated and i guess we had to agree to disagree on that one. I wanted to write her a letter and more carefully show how i think on the issue and wrote this song instead. The alternative title is Why I don’t go to Church.

Letter to a Sunday School Teacher

Hey Teacher, Hey Teacher

I went to your class and I heard

What could’ve been the holy word

You know beauty, truth, and love

And Heaven Up above

And Jesus, and forgiveness of sin

Well we had some of that

And you didn’t even pass the hat

And we talked and prayed

In beauty, truth, and love

But on more than one occasion

You said of the gay persuasion

The Church is way to tolerant of Them

Well i didn’t even know their was a Them

Because i thought there was an Us

You know, every single living human being

And the call goes out to all

And its the same Spirit that falls

Upon every heart that turns to God in prayer

And I’ve been to a church in San Francisco

And another across the Bay

Where the congregation was less straight than gay

And the same Spirit filled the hall

That it does when i pray with you all

Surely God does love her children all the same

And I call it a new circumcision

When you say you know with precision

Just how God does view every right and wrong

Cuz if a law was good enough

Jesus wouldn’t of had it so tough

To make salvation a free gift for all

And like meat sacrificed to idols

Lo’ all is permissable

If its done with love to the glory of God

Everyone who knows to do good

And does it not, that is sin

Love and only love is the highest law

Everyone who loves is a child of God

That’s how God’s love’s perfected

Love and only love is the highest law

And by their fruits you shall know them

Love and only love is the highest law

God says, love and only love is the highest law

In addition to the veritable frenzy of activities i also found time to crush some books. Last weekend i read “The Professor and the Madman” a historical acount of the Oxford English Dictionary, which was really excellent. It was plotted better than most novels and is i am sure inspirational to crazy people all over. I’ve also been reading some classic sci-fi; Asimov’s “The Gods Themselves” which is better than most of his, though “The Bicentennial Man” made me cry. I also read “Brain Wave” a Poul Anderson novel from 1958. It supposes that the Earth has been in a field that dampens electrical activity and we pass out of it and inexplicably everything with a brain has a huge intelligence increase. It managed to be both progressive in speculating instant world wide anarchy if people were smarter but never questioned the social order of the white male protagonists contending with whip smart farm animals, housewives, colonial subjects no longer stupidly complicit in the systems that exploit them. I wrote a little poem debuting here in the inside cover:

brain wave

He treats housewives like farm animals

They have capacity for growth

To make the present inequities meaningless

But they’re not the protagonist

That is reserved for the new men of genius

And the ernest every man

Fresh faced from the apotheosis of privilege

No, housewives and farm animals

Are not protagonists

But merely obstacles, hazards really

For even average man.

The whole human geology

The stratified edifice of

The way things have been

Unquestioned by its champions

Even as it crashes around their heads

From the democratization of power.

I know why I am not free

when others are oppressed

For oppressors should sleep uneasy at night.

If one’s necessary comforts

Arise out of exploitation

How’re ya gonna live,

When the meek done rose up,

And took what’s theirs?

Thank you readers and thanks for those who’ve emailed me comments. If you have a poem to share or some feedback on the blog please post a comment.

Categories: books, poetry

Wilco Redux

September 24, 2007 Leave a comment

On Wednesday Amy, Eric, and Sarah and I saw Wilco play an outdoor show on 9th Street. It was pretty good the third best of the four times I’ve seen them. It put me in mind of the first time i’d seen them and one of my more memorable hitchhiking trips.

I had been doing some field organizing work in Missouri and found myself in St Louis on my way to a SEAC regional conference in Mississippi. The day i needed to leave Sarah convinced me i should wait another day so i could see Wilco at Mississippi Nights. I think I was down to my last $5.00 and i really wanted to get to this conference where i was scheduled to do some workshops and I really liked Brian the conference organizer and felt for him doing radical environmentalism in the deep deep south but when Sarah said it would be a date and she would get my ticket i decided to stay. I’d had a big crush back in that era (94-95) but i knew Sarah didn’t mean anything by it we had too different views of relationships and i think she was chasing Jeff Pavlik back then and he was around and we and Jillian i think and some others caught the show and it was great. We were all really into Uncle Tupelo and Wilco was prety knew and it was a kick ass show and i drank way too much beer and i spent $4.00 but was still a little melancholy because it was certainly not a date. We were out late and i couldn’t sleep and i wanted to leave way early as i still had hopes of making Mississippi by the next day. I was crashing at Sarah’s in University City. I woke her at 4:00 to tell her i was leaving. I told her since it was our second date i deserved a kiss and we kissed a sad kiss goodbye and I gave her a Pooh Bear stuffed animal i had dumpstered from the Columbia Good Will and set out walking to the highway.

Hitching out of St Louis is relatively difficult and I had the choice between spending my last dollar on a metro link ride to East St Louis, no picnic, but i’d had good luck there it was on the other side of the city or getting a pack of cigarettes. I voted on the cigarettes and got a buy on get one free special on Mistys of all things. If you took the filters off them they weren’t too bad.

I was still somewhat drunk from the night before and stopped and puked walking toward the highway. I had an old army duffell that i’d been living out of and I had my organizing materials so I was probably packing over 100 #s but I didn’t realize i hadn’t packed any water until i puked. I walked onto the first exit which was dead at sort of pre-dawn in a light mist on a Sunday morning. I started walking down the highway under the assumption that there are more nice people than cops, I was still in Missouri a notoriously tolerant state to hitchhikers, and I was in a hurry. I ended up walking 9 miles down the highway before I got my first ride. I had found a Harley Davidson water bottle half full on the side of the highway. I’d rinsed my mouth out but hadn’t dared drink any but was greatful for the bottle figuring i’d fill it at the next exit with services. I didn’t dump it out, just in case, although I’d never hitched a day without running across a bathroom. There was no real place to pull over the lane came right up next to the raised foot wide cement shoulder i was walking down. A guy in his early 40s in an old beater pulled over and there wasn’t much other traffic so it went pretty smoothly. He was out just cruising, drinking straight out of a pint bottle of Canadian Club Whiskey. We shared his bottle and he agreed to drive me to the first decent exit in Illinois. He ran a small embroidery firm and had been a youthful radical grown jaded and feeling like a sell out. He said he had sewn the patches for the ATF that had killed all those people in Waco not too long ago. We talked a lot of politics and parted too soon at an exit with good traffic but no services. I’d put my buzz back on with the Canadian Club and was feeling pretty good about life again in spite of not getting any water. I started walking again and didn’t go but a couple-few miles before my 2nd ride a guy in his 50s with an Amish type beard in an old beater van pulled over and i was off again. Coincidentally he was drinking a pint of Canadian Club whiskey and I joined him as we cruised across Illinois and maybe Indiana. He was nice, a retired truck driver and when he learned my Pops was a trucker he hung out with me until he got me a ride on his CB. I don’t remember the rides the rest of the day but eventually i hit Cincinnati. I still had some daylight left but I was beat. I’d walked 15 miles been drunk all day and hadn’t had a drink of water. I felt I was getting old. I really needed more miles to have any hopes of getting to Mississippi but i just couldn’t do it. I knew then i was getting old. I’d always prided myself on being able to knock out 20 miles heavily packed, but not that day. I was in some kind of industrial wasteland, I stashed my gear and wandered around looking for water but nothing. I rolled out my bedroll under the overpass and broke out my little sterno stove and the last of my food a pack of ramen noodles. I managed to scare up some wild onions, dandylion greens, and this other edible plant i’d just learned in Missouri but have forgotten and cooked it all up in the Harley Davidson water i was glad i’d saved. At least it was boiled.

I slept torn between utter exhaustion and the roar of highway traffic echoing through the underpass. I was up before dawn packed up and down on the side of I-75, North instead of South. I’d written off Mississippi and decided to go home. I’d never make my conference on time and I was now flat broke. I was a little hungry, but confident. My old Modus Operandi was to stay out hitchin’ till i was flat broke and then head for home. It had never failed that my first ride of the day when i was broke would offer to buy my breakfast. After making a new sign i got a ride after a not intolerable wait though I was in a bit of a construction zone so i couldn’t walk down the interstate, plus i was in Ohio were those kind of shennanigans are not allowed by law enforcement. It was another bearded guy in a van but no Canadian Club. He was a fundamentalist Christian, an active anti-abortion activist. We had some great talks as we puttered through construction traffic headed north. He didn’t try to preach when i told him my christian background and where i had evolved since then, though we did have to agree to disagree on a lot of stuff. We shared some commiseration on our common organizing problems, group dynamics and such and debated pro-choice and gay rights and we both respected the other’s sincerity and compassion in spite of our polar differences. He asked if he could pray before he dropped me off but it was for me to see the truth and have travelling mercies so i could get behind that. He also gave me a fat peanut butter and jelly sandwich which hit the spot. My only gripe with him is he debated changing his route to get me all the way home and then decided it was too far out of the way. He should’ve kept those thoughts to himself and not gotten my hopes up.

After a few piddly rides (I’d finally gotten to some services got cleaned up, filled up my new water bottle, and i still had a few smokes so i was feeling good) i was up in the Lima area when i got picked up by this real smooth looking character in a newish lincoln. Travelling salesman type, with leather seats and in a suit. Turned out he was a gay guy doing a little cruising on his way north. I was a little flattered as he was a good looking guy but still not interested. Except for having to put his hand on his side of the front seat a couple of times he was pretty friendly if a little pushy and it didn’t get really scary. I told him about my first sexual experience as no one rides for free but was strict on the no touching thing. The story must be better than i thought as he gave me $4.00 when he dropped me off. That got me a pack of Marlboros and a Mountain Dew and a couple uneventful rides later I was home.

Categories: hitchhiking, travel

floating the big muddy

September 24, 2007 Leave a comment

Yesterday, Eric, Brice, Alex and Brice did a 14 mile float on the Missouri. We put in at Rocheport and floated down to Coopers Landing. It was a beautiful day to be out on the river sunny and hot and we stopped at California Island for a swim and to toss the frisbee around. Saw a lot of Great Blue Herons and a spot of Fall cover. It was a great last day of Summer.

On a poetry note i have another couple of stanzas on my “I am a Pattern” piece. I will include the whole thing. I have been getting the most positive feedback on the poetry so i might try to do more of that. I would still encourage folks to make comments, I will respond in style and content to any reader’s suggestions. I will also send a chap book to the first non-robot who makes a comment if you don’t already have them all. Someday i will finish the one thats been sitting 99% done for years.

I believe I am a pattern, a pattern of information

Built from millions and millions of simplicities

Organized through emergence, I rise up from the bottom

I am many, but still I am me.

I believe I am a pattern, a consciousness construction

Will, sense, imagination, memory

And though I surely rise up from my body

I am much more a story

Told in the hearts of everyone who knows me.

I believe I am a pattern, a pattern set in motion

In oscilation with the tides

Not just the ocean, but the universe besides.

In every mind’s eye their is a cup

Its not the one i drink from, but its close enough

Occam’s Razor cuts, simplest is the best

Is my idea of cup unique from the rest

Or do we all drink from the same cup after all.

Categories: poetry, travel

what i did on my summer vacation

September 15, 2007 1 comment

I am back from my vacation and ready to get back into my regular routine. If anyone is interested i picked up my friend from Toledo Dave Smith in St Louis. We had a beer at a faux Irish Pub across from Union Station where the bar tender was able to leave a four leaf clover on the top of the foam of the guiness draft we both enjoyed. We then drove across the river and got dinner and a room in Fairmont IL and hiked around the Cahokia Mounds the next day. For anyone not familiar with the mounds they are an incredible site with a definite vibe of intense history. I spent a lot of time visualizing what it was like when 20,000 Missisipians lived there and it was the largest city in North America, before they simply just disappeared. We then drove back to Columbia and caught a little of the Sierra Leone All Stars at the Columbia Blues Fest. After that we kept it pretty mellow with barbecues and a lot of frisbee golf. We made a last visit to the St Louis Zoo, best free zoo in the country, and enjoyed all the animals. One of the last times I was at that zoo was in maybe 1995 with my brother John and Joe Mold who had come down for a student environmental conference. As we walked through the great apes section there was an Orangatang behind a glass wall. Joe Mold put his hand up on the glass and the orangatang did likewise. Joe began to ohm in a low and sustained way and both Joe and the Orangatang began to rock gently and it was obvious to all the crowd of bystanders which it drew that they were in some type of psychic communion. We were doing a lot of head humming back in those days and i had certainly felt the unity of the self break down in some kind of group communion, so i was not too surprised to see an orangatang join the fold. All of the great apes are such close cousins and so obviously intelligent and self aware it breaks my heart to see how we treat them. We are down to hundreds of Mountain Gorillas, a shame we will bear threw all eternity should we allow them to pass from this beautiful and threatened land. We definitely saw the interspecies barrier broken down that day, and if you don’t believe me ask John, as an incorrigible skeptic, atheist, and materialist he will corraborate my story in its totality. Dave and I didn’t have any mystical experiences, the organgatangs seemed tired of people looking at them and children shouting and kept pulling sacks over their head to catch a little shut eye. Finally i got to drop Dave back off at Union Station and return to my regularly scheduled life. We did write several very good poems together, one of which i retained a copy of and will try to post in the near future. I plan to write an intro to the blog today and will resume my Amsterdam narrative early next week. Thanks for reading and please post a comment. I have only had one and that was a spam-bot from a hypnosis site.

Categories: primates, travel

going crazy part 4

September 11, 2007 1 comment

So my last night in Amsterdam, I hadn’t slept in 10 days, and Jennifer had given me a 100 guilders with the instructions to spend it on something frivolous. I left the mind spa immediately; I had been out of tobacco for a while and had been chain smoking like a fiend so my first order of business was to try to scare up a pack of smokes. Not so easily done in Europe where everything kind of closes at 6:00. I started walking, it was chilly and drizzling and I didn’t have a jacket. I had “People Are Strange” running through my head, probably because I’d had a couple of drinks earlier at The Doors, which is a bit of a franchise over there. It’d comforted me to know that somewhere Jim Morrison is always still crooning. I thought, I felt intensely, so intensely I can still summon up the feeling vividly now 12 years later, I was “strange” to be out late without a jacket and sure enough a face came out of the rain. I heard someone speak, a voice speaking a strange language behind me, but I felt like he was talking to me. I thought it could be the language of the angels and I could almost understand it. I turned and there was a Rastafarian standing at the edge of a street lamp so the glow backlit him like a halo. He had a holy look about him. He asked what I wanted and I told him I thought he had spoken to me. He asked me if I spoke some language I’d never heard of and I told him I didn’t but I thought he was talking to me. He asked, “What are you looking for?” which I felt had tremendous implications but was too much to respond too so, so after a pregnant pause, I told him I wanted a pack of cigarettes.

He said follow me and led me off into a part of The City I’d never been through several long and dark alleys and I started to get a bit anxious about where he was taking me and was of course hopelessly lost, but I pushed it out of my mind thinking he could be an angel and not wanting to be ungrateful, untrustworthy. Ultimately we arrived at an after-hours club with loud music blaring and a young white crowd apparently having a good time. He told me I could get cigarettes in there. I asked him if I could buy him a drink and he shook his head sadly and said they wouldn’t serve him there and walked across the square. I was immensely saddened by this and I stood by the doorway for a bit torn between the pull of nicotine and justice. I wandered a little down the sidewalk and saw a series of 7 playing cards laying face up on the sidewalk and read them as a tarot spread. The cards showed a perilous journey whose ultimate destination is confusion. As I pondered this the Rastafarian came back and asked why I didn’t go inside. I told him that I was not going to go somewhere where they wouldn’t let him in.

He seemed pleased with this response and he walked me across the square and introduced me to an African immigrant and told me that he could help me. In his broken English the immigrant offered to find me a prostitute and some cocaine. I told him that that wasn’t what I was looking for. I told him that I had 100 guilders that I was to spend on something frivolous and that I wanted cigarettes. He led me on a long walk and as we walked I attempted to explain what frivolous means. “You know something spontaneous needed. Something fun we don’t need.” We talked a little about our lives and the state of race relations in Amsterdam and I felt we quickly developed a sort of camaraderie that transcended our different backgrounds and agendas. Once we were accosted by a gang of blacks and my new friend stepped forward and told them I was with him and he was helping me find a good time. Once we were accosted by white policemen and I stepped forward and explained he was with me and he was giving me a tour. We talked about how this was a model of how relationships should be, mostly walking side by side but sometimes one than the other stepping forward as the situation warranted. We walked through the seedier part of the Red Light district than what I’d walked through with my friends touristing. It had made me uncomfortable seeing the women displayed in large glass windows like puppies at the mall pet store. This was grittier but more real and we bought beers and loose cigarettes from some of the whores and hung out for chit chat. We walked about a good part of the night most of what is a blur although I remember a short ride in an unregistered taxi which I was scolded for as an exorbient waste of money and smoking crack in some alley. I was so spun I couldn’t even feel it.

Ultimately 100 guilders will not take you very far especially if your guide is a crackhead and we found ourselves at the train station. After ascertaining that I really didn’t have anymore money my friend left to run a short errand and did not return.

I was still driven by this incredible restlessness and a cop had rousted me and told me to move on. I didn’t have a key to the mind spa at this point and didn’t want to wake everyone up and started wandering the streets. I was overcome by a great weariness and began to count the days since last I’d slept. I began to see the extent of how much I was spun, it had been upwards of 10 or 11 days, I was not sure, I sat in a bus shelter and pondered what had transpired, I was so exhausted. I thought of this new gift of gab I’d acquired and remembered how I’d talked our way from the cops earlier. I thought about ecstasy and what was its nature, not just the drug but that peculiar feeling of grandiose rapture that it so expertly duplicated but that I thought I’d had felt before. I wondered what the connection was. I tried to recapture that feeling and that voice of persuasive charm even though I was just speaking thoughts in my head,that I’d used in the furious tabling session, 450 guilders in 45 minutes, money was now meaningless, raised virtually at will, functionally unnecessary. I began to see that I’d been able to tap into that energy before when speaking to large crowds. When you have that rapt attention of many, and you are speaking to each like they are an individual. I thought of The Voice as described in Dune or the Jedi mind trick, “These aren’t the droids your looking for”. I remembered the terror before stepping onto the podium during my speaking engagements as an activist. That raw terror, and then a deep breath, and a plunge into The Word. I saw that the heart of ecstasy was overcoming fear and I began to remember how that felt in my body. I stretched out on the small bench, devised to keep the homeless from an easy rest, and began to breathe in through my nose and out through my mouth slowly and deeply casting my focus on the feeling of air going by my septum. I relaxed all the muscles in my tired and battered body pushed way too hard for way too long. As I reached a state of total relaxation I felt my palms become moist like before addressing a large crowd. Ignited by the oxygen I was again burning brightly. The boundless energy returned and my exhaustion was no more. I was beyond the collapse and could return to the mind spa to face my future. Later I encapsulated this idea into a formula: fear + oxygen = ecstasy.

going crazy part 5

going crazy part 1

Categories: insanity, travel

upcoming vacation

September 1, 2007 Leave a comment

Next Wednesay i will be on tour of missouri with Dave Smith of all people. I am going to try to get at least the Amsterdam portion of going crazy done before then. I hope to change focus and tell some stories with Dave as we tool around the Ozarks and points North. Dave has been a diligent correspondent of late in spite of me not writing back and he took one of my behaviors in writing and sending me a poem that he didn’t keep a copy of. since its mine i have decided to post it. i believe its dave’s first online poetry.

Leftist gorillas and the likes – how ’bout a

banana?- if trees were made out of plastic

they’d Stand all alone, millions of ’em

forever – Sign 100 thousand feet high – reaching

toward the Sky – just so – “can you hear

the drummer…” slowin’ ” – enter nothin’

I really like this one, in Dave’s description he calls it “crisp, clean hot off the press just balanced enough to enter your soul and heart simaltaneously” (sic) and I think thats true. In one line he riffs on one of my poems which i will enter here. Its my commentary on corporate mergers and capital accumulation leading to its logical conclusion that there is only one corporation.


I hope one day

When there’s only one corporation

That its Whammo!

They invented the frisbee

And the hoola hoop, i think

So why shouldn’t they be the ones who get to rule the world.

Not the big banks

Who have never helped a child learn to play

Or a man bond with his dog at the local park

They’re to busy funding wars

All more deadly than before

And they don’t care who wins besides

They’re collecting interest from both sides

And the only pay for those who die

Are copper coins to cover their eyes.

And not the tele-communication empires

Spewing electronic pablum

Oh, how they’ve always done

Only now its the six o’clock news

And not just Gilligan’s Island.

Scintilating, titilating, nauseating half truths

To gather market share

To sell you a “Revolutionary New” hair care product

Or something for that “Not So Fresh Feeling”.

They sell sex and violence

Then ring their hands at Columbine

But with their star making coverage the next is not far behind

Live on ABC, CBS, and CNN!

And an old man says to his grandson

That I remember when

Kids respected their parents

And didn’t shoot their friends.

And the boy practicing “head shots”

Will cry from the other room

I’ll be with you in a minute Granpa

When I finish this game of Doom.

And not The Manufacturers

Of our god, The Sacred Car

That we drive to the treadmill at they gym

Because we wouldn’t want to walk that far.

And we’ll cover the entire planet

In pavement or in tar.

And if you want to breathe clean air

You’ll buy it at the Oxygen Bar.

And so my friends

When the story ends

And the last competitor falls.

If you want to fill your tank

Or go to the bank

Or shop at The World Wide Mall

The sign outside

Waving far and wide

Because its ten thousand feet tall!

Ought to read Whammo Corporation,

By god, we own it All!

Categories: poetry

going crazy part 3

September 1, 2007 1 comment

I had been spending the most time with Aaron. Aaron was in crisis. He had at first turned down Debbie’s invitation to return to Amsterdam as his business was pressing. He was a co-owner of a new marijuana dispensary and had a small grow operation in Marin keeping him busy. After he learned I was going he decided he could go. That fact later became important in my delusional system. Last year Aaron was the newbie this year I was.

Shortly after we arrived Aaron had learned his partner had declared him corrupt and taken control of the business and his grow operation saying they were company assets. His partner also called High Times and told them they were employing a swindler and wanting to avoid controversy they fired him before he started. Aaron was obsessed and went on and on about his troubles back home. As he was largely my guide to the city I was the recipient of his angst and tried my best to listen and provide guidance. I remember we had a long talk about “energy vampires” those who take and take without giving. There is a reason you never invite a vampire into your home.

Aaron and I had purchased some “organic ecstasy” from our host at the mind spa. That night we did a gram, sometime later we did another. Being crazy for me is a lot like being on ecstasy. That same sparkling of perception and words unbidden uncensored easy on the tongue. We stayed up all night mostly talking about Aaron’s situation. That day I worked the door at some Cannabis Cup event and did whatever we did, go to dinner smoke cannabis its all really a blur and truly I have little idea of what happened when or even what really happened and what was delusion. Keep that in mind throughout this narrative have the names have not been changed under the assumption that time and the statute of limitations protect the guilty, if there be any.

That night I was again hanging out with Aaron and he raved on in his obsessions and wanted to do the rest of the ecstasy. I didn’t want to do any because it was late and I hadn’t slept. Aaron said he would do it all (4 grams I believe and it was more intense than any I had ever done) if I didn’t do it with him. One of the bad things about ecstasy is the tripping dose and the fatal dose are just too damn close. So I did a gram and later another and again we stayed up all night talking about Aaron’s obsessions. Taking ecstasy was probably the last rational decision, poor though it was, that I made for months. On night three I did not need to take ecstasy to stay up all night nor did I sleep again in Amsterdam though it must have been another 8 or 9 days before I left.

I can’t really describe what I was feeling through this time. I had this rush of ideas, incredible confidence and energy to the point of laughable grandiosity and I was putting things together at an incredible rate. I was so intensely in the moment that a coherent narrative is impossible. Perhaps insanity at its core is the lack of a coherent personal narrative. Stan Davis my first sociology professor at good old Monroe County Community College called insanity a worldview of one. But that is insufficient as I often could easily explain my charged world view to folks and take them along with me to what I now believed. Because with the delusions of grandeur came an incredible charisma.

I believe I continued to work security for the Cup. At one point I was able to work the CAN table. Part of our deal with High Times was we got a free table at the vendors area. We brought no product, the heart of CAN’s fundraising was selling pot stickers, t-shirts and hemp products but we produced nothing and our vendors and their competitors had tables so we just had literature. We had our glossy flyers for the medical marijuana initiative and we had  copies of the initiative. We were a bit of rock stars for just passing the most significant piece of marijuana law in the world. Aaron had been desultorily working the table as he was not allowed to work which left it all to Debbie and myself. At one point I worked the table for 45 minutes. Within minutes there was a crowd around the table as I gave my rap. This is how we passed it this is what we passed. That was the essence of it. We had a basket that people through coins in. I only worked the table for 45 minutes because Debbie felt we were endangering our place by taking business from the other vendors. The ones who had products. As we excitedly counted our take it came to 450 guilders or about $300. I had done 3 fair days of tabling income without any products to sell in 45 minutes. That’s when I realized that money was valueless. I felt I could sing it up out of the aether at will, and perhaps I could.

Later perhaps that same day I took a break from working the door and walked through the exhibition booth where there was an open mic. Rappers were bustin out rhymes and I thought I had important revelations to share. I took the mic and explained that the economy ran on magic and that money meant nothing. I said wild eyed that we could actualize the idea behind “that insight book” that if you see someone doing the right thing than give them money so they can keep doing it and we could be freed from the shackles of shameless commerce. I made the challenge that I had a pocket full of money that I would try to give away and that it could not be done because by doing the right thing it would flood back to me. I of course quickly found it was no problem at all to give away all my money.

I left the stage and an older hippy gentleman took me aside and told me that while he heard the truth and compassion in my speech that there was madness in my eyes and that I needed rest. I almost cried from his gentle hand on my shoulder and the care in his words. A young woman approached me for my money for some feminist cause. We talked and found her organization’s needs exceeded what was in my pocket and I gave her enough for a phone call and my number in Berkeley and promised to work with her to raise that money with an infallible plan that rose in my mind. Debbie approached and told me to cool it I was making a fool of myself. I pointed out the young woman who had been touched by my words and she said she just wanted my money.

Back at the mind spa I was scolded for interrupting a poetry event for speechifying. I announced I could write poetry though I had never been able too before. I knocked out one on the pains of being me on the spot. Jennifer saved it and later sent it to me and it was pretty good. I may still have it somewhere. My friends challenged my growing grandiosity and my challenge of their sacred cows. I had always felt an air of hypocrisy and shameless commerce ran through the drug legalization crowd and with the death of my self-censor I no longer held back.

They challenged my unequaled genius with comparing me to my host who spoke three languages flawlessly. After they slept I broke out the German English dictionary and wrote a haiku. I don’t remember it in German but in English it went:

Sunrise War

Around dying Autumnal fires

Until sleep intervenes

I was having flashes of what I felt was genetic memory. At least one night I walked all night. I felt my body had walked about Europe for millennia. I had vague memories of marching with compatriots a squad of warriors sleeping around campfires in piles like puppies for warmth. I wanted to capture the old warriors sitting about the fire telling horror stories through the night as one by one they drift off to uneasy dreams.

At some point I had picked up a nasty huge swelling bruise and was walking with a heavy limp. My friends wanted me to go to a hospital. I knew enough that I was too crazy to go to a hospital and not risk admission in some foreign system. By then I was afraid my friends were out to get me. To push me into insanity. To force me to wager my soul in an unholy game of Risk with our host. To induct me into an international secret organization of drug dealers. I felt that if I slept someone would be whispering hypnotizing words into my ears and I would be lost, damned or both. I vowed I would not sleep again until I was safely out of this infernal city. The damaged foot was a problem. I laid in a special relaxation chair, leather, like something you would see in a dental office. I breathed into my nose and out of my mouth slowly and evenly concentrating on the air going by my septum. I clenched my fingers and toes and felt all of the incredible tension of my wire taut body. I released all of it and felt the incredible sense of total relaxation. I visualized the swelling leaving my foot and it becoming perfectly whole. Time passed I guess. I looked at my foot and the bruise was gone. I showed my friends my foot whole and restored and they were unimpressed. They still wanted me to go to the hospital as I was clearly mad thinking I could heal my foot. They asked if I had slept and I told them I had. Later I would lay down and close my eyes and pretend to sleep to try to allay their concerns but would also drop hints that I was only pretending.

One night fairly close to when we were supposed to leave I came in from a day of wandering and found Jennifer dipping CD sized sheets of hash into a pot of wax bubbling on the stove. We discussed in a roundabout fashion drug commerce and my possible participation in it. I had always made a very clear distinction that I was comfortable possessing and using drugs but not in their commerce. Sanctions are too great, the rewards too tenuous. Jennifer said at one point: “Act out of love and not fear”, a great line. I responded with: “Love of what and fear of what? Love of money is the root of all evil and fear of God is the beginning of wisdom”. She was unimpressed. She did give me a 100 guilders because I had given all of my money away. She told me not to give it away but to spend it on something “frivolous”.

next: going crazy part 4

first: going crazy part 1

Categories: friends, insanity, the mind, travel