One Gorgeous F*ing Smile

 One Gorgeous F*ing Smile 
 
I suspect Ger might not wish to be identified with Alice’s dreamscape Chesire Cat
Whose grin so defined, that all but grin disappeared.
We sat in pairs in HTHSC typing class with Ger directly in front of me and my partner
And always, he stood up and greeted us with an unhurried, relaxed, beaming
And genuine smile
Warmly and happily
As if we weren’t in a child-processing plant
Where clocks were king
And every hour called us to order obedience and self-suffering
As if we were on the beach, on vacation, maybe in a different reality
And his invariable greeting was an effusive, “Hi Neighbors!”

 

Probably everybody has a love-hate relationship with facebook
Where some of our old friends appear to be having an easier, better, wilder, wealthier
Or happier time than we are
And Ger’s life of partying on the beach
His radiant smile sizzling up photo after photo
Non-stop sunshine, good times, friends
Was too much
For me
Single mom of four
Working working working
Squeezing in a night out, with limited funds once in a great while.
I unfollowed  him to ease my jealousy.

 

But Ger  messaged me to please come to a fundraiser
Something about ALS (what’s that?)
And as it isn’t terribly hard for me to make it over to Belom’s…

 

A few years ago, we partied together
And his smile, signature scarf and ease hadn’t changed a bit,
But now, he held onto a walker to stand, and when I greeted him
His facial muscles tried very hard to move his mouth to say “hi!”
But they couldn’t…
The party went on all day and night
And Ger
Welcomed every friend
With his same gracious effusive accepting and ever-comfortable spirit
Attired as always in neat fashionable Ger-style
with or without his muscles helping out,
Like the all-encompassing grin of Alice’s Chesire Cat
Gerry Estoque displayed and will always display
One gorgeous f*ing smile.
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What is an American?

What is an American?

An American isn’t well-educated.  Education, like everything else in America is related to money:  how much you have or don’t have.  Education in its true sense of the word, doesn’t matter to Americans; in fact, possessing a wide breadth of knowledge or being an intellectual of high caliber could be more of a detriment than a value.  An individual with a wonderfully rich mind could easily be overlooked or shunned if the wealth of knowledge isn’t somehow or another transformed into pocket wealth.

America is a monarchy and the Dollar sporting the all-seeing eye atop the pyramid is King.

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beauty and the beast

“Beloved I need to love you – every aspect, every pore.”

And this time God said,

“There is a hideous blemish on my body,
though it is such an infinitesimal part of my Being-
could you kiss that if it were revealed?”

“I will try, Lord, I will try.”

And then God said,
“That blemish is all the hatred and
cruelty in this
world.”

– fr. “Could You Embrace That”, Thomas Aquinas, c. 1245

I love literature, I love the written expression of thought!  I have loved innumerable books with  a quiet, tremendous passion which in many cases has eventually extended to the individual responsible for expressing his/herself so formidably in words!  I have loved stories!  I have loved the sustained expression of original idea.  I’ve loved and adored many writers and thinkers — and beyond that — Life itself, the mysterious ‘without which’, neither thinker nor thought would arise!  I love and have always loved just wondering and thinking about Life —  the Great Mystery that even Nikola Tesla (well, maybe Nikola Tesla) and even Dennis McKenna (well, maybe Dennis McKenna) haven’t, with all their original human brilliance, yet been able to solve.

When my kids were younger, I homeschooled them.  I had heard about homeschooling and had met and talked to a few homeschooling families.  The remarkable self-composure of homeschooled children made an immediate impression on me.  I reflected upon my own public school education for a few seconds and contrasted my own teenage insecurity and immaturity with what I saw in teenage homeschooled children, and decided to give homeschooling a try.  I didn’t have the wealth to pay for the kind of schools I wanted for my kids and I believed they’d be better off without the tutelage of semi-intelligent minds.  It isn’t that I believed myself to be a brilliant individual capable of educating my kids all by myself–no– in fact the enormity of the (unpaid, 24/7) job was daunting. When I looked back upon my own education in public school, all I saw was excruciating boredom, marked and defined by the interminable length of time one minute took to tick by on the ever-present black and white classroom clock.

My husband (now X) was agreeable.  So without further ado, I launched into home-education.

For the next ten years, I traveled a long and winding road of discovery.  In the process of home-educating my children, I became educated, for the first time.  I realized, little by little, how completely worthless my 13 childhood years from kindergarten through high school, spent locked in the confines of the school institution, had been for me and no doubt were for very many others, I believe the vast majority.  Not only did my 13 years at school produce an uneducated person, they produced a confused person; confused and ignorant about world history, American history, and science; essentially the world around me and the story of human beings through time.

Although I was always an “A” math student, I came to realize that all of the wonder, all of the beauty of discovery, all of the evolution and story of the development of math, from Pythagoras until Einstein were omitted from school math, which was introduced to children as a body of pre-fab, formulaic, increasingly complex knowledge to be memorized.

When I, a college graduate BA English Literature, began, at the age of 34, to teach my children science, I was confused about what “Science” is.  If somebody had said to me, “Define “Science”, I would have been confused, and probably would have mumbled an unintelligible guess.  I don’t know what my answer would have been, but surely I wouldn’t have known enough to say, “Science is looking at the mystery of everything around us, including ourselves, with curiosity, and trying to make sense of it.”

Science was presented, like math, as a pre-determined, given body of information to be memorized.  From the very beginning, in kindergarten or first grade, we were given textbooks with chapters about planets or plants or rocks or dinosaurs, with vocabulary words to be memorized and remembered, and fractured information to be tested upon, which then proceeded to determine where one registered on the omnipresent scale from very smart to incredibly dumb.

 

 

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good luck with dat y’all

the recent events, legislation and global government activity which, all taken and strung together make up the contemporary short history “Policing of the Internet”, make for a truly thought-provoking and new realm of philosophical speculation.

In our lifetime, just a hop, skip and a hip-hop step ago, we witnessed the dawning of a new age. There should be no question left in anybody’s mind, but that the rise of the World-Wide-Web marked the end of one long, tedious and material era of human history and the beginning of a brand new otherworldly, ultra-dimensional one.

The New Human History is a story that takes place in “Cyberspace”.  Cyberspace is a realm that didn’t even exist in pre-network computing human history.  We can think of the short history of cyberspace as the birth, growth and limitless expansion of a new dimension of space, like the space that humans have inhabited and thoroughly polluted on the globe, with their feet on the ground and their swords and guns and bombs in their hands or falling down from their airplanes.  Palaces, prisons, ships, airplanes, factories, cathedrals, kings, princesses, knights…animals, flowers and trees, forests, mountains and meadows, oceans, lakes, rivers…..kings, popes, presidents, dictators…. housing, feeding… poverty and wealth… the struggle of the people against over-controlling domination…

Looking back over what we know of mankind’s habitation of the globe, we can isolate the history of man’s war-making and policing efforts and think of it as the history of man’s attempt to gain or maintain Control.  When we are talking about activity on the firmament, we can relate to and understand that humans want stuff for themselves. Beyond food and shelter, they (or at least a segment of the human population and I will add (without malice) that by-and-large they tend to be male) always appear to want concentrated wealth — not for the purpose of survival and not for survival’s haughty cousin comfort, but for something more abstract and something that wouldn’t even be desirable if not for the vast and generally thereupon impoverished audience.  We refer to this abstraction as ‘Power’.

A few days ago, there was what we now refer to as a ‘glitch’ in the Chinese (and that would mean most-heavily censored) internet.  A ‘glitch’ is like an opening in cyberspace that allows people to go somewhere or do something that they normally wouldn’t be allowed or able to do.  Taking advantage of the portal, the Chinese gained momentary access to the President of the United States’ Google+ social networking page.  Hundreds of Chinese grabbed the unusual opportunity (seized the moment) and posted messages on Obama’s page.  These messages were cries for help.  The Chinese want freedom of expression on the computer because their leadership imposes more restrictions and censorship than any other currently on the globe.  For heaven’s sake, the Chinese cannot even Tweet!!

Lately (and not in mainstream media) but thanks to internet and global news sources, we read more and more about our own United States government and other national governments around the world scheming on and enacting legislation regarding ‘policing’ and censorship of the internet, of cyberspace.  We are now witness to one story after the next, of people being arrested, interrogated, imprisoned (tortured … by US as well as Them)… for cyberspace-related behaviors, activities, misbehaviors and violence.  There are the child pornographers and the Facebook slanderers; and there are the Wikileaks adventurers and exposure-provocateurs (whom I think we should bow down before but who are now being indefinitely detained… and tortured)…

 

 

 

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the look in their eyes: ch3

The first time they met, he told her his last name was German for “dark”.

Leon was old, but he had sparkling eyes.  A couple of tattoos marked his forearms, and they were the old messy blue hand-needled kind, from long ago, before tattoos became designer and trendy and expertly-rendered.  Laughter embellished his remarks, all of which seemed oddly and charmingly fresh and original.

In accordance with the name, “dark”, and  contrasing sharply with the twinkle in his eye and the laughter which bubbled forth spontaneously like a running brook, and which, taken together, provided an undeniable appeal for Violet, was a life background and unusual perspectives, which, eventually, Violet came to identify as “criminal”.

Leon personified the “other”, and this was something with which Violet had had no true previous experience.  The Other represented the shadow world.  The Shadow World is analogous to the shadow cast by your body as you walk along, as you walk through your life.  Your body comprises society on the “privileged” side of the divide.  The divide is arbitrary and man-made, but your body is conditioned by upbringing, experience, and tradition, to ignore the shadow until bit by bit, you oppose the shadow and deny the shadow and don’t even know or remember or recognize the shadow at all. The shadow cast by your body is part and parcel of you, from birth to death, at which point you no longer cast a shadow.  The shadow cast by your body represents the other part of society; the part of humanity that is squashed, that is denied, that becomes repressed, that howls late at night at a full moon and goes unheard.  (This, by the way, if you pause long enough, if you consider hard enough, is a strange but seemingly psychologically necessary pretense maintained by ’elitists’ so that life can be experienced as one endless holiday picnic, all the while enabled by the practice of  incarcerating, killing, and suppressing all of humanity, and nature, for that matter, which threatens to cloud this illusion.)

Through her association with Leon, Violet’s awareness of this entire alter-society was ignited.  Violet’s life, up until her association with Leon, with perhaps the exception of her childhood neighbor, Mr. White, had been, by contrast: elitist, oblivious, law-abiding, socially conditioned, and most of all, civilized.  Aside from one or two speeding tickets, and an arrest for underage drinking at a bar, Violet had no life experience of being on the other side of the law.  Neither had she ever really associated with or had friends who’d been law-breakers, police-magnets, or convicts.  She had been stolen from, and she’d shoplifted a few times in her younger days, but she’d always paid her bills, paid back her loans, she’d gone to college, tried to play the work game, the social game, the whatever-was-expected-of-her game.  Not that any of it had ever been truly fulfilling.  Mostly it was acting out what everybody else acted out… go to college, find a job, want, want, want…. finally get married to have children…. discover that a loveless marriage is a one-way ticket to hell… discover that having children doesn’t fill that bottomless Want… until finally one day a person with a twinkle in his eye and a laugh on his lips, who is wild and unfettered and whose last name is German for “dark”, comes along.

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The Look in Their Eyes: brief descript

“The Look in Their Eyes” is a story about the existential connection
between the “look in their eyes”and the question of the meaning of
existence.
The Look is a look of Want.  It is primitive, in the sense that it’s
irrational and animal, even beast… It is a look that is in mens’ eyes in spite
of Civilization.  It isn’t civilized.  It contains madness and aggression.  It
is the look of selfishness and desire.  The “Want” is unsatisfiable.  No matter
how much the human male acquires of earthly gain:  how much money, how many
possessions, how many beautiful women… no matter the profit at the expense of
others… the Want will take,  the Want will kill…. the Want is something
unknown that comes from beyond the individual man… it is infinitely
unsatisfiable…
The male “want look” causes woman to subconsciously desire to be
the acquisition that completes, answers, and fulfills the Unsatisfiable Need.
But the Want is never satisfied, the Object, Woman, is never enough.
this absence of resolution parallells the absence of answerability of
the question of the meaning of existence
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the look in their eyes ch2: the abyss

It was very dark and quiet.  Occasionally, Violet would hear the soft, distant appproach of a car, and as it passed by the house, a shadow-reflection of the two bedroom windows would chase around the wall of Violet’s bedroom.  Otherwise, darkness and silence, except for the deep, steady breathing of Elizabeth and Ferne, who lay sleeping in the other two beds; three beds in-a-row, with barely room to walk between.  Sometimes, when Violet lay awake late at night, the rest of the family and the rest of the world asleep, she found herself dwelling in a not-necessarily sought-after perception, regarding death, and non-existence.  At St. Mary’s Church, where her mother took the girls for 6:30am mass on Sunday (before Dad woke up), and where Violet and her sisters attended catechism after school on Thursdays, her cathechism teacher, Mrs. Connelly, had talked to them about hell and heaven.  She said if they were bad and broke any one of the 10 Commandments, they would go to hell where they would live forever and ever and ever, in hellfire, tormented and tortured by devils.  But if on the other hand, they kept the Commandments, and confessed whatever minor sins they committed to the priests in Confession, they would go to heaven, where they would live forever and ever and ever, among God and Jesus and all the angels and saints.

One day, Mark Strobel, a boy from school, became extremely upset when Mrs. Connelly sternly admonished him, “Mark, I have had it with you!!!   If you don’t sit down right now, and make an effort to memorize the First Communion prayer, not only will you be unable to make your First Communion, but at the rate you’re going, you might wind up going to hell!”

Instead of complying with Mrs. Connelly, Mark’s freckled face grew red, his eyes narrowed, and Violet saw his face transform into a mask of fury.  Violent screams burst forth:   “I want to go to hell!!  I want to go to hell!!” he screamed again and again and again.  Tears poured from his eyes, wetting his bright-red cheeks.  Mrs. Connelly, who was Angela Connelly’s mother, got angry.

“That is quite enough!” she cried.  “Don’t you ever let me hear you say you want to go to hell!  That is a Sin of Defiance against the goodness of our Lord!!”

She grabbed Mark by the arm and gave him a hard yank.  She pulled him out into the hallway and the children heard his cries grow faint,  “I want to go to hell!  “I want to go to hell!”

While Violet lay in the darkness, her thoughts turned to death and non-existence.  She didn’t often think about death during the day, but the all-pervasive quiet darkness of night, while Violet lay alone awake, feeling the strangeness of existence and, being able by contrast, to perceive the flip-side of the existence question: darkness, beyond light and life, non-existence.

The heaven and hell stuff was bunk.  Anyone could see that.

Death, non-existence; Violet was aware of a dark, bottomless abyss that looked like outer space.  It looked like outer space because it was pitch-black, darker than night-time, and the darkness was infinite, and unending, which was terrifying.  There were occasional tiny little stars, dotting the darkness, but they were all at immeasurable distances, they brought no comfort.  Whereas existence meant thoughts and ideas about things, sisters, playing outside, books, trees, grasshoppers, everything that daylight contained; non-existence was a dark, infinite, lonely, and terrifying abyss.  Violet, 7-years old, lying awake late at night, alone, in the darkness; perceived that the abyss was what lay in wait, on the other side of daytime, of sunshine, and of the inexplicable condition of lying in a bed, in a room, in a house, in a world, which was a ball spinning madly while zooming around a fireball, both of which hung unsuspended in an infinite void – lying in a bed, filled with absolutely dreadful, unbidden awareness, of the implications of Night.

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the look in their eyes prologue

The funniest thing:  that even now, in the few moments preceding the passage from this, the only world Violet knew, into the unknown abyss of death, the thin layer of ennui, boredom, needing that unattainable something more, that general want or lack, could be present.  Cold, no freezing, in the water, the ocean of saltwater.  The cruise ship hadn’t noticed or cared that it was suddenly less one passenger.  And that was good, because the last thing Violet wanted, even now, was to have the cruise ship notice her, to have it stop its course, to be rescued, and to be drowned in human questioning, and remain in this world of enigmatic human quandry and quagmire.

Here she was, freezing to death, and considering the extreme temperature of the ocean, it couldn’t possibly be long, maybe she would freeze at the surface before drowning.  Here she was treading water, immersed in the primacy of earth, of life, of beginnings and endings.  She had wondered if one’s final moments would be dramatically enlightening… or something.   Here she was freezing to death and feeling weirdly, not bored, but ordinary, given the circumstances.  The early morning sun looked lonely, and indifferent in the endless expanse of grey water and lightening skies.  Beautiful rose and teal-colored companion clouds appeared alongside the morning sun, just above the horizon line which stretched to eternity now.  Ordinary reflections and associations crossed her mind: movie scenes in which people drowned in the middle of the ocean.  She wondered why the companion clouds came along with that morning sun, when no other clouds marked the bluing sky.  She had wondered if she’d be eaten alive by sharks, but here she was treading water, quite ordinarily, no shark fins in sight.  Except now as the freeze went deeper, there began an all-over pain, as if sharp stabbing thick needles insistently and mercilessly conspired to torture her.  She cried out, and there was no one but the sun to hear her.  The sun didn’t seem bothered, which suddenly seemed strangely unreal.  The sun would watch whatever happened beneath it, and no matter what  extremes of human pain transpired under the sun, it would rise up again tomorrow, just as if nothing had happened.  A thought crossed her mind.  ”Ra” the sun, wasn’t Ra supposed to be God, to the ancients?  Wasn’t God supposed to love us?  Shouldn’t God care when I am being tortured to death?  The needles weren’t little sewing needles, they were great factory machine needles, designed to puncture iron.  Screams came, one after the next, unbidden, and even now the mind was reflective.  Thoughts of childbirth, when screams eventually took over, and one went primal, down down down the dark tunnel, the abyss.  In the extremis of her first labor, she went down the abyss, the rabbit hole, as she thought of it… and there was a place, or a time, or a universe, where the scream changed to, “Mommy!!!” and the feeling was infancy and the need was Everything and it was infinite… “Moooooooommmmmmmmmyyyyyyy!!!”… and Mommy might come or she might not.

The screams took on a life of their own, one after another, pain and screams, and the pain and screams became an entity separate from her.  Her mind or something split, because all of a sudden something very strange did happen and there was a completely expanded awareness that would ordinarily be unaccountable.  And here “Violet” was, only even she knew she wasn’t Violet anymore, she’d become something else, something unfamiliar and familiar at the same time.  Her whole life did seem to pass before her vision and awareness, somewhat like a dream, but an entirely new and different multi-dimensional dream.  At the same time, there was an ordinary kind of awareness, she was still Violet, recognizing the profound strangeness of this experience.  Her body and mind were screams and pain, but there was a separate kind of consciousness that could watch and be completely immersed in something else that was transpiring.  So she was Violet, but she was not Violet, because her entire life was being reviewed in an extraordinary  consciousness that was able to see, like watching a movie, but seeing it with extraordinary memory and clarity that certainly Violet would never have been capable of.  Ordinarily, she couldn’t remember what happened yesterday, much less, exactly what her mother and father looked like, did and were to her when she was an infant.

Another strange element to the life story to which Violet bore witness, was the lack of any kind of self-judgment.  Their was no embarrassment, no feeling of making mistakes, no regretting, no judging of herself or anyone, which of course was out of the ordinary.  It was now as if there was no self left, a definite and profound detachment from personal responsibility for the sequence of events that made up her life story, from birth to this moment, and this moment was a passage, like birth, it was a passage.

As she witnessed her life play out, there they were, the boys and the men and they were many.  There was one after the next, beginning even when she was a young child, aged 7.  They appeared now, and each one was clearly remembered in his individuality.  All the personalities, the problems, the quirks, even the cruelty, were transformed in a glowing kind of acceptance and understanding.  Even now, they inspired a particular life-long feeling in her, each man, each boy; it was the common underlying reason for most of her life’s behavior really, if you wanted to be perfectly honest about it. It was the entire race of human male, it was their unbridled aggression, it was their muscular anatomy, it was their penises and the scrotum behind framing the penis.  All the penises!!,  and the individual man, subconsciously controlled by his own, making it into ever so much more than what it was, a little dangle of flesh after all.  Most of all, it was the look in their eyes.  Yes, and that is what Violet saw now.

Violet’s head was still above water, but her arms and legs were now barely able to move and screams had given way to silence.  The ocean, the earth, the sky, was all.  And the saltwater taste and the saltwater smell were the taste and smell of birth, and of death and of life and of home.

It was the look in their eyes and that was what Violet saw as her head sank beneath the ocean surface.  The look was shared by each and every one of the men who peopled her story.  Was it a story or had it been a dream?  Now it appeared to have been a dream, rather than a life or a life story.  The look was primitive, it hungered, it was beast and being beast it wasn’t civilized and it wasn’t even rational.  All it knew, if you could call it knowing was the Want.  The Want was unsatisfiable, and that was the very root of humankind’s problem on Planet Earth.  The want wanted and that was all it knew. Blackness coming, the abyss, the rabbit hole, no, it wasn’t even a rabbit hole now, it was entirety, a Black Hole in outer space, swallowing galaxies.  And as it drew Violet into itself, all she was imagining, all she was thinking, all she was remembering, was how life for her had been an equally unsatisfiable yearning and longing to fulfill and complete and answer the bottomless Want she invariably saw in the look in their eyes.

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abusive individuals, groups, and nations all mentally ill

ok, here it is, my theory:

Individuals who abuse others:  bullies, household tyrants, wife-beaters, child-abusers;

Groups & organizations who abuse others (individuals or groups):  this includes not only KKK, for example, but organizations whose modus operandi is deliberately taking unfair advantage of others;

and Nations who abuse other nations, groups or individuals; Germany under Hitler, of course, but also US, because like it or not, admit it to yourself or don’t, our unnecessary, repeat, unnecessary violence, killing, and threatening presence on this globe is unmatched;

all abusive individuals, groups, and nations suffer from similar mental illness.  The two most in-your-face symptoms of this pathology are:  1) absence of empathy  2) self-aggrandizement  (The act or practice of enhancing or exaggerating one’s own importance, power, or reputation.)

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response to Henry Giroux’s clear-eyed take on today’s American far-right-ism

index.php?option=com_k2&view=item&id=7086:the-scorchedearth-politics-of-americas-four-fundamentalisms

June 5, 2012:  lilyfield says:

I read this article and liked it very much.  I think ‘fundamentalism’ is a good description of the extremist mentality of America’s government and society these days.  It is so strange to be in the midst of a society that seems so needlessly cruel in so many different areas — in particular the prison system (and children are being incarcerated at a vastly accelerated rate, also being held in solitary confinement, also put into adult prisons), and the “wars” (quotes because if you ask any American why we are in Iraq, Afghanistan… they are confused and stutter helplessly!!)

Maybe we were always very cruel – but these days, school are like little prisons (not the schools of the privileged) with kids being searched, watched, drug-tested, harrassed by police at school, taken off from school to junior prisons for any little infraction.  Young people are arrested and put in prison for “suspicion of belonging to a gang”.  Lately there were 2 separate incidents of 6-year-olds being handcuffed in kindergarten class and taken off to the the police station!!   people accept this!!  is that strange????

In his many books and articles, Henry Giroux addresses today’s social realities regarding American children with a great deal of insight, including the idea that America considers entire groups of people, “disposable” — mostly the poor black population (witness apathetic government response to Hurricane Katrina’s human wreckage) which comprise large urban ghettoes in every city, but also working class kids!!  Large groups of these populations live their lives within the ever-expanding prison/probation system (& for-profit prison is now a rising industry!)

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