doesn’t hurt once it’s over

there is much benefit in chanting and meditation. I wrote specifically about japa meditation in one of my old journals Communicate Devotion a few years back. we would sit on the floor and chant the maha-mantra until sixteen rounds were completed (a round equalling a strand of 108 beads). this took about two hours a day, if not a little more, and needless to say this was a little tiring on the mind and body without mixing it up a little bit. so onto phase two: standing, or walking. japa walks, japa talks. in a room, you’d either go in a clockwise circle or pace back and forth. if you were tired, you could pick up the pace a bit. I remember, before leaving one time, we were in the van and looking out the window. one devotee was outside taking laps around the temple like a marathon runner. that was quite an eccentric way for someone to get their rounds done. later this guy completely lost it and was phoning in death threats to SDG.

now I’ll just mention, through japa I found a love for pacing in a room and mulling over thoughts. in japa meditation, your attention is to rest solely on the mantra itself, but inevitably stuff would come in. when I was in my room in India, this is how the idea hit me to start a zine when I got back to the States. the working title, “notes and open thought,” later became “Journal of Thought.” a run of 15 copies for the first issue was received well, so I ran more, turning it into something “real.” I went for years writing like this, pacing the floor and chanting, ideas hitting me, running to the keyboard. issues — as far as content and design — became more polished as things moved along.

later I heard that some famous people in history were known to pace back and forth while confronting their problems or just making things more clear in their minds. this too, is a form of meditation. at least to me. and I like it because it is completely active. you’re not mouthing any mantras to disturb anyone near you, the pace can be set to your liking, and it can be done anywhere.

. . .

kc days
began in ’88
I wore my
army jacket
“Swiz” stenciled
on the back
wore my shoes
in the temple once
didn’t know
to bow
didn’t think to
the gravel
parking lot
Jason R. showed
me where to
put my shoes
kind of irritated
like having
to show
a child
an Indian congregation
a Sunday feast
our separate
little class across
the way
for the youth of today
basics of reincarnation
an awkward kirtana
at the end
a huge circle of dancers
me not
enthusiastic
not wanting to dance
but sang some
my friend Derek
asked, “can we come back”
he was intrigued
it was a long drive
but what the hell
I would mow lawns
and go on days
by myself
skip school
play Cro-Mags
on the headphones
chant japa around
the way in
Silver Spring

I visited
spent the night
for the first time
woke very early
to the smell
of incense and
the deity in
that room
and in the beginning
did not understand
the significance
of murti worship and ritual
brass Caitanya
the Divine Couple
sannyasi’s devotion

going down that
little walkway to
the main temple room
hated how when
the dancing got
wound up
I was pressured into
jumping around
just like them
“if you don’t feel enthusiastic,”
they said, “pretend
like you are.”
some days I did
some days the genuine
bliss would hit me
I was more myself
less shy
and I felt
a love

I was ready
to love
the entire world

it turned
me inside out

. . .

when I saw Varsana Swami speak for the first time, I think I cried. if not, it was pretty much every time after that. I’d cry even now, I think, if he were here. he is a beautiful person and full of love of God, no doubt about it. I specifically remember once in Baltimore, after a class he had given, I was sitting on the floor, eating, and moved to tears — I was so moved by his words. little moments like that added up over the years and kept me around for a long time. I wouldn’t change them.

. . .

there is a bitterness, too. young men and women talked into joining a temple at a young age, that they’ll be taken care of by the society their entire lives, find themselves struck down by a disappointment that the rest of the world is out their waiting to devour them when things don’t work out. there’s no need to pursue an education on the outside. be a monk, serve God and let your ego die. chant and be happy.

I remember some would leave, and it wouldn’t be anything like a team assembled to go and kidnap that person, but the attitude: “if you see James, let me know and we’ll see if we can talk him out of his silly dreams to become a doctor. what maya (illusion)!” yet the society itself receives much of its donations from the Indian community — doctors, lawyers, and so on.

you see a person leaving years later, for whatever reason, unable to really join society without any marketable skills. only the monks are taken care of, and usually not very well. if you decide you want to start a family, you’re pretty much on your own, and it’s looked down upon.

why dwell on it now?
I’m just getting it
out of my system
it feels
good to do so
to put
it into words

I know
it’s in the
past now
I’m
well aware

I feel good writing prose-poems, knowing I’m free of the past (at least to some extent), and watching Kalika climb up into her bed of our unfolded clothes. a cool air comes through the window. we are celebrating weekend time together. a red-neck mountain town, as the South Park song goes. I like it here. it’s not forever. 2 years so far, maybe one more. more or less. married almost 6 years ago, getting sweeter. married as one flesh. now we are two pieces of flesh. we are each whole. she will go to Spain for 4 months and be whole, and I will be here and be whole. I will learn to cook, listen to discourses on buddhism, time travel, self-help, psychology, etc.

a pain in the hand
the hip the breathing
gland the palm the pare
the pine cone a sublime
hankering speak firm
with confidence
shine like that
and surprise them
over and over and
over again
kill them with
kindness
kill them with
surprises
there they will
think you
are the most
kindest host
gracious

in and out of consciousness you find yourself come out, dream a nightmare but awaken and carry it with you down a back alley, sun rising that you can’t stop if you tried. there is the sun behind the rain dancing down your spine and activating impermanence. how a mafia were attacking you. amidst the wrestling you decided to take action. you turned his gun back on him. he swallowed his own bullets. fear in his eyes. a stare into space. you helped him realize three times.

sacred books don’t go on the floor

our friend downtown has
a copy of the Bhagavad-Gita
the song of God
years ago I would
have been inclined to
tell him he needs to
get the As It Is version
I catch myself
hold my tongue
let sleeping dogs lie

I don’t have that
enthusiasm
anymore
guess you
could say
I’ve become
agnostic
don’t know
about God
being around
or existing
in the usual way
we would
think of Him
still I capitalize
like a nice
young man
I’m not trying
to be
offensive

see how
I step lightly?

I’ve been twisted up a bit
some of it I can
blame on others, always
some I can blame
on myself
then — there is the idea
I can only blame myself
for the way I handle
react to a circumstance
all of that is up to me, me, me
yes, a buddhist said this
someone pricks your arm with
a needle
your screaming out is
your own reaction
“they” caused the pain
YOU respond with suffering
get it?

it’s something to think about
I don’t know if it’s true
on all levels
it is high philosophy, for sure
which is useful in many
situations where a person
for example, realizes how
prone to violent, angry
outbursts they are…
and want to change it
yes, from there
it’s up to you how
you want to react

but with something
more extreme
someone bombs
my block
I’ll be thinking
a lot less about
how I’m causing
my own suffering

what I’m trying to do
here is balance
two sides of the idea
pros and cons

back to the old days
this wasn’t as easy for me
I was “young and impressionable”
I was hooked and joined pretty easily
my chain smoking mom, my dad
who had abandoned us…
it was not an aspiring environment
to say the least
the japa beads felt right in my hands
(and sometimes still do) and
there was the song of God
spiritual technologies, if you will —
there to latch onto and become
free from worldly attachments

ah…
here’s something to bite into
worldly attachments
first of all,
I was too young then to
have many, to really know
what that even meant
and therefore naturally assumed
all worldly attachments were
bad, evil, holding you down
I realize now an attachment
is holding on to something for awhile
which is what you have
fingers for
we become attached and even addicted
to things because we are passionate
and alive and cannot help developing
egos while we’re here

of course nothing lasts forever
and you can’t take anything
but your nose hairs with you to the grave
BUT AS YOU SPEND YOUR TIME HERE
why not put some love into something?

I’m not so sure material and spiritual life
are always so separate

or is it, as an As It Is purport said somewhere —
women are like drums for beating, less intelligent,
meant to be kept in line, meant to serve The Husband
since after all, the husband is purely following
the word of the Lord, and needs assistance?
a cog in the machine
the family unit so pleasing…

is it pleasing to God to play drums on people?

the idea is we’re all servants of something
why not serve God — where perfection is?
the twisted idea is
let’s go with: “some servants are more important
than others”
sounds like something out of Animal Farm

devotees backpedal out of the
whole women are less thing
say blah blah doesn’t really mean what it says
“I know it sounds that way, that’s just not what
it means. it means this…”
lies to the self. lies to the other self.

when dancing in the temple, most often women
have to stand in the back
take a lesser role
only when a temple is large enough
do they get to stand side by side
privileges!

. . .

I’ve been sitting here writing, stopping for a moment, breathing in honeysuckle air, listening to the dogs, lawnmowers going. a plane overhead. and I thought, I’m not interested in all of this, being in a movement concentrating on authority, who does what, who’s allowed to do this or that, who has such and such assignment, duty, and so on. I’m interested in metaphysics. isn’t that what brought me to the temple in the first place? isn’t that what should have brought me? maybe it was the food. still, food or metaphysics, not low aspirations. how then, did we get caught up in this, ISK-CONNED out of higher goals, believing less of ourselves?

there was a joke, “we hope there’s not an ISKCON in the sky.”

now that I look at it, it doesn’t surprise me that in September of 2001, many of the devoted started outspokenly becoming Bush worshippers. but it surprised me then. much of what seemed revolutionary to me at the time turned out only to be a batch of ideals backed by conservative “family men.”

. . .

usually only
write on
a piece of
paper
and not
a
particular
topic

that past
is the
past
after all
and
is not
a part
of me

true?

that is up to me
I think
subconsciously
what mostly
all of us do
is hold onto it
and depending
on our mindstates
we let it dig in
our sides
are limited
by past failures

but the past
does not
equal the present

by digging into my own past
I’m launching from it
cutting away
flying at
high speeds
going in
the direction I like
seeing the world
from new perspectives
enjoying new things
growing and perfecting
building striving reaching
climbing running gliding
smiling
breathing

my mom was so upset I was “joining a cult.” years later we would joke, Casey and I, “we’re cultists.” her pseudonym was “crazy cultist.” we wrote letters back and forth into a romance, and I moved to WV there for three short months to be with her until I couldn’t take it any more. it became clear it wasn’t so tongue and cheek after all. it was not a cult dramatized like on TV or Monkey on a Stick, but in small ways added up. then, it would have never occurred to us we were brainwashed — but we were. it just wasn’t thorough. it didn’t need to be. my good self would still shine through, but aspects of me were manipulated through an indoctrinated belief system. from there, I could go about as I liked, as an “individual,” so long as I obeyed the rules. someone talked me into talking myself into it.

I lived in
count em’
5 temples
over
an on/off
period of
10 years

I have boiled down the worthwhile things to:

  • there is much benefit in chanting and meditation
  • reincarnation seems likely
  • vegetarian/veganism is essential
  • music is incredibly powerful
  • writing and teaching in my own way seems to be my life path
  • sacred books don’t go on the floor

and I’m sure the list could extend a little further, but that’s all for now. I’ve cut the cult aspects out of my life and am left with Tulasi neck beads and a Neem wood expression on my face. I’m in my own domicile living out my own pipe dream, and that’s enough for now.

kc musings

snakes have
the right idea
by shedding
skin

feels weird
thinking about
it — 10 years+
in a movement
how that
shapes your
experience

you begin to
wonder
just what is
happening out there
beyond that experience
you know?

how have
I been shaped?

how have
I expanded beyond
all of it?

what were the
positive benefits?
quickly I can
fire off that it
put that learning
passion in me
to read and study
mull over ideas
churn and
become a
philosopher

somehow KC
got me
interested in
Buddhism
I don’t know
exactly how
that works but
there are similarities
many of them

I suppose I will
write my next few
books on this

flipping around
the concepts
of what it means
to me to be
an individual
not just a cog
in machine
in a group
in a desperate group
that sends you out
to get donations
that even degrading methods
are sanctioned

and you go readily
yes, there is that

the initial step
the excitement of
rebelling against parents
school, society
to join a
freakin’ spiritual utopia
and no one
able to tell you
any different
the sights were
locked
get up one morning
and go
go to Philadelphia

someone talked you into it
someone talked you
into talking yourself
into it

yes, this is exciting

lunch notes / SDG

an eon later,
entry try again
so I’ve
returned
from a trip
to WV
a funeral
and am
somehow
in good spirits
I guess because I’m glad to be home
in the meantime I wiped out several
days of writing by accident
but somehow
I’m in good spirits
ready to write more

a friend briefly chatted me about the SDG falldown. upset, he wanting to know my take on it. SDG, in case you don’t know, is a holy monk I followed as my guru when I was involved in the Krsna movement some time back. well, news has come out that a year ago he became romantically involved over time with a lady who was his therapist. finally he admitted this to the board of monk directors, but clarifying that it was not physically sexual. still, he has been tormented over this. his lifelong vow, after all, was one of celibacy never to be broken. the track mark in his eyes, and in the eyes of his followers, is no longer spotless.

I suppose this can be quite a blow to one’s faith when holding on to such an idea that this person, this guru figure, is supposed to be absolutely perfect. but that’s just not me any more. I frankly said, I’m not looking to follow anyone… the rules are too rigid… the society is just another government… I don’t need a new set of parents… I don’t need to be kept in an imaginary guilt…

do what you you gotta do, I said to my friend, to feel healthy. that’s it. if you feel healthy, mentally and physically, that’s all you need. the saying goes: “judge a tree by its fruit.” spirituality does not require life-long prison cells of celibacy. over time, I grew to love SDG as a gentle person, one of incredible intellect, a true wordsmith, and so on. that is why, to me, he is still holy, and to be respected from the get go.

morning notes

these days tripping out, time going by, looking back on life, how it’s changed. mostly now I’m seeing how it’s changed for the better and that I’ve become a “new” person. I’m not going to pretend I have much else to say tonight.

you say
you would like
someone to
talk to
but if the
phone were
handed to you
now who
would you
call

I practice
a chatty
buddhism
some days
when
energy is
high

throw
pennies
in a
bowl

I have a
book list
of what
I’d like to
read/ re-read
over the next
2 years
how will
this expand
or decrease?

there is
something
magical in
writing a list
of things
to cross off
I have a list
of things
that I
don’t cross
off because
I have to
do them
everyday
it’s a reminder
list
I also write down
on it all the
things I’m
looking fwd to
months ahead

I love a
peace of mind
and clarity

last Wednesday
went to meditation
practically fell over
I was so tired
makes me think
evenings are
terrible for this
kind of thing

tonight I said
I needed a nap
C. convinced me
to listen to an
audio book with
headphones on
since my eyes
were hurting.
45 minutes later
I was asleep
in the chair

can’t remember what
I dreamt ‘cept that
I was driving on
Rock Creek Park
and screaming
something a lot

new neighbor downstairs
moves in and her
entertainment system
is causing the
floors to vibrate

pipes are
bursting with
hot water
windows
burst with
cool air

grave decisions
type out

hold out your hand
1st grade teacher
slaps it with a ruler
“now you slap it yourself”
“make it hurt”
bam bam bam bam

kill off procrastination:
use your mind to associate
pleasure/pain to that thing
you want/need to do
assign pain — “what will
happen if I don’t do this?”
envision it, make it so real
in your head
and “what will be all the
benefits if I do do this?”
it’s blowing my mind these days realizing just how much negative thinking one does by habit, by default. unconscious affirmations. there is so much truth in the power of visualizing and making things real in your head — that they just come to you. there is so much power in the ability to focus on something. again, the idea of returning to lists, writing what you want in material, but also internal things.

my red
Social Distortion shirt
is gone
a thing of the past
along with
a heap of others
our clothes situation
is way out
of hand and
causes most
of the stress in this house
I will spend
4 days without sleep
figuring out
how to solve this

Smile, You’re Traveling
to me is Henry Rollins’
best book
I don’t read him much
these days but tonight
opened it up
for a few pages
sure enough I found
a really good page
where he’s talking about sitting on the beach in Madagascar all by himself, enjoying the time there, wondering what it would be like to live in a winter cabin unattended for months and months. “there’s something to learn from it.” also, liked how he said, “I kept turning around to see if someone was standing behind me. makes me wonder how much living in cities has fucked me up.”

people turn on you
sometimes pretty fast
it is good to be aware of this
and I often wonder why
this happens
they get rude
cut you off
end it
just when they
have some kind of leverage
have your CDs, DVDs, books

I’m writing in front of the refrigerator and all these days have come to ghost swirl around this one, bombarding it all at once. I was in bed, it felt like someone was grabbing my ankles and pulling me off. that is a terrible thought. she said when she woke up, she was attached to the ceiling looking down, and she could not say anything. a game of volleyball went well. even the losing team were fair sports about it. the vege sausage is all out at the supermarket, but I make it through breakfast making a shake, writing here, remembering going fishing as a kid, never catching a damn thing, maybe an eel or two, and how that one winter, my friend’s little brother fell through the ice and we got him out, and he cried the whole way home, a four or five mile walk back. I remember brief electrons of Spanish in elementary school, how I didn’t pursue it, but years later married a girl bound to travel to Spain and beat that language to a pulp. broke my left index finger on my last day of kung fu.

Dostoevsky is on my list, his name collecting dust, a library robust, towering, intimidating, inviting, filling, emptying a cup. you’re in your place now. I don’t mean that in a “know your place” kind of way. more like, “you made your bed, now lie in it.” no, more like, you’re in your place now, take a good look around you. what can you do to fix it up, change, fix it? it’s not a place at all, but defined by wallpaper.

humid notes

the babies are suffering. this electronic thermometer says 70, this means 85 in here. an oscillating fan saves us in small percentages, but it’s the look on the grey babies faces that’s starting to convince me to turn on the dreaded air conditioner. give in to the inevitable.

transitional time span
prepare to make the adjustment
the naked eye
misses a typo but caught
by an automatic red underline tool
thrown together in a time
when 56k modems
are a thing
of the unthinkable past
and the
only milk
is soy

yes, they are irritable, cannot sleep, resort to feline gymnastics,

I woke with
a punched in the right eye feeling

lunch fell onto my shirt at work
it was a monday
I ran the cloth of the temporary stain
under water applied with soap
boss’s kid screamed some more
temper, temper
others mirror
my own traits
so how
can I
not laugh?

fowl mouthed Buddhist
this is Dane, Jack Frost
blonde-haired young punk
jumped from a skyscraper
woke up in a wheat field

it was opposite of what I anticipated, the protest
it was a gigantic, exciting party
a creative, mostly non-violent revolt
with still helicopters in the sky
and snipers on roof-tops
by the end of the day
I was so sore
rested Sunday
while Casey hit the pro-choice
it was huge
your TV shows little of it
next year
I will take my
mom and grandmother
and some sun screen

they’re always wanting to get out and do something

these blurbs and sentences

matthew’s “the whole world reads…” is
such a great little project

wake up and read
in bed
to the end of
The Invisibles book 5

these days will
mark the end of
self-sabotage
as we spend time
“workshop” on
where it lies
and replace
old habits
with new

what the mind
does while
driving

if I say
I want to be
an obscure
sort of teacher
(that is, exactly
what I want to teach
is so far unknown; not
that it is about loving
the sound of my own
voice or anything like that,
but idea after idea just
seem to jump spontaneously
and we learn
we’re teaching each other)
poetry readings
can be
utilized, I suppose
though it seems like
most are not listening
true, but
nevertheless good practice

it’s all an exercise
moving from
level to level
expanding the mind
expanding your finances
and so on

. . .

wake up with sore eyes punched paper through
comics in bed coughing throat clear
night morphs to morning keeping
a masculine journal
sweating in a small room with
an oscillating fan doing little good
new sentences available
new hopes
today I said to myself
the changes have been
significant, gradual
significantly gradual
visible
I fall in love with the cats every day

. . .

I can fit any word together to build sentences into unforeseen chaos to turn you green with envy

time to go to the dentist
no one else owes me money
I owe very little to anyone else

. . .

people around me don’t take enough time to read or write
myself, I don’t take it
I am going to change this

. . .

why are we infatuated with destruction
destuction is intertwined with creation
as I speak this now
silence (which is beautiful) is being destroyed

. . .

she reads my journal entry, breaks into my drawer, throws away apparent junk, clears the desk off. the sanitization of property, privacy, and civil speech. still I have come to make serious changes to your employee handbook. you have origins as a sweet lady, perhaps in another life somewhere, somewhere in the distant past? less neurotic, obsessive, maybe? I can admire loathsome qualities by pretending they’re someone else, by respecting the skeletal there, the scientific cell that does not bitch & bicker, that knows better. I come to translate dreams on Tuesday mornings, sterile beginnings, non-greetings, faux promotions. influences good and bad. bring not religion, nor politics to work arenas. sneeze in your hands. look at the ceiling. gamble rattling dice of screws loose thrown into the vent breeze.

I bring religion, politics, magnets, house plants, gameboys, light-bulbs, libraries, I bring it all anyway. it’s going on in the background while you’re cursing under your breath all the time and digging your stupid, fucking atkins diet graves.

it’s time, it’s time

I have the breathe of new life and a new leaf turned over and have walked out into the dirt roads from a saloon with a sense of self satisfaction with overcast, pulled teeth, a grin and bear it attitude, a jumbled zig zag of song pinged into the left wall of a spittoon, and felt boiling water beneath this bridge of old calendars and pin-up girls from gas stations on the minds of oil changes and days crossed off. blessed by allergy medicine I thank the stars, throw pennies as confetti, liberated from suffocation, knowledge of x-rayed lungs that come out clean, I am getting high as hell at the moment, let me tell you, walking these scapes, telling you these things, covering blank sheets of paper with words full of themselves, others emptying out, void of telecast, bombast, romance novels and photographs. scapes telling we need longer drapes torn down, re-sewn, replaced clear because, because we seek secrets on the crux of new life hardly tainted by the old, the past, the failures, mothers and fathers from suburbs, cracked values of no color, truly fucking disturbed, carbon copied, photocopied disc jockies. my handwriting transforms to lower case, an old woman is maced in the face, a young woman cries, folded palms, bloody lipped. someone better put these cops behind bars. there’s no cameras here. there aren’t any cameras in sight. we can do as we damn well like, they say, they interrogate, torture, maim, turn loose barefooted on rainy nights. it’s more fodder for the cannon, I tell them, but they’re telling me, it’s time, it’s time to build bigger cannons. my God, the reward for getting older is you get to see more. how do you make sure that you see more? or that you can contain it? keep asking yourself. keeping on asking yourself. that’s what this life is for.