Saturday, April 30, 2011

Homer's Story, Part One

Not Homer Simpson.  I'm thinking more of a line from Spoon River Anthology, of which I was reminded recently while traveling, when I crossed Spoon River in Illinois.

Which, in turn, reminds me how Edgar Lee Masters' classic was made into a play which used to travel around the country, performed in various settings for many years, after a run on Broadway -- and now one never hears of it anymore, and the music is long out of print.  I used to borrow the lp from a library.  I sang just a bit from the lead song, to my wife, as our little car hurtled the highway, "Spoon River, Spoon River, is calling me home....."

The book is a collection of stories, told from beyond the grave, the stories of the townsfolk of Spoon River.  The line I remember is from a poet who wrote "little iambics....while Homer and Whitman roared in the pines."

Homer is the name I give to the truck driver who accidentally crushed our hero's limbs in the "Get Ahead" story.  His story has percolated under my thoughts for many years.  I've never written it because it always seemed so stupid.  But if we don't ever get out our stupid little stories, maybe we'll end up like Spoon River's poet, chasing tiny rhythms while Homer and Whitman roared in the pines. 

Or perhaps it's even akin to a line I paraphrase from the gospel of Thomas,  "There's something inside you, and if you never get it out, it will destroy you."  That's something like Blake, too, of whom I was reminded as my wife watched the royal wedding yesterday, as his poem "Jerusalem" was sung. 

"C'mon Smack, stop trying to get so heavy, just tell your dumb story," I say to myself at this point.

Homer is our truck driver, a young man in his mid-twenties at the time of the accident, which made him feel pretty bad.  Could he have done anything differently?  The thought plagued him.  In the daytime he could chase it away with the radio, his 8-track, his cb, or even just his fantasies, as he followed his truck routes.  But sometimes in the middle of the night he'd awaken, and not be able to get back to sleep.  Over and over again he saw the scene of the accident, in slow motion, just as they show us in the movies.  It was a cloudy afternoon and his run would have been over in half an hour, but he was not especially tired, and the cloudiness of the day had not put him in an especially gloomy mood -- it was just that, well, he had gotten distracted -- by what?  He couldn't say, he couldn't remember.  It was just for an instant, not even, not even a split second.  And then there was a young man, probably about his own age, running across the highway, a fistful of mail and a newspaper clutched in his right hand.  "God!" Homer screamed, slamming on the brakes as the runner disappeared from view.

Later, a fireman put his jacket over Homer, who was shivering with fear and shock.  "I just didn't see him," Homer kept saying.  "It's o.k., it was an accident," the fireman would answer.  "But keep talking, it will help keep you from going into shock."  At that word, shock, Homer felt like fainting again.  Waves of shock, nausea, fear, and -- so strange as this may sound -- hope, swept over him.  He hoped his victim would live, would be able to have a normal life.  And Homer hoped that he, himself, would be normal again.  Whatever "normal" meant.  He was going to be changed, somehow, he knew that, for a fact, and somehow that was a good thing, also.

"I should have seen him sooner!"  "You don't have to blame yourself," the fireman would answer.  "What can I do to help?"  Homer would ask.  "That's our job, we've got it all under control."  Later, a policeman asked him a few questions.  He had to leave his truck behind while his wife came for him and drove him home.  Another driver later returned his truck to the central warehouse.

Homer even visited his victim at the hospital, and was greatly relieved at his survival.  The victim even seemed quite cheerful, unusually cheerful, Homer thought.  "What?  Did he WANT that to happen or something?"  Homer shook his head.

But he would awaken at night, not so much at the trauma of the accident scene, not after a few months had passed, but rather at the thought, the question, what was it that had distracted him?  For, in truth, he still felt guilty.  He'd stopped at a truck stop before.  He'd seen the cover of Penthouse, the new issue, a young woman in a swim suit.  He'd felt his guts get sucked out, down and out, and then the  empty space, he felt that.  He felt that empty space fill with that old longing, that old man again, that surging desire -- fuck, fuck, fuck, eat, eat, eat, fill, fill, fill -- fill that empty space.

At the time of the accident he had been distracted by a sexual fantasy.  And he felt guilty about it.  He had been unfaithful to his wife just in looking at the magazine, never mind masturbating to it, as he sometimes did.  "Hell," he would think to himself, "I'm not as bad as those guys who run to the strip clubs every weekend.  Or like ..... who even goes to the city once a month or so."

Time heals all wounds, it is said, though I don't know if it's true or not, I do know that time can help.  And Homer had a loving wife, they even went fishing together.  They had two bright, active children, and many friends.  They both worked at jobs at which they found some certain level of satisfaction. 

Ten years passed before the next accident.  This time there was no distraction.  Homer simply ran over a cardboard box in the road.  He wasn't speeding, if anything he was driving slower than the limit.  It was a residential section, and he ran over a small cardboard box, just for the heck of it.  It certainly was not his fault that there was a baby boy in the box.  But he knew something was wrong as his wheels jumped and a woman ran out screaming into the road.  A group of children had been playing, the mother had been pulled away, it was no one's fault.

In the aftermath, Homer became deeply depressed.  He took a leave of absence from work and began visiting a psychologist who was recommended by a family friend.  The therapist was a wonderfully sympathetic woman who urged Homer to try to contact the family who had lost their child, to at least try to offer some expression of apology.  This idea created some consternation in the family as there was a brother who was a lawyer and he urged Homer NOT to attempt any such a thing, as he could be sued.  Homer's therapist would simply ask Homer, "How do YOU feel about it?"  In the end, Homer did follow her advice, and the meeting, naturally very awkward and tearful, DID result in a great deal of relief.  For Homer had to forgive the young mother in question, as well as forgiving himself for running over a box in the road -- and of course the mother and her family had to forgive him and themselves also.

Homer's psychologist would say wise things, such as "Forgiveness and healing are like life itself.  They are things that  can emerge, like a birth.  But death and emptiness are also in the cycle."  "If you want healing to emerge, you have to make a space for it, and that takes work, and you, Homer, are beginning some of the hardest work in your life, I urge you to continue the process."

Homer returned to work, but he continue to meet with this wonderful woman he had met, once a week.  He fell in love with her, platonically.  She was the first woman in his life since his mother that he loved in this way.

Dear reader, thank you for following my story with me.  We'll take a break here.  This story is turning out so differently than what I had expected!  Like life itself!  We'll see next time where it leads.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

How to Get A Head

This is an old story some of you may have heard before.  It begins in the town of Cootiesberg in the state of Forgotonia.  I was reminded during a recent cross country trip during which I drove on several four-lane highways which paralleled, roughly, the various interstate highways.  These four-lanes over much of Indiana, Illinois, and Iowa, are a nice way to travel, as they avoid the crowded high-speed truck traffic of the interstates.  We did come in to Des Moines on Interstate 80 and I thought many people were insane.  I actually saw their rear wheels slipping, sliding and hydroplaning during some heavy rain showers.  By comparison, the four-lane state and national highways are so empty of traffic it almost seems ridiculous that such money should have been spent for these roads.

Well, a young man grew up in Cootiesberg, one of those oblongated, conglomerated township towns that never fit the pattern for incorporation, fair representation, its own school district, and many other things.  But they did have RFD, by golly.  That's Rural Federal Delivery of the mail.  The only requirement was that you had to buy and maintain your own mailbox and you had to place it on the proper side of the road.  Which, for the young man in our story, meant crossing the road every day to get his family's mail.  And that was fine.  All the time he was growing up, if two or three cars passed in a row, that was a rush hour.  You were unlikely to see another vehicle for a whole hour or more.  Sometimes that was problematical, as when you missed the school bus and had to walk the long two-hour walk home.  You could try to hitch a ride, but usually, in the mid-afternoon, the only car you'd see was driven by  a funny-looking guy who'd wave in a friendly manner but not stop to pick you up.  And he was sitting on the wrong side of the front seat, steering with his left hand.  That was the mail man.

Years passed and our young man left home, traveled far and wide, spent some time in college, but never quite found his true calling in life.  Not to mention getting ahead.  At the age of 29 he finally returned home to live with his aging parents for a while.  The parents rather graciously took him in, as they had taken in many misfits for various lengths of time over the years.  They were unusual people that way.

Every day the young man had to cross the road to get the mail.  The difference now: the old two-lane country road had become a four-lane highway with high-speed traffic.  Not all day long, but during a few hours in the morning and a few in the afternoon especially.  And, unfortunately, including mail delivery time.

One day while crossing the road to get the mail our young man was hit by a truck and terribly injured.  Nothing remained of him but a torso and a head, but he was saved by prompt modern ambulance and hospital care.  Little by little he learned to use a wheelchair and his prosthetic limbs.  Amazingly enough, as occurs so often in these cases, he was not depressed, but rather felt that God had saved him for a special purpose in life.  Every moment of his life was filled with purpose.  He wrote, he spoke to many via the phone and computers.  Every day he felt happy to be alive.  He was even beginning to get ahead, as some publications were paying money for his stories and other contributions.

Alas, the little town of Cootiesberg in the state of Forgotonia, still stuck to its old RFD ways, despite people getting clipped by cars and trucks while trying to cross the increasingly busy four-lanes while trying to get their mail and newspapers.  And, terrible but true, our young man once again became a victim of the terrible highway, this time losing his torso.  Nothing remained but his head.  Yet fiercely he clung to life!  Modern science came to his rescue, equipping him with a robotic heart, lungs, kidneys, liver -- a complete technological torso.  With laser-assist eye-directed control panel, our hero learned to navigate once again, in time, of course.  Everything takes time.  Yet he learned to travel the yard and brush the morning dew on the leaves of his beloved trees against his scarred cheeks and sniff the fragrances of flowers and listen to the cries of the birds.

What he could still hear and smell, of course, through the increasing din and stench of the traffic. 

Alas and alas again, we had better bring our tiresome story to its conclusion.  For our hero, against all odds, against all premonitions, against all lessons of history, tried to cross that highway one more time.  And we all know what happend:

Splat, squash, shplurt.  All over.  Not enough left over even to cremate.

And so, what is the lesson of this old story?  Some say,  "Quit, while you're ahead!"

Others, "Do away with RFD!"  (And perhaps they have, perhaps because of this tragic story and others.)


Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Nagual, part 2

Already I have written a page, tried to preview, and somehow lost it!  Oh well, not the first time.  But, as I wish not to have to repeat the experience, I will keep this short.

It has come to my attention that the term "brotherhood" can be very offensive to many women today.  I seem to be bound by a sentimental attachment containing memories of growing up as the eldest of four brothers (no sisters) and a member of the neighborhood gang (no drug dealers back then, just a few porno books, crab apples, marbles, baseball cards, etc.).  Toward the end of my first Saturn cycle on this planet Earth (Saturn revolves around the sun in approximately 29 1/2 years) a book fell into my hands, The Ultimate Frontier by Eklal Kueshana (pseudonym of Richard Kieninger).  This book explains (supposedly) the workings of secret brotherhoods down through the centuries and millenia.  These brotherhoods were defined as consisting of equal numbers of both men and women.  It is claimed that each male member cannot evolve or grow spiritually without the equal advancement of his female counterpart.  I have found something like this, and heard it expressed by long-term marriage partners, that the marriage becomes an ongoing surprise of discovered growth.

 Anyhow, brotherhoods are an intriguing part of life on all levels, from the Mafia, "Skull and Bones" (the secret Yale society of which both Bushes and John Kerry were members), to the highly idealistic Knights Templar, the Masons (who used to have an active lodge in every town in America), and many more.

Yet for me, I find my brothers everywhere, and my sisters.  We are always searching for each other, hearts and minds open, willing to suffer and work toward higher truth.

Saturday, April 2, 2011


Hello everyone.

I have  been writing on the internet for some 15 years now, mostly on "register only" membership sites such as NewCafe (where I am "The Nagual" in the Spirit Conference, and where I still sometimes post in the liveliest conference there, "Currents").  I'm open for questions in several areas of religion, spirit, psychology, intentional communities, politics.  I'll answer as honestly as I can, and I will always try to tell you whether I am speaking more from personal opinion (which may carry some weight as I have survived to my present age of 64, and I am widely experienced) or from that higher realm of revealed truth (very controversial, I know!) .   I am a member of no cult, no organized church, no institution, but only a brotherhood of highly idealistic, highly energetic truthseekers -- "Ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free!"  Most people, of course, cling to their money, their status, their institutions -- churches, governments, membership groups-- which give them the *illusion* of freedom.

Blogging here is new to me, so I'll keep this first post limited until I get a feeling for this.  I am only somewhat computer literate.  If you would like to read a few of my essays, there are two published at a site which does not require registration: