BY JAN HAAG
RANTS, RAMBLES, POEMS & PORTRAITS IN PROGRESS
Why all in the shape of poetry? -- I like the finite look of short lines,
limited excursions. Bit maps! Straightfoward prose seems to me to demand
a story, and I have no story to tell, just some rambles, rants, portraits
and poems, odd bytes of the brain's activity turned into words, recorded
on paper, crypted in cyberspace.
Rants, Rambles, Poems And Portraits
Rants, Rambles, Portraits And Poems
Portraits, Poems, Rants And Rambles
Poems, Portraits, Rambles And Rants
Let's face it,
I started out with a dream
Of fame and
But another dream as well:
To think deeply.
divert fresh dew into
The river of unmatchable
Pleasure I found
Oh, I have friends enough,
Who've found me out
There in the void,
Who read and quote
But that's not the fame
I was looking for, certainly
Not the fortune. I have not made
A penny a poem in a lifetime.
What I did find was a way
To hone my mind, spend my time,
A reason and enthusiasm
To follow many curious roads
foot paths, trails,
Leading into the brush
Of my mind,
Untamed off-shoots, side-shoots
Ahead of the pack, enjoying,
Like masturbation, a
Pleasure, neglected, frowned upon
By those of the
The world has got more cramped,
criminal, more owned
By the greed and possession mongers.
There's hardly a place left
For a wayward thought
By the homeless. Scandal
have their audience.
Thumping music and howling
Song share the
air with bells
And whistles, the tsunamis
machinery, the caws
Of the million crows, the screeches
seagulls, the mandatory
Preoccupation with coin counting
tabla rasa of the soul.
I used to blame the British,
Those colonizers. For a long time
I blamed them for the
Of the world, the siphoning off
Of difference, for
And enslavement of the races.
But then the blaze of
And two falling towers highlighted
The fuzz in our
The stink of rotting morals,
The putrefaction at the
Thus it was and ever shall be.
Times were not worse
Nor were they any better.
Is this that much
Goal of life? To have the eyes
Pried open ever so
So painfully to recognize that goodness,
beauty, freedom and compassion
Are merely the placating words of
Enslavers, that the lie is total in this world
in my own heart. Even my kitten Shiva
Is half malicious, blood
drawing, a tiger,
The other half soft-pawed and purring.
earth supports us and opens it jaws
Periodically to consume us or
blast us back
To our constituent molecules. Is that
Is that the goal of consciousness?
To learn that the division goes
right to the core?
Is the core. To learn, as Sadhus know,
there is nothing to do but sway
To the rhythm of the way
Will ever be, sit in contemplation
Of the spectacle,
enjoy the ephemeral view,
Dubious knowledge, dubiosity of hope
Dubiously conceived around dubitable thoughts
Dubitancy of motive of
Dubitant leaders, dubitate followers,
Dubitating ethics, dubitatingly initiated.
Dubitation the result,
dubitative the future.
Dreams are gone, hopes are dead
on, nothing changes,
Nothing remains the same.
I still can't
figure out why I go on
Entertaining myself at the concert,
The on-going-ness of life. It is still impossible
To believe that
life is as ornately simple
As it turns out to be: Like a murder
Requiring only motive, means, opportunity --
As fitting to
life as to death. What will be will be.
What is is. Chance plays with
Dice rule the world. To what end? --
You well may ask. To
the end of motion
And pattern, energy's release.
To have lived
written so much, to remain
unheard, humanity's anguished heart
is frozen like a ball.
Forming duble by dublers. The dublet heart
against dubment, against duboisine,
Fate dubs each invisible.
Where will the anguish lead? Lay down
sheath your sword,
Nothing happens, but what happens
Content yourself with your
Contentable life, wishing, striving
Produces nothing, there is no content
Tomorrow. The dubster plays
Dubul what we are, Dubya is what
We will be given a
I'm not what I wanted to be. I'm not
seem. I am what I am
And finally may be
Content to be.
PROFIT & LOSS
Most of the things I try to think about are
Like when and why did this warfare among humans
Why is it that we are born into a world where the best
we can do is try to undo, nullify, rectify what has been
done by those who have gone before: governments (all
monarchs (all corrupt), the unfairness, the starvation, the
imposed upon people by their own species, tribe,
Was there ever a time when we were fair with each other,
Oh yes, daily, often in your life and mine.
this not translate into larger collections of beings being
How many times do we need proof to believe that there is
plenty of food
in this world, so that no one need starve, and already
too many goods,
so no one need do without their gewgaws. The problem is
are owned, the food and the goods, by people
who. having too
much, don't eat the food or use the goods.
They'd rather have food
stored (awaiting a good price) then let
starving people eat?
must profit by every dollar sweated off the backs of employees
societies poorer than we are, lest their profits fall below the
level of Their Life Style.
If Bill Gates is worth 60 billion dollars
( that's the most
recent figure I've heard --
down from 90 billion a few years ago) than
self evident that he has overcharged the public
to the tune
of at least 59 billion.
Imagine a world where everyone had complete
access for pennies a year, as if the computer were
an extension of the human brain.
It could be thus. BG could give
everyone in the world
his software now and still live like a king far
beyond his death.
But that's not the point. Profit! is the point. Pointless
power, enslavement, anxiety, stress for and envy from the human
let it spend its time on earth scrabbling for food and hating one
I say nothing new, my mind races around like the serpent
swallowed its tail and gave rise to comprehension of the benzene
And in conclusion:
Why are you so unhappy, my dear, you
have enough to eat,
a fabulous place to live, enough to do whatever you
having, years since, got rid
of grandiose dreams, desires.
Why are you not jumping up and down with delight -- daily?
JUST BAG IT
Maybe it is time to just bag it.
I stand here at the very edge,
periphery, alone, looking
over a landscape strewn with
civilization, gone, not with
with wind, but with the mad
drive of a Cheney or two.
Why? one asks bewildered. Doesn't
have enough money to eat and a
place to sleep, a place to wake where
the birds sing? Where the sun creeps
along the wall making shadow
of the leaves' brightness. I have
little money and no power
and I miss neither. How can Cheney
keep feeling so
deprived that he must conquer
the world, destroy
up a new one, create new laws
to bind everyone
his will rather than
their own. Why? Thursday
looted the Iraqi Museum -- treasure
house of some of our oldest
civilization. They brought in wheel
barrows and boxes, carts
and took away 4,000 year old cuneiform
gold and stone and no
one -- not the U.S., who had been asked
to protect the museum
-- there to stop
them. Hauled away our very beginnings,
oblivion and some, no
doubt, onto the market where, Cheney,
finally feels he has enough
to be curious about other
will probably buy them as perks
belonging to his
the world. Status symbols. They
will be even rarer
by then. For,
does anyone know who took them
and destroyed the
Or maybe we'll find that Cheney
has an antique
business on the side,
stores dealing in ancient artifacts,
value of which, beyond his
singular monetary vision, he
conceive. But then again, perhaps
he is right, and it is
time to just
bag it, give up on our civilization,
cluster bomb it
all to smithereens.
I stand alone at the periphery, watching
the devastation. He
causing it, planning his next war.
Which leads again to my second speculation
matter and that inborn untreatable
genetic defect, that male desire to
We have a few hints in a few places of non-
civilizations, a matriarch or two,
lands of peacefulness, pleasure.
marching along, come men with the trumpets
and the axes, making exercise out of it, or
a religion, Ah the
camaraderie of it all -- to be in
the trenches blasting the skulls off
The breathless fights, where the pilots end up
smart bombs, free and outside
the womb of the plane, aimed at infinity
through that building, exploding it into
fragmentary bits of
the big bang. It's in
the blood. It just is! War is man's
game. They used to have the guts to just
say it. Now they
pettifog it, but not our
Cheney. If we get his tapes during the
we'll probably find that he was very clear
about what he was
doing -- the greatness
of empire, even if it means enslaving
the world, perhaps especially if it means
enslaving the world.
His other choice.
Well, having driven us mad enough,
we could all
become suicide bombers
leave him to enjoy his spoils on a
spoiled earth. But I'm not
lonely, perhaps he wouldn't be
"Just bag it, boys, throw it in the wheel-
barrow, pack it
on the mule, walk this
treasure out of here. Meaningless to me,
can probably sell it to help finance
the oil. [How quickly he'll forget
no one else alive.] Hell," he'll keep on
we'll drink the oil
from the ancient cups of gold.
I live in an Ivory Tower,
but the view from here is
Everything, national security, patriot act,
of evil, is being set up, installed
on a permanent basis.
do you think can possibly happen after
a regime change election in
Pull out of Iraq? return the oil? apologize
Afghanistan? take away the armaments boys
discharge Halliburton? Bechtel?
Is there going to be a regime
change? Will Jeb
Bush, his Floridians, and the Supreme
Court allow it? How are they going to manipulated,
propagandize the election this time to attain
There are two problems.
The second one is:
Who? Who in our supposedly
America can we turn to to impeach the
refuse more pre-emptive wars, when the
Congress itself, both
houses, is strangled
by the manipulation and propaganda
of Bush and
his Gang of 4
already multiplying out to
8, 16, 32.
Who'sgoing to interfere with the "AmericanDream"
perpetuity, being the only super power
anywhere in the world, keeping
the earth at
perpetual war, so we can exercise pertual
and pump up all the oil,
siphoning the profits into the
Why have we heard no one speak of
after the election.
As if, even if the
Democrats win, how can they NOW
Hitler's dream of
is a total loss
Is anyone thinking of the future?
The Project for a
New American Century
author's of course are hard at work,
but we, us, the protesters who have seen
who see the horror of
How are they going to stop the
totalitarianism, whether they win the 2004
or lose it.
Is there any path back? And if not, what is the
total, endless war) path forward?
Who's thinking about this, Kerry?
Dean? certainly not the
enemy combatants, striped of civil rights
The insanity of billions in taxes cuts
as we plunge
trillions into debt
into the total ruination of our economy
rising tides of unemployed,
people living in the street.
we undo these precedents?
Is the only answer to Impeach
I could see the Iraq war miles off, troops in the
mad justifications of weapons of mass destruction
by the Pres,
and no one paying any attention
This Iraq war was
planned! more than a decade ago,
once the wheels started to turn,
one was going to stop them,
not the UN, France, Germany, Russia,
reason or clear motive, or even guilt.
illegal detentions, plots
carried out in subterranean ways.
it is meant to be like it is and we humans
should give up our puny
efforts to interfere.
Geology is an instructive subject
new, and it now tells me
that Paleozoic time, 570 to 200 million years
"...ended with the extinction of at least 90%
of all the
animals on earth during late
Permian time."* (255 million years
And again, Mesozoic time, began 245 million
"...ended 65 million years ago,
when another catastrophic extinction
about 65 percent of the world's animals..."**
That first 90% makes me think of the 90%
of the population of the Americas that the
invasion by sword and by smallpox caused.
Maybe we are
just one more bit of ammunition in
nature's arsenal of extinction. Our
record is pretty good,
even just for this and the past century,
9,000,000 in the India/Pakistan separation as well as
women in the witchcraft purges, 1,000,000 in Rwanda, 2,
in Cambodia, to say nothing of the creations of the
which allowed us to wipe out 25,000,000 via the bubonic
the colonizations that dealt with the 1,000,000 original
of Australia, the millions of original inhabitants of
to say nothing of the 90% of the New World population
that was killed by mass
murder and disease.
could dig up another 100 statistics of mass killings,
sword and disease -- maybe 170,000,000 total:
62,000,000 by the
36,000,000 by China,
21,000,000 total by the Nazis.
millions the U.S.A. has killed in its struggle to Democratize the World.
But perhaps all of these are simply nature's manifestation
earthquake and volcano within the human spirit.
There we are,
possessed of awesome demons,
that send us on murderous rampages
year after year after year.
what's to be done?
back and enjoy the spectacle?
Maybe this is the answer to my
expressed in Cosmologies.
We are here, we watch
these events of time-lengths
perceivable by us, and weep and weep,
while we can ignore the inchy creep
of continents one upon
the mass extinctions of long ago.
Who are we to think
can -- or even should --
prevent the death of species here at this time
in this place.
A bit of hubris I would say,
instead of looking
directly at what we do,
how we behave, notice our
the hands of nature
to effect what she has always
will always do.
*Northwest Exposures, David Alt and Donald Hyndman,
**Ibid, p. 51
THE FUTURE OF LIFE
Why is it that man cannot think in multitudes?
I begin reading The
Future of Life by Edward O. Wilson.
Knowing I will love it! First
because he has used Isabella Kirkland's painting
which I, most accidentally, wildly and passionately
possess a small,
exquisite copy --
have for years, before the time, even,
it appeared on the cover of an
"earth" or "nature" magazine.
Why do people clutch this
particular painting to their bosoms?
It illustrates the Endangered and Extinct Species
on this earth.
And it is beautiful!
In the nineteen-seventies, I believe,
when there was an exhibit of Women Painters
(through the ages, the
first of its kind)
at the Los Angeles County Museum.
there were several paintings by
a woman, I believe, named Rachel.
They were the most beautiful, exquisite and detailed
mostly of flowers, I had ever seen.
But there was not even a post
card to buy.
Since then I have craved
to have as a companion to
to own, in my place of habitation,
a still-life equal to
the beauty of Rachel's.
One day, visiting California, climbing into
Craig's van in Sausalito, there on the back
seat lay a very small
picture of the most
exquisite still life (equal to Rachel's) I had
I said: "What's this?"
He said "A reject. Have it if
I clutched it to my bosom,
where it stuck to my
Craig prints on the computer, in color, exquisite
reproductions of art.
The best I've ever seen.
has a bad memory,
almost as bad as my own.
He didn't, just off
hand, remember the artist's name.
So, from time to time, I heard her
name and forgot it.
But here I see Wilson's use -- the book has been
given to me
by a departing-for-the-woods-friend -- and I will, I
now know Isabella's name forever --
as long as my own
particular mind lasts.
Wilson begins by calling Thoreau an
(with my own definition)
what at artist is, a
definition I will quote on the
opening page of my website.
Then he begins to define
generations, using the father-son
routine of well-known lads of the
arts and sciences
and leaving out the rest of humanity, as if --
because he happened to know about them --
the one's he knows were
important and the ten million others,
who lived and died and thought
and wrote and painted
and suffered and rejoiced and died, were not
I bet there have been a million Thoreau's -- of
his thought, and life style,
his ability to write -- dotted here and
there over the earth
both before and after T's habitation at Walden
Why does "history" offend me so?
Would I be so
offended if I were actually there in its annals?
Is it only sour
grapes? Or is it the missing of the sweetness
of all other grapes
except the limited, limiting, small
crop of historical figures,
studied and restudied and restudied
as if there were no other grapes,
champagne grapes to be known.
The known ones, often mediocre, often
are almost never discarded
even when proved wrong or
Even when, occasionally, it is shown that some other
figure did it first or better or more beautifully or more
history is remains a set, almost static, a rote recital,
of a certain
number of events and inventions that a very small
coterie of people created and wrote down in their personal diary and
others were forced to or willing to call history.
excluding almost everyone else in the world,
seldom welcoming or
embracing other geniuses than their
own. As if billions of lives
could be summed up by the single
citing of the achievements of
Now, I must read a bit more, and see,
done placing himself on the knee of
Julian Huxley and thus
unmistakably in the line of history,
how he gets to talking about the
of life -- which surely, if there ever was one,
In the meantime, I will try to pay homage
to the millions of
Thoreaus, before and after the 19th Century
who lived elsewhere than on this scrape of Massachusetts land
beggared from the Indians --
all of whom were Thoreaus, observing,
noting, for thousands of years.
Yet one might say
I am obsessed with obtaining my place in history.
But I do not want
to play their game their way.
It is not that I want their -- those in
history's -- company.
I just want the "readership".
I don't want
to hawk my wares, I don't want to plant myself
squarely within their
findings on human life.
I do believe that everyone,
are often discouraged,
and may not be very good at it,
something unique to say about living.
But almost everyone else's
get lost by the ownership of the small coterie
write and fight their way into history.
naturally, by the time I get to page xxi,
I am proved wrong and
a jumper-to-conclusions, a not-willing-to-listen-
to-the-other-guy (except under duress and after
I have expressed
my own limited opinions),
a prototype of jealousy that T is famous
and I am dumb...
Well he's not, just read his motivation as
by Wilson on pages xx and xxi -- what else are they
my own? He just did it first and better,
or maybe not better -- he
just got famous for it
and I am still obscure up here in my
working away on the same: What the hell is it?
this life stuff!!!!! This minute by minute and
It never seems to get any place,
goes round and round, and each
round different? Civilizations come
on shore, not better, not worse, just different --
with all the little creepy/crawlies that are the passion of
and all the crows and birds of Thorough! -- as
W is at pains to tell
us he pronounced his name.
Once again, it's my
with innovation and tradition.
How I love beyond imagining the fanatically traditionsl,
purity of Swapanji's drumming.
At the same time, how I love,
in my own art, not to follow anyone who has gone
experiment night and day, poem by poem,
silly and profound, trying,
always, to peer into what
comes my way day by day. And trying to
glue it together
with what I KNOW. To answer the riddles of
and my own.
Always ending up envying those first
humans who began
to make, not only fire and dinner, but who began
began weaving, began writing, began tasting the plants
around them, even envying those who began killing
animals to swallow their flesh.
Ah, to start with a clean slate!
Not to be taught all that nonsense
which I have now lived
to discover in a discouragingly great number
cases are opinions, not facts,
simply the opinions (no better than
of others. The classical example I can cite in 2003,
the now forty year old example of geography
-- in 1963 the
geographers of the world,
gathered together in San Francisco and
finally began to believe
in plate tectonics, the perpetual movement
of the continents of the earth.
(And even this is questioned again by
But imagine all the nonsense that was taught to us,
me included, prior to 1963 and is still in cited history.
become famous even for being wrong,
the ten billion others, live and die
after a lifetime of talking and the silence
after a lifetimes of
silence is the same silence," says my favorite, Nisargadatta,
recently learned must have been known to Gandhi, as
Maurice Frydman, for awhile lived as G's disciple).
So, for my
envious soul, cheer up!
We all end eventually in the grand hall
-- which is what you liked, a lot, and a lot of, all along,
Copyright © 2003 through 2015 Jan Haag
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
RANTS AND RAMBLES
BY JAN HAAG