Wednesday, August 22, 2012


“Get out!” This was me. Hollering in my sleep. Again. JC told me I yelled this shortly before waking, this morning. The fact that I didn’t wake up with a gun, or a blue moon in my eyes (Sopranos/Alabama3 reference for those playing along at home) made not one whit of difference. I regularly wake up shouting at whoever to get the hell out. This morning, I was some kind of godmother to a drug kingpin, at least that was my general feeling of “it-ness,” or “being-ness.” You know how it is in dreams. You just understand the zeitgeist immediately. So, this kid or little person is sitting on my Victorian couch and proceeds to light up a huge stogie.

I tell him in no uncertain terms that if he’s going to smoke he needs to “Get out!” He snarls back. “If that is so, how come you live across the street from the Bank of England, hmm?” Unimpressed, and clearly on my own turf and backed up by shadowy underworld-type beings of indeterminate strength and parentage, I purr back, “Be that as it may, however,” my voice rises, “you are in MY house, and I SAY, no smoking! Now, GET THE HELL OUT!” and I wake up. Shit.

I have dreams like this about every night. The fact that we do live in a world that is cheek by jowl with so much casual violence and we are rather immersed in it does desensitize us to it. I have written about this before. By the very fact that we are all here now I think also speaks to our own willingness to commit whatever random acts of violence or non-violence it takes to survive. Baldly stated, Survival of the fittest. We mitigate that savagery by the grace we show one another and I truly believe that is also inherent in us as a species, but make no mistake. That grace has to be revered, nurtured, celebrated and exercised constantly. It is easy to kill.

The fact that I underscore this so vehemently is that I have a very vital fear. It is my worst nightmare and probably the only fear that I possess. I suspect I am not the only one that has this dread. We immerse ourselves as a culture in trades of casual atrocities as if we were at a swap meet. How can we have such an outpouring of sympathy and outrage over the slaughter in Aurora, Colorado when this is now being so casually observed daily in Syria? Is state-sanctioned slaughter not just as horrifying, as the DIY kind? Maybe I observe this with a particularly jaundiced eye because I am a true aficionado of this “Batman” franchise by Christopher Nolan. Beautifully rendered, Nolan spot-on captures the ultimate darkness of the Dystopian Gotham. Unfortunately, art clashed violently with the real-world; this is horror writ large. Make no mistake. Nightmares beyond eldritch beget the Old Ones. I Have No Mouth & I MustScream*. We've gone way beyond Conrad's "Heart of Darkness," in my estimation.

Maybe that is my fear. We walk with this every day. The fact that we dabble in this artistically is good. It is healthy. The fact that we feel these impulses, is also good. The instincts are what have propelled us into this age. They continue to propel us to Mars and beyond. The fact that they are also ruinous are something we struggle with and will continue to; it’s a duality. I myself am Catholic. I really am at a loss to explain what I think happens once our corporeal selves die, but I lean towards the astronomical, sub-atomic plane theory; we don’t go away. We transmogrify.

I digress; wildly. I was talking about our violent ways and how comfortable we are as supposedly civilized beings. We may have civilized veneers. We might be soccer dads and moms, paint pictures, cook for a living or program. But underneath us, I think there lurk the hearts of, in some cases, lions or lionesses; in others, demons or imps. Some of us are pure, but ferocious, others of us are black in our intent. In most cases, we know what we intend. Witness the man in Aurora, Colorado and more recently, the white supremacist in Oak Creek, Wisconsin. They knew what they were intending. I will not use their names. By expunging their names, I expunge them from any memory. I erase them. They deserve no less. They are anathema. They are cast out and excommunicate. Let them be damned to eternal darkness.

In so doing, I hope to try and preserve the purity, the spirit of us. The humanity. It’s okay to be lions and lionesses. The lions and lionesses usually act to save the weak, the cubs. That’s what it means to have “the heart of a lion.” I’ve always loved them. Now I know why.

*Harlan Ellison, March 1967
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