I'm going to try and go into this one without great forethought, without any coherent intentions.
If you've read me before, you know my niche is usually in "radical" theory, in calls to action and bits of poetry here and there.
But now let's just have an honest moment - you and I alone.
There are those of us who don't subject to labels, and when we don't preach about ourselves, we fall into the wayside, perhaps society railroads us. There are those of us who are wounded by others, and I think... this is what needs to be said.
I have a deep love for freedom, but the grim and I have a longtime love affair.
If I were to splay this out too quickly, we might be too quick to judge. But this is you and I speaking; society isn't invited... and we have an opportunity to discuss, to deconstruct what has been long overdue for real compassionate thought.
I think we should try an exercise. Can you promise me that you'll bear with me, and not skip along? Just for me, please.
These next instructions I'd like you to read in advance, so you know what to do before going on.
Go to a place where you cannot be distracted. It doesn't need to be silent, or perfect, but a place where you and I can sit together and just be. I want you to breathe in and out deeply, just once, and let that be your last breath in the trappings of the usual life. Then close your eyes, not too tightly. Breathe slowly in and out, from your nose and out of your mouth. Keep going for about five minutes, or however long you'd like. In this time, clear your head, clear your thoughts. Visualize pushing all the outside world out of your head, as if physically pushing it all away, clearing room in your head for us. Clearing a space where we are our true and most vivid selves, unhindered by the world. A place of calm. Serenity. A place vast enough for us to consider what we never might, to grasp what we might never reach, to follow a road we might never travel. And when we have a space big enough, open your eyes, and hold on to it.
We're going to go down a road now, not always the brightest, but one frequently traveled. We're doing this together. If this gets too real, just remember it is you and I.
The world we have just removed ourselves from is in pain. The world physically hurts. The oceans here are turning to acid. Plastic swims as often as the fish now, too. If you don't watch where you go, you might dive into crude oil, sunken by chemicals, hidden by financiers and businessmen, masking reality. From fracking the earth quakes now, from smokestacks the world weeps tears of acid. The trees moan as they are fell in the pitch of a swan song. As we rattle the workings of this world nature expresses its disgust in tornadoes and hurricanes, cold and icy winds of suffering.
On our streets lay the poor, the battered, and hungry. Hunger that can never be satisfied. Shaking from the cold that the bones will never allow to heat again. Poverty so thorough the mind is spent of all sense, hope disguised by grit. Skin melted and morphed into rocky sandpaper, dirty, and deft to clutch for addictions to cloud the mind, relieve the madness in pursuit of euphoria.
In positions of power rest the cleaner hands, employed for wealth and empowered by complacency. The men who commit to reform of a world that cannot be reformed - attempting to solve problems that are not cured by words but by warmer hands. These people are that of ice, birthed into superficial reality, where the world around them always glowed with promise. The glow never faded even when they shared the sleeping grounds of the poor, or when they shared the pains of middle class. The hands, cold, now desolate of compassion in the terms of the real, seduced by promise on paper - that by this way all will be made right. All might be peace.
It is in the hands of the middle people that those hopes are clasped in prayer together and then lost as if the rosary beads shattered by the force of disappointment so rife in the system stacked against them. It is among this class of middles that hope so desperately that toil will be removed by the next move of the empowered, and yet in the most bitter irony these are the people who seem to exclaim their pain as paper and words yet again let down they, who form the backbone of civilization, without ever realizing how insufficient civilization for civilization's sake truly is. It is among these that proclaimed leaders bound forth to change the world one writ at a time, until grief and pain are legislated away into unlawfulness - and thus it is in these leaders' hands that the warmth and promise is lost to the people who needed those working hands the most.
Then the world suffers beyond the borders of the first world, where the people are referred to as numbers and percentages, scorned by elite who question why the lowly tribe cannot grasp the workings of a nation, or why the people seem so much like ants, insects and parasites mindlessly engaging in a society they are believed not to understand. In this way their deaths in genocide, their drowning in the river of tears and pain as children are uprooted to fight for the empowered men and people are forced to toil as the rest of the world stands back to say "poor you"... made victims and victims again by the apparent goodly nature of religion - as if all troubles in the world could yet again be solved by paper, and if not by law then by gospel and the superstition in superior power to humanity.
The world is so full of pain.
In many lives the river runs deeper, a river stained with the blood of those who suffer it, whether they have been deemed as sufferers or piously defended that their cuts never ran so deep. In truth we all drain our life blood into this river, and it is you and I that are taking a look now, to see, to answer, whether this river is real.
There are women who are being had now, who are being ripped of their clothes and their dignity, made a sexual object to the pleasures of another in spite and hatred, by the same cold hands of the elite that are the gloves of those who enjoy power not by throne or by election, but by taking utter control of another human. In this mindset these people form a breed of humans who have now become less than, who have taken human spirit and corrupted it into the vice that society through it's iniquities has now deserved, who are symptom of the river of blood before us, but are diagnosed as anything but an ailment brought by the world's own doing. These women are crying, not in the same tears as we cry when we stub our toes but tears so thick that in them, if we look just close enough, you can see the core of hope and safety, peace and love, shattered and draining, tears so profoundly dark that they flow into this river of blood and pain.
It's in this breed of humanity that those same people have diversified their torture - now if the physical and mental torment of rape and molestation were not enough, they extend it to the abuse of life and mind. They use that same affliction of power to dominate the mind, to convince the beaten that they deserve their beatings, to convince the manipulated that they deserve to be manipulated. The pain of such abuse, especially by those betwixed with love is much deeper, much slower than rape - as rape can quickly shatter the spirit, but is not so insidious as to envelop the mind and body to truly believe that they deserve abuse or that they are become sub-human, like roaches, or perhaps puppies in the care of an owner, who's love is so complete that to question life without their owner is meaningless, hollow, and all they could ever want is to earn their owner's love. And yet, we know that it is not love, but the transformation is so complete in the abused rational thought is lost and offensive in the face of the twisted and strangled mind. The mind, strangled, takes so much time to unwind - but it prolongs the suffering. While they bleed unknowingly into this river, they eventually come to understand just how painful the torment was... and bleed twice as hard, twice as long, than almost any other wound. Many bleed out into oblivion, and many find ways to stem the bloodshed, though the wound never truly heals, and sometimes, it is further mangled, scarred, and turned into another infliction manifest in the mind by addiction, by reversal of roles, or by deflection that can as it spreads like a slow drip of arsenic, infect all those around them until the world as they see it is poisoned and warped as much as they were made to endure.
There are some forms of pain that endure a lifetime, and yet we question the sanity of those who suffer it. So many of us condemn the damned to the flames, reinforcing a notion of hopelessness. Sometimes we find it in the different people - the people who were bred of another era, perhaps, or those who just don't share the same consciousness as the rest of the societal hivemind many come to know and love. For this they are come to be known as freaks. They are bullied. And those who have never been bullied rarely can identify with the victims. Imagine for a moment that everywhere you turned, people were striking out against you, in either the most subtle of ways, the most cerebral, or the most obvious. A black eye, for what? Because the hivemind doesn't like the people who do not join it. Because to be different is to be a freak, an alien, unwelcome in exactly the same way as the Africans were driven so frequently away from white society in the past few hundred years - your kind isn't welcome here. And replace the words they named with by a dictionary of pain - of judgement. Words used so often and carelessly to debase another human being, to codify how unwelcome people are, that stick like cement labels, words used to drive away and condemn people. And are these freaks not fellow humans? Whether it be distance that divides or color, these words cut the same as any knife, draining slowly but surely into this bloody river.
And then sometimes it is not so clear as bullying that drives the bloodshed. It can be abandon - purposeful, or accidental, as the family accidentally abandons its children, leaving them in the darkness and wondering how their love isn't sufficient - using words like greedy and ungrateful to describe their youth. And in a blink of an eye the youth of the world, who by nature represent the most innocent portion of humanity, run away into the dark, it is the family that stings the most in the words of carelessness and objectivity to describe the wayward youngster having taken their flight as if it were foolish to ever leave something so incomplete and imperfect as a family.
These are the children who grow up like me, the ones that are bullied and abandoned. In some places, their thought crimes warrant death, their lusts, their inclinations, further are legislated as death sentence in cleansing of societies wayward lovers. Lovers by accident and misfortune, whether they love man to man, woman to woman, all or perhaps even lovers of freedom - such loves are truly immoral and unlawful in the eyes of the hivemind, who deems difference is grounds for trial and whose intolerance warrants beyond the traditional pains of disgust, the facetious permission to be different, a power play. A power play, born of the cold hands of the elite, that bear knives and say, we have progressed and deemed you to be okay - and the less jaded mind rejoices at tolerance truly disguised as further persecution and rape of one's own sovereignty.
For some the solution is resistance, whether it is focused like those of the guerrillas or whether it is blind, as willful disobedience to laws out of pure spite or out of rejection, unconnected with theories and ideologies. Where some of these resistors turn to crimes of not law but humanity, and where some of them turn to coordination against treachery, lines blur and all are cast as what they are - outsiders. Perhaps it is better not to be part of a hivemind, after all, but what cannot be denied is that in the day to day life of these pariahs of society, their blood drips steadily into the river, afflicted by the shadow cast upon them by everyone else.
When the chance for freedom nears, and is swept away, some of the greatest pains surface. It is in these cries, whether by the anarchist fighting for freedom in the streets or by the third world mother who just learned that their son will never come home from war, that the blood flows the most surely. And then again, some may not know it was even freedom that they just missed, they may call it other things. Often described as having the carpet pulled out from under you, the loss of promise of freedom strikes the hardest, and when all the other niceties we struggle for melt away by chance or by method of sorrow, this is when we get to the root of our story.
The river of blood is deep. It is red, dark, flowing and turbulent. It is the rapids of pain, pain that is caused not by nature, but by society. Society defined in its paradigm as the "success of civilization", whose reach spreads the world over like a disease - and for all the wonderful things about society we often go to overlook the pain it causes.
This river of blood is so incredibly deep. Do you see it? The banks are barren, gray, there is only death around it. The trees are burned, and in the distance on the hazy, bloodshot horizon, all we can see is the silhouettes of the burned out villages not so different from the razed cities of Warsaw of the second great war, or the radiated char of Hiroshima, perhaps the embers of Wounded Knee or even the bitter blackness of the victims of the warring Mongol empire before the East ever had contact with the white skinned of the West. What is sure is that for every scorched earth policy, for each blitzkreig and total war devastation akin to the march to Georgia, the world burned is reproduced in this wasteland of despair, accent to this river of blood so thick even staring at it seems to smother your lungs and cause you to gasp and choke on the ash - a place where the longer you watch the wind blow across the river, the louder the beating drums of war get. Where where once it seemed like just another river, you start to see in it despair manifest.
In this river of blood, as we look closer, we start to see more than blood. We start to see disembodied corpses. I know this is hard but we must look at this - we must know it. We must learn. We must see. The faces are black, burnt as the landscape, frozen as if in the dying breath they were screaming. Faces posed the same way as they died, in despair and great pain. Their skin seems to have melted away, exposing the blackened tendons, fossilized muscle tissue - their hair wispy and frail as if they had been set on fire. As we stare into this oblivion a body washes up onto the bank - that of a child. In this burned state we cannot see what color was their skin, cannot tell what happened to them... and there are no signs of trauma, because we see that truly what has become of this child, like all the rest of the river... the flames have come from the inside out. They were not burned by the outside, the flames came from within. From the heart perhaps, the epicenter of the flow of lifegiving blood, or perhaps the organs, rejecting to give life and instead setting the body ablaze. It is hard to see the humanity in these charred things, and that is because really, there is no humanity. It has been stripped of them - as if when they burned inside out, it wasn't flesh that fed the fire but their humanity, consumed in flames, accelerated by the pain they suffered.
This must be hell, but even hell is divine... this is a godless place. It is a figment of our imagination now - we share it, I as the writer and you as my partner. If you see this river before you, it cannot be unseen. How can we have seen it? How can I have taken you here?
You and I worked together.
I am not alone in that I have had a long love affair with suicide. Surely, there are those who succeed, those who fail, those who ponder, those who romanticize it, and those who critique it into medical terminology, obscuring the reality of it. I tried on numerous occasions, and on many I enjoyed the trip - not because I was so concerned with truly ending it, but because it was a new journey. As we are in such a place right now, I'd like you to know what I look like under the skin I wear for the outside world. Look closely at me. I am a man, standing at average height, but I am bent slightly at the back and neck, where the world has taken its toll on me. I don't concern myself much with the pain from it, but keep looking. My skin is nearly gray, my veins blue underneath, signs as if I rarely see the sun... I prefer solitude where I can rid myself of prying eyes. My arms are cut as if with razors, from my fingertips all the way up and across my torso and my neck, where though I never took a razor to myself, the actions and words of bullies, oppressors, and manipulators have done such a fine job at cutting my flesh I visibly bear the pain it caused. There are scars across my stomach, my legs, where while nobody notices what I have done, I in this more honest world have mutilated away the fat to fit in to the image society handed me of the lean Adonis. My feet are cut and black, from walking this world of ash so often and from traveling so far to find wherever the battle for freedom was taking place. My right arm, my powerful one, is glowing as if ready to catch fire, a dual purpose in which I always stand ready to be consumed by the flames that took the rest of the corpses around us, but also to stand ready like a match, ready to strike against my oppressors, where I have after so long learned to identify just who they were, and realized so much of the evil in our clean world must go down and be cleansed in flames. Cleansed? Like the burned world we stand in now? Yes, because there is cleansing in fire. The ash helps the earth regrow, as if a mythological phoenix - but only where reality does and the phoenix never left the myths. My hands shake unsteady, a result of the diet I partake in which so much of what I consume is laced with poisons and chemicals mother nature never intended for us, but corporations handed us like hotcakes. My hair is nearly fallen out due to stress, and what's left is dyed black, a warning to others not to cross me akin to the hiss of a black mamba snake. Perhaps a black widow spider, legs drawn in warning of iminent strike. I seem a wretched thing, I know, but I don't regret this, and I don't regret the streaks left on me from my past flirtations with death. But now, turn from me. Look at yourself.
What wounds do you bear?
This river is so full of blood, and some of it, we both must know is yours. Perhaps a lot of it - but I cannot know that.
In the comments below, can you please tell me what you look like in this world of honesty?
I think suicide is much more of an adventure than we give credit for. I hold it dear to me, but I'm not ready to die. I decided a while back that I want to live long enough to see the true resistance I seek, the fabled freedom fighters ready to fight the government and paradigm that made us bleed into this river. For that, I long to live. Long to fight. Long to win. And perhaps then my fears will be alleviated. But until then, I keep the ace in the hole should my freedom ever be attempted to be seized, because in truth, sometimes suicide is the last thing you can do as a free person. Would you rather live as a vegetable in a hospital bed, or perhaps sitting in death row in a jail cell, or even a lifetime prescription for a mental institute, devoid of choice and humanity? In such extreme cases, many of us might consider the thought of suicide as the last free thing we can do - and that's why it is so tempting to us, the outcasts - because it is the last full measure of devotion we can take to remain who we truly are, free people. And while I don't necessarily advice suicide, I think... you and I are beyond now that guttural reaction most people have to the word, or to depression, or the apathy so many manifest when confronted with pain and suffering. If you have stuck around with me for this adventure, and I hoped you did, because I wrote this for us, then you have seen, maybe even felt a drop of the pain, the bloodshed, the reality of this.
I can't easily come up with a simple moral to this story. I think that's going to be up to you. I'd like to say though, that we should consider how deep our words cut. I've never cut myself in my life, but I have been cut very often and very deeply underneath my skin, perhaps when I described myself you understood that the world of the soul, where everything is so much more honest, I stood scarred. With a good look in a mirror, in this place, a place that I suggest you meditate and place yourself for, maybe you'll notice a few cuts on your wrist as well. There's bound to be affliction. There's also bound to be an addiction. But please, don't be addicted to pain - don't let this honest world be solace - this is a grave place. This is true, and this is real, a thing that cannot be denied, but it is a graveyard of humanity, the frozen screams of the dead are not for us to gawk like at the Smithsonian, but it is a place to reflect and think, to make decisions on how to live your life and remind yourself of how the world can start the river of blood, how every action is so much like the old quote... where a moth flaps it's wings but once, the waves can cause a hurricane on the other side of the world.
And I'd like, if I were to have it any way, that after seeing and visiting this place with me, that you might consider standing with me in resistance. This isn't my usual call - usually I seek to enrage and provoke, so that we can accept the idea that resistance is necessary against all odds and for all worth - but now you see what we are fighting for. This is beyond freedom. Freedom is something for the mortal people, the alive ones, to experience. But the justice here, the justice of retribution and reflection from all those that have been lost to this river of blood, is eternal - it extends beyond life and whether there is life after death or not, the truth is that this river of blood is carried in the minds of all those who come into contact with it - be it the mother reflecting upon the suicide of her son, or the tortured abuser who hit his victim just a bit too hard. These things extend beyond the plain of temporary - perhaps they are written down and published, where it will live on forever. What we do know is that this is real. This is no mind game or meditation, I walk these charred banks of the river often, and I do it either to remember what I'm really fighting for in the self proclaimed revolution against capitalism and injustice, or sometimes I do it to remember what I look like beyond the shiny mirror in our everyday life. Because the man I described to you is me, and I have no doubts about it - you have seen me, and although perhaps not all of me, enough to stick an image. And if there is any worth to my talent of writing it is not to entertain but to open worlds. If you read all this, a world has been opened to you. If you were not thrust into it like I was by my drive to join the bodies in the river, then perhaps I have just taken you to this world by the hand and shown you. But just because it is another world does not make you an outsider. You are equal here - all is equal. The charred world is still a free one - and although no live dwells in it, it stands free. There is still a serenity of peace and freedom even in the tortured faces in the river of blood.
Perhaps you will join me in burning down the world that has turned humanity, life, and love into all the pain we have seen. I can only hope you do. And if you don't, or can't, can I please ask one more thing of you? Just for me. In fact, just for all of us from that charred world. Please. Don't. Forget. We. Lived.
With all my love.
Thank you for taking this journey with me.