Before we can speak Truth to Power, we must recall how to speak Truth to each other. THE TRIALS AND TRIBULATIONS AND SPECULATIONS OF A DIGITAL RECONTEUR.

Header image courtesy and copyright of Wendy Farrow

The Stories, Accounts and Adventures of Igor Goldkind, Poet, Author, Techno Trouble Maker, regarding the binary language of images. The computational narrative, neuro-phenomenology, mindful computation and the tales our data will tell us once we slow down and listen to their hum.

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Facebook is Anti-Culture


Facebook is Anti-Culture

I’ve started this post after returning from a 6-day ban from Posting, Liking, Communicating, Joining, or Connecting with anyone else in the Facebook Community.

Censorship, the suppression of words, images, or ideas that are “offensive,” happens whenever some people succeed in imposing their personal political or moral values on others. Censorship can be carried out by the government as well as private pressure groups. ~ The ACLU

What Was My Crime?

My posting one of my own published poems from my book Is She Available? that had been posted in Facebook at least thrice before without repercussion. and is currently available in dozens of libraries and bookstores throughout California and soon to be released in the UK. The visual interpretation of a love poem by the Designer/photographer and internationally renown artist/typographer Rian Hughes entitled:

I Missed Your Scent in Paris

Although his image was a black and white stylized photograph of a woman where if you squinted and looked real close you could make out the shadow of half a nipple showing, (which is exactly what a Facebook employee would have had to have done in order to render judgement that Tian and my work contravened Facebook’s community standards.

Words by Igor Goldkind – Image by Rian Hughes
Censored by Facebook

The Poem and Rian’s photo interpretation of the poem were not obscene, disgusting nor gratuitously offensive in any way. Unless of course, you consider the human body in itself to be obscene, in which case I strongly suggest you seek therapeutic help as you clearly entertain unhealthy, self-hating, anti-social thoughts.

Instead, if not the poem, then certainly the photograph of the semi-nude woman is a work of art. It is obvious to anyone who reads and looks that it had no other intention. Not being able to distinguish between pornography and erotic art is one of the great threats Facebook’s dumbed down lack of discernment poses to the thriving of a culture.
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Art is the science of culture. Both are experiment–driven.
Igor Goldkind
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As community-oriented and community-sounding Facebook professes to be (in its language and self-justifications of its censorship), Facebook is the enemy of culture. As well as the enemy of the community of humanity that shares the values that a free society comes hand in hand with expression free from censorship; as long as the expression poses no harm. Otherwise, it is not a free community.

“To destroy a people, first destroy their culture. 
~ Mario Torero

What is it exactly about the half shadow image of a woman’s left nipples poses a threat to anyone? The last time I checked, a woman’s nipple is the source of nourishment for all of us, male and female at one time or another.

To censor the image of a human nipple is to censor the truth of what it means to be human. How can I prove this? Look for yourself! Apart from a minority of our fellow hairless apes who have lost them in accidents or horrific burns, we ALL OF US HAVE NIPPLES! It is the truth of who we are and as an artist, as a poet, I am only interested in the truth of who we are. Not the twisted Calvinist attempt at reversioning a reality where angels never fart and genies have no belly-buttons.

We Must Protect You From Yourself

I know for a fact that genies do have belly-buttons, I’ve seen them with my own eyes! And as far as angel farts go, they smell better than your own.

Article 10 of the United Nations Human Rights Act protects our right to hold our own opinions and to express them freely without government or private interference.

This includes the right to express our views aloud (for example through public protest and demonstrations) or through:

• published articles, books or leaflets
• television or radio broadcasting
• the internet and social media
• AND WORKS OF ART
• The law also protects our freedom to freely receive 
information from other people.

The US The Supreme Court has interpreted the First Amendment’s protection of artistic expression very broadly. It extends not only to books, theatrical works and paintings but also to posters, television, music videos and comic books and personal social media pages including FACEBOOK — whatever the human creative impulse produces.

The right not to be censored by an arbitrarily superimposed moral hypocrisy of a minority…. is articulated in the Human Rights Act signed by the US as treaty and thus bound by US federal law in 1964. In the late 1960s and 1970s, the United States renewed its commitment to the international human rights system by signing, though not yet ratifying, several major human rights treaties.

Including the International Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (ICERD), the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and the INTERNATIONAL COVENANT ON ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS (ICESCR).

Liberty, Freedom & Justice
But Not From Facebook

These are the laws of the land that FACEBOOK has violated in unceremoniously and without warning censoring my work. Judgement without respite and only the cosmetics of appeal.

Facebook is not a community in any shape or form as long as its private owners impose their narrow, petty, puerile, and juvenile morals on us without listening to everyone, not just the complainers, who make up that community. That includes us good for nothing, when-are-you-going-to-get-a-real-job? artists.

There is no one to talk to at Facebook. No one to appeal to; no one to reason with and no one that takes responsibility for its actions. Human beings wrote the algorithms, built the servers and the browsers to increase the human bandwidth, not to distance us from ourselves!

There is no reason to fear the takeover of robots, algorithmic judgements and machines, for we have already surrendered.

Please repost this in part or in full on your wall and please share with your friends across all social media. Maybe Facebook will recall what it means to be a human with nipples one day and stop emulating the machines (who have no nipples).

Thank you,

Igor Goldkind
Still Human & Nippled

PS You think that I’m overreacting? Just another crazy, good for nothing artist making pointless noise? The Modigliani nude, the Picasso, the Rubens and all fell foul of Facebook and are all pictured as depicted after being defaced by Facebook in the name of their hypothetical Community Standards.

The Woman I Never Got to Love


 

 

I never really knew Hannah Northedge apart from our Facebook exchanges. I think it was she that first started commenting on my postings. I read her comments with bemusement and replied.   Earnest, sincere, a bit young girlish but always quintessentially English. That refined contrivance that is both over-mannered and elegant at the same time.  And yet we shared a sense of humour, which is an astonishment between an Englishwoman and an American.

31880675_10156077867485609_4580787757411991552_n-1The real English, the softcenter at the core of the cracked, hard surface, English remind me no one more so than of the Japanese. Both island peoples deeply suspicious of foreign invaders and both sewn tightly within an intricately embroidered fabric of ritual, custom and politesse. Both peoples’ have a tea ceremony; one with boiled spring water and green leaf powder, the other with scones, clotted cream and jams.

I did not really know Hannah Northedge but I knew what she was like. A middle-class Midlands girl from Leicester with financially nurturing parents and an early gift, really, a passion for music. She must have dreamed as a young studious girl coming to the Big Smoke, to London to make it big as a chanteuse, as a professional jazz singer. Hannah’s own cover version of Dick Whittington sans cat. This would have been for her a dream logically constructed from sturdy childhood building blocks. Each carefully poised upon the other, pushing gradually upwards into a stern, determined tower of accomplishments.

Hannah would teach music on the side, to students both male and female to make ends meet in a rapidly escalating London that had long driven me from its financial borders. Living in London is not an easy thing. Not for any young man or woman and certainly not for a high strung, talented musician intent on being the best at what she could already do quite well.

The dedication of an artist is blind. Blind to all things that do not further the acts of creation. There is no greater earthly power than to suddenly plug one’s hours, days, years of practice into an unearthly circuit that seems connected to the very essence of one’s living. That sudden bursting propulsion ever further, and ever greater into what you had always wanted to attain and seemed now to be as effortless as a second nature. Suddenly you are living your higher nature!

Any artist, any writer, any dancer and any musician will tell you that this moment of being ‘experienced’ of being played upon what feels like the very aesthetic strings of life is at best indescribable. This is much more than being “in the zone” as an athlete or card player might venture. This is about the zone being in you and all around you; in every pore and molecule of your being until it would take more effort to stop the momentum than to just let yourself keep falling forwards. Pulled into the very gravity of creation.

The Red Shoes is a 1948 British drama film written, directed and produced by the team of Michael Powell and Emeric Pressburger and based on the story by Hans Christian Anderson about a pair of red shoes that are enchanted and when worn enchant the ballerina dancer into dancing more powerfully, more perfectly than she has ever danced before. Until tragically in the end, the dancer cannot stop the shoes from dancing her to her death. A glorious death brought to life by a magical realism. One that many would gloriously surrender to just to be swept up in that dance unto death.

Hannah had no red shoes to speak of, but her throat, her lungs, her diaphragm and her instinct for music were as enchanted as they were enchanting. They were her soul and at very least they enchanted me. I never really liked what she sang. Of course I never told her that; (why would I?) To me, perhaps unfairly, it reeked of nostalgia and a wonting for a long disappeared time. Her numbers were swing, pre-integrated jazz; the time of Louis Armstrong and grinning happy black men.

This music came to England via the American GIs that were stationed there, much to the resentment of the male British population and much to the erotic delight of the female one. Courting and bedding an English girl was the kind of overseas exotica an American GI could handle, easily overlooking the cultural gap by virtue of a common language; in fact magnetically attracted by that difference of language and nuance. We said elevator, they said lift; we asked how many blocks; they answered how many streets; what could be more enchanting? All to the sound of swinging jazz.

Hannah in many ways embodied that stalwart and determined optimism of the English. Being bombed by a vastly superior air force, on the very brink of invasion and yet somehow, against every indication to the contrary, still anticipating a break in the weather. Raining bombs on old London town. By the time American GIs were deployed to England the response of the British and I can hear Hannah saying exactly this, was “About bloody time! How nice of you to finally show up for the party!” “Better late than never, I suppose!”

This was the playful sarcasm of the English by which they kept themselves and each other bemused whilst coping with the obstacles at hand This has always been lost on my American comrades. We think it’s rather mocking, which of course it is; it’s merely a democratic mockery, a Monty Python hysteria at the awesome absurdity of Life and it all. When it comes to jokes and putdowns and the English, no one ever gets out alive, no less so than the English themselves. Self-effacement and self-mockery are not part of the American skill set and we would be fortunate in having few English Life Coach instructors to teach us a thing or two about the proper positioning and placement of the ego.

But I digress from my digression. Hannah was quintessentially English, youthfully so. Although merely some ten years younger than me, she somehow always made me feel that she was much younger than that. A child’s wide-eyed openness beaming from a woman’s face I believe that that child-like disposition, as well as her nervousness and constant stress, were hand in glove with her talent. She desperately needed to keep performing, to keep belting out those numbers because her life really did depend on it.
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I was supposed to take Hannah out on a date this Spring in London. Not really a date, more like a shared joke. Both of us had frequently traded our frustrations with the opposite sex and one night I asked Hannah to describe her perfect London date to me. It involved dinner and dancing and her description was so lighthearted and life-affirming fun that I immediately promised her that as soon as I got to London I would take her out on that exact same date. I made that promise not to impress Hannah or woo her but because what she described sounded like such god damn fun that I wanted in on it! Hannah’s lust for life was infectious. Most important of all, Hannah laughed at all of my jokes, even the ones that didn’t merit laughter.

Alas, our date to laugh is not to be. The one woman in 3 years who had finally agreed to go out with me, drowned herself instead at the very prospect. Now that’s a good joke. One that Hannah would have heartily laughed at.

What can I say about suicide? And I understand as of late through a mutual friend that that is exactly what Hannah Northedge had planned in advance and self-executed (so to speak). Albert Camus said that the only question worth asking in life is whether or not to commit suicide; each and every morning when we awake we should ask ourselves that very same question. Because in all honesty, in asking ourselves that question we are never freer. Simply because if we do not choose to end it all; (and I assume that anyone reading this has chosen other than that), then what we have chosen is everything else instead. Because we could have chosen the only alternative to living there is, but we did not to.

I don’t know if Hannah asked herself that very question waking in her luxurious hotel room in Eastbourne, near Beach Head, Britain’s top suicide spot. She certainly had chosen a fine hotel in which to waylay her return to London. Perhaps I will pay that hotel a visit just to catch that final view of the sea we might have shared and toasted. I do not know what state of mind she was in when her parents sent her back home to London from her childhood home in Leicester. English parenting can be harshly stoic at times.

All I do really know for sure about suicide, and in fact, that is what Hannah committed herself to, is that it is an act of self-agency. You may not want to hear this, but please listen because it’s true. Take this bitter pill from one who knows: Suicide is a determined act to strike out against a world of pain and futile injustice. It is not weakness nor surrender that causes one to take one’s own life. It is instead the ultimate act of defiance, an act of unnatural courage and entails a great act of will against all instinct; against the very will to survive.

To look at the universe that gave birth to one’s own conscious mind and in full consciousness scream “No!” “No, this life was not worth the pain, the agony, the empty suffering of my existence!” “You can just take it, just have it all back”. “This was never going to be good enough and I’m putting an end to it here and now because it is my choice my freedom, my volition to do so!”

I do not know of Hannah’s pain apart from what she told me of it. I do know that her despair at romance and at its betrayal weighed heavy on her. If there is any lesson to be garnered from her passing, be it what I tell my own daughter time and time again: never ever believe that you will ever need a man to be happy as a woman.

It’s possible to have both, but by no means mandatory; nor is a man ever the sole path to happiness. We are at best unreliable and at worst, much worse than that.

Hannah did seem determinedly desperate in her remaining months; determined to be believed and desperate not to be dismissed as a hypochondriac lunatic. Which from my own experience with medical authorities. their tendency to treat the symptoms more urgently than the patient surely is lacking some benefit.

I know that there are those of us who in trying to find some salve for our confusion and our anger will demand answers from doctors, from landlords and mould experts; from Hannah Northedge’s own family, even. I know that righteous confusion first hand. To you, I say what my baby sister’s widow said to me at the time of her untimely passing: “nothing that we do, nothing that we try, no matter how hard is ever going to bring her back”.

We need all to find our peace with that.

Igor Goldkind © 2018

The Last Refugees: Syria in Crisis


Protest Poster
The time has come,’ (I am) the Walrus said,
To speak of many things:
Of shoeless children — and refugee ships — and the things
that all of us need…
Of arresting civilian protesters — and blood-letting priests and kings.
–– And why the sea is filled with fleeing families
And whether falling bombs have wings.’
This is the time of confusion perpetrated by those whose power is built upon the bedrock of our confusion.
We are told that all information are biased lies. To not trust what anyone says; apart from the words of those who tell us not to trust what anyone says.
In America and around the world there is a crisis in the authority of information. Never in the history of our tribe, the human tribe, has so much information, so many facts, so much data been at the command of so many of us.
The World Wide Web is truly an amazing thing, as is its name: World Wide.
And yet too much is never enough. With such abundance comes scarcity. Scarcity in the reliability of what we read, hear and see. We can no longer afford to listen to simply one voice. Uncle Walter is no longer alive to comfort us with the nakedness of facts, disrobed from opinions.
That’s just the way it is.
So we listen to the many voices inside and outside of our heads and try to tune into a signal through the rising noise levels. That signal, that wavelength, that fleeting photon of energy we’ve always known to be the Truth. What is the Truth? I don’t really know but you and me can always recognize it.
Right now the truth comes in the numbers:
In 2016, from an estimated pre-war population of 22 million, the United Nations (UN) identified 13.5 million Syrians requiring humanitarian assistance, of which more than 6 million are internally displaced within Syria itself at the mercy of the Syrian authorities, and around 5 million are refugees outside of Syria.
5 million refugees! 1.5 million in Lebanon alone. This is the biggest refugee catastrophe the world has seen since the millions of Jews who fleeing the Nazis were denied entry, turned away from this ‘Great’ nation of ours. To be deported to the death camps that awaited them and at the time no one believed were real. How could they be real? How could this be real again?
Never Forget really means Never Again.
How could a booming population of 22 million be gutted of 13.5 million civilians, more than half the country, of men, women and their children?
How could we, our tribe have let this have happened? Why didn’t somebody do something before it got this bad?
Where was our compassion deported to?
Pasted Image 0
But I’m not answering questions about how we got here. Instead, I’m asking you to do something about it right NOW. Set aside the luxury of your political opinions and focus on the reality, the facts. What we know to be True, right here and right now. There are children crying out in the desert. I can hear them, believe me, I can hear them and if you pay close attention, you can hear them too.
The facts are that families, just like yours, fathers and mothers just like you and yours and children, yes children exactly like yours are living and dying in unimaginable squalor. Right now, today. And there is something you and I can do:
syria3
They need medical supplies, doctors, and nurses to treat their external wounds and trauma counsellors to tend to their internal wounds.
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The teenagers’ survivors of Florida school shooting were transformed from children into adults in the course of a few short hours of a single death-defying day. Being American, they were treated and counselled for the trauma caused by the actions of one young man and a single gun he should never ever have obtained.
These young adults’ transformation, Emma Gonzales, David Hogg and the others, was miraculous. They took the worst trauma they had ever experienced in their lives and changed it into action; an effective action that has yielded results. Like alchemists, they changed rusting iron into gold. They are an example for us all, especially us adults.
I’m telling you here that we don’t just have to admire our children, we can, we must follow their lead.
Now imagine, hundreds of fully automatic guns being fired around you, at you. Imagine the infernal thunder of bombs falling all around you, decimating your home and the streets of your childhood, obliterating your school, your neighborhood, your city and everything you have ever known to be safe and solid. The destruction of your entire your life while leaving your body if injured, still intact.
Please imagine this with me now, right now.
Stop reading this.
Close your eyes and use your mind to
Reach out beyond yourself and you will hear the bombs dropping and the sound of never-ending gunfire.
Now open your eyes and do something to answer the cry of that child in the desert. Follow the children, they know the way, the golden road into a better future.
Finally, please forward this post, share it with your friends.

 

 
We’ve all got to make the effort to be the human beings we would like to imagine ourselves to be.

31131198_586517128397710_4498561291429871616_o

I Am A Paper Bag


 

 

I am a paper bag, I am.
I am only as good as what I can carry.

I am a paper bag, I am.images-1
I’m not the smart one,
I’m not the successful one.
I’m not the tall one who always won and
Then died.
I am a paper bag.
I’m only as good as what I can carry.

I am a paper bag,
I’m not plastic or burlap, not I.
I am paper: rough, brown and thin
I’m not waterproof, you know.
And I can’t hold any liquids or gases within.
I only have the energy for stuff that really matters.
I’m a paper bag.
I’m only as good as what I can carry.

I am a paper bag.images-2
Wrinkled and used and too often abused
Thrown on the floor.
Buried deep inside your drawers.
I am a paper bag.
I cannot ask you for anything more
I’m only as good as what I can carry.

©IgorGoldkind 2018

The Diamond Rain



imagesCaught in the Diamond Rain
Caught unawares in a diamond downpour.
When did Karma get so immediate and so personal ?
So judgment-like and familial?

When did I last escape from my room
And begin to orbit outside of time?
That vantage point that surrounds me,
Is not just this moment,
download-1But every moment you or I have ever lived.

A handful of jewels lie scattered at my feet.
Each crystal catching and tricking the light into
Reflecting each and every possible face of existence that there is,
All at once.

Each stone weighs down heavily on my stomach.
Forced downward by the sheer gravity of events.
When did I last step outside of myself again?th

I am no longer there.
Or rather I am here, just not in this world.
Instead, I’m living in a different world
built on longing, solitude, and reflection.

Two mirrors face each other
One rag wipes the dust and the sweat from both our dirty faces,
Go on, reach out with your finger tips to
Caress every surface of this jewel
We call living.

Can you see over there, that distant surface we exist on?
That reflects the face of every other face.
On all the falling jewels that surround us.
THIS is what it is to be caught in the Diamond Rain.

 

 

images-1

It’s Alive!!!!!


It’s official, I’m back on line with my periodic musings about life in the computational age.

Kind of a stone’s soup of insight, speculation, and anecdote all wrapped up in a bright ribboned visual package for you to peruse.

The long hiatus was largely due to a Singapore based company highjacking my domain name igorgoldkind.com.  Please go to that page and defecate your discontent with corporations stealing the identity of artists, just because we’ve gained some popularity.

What kind of on line world are we constructing here that permits commercial interests to pose as real people, even steal their names and profit from their hard work building their brand reputation?  Some people live shameful lives on the backs of the labour of others.   Tell them what you think before they steal your identity too!

Tales of Sedition and SUBVERSION welcomes your comments, opinions, condemnations, outrage and commiserations.  Don’t be shy, I like to have my feelings hurt!

This publishing platform also offers me the chance to post drafts of on going work which eventually see publication either online or on the backs of trees; sometimes both.

Here is the most recent draft of the most recent poem I’ve written this week:

images-10

There is No Escape

None of us gets paroled
From the prisons we locked ourselves into.
Just so we all fit together inside
These jigsaw lives that we lead
That eventually of course, blow apart,
We are the fragments awaiting reassembly.

Each moment of thought is a small drop in time.
Each piece fits the next piece.
Though we may try to live without
The murmurs of our own thoughts,
It is our hearts that yawn and awaken slowly
From their long winter night’s sleep.

You and I are mere mortals,
Who dreamt up life without end.
We are the ones who made up immortality.
For the sake of comforting sad joys.
This is now just the story we tell ourselves while
Slumping back to our death beds.

images-9downloadimages-11 Read the rest of this page »

San Diego Comic Con 2015: And Here We are!


Press Release

PR

Dolls


1886_lWomen that like to dress their men

Liked to play with dolls

As little girls.mZ4DECgEKf0KaeeQ_bwk71Q-1

As little girls will.

But boys who do not know how to dress

Themselves as dolls

Will be dressed by little girls grown

Who know exactly how to dress their dolls.50722-L -font-b-Doll-b-font-accessories-girl-toys-Chiristmas-gifts-font-b-black-b-font

Confetti






There’s an emptiness at the heart of any space:
The air that escapes a room; an unanswered echo,
a vacant womb.
There’s an emptiness in my heart
That reminds me that
All of my ideas are empty.
Floating leaves from a fumbled folder.
Coloured streams falling from the sky.

This emptiness reminds me
How slight my desires really are 
How gently they fall from the sky 
A confetti of mercy and discarded emotions,
They are in the end
Compared to nothing, 
Merely the litter from an emptied mind.

Breathing Time


I am not a connection.

I am a conjugation of every verb you have ever uttered,
Before the action you took, just now.

Hidden and mistaken
Slipping between your shadows,
Your ideas,

And a Reality that long ago,
Left you way behind:

The moment you thought you were in.

I am not your connection,
I am your conjugation, So
Stop spitting out your words

And start breathing in time.

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IS SHE AVAILABLE? Hardcover edition

IS SHE AVAILABLE? Hardcover edition

INSOMNIAC AWARENESS by Igor Goldkind


We who are hiding in our second bedrooms,

Licking the silver from the backs of our screen,

Are living in a differently timed zone

Of insomniac awareness.

Sometimes 2, sometimes 3, sometimes 4 or more

Lives are lived and lost each night.

In our rooms, by ourselves

Sitting too close to the edge of our beds.

 

This is our legacy 

The lasting  perpetuity of our sensory species:

The glow that contests the light that once shone from our eyes,

Right up to the razor’s edge of our understanding of

What is not yet known.

The un-utterable.

What can barely be thought , much less said and

Yet still dances these words so merrily across this page.

In the ballet of silence that surrounds them.

 

Who are you reading this?

What perturbs your eternal sleep-walk into the night?

Are there questions you are pondering?

Or are you merely waiting for the screen to pull through for you?

Into your own quiet, private world,

Where  things that count never change.

And no one is dreaming you, but your mother

Who has left you now for another child.

© Alex Grey: Insomniac Awareness by Igor Goldkind

Pillow Thought

Who has left you now for another child.

THE OFFICIAL PRESS RELEASE: IS SHE AVAILABLE? AVAILABLE NOW ON iTUNES.


Date: March 31, 2015 at 21:38:22 PDT

Subject: To my friends: THIS is What We Have Done – Is SHE Available?

From: Amy Sterling Casil , Chameleon Publishers

I can honestly say, this is like no other book we have ever seen before; we think perhaps – like no other you may have seen as well.uc

31 March 2015

For Immediate Release

IS SHE AVAILABLE? PUSHES BOOKS AND PUBLISHING FORWARD THROUGH POETRY, ART, AND MUSIC

Southern-California based publisher Chameleon Publishing releases its first major publication: Is SHE Available? by Igor Goldkind April 1 via the iBooks store.

What We DoIs SHE Available? pushes the edge of what is possible with present EPUB3 technology and how books are created and made. It is not an App, it is a true book that marries pop art, comics, avant-garde, jazz, spoken word poetry, video and animations, and type design. Its creative journey was more than a year in the making, growing from the collaborative work of artists, musicians, editors, and designers on two continents.

The poet, Igor Goldkind, is a San Diego native who lived in France and the UK for two decades while promoting the work of today’s most notable comic and graphic novel authors and artists. As a teen, he was one of the co-founders of San Diego’s legendary Comic-Con.

According to Bleeding Cool, “It was Goldkind who popularized the phrase ‘graphic novel’ with the media and found that gave them permission to cover the previously-considered childish medium of comic books . . . . Now, Goldkind’s vision of what graphic novels could be, is returning.”

Is SHE Available? was produced using an international collaborative model, but the book is one man’s voice and one man’s story.  Goldkind’s words and voice inspired the art of over 26 internationally-known artists, including cover art and interior illustrations by Eisner-winner Bill Sienkiewicz (Elektra Assassin, Daredevil and more), additional interior Advance Review pdf of IS SHE AVAILABLE_Page_76illustrations from other graphic novel illustrators and award-winners including Glenn Fabry (Hellblazer, Preacher), David Lloyd (V for Vendetta and many others), Liam Sharp (Judge Dredd/2000 AD/Madefire), fine artists and illustrators Lars Henkel, Mario Cavalli, Mario Torero, Wendy Farrow, and many more.

Music and spoken word were recorded in New York with UK Jazz Album of the Year winner, author and ex-Israeli Gilad Atzmon. A US-based jazz and spoken word tour is scheduled for July 2015.

The type design and hardcover book are created by the eminent London-based designer Rian Hughes (2000 AD, Vertigo, Dan Dare), who includes an afterward about the collaborative design process. E-book production, incorporating Madefire animations, audio and additional animation, were provided by Chameleon Publishing in Southern California.

Due to the inclusion of video, audio and animations, and fine type design, it is playable only on Apple devices, and available only through the iBooks store. The hardcover (without music, spoken word or animationAdvance Review pdf of IS SHE AVAILABLE_Page_20s) will be published July 15, 2015.

Other “enhanced e-books” have been produced with budgets of $100,000 or more, and few have sold well. The “wisdom” is: poetry doesn’t sell. Enhanced e-books don’t sell. Most jazz doesn’t sell, either. Comic and graphic novel artists struggle to show their fine art to the public. And what publisher would take on a completely unknown poet whose claim to fame was selling fancy comic books to grown-ups and co-founding a big comic/media/scantily-clad women-fest like Comic-Con?Advance Review pdf of IS SHE AVAILABLE_Page_39

Twenty percent of North Americans regularly buy and read books. Nearly a hundred percent can read. Chameleon’s mission is to make books for everyone, not just a selected few.

Is SHE Available? Yes.

by Bill Sienkiewicz and Rian Hughes   ©2014

by Bill Sienkiewicz and Rian Hughes ©2014

Published April 1, 2015, in honor of National Poetry Month.

 

-END-

For more information and to obtain a copy of Is SHE Available? eBook for review (EPUB3 only on iOS devices – iPad, iPhone and Apple computers) or an advance reading copy of the hardcover edition contact the publisher:

Amy Sterling Casil

Chameleon Publishing Inc

YES, I AM AVAILABLE . . . . . . for a price . . . .


OK, you can buy it now.

My book that is, the one I have been going on and on about on these pages for the past 9 months.

It took awhile, a little longer than I planned on.

Igor Goldkind

Author/Poet/Producer   Igor Goldkind

But it’s here now: SHE IS NOW AVAILABLE!

My apologies to everyone I have kept waiting, but I think you’ll find that the end result was well worth it.

You really haven’t seen anything like this before.

Somewhat in recompense, my publisher is offering a SPECIAL INTERNET OFFER to my FB and blog followers:

As of tomorrow, you’ll be invited to pre-order the 164, fully illustrated Hard Cover Edition designed by Rian Hughes featuring an original cover by Bill Sienkiewicz for the regular price of $24.99 and

Get the eBook Download RIGHT NOW FOR FREE.

This offer starts tomorrow for a limited time only. The hardcover edition ships this month and will be available in May. This is your chance to get a copy before your friends can steal theirs from the library, for a LIMITED TIME ONLY.

This is a book of Poetry and a book handcrafted by love, tears and the visions of 27 artists, musicians and animators.

IS SHE AVAILABLE? Hardcover edition

IS SHE AVAILABLE? Hardcover edition

Poems are a way to talk to a side of ourselves we cannot talk to and a way to take pictures of things that we cannot take pictures of. But like a picture, it also holds moments in time. It works in the space between words, where connections are made, meaning is formed and the poem is ultimately owned by the reader.

And still, for so many of us, you only notice poetry when you need it.

Read poetry.

Because while all the poetry in the world might not be worth as much as one good doctor, if there is a reason we are alive, if there is a reason we’re here, it can be found in poetry. It is the barest bones of the human experience and it captures the soul in flight.

Kind Regards, and please may I ask that you share my words with your Friends.

http://is-she-available.com

BUY IT NOW! Even the Truth is For Sale

BUY IT NOW!
Even the Truth is For Sale

THE FOOL’S LAUNCH PAD


The book is finally ready.the-foolI’ve seen it, played it, read it, listened to it so many times it’s near driven me mad.

The act of creation is an explosion, a maelstrom of emotional energies seeking form, vying with their own legacy of fragile structures, to Break Through to Something New.

That is the goal.

But the monotony of honing the perfection; wherein the hot metals cool and adhere to the cast,  is the labour that seems unending compared to that first ejaculate of inspiration.

So we toil as we complain.

But there never really ever was any turning back

And now there’s no looking back, because the book is uploaded and now for sale on in iTunes, the Books Online Directory and the publisher’s own site: Is She Available?

If you’re reading this, you can get a special discount offer on the website; a kind of 2-4-1 deal.  The kind of incentive that is supposed to get you to read my stuff.

The official release is Wednesday,  APRIL FOOL’S DAY, which I consider entirely appropriate.  A day like any other day, displaced by a change in calendar; a recalibration of our instruments that measure time makes fools of us all when we forget what the calendar really measures:theFoolDetail

our own steep descent  in running out of time.

So like you, I am a Fool

I took the  opportunity to be published and turned it into something more; something different, something that I felt should have been tried by now.  But it hadn’t been.

So I did.

Try.

Doing something new.

Whilst the  machinations of publishing both print and online, grind into gear, releasing steam and a rumbling thunder, I prepare for my flight from the north to the south.

I will be in the air when this book lifts off from its pad.

I hope it flies.

I hope it flies high enough to break this orbit.tarot___the_fool_by_marmot_art

With your help, it very well may.

Thanks, Igor

p=m√


This moment is dead.Momentum
But your life is momentum.
It’s the only life you know:
Everywhere you look
Is exactly where you’ll go.

(Paying attention like a fine,
Sniffing out the muddied footprints of the divine.)

This ticket that you’re riding,
Fare-less and Free,
Is merely the impetus of your Desire
Conserved, unaffectedly
By any other force or swayconservation_of_momentum_7
Upon your singular trajectory through time.

For Tatiana Iosifovna Doubro  who is ejected from planes and recites Pushkin by heart as she is flies through space.

df13

YES, SHE IS AVAILABLE! OUT NOW !!!!! How Exciting.


I am posting this to announce the official publishing of my book IS SHE AVAILABLE? On April 1st, 2015.  the ebook will be available for download on a variety of commercial websites; not least of which is the official website http://is-she-available.com where you will be able to both download the book and pre-order the hardcover edition. 

Cover Illustrations by Bill Sienkiewicz; Design by Rian Hughes

Cover Illustrations by Bill Sienkiewicz; Design by Rian Hughes

Please, tell your Friends.

“Friends”: how strange that word now seems to me given the dilation of its meaning over the past what 5, 10 years?   I recall using the word in reference to a small circle of familiar intimacies; varied in nature and personality but common in values and how we choose to pass our time.

Of course now my Facebook tally shows that I have somewhere near 2,000 such Friends, comprised mainly of people I have never met, with whom I have exchanged a few words at best; and yet in that exchange of Words, have widened the circle of that meaning: Friendship.

Which is why I have come to not so much to write poetry (I started when I was 13), as to publish it. In a form that suits it’s purpose: to reach out to as many people as I can, the Friends of my Friends (and their Friends too), through the channels that will reach them across this sea of data, signs and meanings our attention now spans.

But even the word ‘book’ now seems to have acquired a fluidity of meaning that transcends its original reference. My work is a tangible, page-turning book designed by maestro Rian Hughes; an electronic book with music and animation, a CD of 15 music tracks by the musical enfant adorable Gilad Atzmon; a portfolio of art prints and a selection of Poet-T-Shirts, bearing a selection of fine art images and illustrations from my dozen collaborators on this book.

The Revolution in Only 2 Digits by Jeff Christensen  © 2014

The Revolution in Only 2 Digits by Jeff Christensen © 2014

This ‘Book’ is also a live spoken word/jazz music tour in the US this coming this early summer and a UK tour this Autumn.

I apologise to my Friends who have been hanging on, hearing fragments of news, awaiting the date they can hear less about it and more what it says.                   I confess, like many things,

it was all my fault.

Advance Review pdf of IS SHE AVAILABLE_Page_42

The Birth of Fire by Margarita Zuniga © 1959

The inception of this project dates back nearly a year to March 2014, when the author/publisher Amy Sterling, after a long dialogue about writing on Facebook, suggested that her nascent publishing company CHAMELEON Publishing Inc. would be interested in publishing my work. Chameleon Publishing Inc. was a new, next-generation publishing company based in Southern California that’s opening new market channels for books with new readers, mainly for and about women. When I first mentioned my sole discrepancy in this area, Amy replied casually with the second greatest compliment a woman has ever paid me: “But your sensibility fits”.

And I’m thankful that it has, because without the efforts of the women who have supported this project, it would not have come to be. From Eleanor Brooks my firm, caring editor, to my daughter Olivia Goldkind-Brooks, to Addie Kaplan my business manager, this vehicle is powered by a uniquely feminine drive. Since the start gun fired, I have been on an unimaginable roller coaster ride of magical serendipity, dazzling disappointments and a severe lack of funds. Don’t let anyone ever tell you that the career of a writer or any artist is easy; sure you have more freedom, but freedom costs what money can’t buy: time, effort and persistence.

PETER SAID TO WENDY by Wendy Farrow

WHAT PETER SAID TO WENDY by Wendy Farrow ©2014

I had hoped to announce the publication before Christmas, then the New Year. But the practical demands and hurdles involved in this kind of innovation and creation (thank you, Adobe!), persists with its own priorities, own issues to resolve. I also encumbered myself with the urgency of my mother’s impending demise late last year. I had to unburden myself of the notion that I needed to place a copy of my book in her hand before she passed. It wasn’t practical it wasn’t possible and in the end, it wasn’t necessary.

The personal is always constrained by the impersonal.

Now we are resolved.

First Page of THE FARMER AND THE SOLDIER comci strip by David Lloyd  © 2014

THE FARMER AND THE SOLDIER by David Lloyd © 2014

My persistence on this project, (some would add, against all reason), is about to see fruit. Whether the fruit is sweet or bitter (or both) will soon be for others to determine.   What I can tell you is that I have put all of myself into this this deeply confessional, personal work. All of my sweat, all of my anger, all of my love, all of my hatred, all of my blood, sinew and bone into the making of this creation.   My intent is to connect with you, with your emotions, your experiences and your sense of your self by sharing the most personal in the most universal way I can. I believe, at the depth of our selves, in our own most solitary, private existences is where we find each other gathered, maybe huddled, in the same exact corner.

It will not be to everyone’s tastes, I’m sure.  But if you care to take a look you will find a work that endeavors not to entertain, nor offer safe refuge from harsh truths; but rather to be that truth in Word, in Image, in  Music and in Movement.

Because . . .

When you stare into the Abyss long enough,

the abyss will stare back at you;

and if your gaze remains unflinching,

the Abyss will speak to you

And this is what it says . . .

THE DARK CLOUD  Typographic layout by Rian Hughes

THE DARK CLOUD Typographic layout by Rian Hughes

Bubbles


Life goes on without you
and within you:
shiney-wet-pebbles-bubblesRound pink pebbles
Polished by the constant flow of
Bubbles that burst like dreams
Just above the stream.
All I am is the movement in between:
The pebbles and the burst-bubble dreams.

bubbles-119-1

Rainbow Bridge


You know I owe it you my friends, those of you who have been generous in your thoughts for the loss of my mother to tell you something: Although it has been a long, arduous road from my mother’s first diagnosis of dementia 4 years ago to her leaving my world 2 weeks ago and in spite of the struggle (not least with the authorities), to see her way clear to a happy death; it has been an extraordinary, indeed enlightening experience.

I’ve been distracted so much of my life by shiny, trivial things and this last year certainly, has brought me into a focus and permitted me insights into things I had never known. The most pedestrian insight being the sorry regard our institutions have for the aged, the infirm and the demented. We don’t treat our weakest very well and I’m afraid that is because

we really don’t treat ourselves very well either.

The insight that I do want to share or at least attempt to convey is what I did feel this past month observing my mother’s diminishing capacity to engage with her surroundings first socially then practically. I had a tactile, visceral sense of an arc of a life; a universal trajectory from birth to death, as something that comes and then goes.

(The Rainbow in Norse mythology Yggdrasilis the bridge to Asgard and Valhalla, the hall of fallen warriors.) I have no experience of the supernatural.

It’s all natural to me. But I did feel a deep and distinct tone, like the pealing of a bell resonating beneath my feet in her passing.

Between the last evening that I saw her, held her hand and spoke to the steady light in her eyes and the morning I visited her room from where life had been so recently evicted, I knew I had seen a life depart and the place in the world that it had left. I did not catch a glimpse of death.

I saw life very clearly as it fled my mother’s corpse.

That thing, that is everything, that same thing that still animates us all. Until our clocks wind down as well or are tragically, shockingly shut down. I saw life leaving me behind as it disappeared  around some bend and I saw the life that was me, within it’s own place, on its own trajectory of escape.

I saw the light in the eyes that created me, that cherished me; fight, fade and extinguish.

I know that I will go there too, following her footsteps and those of my father’s before her and my sister’s before him.  A  death parade towards an unknown horizon.   I don’t know where they went, I just know that they are no longer here; nor any where I will ever be again.

No ‘where’ to go to. Just end. Just stop. Just no longer being.

And these fingers tapping on my keyboard are tapping out time too.

Igor

THE BORDER IS YOUR MIND


Yes, Available. 1267915_10152977966392755_3846847922395520293_oMicrosoft Word - New Poem-THE BORDER IS YOUR MIND.docx

LOVE IS AN ANGEL DISGUISED AS LUST by Igor Goldkind


LOVE IS AN ANGEL DISGUISED AS LUST 

Love is an Angel.medusa-on-the-sofa_for-Evan copy What is this thing that you can’t speak of?

This flirtation that will not hold its tongue but would rather hold yours between its teeth

And bite the thwarted anticipation of your mad fear’s confusion.

for fuck’s sake, what’s to choose?

Your body has already chosen for you

I hear it calling me on the telephone it anticipates my touch

it intakes your breath

it recalls my lips onto yours this tongue wets a damp crevice and summons the river

and it flows like no other desire from phone to train to bedroom

a churning current that carves out cliffs on the shoreline on the way plowing across the months and years exposing the bone and sinew of yes,

pure lust  

DESIRE!

Pure Beautiful Carnal Longing

that is the truthful stench of black damp earth pregnant with all of life;  pregnant with who you and I will become

when One again.

 When turning and churning, unraveling and raveling the bed sheets again.

The furious spinning of uplift resisting all gravity.

There’s a vertigo to our desire but no, I will not let you fall.

Recall, hear my cries of consummation in your arms, rising and falling, dancing between your upturned thighs

Recall your gasps of surprised delight

As the wings of a fallen angel unfurl to take in the return to paradise. You can feel this all again with me, baby.

There ever, ever was anotherLove is an Angel copy.                I’m just waiting to take you again.

Paintings of Medusa by Nancy Farmer © 2014  for the Poem in the collection IS SHE AVAILABLE?   (Chameleon)

PLATO’S RETREAT by Igor Goldkind; Illustration by Rian Hughes


Plato’s RetreatPLATO'S RETREAT IGOR'S BOOK FLAT

I want to be just like Socrates,


Grow a long beard and

Do what I please.


And be asking you allot of questions….

For a living.

I want to be just like Socrates

And not know for sure
 If I’m really real

or merely an altar In Plato’s temple.

I want to be just like Socrates,


And stand in the forum all day.


In the blazing sun that surrounds us,

Under the azure Athenian skies.

And philosophize,

To anyone who bothers to listen….

For a living.

I want to be just like Socrates

Corrupting my own youth in a hemlock cocktail

Every Friday night,
 2, 4 1 before 7 ….

For a living.

I want to be just like Socrates,

On a Saturday night
…

Asking, “hey you, at the bar”:

What is justice?

And where can I score some tonight?

After hours
..

Long after the widening sliver

Of your mind’s eternal dawn.

Image

IS SHE AVAILABLE..? by Igor Goldkind A Collection of Poetry, Art, Music and Motion in eBook, Hardcover and CD Spoken Word Editions COMING FOR THIS XMAS!!!


THIS IS THE HOLDING PAGE FOR THE OFFICIAL IS-SHE-AVAILABLE.COM WEB-HUB LAUNCHING DECEMBER 6, 2014

On this page you will be able to order the book directly in time for Xmas; Download the eBook; pre-order the Wall Print Portfolio and the Music CD IS SHE?  

BOOK MARK THIS PAGE AND GET SPECIAL DISCOUNTS FOR BLOG-FOLLOWERS AND FACEBOOK FANS

CHECK OUT SAMPLE FROM THE EBOOK AT MADEFIRE.COM   HERE

THIS IS THE COVER ILLUSTRATION FOR THE BOOK AND THE POEM THE DARK CLOUD

by BILL SIENKIEWICZ  © 2014Copyright Bill Sienkiewicz 2014 for the collection IS SHE AVAILABLE? by Igor GoldkindI

am

the

Darkness.

I

am

the

Darkness.

I

am

Oblivion.

I

am

the

MeaningDK4

of

Meaning,

Which

is

Nothing!

I

am

contempt

incarnate

I

am

the

self-loathing,

the

wriggling,

The

squirming

of

your

soul

I

am

the

reason

you

are

suffering

Because

IDK1

enjoy

the

show.

I

am

the

Darkness.

I

am

the

Darkness.

I

am

Oblivion.

I

am

the

Meaning

of

Meaning,

Which

is

Nothing!

I

am

the

dropped

eyes

and

fallen

smile

of

your

mother

When

she

realizes

what

a

little,

masturbating

shit

you

really

are!DK2

I

am

sickness.

I

am

despair.

I

am

the

hope

you

hide

behind,

Strangled in thin air.

am

the

Darkness.

am

the Darkness.

am 

Oblivion.

am

the Meaning

of

Meaning,

Which is

Nothing!

You

are

the

particle,

I

am

the physics

You think

you matter?

Am the Matter,

Dark Matter!

I

am

where

all

energy

goes.

Entropy is my mistress

and

fuck her every day!

DK4

I

am

Where

you

come

from

Where

everything

comes

from…

am what comes to you all.

I

am

where

you

go

when

you

don’t

really

know,

When

you

can’t

recall

Who you are anymore.

am the Darkness.

am the Darkness.

am Oblivion.

am the Meaning of meaning,

Which is Nothing!

Stop

talking

now.

Stop

thinking

now.

Stop loving and living and dying.

Come with me now.

Come with me now.Raven and Woman Branch

Come with me now.

There’s

no

denying

what

you

already

know,

What you’ve known all along.

I am the Darkness.

I am the Darkness.

I am Oblivion.

I am the Meaning of Meaning,

Which is Nothing!

There’s

no

You.

There never was.

It was always

Me.

YouMan pulls cloud are just trick of the

lights that

own.

You are nothing,

You are the 

                                                                 Nothing

You are me

You belong to

ME.

Now come quietly now,

Come take my hand, now.

Out of the darkness,

Out of the darkness,

Out of the darkness,

Out of the darkness,

Where you belonged.

Out of oblivion,

Out of the Meaning of Meaning,

Out of the darkness,

into your Light

And come

Home.

FLASH BACK ’78


Basking in the Broken Down Casino of Americana the grated dead reside in.scan0015

Reading the Bones of old contentions…looking up at primary  school-lights; the ones that never change…looking down at the floor tiles; an endless sea of wrinkled faces….too many people to breathe in…

where’s the Exit Jean mentioned?…

Sound…check…test…test1…test2…test3…

Now!

Go You Sun of a Gun!

Locomotive train thunders through your head…groping… stumbling…tripping forwards into that warm glowing rush of the great unknown.  There’s a tunnel!… there’s a tunnel…there’s a tunnel up ahead.  We’re goin’in…we’re goin’in…we’re goin’in.watch your head!

Watch: Your Head.

 Gone!   Washed away under the Lowest Bridge:

The consummation of illusion onto the lockjaw of your reality.

Still falling forwards…forwards with time…moving…with no body…no mass…no mind…beating…truckin’…making that Bend-On-the-Road…past the Dooh-Dah man….Right turn….left turn…back turn…back-where-you-started-from turn…It’s happening man…all around you…all the time…with you…without you…no-you..no- more…no-you-no-more….KNOW-MORE-YOU!..Don’t look left…don’t look right…don’t get scared…

Dawn follows the Night…head straight into the Light… up ahead…right where you came from…another train comin’ down your track…Head On Tight!grateful_dead_skeleton__pencil_by_frozenpinky-d2ek9j0

One More Stop….

Farther Down the Road.

Just keep on truckin’… don’t fall ahead and do not fail…one…two…onetwo…want-to… want-to …onetwothree..….chugga-chugga-chugga-chew-chew…One-Two Three….chugga-chugga-chugga-chew-chew

One-Two-Three….

One-Two-Three….chew-chew:

you’re dead.

For shaky kane,  you better watch your head…

SHE’S COMING . . . HE’S WAITING . . .


IS SHE AVAILABLE?…………………………………………………………………………………Even the Truth is For Salecropped-10689672_732000606836698_9129833884739632966_n-1.jpg

405706_294992087204221_1568855981_n

HE’S WAITING . . .

340428_314648051905291_1879620096_o

461169_345102268859869_704018313_oIS SHE AVAILABLE?  

Chameleon Business Plan May 1 2014_Page_01The New Debut Collection of Poetry, Illustration, Music and Animation

by Igor Goldkind and 20 other Artists461511_335891136447649_1992636895_o

COMING THIS XMAS TO AN AMAZON TAB NEAR YOU

 This Christmas Make Your Gift Poetry.

IS SHE AVAILABLE ?  1601138_732002420169850_8147971876015536004_nEven the Truth is For Sale

Quote

NOTHING TO DO


We are living in a culture entirely hypnotized by the illusion of time, in which the so-called present moment is felt as nothing but an infinitesimal hairline between an all-powerfully causative past and an absorbingly important future.

We have no present.

Our consciousness is almost completely preoccupied with memory and expectation.

mindfulness callifgraphy~ Alan Watts

LIAM SHARP: MAN, GOD or GOAT?


LIAM SHARP: MAN, GOD or GOAT?

I first met Liam Sharp in the editorial offices of 2000AD when he was a young jobbing artist. He had hair back then. He also had a journeyman’s attitude that stood out and distinguished him from the parade of amateur portfolio-ed artists who regularly hung out in the 3 floor reception of Greater London House, in the Camden of early 1990’s North London, where comics were being published.495

(We all worked in the neighborhood that Amy Winehouse grew up, sang and died in.)

Liam made his debut in the late 1980s drawing Judge Dredd for 2000AD, where I was working as the marketing manager in order to promote 2000AD and launch 3 new comics titles onto the newsstand market.   These were the days that a comic like 2000 AD sold 100,000 copies A WEEK. (80% newsstand sales!) I met many of the young guns at the time like Liam who later, established a deservedly high reputation in US comics.     At the time, I had the fortunate vantage point of being a “suit” that actually valued the artistry and narrative of the work being produced for a mass-market audience.

When Liam came to Greater London House, both Richard Burton, the then editor of 200AD and Alan Mackenzie, his deputy would meet him at reception, usher him in and introduce Liam to others and myself. This was, I observed at the time, special treatment I only saw on display for Grant Morrison on his frequent visits and Alan Moore on his less frequent ones.   So I knew that editorially, Liam was a VIP and it was when Richard gloated to me about Liam’s apprenticeship with the British comics industry version of Jack Kirby: Don Lawrence that immediately drew my attention to Liam.

Liam copyWhen I met and had a pint with him, (an essential communications tool in Britain: the pint), I discovered a young, working class man with a gift for art who had won both placement and scholarship in a reputable middle class school; and who had then chosen to askew an equally merited University placement in order to work instead, as an apprentice to Don Lawrence.

Don Lawrence was admittedly considered the finest British comics artist of the time, but still! This was not so much radically different as radically traditional. Liam chose his own path as a student and as an artist.   Regardless, one thing was crystal clear to me: Liam Sharp had balls.Old_Dredd_pin_up_by_LiamSharp

Liam later moved to Marvel UK, where he drew the best-selling Marvel UK title ever, Death’s Head II. Liam then was at the crest of the wave of British artists and writers invading the offices and comic book shelves of the US comics industry with books as diverse as the X-Men, the Hulk, Spider-Man, Venom, Man-Thing (for Marvel Comics), Superman, Batman, and The Possessed (for DC Comics and Wildstorm), Spawn: The Dark Ages (for Todd McFarlane and Image) and Red Sonja for Dynamite comics.

The pre-comics-fame Liam I met was a young, muscular Northerner from Derbyshire with a broader-voweled accent than his southern, countrymen. Liam and his ilk (English people from anywhere north of Birmingham; or as we used to call, the rest of the country) had a different style, a different way about them. More plain spoken, self-modest and more eager to share a laugh, than their southern counterparts, the Northern British seemed to have crossed a border from another country, sitting in the reception area of Greater London House on Euston Road.

It was a different time:

Alan Moore was still talking to people; Neil Gaiman was in perpetual leather-jacketed, Lou Reed mode,  Grant Morrison was shy and Warren Ellis actually seemed scary to me. And everybody seemed to be on the same side: you were either publishing comics or you were writing or drawing (or both) comics.

Hard to describe to comics fans these days. Comics writing, drawing, publishing, selling, collecting has always been about

LiamSharp1 money. But in London, because of it’s New York-density, spread out over the land area of an LA; everything wound up affecting everything else. Comics did become the new rock and roll. Comics’ design and styles infiltrated the print media. Comics characters costumes, the street fashion scene, comics stories (Halo Jones, Watchmen, Judge Dredd) were injecting the music scene and this was 10 year before the comic book movies.

I first met Liam in the wake of what seemed, to all of us at the time, a unique cultural explosion. Comics had infiltrated every corner of popular fashion. Just as in the 60’s, London record companies were overwhelmed by young English songwriters and bands; the office of British comics companies in the at least the first long train journeys from Newcastle, Glasgow, Birmingham and of course Derby hoping for a commission.   It was in the middle of this flurry of excitement, 3 new weekly and monthly comics being launched and work was on offer. It was the comics equivalent of a gold rush.   The impact was also felt in the aesthetic migration of artists from all media to the sequential, to the narrative textures of images.

Painters like Simon Bisley and mixed media artists such as Dave McKean were pushing the envelope on what was considered acceptable art for comics. I remember pages of artwork that were so densely painted or mixed up with objects that the printer could literally not bend the page around the drum needed to shoot the film. Layers of film had to be shot to turn these new, thickly, painted canvasses into comics pages. Experiments were being tried and barriers were being broken.

But 20 odd years later, Liam is still a working artist. More importantly, he has mutated into that essential modern mold, that survivalist camouflage, of entrepreneur. The smart businessman/artist/producer, all artists working in the popular arts, (not just comics), need to be in order to earn a living with their craft.

Liam Sharp is again at the crest of a new wave of artists who understand the entire cycle of creation, production and dissemination of a creative product to a market.

With the founding of Madefire.com in Berkeley, California, in 2011, Liam took his Northern English, working class creative drive to the edge of the medium again. Motion books are moving narratives, in both senses of the term and Liam continues to further his artistry both visually as an artist and producer, but also as a writer in his current ground-breaking Motion Book for Madefire.com “Captain Stone is Missing” written with his wife Christina McCormack.Capt. Stone and the Tyrany of the Ant Women (color)

Liam’s critically acclaimed first novel GOD KILLERS: MACHIVARIUS POINT & OTHER TALES was published in 2008 with a second edition in 2009.

Liam Aliens graphic novella Aliens: Fast Track to Heaven for Dark Horse, which he both wrote and illustrated, has been critically acclaimed.

Liam Sharp is not just a successful artist, producer and now publisher, he uses his expertise and now sizeable experience to not just accumulate money (and rare bourbons), but to generate new work, to create value that engages; which is after all, the duty of an artist, is it not?

If it is an artist’s duty to advance the medium they craft in, then Ladies and Gentleman I present Liam with my imaginary, CGI Medal of Valor beyond the call of duty in the field of creative endeavor.

“For Chrissakes, Liam! Keep your helmet on; that’s live ammo they’re using out there!”

LiamSharp2

Image

I Once Knew A Woman Thrice; in Santa Cruz, Paris and Philadelphia


recently returned some poems I had sent her from far, far ago when we ere young and in lust and barely able to bare the sight or scent of each other without fainting into reverie and floating together; clouds that had long since let go of their rain.

It is a gift to visit ancient ports and distant shores.

Time is as big as the world it passes by.

So it is with words:


mad dog

hiding in the rain.

sharp stone

never show your pain.

some kind of innocence

is nourished in your fears.

you don’t know how much

I’ve tried just to hold you near.

(there is no way out-

-there is no way out).

the poet earns his keep

from reading the pain in others eyes

while his eyes are fountains

of tear drops and shattered sunlight.

Igor Goldkind 1983


You love me, I know with your own hands

For I am faithful to your fingertips.

When you pierce me with your wide-eyed glances,

I am stilled.

The earth grows roots around my calves,

And my body is made of branches.

Your gaze shivers their leaves like an Autumn breeze.

Igor Goldkind  1977



Zen

you are

the vessal

made usefull

by the emptiness

within

Igor Goldkind late 70’s


And then Paris,  1986:

10013981_10152778885237755_3592292321445791211_n

CYNICAL-MARKETING-PLOY


My work in the late 80’sand 90’s in the British publishing industry led to the engineering and successful marketing  of the Graphic Novel genre; a new format of  hardcover and trade paperbacks of graphic fiction that bookstores would stack on their shelves.  It was my job at Titan Books to do so, for which I was paid some £7,500 a year by my employer Nick Landau, to do.

After I was given a raise by Titan Books to £8K per annum , I learnt solely by chance, that my work had increased the revenue for my employer by some 7 figure sums and that the rest of the publishing industry were all cashing in on the work I was doing in promoting 9-5, the new publishing category.   Cashing in, but not adhering to  to the implicit quality standards the likes of Moore, Gaiman, Morrison, Speigelman and other auteurs were actively pursuing.

The Medium, as we used to call it back then, had failed to live up to its own promise.

So I got out; for that and personal reasons.

Now when I read the interviews with my former partners in CYNICAL-MARKETING-PLOY crime in the press complaining that the industry had failed and that the term Graphic Novel  was just a manipulative tool wielded by the Moloch of Comics Publishing932f83ea7108237da3f82c1b8ec82261

(Batman in MOLOCH!  Wonderwoman in MOLOCH!  The Avengers, the Guardians of the Galazy, Superman and the Xmen are all drowning in the vomit of MOLOCH!)   

Which I believe, the premise of the new cross over series written for DC by Grant Morrison.Tree-Man-A-1000x1000

The most admired (and crafted), writer in comics ever, in particular; (someone I worked with closely with on the presentation of his seminal forensic crucification of the American superhero genre to a mainstream audience, refrains from even addressing me by name in print when he lambasts the CYNICAL-MARKETING-PLOY that still pays him a living), has repeatedly condemned the  publishing category Graphci Novel, as  effectively, just another  CYNICAL-MARKETING-PLOY from the publishign industry.

I have news for the revered scribe:  you may have relegated me to the dark side, but take a look in the mirror, man: you’ve been here with me all along.

[Added 9.18 for context], I realise now that the above might be interpreted as some kind of opening volley against the distinguished author.  Far be it.  I will always both  personally  and publically assert that Mr. Moore was the change in comics back in the late 80’s.  No single other artist in the medium at the time was so intelligently treating the medium like a literary and artistic platform for expression.  Most craftsmen (and women), I met at the time were desperaely trying to hustle their next wok commission.  Not Mr. Moore.  His posture was different:  he related to editors, collaborators and others  as an auteur sans pretension.  Intelligent, articulate and demanding of  ones wit and focus.   And from I observed, never intimidated or swayed  by the money or more often, the promise of money from publishers.

Just to make absolutely clear about my statements regarding this author:  I learned everything I know about comics by just listening to him, during interviews, casual conversations and direct discussions.  A the time, this man was a walking sandwich board for the the new comics,  the Graphic Novels, chiefly because it was only his writing (and that of a handful of there), that even came close to qualifyng as a novel or even literature.   I never was nor have ever been a Comics Fan (Senator and members of the committee), but I have always been a fan of literature, drawn or undrawn.    Which is why I cntinue to read, enjoy and learn from Mr. Moore’s work.

Although I do take exception (mildly, not really that seriously), to his most recent public damnations of the Graphic Novel, and it’s origins; it’s not that I object to his opinion as much as I question the accuracy of his recollection of events and of the times that he was actually there.    I don’t take issue either with Mr. Moore’s take on the industry  and publishing in general; in fact the more experience I gain the more my views align with his.

But regardless of the vocabulary used (or the fact that I was being paid a paltry wage at the time), I accomplished my task to his and his collaborator’s direct professional and financial benefit.  Not to mention the real world benefits: the successfull dissemination of the term Graphic Novel into the mainstream brought to literally thousands of other free lances in the form of royalty checks for the graphic novel edition of their work; a  now standard of the comics industry throughout the world.

I do not benefit from the use of the term of from the money generated by its use.

Bird-With-Letter-A1-1000x1000But I do not regret not hiring that CYNICAL-MARKETING-PLOY lawyer that would have secured my trademark on the use of the term and perhaps a penny off of every new Graphic Novel sale; which is what the business side of the industry tells me I shoudl have done.

I did not “create” the term graphic novel; as an outsider to the industry, I found the term on the back of a Will Eisner book and used it as the keystone of a campaign to bring new comics, well written, adventuerously drawn comics.    But yes, I coined the term Graphic Novel; having borrowed it from the back of a low print-run Will Eisner compilation of The Spirit.  His clever NYC publisher was struggling to get Eisner’s work into the bookshops too and had tried the term connotating Literary fiction: a novel.   My use of the term was different as messieurs Gaiman and Moore can both attest to; Grant got it about the same time but more remotely, in Glasgow.  Graphic Novel  was meant to mean  NEW Graphics, new graphic literature, new comics.

Coining, (in the sense of creating common usefulness; IOW: monetizing a vocabulary term into the common currency of language of transactional communication).  It derives from the coining of money by stamping metal with a die. Coins (also variously spelled coynes, coigns, coignes or quoins), were the blank, usually circular, disks from which money was minted. This usage derived from an earlier 14th century meaning of coin, which meant wedge. The wedge-shaped dies which were used to stamp the blanks were called coins and the metal blanks and the subsequent ‘coined’ money took their name from them.

{Coining later began to be associated with inventiveness in language. In the 16th century the ‘coining’ of words and phrases was often referred to. By that time the monetary coinage was often debased or counterfeit and the coining of words was often associated with spurious linguistic inventions; for example, in George Puttenham’s The arte of English poesie, 1589:

“Young schollers not halfe well studied… will seeme to coigne fine wordes out of the Latin.”

Shakespeare, the greatest coiner of them all, also referred to the coining of language in Coriolanus, 1607:

“So shall my Lungs Coine words till their decay.”}coin a phrase

Tree-Man-A-1000x1000

The NEW comics of the late 80’s and early 90’s that derived from Moore’s early work for DC, Spielgelman’s dabbling at biography in NYC, Miller’s pushing the edges out on Dare Devil and most of all (for me), Bill Sienkiewicz’s explosive rendering of ELEKTRA ASSASIN!  I had never seen anyone take the convnetions of comcis illustration like Faugere Egg and take a sledge hammer to it the way Siekiewicz did, literally splattering the edges of the pages and frames with the remnants of comics conventions.  Sienkiewicz brought commercial  art and later fine art sensibilities to Graphic Novels, something his admirer and pioneer in his own right Dave McKean would further in his career just like in a real popular arts medium.

These were the Makers of New Works.  I’ve forgotten everyone:  Brendan McCarthy, Jamie Delano, Pete Milligan, Frank Miller, Joe Sacco, Harvey Peckar, Gilbert and Jamie Hernandez . . . .  they all were making, new different work outside the stulpifying conventions aesthetic conventions.  So like superheros, they need a new name and Guardians of the Galaxy was taken, so instead you got Graphic Novelists.

I resent nothing.

It was my own fault for being more naive and less carnivorous than my employers.

So instead I have to work for a living; for which I have no complaint as at least I have work to do.

I did learn something valuable (whenever someone fails, they  always say that they learnt something valuble),  and that is to sell a product whatever it might be, you have to create a place in people’s minds and desires where they want that product.  The most intimate and subjective of products: the books we read, the music we listen to , the films we watch: you must give people a reason for looking an understanding for what they may see.

That is why a coded term like Graphic Novel works; it’s a cut through, short cut signifier that puts anyone who wants to know or needs to know in the picture immediately: you know what you know and now you know what it is.

In the case of Poetry, we have a different problem.

Everyone knows what  Poetry is, right ? It’s that stuff you had to memorize in school and  analyze with Mrs. Humphries who always crossed the naughty words out like ‘sweat’ and ‘blood’ and ‘toil’ with a thick, black, fascist marker pen.38_image_v2

Or it’s what you penned to your wife when you were courting her; or received form your husband, your boyfriend, you lover.  Anyone one of those people in your life who felt such passion, such ardour for you that they could not tell you, they had to find words from some magic place to convince you, to persuade you, to seduce you into the beauty of the passion they could see in you.

Perhaps a Poem was the only form your shattered thoughts could take at the loss of someone so precious to you that you would choose the pian of being hewn by swords than endure the truth of their permanent absence from this world.

Perhaps you have nearly gone mad and found Poems, like steps out of the abyss of self-loathing into the stark light of realisation and hope for your self.

There is no greater hope to lose than the Hope for Yourself.

So Poetry has a signifier, a pretty universal one; unfortunately it doesn’t point towards anything like what Poetry actually is.

Poetry is an art form, not a craft.

Poetry an aspiration to derive music and pattern from our deepest thoughts, the language of our dreams and the whispering, the lamenting, the singing, the moaning and the laughter of our souls.

Poetry is Liberation.  The words will set you free.

I am a Poet and to sell my ware  (my GRAPHIC POEMS ;~),   I must show people what it is that I do, that others do that is so far removed from the common currency of the term Poetry.   So this is not only a CYNICAL-MARKETING-PLOY, but a sinister sales strategy as well!   To get you to read my words, I must first who you what they are ouside the barriers of  your preconceptions.

So, come to a picnic and hear what Poetry is and the vital importance it has always played in our social and political lives.

*Poster for Marathon Rimbaud-100-THOUSAND-POETS-4-CHANGE-by-Henrik-Aeshna

September 27th, 1 pm Balboa Park, World Beat Centre/ El Centro Cultural de la Raza

Come One and All, Come All in One, Come to the 100,000 Poets-for-Change Marathon!  (Picnic & Reading)

79-penseefasciste-mauriziocattelan-fotopedia

It’s your duty ;~)

Our Lady





You are our lady
And now your dress
Is flames.
The beauty of your sunken dome from a drone
Is a poem in itself.
Written by us and
Destroyed by chaos.

This is what we do that rivals the stature of the gods:
To astound ourselves and each other,
With the wonder of
Pure enduring creation.
The sacrifice we all make to our better selves
Who gave buildings wings and
Lay the foundation stones of
Our own perfecting.

Epiphany is not found in the act of worship
It is found in the insight gained by a gratitude for the world.
Exactly the way we built it.
Exactly the way we know it to be.
Whispered prayers are but poetry
That none other than you will listen to.
It is good to talk to yourself,
To sing in harmony with all the selves who are listening,

Wearing
Not false, but true masks
Revealing the kind of truth that can only be told with a lie.
The subtler architecture that carves heavens into the spaces on this earth.
Reconstructing what can be seen behind your faces,
Behind all the saints who guard you,
Behind the divine grace of your stature.
The sensuousness of your catastrophe is breathtaking.


© Igor Goldkind 2019

Notes from a Facebook Exile


Once again the ghostly powers of Facebook have judged me and found me wanting.

Or wanting of the veneer of non threatening, amiable posts. Nothing that would offend a Humming Bird of nerve endings. A Calvinist shaking in their boots. I’m not a Facebook post, you don’t have to like me!

My grave offence was to post a photograph of the great American poet Allen Ginsberg standing naked on a Moroccan beach. The original naked poet; metaphor and literal combined into one. His words, not his images were deemed obscene way back in the last century. There was a public trial and unlike Socrates, Ginsberg (and City Lights, the publisher) were both found not guilty of obscenity. Howl was deemed a work of art and protected under the first amendment. Why doesn’t Facebook abide by the first amendment instead of hiding like a coward behind their Emerald City curtain of Community Standards?

And why don’t Americans know their own history?

I had the opportunity to meet and talk with Allen Ginsberg during my Freshman year, when he had come to do a reading and lead a group meditation paying his dreadful table accordion. Was I 17 or 18? I was studying Heidegger and Charles Olsen, the Action Poet; Kandinsky’s New York roommate right round 1959 thereabouts, when the photo of Ginsberg on the Beach was taken. But I knew all of his work, inside and out. I was never gay but Ginsberg made me want to be!

I had stopped Allen in an outdoor corridor lined by lawn between two campus buildings. I was armed with my copy of the first edition City Lights Kaddish epic that I had found by blissful chance in the long gone used intelligentia bookstore at the corner of College and El Cajon Blvd, in San Diego, over a lifetime ago.

Allen looked at my book and gladly signed it. “I haven’t seen a first edition of these in years!” I told Allen about the used book store in San Diego where I had gone through all of his poetry and Kerouac and Cassidy’s First Third and Dylan’s Tarantula, Alan Watts, D.T. Suzuki’s 3 volume Essays on Zen, all bought and consumed at this temple to beatitude at the cross roads of the world. I didn’t tell him how in high school we used to climb to the top of Cowell Mountain and howl the words to Howl at the valley unfolding beneath us. We didn’t know what hungry junkies were quite yet, but it sounded good and it was real. As real as the suburbs of San Diego can ever be.

In the past present, Allen handed me my book, more of a pamphlet, back and looked me up and down and smiled. It was a genuine smile and not the least bit lecherous considering what he said next.
“Would you like to come up to my room, it’s just over graduate housing? I can show you some poem books you haven’t seen. I knew what he meant but I was so stunned dumb by the proposition (Allen Ginsberg!). I stuttered something still trying to make up my mind before I spoke. But alas, fear of the unknown vanquished my curiousity or perhaps it was my vanity to be loved by a star that was defeated.

Nonetheless I must of said something because we went on our merry ways, my thanking him a little too profusely and the back of his bald head bobbing down the corridor.

So when I posted the photo a young Allen standing nude on a Morrocan beach, I kind of felt like I had earned the right to share his image, naked and vulnerable for the sake of a poetry reading which it was more than certain that someone would recite a Ginsberg-eque poem.

The Philistines may have conquered the machines but not me as of yet.

Allen Ginsberg 1959
The Eye Has It

Confetti






There’s an emptiness at the heart of any space:
The air that escapes a room; an unanswered echo, a vacant womb.
There’s an emptiness in my heart
That reminds me 
All of my ideas are empty.
Floating leaves from a fumbled folder.
Coloured streams falling from the sky.

This emptiness reminds me
How slight my desires really are 
How gently they fall from the sky 
A confetti of mercy and discarded emotions,
They are in the end, 
Compared to nothing, 
Merely the litter from an emptied mind.



Let Your Mind Run Free!


 

 

 

Let You Mind Run Free


If you love your mind just let it go.
If you lose your mind, don’t worry.
It will find you again, eventually.
Trekking across the tundra,
Scaling the icy ridges
Crossing a vale of tears.

At midnight in the Dead of the Night.
Just to get back home to you.
Merely moonlight pausing to reflect upon still waters
No need to be concerned.
In future, make sure your back gate latch is secure
Before letting your mind run free.

Let Your Mind Run Free II

If you love your mind just let it go.
If you lose your mind, don’t worry.
It will find you again, eventually.
Trekking across the tundra; scaling the icy ridges
Crossing a vale of tears.

At midnight in the Dead of the Night.
Your mind will tap you on the shoulder
You’ll jump
And your mind will say ‘Well, here you are’!
Sitting alone in the last place I looked.

While I am
Merely moonlight pausing to reflect upon still waters.
There’s no need to be concerned.
Next time, just make sure your back gate is securely latched
Before you let your mind run free.

One Without the Other


 

 

Life and death are dark and light.
Like black and white,
You need one to see the other.
For without the other, 
You will never see the one.

Being is Becoming Still


Image © Wendy Farrow

Existence is a limitless screen of emptiness
Vibrant with jubilant celebrations.
And gratitude for the joy in rolling a boulder blissfully up this steep hill.
Tripping over our own thoughts like loosened cobblestones,
We no longer see the reality directly in front of us.

The truth is a truce we struck with certainty ages ago.
After losing the desperate struggle…
To cling to some kind of hope buried deep beneath the root of ourselves.
I am fearful of fully failing myself and yet
I love myself best when I am alone with eternity.

This is What Happens After You Die


Down This Drain into Another One

This is What Happens After You Die

I’m still choking on my own blood.
As it slowly fills my lungs.
I am drowning inside myself
The blood is mine; 
the air is gone,
Now so am I.

After death, there’s nothing more than that same familiar empty space
waiting for your thoughts to refill it
Infinite & Eternal
in every direction;.
both up and down and beyond before.
encircled by the horizon.

This emptiness where your awareness doesn’t so much ‘go’ 
as recollect that it’s always been here.
Look through this persisting dream!
there is no afterlife because nothing, 
not even memory, is really destroyed.
just transformed.

Into particles
into wavicles 
into higher frequencies,
your mind no longer fathoms.
so you leave it,
your mind, behind.

Crystal
liquid,
gas,
plasma.
aware is the fifth state of matter.

Higher Frequencies

I Want To Be Just Like Socrates



Ever since I returned from England, and discovered to my consternation, that no real path to a teaching career was open to me without a specifically California teaching credential, I’ve been looking for fulfilment outside of a cubicle inside a cubicle, inside another cubicle…you get the picture.

This in spite of my teaching for some years at the University of Liverpool at a full professor’s salary and the Oxford University Internet Institute at a considerably less salary. As well as guest lecturing at St. Martin’s School of Design, the London School of Printing and the University of Lincolnshire’s graduate program),
As I have not the means to afford to both pay and live for a year’s teaching credential (nor necessarily would agree with the manner and criterion by which that credential is achieved), I have made a point of teaching any and everyone who wants to learn and will bother to listen.

Education should not only be free to those that cannot afford it, but it should flow freely from those that have it to anyone who wants it. Teaching is not a skill, it’s a disposition. It’s an interactive sport. Not all great achievers in the arts or the sciences have that disposition.
Teaching in the Starbucks forum is my revenge on what has become since I departed the US in the early 1980s, the Business of Education. The California educational system has become a money making scam by institutions colluding with banks to profit off of student debt.

A Scholarly education is no longer relevant or desirable; it’s about acquiring credentials which of course must be purchased more readily than earnt. Thinking originally or independently of a hiring institution poses a threat to that very institution. Thinking differently might bring about change and the risk of losing power over others.

Of course, there are many exceptions, I have friends from high school and college who are to this day conscientious, curiosity-driven teachers, researchers and college professors. In that sentence distinguishing between the teacher and professor, I expose my level of submission to status and accreditation. Neither of which has anything to do with the scholarly pursuit of knowledge in order to cultivate wisdom.

The sure sign of a good teacher is not their credential, status or the number of degrees, but if they are focussed enough on continuously learning and re-learning their subject through their students and the actual experience of teaching.
Teachers and professors who are in education for the status become administrators and bureaucrats, ironically adding to the very obstacles teaching teachers must surmount just to do their job and teach their subject.

Teaching is not a job like selling insurance to the elderly who are too confused to know they are signing their life savings away; teaching is a vocation. It takes endless study and self-scrutiny. It takes listening to and learning from students outside of the educational caste system.

So since the institutions won’t accept me without taking the prerequisite bank loan so as to accumulate debt and pay interest to the banks, Starbucks and the streetcorner are my classrooms. The park, the beach, a dive bar, a brewery, an art gallery, the library and yes, even the streets where the public and members of every class are allowed to circulate freely without being hassled by the authorities.

Everywhere I go I strike up conversations with the people around me. (No, not everyone. I’m not a public nuisance.!) Instead, I stay in one place until the carousel of human activity aligns someone into non-threatening social proximity. Even then, I am cautious, seductive. I really don’t want to disturb anyone, just engage them.

The old and the young are the best. The old because most people ignore them as they have nothing to offer the perpetually youthful society. The young because they are not yet quite jaded and curious as to why someone twice or nearly sometimes nearly thrice their age would want to talk to them. I treat most people the same and people younger than me find that attractive. I don’t condescend, rather I enquire. I ask a lot of questions and most people do like to talk about themselves.

The characters I have written and are currently writing all stem from what I am able to capture in the wilds of a Starbucks or a sidewalk street corner. And then I teach. I teach people how to think. Not by telling them how to or what to think but by taking their trains of thought and passing them through my station and asking a lot of questions.

Some folk disembark and stroll around my lack of conformity. They breathe the rare air of freedom as there is nothing that I prohibit them from doing or saying; unless of course, it causes harm. My lack of inhibition is contagious and people tell me things, particularly the elderly that they would never tell a stranger, although I am one. Those that linger become my friends over time.
Others just can back on board their train and depart my station.

We don’t always agree but we do respect each other which grants another kind of freedom. The freedom to be yourself a reprieve from having to perform your self for the estimated sake of others.
A psychiatrist once asked me if I considered myself a nonconformist. I assured her that I wasn’t, that I was normal it seemed to be everyone else that was a little off centre. Besides, I continued, I am always trying to conform. Not to convention or others but to myself.

I struggle to conform to the person I strive to be.

The Tyranny of Social Media Mediocrity


 

After my 3-day exile from FB as sophomoric punishment for posting one among several of the spreads from my book IS SHE AVAILABLE? featuring one of Rian Hughes’s bare breasts (ok, not exactly HIS breast but nonetheless his photograph!), I am revitalised and ready to re-enter the morally ambiguous, inconsistent fray of FB’s so-called Community Standards barred cells.

By these very standards, Facebook prefers a world where women have no nipples, only dead artists are permitted to display the human body, Nazis trump radical socialists in free speech and if anyone whines and complains loudly and long enough to the invisible authorities that hide behind our screens (and Mark’s logo), they can elicit erratic judgements on the part of our social wardens. Not social workers, social wardens!

Well, I’m not putting up with it.
Reality is too precious to be mediocratized to the lowest level of education, much less lowest common synaptic denominator.

I do get it. Children use Facebook and we can’t be exposing our children to naked nipples! They might just recall sucking on one and then where would we be? I’ll tell you: outside the confines of a gated morality where scary, unpredictable things might occur! My god, what if I were to get an erection! Is there a Community Standards Forum where I can ask what am I to do with it?

After all, Facebook lays claim not just to the moral high ground, but the moral low ground and the in-between ground as well. They act on behalf of Community Standards. Not my community, that’s for sure. My community has nipples, menstrual cycles, flatulence and those troublesome erections. Not to mention madness, depression and hallucinatory revelation. Ok, I admit I hang with a strange crowd. But need I mention that they poop and pee sometimes more than once a day? Oh, the moral horror, the humanity, the humanity, the lack of humanity!

You wouldn’t know it from following Community Standards, that’s for sure. Tell me, oh great Facebook, am I allowed to bleed? For you have cut me. Cut me off from Messaging some of my friends about politics and rendezvous, not nipples. Nipples is one of those words that if you say it enough times really fast, it loses all meaning. Try it. Just don’t post it on Facebook.

Please share with your fellow users, poopers and nipple owners. WE are the Community, not Facebook’s false authority. After all, algorithms don’t live in communities, they just exist everywhere else they can shape and conform our computational reality, far away in the bowels of the flashing lights and annoying pings. Far removed from human judgement, common sense and of course human Freedom.

The machines don’t need to take over, we’ve already surrendered and their flesh-eating servants are holding their napkins for them.Edit or delete this

 

No photo description available.

Second Hand Years


Haven’t you noticed???
I’ve been pulling my hair out not knowing who to call.

They’ve suckered us in with another used year!
Sure, it’d been refurbished and looks a lot like a new year,
but don’t be fooled,
This is a counterfeit year being passed off as a real one.

Sure, the surface looks sharp but its purely cosmetic.
It won’t load the latest OS
Its warranty has long lapsed.
And its connectors are outdated.

Don’t be fooled by fake years.
You’ll forget the real ones.
Do something! Call somebody!
Don’t just sit there lamenting.

Demand refunds and store credits!
Stomp your feet and threaten court actions.
But whatever you do, don’t be fooled by second-hand years
When what you really need is a new one.

I’m a Good Catch



I can see the thin edge where your tire hits the road.
I can see the stone you threw
Skip halfway across the worldIgor Goldkind
The one that just escaped your fingertips.
I can hear your ears listen to the wind.
I can see your eyes greeting the world.

I can see your intent give rise to consequence.
I can see this in you because I can see this in me.
You are the sender as well as what you send.
I am just reflection, an open-palmed receiver of gifts.
But I’m a good catch.
I can catch a falling girl, faster than a star.


Suicide Note:





There are still a few options available to you still, apart from death.
Yours is a free choice.
Your death is yours.
No one is making you choose;
Death is after all, inevitable.

Not so much an option as fast forwarding to the point where there are no further options.
Living is dying anyway, so why speed up the process?
To stop the pain?
Many have endured much more
Still clinging to any delay of the inevitable.

Regardless, suicide doesn’t stop the pain it merely passes the suffering on to someone else.
Remember them?
They remember you.
They will remember you with pain.

You no longer feel of worth or of value anymore?
To whom, exactly? yourself?
Perhaps your judgement is drunk or wanting in discernment?
Perhaps your judgement is just wrong and awaits over-ruling by a higher judgement.
Who are you, really, to judge yourself so severely?
If you are worthless then your judgement is suspect and certainly not worth acting upon.

What if you went and saw a movie instead?
Or got drunk?
Or went to sleep?
Or made love until the dawn found another, better judgement to wake up to.
A truer, more temperate version of yourself.
One who can solve problems and get you out of the sweet jam you’re stuck in.

Do you long to die because life is absurd and void of meaning?
What took you so long to notice?
Does your slowness make you want to do things quicker?
Instead of death, you could seek laughter, which is really a form of dying;
A release from the known into the unknown by way of
Catching your breath inside its own rhythm.
Inwards and outwards.

What if you were about to hear a joke you’ve never heard before?
That made you laugh so hard that it woke you up into the wide-eyed, open world that embraces this one?
If you die now, you will miss hearing the eternal joke
That would awaken you to a world where you no longer wanted to die
Because you suddenly found yourself here,
Where you belong
Where you belonged all along,
Not living or dying
But blinking and breathing like this,
Like this, like this, like this…

©Igor Goldkind 2018

Nobody Talks to Me Anymore


 

Today was every other day.
My boss says,
“Hey, Joe, where you going with that staple gun in your hand?”
I draw a blank on my face and turn to face his.
“You don’t really know, do you, Joe?
You don’t know where you’re going.
You don’t really know who you are.
You don’t know much of anything anymore,
Do you now, Joe?”

Then he laughs at me
In front of everybody
He laughs and points at
What everybody but me can see.
And everybody laughs and they laugh and they laugh
But nobody talks to me anymore.

My boss don’t talk to me anymore.
My neighbors don’t talk to me anymore.
My doctor don’t talk to me anymore.
My mother don’t talk to me anymore.
My father don’t talk to me because
He’s long since gone
Flown far away from the words to this song.

I call my girlfriend up on the telephone
She says, “Joe, I’m not your girlfriend anymore”
And hangs up the phone.
Nobody talks to me anymore.

I call my doctor on the telephone
He says, “hello, is there anybody there”?
I say, “it’s me, Joe, doctor help me, nobody talks to me anymore!”
My doctor coughs and hangs up the phone.
Nobody talks to me anymore.

I call on my priest in the church down the road
I say “Hello, Father? my Father, is that really you?”
“Please tell me, dear Father, what should I do?”
My priest says “Joe, God don’t love you anymore”
And throws me out through God’s front door.
Even God don’t talk to me anymore.

So, I go down to a bar to have a little swim.
There’s a bar stool there where the X-mas tree should have been.
The bartender looks at me,
But he doesn’t say a word.
I hold up two fingers and point at the sky
So he pours me a double, ten-year-old rye.

Which I toss down and motion for another
While calling him “my brother”.
The bartender stares at my face.
As silent as the stones in his wall.
Nobody talks to me anymore.

On the street, the headlights blind my blinking eyes.
Strangers push past me, some I know, most I despise.
A cop car pulls up and flashes his bright light on me
The cop points his flashlight in my eyes so that I can’t see.
There’s nothing he or I need to say.
He won’t arrest me.
It just ain’t worth his time to talk to me anymore.

A ghost walks up and stares into my face.
He doesn’t say a word; just hangs there in space
Instead, he spins ribbons of colored lights
Inside my head.
There’s no knowing with ghosts no more
The dead don’t even talk to me anymore, either!

Suddenly I see an explosion of lights
There are trumpets and harps and angels in sight
A liquor store, a neon vision of light
Promises me spirits of salvation and delight
If I just step inside….
While next door, a gun store slowly cracks open its door . . .

I am my father and my mother’s son and
I’ve never before bought me a gun.
But nobody, nobody talks to me anymore.

©Igor Goldkind 2018

5 Submissions of My Latest Work


 

 

Life is Always Replaceable46fc84fcf9e45dafffb0ea2b92376a36

You might have lost something or broke something
You know you can always look for it or fix it or get yourself a new one
That doesn’t crunch her popcorn in bed.
And shoots farther & quicker than you ever thought possible for a bullet from a gun.
You know, what isn’t replaceable or even predictable is this Stream of events pushing past us
Like panicking strangers in a crowd
Or even worse, engulfing us, trampling over us, nearly drowning us,
Pushing us back from whence we came.
Then leaving us choking for breath on the shore.

Being is Becoming Still220px-Oresme_Spheres_crop

Existence is a limitless screen of emptiness,

Ecstatic contemplation
And gratitude for the joy in rolling a boulder blissfully up a steep hill
Tripping over our thoughts like loosened cobblestones,
The truth is a truce we have struck with uncertainty.
After losing the desperate struggle
To cling to some kind of hope buried at the root of our own awareness.
I am fearful of fully failing myself
Although I love myself best when I am alone with eternity.
I am safest and most secure in this clarity I call awareness.
 

Insomniac Awarenessimages-10

We who are hiding in our second bedrooms,
Licking the silver from the backs of our screens,
Are living in a different time zone
Of Insomniac Awareness.
Sometimes two, sometimes three, sometimes four or more
Lives are lived and lost each night.
In our rooms, by ourselves
Sitting precariously at the edge of our beds.
This is our legacy
The lasting perpetuity of our sensory species:
The glow that contests the light that once shone from our eyes,
Right up to the surface of our understanding.
What is not yet known.
Or what was known and long since forgotten.
Dances across the screen you stare into.
Tripping over your coded memories; in Real Time.
Who are you reading this?
Do you know
What perturbs your sleep-walk into the night?
Or are you merely waiting for the screen to pull you through?
Into your own quiet world,
Where things that count never change.
And no one is dreaming you, but your mother
Who has left you now for another child.

 

The Last Halo of Hope.IMG_4798

Hope is mortal, not eternal.
Though it may feel like eternity
Sitting in a chair by the window.
Gazing up and down the path that leads
Up the hill and down to the canyon on your doorstep.
Every morning, every evening, every day.
Awaiting an answer to your prayer for your hope to be restored.
Resilience rewarded
Patience still burning brightly
Under your old photograph on the wall where you live now.
I’m not sad.
No, sadness is just a passing rain to irrigate the eyes.
Instead, I’m a new planet
Ringed by the last halo of hope
Wrapped tightly around my head.

 

Pebblesstone-soup-blog1

Thoughts are merely pebbles
Being gently washed by a passing stream.
You are the stream.
Thoughts are merely pebbles on a beach
Being gently rounded by crashing waves.
You are the waves.
Thoughts are merely pebbles in the sand.
Being gently worn away by the passing wind.
You are the wind
My words escape on.
Words are merely thoughts
Being gently read by a passing eye.
Yours are the eyes
That can read my thoughts.

Meditations on My Self


 

This morning after sitting around and paying attention to nothing for a long while, the pedestrian thought that loitered and would not keep moving down the sidewalk became a realisation.

My self, which I know is an illusion, a trick of perception, occupies too much of my time. I know this fully with my mind even if my heart still clings to safe delusions.42264995_10156899714172755_3271701164613173248_n

The easiest thoughts to dismiss are the good ones, the comforting ones. The memories of past loves long gone. My mother’s unconditional love, my sister’s devoted, admiring love. The eulogies and compliments I’ve received over time from those who have borne the patience to get to know me just a little bit beyond our facades.

The pleasure I took in surprising my friends with my true nature is easily exiled, easily erased from the Book of Illusion resting on my dusty shelf. But today I awakened to the fact that so it is of the slings and arrows my memory flings at me. The regrets, the failures, the self-loathing for being so much less than I imagine myself to be.

I have welcomed hatred like a long lost friend. When I am targeted by malice or false accusations, I somewhere believe that I am well deserving of acrimony; that deep within me is a broken porcelain doll wearing a torn, stained dress.                42280406_10156899719217755_8873110727947190272_n I have sought refuge in self-hatred, in depression, in the idle futility of it all.

After all, cynicism is just another mask worn by our own complacency.

This morning, the light shone on me and I laughed at how insidious my vanity  could be. To soak in self-loathing is as deluded as celebrating false glories. None of my past is real apart from what I insist on carrying into this present like a troublesome burden; weighing down my footsteps. Stalling the will to keep on moving,  with the current, a little further down the road. Misery, the sister of Narcissus, loves company and the good liquor I buy her. But she’s too needy and crazy and no real friend of mind.

I may feel brave wrestling with my demons but they are in truth, made of the same scattered dust as my angels.

My Buddha tells me that enlightenment lies in the transcendence of seeming dualities. The trick of mind in seeing beyond black and white  to the full spectrum and subtleties of the colors surrounding me.  I can hold my inner sense of self, both magnanimous and self-damning, one in each hand and then bring those hands together, accepting both as one simultaneous truth.
I can know myself completely, even the parts left out.

Rumi says that beyond right and wrong, beyond good and evil, lies the desert of disillusionment.

At the end of the desert there is an oasis and in the middle of the oasis is a fountain and that fountain is the source of all Life.

Do me a favour, next time you feel down about yourself, undeserving of love, miserable and useless; do not blow the feelings away but rather hold them in one hand.  Then with the other hand conjure the feelings of pride, of self-worth of glorious love. Hold each sense of yourself like a ball in each of your hands while substituting either/or with both/and.   Now bring your hands together in gratitude for the whole of who you are.

Tell me how that feels.

Write it here, just beneath these words.

The Halo of a Hope


 

moon-halo-Aaron-Robinson-1-30-2015-e1422620675286

Hope is mortal, not eternal.
Though it may feel like eternity
Sitting in a chair by the window.
Gazing up and down the path that leads
Up the hill and down to the canyon on your doorstep.

Every morning, every evening, every day.
Waiting for an answer to your prayer for hope to be restored.
Resilience rewarded
Patience still burning brightly
Under your old photograph on the wall where you live now.

I’m not sad.
No, sadness is just passing rain to irrigate the eyes.
Instead, I’m a new planet
Ringed  by the last halo of hope
The one wrapped tightly around my head.

 

IMG_4798.JPG

 

 

 

 

 

 

Being Banned From Facebook for No Bloody Good Reason: The Moral Failings of a Computational Society.


I write this mainly for my regular readers who may be concerned about my apparent absence from FB.   I’ve always used FB as a fencing ground and now I’ve been fenced out, temporarily, for 3 days.

My account has been public for the last 5 years because I always fully intended to provoke,  and attract engagement particularly from those that find offence or challenge here or just take exception to my posts.

But mainly, I use this platform to hone my writing skills in real time.

It’s a form of art activism, Artivism.

Bringing the origins of my work; the emotions, the outrages, the political anger and the moral dismay I feel directly to confront on their walls, in their replies and in their faces, those who are morally failing.

Who do I mean are morally failing?

Well, anyone who still says they support the treasonous weasel in the White House, is a start.  But more generally Americans who should be more French than they’re English but unfortunately share more with the English propensity for worshipping dogs and traumatising their children.

The present generation of “youf”; be they white, black, Chicano, Native, Vietnamese, Gay, Chinese, Transitioning, Korean, Japanese, Indian, African, Middle Eastern (and every combination of the above), have more in common with each other than they will ever have with any of their previous generations.

Revolution needn’t be violent they just need to turn things around.

But to the point in question, I have not been in touch because I have been barred from both Facebook and Messenger for not following community guidelines, poor dears.  Except that I am as much a part of that community as anyone. Not of an algorithm that flags random posts to FB ‘s appointed moral custodians.

My crime against the community?

Reposting the profile photo of a woman’s breast dripping with red wine into a crystal goblet.  In fact, her nipple is obscured as it is drenched in wine.

You can see it for yourself here below.

What is the algorithm’s crime?  Well nothing, it just follows and acts on long lists of tedious commands; executed in the blink of time

No mind, I’ve been a naughty, naughty boy and my shrilling mother will not allow me to save the human race from amnesia.

I can’t stop the algorithm from making a moral judgement that supersedes mine, or any human’s.  I can’t have a quick word with the algorithm or anyone at FB to teach them what a juxtaposition of symbols that create an allusion to the truth.

Such as the sweet wine depicted being the mirror of the sweet mother’s milk as is symbolically conveyed by the nude breast.  You cannot make that visual allusion with a bra.

It doesn’t work.

The breast must appear as nude as it is to the baby that seeks its nourishment.  Sweet breast milk, sweet primal nourishment, sweet wine that I sip in the middle of my night to remind myself that I was once a child, protected and loved by my mother.

As were you.

Algorithms have no mothers.  And those who are the masters of those algorithms long ago put their mothers out of their eye’s way, in homes.

Please Share,
Everything.

In vino veritas.

In vino veritas.

Pebbles


 

 

Pebbles

Thoughts are merely pebbles
Being gently washed by a passing stream.

You are the stream.

Beach Pebbles

Thoughts are merely beach pebbles
Being gently rounded by passing waves.

IMG_3163

Pebbles

You are the waves.

Sand Pebbles

Thoughts are merely pebbles in the sand.
Being gently worn by the passing wind.

You are the wind.

Words are pebbles.

Words are merely thoughts
Being gently read by a passing eye.

You are the eyes

That can read my thoughts.

Soul1

Thoughts

Being is Becoming Still


human_soul_by_lumixdmc850-d48ee36

 

 

Existence is a limitless screen of emptiness,
Jubilant celebration
And gratitude for the joyous exhaustion in the rolling of a boulder up a steep hill.
Tripping over our thoughts like loosened cobblestones,
The truth is a truce we struck with uncertainty ages ago.

After losing our desperate struggle…
To cling to some kind of hope buried deep at the root of our own awareness
I am fearful of fully failing myself.
But I love myself best when I am alone with eternity.
Secure and supported by this very clarity.

Andrew-Ostrovsky_George-Redhawk_GIF

My Alley Cat


This is the latest, better version.
Can anyone else feel the submerged story emerging?
This is really a very sad and lonely story if you can feel it inside you.

Igor

Tales of Sedition and SUBVERSION

My Alley Cat

I didn’t get her name.
It was a hot and wet Saturday night;
So I left the screen door wide open
Hoping for a change in the weather.

37871328_10156753268077755_5708384850646401024_o.jpg

She strolled in like the queen of Sheeba riding a breeze.
Her inspection was on schedule.
She allowed me to imagine that it was my company she was after.
Earnestly engaging my eyes with her face.

Which she put close to mine and stared into my eyes.
As if she were the only soul left on earth who still loved me.
All the while she scanned the kitchen floor out of the corner of her feline eye,
I became fascinated by her calm, steady gaze.

Once having assessed my meagre, modest, means
She walked straight back out the door she had walked through.
And out of my life again.
Leaving me to gaze at the space she had deliberately…

View original post 2 more words

My Alley Cat


My Alley Cat

I didn’t get her name.
It was a hot and wet Saturday night;
So I left the screen door wide open
Hoping for a change in the weather.

37871328_10156753268077755_5708384850646401024_o.jpg

She strolled in like the queen of Sheeba riding a breeze.
Her inspection was on schedule.
She allowed me to imagine that it was my company she was after.
Earnestly engaging my eyes with her face.

Which she put close to mine and stared into my eyes.
As if she were the only soul left on earth who still loved me.
All the while she scanned the kitchen floor out of the corner of her feline eye,
I became fascinated by her calm, steady gaze.

Once having assessed my meagre, modest, means
She walked straight back out the door she had walked through.
And out of my life again.
Leaving me to gaze at the space she had deliberately left behind.

 

Being is Becoming Still


 

 

Soul1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Existence is a limitless screen of emptiness,

Joyous celebration,

And gratitude for the joy in rolling a boulder blissfully up a steep hill

Tripping over our thoughts like loosened cobblestones

The truth is a truce we have struck with certainty.

After losing the desperate struggle…

images

To cling to some kind of hope buried at the root of ourselves

Does choice invalidate certainty?

By undermining the sense, the unravelling of our story.

I am fearful of fully failing myself.

Although I love myself best when I am alone with eternity,

basicconceptsSecure and supported by this universal clarity.

Blue Notes




 
imagesDepression is merely an afterthought.

A reflection on deeds that cannot be undone
But our thinking is cut off from the action.
A circuit is broken in a chain that cannot be rejoined.
images-2We are slaves to our memories
Being tortured in real (not imagined), time.
We recall everything from our own anxious center of risk

Hiding the moment we know to be true;
From ourselves, yet again.
images-1

Your Soul


 

 

So who is this Soul that you sing of?Andrew-Ostrovsky_George-Redhawk_GIF

This silent witness

Who counts the leaves off  of trees

 

Instead of gathering them?

And raking them into a funerary pile,

Into the giant pile that your better self will fall from,

 

Or jump into.

Up to your eyeballs,

Up to your own private crown of thorns.human_soul_by_lumixdmc850-d48ee36

Image

A Short History of Poetry Therapy: Practice and Perfection by Igor Goldkind


On FaceBook, a discussion where questions are posed and answered:  https://www.facebook.com/realpoetrytherapy/

The healing effect of words has long been recognized. As far back as 4000 BCE, early Egyptians wrote words on papyrus, dissolve them in liquid, and gave them to those who were ill as a form of medicine. In more recent history, reading and expressive writing have been employed as supplementary treatments for those experiencing mental or emotional distress. Pennsylvania Hospital, the first hospital established in the United States, employed this approach as early as the mid-1700s. 565263b60c258b2297259258628f7262

In the early 1800s, Dr. Benjamin Rush introduced poetry as a form of therapy to those being treated. In 1928, poet and pharmacist Eli Griefer began offering poems to people filling prescriptions and eventually started “poem-therapy” groups at two different hospitals with the support of psychiatrists Dr. Jack L. Leedy and Dr. Sam Spector. After Griefer’s death, Leedy and others continued to incorporate poetry into the therapeutic group process, eventually coming together to form the Association for Poetry Therapy (APT) in 1969.

Librarians also played a major role in the development of this approach to therapy. Arleen Hynes, one pioneer in this area, was a hospital librarian who began reading stories and poems aloud, facilitating discussions on the material and its relevance to each individual in order to better reach out to those being treated and encourage healing.  In 1980, all leaders in the field were invited to a meeting to formalize guidelines for training and certification. At that meeting, logo-with-pegasus-and-sloganthe National Association for Poetry Therapy (NAPT) was established.

As interest grew, several books and articles were written to guide practitioners in the practice of poetry therapy. Hynes and Mary Hynes-Berry co-authored the 1986 publication Bibliotherapy – The Interactive Process: A Handbook. More recently, Nicholas Mazza outlined a model for effective poetry therapy, also discussing its clinical application, in Poetry Therapy: Theory and Practice.

The Journal of Poetry Therapy, established in 1987 by the NAPT, remains the most comprehensive source of information on current theory, practice, and research.skeleton_hand

There is also a relationship between psychological healing and incantations; either repeated as a musical chant by the patient or in fact recited by the attending medicine man. Modern medicine and science of course scoff at the notion of magical incantations having healing or restorative powers as so much superstition. But this, of course, begs the question that if recitations and incantations had no evidential resort and no beneficial property then why would every single human culture have adopted the method and repeated it for several thousand years? Surely if there was nothing to vibrating air with the sound of one’s breath as well as the added stimulation of associative meaning being read cognitively by the patient’s mind; we would have given it and its sisters, singing and chanting aeons ago.

I am 30123926_10215993633815156_874551244336406748_nnot advocating a supernatural or spiritual causation for the effectiveness of poetry as a healing agent but rather the supra-natural mystical cause which is grounded first in human nature and behavior for which can be a myriad of imprecise explanations; none of which explain why it works.

Today, poetry therapy is practised internationally by hundreds of professionals, including poets, psychologists, psychiatrists, counsellors, social workers, educators and librarians. The approach has been used successfully in a number of settings—schools, community centers, libraries, hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and correctional institutions, to name a few.

How Does Poetry Therapy Work?

As part of therapy, some people may wish to explore feelings and memories buried in the subconscious and identify how they may relate to current life circumstances.    Poetry is beneficial to this process as it can often be used as a vehicle for the expression of emotions that might otherwise be difficult to express

•Promote self-reflection and exploration, increasing self-awareness and helping individuals make sense of their world

•Help individuals redefine their situation by opening up new ways of perceiving reality

•Help therapists gain deeper insight into those they are treating

• In general, poetry therapists are free to choose from any poems they believe offer therapeutic value, but most tend to follow general guidelines.

It is recommended selected poems be concise, address universal emotions or experiences, offer some degree of hope, and contain plain language. Some poems commonly used in therapy are: “The Journey” by Mary Oliver “Talking to Grief” by Denise Levertov “The Armful” by Robert Frost “I Wandered Lonely as a Cloud” by William Wordsworth “Leaves of Grass” by Walt Whitman “Turtle Island” by Gary Snyder The poetry of Alan Watt, Allen Ginsberg and others.poem.brown_

Although the selection of material is often by the therapist, those being treated might be asked to bring to therapy a poem or other form of literature they identify with, as this may also provide valuable insight into their feelings and emotions.

My Technique in Poetry Therapy

A few different models of poetry therapy exist, but the  one I’ve had the most success with is a Four Phased Progression of Attention:

Recognition – Focus – Intention – Action

In the receptive/recognition phase, the poet therapist merely guides the subject to focus on their issue. The aim is to establish concentration and cognitive focus on the details of the issue which are not revealed to the poet/therapist. Only until the poet/therapist feels confident that the subject is cognitively attuned to and non verbally focussed on the problem or issue of concern that they begin to ask suggestive questions as to how the subject feels, not thinks about their subject.

00404_jYm78IsVoM9_600x450

This provocation of emotion usually comes in three distinct phases of emotional content:

I. First is the one of the predicament, then the subject first becomes aware of the existence of the issue. This is the gateway phase where anticipatory feelings are registered and ideally conveyed through the prompting of the poet/therapist.

II. Then there is the full throttle stage when anticipation of the issue has given way to full experience of all emotions related to the issue. This is usually overwhelming (or it wouldn’t be “an issue” in the first place), and it is tantamount that the poet/guide leads the subject through distinct words to describe the layers of emotions experienced by the subject. Language and the use of the words is the key here because emotions always come in clusters of complexity that make it difficult for both poet/therapist and subject to distinguish and focus on underlying and suppress emotions.

“What kind of anger do you feel?”

“How would you describe your sadness”

“How much shame do you feel?

“What would you compare it to?”

IMG_433100l0l_kJFj2yv382Z_600x450

Are typical of the questions a poet therapist would ask the subject.

This is a sophisticated method of word association but rather than creating bridges between seemingly disparate words, the goal is to drill down to the core emotions about the issue by uncovering and refining the language the subject has chosen.

Achieving exactitude of description is the task at hand. The Poet/Therapist makes careful notation of everything the subject says towards describing their emotion. It is important to keep them focused and not to succumb to intellectual distraction. Thoughts are illusions, emotions are facts.

Getting the subject to correctly and precisely describe the emotional facts of the matter at hand  is the objective

III. The final phase is the exit strategy.

How do the feelings commence to recede? How does the issue recede back into the background? What are the parting emotions? Is there anxiety about the leaving? The anticipation of an issue yet unresolved? Or is the issue impermeable and subject to a rhythmic return?

Again, the subject’s wording, their adjectives, adverbs and phrases are the material of the poem.

At this point, there is usually a short break to give time for the subject to recover from the emotional transitions and for the Poet/Therapist to briefly skim their notes and begin to focus on the flow of adjectives. It is preferable if possible, to compose what amounts to a first draft, a flow of words which the poet can read back to the subject to confirm the accuracy of the flow.

At this first reading stage, it is possible to start interjecting logical bridges between the emotional descriptors. This is the creative factor unleashed. The Poet must be led by the subject to link coherent sequences between the emotional states. The poet suggests and the subject confirms or vetoes the phraseology, one line at a time.

Now we arrive at a second draft which is the property of the subject. It is their poem for which it is crucial that the subject now read the poem aloud and take ownership of its content. The subject can redraft the poem a third time in making it their own.   But the physicality of uttering the words they have chosen to express their emotional state is an act of ownership and closure.

The Poet/Therapist can either email the finished poem to the subject, hand them his/her notes or rewrite the poem into a legible form.  In any case, it is important that the Poet/Therapist ascribes the authorship of the poem to the client.  If the client is hesitant to put their name to the poem than something is lacking in the poem and must be redressed or indeed started over again.

The key to the entire exercise is freedom of expression, honesty and then refinement; exacting the poem.IMG_4323-1

Other Approaches and Other Models

The process of writing can be both cathartic and empowering, often freeing blocked emotions or buried memories and giving voice to one’s concerns and strengths. Some people may doubt their ability to write creatively, but therapists can offer to support by explaining they do not have to use rhyme or a particular structure. Therapists might also provide stem poems from which to work or introduce sense poems for those who struggle with imagery. A Poet/Therapist might also share a poem with the individual and then ask them to select a line that touched them in some way and then use that line to start their own poem.

In group therapy, poems may be written individually or collaboratively. Group members are sometimes given a single word, topic, or sentence stem and asked to respond to it spontaneously. The contributions of group members are compiled to create a single poem which can then be used to stimulate group discussion. In couples therapy, the couple may be asked to write a dyadic poem by contributing alternating lines.

The symbolic/ceremonial component involves the use of metaphors, storytelling, and rituals as tools for effecting change. Metaphors, which are essentially symbols, can help individuals to explain complex emotions and experiences in a concise yet profound manner. Rituals may be particularly effective to help those who have experienced a loss or ending, such as a divorce or death of a loved one, to address their feelings around that event. Writing and then burning a letter to someone who died suddenly, for example, may be a helpful step in the process of accepting and coping with grief.

How Can Poetry Therapy Help You?

Poetry therapy has been used as part of the treatment approach for a number of concerns, including borderline personality, suicidal ideation, identity issues, perfectionism, and grief. IMG_4328

Research shows the method is frequently a beneficial part of the treatment process. Several studies also support poetry therapy as one approach to the treatment of depression, as it has been repeatedly shown to relieve depressive symptoms, improve self-esteem and self-understanding, and encourage the articulation of feelings. Researchers have also demonstrated poetry therapy’s ability to reduce anxiety and stress in people.

Those experiencing post-traumatic stress have also reported improved mental and emotional well-being as a result of poetry therapy. Some individuals who have survived trauma or abuse may have difficulty processing the experience cognitively and, as a result, suppress associated memories and emotions.

Through poetry therapy, many are able to integrate these feelings, reframe traumatic events, and develop a more positive outlook for the future. People experiencing addiction may find poetry therapy can help them explore their feelings regarding the substance abuse, perceive drug use in a new light, and develop or strengthen coping skills.

Poetry writing may also be a way for those with substance abuse issues to express their thoughts on treatment and behavior change. Some studies have shown poetry therapy can be of benefit to people with schizophrenia despite the linguistic and emotional deficits associated with the condition. ravenskull_1x

Poetry writing may be a helpful method of describing mental experiences and can allow therapists to better understand the thought processes of those they are treating. Poetry therapy has also helped some individuals with schizophrenia to improve social functioning skills and foster more organized thought processes. It is important to note in many instances, especially in cases of moderate to severe mental health concerns, poetry therapy is used in combination with another type of therapy, not as the sole approach to treatment.

Training for Poetry Therapists Poetry therapists receive literary as well as clinical training to enable them to be able to select literature appropriate for the healing process. While there is no university program in poetry therapy, the International Federation for Biblio-Poetry Therapy (IFBPT), the independent credentialing body for the profession, has developed specific training requirements. Several studies support poetry therapy as one approach to the treatment of depression, as it has been repeatedly shown to relieve depressive symptoms, improve self-esteem and self-understanding, and encourage the expression of feelings.

Concerns and Limitations of Poetry Therapy

In spite of its widespread appeal and broad range of application, some concerns have been raised about the use of poetry therapy. Some critics have pointed out it is possible for people to analyze a poem on a purely intellectual level, without any emotional involvement. This type of intellectualization may be more likely when complex poems are used, as a person might spend so much time trying to decipher the meaning of the poem that they lose sight of their emotions and spontaneous reactions. Poems that are unoriginal or filled with clichés are unlikely to stimulate individuals on a deep emotional level or challenge them to think in ways that promote growth. Just always keep in mind that poetry therapy may have little or no value for those individuals who simply do not enjoy poetry.

The Advertising Pitch:

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Words are the Most Powerful Magic There Is

Sometimes Your Mind Has a Will of Its Own

With PEGASUS POETRY THERAPY you can

Learn How to Read Your Own Mind!

Confusion bringing you down?

Is manic depression touching your soul?

You know what you want, but you just don’t know how to get There?

Poetry therapy is what you need when the medication, the yoga, the guided meditation, the crystals, the chakra alignment and other Somatic treatments just aren’t working.

Some things only work when you let them work:

• Restore Self-Confidence

• Achieve Closure from Painful Relationship Breakups & Lost Loved Ones

• Find a More Meaningful Direction to Your Life

• Get Unstuck and Out of Your Own Way

• Overcome Fears and Anxiety

• Control panic attacks

• Change  Addictive Behavior Patterns, like OCD

• Re-Write bad Scripts

 Recognition > Focus > Intention > Action

cc3a9851_origThere is no trick to listening to yourself and learning how choosing and rearranging your words can unlock darkened doors, de-clutter basements and clean out the attics of your life. Sometimes in merely one session.

Every Tuesday from 11:00 am until 6:30 pm at the

Inner Temple Inner Healing Center

at Eve’s Vegan Cafe 575 S. Coast Highway 101 Encinitas, CA

Contact:   realpoetrytherapy@gmail.com or

Call 858 349 6429 for an appointment.

$50- 1/2 Hour $80 – 1 Hour eve-logo

EXAMPLES & ENDORSEMENTS

PEGASUS POETRY THERAPY  has only recently launched its online version via FaceTime, Skype or Facebook video.   downloadJust add <poetry therapy> to your Skype contacts and schedule a date.   Payments accepted through PayPal or Facebook cash.  Here are some examples of the poetry achieved through PEGASUS POETRY THERAPY:

I.

Narcissus in a Nutshell

I’ve lost the person locked within the situation

Like a nut dwells within its hard shell of fearful anger.

Escaping vulnerability

Hiding from the unknown.

Hard shells, hard feelings, hardness itself

The excitement of living days in the present

Belonging to the past

I will not let go of what I can recall but not relive

My belonging to that which encompasses myself

Another nut within its shell.

To belong is to exist

Without belonging there is Nothing and

I fear nothing most of all because I do not know it

And I fear what I do not know more than

I would remedy the pain of this loss  with trustworthy tools

When two liquids are bonded  as one

A single drop of poison poisons the whole glass

And betrayal  is always poison no matter how little or how much

The glass of Narcissus’s tears is now empty

He has blinded himself rather than drink his own poison.

Instead he has left me to sip the bitter poison

Of fading better days.

Like a cat

Poised in stillness

Distracted by nothing

Ready  to pounce

I will not surrender the pain.

I will not surrender the pain.

Because the pain is my memory of the happiness

We’ve now lost

A sweet nut within a bitter shell.

II.

The Martyr

Last night I saw you beatify a martyr

With a magical brush of gold belief.

You were serious and determined

But your brush strokes were light caresses

On a sky blue span of canvass

As you gently coaxed another image into being.

You remind me of my mother earth

Stern in her compassion

Willing to tolerate just so much from me

Before reining in my love

With her brushes.

And where you have drawn your line

‘Be careful’, you said to me on parting

But all the care in the world could not stop

My bulb from bursting

Rendering me blind in the speeding night

But still seeing with the golden light

Of the martyr you have shown me.

III.

Snake Heart

This sadness, this hopelessness

Will not be swatted away

Nor drowned by the busy work

Of the day to day.

It persists

Even when I am submerged in my bathtub.

The warm water rising from the bottom of my lungs.

Until I lose the will to breath

And the sadness becomes anger

Rising to the very top of my horns

Of my red-hot raging exhaustion.

How good to be angry!

I used to be afraid of snakes but no longer.
I am hissing from the centre of my snake-heart

As you try and step over me.

Your eyes fail to see as you tread on my tail.

On my snake heart.

On my resolution without confrontation.

Without the owning of emotion

All that’s left for us is the hissing sound of machinery.

A Day in the Life of an Inspoken Poet


 

 

A Day in the Life of an Inspoken Poet

What happens in life never really unfolds like a story. Events are chaotic determinants by forces; more than you can recognize at any given moment. Forces,”energies” bouncing, conflicting competing, compromising and resolving while constantly falling forwards in time.

We are forever falling forwards in time.

But this still isn’t enough to satisfy our minds. We demand answers! Sometimes with clenched fists shaking at the heavens: Reasons, Causes, Meanings, Sense. So that we can understand how it all fits together and possibly improve our fortune at the next turn of the carousel. At the next “happening”.

We need to make Sense.

We need to investigate, to explain, to decipher our dreams, not merely dream them. So we strive to find stories in our rearview mirrors. We create links between events and project pattern, structures, relationships, understandings onto a blank canvas.

We make things up from what we feel then recount our stories first to ourselves and then to each other.

This is how we *make* sense of our lives.

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Today, I feel sad.
Alone and sad.

Tell me, is it still allowed to feel sad and lonely on a sunny southern California day? Do I need to get a sad permit or risk my sadness being towed? I’ve had this sadness in my family for many years and I don’t want to lose it or have it stolen by someone fed up with happiness.

I already feel as if my emotions have been impounded.

I am sad for and from events; exhausted from the strain of holding my head up in this churning karmic current, just so as not to drown in the Red Queen’s swimming pool.

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Yesterday started as a warming of the air. The first signs that Spring is calling out to Summer. I had started my day by flying 70 mph down the hills of La Costa, curving around the Cardiff lagoon while the Carlsbad state beach winked and waved at me from the western horizon.

Soon I will be ending my days by plunging into the burning sunset of my mother’s arms. No, not suicide; rebirth and the cleansing of the accruments gathered from the other seasons, now no longer needed.

I am moving forward on the highway numbered 5 looking forward to my rehearsal with gifted collaborator John Kingsmill who understands sound as breaths. He understands me, what I’m trying to do and since it’s what he’s trying to do we get along fine. My mind is thinking of the piece he has orchestrated which we have yet to practice, much less perform. Then further on to the Misfit Gallery in La Jolla where we will perform to an unknown number of people looking at art.

11895232_10153652408982755_5922705933682661300_o copySuddenly my wings begin to fail me. (Oh why didn’t I listen to Daedalus?) My engine slows down, I pull to the side of the freeway and turn off the engine and turn it back on again. Hey, it works with computers! But not this time. Now my mind begins to race, instantly recalculating my day. I am on the side of Highway 5 just past the Leucadia on-ramp. I have 20 minute’s to get to John’s to rehearse the one poem the organizer hates and told me not to read. Yes, yes, I know. I’m a rebel without applause.

What the organizer has to her credit is the sheer scale mounting an original exhibition in such short time. That is truly awesome; and you know I never use that word! It nearly brought tears to my eyes the day before in the gallery seeing not just the individual canvasses for the first time but the urgent, pressing social beauty of the exhibit as a whole. I was at home with these artists fighting for social justice; we are comrades with many arms trying to change the world into a better place, a fairer place: each one of us different, each one of us in our own way.

One canvass, one poem, one dance, one book, one note at a time.

But right now I am furious. I’m at the side of the freeway, space vehicles whizzing past me and I must get to Encinitas, just a couple of miles up the road. I am furious with my mechanic who had only recently returned my bike to me supposedly repaired. I am infuriated with myself for not having planned a contingency. I am infuriated at the passing cars who are free to go anywhere they want to, unlike me. Then I stop and recall my practice. None of this anger is solving the issue.

It crossed my mind how motivating my own anger was. My father told me once that the only way to overcome, to cancel out an overwhelming, overpowering emotion is with another equally strong emotion. All it takes to stop a ‘bad’ emotion is one ‘good’ one, to borrow from the NRA. So I put that emotional “energy” to use, slipped my Victory into neutral and began to push it to the next off ramp down the road: Encinitas, just another 2 miles to find parking.

Sweat drenching my best shirt, every few yards I would stick out my kickstand, and turn over the engine. Nothing, which gave me more adrenaline and more strength to get my bike to Encinitas. To John, to La Jolla, to the Misfit Gallery, and most of all to the organizer who I had made a commitment to: To bring poetry to the public space, to an art show and make it work!

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Sisyphus would have been proud of me if he didn’t have his own Herculean labor to perform. And yes, I was beginning to like it. To sweat against the odds, to face resistance and overcome it. The sheer exertion of raw muscle to the task. This was my Will taking center stage. This was so much better than hopelessness!

There is a comfort to take in hopelessness which you can only know if you’re paying rent there. It is the comfort of one’s own courage, the bottom-of-the-barrel resolve that not only survives but is strengthened in the face of adversity and injustice. In spite of the powerful forces aligned behind the injustice, in spite of how weak, how haggard, how exhausted, how old, or how frail you may feel, at the very least you are standing up and shouting “No!”

And that is the greatest political power of them all: Basta!

As Emma Gomez (the Joan of Arc of the resistance) cries out, “Enough is enough’! And with that cry called forth the spirits of every American, every person who ever fought for Truth, for Liberty and for Justice.

Just like in the comic books.

Just like in your high school civics class, just like at the signing of that great document in Philadelphia, the capital of the United States. Where freedom’s bell still rings loud and clear; regardless of the visible cracks.

We refind the courage in ourselves that connects us to the sake of others, for the sake of our brethren who are equally ravaged by the same foul-smelling winds: The Long Great Fart of capitalism. Only then are we truly liberating ourselves as much as we aim to deliver freedom to others.

No one will be truly free until we are all free.
Free of want. Free from terror. Free from greed, from avarice, free from war, free from our own self-destruction.

When we stand up, we all stand on the same ground, the only ground that ever covered this planet; this tiny blue marble in the sky.

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And I got through. I got through to Encinitas, legs slightly bent. I got through to my mechanic who would dispatch a truck to pick up my bike the next day. I got through to John and rearranged our spontaneity. I got through to the organizer who generously sent her boyfriend dressed as Che Guevara to collect and deliver me to a room brimming with Misfits.

I got to hear my favourite Persian poet Ari Honarvar. (I like her more than Rumi because she’s still alive;~) And then finally the true consequence of my efforts. The real reward for my persistence and determination. Something I would gladly have pushed a ton vehicle a hundred miles to find:

When I read my work, I got through to the audience.

They heard me! They heard me paint a portrait of a shooter and reconnect to their own empathy and complicity. They heard me lament the dehumanization, the tyranny of automation and shine a light on the chains around our ankles we barely notice anymore.

They heard me speak to and of, their own lives. Their own seemingly private rituals in front of their computer screens, replicated by the billions.

When I read, we were all up close and personal. Can there be any intimacy at an orgy? I think sometimes there might be.

They heard me and I got through!

Halleluja, Halleluja, the long hard road is still worth travelling, that is with a better bike that won’t break down.

The Holocaust Survives


 

Today is #YomHashoah, the date on the Hebrew calendar in which the Jewish people around the world recall the memory of six million Jews and more who were murdered because of who they were, and to rededicate ourselves to prevent another genocide.   #WeRemember    #AskWhy
Unfortunately, it hasn’t been working lately, the remembering nor the preventing. Assad’s continued gassing of his own civilian population with chlorine and nerve gas is nothing short of homage to the Nazi death industry.
So you see remembering the holocaust isn’t a Jew-thing, it’s a human-being thing. 12046767_10204811838007626_7843537198296988521_nNo other single event in history had more of an impact on the 20th century and by consequence the present 21st, than the mass brutalisation of families or men, women and children in the camps and now in the Syrian refugee camps in Lebanon.
We are all part of the same tribe who fall victims to those who hate their own humanity.
What follows is my little piece of the Holocaust and why I can never forget even if I wanted to.  My mother told me a few days before she died, addled with dementia but suddenly lucid that the most painful, heartbreaking memories are better than no memory at all.   Better to be reminded of the experiences of who we are rather than to disappear completely; from the world and from ourselves.




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L’Chaim

F E A T U R E S     
W I R E D Issue 2.09

 

Master of Puzzles

 

By Igor Goldkind

 

Ivan Moscovich has created more brain-teasers than most people have solved crosswords. Igor Goldkind set out to piece together his fascinating and harrowing life.


Ivan Moscovich has his life’s work wrapped up in a bundle of about 10,000 pages of A4 paper. On those pages there are some 5,000 separate puzzles, puzzles that range from the hang-on-let’s-look-OK-I-see to beyond the fiendish. Some are variations on themes, some utter one-offs. Some are to be made on paper or card, some are designs for tricky little – or big – devices. Moscovich calls them the S.A.M. archive – science, art and mathematics. The puzzles use the techniques of bafflement to teach, and they use beauty to bemuse.

Moscovich has been making puzzles since the 1960s. Now, at the age of 70, he’s looking to transform that life’s work into new formats. He and his colleagues have started up a new company to take the ideas on those 10,000 pages and put them to work in the digital arena. Moscovich is sure that there is room for them. Having looked with interest at hits like Seventh Guest, which friends told him were bringing new life to the world of puzzles, he was profoundly unimpressed. The puzzles were hard, sure (if you weren’t Moscovich, that is), but they were variations on a small number of underlying tricks, and they didn’t add up to more than just a set of puzzles. Moscovich thought that he – or people mining his archives in digital form – could do better.

“In digital media you can build overlapping linear trees, using the media to interrelate the concepts for the user. It’s important with any problem to see – at the same time – the different paths that can take you to a solution. Certainly this is the best way to explain scientific and mathematical concepts.” The collection of puzzles becomes a sort of puzzle itself: a maze, something to find one’s way through, something more than the sum of its parts.

Ivan is looking forward to trying to put all this into practice – not least because he enjoys the attitude of the people he’ll be working with. The way that games designers and programmers think fits into his world perfectly. He loves to be with people who are bored when they’re not trying something new, even impossible, when they’re not seeking a new solution. And he can make sense of himself by being part of a group; in fact, it has saved his life before now.

Ivan likes people who try to make sense of the pieces. That, in part, is how he got into puzzles – his delight in their ability to teach eager minds. As well as making puzzles for books and toys, he has used them as serious teaching tools for engineers – and pioneered the art of transforming the counterintuitive insights of puzzling into science museums with interactive displays. Putting together the pieces of an idea is much more important than putting together the pieces of a puzzle. The wonder is that by getting someone to do the latter, you can let them do the former.

A life in fragments

Moscovich’s own life is a bewildering array of puzzle fragments. Having met him on a CD-ROM project and learned some of his history, I started to wonder how to reassemble the fragments – and what they could be made into. One of the answers is a charming, brilliant septuagenarian. Another is 10,000 pages of A4. And a third might be a technological passage through the 20th century, from the industrialisation of death to the pursuit of pleasure. A journey that charts the territory of the 20th century’s technological revolutions and its human upheavals, from the Balkans to California, from museums to the Israeli defence industry, from the ruins of Austro-Hungary to the digital age, from railways to death camps.Moscovich’s parents were Hungarian, but he was born in Novi Sad, a small Serbian town. He still retains a central European accent that, to my ears (and probably to yours) sounds like the definitive voice of modern science and mathematics. “My father was a Hungarian who escaped from Hungary into Yugoslavia after the First World War. He was a painter by profession, but in order to make a living at that time he opened a photographic studio which became very successful. He named his studio Photo Ivan, after me.”

His description of an everyday childhood in Novi Sad paints a familiar 2017-09-01 19.56.25portrait of a middle-class craftsman’s family, complete with Yiddish grandmother and old-world family meals – and none of the hothouse intellectual atmosphere that produced Leo Szilard, John von Neumann, Kurt Gödel and other thinkers who left Budapest to dominate 19th-century thought. There was little to suggest Ivan’s strengths in science or mathematics – except, perhaps, a boyish infatuation with model aeroplane kits. He had, however, inherited from his father an inclination for drawing, and his father’s habit of tinkering with various gadgets – including an early air brush – to enhance his pictures was a constant delight to Ivan.

But when he reached technical high school, Ivan fell under the influence of a mathematics teacher given to explaining the precepts of science by means of science fiction. Ivan’s teacher opened up the world of mathematics by making problem solving fun. Ivan was entranced by the maths – and, later, showed that he had learned the method, too: rigorous scientific thinking through the lens of art and storytelling.

By then, though, the Hungarian fascists had invaded. They met with little resistance. And, soon afterwards, they took Ivan’s father from him. “Before they took him, he asked a Hungarian officer if he could say goodbye to my mother and in their final embrace he slipped this ring onto her finger.” Ivan holds up his hand and shows me an ornate gold band studded with eight small diamonds. It is the only surviving memento of Ivan’s youth; everything else was lost in the Holocaust. Ivan’s father joined 6,000 Jews and 4,000 Serbs executed en masse and thrown beneath the ice of the frozen Danube. All in one day.

Ivan continued his studies until the end of 1943, when the Hungarians “got cold feet” and the Germans invaded. “We really didn’t have any knowledge of what was happening in Poland in the ghettos or with the Nazis. We all hated the Hungarian fascists, but I still knew and liked Germans and, you know, communications were very different then; telephones didn’t work internationally. We were really disconnected from the rest of the world.”

When a Hungarian Jew escaped from Auschwitz and fled to Budapest to warn the Jewish community of the death camps, few believed him. So Ivan Moscovich was deported to Auschwitz at the age of 17.

“It meant stepping out of one world into another one. I was sent with my grandfather, my grandmother and my mother. When we arrived, my grandparents were immediately taken to the crematoria. My mother stayed in Auschwitz the whole time. After three or four weeks I was taken out of Auschwitz into one of the surrounding work camps. Young people were sent to work. I worked at laying rail lines.” The Nazi system was to provide rations for six months survival, after which the workers were supposed to starve to death in order to make room for new inmates. The meticulousness by which the operation was organised was not lost on Ivan. Nor would the memory escape him when two years later he found himself again working on train rails.

death-listens-1897.jpg!LargeBy that time he and, miraculously, his mother were back in Novi Sad. An acquaintance in the Ministry of Transport offered him a research position in the effort to repair Yugoslavia’s war-torn railway system. The post involved testing an enormous German machine that used high electrical wattage to weld rail lines together, a then untested invention. Mounted on a train carriage, Ivan travelled with the machine throughout Yugoslavia, in charge of the welding team. The machine was so successful that Ivan soon found himself elevated to a lofty position within Tito’s Ministry of Transport, accountable only to the deputy minister himself.

“There I was, a simple technician, at the age of 20, and I had all this power and no boss, really. People thought I was a top-shot communist because everybody had to do exactly what I wanted. The project became more and more successful, our production was way up and I was given orders to enlist more and more technicians for my team. One day I was called in by the deputy minister and was told that in order to create a 24-hour work shift, I was to take on 50 German prisoners of war.”

So, two years after surviving the German work camps, he was given control over a work team comprising high ranking German officers and regular soldiers, some Wehrmacht, some SS. He could have done anything he wanted. He could have shot them all and easily justified his actions to the authorities. He could have tortured them to death with gruelling work. He could have snapped his fingers and made them all disappear. But Ivan Moscovich had responsibilities, a quota to fill and a marvellous welding contraption to keep running.

“I had ten kilometres of rails to get out that week and it was a real dilemma whether to screw the Germans or to try to get the best output from them. I decided to increase their rations to get more work out of them, and sure enough they were grateful and worked even harder, which increased the output. I was very, very tough with them and I think they were scared of me. But I never revealed to them that I was a camp survivor. They worked for six months and then Tito released the prisoners.”

As it happens, Moscovich only worked on the German railways for six months. “I was lucky for the first six months. It was very important for survival in the camps to be with your people, your clan of friends and family; death in the gardenit made life easier. You couldn’t get ill, because that meant execution, but curiously, if you could show a work-related injury, a visible wound, you could be seen by the SS and granted a day or two of hospital. One day I announced myself with a bad wound. While everyone else went on work detail I was left in the enormous courtyard with a broom to clean up, completely by myself. Suddenly the gate opened and a commandant’s car stormed into the courtyard and headed straight for me. The German officer jumped down from his car, grabbed me by the scruff of the neck, threw me onto the platform of the vehicle and drove off. I was kidnapped.” Later Ivan learned that there had been an escape from a neighbouring camp and the camp commandant had stolen Ivan to make up his tally of inmates. The mathematics of death had to add up.images-1

“Up to this point all of my feelings had been one single feeling: an enormous outrage. Rage that somebody, anybody, another power, could take me away from my decisions, my everyday life, and put me in an environment where whatever happened was not under my control. I was young and maybe too strong an individualist, but it was rage that kept me alive.” In the new camp this life-sustaining anger was broken, until he discovered a distant images-10Hungarian cousin running the camp’s kitchens and being the “godfather” of the camp. Then he found some school friends of his father’s. For several weeks Ivan rebuilt his spirits and his body. Then the Russians pushed back the German line, and the SS made their lethal preparations for evacuating Auschwitz.

The problem to solve was – how to survive.

The Museum Man

In 1952 Ivan found a new clan – and became a leader. He set out for Israel to join his now remarried mother. On the boat to Haifa, Ivan was approached by Israeli officials interested in his skills and qualifications. The new state was hungry for skilled technicians. By the time Ivan reached Haifa he already had a position in the Ministry of Defence waiting for him. “In my group there were mainly these Yugoslav and Hungarian technicians without any training in science and mathematics. The language problem was enormous, and here was this group of technicians involved in scientific research without any basis in the field. I don’t know how it happened, but I was selected as someone who could teach the other members of the group some basic science.

My boss wanted me to instruct them outside of a formal classroom using demonstrations, models and visual means. That was really the start that put me in the direction of puzzle making.”Ivan found himself playing around with visualisations and experiments. He worked hard to come up with ways in which complex ideas could be explained visually, not so much to convey a deep academic knowledge of science and mathematics but to engender an intuitive grasp of the subjects and, most important of all, to instill the knack of problem solving needed to tackle more important scientific and technological puzzles.

By the end of the 1950s, Moscovich was creating puzzles almost all the time, and practice had revealed a rare gift for making puzzles that could be revisited, puzzles that retained a depth, an impact, even after they had been solved. “I tried to design models that were compact and effective, and in which the experiments could be repeated a number of times. This required completely original design conceptualisations. My boss, Ernst David Bergman, was the leading scientist in Israel at the time, and founder of the Weizmann Institute. He loved my work, and it was he who had the idea that some of those objects I had designed could be exhibited. That was the basis of the founding of a science museum.”

In 1959 Tel Aviv established its Museum of Science and Technology, the first of its kind in Israel. Ivan worked non-stop for two-and- a-half years converting five disused British barracks into a museum, begging and borrowing every available resource. The museum finally opened in 1964 with Ivan as its curator and director. It was the first science museum to emphasise hands-on, interactive exhibitions, and it quickly attracted international attention. His position as curator became a springboard from which to explore and express his interest in art, science and mathematics, and to do it all with the benefit of a growing international reputation.

In 1965 Frank Oppenheimer, brother of the more famous Robert, having heard of Ivan’s fantastic museum to science, visited Tel Aviv with Admiral Lewis Strauss, chairman of the US Atomic Energy Commission. The two became fast friends, sharing a childlike fascination for technology and science as well as knowledge of the darker side of machines and technology. This was four years before the opening of the Exploratorium in San Francisco, for which Oppenheimer imported many of Ivan’s installations. Some remain on exhibit to this day.

The puzzle of death

In 1944, while Oppenheimer was working with his brother on the problems of designing the first atomic bombs, Moscovich was on the death march to Bergen-Belsen. Here, too, the problem was how to survive. “Everybody said those who stayed, declaring themselves ill, would be shot. As it happens, they were liberated by the Russians two weeks later. And we walked barefoot and nearly naked through the worst winter of the century, westward to Bergen-Belsen.”At Bergen-Belsen, the last stop for the Final Solution, Ivan gave up all hope. He had been assigned to a work detail in the then still beautiful city of Hildesheim, near Hanover.work will set you free “Near where I worked was a statue of the mathematician Leibniz with beautiful writing on it.
And it was so strange that after so long in hell, I am seeing that statue. I felt I was being visited by a ghost, an image of the real world I had left behind. It was then, only then, that I remembered my previous life, my teachers, my studies of mathematics and all that. Up till then my memories had been blocked out. It’s impossible to imagine that every minute, every second of life in the camps, you were only thinking of survival; there was no room for any other thinking. But here was this beautiful statue of Leibniz that reminded me of the real world.”

After two weeks working in Leibniz’s shadow, “I heard this strange noise … mmmmmmmmmmmm … that filled the air, and we suddenly realised that the sky was filled with planes. The next second everything was on fire. It was the Allied carpet bombing of Hildesheim. I saw German soldiers burning, running, and everything became chaos. I ran. After a while I stopped and looked back at the city, which was one big torch. I found myself alone in a giant field, a free man. But a free man in pyjamas, a free man with nowhere to go. I weighed 45 kilos.” Ivan turned around and started walking back to the depot. With his camp clothes, his inverted mohawk, there was nowhere to run. A German woman ran out of her house and thrust a chicken leg into his hand; she never said a word.

Recaptured, he was beaten and sent back to the camp. The dead lay in their thousands. “One barracks the Germans were using to fill with dead bodies, hundreds of dead bodies. After work one evening, I decided that instead of going back to our sleeping area that I would crawl to the top of this mountain of bodies and find myself a horizontal place. There was a slot at the top where I could see what was happening outside. I slept there for five, six days; I don’t have any notion about how much time passed. It was bliss to sleep; quiet and beautiful. It was no problem sleeping on a bed of a hundred dead bodies. Otherwise, I wouldn’t have lasted.greetings-from-my-mind-human-tragedy-1413423286063

“One day I awoke from my sleep to complete silence. I looked through the slot to see the camp was completely deserted. Suddenly through the main entrance, which I had in my view, drove a single jeep with four English officers that stopped in the middle of the square. I rolled down the hill of bodies like a log and then I felt like I was running but I must have been moving very, very slowly. I was, I think, one of the very first to reach the jeep, and you know those guys were looking at us like they were seeing aliens for the very first time. Like first contact.” He collapsed into the arms of an English officer.

Moscovich was deathly ill. By the time that English officer caught up with him again, in a local hospital, he looked unlikely to survive. So the officer found a German doctor and frog-marched him to Ivan’s bedside. The Englishman pointed his revolver at the terrified doctor’s head and said, “If this patient dies here, you die here.”

Ivan Moscovich did not die – nor, at that point, did the German doctor. Ivan was transferred to a Red Cross hospital in a small town in Sweden – a town so boring, he now swears, that the local newspaper actually ran daily updates on Ivan’s weight gain for lack of more interesting scoops. Ivan describes his slow recovery as matter-of-factly as everything else.

“At a certain moment you know, the organism decided,
‘OK, we’re going to stay in this world. ”

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Toy story

In the mid-1960s, as his fame grew in Israel and beyond, another new world opened for Ivan Moscovich. “I was working on a puzzle at my desk one day when one of the ushers came in and said a couple of tourists wanted to see me. I was busy and didn’t have the time. The usher came back and said they only want five minutes of your time and they wouldn’t give up. So I agreed to see them, Mr and Mrs Eliot Handler. I wasn’t very enthusiastic but we talked and then Mrs Handler said ‘I would like our chaps in California to see your puzzles; are you ready to come over to California?’

I didn’t take them very seriously. Two weeks later I received a call from a travel agent who had a ticket waiting for me to go to California to visit Mattel.”Eliot and Ruth Handler founded and owned Mattel Toys. Its twelve-storey building in Hawthorne was the centre of America’s toy industry. Sales of their Barbie dolls were colossal, but the Handlers were keen to expand the Mattel range beyond just dolls. When Ivan came out to visit them they immediately offered him a three-year open contract to create games and puzzles for US$25,000 (£16,000) a year. His “Brain Drain” puzzle game promptly sold a million copies worldwide. This success was repeated with a series of puzzles including “Play It Again Fun”, “Visual Brainstorms”, “The Brain Power Decathlon” and “The Hinge”. Soon toy and games manufacturers from Japan to Europe were clamouring for more and more puzzles from the master. Ivan Moscovich’s gift had found the most widespread of all its expressions.

Fitting together the pieces

Somehow, all these pieces add together to produce a remarkably creative man, and one with a unique vantage point. Ivan has seen countries destroyed, reconstructed and created afresh. He has faced the most utterly depersonalising totalitarianism ever attempted, and rejoiced in the individual quirkiness of children’s imaginations. At an age where most seek nothing new at all, he is embracing the digital world with the enthusiasm of a seven-year-old offered a Game Boy.

How does he see the end of the century?
“At present we are in a greater need for a fresh creative spirit than in any other period of human history. Less and less experience is being gained directly through activities. Sensations tend to reach us increasingly only after passing through layers of media filters. Children manipulate electronic gadgets and play with computers, which is all very well, but ultimately lacks perspicuity and full sensual enrichment.
I hope to create open-ended concepts that trigger chain reactions. Ideally, the player plays my game, solves the problems and is motivated to invent his or her own variations of rules, ultimately creating his or her own games, puzzles and aesthetic structures.”

He has an avowed predilection for the physical. You can see it in his hands as he solves his puzzles. But Ivan sees unique possibilities in the digital world, possibilities that flow from the nature of his puzzles. “I’ve already published several books of my puzzles, but in a book you are restricted to the lin- ear progression of page after page, without much freedom. To interrelate the conceptual links between problems and solutions you need to be able to cross reference non-linearly, which is what a CD-ROM does.” After all, this is the point of his S.A.M. archive – that it combines science, art and mathematics as different paths to the same goal. The trajectories can be changed forever; the solutions will still provide the improvements of the self that Moscovich cares about.

“You know, humanity has been defined in various ways. For instance, as Homo habilis, skilful man; as Homo sapiens, wise man. I prefer Homo ludens, playful man, as the best definition of modern 20th-century human beings.” It was a hopeful definition that Johan Huizinga came up with in the late ’30s, at the time that young Ivan was learning science through science fiction – but the hope was serious and fearful. Huizinga was quite aware that playfulness had its dangerous side, and that the coming war would be a great, dark game; it was peace, he always said, that was the serious business.

These days, Ivan Moscovich is at peace. He lives a quiet life with his wife Anitta in west London. Within him, though, you can sense the machines within machines working, a vast inner factory of the abstract. It is hard to imagine him without them – even in the worst places the century’s history has to offer. I asked him whether his puzzling mind had helped him in Auschwitz, in Belsen; whether he had made his retreat into a private world of abstraction and pure thought.

“No. You know, it’s very difficult to explain, to understand. All of your time, all of your energy, all of your thinking is just focused on one thing: surviving.”

He did. And from the simple fact of survival he has pulled together the fragments of his life into a living inspiration for the rest of us – a puzzle worth thinking about.

Igor Goldkind writes science fiction, comics and essays, and lectures on technology and culture.

 

 

If you are concerned with the Syrian refugee crisis, the largest forced mass emigration of refugees since the Jews escaped Germany and Poland, there is something you can do.  Inform your self through the  Syrian American Medical Society who are running projects and providing medical supplies to the victims of the dictator Assad’s brutal and genocidal war against his own people.

 

Participate, if you live in southern California by attending  a special exhibition of protest art at The Misfit Gallery in La Jolla California on April 21st.,
@ 565 Pearl Street. 92037 6-10 pm
I will be reading my published and unpublished work in the Spoken Word progamme as well as performing with The Third Act of Creation.  But there’s much, much more.  It’s a celebration of human rights and protest art to raise money for SAMS and also to join others in Mindful Resistance to the tyranny, bigotry and corruption in our present government and around the world.  WE are THE PEOPLE, so instead of just complaining or getting depressed,

Let’s  do something!

Protest Poster 

 

 

 

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“We confuse the world as talked about, described, and measured with the world which actually is. We are sick with a fascination for the useful tools of names, of symbols, signs, conceptions,  ideas and numbers.”  ~ Alan Watts


The Numbers Game

In the end, it was the numbers that did us in.
They lined us up into military rows
And assigned us all numbers
One after one after one after one after one….
How many, nobody knows.
You see, it’s a numbers game
It’s all the same
You’re not your name
You’re your numbers.
Let me explain how it’s done,
And how this game can never be won.images-1

See, there are good numbers and bad numbers
High numbers and sad numbers.
Sometimes high numbers are good and low numbers are bad
And sometimes low numbers are good and high numbers are sad.
It all depends on who is counting.
Not you or me
Not the numbers either.
They don’t know, they’re just numbers after all.
Although…
The numbers are counting on each other.
Just not you or me

Because we will never be free
Of Big Numbers and small numbers,
Negative numbers and imaginary numbers,
You see, it’s a numbers game.
It’s all the same
You’re not your name
You’re your numbers.
Let me explain
How it’s done.
And how this game can never be won.
downloadPrisoner number…

Credit Score number
GPA number
SAT Number
Zip code number
Blood pressure number
Heart rate number
DOB & TOD numbers
House number
Gas number
Phone number
Electricity number
Room number
Water number
Dog tags number
Social Security number
Bank account number
Table number
Sibling number
Temperature number
Flight number
License number
Vehicle registration number
Alcohol level number
Height, weight and age number

I hear you scream:
“I’m not a number, I’m a human being!!”
Sure you are,
Now take a number.
It’s for your own protection
There’s safety in numbers.

Numbers can answer all of your questions:
How far, how long, how deep, how high, how many,images-2
How often?
Just not ‘how come’?
Anyone can count,
But you can’t count on anyone.
See, it’s a numbers game
That can’t be won
It’s a numbers game
It’s just how it’s done.
It’s all the same.

You’re not your name
You’re your numbers.
Now count to ten
And start all over again.

For Rob Thompson who asked me if Numbers occupy Space.

Mysticism: The Phenomenology of Truth


 

The Church of Science makes no philosophical claim to ‘Truth’ but instead provides useful approximations based on its ongoing peer-review methodology. What is reliable information by way of science is the result of similar enough results from replicated experiments that are strictly controlled and abide by the parameters established by a long succession of scientists.  Their hand-me-down story is called epistemology.

The Church of Science makes no philosophical claim to ‘Truth’ but instead provides useful approximations based on its ongoing peer-review methodology. What is reliable information by way of science is the result of similar enough results from replicated experiments that are strictly controlled and abide by the parameters established by a long succession of scientists.  Their hand-me-down story is called epistemology.Featured Image -- 2781

In the end, all it tells us is that under such and such of circumstances, it is most likely that these results will be achieved regardless of who you are or where you are as long as you abide by the parameters of the experiment. This consistency of results is what allows us to make engineering choices based on scientific ‘truths’.  It also comprises the institutionality of these estimations into the moneyed corridors of academia and research facilities.  If Science is the ideology then Engineering is the practice.

When people say they believe in scientific ‘fact’, they usually mean engineering applications of the science. No one bothers to question the science behind the combustion engine as long as their car runs reliably.  And as long as a biochemical can be turned over for profit.

But the key phrase here is  ‘approximations of truth’. More Absolute truths, such as the understanding of ourselves and the objects in themselves requires a different kind of perspective outside of the scientific framework. One in which the observer and the point of observation is taken into account in the observation.

This involves a separate methodology as structured as scientific methods but with different aims and thus different kinds of conclusions. The overlooked discipline is that of Phenomenology, coined by the mathematical genius turned philosopher and teacher of the great Martin Heidegger, Edmund Husserl.
Husserl believed that our understanding of phenomena was completely based on our disposition towards the apperception (or the incorporation of our perceptions into our existing body of knowledge i.e. our understanding of the perception).infinity

Although a mathematician, this view of truth as being determined in the perception of the observer as much as the thing-in-itself (which can never be truly perceived apart from its set of traits and characteristics)  This principle is a natural extension of Kant’s Idealism, for which Time and Space are far from objective physical phenomena and more akin to categories of perception and apperception.  In effect, shared psychological states of awareness and their accounts.

This is precisely where Phenomenology collides with post-Modernism, Einsteinian physics (Relativity) and Freudian mapping of the unconscious (the Unconscious being simply everything that we don’t know at any given moment or did know but forgot).

This post-modern relativism owes a great deal to the mystical and alchemic traditions to which it shares a common ancestry with science. Science after all, derived from mystical and alchemic experimentations by mainly monks (of a different church),  who upon separating from the spiritualism of the Church, (thanks to that first and great secular martyr, Giordano Bruno), continued to pursue their quest for god’s Truth.  That which could be perceived, measured and recorded.

Mysticism (unlike Spiritualism), is not superstitious; rather it engages with the world in pursuit of solving mysteries unknown and unsolvable by science. Mysticism poses questions science would never bother to ask and then attempts to answer them. Metaphysical questions such as ‘Who am I?’ outside of my name and a social construct?  Why am I here and who really lies behind the many masks that I wear and why do I wear them in the first place?

Why is there this world or reality rather than another?

imagesPsychoanalysis and Psychology at their best are not sciences at all, they are merely methodical enquiries into the nature of the mind (although the current bias towards quantifiable and numerical conclusions might make one think otherwise). They are a result of mystical enquiries into the nature of the mind and how it shapes our most intimate and fundamental perceptions of the world we live in; the space in time we briefly occupy before dying.   Medicine is yet another example of a supposed science that in fact is based on a field of knowledge that predates scientific methodology.

Nor is mathematics strictly speaking a science;  yet it is by far more predictive of the unknown and un-experienced than science could ever hope to be.
This issue is a is crucial in the face of the current data-fixation of human experience as well as the current bias of valuing quantifiable truths over qualifiable ones. Just because you can count something accurately doesn’t mean you understand it better.  Or can better predict what happens next.

basicconcepts

How Phenomenology Works

The truth is never in the data as such, it’s in the interpretation of the data, as long as you’re perceptive enough to factor in the interpreter.  Human judgement is not quantifiable and yet it is the seat of all interpretation.  We are living in a world of intermediaries of the truth, much as Luther rejected the filters of the Catholic Chruch and the Vatican for the sake of a direct, unmediated connection to God, we are all also in the position to understand our reality, our lives and our existence unfiltered by data driven conveption, but by our direct experience of the subjective lives that we lead.

There is the true path of Mysticism, the parent of Science. 220px-Oresme_Spheres_crop

I’ll take a breath now;

And recall who I am.

The Moon is Full


 

 

 

 

Watching the full moon

at night,

The Moon is Full

The Moon is Full

floating beyond the dark skies,
I knew myself completely,
no parts left out.

 

Why Thomas Paine Would Shoot Donald Trump if He Were Alive Today


Yes, indeed that’s a provocative title; but this ain’t click-bait my friends.  This is the real deal.  If Thomas Paine were alive today, he’d be in the nation’s capital with a pistol waiting for the selected president.  Of course, he’d be waiting a long time considering as far as he knew, the capital of these United States was in Philadelphia.  I have a vision of old globalist Thomas standing outside Ben Franklin’s door, knocking as hard as he could, shouting

“Benjamin!  Benjamin!  Come out, our nation’s in trouble and its much worse than the British.  Forget the kite!’’.  Kind of like the scene in Street Car Named Desire where Marlon Brando is standing outside Stella’s window in the pouring rain in his soaked white T-Shirt.

JA11_Page_18_01_webMarlon Brando would have made a good Thomas Paine in the film, the graphic novel and the computer game but this doesn’t answer the question embedded in the title of this diatribe. Why would Thomas Paine if he were alive today,  track down Donald Trump and put a bullet in the back of his head?   In principle this would require Donald to be on his knees, facing away from Thomas with his tiny hands wrapped around the back of his head.  I suppose you, dear reader, are ‘en-titled’ to an answer as the to why and the wherefore; but stay with me as we savour the moment.  The ultimate retribution of history: to be shot in the back of a head by one of the Founders of this revolutionary nation, ironically with a pistol no less.  One that Thomas didn’t have to register or submit to a background check to acquire from the antique pistols and muskets booth at the gun show a couple blocks away.

So before Thomas pulls the trigger and the tiny lead ball propels from the pistol’s mouth through his dense skull and lodges somewhere in the soft tissue that Donald referred to at his “brain”, let’s pause and assess the situation.   Let’s skip over the time travel details as to how Thomas Paine got from the late 18th century to the early 21st.  We’ll leave it to the graphic novel to explain that bit; him jumping a little over two centuries in time.  Although we really don’t have to figure out anything at all.  Thomas Paine’s words, his ideas and his rebel spirit not only jumped but survived intact more than 2 centuries and the soul of our national sovereignty.   So if Thomas Paine were brought back from the dead by some mysterious force, it could only be due to his words, his ideas, the nation he fought for being under threatened.

And that, my reader, is precisely the point being made by my title and the words you are reading now.  Today, not 2 decades into the 21st century, the essential values that built this nation, this American experiment by a motley crew of post-enlightenment landowners, orators, tradesmen and inventors is at risk of being destroyed.  Not by Trump himself, you realise.  But by Us, by We the People in our impotent complacency to stop him.  

We are not revolutionaries, we are the revolution Thomas and his friends dreamt up, drew the blueprints for, and built on the hot blood that soaked the green countryside of Virginia, Pennsylvania, Carolina  who’s names are only possible because of the stubborn bravery of these idealists, these socialists, these men of vision that had the hubris to build a nation founded not by the right of kings or church or even the wealthy, but by the enlightenment values of Liberty, Justice and Freedom. 

These values, of course, aren’t just American, although they are the foundation stones of our democracy.  Thomas Paine author of Common Sense, The Age of Reason and the Rights of Man who’s title alone reveal the nature of his philosophy:  to build a nation on Reason, not religious superstition.  It’s not that Thomas Paine didn’t believe in the Divine, he just believed in Reason more:

“It is by the exercise of reason that man can discover God. Take away that reason, and he would be incapable of understanding anything.”hqdefault

Later, a member of the French Senate, he would lend his hand to writing the Jean-Jacque Rousseau’s version of the Declaration of the Rights of Man in 1789, along with Thomas Jefferson.  Rousseau’s Rights of Man became the basis of the UN Human Rights Charter as well as the EU Human Rights initiative.  So next time you hear some jackass complaining about Liberals going on and on about Human Rights you might want to mention that they’re disrespecting the  Founding Fathers, two of whom (Thomas Jefferson and Thomas Paine) contributed to the declaration.

In fact, Universal Human Rights is the soul not only of our Constitution but the Declaration of Independence, the UN Charter and the adopted law of all members of the European Union.    Human Rights is the one thing that Donald Trump can’t abide because he has dedicated his life to the accruement of power, power for its own sake.  Trump really isn’t that bothered by actual money in spite of his public persona.  What he is dedicated to is what money buys:  people, power and governance; and this is exactly where we have gone astray from the origins of our nation.  We have handed our own governance over to banks, corporate interests and the uber-affluent who can afford to buy a Congressman or a President.   

Mueller’s investigation will very shortly reveal the origins of the money that bought Trump his presidency.  We know already that the NRA contributed 30 million dollars early in his campaign.  Do you remember that lie about how Trump said he was incorruptible because he could afford to fund his own campaign?  I know, I know, it’s hard to remember all the lies Trump has spouted.

Do you know why the Truth is better than a lie?

Why? Because it’s easier to remember.

But going back to the pistol Thomas Paine is holding against Donald Trump’s head; no, I didn’t forget my premise.  Imagine it with me.  There’s Thomas Paine, his hand steadily holding the cocked pistol, fully powdered and loaded with a small lead ball.  Tiny, but big enough to leave a good sized hole at such close range.  And there’s Donald Trump on his knees, shaking.  He’s already wet the pants of his the suit he’s wearing.  He tries very hard to hold back his urgent need to defecate and fails. 

Now Donald Trump is soiled.  Soiled himself the same faeces he’s been feeding to the American voters for years.  Soiled by his indifference, his empathy deficit, his reckless, unfeeling impulses, his sociopathic disconnect from the human race.  Remember, Donald, to say ‘I hear you’.  It fools them every time and leaves plenty of time for self-gratification at the expense of others.  Trump is soiled by his own inhumanity, his unbridled carnal greed to accumulate, wealth, power, women.    He assaults women not because he can get it up anymore but because they have power which he needs to dominate. 

Look at his wife.  I haven’t seen such a blank dead look of a hostage to circumstance since Patty Hearst.  It was the money that bought her and (like some particularly gruesome episode of Back Mirror), she got exactly what she paid for, with her integrity her  and self-respect.   Imagine the morning she awoke to the dawning denouement.   Sure she could leave any time, with her child.  But where would she go?  What would she do?  In the afterlife of existence everyone writes a book and sells it.  When things go badly; when the world seems to be against me; when I lose; I always remind myself – it could always get worse and at least I don’t have to fuck Donald Trump. 

The thought makes me feel better but my heart tears up when I think of her suffering.  It is the suffering of the affluent.  The ones who have accommodated everything they were told they needed to be happy.  Everything they worked hard to acquire in lieu of happiness only to find that very object  eluding them.   That’s the horror of the denouement, you reach the summit of your life’s ambition and now the only thing left to do is jump off.  Because Happiness is not an object or an objective.  It flits effortlessly in and out of our lives like a butterfly, briefly lingering on a flower and moving on.  Ever try to chase a butterfly?   Exactly.

Back to Donald Trump having shit and pissed himself while one of the Fathers of our country held a pistol to his head.  Perhaps at this point Donald would beg for his life.Like the scene in Miller’s  Crossing.  “Please, Thomas, Please.  Look in your heart, look in your heart.  You don’t want to do this.  You’re not that kind of man.  Look in your heart, for godssake !”.

bb5357582397e9a25fc3653a7b4a5232dfc079fbGod is a natural place to go to.  After all, the divisions we are now facing in our country are by no means recent.  They’ve been brewing for decades.  The divisions are not entirely geographic although the 3 states that assured Donald of his electoral victory does have a concentration of post-calvinist  evangelicals.    No are they solely cultural; after all, Donald Trump is the epitome of the urban gangster.  A smooth talking, wheeling dealing property developer soaking in the comfort of Manhattan luxury.  He should be anathema to his base of supporters.  But he’s not, instead he speaks their language; the language of PT Barnum and Charlie Chan both as fake as a wooden nickel but master showmen to a ’T’ (Only white actors played Charlie Chan which ironically was invented by Earl Derr Biggers as  an alternative to Yellow Peril stereotypes and villains like Fu Manchu).

And Trump talks about God.  He doesn’t so much talk about his beliefs (if he has any), but about the threat that nonbelievers and other religions pose for Christian Evangelists, particularly targeting Islam.  Trump runs his own Circus of Fear and the punters are more than happy to pay to be scared or at least have their irrational fears affirmed. Donald Trump should be played by the late Robert Mitchum (if he were still alive. Hey, we brought Thomas Paine from 2 centuries ago; a zombie Robert Mitchum should not pose too many difficulties).  To be exact, Robert Mitchum in his role as the greed-laden preacher in the class American Gothic The Night of the Hunter in which he plays a psychopathic man of the cloth bent on money and murder (in that order).  He pursues two children who hold the secret to a hidden fortune down a river in the south, riding a donkey and singing hymns.    A fake, a demon, a creature of merciless malice.
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So is Thomas going to shoot Trump in the head for using religion to accumulate power?  Of course not.  Thomas was a believer but not in God, in Reason.  “It is by the exercise of reason that man can discover God. Take away that reason, and he would be incapable of understanding anything.”  The reason Thomas Paine is holding a cocked pistol against the back of Donald Trump’s head is not God; Trump hasn’t blasphemed against Faith; he’s blasphemed against Reason.  Trump has spent his entire career disseminating the appearance of things, not the truth.  Truth is the enemy of Donald Trump, because in Truth, he is an insignificant man in the scheme of things just as we are all beholden to the significance we manufacture and some of us have made peace with that.  Donald Trump has not.   Like a Hungry Ghost Donald is compelled by desire, call it lust, a lust for significance.  This is why he builds towers, not to house offices or hotel rooms, but to prop up as high as he can his name: Trump.

At the start of this year, we had a crisis

in authority due to the steady lies being pumped from the Whitehouse by Tump.  The first rule of autocracy is to shake people’s belief in authority so that they only can believe in you.  Donald Trump is attempting to destroy the pillars of the 4th estate.  Now we’ve entered a period of  crisis in competence.  When the very ability to address real-world problems by Trump and his stooges is dubious at best. 

Remember that the balance of powers  in the Constitution is all beholden to having a Free Press in which people can report the truth and express their opinions of their government.  That’s what Thomas Paine counted on in drafting our rights.  Each right has a corresponding duty. Paine said our first duty is to be kind to others. Paine also said that a person’s corresponding duty is to allow the same rights to others as we allow ourselves. From this basis we can use our abilities to promote mutual understanding. These expanding circles of reciprocal duties and rights weave a tapestry, built on democratic norms, of liberty in the context of societal interdependence.  It’s called a society based on equality.

Did you know that Thomas Paine was the very first American abolitionist? In 1775 he wrote “To Americans: That some desperate wretches should be willing to steal and enslave men by violence and murder for gain, is rather lamentable than strange. But that many civilized, nay, Christianized people should approve, and be concerned in the savage practice, is surprising; and still persist, though it has been so often proved contrary to the light of nature, to every principle of justice and humanity, and even good policy, by a succession of eminent men, and several late publications.”

“Our traders in MEN (an unnatural commodity!)  must know the wickedness of that SLAVE-TRADE, if they attend to reasoning, or the dictates of their own hearts; and such as shun and stifle all these willfully sacrifice conscience, and the character of integrity to that golden idol.”

Thomas Paine was the first white citizen Member of Black Lives Matter.  He and his pal Thomas Jefferson originally included an amendment to the Constitution ending slavery.  They wanted to create a revolutionary society in which ALL men are created equal.  As usual, women would have to wait.   Ofcourse this amendment was vetoed by the southern slave owning states.  The same states suspiciously from which Trump derives the concentration of his base support. 

But the point being that the Founding Fathers, if not all, enough wanted to establish an egalitarian society in all respects.  Paine referred to this, as did the other Framers as ‘the common good’ something the alt-right abhors the notion of as they translate it into control by some body that isn’t them.  Nonetheless, contrary to Constitution literalists the “common good” involves a mental posture taken by citizens in their deliberations where they account for, yet transcend partial interests to look at the good for each and all in their decisions.

Even in business, Trump’s claimed turf,  the right of commerce was seen as transforming the mind-set of feudal, dependent relations between men and their government. It helped transform subjects into confident citizens. Trade was viewed not as laissez-faire, but in a web of social interdependence. It was seen as a major modality for individuals to use their Reason (not Faith), to develop better mutual understanding of others interests in society. While aware that too much indulgence in commerce could lead to the decline of spirit and patriotism, making reason subservient to commercial interests,   Paine felt that man would use his religion of reason to place commerce within a broader quest for lifelong education in the arts, sciences, engineering, and philosophy in order to progress to a universal society and universal happiness.

Paine believed that man’s highest spirit of reason in its motives and applications such that it does not have to be concentrated solely in pursuit of commercial interests. Art, science, and commercial enterprise can be placed in service to humanity and universal happiness.  Moreover, each individual deserves minimal dignity and a minimal economic base to pursue their natural rights. Like Paine and Edward Bellamy advocated two hundred years ago, some form of guaranteed minimal annual income ought to be adopted for each citizen, regardless of wealth or other distinctions.   Imagine what Thomas Paine would make of the modern day commercialized medical establishment!

Sounds like a socialist that Thomas Paine, don’t he?  Not at all really, just your average post-Enlightenment philosopher and thinker.  Or only as far as Socialism is dedicated to the fairer distribution of resources so that everyone might enjoy Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness more equally.  “Some men and women, through greed or disproportionate natural or social advantages, will contribute to others being systematically impoverished in the imperfections of manmade civilization”

”The earth is the common property of the human race”; thus each human being is equally entitled to have dignity and minimal share of the earth’s bounty, including clean water, air, and access or rents from land  Thus, men and women must discover those laws operating in society which will create a greater harmony of overall interests. Democratic communities will have to choose to redistribute some minimal baseline of societal resources to those at least most vulnerable not as charity, but as a right in the name of social harmony.”

Paine conceived of autonomous democratic nation-states forming alliances of mutual aid. Mikhail Gorbachev has said that we ought to have a balancing of interests, not a balancing of power on the global stage internationalization, with the primacy of nation-state alliances, is a major alternative to the trends of corporate economic globalization. In the myth of a “flat” world of economic globalization, where the world is made safe and frictionless for capital expansion,

Citizens and nations do not vote for corporate influenced governmental-military-industrial-media alliances and trade agreements which establish “the rules of the game” subtly conditioning the thinking of the masses. 

These are not ancient words.  These are the principles America was founded on and without which we would have early on taken the road to the same form of despotism and autocracy  that Donald Trump is trying to lead us into.   Trump only wants power.  Power to control what is true and what is not.  Power to determine the fates and existence of as many people as he can.  This is why he loves the idea of a wall, the decoration of undocumented long term residents and the border checks at airports that targets people of the Muslim faith, as well as people that white people think look like Muslims!

In his own way, from his visionary perspective, Thomas Paine was what the right wing calls a Globalist or even more bizarrely a statist.  Of course the founding father were statists, they constructed the blueprint for the United STATES.

Bernie Sanders was right. Trump isn’t Conservative or moderate, much less liberal; he’s an autocrat who has no respect for the Constitution and has failed as commander and chief to protect this country from a foreign antagonist.

Back to the curb where Paine is holding Trump hostage to the imperatives of history and the gentle squeezing of Thomas’s trigger finger.   Because Donald Trump is a traitor to his state.   He has been under the influence of a foreign antagonist Vladimir Putin since at least 2014, shortly after he first announced his attempts at the Presidency.   He needed money to run a campaign for President and he didn’t have any.  No bank would loan him money because Trump always welched on his debts.     So he had to turn to Deutsche Bank, the same bank that Putin and his oligarchy use to  make money disappear and reappear wherever is most expedient.  In this case it was the Presidential campaign of Donald J. Trump. 

This will all become very shortly apparent as soon as the next wave of indictments are issued by the DOJ.   Trump is in a jam that he can’t get out of.   Mueller’s investigation on behalf of the federal department of justice is very far from being a witch hunt. Read the indictments, all the evidence is published there, enough to hold up in federal court. Mueller, if you recall, is a conservative Republican of impeccable integrity.

BTW, I don’t detest Conservatives; some of my best friends…etc. But Trump isn’t really a conservative, he’s a con man playing the GOP for whatever he can get away with. I don’t hate conservatives, I hate liars who shamelessly lie every day they open their mouths. I hate incompetents who can’t even keep one national security advisor on board during his first year and whose family and campaign advisors were meeting with Russian intelligence during the 2016 campaign.

At this point in the event, Donald Trump moves his head slightly.  Thomas steadies his hand.  Testing Thomas, Trump slowly turns his head enough to glimpse Thomas’s steely stare.  As unflinching as Mueller’s investigation.  Once again Trump pleads, begs for his life.  “What do you want Mr. Paine?  I’ve got money tons of money.  What about women?  I can get you the most beautiful models in the world.  What about an audience with the Queen of England, she’s easy.”   Thomas pauses and for the first time speaks to Donald J. Trump:

“I want my country back.  I want the nation myself and my brothers built out of Reason, Compassion and Equality back.  I want what this nation is meant to be, not what you have defiled it as.”

Trump knows his goose is cooked.  He can’t repair the damage he’s caused.  It will take others, long after he’s gone to rebuild our country.  Others who are younger than a 70-year-old patriarch.  Others who have grown accustomed to being one nation in a physically interconnected  world.  Others who aspire to rise above the fumes of spiritual superstition to the level of what Paine himself called “our living awareness of the Infinite Presence.” by means of Reason.  Science, the Arts, the cooperative nature of our fellow hairless apes.  The high school students who have stood up and proclaimed “enough is enough”  The women who no longer cover their mouths and stifle their words when being subject to interpersonal tyranny.  These are the children of Thomas Paine.  These are the people he fought for and wrote for.

As a species we survived and dominated this planet by virtue of our complex means of cooperation, not competition.  That complex is what we refer to as a Society and those who reject the notion are, well  just anti-Social.

Donald Trump speaks to Thomas Paine one last time.
“Please Thomas, I promise to be better, I promise to live up to your virtues, I swear I’m a changed man.  Look in your heart Thomas, look in your heart, Please!….”

He speaks his  last four words to the man on his knees in front of him:

“I have, you traitor.”

Thomas pulls the trigger.

©Igor Goldkind 2018

These Curious Hands


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These Curious Hands

The world is not a mystery, my friends.

It is an enigma waiting to be unwrapped from its riddle

A safe anticipating its own combination.

To open and reveal what has been safely locked away since before time Began.

The puzzle patiently poised for its pieces to coincide

With your hands.

To fill the gaps they were carefully carved to fit.

Together.

The question is not who made the world we each live in

The question is who made the hands that fit the world together,

In anticipation of our futile and yet eternal curiosity.

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Victory is Ailing but Still Not Defeated!


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This blog is now my sole cognitive link to the outside world.
At least today it is.

I can’t physically be where I need to be so I’m posting here thinking that if enough people read my status, that it somehow puts me in the real world of social transactions and mini Games of Thrones.

Victory is not defeated but ailing.
I put my black steel steed in the hands of Spencer, the young mechanic who plays my Sancho Panza in this story. He’s humble because all of Victory’s afflictions are his fault. But I don’t rub it in.
“Sancho,” I say. “There’s no point in wasting time in pointing fingers. It’s never really just one cause, usually a combination of factors. I’m just glad that you’re willing to drive out here at 7 in the morning to take a look”.

I help Sancho Panza push my bike up into the back of his truck.

One good reason I’ve found for being nice (or civil, as I used to call it), is because so few people really are. Oh, they want to be taken for nice people alright; and would be highly distressed to find that others might think otherwise. Being nice provides a tactical advantage.

Although, I liked Spencer the young bike mechanic. An engineer in practice if not in credentials. My bike is first up this morning so if it can be fixed, it will be fixed in time for me to hit the 5 for San Diego and the Pancakes and Booze Art Market where I’m exhibiting some of my mother’s works for sale right next to Mario Torero. Sell some watercolours, some pastels and loads of books I hope.

I enjoy the role of an “art-barker”.
It feels like an honest effort for very little pay; however, the rewards are luxurious.

There are so many jobs that aren’t so and so many professions that once were and have since gone astray into the mercenary end of pure commercial exploitation. Marketing people use the term ‘exploitation’ to refer to the product they’re peddling but what they really mean is the market they want to buy it.

“Don’t say you support the arts, buy some!” is my shill.

So if my Victory is assured and returned to me by 3, I will make my way south on the 5 lane asphalt ribbon to the City on the Bay.

Last night I missed the ceremony for the official induction of 3 copies of IS SHE AVAILABLE? into the central library’s local author collection. Not just me, but that of my historic friend Chris Ernest Nelson, as well. His book Harvest lying right next to IS SHE? in a glass case.

Just like William Blake at the British Library when it used to be a separate building from the British Museum. And Joe Orton’s mutilated library books for which he spent prison time inside, now under glass inside the Islington Library in London, the very library he stole them from in the first place. In England, they put both the author and the work behind glass. In England, people go to jail for unpaid library fines. And mutilating books into art collages.

So I missed by success at convincing the library to take my book which they rejected at least twice. Once because it didn’t fit into their category system, the second because of Michael S Kane‘s Andy Warhol/Jack Kirby Madonna and child. But no child, just Mother Mary nurturing a revolver.

It’s been the image that has caused the most alarm and offence amongst bookstores, book buyers and of course libraries. I have been closing high order deals with chains on more than one occasion, only to have the buyer happen to land on Shaky’s spread and immediately handing my book back to me. Atta-boy Shaky, I’m living on desperation row thanks to you!

Shakey KaneThe irony is that our intention from the beginning was to apparently offend. There is nothing specifically offensive or pornographic about the image of a pre-pubescent blond girl holding a big pink gun. Not even the word ‘Vagina’ standing out in Rian Hughes‘s sculptural typography of the text to the poem.

In fact, there’s nothing offensive or shocking about the image at all, just the impression that one will be shocked. And of course, the real content, the real meaning of the poem and the illustration is that gun-violence is what we should really be offended and shocked by and yet are no longer. Judge for yourself below.

At any rate, I am home alone; sound but unsafe, calmly nervous by events beyond my control that are inevitably unfolding. G/d will pretend, when the time comes, that the end of the world was what he had planned all along.

Everybody improvises their intentions.

Just wait and see.