Sex Life Of A Man Without One #5

I am in the midst of a slight predicament. Lately I have been seeking out pleasure more than normal. I have heard it said that this is what human beings do who are in the the midst of suffering. As of late I have been spending more time in the bathtub than normal. My bathroom is lined with blue tiles and the rusty faucet drips small oval water drops into the warm bath water. I will sit there until my heart starts to palpitate and think so many thoughts that my head is spinning when I get out from the tub. The bathroom at midnight is the most quiet place in the world for me to contemplate my life.

Lately I have been looking at the Craig’s List erotic postings more than normal. I have been drawn to not only the pictures of scantily dressed women but also the the titles of the add. “Best Head Doctor In Town,” “Three Sexy Holes For The Price Of One.” It seems as if the titles are exciting me more than the actual erotic pictures of women. And then yesterday it occurred to me- I am obsessed with the fantasy. My life has become so mired in struggle that I am escaping through the mechanisms of fantasy. I am becoming a man obsessed with naughty words.

My wife is fed up with me because in the midst of this obsession I am failing to take care of real responsibilities. Rather than spending my days searching for the raunchiest title I can find that will throw my depressed body into spasms of ecstasy (yesterday I found an add that caused me to immediately gesticulate- “Petite Young Pussy Wants To Snuggle Up With Lonely Cock“)- I should be paying for bills, exercising, cleaning our home, taking the dog for walks and looking for work. But instead, I have become a man stuck in a limbo of pornographic memorabilia.

In the bathtub I use all my might to stay away from my penis. It is not an occasion to indulge my need to orgasm. Taking a bath for me is a time of meditation, of renunciation. I sit there trying to cultivate the silence that alludes me all through out the day. My wife (who is suffering from a chronic cough) will knock on the door every ten minutes to ask me how I am doing. The answer is always the same (“fine, thank you” or “still simmering in hell and high water”). Occasionally I will take a whiskey straight into the tub with me but as of late I have noticed that this simple pleasure has created more suffering for me in the form of uncomfortable irregular heartbeats.

Last night while sitting in the tub I started to think about if there could possibly be a way out of this predicament of not having sex with my wife and being obsessed with the Craig’s List erotic postings. The therapist that I have been seeing has told me to remain patient, “to accept myself as I am without judgment and strive to make little choices that will make my life a lot happier.” She is a Buddhist and is always quoting from the Buddha. The other day she told me, “the Buddha said, seek not pleasure from pleasure but pleasure from suffering.” “What is that supposed to mean?” I asked her. “You seem to be caught up in a cycle of trying to seek out pleasure so that you can escape from your deeper feelings about your life,” she said looking me straight in my eyes. “Yes,” I replied, waiting for this to make sense. “When you can begin facing your deeper feelings, being present with where you are at and feeling it, rather than running away from it by seeking out sexual fantasy, than you can begin to start cultivating pleasure out of where you are at!!

I have been confused by this, but last night while soaking in the tub I may have experienced a revelation. While sitting there in the nude- I noticed that deep down were feelings are felt I was experiencing discomfort. My innate reaction was to reach for my penis and create a feeling of forced pleasure. But rather than masturbating I decided to just sit with my discomfort, to be present with it rather than run away into fantasy. Everything started to come up- all my months of dissatisfaction and failure. There I was naked in front of it. Now I was able to start to process all this heavy baggage that was beginning to cause me real physical discomfort in my body.

And then just today while sitting in front of my computer staring at a brunette who has sticking her index finger up her vagina and smiling for the camera, I got it. Seek out pleasure from suffering. This means- be present with my discomfort and learn how to transform it into pleasure rather than run from it and go shopping or look at pornography (or whatever my means of escape may be). Just be with the pain…..feel the pain.

So I have been doing this all day and have now broken out into a rash and have a slight fever. My wife says that something is coming out of me that seems to have been stuck deep down for a long time. She has been bringing me hot water and lemon and warm soup. I look at her and smile and realize that there may be a possiblity that I can learn to really make love to my wife. Last time she brought me hot water I thanked her and said “do not worry, sweetheart- I am only in the midst of a slight predicament.”

A Man Out Of Tune.

As a younger man I played the piano more often than I may have wanted. My Grandfather was a violinist for the San Francisco Symphony and he noticed a particular talent in me. Despite his weakness for promiscuous women, he was a committed father and husband who dedicated himself to teaching me “The ways of Beethoven.” As I played he would hummmm along a bit out of tune with the piece I was playing. I would ask him to stop but he would always furiously respond that “the world is not a friendly place! You must learn to play along when things are out of tune!!”

So along went our daily lessons and over time I noticed that he would fall asleep during the middle of our sessions together. He had taken to drinking whiskey and had developed thrombosis in his leg. He no longer took my musical career with as much seriousness as he once did because “I was incapable of playing along in a world that was out of tune.”

I studied music in college and ten years after my grandfather passed away (he was run over by a train) I developed the same obsession for promiscuous women. My first real love was with a bisexual young lady who drank more than a fifth of whiskey a day and collected rare birds. She was often drunk when we went out for dates and passed out by the time I took her home. With my music I had wanted to cure a world from all its imbalances and with my first love, well, I wanted to save her from herself. I wanted to be the knight in shinning armor that would come along and rescue her from the booze that eventually she chose over me.

My heart was broken but I poured my despair into the keys of the piano that I played mercilessly. Unrequited love had caused my soul to separate from myself and turned me toward a punishment that Psychologists refer to as Bulimia. I felt as if I did not deserve the food that I ate and whenever possible I would relieve myself with a pencil or pen down the throat. It was also around that time (my mid-twenties) that I was hired to be the lead pianist for the Oakland Symphony. My career as a maestro of the piano seemed to be budding but my weight and spirit was descending.

It was also around this time that I started to develop GERD (Gastro Intestinal Reflux Disorder). During my performances I would be overcome with a terrible need to burp and release gas. On the piano the microphone is hooked up close to the chest region of the pianist so when loud gas is released or a burp accidentally escapes- it can be heard in the middle of Bach, Brahms, Rachmaninoff or whatever piece I would be performing. This happened often and I remember the day that I saw in the San Fransisco Sunday Chronicle an article entitled “The Pianist and his Intestinal Sonatas.” I was mortified by the fact that the journalist wrote about my inability to refrain from farting during my performance of Brahms No. 1 in D minor or burping during a Beethoven Paino Concerto No. 5 in E-flat major. He also noticed that I was suffering from some horrible wasting disease. The word was out, people started judging me unfairly and I felt completely at a loss to accept myself. I started what I now refer to as the years of self hatred.

Self hate only drove me into a long winter of alcohol abuse. I drank two bottles of red wine a day and developed a serious obsession for eating cheese. Nothing brought me as much satisfaction as sitting alone in my rented room and eating cheese and drinking red wine until I passed out. I especially enjoyed eating warm brie or white cheddar cheese and drinking a bottle of red wine before my performances. But this indulgance also cost me my job, because even though the errors were subtle- I was throwing off the entire symphony because I was “out of tune all time,” the director told me.

In my attempts to create a world that was in tune through my music, I had strangely become out of tune myself. I was 28 years old and addicted to wine and cheese. I had managed to overcome my bulimia but I was afraid of eating food the was not made by my own person. I slept with strange women and started to develop a sexual addiction that lead me into some of the strangest whore houses in Amsterdam, Spain and Carson City Nevada. I was a man whose only purpose had become to forget about the musicality of life and seek out desperate pleasure at whatever cost- so that I could avoid feeling the pain of a world that was out of tune.

At the age of twenty nine I found myself broke and with little prospects for the future. Working in a gourmet shop that sold various kinds of cheeses and wines allowed me the time to take up tennis. I stopped playing after a few months because I found myself always frustrated by my inability to return a lob. I started meditation but could never stop hearing my grandfather voice saying over and over “you have got to learn how to play along with a world that is out of tune!!” The world had become like one big muted tone and I often reminded myself of my grandfather, sound asleep during the middle of a lesson.

The End.

The Hairbrush and The Thief.

I have been in need of a good quality hairbrush for some time. My hair likes to gather together in lumps and locks which refuse to let go of one another. I am at times subjected to the most excruciating pain when combing my hair. Often I avoid this task, letting my hair have the freedom to form whatever shape it wishes. I was told that if I purchased a better quality hairbrush, the pain would not be so great when brushing my hair.

My parents invited me to go with them to view a possible home that they were considering for purchase. It was a large home, still decorated by the current owners modern furniture. There were sputnik lights all over the ceilings and Andy Warhol rugs covering the heated hardwood floors. There were all kinds of bookcases and credenzas filled with books on art and artists along with numerous antique objects. Whom ever the owners of the home were, they obviously had not only much more money than myself but also a collection of culture that very few people could compete with.

The home was a celebration of modernism and the rewards of financial success. It was designed by the innovative architect Alvar Aalto– and was a complete reaction to the dull aesthetic of box homes built for form and function. This home had winding staircases, spiraling hallways and domed ceilings. The real estate agent led us from room to room describing the home with his refined English accent and educated explanations. I could smell the rank scent of alcohol on his breath when he laughed.

My father and mother were pensive. The real estate agent did what he could to paint a picture of the home that no man/woman could resist. I became bored with his pragmatic descriptions and asked which bathroom I could use. Down this hall, around that corner and through some door I traveled until I reached a bathroom that was surrounded with mirrors and heated by radiant heat. The sinks were made of gold and the toilet was marble and had an electronic device that flushed the toilet and activated a fan with a cedar scent. It was at that moment that I realized my parents pensiveness was the result of a realization that there was no way they could afford the house.

I pulled up my pants and proceeded to wash my hands. By chance I opened one of the bathroom doors for no reason at all and inside I found a large black hairbrush. The bristles were made of sheep’s tail and the rest of the brush was made out of ivory. On the handle of the brush was an engraving which said Holmes Hairbrushes For Men, London, Since 1886. When I brushed my hair with it, there was a tingly, almost ecstatic feeling on my scalp. This was the nicest brush I had ever come across. I had to have it.

Fortunately I was wearing a thick coat and had little guilt about stealing from rich people. I stuck the brush in the inside pocket of my coat, washed my hands again and made my way back out to where my parents and the agent were gathered.

“How did you like the bathroom?” the agent gregariously said to me expecting a fascinated response. “Quit an experience,” I replied with a slight cynical smile. My mother then told me that they were just talking about the owner of the home. “Yes, he invented teeth whitening,” the agent said with a contrived look of pride in his eyes. My parents were impressed but all I could do was think “oh, well that explains all the ostentatious wealth.” I then heard my father release gas when the agent said “I talked to the owner today who said that they would be willing to sell the home for $3.4 million.”

I had lunch with my parents afterwards. My father kept bemoaning the self declared fact that he had worked hard all his life and that he deserved to live in whatever kind of home he wanted. My mother tried to be sensible and tell him that he could live in whatever home he wanted as long as it was less expensive. “You guys are too old to go into debt,” was all I could add. “Son, I have enough money to afford that home if I wanted to,” my father said with a hint of frustration in his voice. It was like he was trying to convince himself of something that he knew to be untrue.” Okay dad, you can have your dream home, fill it with all the debt you want,” I remember thinking to myself.

At home, I stood in my freezing cold bathroom (my house is without heat) and brushed my hair for at least an hour. Every frustrated lock in my hair came undone. My scalp was tingling with such joy that I can swear that my hair grew an inch. I rubbed the bristles of the brush against my face and under my chin. I basically took a head bath in that wonderful brush. I then spent a few hours reading One Hundred Years Of Solitude until my wife came home from her night shift. She noticed the beautiful hairbrush on the counter in our bathroom. She asked about it and I could not tell a lie. I may be a thief but I am not a liar.

“You stole this!! What kind of man of integrity are you!!! You want me to have your children!!!! Just last evening you were talking about the virtues of honesty and respect. How could you violate another’s property, no matter how rich they may be? You are 36 years old and do not need to steal other men’s hairbrushes. Get a job and buy your own!!!!” She went on and on until I started to feel a tightness in my chest. Had my small act of theft compromised my integrity? We both have been struggling to make ends meet and the last thing I could afford to loose was my integrity. “Beside,” my wife said, “don’t you know that using another man’s hairbrush could make your hair fall out?” I then looked down at the book I had been reading and noticed a smile pile of hair that had collected upon the page. “You have to return that brush,” my wife said.

My wife packed the brush in a brown paper lunch bag. On the outside of the bag in black pen I wrote I borrowed your hairbrush for a few hours. I did not leave my name. Instead I just wrote the hairbrush and the thief. I drove my car up into the hills where million dollar homes lined the sky line. After a long search I found the Teeth Whitener’s home illuminated with blue and white lights. I pulled up beside the mailbox, rolled my squeaky window down and reluctantly placed the package inside. I could smell the cold midnight air. The air always seems cleaner to me in the neighborhoods where rich people live. It’s almost as if the abundance of money filters out all the pollutants. I took a few deep breaths and looked at the panoramic view of the Bay Bridge, the Golden Gate Bridge and San Fransisco all lit up in the full moon night. As I put my car into second gear and began my descent back to the lower income neighborhood in which I reside, I noticed that my scalp was beginning to itch.

Brunch With My Wife.

My wife woke me up this morning at the early hour of ten a.m. She told me that she wanted to take me out for breakfast. I tried to be polite and say that she did not have to pay, but after a minimal struggle I decided to relent and let her buy me breakfast. I climbed out of bed, put on a cap, changed into something comfortable and we headed out into the cold morning.

I noticed a small itch in the back of my throat and hoped that it was not an impending sickness. I watched the gray building pass by as my wife drove to a particular restaurant she likes in downtown Oakland. I had not much to say on the drive to breakfast and admittedly told her I was feeling a bit low and under the weather. Being that my wife still experiences the good health which is the result of being in your twenties, she always seemed to be in good spirits.

We sat in a corner where a hint of sunlight made its way through the white blinds. The restaurant was recently opened and celebrated the roaring 1920’s with its Art Nouveau style and elegant old world charm. I ordered scrambled eggs with sausages and my wife ordered eggs and toast. To drink we ordered fresh squeezed orange juice. We where unusually silent staring at everything other than one another. There was only a few other costumers in the restaurant and I could feel a pressure between my wife and I that was soon to come undone.

My wife then cleared her throat and said, “Look I am feeling the need to talk with you about certain things.” “Okay honey, please,” I said welcoming any form of communication. She was hesitant and then began “well…I am worried about you.” “You are worried about me?” I asked- trying to pretend that I was surprised about such a statement. I was not surprised at all.

“Yeah, I am worried. Don’t you have a feeling that anything is wrong?” “What, could be wrong?” I responded feigning a false ignorance. I knew that a lot is wrong. “Look, in the past week you have been experiencing frightening heart symptoms, you have tried to have sex with me in your sleep and you have been sleep walking again, you sit around the house all day doing and saying very little, you are running out of money and are a unemployed high school Teacher with so much talent…. and, and.. last night you were all most arrested while taking a walk and I have noticed that you have been depressed. I feel like something energetically is off with you….and I am concerned.” Then she went silent and seemed to be thinking of other things to add to her list.

I did not know how to respond. Being a male it seems as if some innate mechanism within me wants to deny being helpless at whatever cost. Most males deny their helplessness by gaining wealth and/or power, by over working themselves- but I had and have very little to cover up my helplessness other than a straight silent face.

“I mean common honey none of what is going on with you concerns you? Don’t you feel like you need to take a good look at your life and make some effective decisions that will allow you to make positive changes…so that you can be happy?”

Of-course everything that my wife was saying was accurate. I could not disagree with her but something inside of me wanted to resist her argument. I wanted to say that everything would be okay and not to worry, but I was unable to mumble this obvious delusion. So all I could muster up from the depths of my soul was “things are difficult now, I know…but it only temporary.”

I have $2,400 dollars left in my bank account and no prospects of a job lined up on the horizon. Yesterday I went for a job interview as a drug and alcohol counselor but it is my belief that I sabotaged the interview by wearing jeans and asking the panel interviewing me, “so there is not much bureaucracy in this job is there?” They did not know how to respond. When one person on the panel asked me how my parents would describe me I said, “a nice kid, but a big disappointment.” The interview only lasted twenty five minutes.

“How did the job interview go yesterday?” my wife asked me. “I’d rather not talk about it,” I said staring down at the white table cloth. The waitress came with our food and kindly asked us if we would like anything else. I smiled at her and told her we were fine, “thank you.” As I watched her walk away I felt a chill run up my spine when the thought came into my mind that if I did not find a job soon I was going to have to return to the work of being a Waiter. I did this job (which almost always left me feeling like I had been dragged behind a car across asphalt for hours) for many years and I AM TERRIFIED OF HAVING TO RETURN to this world of contrived smiles and disappointed dreams.

“How are your eggs?” my wife asked me. “They are good, how about yours?” “They’re a little under cooked and soggy, but it’s okay,” she said while chewing her food. “Sorry about that,” I said not knowing if I really meant it- and we continued to eat the rest of our breakfast in silence.

The Stranger

I was almost arrested for being a stranger in my own neighborhood. I had failed to notice before today the sign postings which say “Neighborhood Watch: Please Report Any Suspicious Behavior Or Persons To The Police Department.” I have a tendency to walk with my eyes plastered to the ground rather than staring at the sky. As a child my father would always tell me to keep my chin up.

I have been spending a large majority of time inside the confines of my home. My wife had noticed that I was wearing the same outfit at dinner time that I had slept in the night before. I was feeling out of shape, depressed and concerned about a lingering arrhythmia that I have been noticing in my chest. After dinner I told my wife that I needed to go for a walk. “But it is freezing cold outside,” she replied- to which, I responded “the cold ain’t gonna be what kills me baby.”

I am a tall man. Almost six foot seven to be exact. I have long hair and a strangely long and asymmetrical face. My nose is almost the size of my feet and I have arms which are droopy and mis-proportioned to the rest of my body. I dressed in many layers, stuck on a ski hat which covered my elfin ears and headed out into the great outdoors.

The neighborhood was quiet. Deep in the distance I cold hear cold fog horns. There was an icy bucolic feeling which hung around in the air. Christmas ornaments and lights filled the windows with a strange surreal quality. Inside families seemed to be warm and tragically in love with their lives. I on the other hand was rubbing my hands together for warmth and feeling the alienation that a Jewish man feels around the time of Christmas. I walked slowly, trying to be present with my breath. My footsteps sounded to me like muted knocks against a castle door. I wanted to walk for enough time that it would take the cold to freeze all my problems.

There is a Buddhist mantra that I recite whenever I feel the need. To warm up my lungs and blood I decided to recite the mantra as I walked. Om Mani Padme Hum. I sang this mantra over and over as I walked along, forgetting about time and the loudness of my voice. As soon as I began to forget about the cold I felt the warmth of a white light engulfing my entire body. I turned around and saw the multi-colored lights of a police car flashing and coming directly toward me.

“Sir, can you please step over to the side of the sidewalk and take your hands out from your pocket,” one officer said as he walked toward me with his left hand on the handle of his gun. Another officer stood by the passenger side of the police car shinning a bright flash light directly into my eyes. “What seems to be the problem officer,” I said as I covered my eyes with my hands. “Sir keep your hands by your side,” the officer said to me as he approached where I was standing.

“What are you up to this evening sir,” he said with an official tone of authority. I wanted to say what damn business is it to you what I am up to, this is America and in a free country I have a right to be up to whatever I want without having to tell some low ranking man in a silly uniform what I am up to. “I’m just out for a walk officer,” I said too afraid to express my real feelings. “Do you live around here sir?” What business is that of yours, “Yes, sir I live a few blocks over with my wife and cat.” He looked at me from foot to head as if there was something that he found suspicious about my person- beside my unusual height. “Why are you out for a walk when it is freezing cold outside?” he asked getting a little closer to me. “Because I spend too much time inside.”

I could hear on the police radio a female voice saying that there was a domestic abuse complaint called in on Harrison street. Harrison street was only two blocks from where we were. “Don’t you think you should respond to that since it is so close,” I said suggesting that I was an innocent man out for a harmless walk. “Sir, you need not tell us how to do our jobs,” he said with a tone of contempt in his voice. My tax dollars go toward paying your salary but I can’t tell you how to do your job? I wanted to say but kept the peace. “Can I see some form of identification?” the officer then proceeded to ask.

This reminded me of times in Nazi Germany or any Fascist country when you would be out on a walk minding your own business and an officer would approach you and ask to see your papers. “Why do you need to see my identification,” I asked. “We received a complaint from a home owner in the area who said you were acting and looked suspicious.” “Suspicious?” I replied surprised by what I had just heard. “Look, I live in the neighborhood and have just come out for a leisurely stroll.” “That is all and good sir but can you prove to me that you live in the area and that you are who you say you are,” he said not wanting to let me go. “I did not bring any identification with me.”

The officer than proceeded to pull out pen and a piece of paper and asked me for my name and address plus my drivers license number if I had it. The other officer continued to stand by the car door holding the flash light pointing directly at me. “What is this, am I a stranger in my own neighborhood!!” I asked frantically. But the officer stood there waiting to take down my info.

Across the street, behind the Christmas lights I noticed faces staring out from the warmth of their homes watching the events that where taking place. I was the central protagonist in this realer than real Reality television program. I was the stranger in my own neighborhood.

“He is cleared,” the officer holding the flashlight said as he got confirmation of my identity from the operator. I had given them all the info that they wanted so that I could get out of this humiliating situation. The officer who was standing closest to me said “you are free to go but if you could keep your voice down while you are walking around we would appreciate it.” “Keep my voice down?” “Yes sir, the home owner said that there was a really tall man walking around singing loudly in some kind of tongue language.” “I, I was……,” but I decided to forget it and not even try to explain. “Have a nice evening sir, and make sure you don’t stay in the cold for too long,” he said returning back to his police mobile. Like the law really cares about my well being, I thought. I stood there in a kind of silent stupefaction trying to process what just went on as I watched the police car race off down the street to answer the next call of duty. As soon as the police car disappeared, so did the curious faces behind Christmas lit windows.

I had forgotten about the cold, forgotten about my pain, forgotten about everything that had seemed so important to me not more than twenty minutes before. I walked home as quickly as my nimble legs would allow. Who could the home owner that reported me be, I kept saying over and over to myself looking in the windows of strangers homes seeing if anyone looked like a possible candidate. When I finally arrived back in the warmth of my dimly lit home my wife came out and said, “what took you so long I thought you had frozen to death or gotten arrested.”

A Meditation On The Art Of Blogging

“To be is to be perceived.”George Berkeley (1685-1753)

The blog has no beginning and no end. It occupies a gray, formless limbo into which the hero passes at death. The place is probably the inside of his/her distant skull where he/she is bound in time and words.

The “I” that writes is a voice inescapably perceiving its own continuance, the voice of the creature who has been concealed behind and spoken through a computer. He/she slips into the blog with the hopes of learning something about his/her self.

Words are supposed to imprison the infinite, the solution has never been more desperately needed, it has never seemed more impossible. What emerges from this “I” attempt is fragments: chips of meaning, short descriptions, changes of direction, stories rapidly abandoned, all vomited out into a whole that defies the restraining techniques of criticism.

The blog views man/woman and the word as valueless- a zero.

At one point the blogger compares himself/herself to Prometheus- in whose exile he/she notices certain similarities. But the blogger insists that “between me and the miscreant who mocked the Gods, invented fire, denatured clay, and domesticated the horse, in a word obliged humanity, I trust there is nothing in common between us.” Blogging like knowledge, is only a way of multiplying the zeros.

The blogger believes that time is circular, without beginning or end but with repetitions continued into eternity, and each revolution of a blog entry separates one cycle from another. Thus it is conceivable that he/she should exist, excluded from the infinite, within eternity itself.

The blogger dissociates him/herself from him/herself by creating blog entries resulting in a culmination which is an attempt to eliminate everything that is superfluous to the self. The blogger is a “tiny blur in the depths of a computer screen,” pure existence which lacks an authentic relationship. Being looked at is fundamental to human relationships. When looked at we become an object that is definitely located within space and time. “I” exist though unknowable to myself because the other perceives me. Therefore since the blogger can not be perceived he/she suffers the subjective isolation (perpetual dissatisfaction)/freedom- which is the art of being “inconceivable.”

Screeming For Freedom In New Orleans.

I have been appalled lately by these billboards that I am seeing all around that say “New Orleans, The City Where Anything Goes!” These advertisments are brought to you by your better tourist bureau who is basically trying to create enough revenue to turn OLD Orleans into a modern day NEW theme park. It’s a simple ingredient and it has been made in various cities such as New York and San Fransisco and soon to come in Baghdad. Remove the elements of diversity and culture from the city (gentrification) and bring in big business which will create a clean corporate mono culture. A city safe enough for tourism. Clean enough to eat off of the streets. But lets not be fooled. It is no longer a city (which means a diverse economic and culture population of people all co-existing together in a small space)- it is more like a simulation of a city which is a simulation of a corporate think tank on how to turn the citizens into consumers. Our cities are becoming occupied by the forces of greed.

No better place can this be currently seen than in New Orleans. Just today, what took place could not be a better demonstration of the workings of this corporate restructuring. A large croup of citizens all gathered together to raise their voices about a particular issue that was being debated by the city council. They patiently waited outside while city officials decided their fates inside. The irony is that what was going on inside had nothing to do with what was going on outside (this is a symbol of the split between government and people).

Inside the city council was debating whether or not to tear down large amounts of public housing. Thousands of citizens in New Orleans have been without housing since Hurricane Katrina and thousands more have been living in trailers without running water or electricity. On the outside the crowd was gathered together not only to protest the moral authority of a body politic that would even think about tearing down public housing when so many have not even had housing for so long. They were also protesting the utter destruction of their quality of life and the constant neglect that is the result of a corporate occupation of a city. They are fighting for the very substance and survival of the city that they love and are being systematically cleansed from.

Police officers, growing wherry of the large crowd that was gathering tried to control the situation through a means that only made the frustration of the crowd turn to anger. “They are tired of being controlled and manipulated into submission by strangers who claim to be the authorities,” one activist/friend said who called my from the event. “They are a people that feel as if they are being ethnically cleansed from their city. They feel that they have a right to be a part of any decision making process that involves their fate,” he said before hanging up the phone because things were heating up. Gathering together their human dignity they pushed through the barriers that the police erected and attempted to make their was into the city council meeting (in case it is not obvious to you, the majority in the crowd where African American).

Those unlucky enough to be in the front lines were wrestled to the ground, hit with police clubs and “electrocuted” by police who were committed to violating the human rights of American citizens. Watching this sad scene on my computer I felt as if I was watching footage from the civil rights clashes of the fifties and sixties.

What we need in this country is a new civil rights movement. A commitment to apprehend power from corporations who are stripping each and every one of us of our freedom (did you know that over 300,000 American citizens go to Tijuana every year for medical care because they can not get it in America). The citizens of this country are viewed as tools to maximize profits for corporations (this is what education has become- an organized system the trains students to become workers, or maximizers of profit. No wonder our educational system is in crisis) and if they can not do this are “washed out of the city,” as one citizen said who was apart of todays peaceful turned violent gathering. “What is happening in New Orleans is a symbol of that which is taking place in all of our souls. Anything that is diverse and unique is being flushed out and turned into a corporate ethos which turns human beings into classified consumers,” said my Buddhist Teacher when I talked to him about todays events.

If we continue to allow what is going on in New Orleans to continue we are allowing the corporate take over of our very souls. We are allowing injustice to become the norm and allowing innocent people around the world to be displaced and murdered in the name of Democracy and Freedom. Yes, I am bothered every time I see a billboard on the side of the road that says “New Orleans, The City Where Anything Goes!!” It is a blatant lie and an assault on our intelligence. Yes, I suppose anything goes in New Orleans, unless you are poor, neglected, displaced, sick, American and screaming out for freedom.