Cremation of Care

Cremation of Care, Bohemian Grove, Northern California Porter Garnett, 1908

I’m not proud to be an American, where authority is taken as the truth, rather than the truth as the authority. My presidents have hocked lie after lie despite foudroyant proof of the government’s penetralia sugar coated in the name of the landofthefree and the homeofthebrave.

FREE meaning: not under the control or in the power of another; able to act or be done as one wishes. FREE meaning, no police brigades at peaceful protests, no reduction of civil liberties, no deduction of internet privacy, no distraction from the truth. The truth! The truth will set you free!

The truth is wealthy political figures in white cloaks don theatrical voices in Northern California, chanting to an owl deity engulfed in flames clouding the redwoods. I can’t ignore suspicious answers, skirting around questions and stuttering from the same bumbling politician.

George W. Bush and George Bush Sr. at the Bohemian Grove, Northern California

I can’t ignore the pattern in the eyes of the political clones on marionette strings, conditioned to lie, conditioned to hide; the truth, their past, their father’s past, their father’s father’s past, their father’s father’s father’s past. How can I feel safe and free in a country whose presidents are members of a secret society, based in the tombs of Yale?

How can we hide under the veil of democracy, shaming our faces in the authoritative land that I am supposed to love? I step onto the earth, feel the snow/grass/soft,wet,ground beneath my feet, I step onto the earth, in America— I feel Apache tears soaked into the soil, thousands of years of land, of time, of lies. A country built on lies with the promise of freedom, the promise for a government of the people, by the people, for the people; when the people are slowly disarmed of their right to defend themselves against the disregard of the fourth amendment. Slowly but surely, the people are becoming powerless.

Conga lines of policemen decked in assault rifles, taser bullets and nightsticks break down doors without warrants, seizing pot from black/white/brown/tan/every shade/every hue/men and women/harmless citizens. I drive down the street, I see government pigs everywhere. A combination of black, white and gold, or red, white and blue; small standard cars, large squadron SUV’s rolling through the streets on a Monday morning. I can’t deny the changes when our politicians speak of the “new world order,” a one world government, a one world religion. Pushing gun control, microchips, more surveillance, more money, more order, more obedience, less thinking, less questioning, less acknowledging, more ignoring, more distractions, distractions!! distractions!!

Owl deity, Moloch, Bohemian Grove, Northern California

Force feeding the people what they think they want; tabloids, Fox News, fast food, hot girls, reality T.V. I can’t ignore these things, I can’t ignore secret societies, lucrative liabilities, owl deities, Egyptian prophecies, Illuminati, molten metal, steel beams, I can’t ignore our enemies! Do you see? Can you see? We can’t ignore anything, we can’t let them slip by another three-hundred years overruling, overriding— when we have the right to alter or abolish. I refuse to wave fifty stars into the empyreal sky screaming God Bless America pledging my goddamn life, lying cold and broken in the cracks of the pavement beating red, black and blue.

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Meow Wolf’s House of Eternal Return

IMG_2768You enter The House of Eternal Return, you’re not sure what that entails. You know very little about this place; it’s Meow Wolf’s first permanent art installation and visitors are meant to ponder the story behind the house. The House of Eternal Return is an old Victorian stuck on the day March 17th, 2016—the story is: a family of four lived there, then mysteriously disappeared. When crawling through fireplaces and refrigerator portals, patrons are encouraged to figure out how the Selig family disappeared.

You enter the house after a brief video; to your left, there’s a nook, for reading or coloring—it has an evening view through a bay window.

To your right, the living room; it looks normal, but then you look closer. The dining room walls melt into plaster and wallpaper creases, the fireplace glows ominously across from a fish swimming through mini naked neon trees the size of your pinkies.IMG_2858

You head for the stairs, but you’re cut off by a woman who opens a Harry Potter style door under the stairs and ducks under, you follow her. Behind the door is a room of low-lighting, plants dangling from the ceiling and an ocean view through sticks from a weaved bird’s nest.

You look up through a rounded window pane at a white paneled hallway with doors that open with the scan of your hand. This is just the beginning, you haven’t seen the plethora of realms to be discovered. You cozy up in a Southwest trailer and admire a desert view through orange hued Plexiglas.IMG_2792

On the other side of the trailer, you explore through a surreal room, you jostle on padded old wash rags cut into grass-like strips and patches. From the ceiling dangle mint and periwinkle vines, they vary in hues, changing in candy colored light.IMG_2899

You journey through a pitch black room, when suddenly white rays of light barrel through the room, they mosh to harp strings plucked by an 8 year old boy and his dad.IMG_2880

Exit right, you wander into hiding doors and subtle stairwells. Somehow you find yourself in a forest of neon naked trees, lining the perimeter of a life sized fish tank. You wave to the floating astronaut, suspended in water you can only imagine.IMG_2920

You don’t stop after you’ve walked around twice, you continue to hop from room to room. In an arcade you play Galaga, you die several times. One hundred glowing eyes cluster the inside of an astrological dome, you lay in a bean bag on Astro-turf and watch them watch you.IMG_2928

A kaleidoscopic video is projected in the father’s home office; next door a black and white room mocks an old Mickey Mouse cartoon, you hear rusty trumpets blow through dusty speakers, hidden somewhere behind a cardboard 1930’s Crosley radio.

The House of Eternal Return, you have learned, entails a house that leads you to realms you’ve never been before, but returns you to destinations you have. Whether it’s the tree house, the front porch or the downstairs level— you eternally return somewhere.

Typewriter Keys Punched Into My Skin

Although the words are etched precisely between my shoulder blades, like typewriter keys punched into my skin, I often forget they exist. What I can’t forget is the violent vibrations from the nape of my neck to my tailbone or the insatiable itch that succeeded. My camera rests on my shoulder, I struggle to slide the lens into focus, but assume it’s good enough. My fingers trip over a garden of buttons before they snap a photo. I zoom in and analyze the tattoo up close, inspecting each letter and line. I seem to have forgotten how well these words resonate with me. It’s been over a year since I writhed under the needle, the words still relevant but not for the same reason. I once thought they reflected who I used to be, a reminder to tread lightly and live vulnerably. But a year passed and I hadn’t seen them as often as my confidence warranted. I look at them now, backwards in the mirror but explicit, they sing louder than the caged bird sings. They define— etched on my spine like a hardcover book, they keep every page of me together, from pro- to epilogue. The theme of every chapter written in between. I am bound to these words that will set me free, I am shackled to the art of a sentence that can change the perspective of everything. Harboring secrets and stories; not wanting to be the skeleton trying to escape the girl ripping at the seams, not wanting to return to treatment for the 7th time because I can’t quite grasp recovery. I’ve wanted to purge myself of the dirty chapters, rip their stitches from my chest cavity, blackout incriminating lines to save myself the embarrassment of struggling. But my story proliferates like Mentholatum crystals on my lungs, it flowers where my wisdom teeth were, it rips through my gums. The whispers that run along my spine, the words stabbing my back and the pages dangling from my scapula; I wear them like I wear my porcelain scars like tiny mouths on my arms baring my untold story. #tinytruth #tinytruths #creativenonfiction #cnf #nonfiction #classassignment #writing #quote #tattoo #writersofinstagram #writerscommunity

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Jax Manhoff

JAX MANHOFF— She sits in front of a red brick wall, kitty corner to atlas wallpaper. Jax sips her organic chai and wrings her tattooed hands. “I think I learned more from traveling than my education.” She sits under white light, the bill of her hat casting a shadow on the right side of her face, her left cheekbone twitches as she recounts her spontaneous trip to India in '84. Jax lived in a apartment in Brooklyn when her friend Sue applied for a grant to India, which she didn't get. “One night we were sitting on the floor and we decided we were gonna go anyway.” Jax then moved to Queens to live with her grandmother, rent free, and waited tables all summer to raise money. Jax and Sue arrived in Delhi without fears or itineraries. She recounts her trek into the Himalaya’s accompanied by sherpa’s. They slept in tents and took kodachrome slides of Mt. Everest. During the trek, they met a group of guys and planned to meet them in Jaisalmer to ride camels across India. Jax danced on dunes in the dead of night, swaying to Bob Marley cooing from her walkman. They smoked beedi’s and drank raksi and slept under familiar constellations though they'd become accustomed to unfamiliarity. “India is an incredible place because there’s such immense beauty and such suffering.” Jax tugs her bottom lip with her teeth, she looks down at her hot chai gone cold. “There will be a wedding down the street and then two minutes later a funeral. It’s such a juxtaposition of heaven and hell.” Most Hindu's who live outside of Banares (or Varanasi) will typically have their bodies flown there to be cremated when they die. Cremation at this specific site means ending the cycle of life and death. “Banaras is a very sacred and holy place, but I was 21, I didn’t realize that. We went upstairs and looked down at it from a rooftop and I photographed it. Then in our boat and the police seized us because you’re not allowed to take pictures.” Jax and her friends claimed they didn’t take a photo while she concealed her camera under her coat. Jax stayed in India for 3 months and went on to adventure new places, but infinitely believes India changed her life. #classassignment #revision

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