Author Archives: j. j. marino

Dawn @ the Hermitage

It’s 5 AM & dawn is starting to break over the flowage here @ the hermitage; my News-Feed is filled w/ gibberish & awash in sentimental blather, friend Solomon’s pics of hot & sweaty, muscled young women the high-point of my cruise through the feed. The geese fly low, in haphazard formation, reflecting themselves in the pink & purple water, a huge pileated woodpecker I’ve been seeing around is kno
cking somewhere close by, and last night’s blackish clouds are moving out towards the south, clearing the sky for Father Sun’s entrance over the treeline a few hundred yards across the water. Coltrane is playing low, ‘A Love Supreme’, and the window is open in front of me, allowing the brisk morning air entrance….Ah, look!….there it is!….the 1st peep of blazing orange sun through the firs! The songbirds are gathering @ the feeders, the cats have been let out & I see Fro down there by the dock, hunting morning critters & keeping an eye out for the eagles. I’ll go back in awhile, I suppose, to Faceland, to see what’s cooking in that other world (it’s like going back to your favorite bar, night after night, afraid you’ll miss something, but what you really miss is the sameness, the comforting familiarity of Freddy Fender on the jukebox, and old Ed, two stools down)….but for now, father Sun is full in the sky & warm on my face, and I feel no need to make wiseass comments on stupid-ass posts; I feel only the deep gratitude of the woodland hermit in his natural element.

j.j. marinoImage

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Dawn @ the Hermitage

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It’s 5 AM & dawn is starting to break over the flowage here @ the hermitage; my News-Feed is filled w/ gibberish & awash in sentimental blather, friend Solomon’s pics of hot & sweaty, muscled young women the high-point of my cruise through the feed. The geese fly low, in haphazard formation, reflecting themselves in the pink & purple water, a huge pileated woodpecker I’ve been seeing around is kno
cking somewhere close by, and last night’s blackish clouds are moving out towards the south, clearing the sky for Father Sun’s entrance over the treeline a few hundred yards across the water. Coltrane is playing low, ‘A Love Supreme’, and the window is open in front of me, allowing the brisk morning air entrance….Ah, look!….there it is!….the 1st peep of blazing orange sun through the firs! The songbirds are gathering @ the feeders, the cats have been let out & I see Fro down there by the dock, hunting morning critters & keeping an eye out for the eagles. I’ll go back in awhile, I suppose, to Faceland, to see what’s cooking in that other world (it’s like going back to your favorite bar, night after night, afraid you’ll miss something, but what you really miss is the sameness, the comforting familiarity of Freddy Fender on the jukebox, and old Ed, two stools down)….but for now, father Sun is full in the sky & warm on my face, and I feel no need to make wiseass comments on stupid-ass posts; I feel only the deep gratitude of the woodland hermit in his natural element.

j.j. marino

Brain-Pain, Facebook & Me

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I have a pain in my brain, just above & behind my right ear. It feels like a loathsome clot of putrescent death worming it’s way through the blood-rich pulpy mass, a knob of metastasizing alien cells heralding some god-awful cerebral hemorrhage.

My good fb friend Sol Black posted this morning about the many fb-status horror stories he’d been reading lately concerning this or that person’s tragedies, calamities, devastations & woes, and concluded: “I wouldn’t tell you if I had cancer.” It made me consider what I’d do, and I have to say I agree with him. Maybe a brief announcement, maybe an update or two….but I don’t know if I’d do even that….there has to be a place where flesh’n’bloods share only with other flesh’n’bloods the most intimate details of their hearts, the profoundest longing of their souls. I’m sure others feel differently, especially those who have gained a degree of emotional support from the commiseration of strangers; and I understand the cathartic benefit of talking about our problems, but please, get a room….private messaging is the perfect alternative to such horror-story public statuses & the deluge of comments that follow.

So I will refrain from telling you about this brain-pain, that I really do have (it began yesterday morning & has been writhing ever since), and abjure any temptation I may harbor to explain how the throbbing is pulsating & percussive or how a pus-like slime has been oozing from my ear.


Red Auerbach’s Cigar

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The word HATE of course is too powerful to be used as broadly & indiscriminately as it is when
discussing Mondays, the color of that guy’s tie, avocado dip, or sports franchises, so in this case I’ll use it in lower case & wink figuratively when I do. I could hate Boston sports teams for any number of good reasons, including, but not limited to, the nerdy, provincial chauvinism of their fans, the squirm & grimace-inducing references to Birdman or Rem-Dawg & Big Papi, but my real reason for hating all-sports-things-Boston goes much deeper, is much more personal & stems from an indelible childhood trauma.

When I grew up in Syracuse, NY, we had a professional NBA team, the Syracuse Nationals, now the Philadelphia 76’ers. We won the NBA Championship in 1955 & hosted the 1961 NBA All-Star Game (I got every autograph). With the likes of Dolph Schayes, Hall Greer & Larry Costello, we won nearly every home game my father took me to see. Unfortunately for me, there was at that time the nearly-unbeatable Celtics team of Russell & Cousy, coached by the irascible & infuriating Red Auerbach, who routinely handed us our ass, home or away. Red had a habit of lighting a victory cigar on the bench when a Celtic win looked assured.(smoking was allowed back then in the ‘War Memorial Coliseum’, where the games were played….my dad took me to a Carmen Basillio fight there once & the whole place was choked with smoke)….I don’t think we had beaten them more than once or twice that year, and we were to play them at home in the last game of the season. My dad ‘knew a guy who knew a guy’, and we got seats right behind the Celtics bench. It was a rough & tumble game (on-court brawls were not uncommon in those days), and we were winning late in the 4th quarter, my favorite player Larry Costello (a paisan!) was lighting it up from all over the court with his patented 2-handed set-shot. In the last couple minutes of the game something totally bogus & grossly unfair happened (I can’t remember what it was….it was always something with those damned Celtics), and we ended up losing the game. Red peeled the wrapper off his cigar & fired it up with a huge Zippo-flame, the smoke not masking his assholish self-satisfied grin. As we filed out, I called out to him: “Aw, youse guys was lucky!”….He saw it was just a cute little innocent kid, me, so he came over to where I was standing, puffed that big cigar to stoke it (I can still see his evil grin), took a big long pull off it & BLEW THE SMOKE IN MY FACE!….”Hey kid”, he said, “lookit the scoreboard.”

So now I even hate the Bruins, and I don’t follow hockey!

….that’s my story & I’m sticking to it.

“Are you exper…

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“Are you experienced?”…We all knew what Jimi was talking about, didn’t we? A hit of acid is no more a carefree joyride as it is a plummet into madness, tho’ either or each is probably in the cards. One thing every tripper will tell you is that when you’re on LSD, and your vibration is so altered & amped, you’re likely to attract similar vibrational anomalies, like-to-like, which, under any circumstances, would be considered peculiar, out-of-the-loop, and, well…trippy. I offer 2 personal examples:

I was by inclination & choice mostly a day-tripper, and more often than not, a solitary one. Beaches were always great because you could slap on that 1000 yd stare & lopsided grin, and folks just figure you’re grooving on the sun & sea – which indeed you are! I enjoyed the woodland meander, the secluded waterfall kingdom, the mountain air, There was a zoo nearby, with a big, moated island filled with monkeys I frequented (watching monkeys play is highly enjoyable & amusing at any time, but when tripping it also becomes an unveiling of gnostic mysteries & a portal into realms of hidden knowledge. As I was sitting on a park bench, laughing at the monkey-antics & drifting off into deep philosophical reveries, a city patrol car pulled into a nearby parking lot, and 2 boys in blue came walking towards me, hitching their gun-belts & (to me) scowling like demons….and yes, yes indeed it was me, me specifically, they were addressing. The standard: “Do you have any ID?”… Now, panic is your king-dawg enemy when tripping, so instead of screaming at them to leave me the fuck alone!, I more reasonably inquired as to their purpose in trying to harsh my buzz. They didn’t understand, or ignored, my demand for an explanation, and said they needed to question me because I matched the description of a guy who, just an hour before, had…wait for it….STOLEN A SWAN!…..this did not compute…”Have you been down by the duck pond today?”….wait, what?….”A swan was stolen.” (one of them, I was thinking, had spoken those words)…I was expected to somehow address this mystery, but all I could muster under the circumstances was something along the lines of, “A SWAN?!…what the fuck are you guys talking about?!!”…..they were absolutely serious & professional about this investigation, and I was forced to spend a timeless time in the back of the cruiser, trying to find words to convincingly display the fact that I did not (“A swan, you say? A fucking SWAN?!”), would not ever, steal their fucking swan, and had been harmlessly engaged in watching monkeys for hours.I told them nothing of the gnostic mysteries & hidden knowledge, and after a very confusing while, they let me go. I was so jangled by the experience I left monkey island & went to the aviary, where I recounted the whole bizarre episode to the horned owl.

The next story, which I’ll save for another blog, is even stranger….it tells of a time I was accosted & hassled when tripping by a gang of aggressively rude little people…yes, a posse of foul-mouthed, insulting midgets!

Bugz in the Interwebz

Mus’ be a turble ‘lectro-magnetic agitation in the Odic Field this morning, the interwebz is outta control, tumbling into vortices & stumbling into firewalls. I high-tailed it over here to the blog where @ least I can write something here & post it later, when the online ocean has calmed. I’ve had the blog for a few months now, but still don’t feel comfortable chewing over the details of my life as a flesh’n’blood, as opposed to this online version. I realized it’s ever been thus, and remembered an old poem from 20 yrs ago addressing this point — it’s posted right beneath this, titled: ‘STINKING REFRAIN.’

I’ll bet Edward Curtis ran into a lot of Natives who refused to be photographed for fear of losing their essential selves. That’s a bit how I feel writing online about myself; like sharing details of my mundane (yet miraculous) exisistence will somehow make me less real & more fabricated than I already am…..truth be told, it appalls & embarrasses me sometimes,the same way a flasher on the playground would, when people expose their fears & worries & deepest feelings on a public forum…..but probably, like George Constanza said: “It’s me, I know….it’s not you it’s me.”

Stinking Refrain

STINKING REFRAIN

 

I have resisted with valor

 for many a year

    The powerful impulse to KVETCH;

to display in poetics,

 with a sob & a tear,

     The image of a miserable WRETCH.

I have balked at declaiming

 my sadness or fear,

 in extensive syllabics,

     Or even in SKETCH.

I’ve said it over & over,

 till the sentiment shrinks,

      And have made it terribly clear,

that to my mind,

 as well as my ear,

    CONFESSIONAL POETRY STINKS!

I have made it a point

 to regard with suspicion

    The stanza just oozing with sorrow;

or the lyrical poem,

 which by din of attrition,

    Curses with vehemence every tomorrow.

I’ve written it in earnest, I’ve written it in jest,

I’ve written it in purples & pinks,

    But for flavor, I swear, this says it best:

             CONFESSIONAL POETRY STINKS!Image

Shitty Mood Haikus

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A knock @ the door / sharp knuckle-rap on the pane / I just ignore it

There were robins in / the lilac bushes just now / making a racket

Spring breezes blow through / whispering tidings of bloom / I close the windows

The puppy lies curled / on a chair by the wood stove / I whistle loudly

Caramel candy / sticks to the roof of my mouth / take it away please

In May the peepers / fill the nearby marsh with song / driving me crazy

The cat saunters by / glancing in my direction / I think he hates me

Watching a movie / about deaf & dumb orphans / I try not to laugh

I’ve reached my limit / of these shitty mood haikus / add one of your own!

The World As I See It. essay by A. Einstein


“How strange is the lot of us mortals! Each of us is here for a brief sojourn; for what purpose he knows not, though he sometimes thinks he senses it. But without deeper reflection one knows from daily life that one exists for other people — first of all for those upon whose smiles and well-being our own happiness is wholly dependent, and then for the many, unknown to us, to whose destinies we are bound by the ties of sympathy. A hundred times every day I remind myself that my inner and outer life are based on the labors of other men, living and dead, and that I must exert myself in order to give in the same measure as I have received and am still receiving…

“I have never looked upon ease and happiness as ends in themselves — this critical basis I call the ideal of a pigsty. The ideals that have lighted my way, and time after time have given me new courage to face life cheerfully, have been Kindness, Beauty, and Truth. Without the sense of kinship with men of like mind, without the occupation with the objective world, the eternally unattainable in the field of art and scientific endeavors, life would have seemed empty to me. The trite objects of human efforts — possessions, outward success, luxury — have always seemed to me contemptible.

“My passionate sense of social justice and social responsibility has always contrasted oddly with my pronounced lack of need for direct contact with other human beings and human communities. I am truly a ‘lone traveler’ and have never belonged to my country, my home, my friends, or even my immediate family, with my whole heart; in the face of all these ties, I have never lost a sense of distance and a need for solitude…”

“My political ideal is democracy. Let every man be respected as an individual and no man idolized. It is an irony of fate that I myself have been the recipient of excessive admiration and reverence from my fellow-beings, through no fault, and no merit, of my own. The cause of this may well be the desire, unattainable for many, to understand the few ideas to which I have with my feeble powers attained through ceaseless struggle. I am quite aware that for any organization to reach its goals, one man must do the thinking and directing and generally bear the responsibility. But the led must not be coerced, they must be able to choose their leader. In my opinion, an autocratic system of coercion soon degenerates; force attracts men of low morality… The really valuable thing in the pageant of human life seems to me not the political state, but the creative, sentient individual, the personality; it alone creates the noble and the sublime, while the herd as such remains dull in thought and dull in feeling.

“This topic brings me to that worst outcrop of herd life, the military system, which I abhor… This plague-spot of civilization ought to be abolished with all possible speed. Heroism on command, senseless violence, and all the loathsome nonsense that goes by the name of patriotism — how passionately I hate them!

“The most beautiful experience we can have is the mysterious. It is the fundamental emotion that stands at the cradle of true art and true science. Whoever does not know it and can no longer wonder, no longer marvel, is as good as dead, and his eyes are dimmed. It was the experience of mystery — even if mixed with fear — that engendered religion. A knowledge of the existence of something we cannot penetrate, our perceptions of the profoundest reason and the most radiant beauty, which only in their most primitive forms are accessible to our minds: it is this knowledge and this emotion that constitute true religiosity. In this sense, and only this sense, I am a deeply religious man… I am satisfied with the mystery of life’s eternity and with a knowledge, a sense, of the marvelous structure of a tiny portion of the Reason that manifests itself in nature.”Image

Teilhard de Chardin and the Noosphere, by Rev. Phillip J. Cunningham

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http://www.december.com/cmc/mag/1997/mar/cunning.html

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