Archive for the ‘Art heals’ Category

I often wonder what it will look like to reach the point of not just surviving my misfortunes but being simply and profoundly grateful for every single thing that has ever happened to me. And why people who want things like that are so perplexing to those who don’t. Those who wonder, in their golden ways what’s so funny about gallows humor, the sole comfort of those who’ve escaped the hangman and an affront to those who have no knowledge of his existence.

Welp, there it is, in black & white, no less.


by W.S. Merwin

with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water thanking it
smiling by the windows looking out
in our directions

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you

over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks we are saying thank you
in the faces of the officials and the rich
and of all who will never change
we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us
our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving
dark though it is


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Hey you in the vodpod

Welcome to my world, sorry such a mess. After a thousand hits I’m still learning that one can do things like add tags, change titles, comment on the clips and interact with viewers, so while it’s something of a trainwreck in there, that’s my trainwreck in there. But no worries mate, chaos is a blessing because chaos leads to clarity, as given time will the disordered to the thematic, just you wait. Some day fifteen minutes spent in Writher will be equivalent to six months in the Renaissance.

I don’t know if the people visiting my vodpod are the same people visiting this blog and I don’t know how to figure that out yet. All I know is I get something like messages (?!) on my podpage everyday about certain missing videos, and just want to say I’m doing my best to replace them. I sense an all-purpose rant coming on, since it’s quite the pisser, I do not know why videos are disappeared and in a day or two reloaded, but I suspect the stink of money, the man, royalties and the sheer possessiveness in regulating terms of estate.

Every single video featuring Chet Baker has been taken off youtube, Nick’s Wanted Man disappears 3x a week, and now and then the single most aching concert footage of Billie Holiday’s career goes away and comes back, what are these people thinking? Let’s have even less exposure of under-recognized talent, because some people might be enjoying shit for free and that simply cannot stand! Just today I found my most-viewed clip has been taken from my pod, the best montage of scenes from my favorite movie is gone. I can’t bear the fact of its absence, out of 200 videos where is my most-viewed clip, my Wings of Desire, motherfucker? Who are these motherfuckers? Leave my stuff alone, you don’t even understand it. What kind of pernicious dickhead is afoot behind the curtain here, who does this, who taught them this? I mean, if I’m going to bury my head in youtube 4 hours a day I’d rather go in with the hope I’ll dig up artifacts of excellence to share in a beatitude of plenitude rather than you know, spend my alloted time on Earth policing miscreants who just might be getting away with enjoying an activity my small mind can’t comprehend. Really, it’s not about ripping you off. I don’t even think some people understand what the Internet is for anymore. It’s a place. A kind of place. A kind of pro-social place. Doesn’t that mean anything/something/everything? Why are we here? To make certain every single Chet Baker video disappears in case someone might somehow lose some money? That is worse than a mighty big if.

Let me explain the meaning of currency; these videos are goods people trade in order to connect online and build social networks. We can’t do it without the thing you’re taking away from us. You are robbing me. And these people who trade in cultural currency are known as weirdos collectors. We are your buyers. For every free video seen how many entire collections are purchased? Think, man! Who wants to see a Chet Baker video if not for the kind of patron who collects the kind of music Chet Baker made. But this is too exacting/abstract for shortsighted moneygrabbers to get their arms around, that people live in these worlds and this is what we spend our money on. Plus, there are no guarantees, you can’t predict and control the buying behavior of even the most avid watcher of an obscure jazz video, so you speculate, in recognition of an alternative culture beyond the imagination of the profit/loss spreadsheet. Because it’s fucking elementary, depriving us is shooting yourselves in the foot, betraying your own self interest, not to mention your own economic base, but that’s cool because you despise us for the very intensity with which we respond to your product, and the rather childlike bonding we do over it.

And I don’t know how to make or even upload videos so can’t begin to imagine the grief a creator must feel to see their labor of love wiped out in an instant, and that is such total bullshit, since another delinquent is only going to upload the same damn footage in a montage tomorrow just to see it wiped out in a day or two again. Which makes their removal an exercise in nothing but mean-spirited pointlessness but as Willie put it, if you got the money I got the time to defy this ridiculous set-up day in and day out. It’s all so 1970s punk rock I could hurl, maybe that’s the best can be said about this situation. As I understand it.

So now we wait. Wait for some bloke to upload an English scene from my favorite film, inspired by the poems of Rilke, where angels seemed to dwell. A beautiful drifty sad trapeze artist who lives in a trailer and dances by herself to Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds. Hapless but knowing angels who can only observe, powerless to intervene. Wiki has a fairly unpretentious page on background. But it’s in words and we’re supposed to be passed all that. Paltry language, nothing but a muddy, hulking impoverished substitute for streamline video. There, I said it. The fact is, words have always wanted to be video, I think you must agree. If in doubt, get a load of this old school film professor deploying the sad convention of words on screen to describe my favorite WoD scene, “dying motorcyclist,” where the angel Damiel takes the I/Thou dialogic to the next level by pulling up the deepest thoughts of a man dying in the gutter. Ya with me reader, notice we are switching gears? You would if this was a sequence of still images representing scenes in motion! OK, serious hat now; the dying man’s inner monologue begins as you might expect, with fragmented ranting at dumbstruck passers-by:

Don’t look at me so stupidly. Haven’t you seen anyone die before? Shit, is it this easy? I’m lying here in a puddle, stinking like an oil tanker. I can’t really end up here like a wilting flower! Everything so clear! Why are they standing there? Gawking at me like that? The oil smudge…

As he approaches the dying man, Damiel kneels behind him, places his hands on either side of the dying man’s head, and leans his own head down, listening intently for or tuning into the thoughts trying to form themselves in a deeper layer of the dying man’s mind:

(Dying Man’s inner voice): Karin, I should have told her yesterday… This thing got out of control. …I’m so sorry. Karin! Now I’m lying here. I can’t simply… I have to… Karin, I still have so much to do! Karin, Baby, things look bad for me.

It is at this point that Damiel begins speaking for the dying man, helping him to focus his thoughts on the things that had meant the most to him during his lifetime. Damiel, speaking for the dying man begins-

As I emerged from the valley out of the fog into the sunshine…the fire at the edge of the prairie…the potatoes in the ashes…the boat-house far off at the lake…

Now the dying man joins in speaking the invocation, so that both his and Damiel’s voices are heard simultaneously. DAMIEL and the DYING MAN:

The Southern Cross, the Far East, the Great North, the Wild West, the Great Bear Lake!

At the very end of this segment we begin to hear the strains of cello music. In the final moments a young man is seen hurrying along the bridge toward the scene of the accident. … Damiel looks up and cedes his place to the young man, who places his hands on the dying man’s shoulders. Damiel caresses the young man’s head (with an immaterial hand), as he rises to turn back toward the bridge… and walks back across it. We continue to hear the inner thoughts of the dying man, now spoken in a strong voice, which replaces the enfeebled one heard in the opening shot.

Tristan da Cunha. The Mississippi Delta. Stromboli. The old houses of Charlottenburg. Albert Camus. The morning light. The child’s eyes. The swim in the waterfall. The spots of the first drops of rain. The sun. The bread and wine. Hopping. Easter. The veins of leaves. The blowing grass. The color of stones. The pebbles on the stream’s bed. The white tablecloth outdoors. The dream of the house in the house. The dear one asleep in the next room. The peaceful Sundays. The horizon. The light from the room in the garden. The night flight. Riding a bicycle with no hands. The beautiful stranger. My father. My mother. My wife. My child.

For the love of all that’s holy will someone upload this clip? Thank you, that is all.

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She shouts for a reckoning with entire mouth and unspoilt heart. My friend Poodle (“Ursula”) from Christchurch NZ declares her joy, in love with these times. (rule for radicals: that’s why she’s a teacher and you’re not)

so thats me in the corner-thats me over there–was a hard arse interview 2 do-my dyslexia gets in the way some-times-just bear with it and it will show its beauty

Living With the Scars of Abuse

Source: Press, The Christchurch, New Zealand
Posted on: Wednesday, 1 October 2008, 15:00 CDT

New Zealand’s mental health system has a dark history, with hundreds of former patients alleging abuse in state hospitals. Kim Thomas tells the story of one woman who suffered abuse and explores what former patients are doing to try and take back their lives.

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Ursula spent her 22nd birthday huddling near naked in the corner of a bare room at Christchurch’s Sunnyside Hospital.

She was incarcerated at the now defunct mental-health hospital for slicing her arms from wrist to armpit with razors.

During her year-long stay at Sunnyside, Ursula (not her real name) was abused and humiliated.

For at least two months she was housed in an isolation room where she was stripped, sometimes by male nurses, and dressed in a thick woollen smock as punishment for her rowdy behaviour.

Her underpants and bra were taken from her and she was forced to use a pot as her toilet, in a room visible to staff and other patients.

More than 20 years later the scars of Ursula’s Sunnyside experience are still as visible as the razor marks lacing her arms. She is not alone.

Scores of former Sunnyside patients have disclosed abuse during their stay at the Gothic-style institution.

Nationwide, about 300 former patients claim abuse in mental hospitals during the 1960s, 70s and 80s. Many were sent to psychiatric institutions because of behavioural difficulties but then treated as if they had serious psychiatric illnesses. Some were as young as eight.

Allegations include physical and sexual abuse, long periods of solitary confinement and the use of electro-convulsive (electric shock) therapy (ECT) as punishment.

In 2004, Attorney-General Margaret Wilson announced the establishment of a confidential forum where former patients, their families and hospital staff could tell their stories.

It recently announced a new forum, called the Listening and Assistance Service, for people who allege abuse or neglect during their time in state care in the health, child welfare or residential special education sector before 1992.

Justice and compensation is also being pursued in the law courts.

Wellington lawyer Sonia Cooper represents about 200 of 300 former psychiatric patients, including Ursula, seeking compensation for abuse.

They filed their first claims for compensation in 2004 but the matter remains unresolved. Cooper says she tried to negotiate with the Government out of court but failed.

In the latest chapter of this long running legal process, the Court of Appeal recently passed a judgment saying the Government had to prove that the actions former patients say was abuse was actually treatment, Cooper says.

“We want an acknowledgement that this abuse happened and an apology. If the Crown had been willing to deal with this out of the courts we wouldn’t be pursuing legal action,” Cooper says.

The Government has already made one large settlement to former psychiatric patients; in 2001, 183 former patients of Lake Alice’s adolescent unit received an apology and a share of $10.7 million compensation for claims including receiving ECT and injections as punishment, sexual abuse, ECT on the genitals in several cases, and one of being locked in a cage with a deranged adult.

About 240 civil cases are still pending.

A Crown Law office spokeswoman says it is reading the very complicated Crown Law judgement to decide what steps to take next.

Ursula says she would be dead had she stayed longer in Sunnyside. She sought legal counsel and had herself checked out of the hospital.

Ursula has a diagnosis of borderline personality disorder. She says 20 years ago the disorder was poorly understood.

As a result, treatment for her self-harm and erratic behaviour involved being put into an isolation cell as punishment. Good behaviour was rewarded with treats such as winning her underwear back.

For a sexual abuse victim such as Ursula, being stripped was the ultimate in humiliation.

“I saw it as an extension of the brutality I had already had forced on me.”

She says she cannot believe the way people such as herself were treated in an environment that was supposed to be therapeutic.

Sunnyside was demolished last year. But even after its demise it holds a significant and sinister place in Christchurch’s collective conscience.

Christchurch theatre director Tony McCaffrey has recently secured Creative New Zealand funding to develop a play based on the goings on in the former mental-health hospital, which he hopes to open the stage curtains on next year.

As part of his research McCaffrey visited the ruins of the old hospital and pored over patient log books and photographs.

He also interviewed former nurses, superintendents and patients.

“I believe it’s important to acknowledge the huge role Sunnyside played in Christchurch’s history and craft a memorial to that,” McCaffrey says.

“Since I started this project almost everyone I talk to has some connection to the place, whether they knew someone who worked there or stayed there. Everyone has a story.”

McCaffrey says Sunnyside housed people from all walks of life and the way they were treated is an insight into the community’s psyche over the past century.

Sunnyside’s history also provides a window into the dark history of Christchurch because of some of the inhumane acts that happened there.

Mental Health Foundation chief executive Judi Clements said abuse that occurred in institutions is a crying shame.

She says many staff from those times still feel ill at the things that went on.

However, they were often only doing what they were told or what was best practice at the time, Clements says. In time, people will probably look back at certain practices which occur in the mental health sector now, such as electric shock therapy, and condemn them as cruel or unnecessary.

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Welp, I went ahead and signed up to put in my time and am delighted to find the Obama campaign has impeccable taste. Tonight’s local debate party will be kicked off with music by the world’s most charismatic outlaw who’s sly compassion is as legendary as his high and lonesome zensoaked warble. Jimmie Dale Gilmore is a Saint. This is not hyperbole, but a well-known fact. I can’t find the words and believe me I’ve tried. Anyone familiar with my (cough cough) oeuvre might recall I spent year one in Austin determined to self-destruct in a flamboyant way but what you don’t know is it was Jimmie’s weekly supper gigs at Threadgills that kept me tethered to the planet.

And I didn’t have to pretend I wasn’t hateful, alienated and falling down drunk or the last thing I wanted to do was gather round a picnic table in red-checked oil cloth, pass catfish platters to the homespun hippies sitting next to me and literally rub elbows with women who wear their hair down to their ass in 110 degree weather. Navigating his fan base was not for the squeamish but they are what they are and blessyerheart, we’re not in Kill City anymore.

All this was almost 2 decades ago, a single year that’s now a Texas legend, singing and supper with Jimmie at Threadgills, who saved me on a weekly basis without a single word between us and I know I’m not the only one.

I can’t find any Threadgills footage at youtube but here’s JDG in Norway around the same era doing his single hit Dallas. Heartfelt thanks to the Democrats for putting him on the bill tonight, now I got me some memories and buses to catch.

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Doop doop I’m putting together that follow-up post as mentioned, can’t sleep while they’re filming FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS in my backyard and they’ll go til 4 AM again, no sleep and just got home from my 4th day in training and I couldn’t concentrate because of the clip in my head the last 2 days, which happens to be the first one added to Writher, the writhe safely rock-n-roll VODPOD, from which I’ll highlight a video every week, and make like a format. A show. A production, a playground, slightly twee but highly exacting. My task is to get you interested, this is still in my blood, and don’t it make you wanna get right back home. Remember, if you click the video two times it takes you to youtube where you can access the full-screen. Guess I should mention this is probably not safe for work, and that breaks my heart too.

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Welp, I’m back from my break. Feast your eyes to the right of this blog, after 3 months over-thinking how to set it up we now have a world of VODPOD, and I think it’s going to help. I’m just building the library now but once it holds a hundred or so clips will find a way to order the narrative so we can get lost for a day or two in there.

So what’s new? I took off a few weeks because I’ve been animated by a real serious project that I didn’t want to jinx by blogging about and since this project is uppermost in my mind found I couldn’t blog about anything until I feel secure it’s going to work out. I feel secure it’s going to work out and will explain everything tomorrow but as a tease will just share that due to this new and mysterious activity I am barred from employment at the United States Department of Justice. Of course since I live on Social Security and won’t be seeking fulltime employment any time soon, it’s only a symbolic gesture, but I am very flattered, Mr. Inspector General and will do my utmost to earn the distinction on your federal no-hire shit list. La!

I have to run now, iron my hat and polish my shoes so I can look victorious tomorrow during my special secret activity mission serving Amerikkka, but this Obama video making the news sure tickled me and I wanted to highlight the psychological two cents of his snarkiliciously broad and populist message. La la!

His top economic advisor

said the other day that

Americans should stop complaining; they’ve become a nation of whiners.

That all these


problems everybody’s talkin about is just a



And if you would just change your mind

everything’d be okay!

Somebody’s been laid off

Their plant’s closed or gone to

Mexico or China?

Change your mind!

It’s all good!

…True quote!!!

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Bukowski: the shoelace

a woman, a
tire that’s flat, a
disease, a
desire: fears in front of you,
fears that hold so still
you can study them
like pieces on a
it’s not the large things that
send a man to the
madhouse. death he’s ready for, or
murder, incest, robbery, fire, flood…
no, it’s the continuing series of small tragedies
that send a man to the
not the death of his love
but a shoelace that snaps
with no time left …
The dread of life
is that swarm of trivialities
that can kill quicker than cancer
and which are always there –
licence plates or taxes
or expired driver’s license,
or hiring or firing,
doing it or having it done to you, or
roaches or flies or a
broken hook on a
screen, or out of gas
or too much gas,
the sink’s stopped-up, the landlord’s drunk,
the president doesn’t care and the governor’s
lightswitch broken, mattress like a
$105 for a tune-up, carburetor and fuel pump at
sears roebuck;
and the phone bill’s up and the market’s
and the toilet chain is
and the light has burned out –
the hall light, the front light, the back light,
the inner light; it’s
darker than hell
and twice as
then there’s always crabs and ingrown toenails
and people who insist they’re
your friends;
there’s always that and worse;
leaky faucet, christ and christmas;
blue salami, 9 day rains,
50 cent avocados
and purple liverwurst.

or making it
as a waitress at norm’s on the split shift,
or as an emptier of
or as a carwash or a busboy
or a stealer of old lady’s purses
leaving them screaming on the sidewalks
with broken arms at the age of 80.

2 red lights in your rear view mirror
and blood in your
toothache, and $979 for a bridge
$300 for a gold
and china and russia and america, and
long hair and short hair and no
hair, and beards and no
faces, and plenty of zigzag but no
pot, except maybe one to piss in
and the other one around your

with each broken shoelace
out of one hundred broken shoelaces,
one man, one woman, one
enters a

so be careful
when you
bend over.

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