Inherited Survival Skills
Could you build a fire with rocks and sticks? I couldn’t.
Could you fend off a hungry bear?
Build a shelter? Dig out a canoe?
Could you make your own clothes, or shoes?
Could you kill a deer with a hand-fashioned bow and arrow?
I am Chuck.
I have a mate (soul and heart) whom I call Pooky-Bear.
We have raised a family in a comfortable home that shelters us from the elements, both natural and criminal.
We live in a thriving city, with clean water, ready power, access to exceptional education and medical care, in a conservative, God-fearing, agriculturally based state, in a resource rich, strong and influential democratic, capitalistic country which happens to also be the most racially and religiously diverse country in the world.
All of the comfort and protections my wife and I (as well as others in our city, state, and country) enjoy are the results of centuries upon centuries of civically applied experimentations which have been systematically and scientifically integrated or abandoned (as warranted) for the greater and common good.
All we need do is study hard, work hard, and follow the established laws and mores of this civilization (be a good and beneficial citizen) to benefit from the result of eons of struggle and learning.
So sleep in peace. All is well here. Feel free to play on your tablets in your thermostatically controlled environments with a snack close at hand. We are fortunate enough to live in the easiest and best of times; times built upon the blood, sweat and backs of millions who actually had to suffer and toil to establish these comforts for us.
Lighten up a little, and enjoy.
And stay away from the news!
“Who Gives a Flying F---?” ...Us. Obviously...
Survival's impulsive; we bear it out fine;
An instinct we share with the plants and the swine.
It's nothing unique; the force making us tick...
Where humans excel is in making it sick.
In puzzling out a good reason to die,
We punch and we laugh and we munch and we cry
(At the bliss of existing without all this muck)
'Til we fall hard for living; start giving a fuck.
Life in the Cancer Ward
Existence is largely the right word for it, this human thing of ours, where we tend to do rather okay by comfortable, daylight habits. There is little disruption in the familiarity of them; each new day watered by the last, imperceptible on Time’s slowly verge, a buoyant drift into the gradual.
There is an automaticity to existing, like the unconscious throb, like the very Unknowing.
But we are human, we hope for more than mere existing – we demand life, full and everlasting. And because we are apt to look for it, do we think it everywhere around us. Certainly, we profess to find it in the happy moments that surprise, or in the sadness that cuts us wide. We believe it’s in the autumnal sun, shown through brilliant colors of turning trees. We swear it’s somewhere in the family gathering, in the roast beef perhaps, sliced on cheerful scoops of mash. There again, do we feel it in the grateful shade of a summer’s walk; else, in full moons and the firework nights.
But one day, at the bitter last, do we awake to learn that none of these were real instances of living at all, only different parts of its wider allegation, of its enduring myth.
In this sudden wakefulness, roused from our diurnal sleep, do we see that the real living starts after, when there is no going back. This is not the winding to a close of life spent; of old age that looks back, that sometimes turns away instead; nor the facts of life that everywhere spin too soon and whisper their clockwise suspicions. It is not the vague shadow on the springtide green, or the slow chill that grows on the neck of warm youth. Astral dramas that decide our days, whether to be long or short, cruel or wasted – whether the loss of love, the bittersweet of loneliness, the family member dead; but still, not yet this.
Real living wants spreading sickness, pronounceable and thick on your tongue. It wants maternity fading in young mothers, feeding newborns from irradiated breasts; or decomposing men, bald and forgotten, rolling in thinly sheets. Browless children raised behind hermetic seals, experimented on, stuck with picks and stints and ports, tubes of all kinds woven into their skin like loose threads. And needles: butterfly, hypodermic, corkscrew – into veins, into spines, into bones that splinter.
This is inside, always inside, and the world, that mysterious word, outside—friends who graduate, family birthdays, sisters who marry. Not wooded trails, but cold tile floors. Not door bells but ringing IV bags. Gentle nurses who pass in and out, “please try to rest”, “it’s time for your second round”, parents crooked on foldable chairs.
Real living is the doctor’s hand on your shoulder, and lips: ‘I’m sorry’. It is a word, it is death, and so near, dated on the calendar; the weak flush of a failing graft shot back into transplanted bones, and the shock when it does not take, when ‘options’ are those things already tried.
This is money a mountain high, which cannot buy; relations who no longer relate; medicines that do not cure and treatments that do not treat. This is the unaccounted blood at the bottom of the printed page—‘six months at best’.
In these passages do we find life, real and abounding, with a thud-thud-thud of the heart starting from its long, sleepy dream. There is little like the terminal to set our aching antennae astir, to grab as much life as they can, and to make one final study of the creature they were all along. In the halls of sickness is the answer so completely had for our human existence. And with the fear of death then so violently upon us, bristling at our backs, snapping at our heels, do we pine to be once more, to go back as we were before: existing, so full of nothing, under the weightlessness that trampled and crushed.
How do we exist? Because we are so well suited for it. Because our bedfellows did not get the chance.
most of the rocks are smoother than you think. at least here by the river. where the main force acting on them is abrasion. these rocks are hard, these rocks are dense.
throw the rocks at someone, and it will injure,
throw it at a window, and it will break.
the potential of fuckery is multitudinous.
yet, recall, that most of the rocks are smooth.
far away, near a faultline, or high in the mountains, rocks get more troublsome. slate, and flint and basalt, their break and shatter violently, over time. even the limestone bears the memories of collisions and calamities, in jagged chronicle.
i would not recommend walking barefoot, tempting the outcropping to bite.
i shall not argue, it is true enough that from the right perspective, or the precise resolution, the smoothest of surfaces, is actually, cracked and distorted. it can also be said, that the most jagged of rocks, when held in aggregate, is just as shapley.
i have sat on many rocks. and some were a pleasurable massage, and some were a torture to endure. sitting is the true test of things: Piercing harshness or absorption of the outer membranes.
thought is a desire to find a place to sit. a perch that shall fit or conform to reality, even if this reality is threatning.
be sure that in your thought, you don't sit upon a sharp, spike of a rock.
Plethora of eons ago
Before the age of Pharaohs
A time when ancient civilizations
Had not even come into place
The gods & goddesses gathered
They had been wandering ’bout
The cosmos— tryin’ to figure it Out, and then Isis- the female Alpha shined her presence among The others, telling them of what Needed to be done— she was Ready to work with them to create a place unlike any other~ All the gods thought that she was Crazy…one of them asked her, ‘What pray tell would this so-called place be..our new home?’
‘Not quite!’ Isis replied. ‘It shall be a place for beings that are like us, but who do not have any powers to dwell.’
So, the gods and goddesses created an entire universe…full of a zillion stars that burst off bright light & twinkled during the night; a range of galaxies, with some planets that had quite a number of creamy looking moons; and then last, but not the least, Earth, with varying terrains— some that shot up looking like hard candy from the ground-rocks that when struck would create precious gems, and many different kinds of animals that seemed to wonder who the beings they could see were. For their grand finale~ Isis created humans in a form that was similar to the immortal beings.
Several of the gods began to shake their heads as time passed by. ‘How do humans still survive to this day?’ some of them wondered.
Isis tsked. ‘Is that a way to speak about beings who try to make it everyday, and with no powers if I might add!’
Another one of the gods waved his hand. ‘Ah…please..they’re always full of ideas & never try to actually stick to what they plan!’
‘Well, maybe when you end up living the life they live you’ll understand.’
With that, the god took on a human form & always remembered to report back to the rest of the immortal beings what it was like being human. He shared that humans quite alright had still a long way to go, but it was the connections that they made with those that they loved that kept them moving, ‘n’ going till the next day.
Isis asked the god if he was planning on heading back to the immortals realm. He shook his head, and said, ‘Nah. I think I’m going to stick ‘round for a little while longer. I’m still curious to see what these mortals come up with next.’
the kids are afraid to die
We fear to die.
Though we torment
in the futile squabbles
of being human
And grow bored
of what was once
seen as wonder.
A thousand years
Makes mole hills
Out of mountains
from the beginning of time
The human spirit
with food and fire
and dance and song
And that one flicker
of passion remains
even in the most listless soul
The capacity for creativity
built cities and machines
and medicine and bombs
the human mind
is capable of great evil
and great kindness
But that curiosity
Is the greatest monster
and greatest victor of all
It lives in all of us
The deep craving
There's still so much
we don't know.
And until all
that exists in the universe
is known to us
We will go on
Because we must
know the why
of our being
So we stand on the precipice
bored and terrified
filled with derealization
But we do not jump.
Despite the terror
of being alive
We more so fear to die.
i think they care. i think when people say ‘cells send signals to other cells’ there’s something emotional in that.
do you ever find comfort in your body / do you ever find yourself sinking. have you ever been tired so you curled up and its just as your head hits the make-shift pillow you've made of your arms that you realize you were made for this. do you ever think about how your face fits perfectly in the crook of your elbow. do you ever realize your hands were made for leaning against. because i do and i think and what i'm trying to say is i think evolution is a form of self-love because; what a thing, to change your very structure just to live a better life. what an idea, to rebuild bits of yourself for nothing other than your own personal comfort. my hair is soft and my voice trills. i remember joy easier than i remember what not to mix with bleach.
here's the thing- i've heard all the poems about how we were made to fit into one another, how bodies can mold together like clay. i guess i never thought about it being for myself. i guess when i looked down at my hands i never considered the reasoning behind the swirls of my fingers being different from everyone else's. i guess i never considered the consequences of evolution, the implications of changing for your own survival- i guess i never realized it was all for my survival. all for me and myself and the ten minutes i spend looking at the sun rise in the morning. i guess i never thought about being created for me. fitting into myself like keys on a keyboard.
i guess i never thought about- i'm alive to live for myself. do you ever find comfort in your own body and realize it's always been about something you cannot possibly begin to imagine communicating with loving you. that its always been about you. i think self-love is something like an instinct
we came to be
formed by the hands of a cruel god
a narcissist shaping us to his will.
fled from the oppression of the suffocating sky.
how do we exist?
when we escaped the narcissist
how did we keep him at bay?
how do you pacify
with existential dread
haunting our paragraphs and
breaking the lead of our pencils,
and a society built on wisps of ideas
rather than solid ground
how can we walk through our ranks
without falling through the clouds
that hold us up?
we came to be
formed by the hands of a cruel god,
shaped in his image
our psyches tainted by his narcissism
for all eternity.
and we only survive because we disobeyed
otherwise we'd surely drown
I guess some don't have many choices. A dust in the universe shouldn't demand for an acknowledgment, no?
Some barely survive the day to continue breathing. Some try to live life to the fullest.
What I wouldn't give to say is that we live through hope. How we work so hard so that we can create a bright and beautiful future. While I want to believe it and it may be true for some I have to say that we survive through complacency. Every day we are faced with the idea that we are 3 steps away from death and or total annihilation. Cruel systems, global environment deterioration, systematic oppression, and an unending amount of work to complete to survive.
We work in a system that is made so that the rich stay rich and the poor stay poor. We work tirelessly for years only for our money to be worth less yet not be paid more. We are expected to become a "well-rounded" person by the time we're 18 and pay mountains of money to enter a prestigious university for a piece of paper that says we meet the expectations to work in a "respectable" field. In the U.S. one of the richest countries in the world, you can go from a middle-class working family to a poverty-stricken charity case in days for something as small as a hospital bill. The amount of money it costs to receive healthcare should be a crime. Every little thing is counted and charged more often than not at a marked-up price. Taking an Uber to a hospital would be cheaper than an ambulance.
The police have become the new dystopian patrol guards, arresting and killing anyone who is unfortunate enough to cross them on a bad day. Minorities especially Black Americans have had to scream and shout just to be barely seen by the news, while hundreds of us are injured or killed for how we look, our stories being swept under the rug just because it makes cops look bad. How silly is that, the system that was put in place to stop "bad guys" and protect the common people, now has them running in fear, having to research cases on their own just to scrounge up any bit of evidence to even prosecute a cop.
Our rights are being taken one by one, just this summer Roe v. Wade was overturned, causing millions of Americans to lose their basic human rights in one day. Not even a century did we barely start to equal the seesaw of gender equality did we get it weighed down on one side yet again? Now there is talk about revoking LGBTQ+ rights, interracial marriage, and more. It is devasting how easily we can see these rights that we should have had since the beginning be taken away one by one.
Setting aside the social issues our country faces, our environment itself is falling apart. The ozone layer has started to come apart, the water is now poisoned, and the very air we breathe is a danger to our bodies. Environmentalists have not been silent but yet we still continue to contribute to its fall, not even a century from now we may see the end of the world.
I wouldn't say that we as humans are resilient. Rather I would argue that we are complacent. We see the world fall apart around us, and it is daunting to think about how we all compare to these issues on our own. Those that have left this world on their own accord are not pitiful, it is true that it is a sad occasion, but they cannot be entirely blamed for their conclusion. We simply do what we can. We live. We work. Those that can do what they can to try and help the majority. But we as a majority are simply complacent to move with the world as the world spins.