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poem

Contributor THE BODY AS A PRISON - November 2018

To Only Exist As A Mind

Written by Marten Bart Stork

Some say that the body is the temple of the holy spirit.

Others say it is a prison for the soul.

 

But however we may see it, we seem to be stuck with it. (At least for now)

 

Or is there somewhere else we can go?

 

What if we could leave our body before we die?

 

In the future we probably will be able to have a fully functional isolated brain.

Separate from our body.

(Free from physical pain?)

 

Or will consciousness be digitized?

 

Either way, it seems likely that we will at some point be able to leave our bodies behind.

(While we are still alive)

And exist only as a mind.

 

Try to imagine what that would be like.

 

To exist only as a mind.

 

Will it be like a dream?

An everlasting dream?

 

For time would no longer matter when we could (potentially) live forever.

 

Will technology enable us to transcend to beings of pure consciousness?

 

Could we create a complete universe inside our mind?

A perfect non-physical (virtual) reality for every one of us.

 

A place where we can do and create anything we can imagine?

 

Maybe god did not create the universe, but the universe is creating gods.

 

Gods that in their turn create new universes.

 

That in their turn create new gods.

 

Infinite realities.

Infinite possibilities.

FILTERED RECOLLECTIONS - October 2018 Max Muller

In Memoriam Ourselves

Written by Max Muller

You may think our disposition towards having a good reputation and being remembered fondly is the foundation upon which we base our actions. In this article, however, I will argue that this is not necessarily the case. I aim to show that it is not so much the idea of being remembered well that guides us through life, but that we are in actuality more concerned with being remembered. Period.

This can be inferred, in my opinion, by examining the lives and opinions of various historical figures and certain current cultural phenomena. I will try to unravel why being etched into our collective memory is so important to people.

A Lasting Legacy

First, let’s focus on the idea that everyone aims to leave behind a positive legacy. It can be illustrated well with the story of Alfred Nobel. As a precocious chemist and engineer, he invented dynamite in 1867. He patented his invention and made a fortune out of it.

When Alfred was 55 years old, his brother Ludvig Nobel passed away. Due to a misunderstanding, some writers for a French newspaper came to believe it was Alfred Nobel himself who had deceased. Thus they wrote an obituary of him, entitled “The Merchant of Death is Dead.” When he read it, he was appalled by the idea that he would be remembered as an opportunistic salesman of deadly weapons.

After he recovered from the shock of this discovery, he devised a plan to change his reputation. Alfred decided he would donate the majority of his wealth to the Nobel Prize (including, ironically, the peace prize). His legacy is nowadays largely viewed in positive light because of this generous decision.

A Higher Calling

Alfred Nobel was not alone in his aim to leave a positive legacy. Whole religions (with billions of followers) are centered around the idea of behaving well and reaping the benefits after death. In Christianity, for instance, sinners may redeem themselves to be allowed to go to heaven. Likewise, Hindus try to obtain good karma during their current lives in order to reincarnate as a better person in their next lives.

Thus, many people indeed wish to be remembered well, and will try to behave accordingly. They cherish the wish to have had a positive impact on the world. However, not everyone shares this kind of moral compass. Some are driven by other motives.

A Poète Maudit from Leeuwarden

Jan Jacob Slauerhoff (1898 — 1936) was arguably one of the most important Dutch poets of the 20th century. In addition to his literary qualities, he was also a notoriously difficult person. Tragedies and quarrels marked his life. Additionally, he was a womanizer of both married and unmarried women, and was chronically sick.

Towards the end of his life, he wrote his famous poem “In Memoriam Mijzelf” (“in Memoriam Myself”). The last two stanzas are worth quoting at length.

IN MEMORIAM MIJZELF

Ik laat geen gaven na,

Verniel wat ik volbracht;

Ik vraag om geen gena,

Vloek voor- en nageslacht;

Zij liggen waar ik sta,

Lachend den dood verwacht.

Ik deins niet voor de grens,

Nam afscheid van geen mensch,

Toch heb ik nog een wensch,

Dat men mij na zal geven:

‘Het goede deed hij slecht,

Beleed het kwaad oprecht,

Hij stierf in het gevecht,

Hij leidde recht en slecht

Een onverdraagzaam leven.’
IN MEMORIAM MYSELF

I leave no last bequest,

Smash life’s work at a stroke;

No mercy I request,

Curse past and future folk;

Stand tall where they now rest,

And treat death as a joke.

I look fate in the eye,

Have said not one goodbye,

But want men when I die

To say just this of me:

‘He did good very ill,

Served bad with honest will,

Succumbed while battling still,

Undaunted, lived his fill,

Intolerant and free.’

Slauerhoff had come to the realization that he would probably be remembered as an insufferable person after death. What is interesting in this regard is that he did not seek forgiveness: “No mercy I request.” He did not strive to make one last attempt to redeem himself. He simply admitted he was essentially a villain throughout his life who “served bad with honest will.”

So in Slauerhoff we have found a person who wasn’t driven by the idea of leaving behind a positive legacy. And yet, the man was driven, and left behind a considerable body of literary work.

If he was not interested in leaving behind a good legacy, we could wonder what else drove him in life. In my estimation, the answer is embodied by the poem itself. Although he states that he leaves “no last bequest,” Slauerhoff is lying. The poem does not represent the idea of being remembered well, but of simply being remembered.

Slauerhoff aimed to solidify his legacy by means of his writings. In a sense, his malevolent ways endure through this poem.

Achieving Immortality

“Don’t forget me, I beg.” — Adele (Someone Like You, 2011)

We seek to extend ourselves to the future. As one of the few species that is aware of its own immortality, we aim to combat death by all means necessary. One of those means is having children. Our DNA is thereby passed on to the next generation, allowing us to, in a sense, continue to live on through a new body. Although we all die eventually, our genes are safeguarded this way.

However, the biological continuation of our being is not the only method through which we can “survive.” There are other ways to live on after we die. One of those is continuing on in the minds of others.

Ever since the invention of writing, human beings have had the unique capacity to precisely transmit vast amounts of complex information to future generations. Our values, fantasies, and even identities can be recorded efficiently for posteriority. Every writer seeks to endure through his or her literary creations. They extend and preserve a part of themselves through their writings.

Photo: Jonas Guigonnat

A Common Desire

It’s not just writers who seek to be remembered. The desire for endurance is arguably the most primal drive of all creative endeavors. Scientists hope their theories replace the old ones and that they are forever acknowledged for their discoveries. Rulers demand the erection of statues and other monuments as a solidified sign of their dominance. Graffiti artists leave their mark on walls to pay an enduring homage to themselves and their ideas.

The will to be remembered is not even restricted to those with creative or coercive powers. Everyone seeks to endure in the minds of others to a certain degree…most of us shiver at the prospect of being forgotten.

In Hannah Arendt’s treatment “On the Nature of Totalitarianism: An Essay in Understanding” she mentions that some tyrants acknowledged the terror of being discarded by history, and utilized it themselves. For instance, prisons under despotic rulers were often called places of oblivion and at times forbid the family and friends of a convict from even mentioning his or her name – to the extent that they could even be punished for breaking this rule.

Now that the possibility of materializing memories of oneself has become democratized, the fear of being forgotten has become more visible. Many immortalize even the most remotely interesting events of their lives with pictures on Instagram or bite-sized stories on Twitter. Furthermore, in the early 1990s, the memoirs written by “ordinary” people experienced an upsurge. Even more recently, people have started frantically tracing their heritage with DNA ancestry tests, such as 23andme. People wish to pass down their own heritage and legacy due to a fear of being forgotten amid a society filled with technological advances and increasingly rapid development. At the same time, these tools aid people in finding their place in a confusing, fast-changing world.

Thus it seems there is a one-to-one correspondence between our desire to be remembered, and the preservation and extension of ourselves in various forms. It is connected to the idea of making an impact on the world. We wish to to make a dent in the universe, a mark that will forever be connected to ourselves. It’s not just a dent, it’s our dent.

FOOD POLITICS - September 2018 Sybrand Veeger

The Holy Grill: A Poem For Carne Asada

Written by Sybrand Veeger

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The Holy Grill

The Kingdom of Meat stretches from the southern Amazonic jungle,

West to the arid Andean range,

And south, profoundly, to the Antarctic precipice –

Where the world ends in fire and ice.

   

The Carneal Kingdom honors the holy method of nourishment:

Grilling, “Asado”, in Argentine.

Politics and commerce are circumstantial here,

Even superfluous; rather,

Gastronomics and aesthetics are the spheres of influence, in Argentina – the land of “argentum”,

The land of silver, of the silver grill.

   

Argentina’s meat obsession, or fetishism,

Can be explained

(Across space and time):

Geographically and genealogically.

   

The genealogy, the roots, of the holy grill are emphatically Mediterranean.

A gastronomical instinct, with an aesthetic accent,

Landed in “Argentina” –

Sometime in the last four centuries –

Spaniards first, Italians second,

Brought their food and music,

To make Asado and Tango! –

A double aesthetic movement I like to call

Silver Mediterraneanism…

   

The geography of the asado has three dimensions:

The Pampean plains, proclaimed the cow’s Eden garden;

The Andean mounts, where the blood of Christ is preserved;

And the Patagonian desert, where only Mosaic strength survives.

These three geographical dimensions produced a method

Of potential perfection – the silver grilling.

   

Silver, or Argentine, grilling requires:

Utmost respect for the produce,

The mastering of fire making,

And a musical sensitivity to detect the symphony of crackle.

Respect, mastering, and music – ontologically fundamental to the silver meat griller.

   

To the Mediterranean genealogy and privileged geography I must add genuinely Argentine genes:

The aristocratic landowners of Buenos Aires and La Pampa;

And the neo-nomads, the Pampean-patagonic gauchos.

A curious combination of aristocratic grandiosity and gaucho simplicity made way for a unique carneal spirit (from the fusion of agriculture and nomadism):

“EL ASADO”.

   

“El Asado” is no less than a cultural institution,

Nay, a religious institution, upon reflection:

It happens normally on Sundays,

Friends and family gather for a gastro-spiritual

Shared experience.

Pious and ritualistic for most –

The revered idols are:

Chorizo, blood sausage, chinchulines, tira, vacío, molleja, and mayba bondiola:

These are pork, chicken and cow meat cuts,

A priori categories I must say,

That give substance to a socially undiscriminating food religion.

   

Asado mass lasts around eight hours,

Come at four, leave at twelve –

In between you talk, eat, talk, drink wine, eat, drink fernet, talk, talk, laugh, have dessert, drink, leave.

   

Asados punctuate friendly and family ties,

El Asado is religiously spiritual

And institutionally concrete,

Requiring technique, wine, love and meat –

No wonder conventional politics fail in Argentina:

The silver Kingdom is but ruled by food…

MADNESS - July & August 2018 Sybrand Veeger

To Madness

Written by Sybrand Veeger

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To Madness:

Just A Mad Ode:

A Merely Mad Mode?

Schizó, Psycho, Bi- : Political?

Yet, honest(l)y: is that its fundamental Property?

That one Uncle, occasionally Lyrical:

Flirts with Existence – never with Conformity.

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Vibrant, just Because.

Its Intensity takes no Pause.

Recalcitrance or Equanimity,

Are those its hidden Cause?

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The Madman within Me:

Compelling yet Cynical,

“Get Rid of it!” – They tell Mé,

– Never! It is to the Substance and I:

Umbilical!

>

A Reversal of the Logos,

Is that the Voice of God?

Profound and Superficial!

It’s a Ma(er)(s)k! It’s Official.

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“Madness”: what’s that, anyways?

“Normality”, that’s Mad, – Always.

Suicidal – due to our Wa(y)ze.

Social-madness plagues the Highways.

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Existence-and-existence,

Repeated with no Distance,

Schizó with no Resistance?

Society is his Resistance!

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Then, does Madness not exist?

Is it like some sort of Mist?

Maybe Existence with a Twist?

Or a Twister: never, -Fixt!

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Upon Reflection, I, Deduce,

Surely Mads-ness is my Muse,

Call me “Crazy” or “Obtuse”,

“Insanity”: Concept-misuse.

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Anxiety and Depression:

Just any Youth’s Expression,

I fly Economy on Melancholy,

I fly First on a lick of Molly!

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Flying, indeed Crucio,

Physically and spiritually,

Flying TitanicAir: a Nutshell,

Takes ticks of Self and Cruelty!

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You think Hegel lived no Pain?

Or that Spinoza was a plain?

Great Spirits lovelive in Greatlie,

Please be Mad! Not only faintly.

>

Brandy Veeger,

14.07.2018,

FULLY Hope,

Infinity.

>

To Punctuation and Capitalization (another day at the Word:Lab):

“…c;O,m”- m!A.?.

ode to the Ode: anatomy of the Ode: meta-Ode

Keats: that great Preacher of the Ode.

Keats! that great Creature of the Ode.

Borges: why don’t you ode?

Nietzsche: that mad(denning) Death: also an Ode?

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It describes and creates.

Is it bounded to a nutshell?

It is yet King of All Space!

Discovered: an Obsession!

Maddening and heavenly,

With great Intentionality:

The depths of my Affection.

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Obsessed: a Discovery!

A strange Columbian Enterprise,

Philosophy in disguise?! Or Reason in the Skies?!

Nietzsche screams “Genealogy”!

Heidegger: Poiesis,

Look there! You see Homer?

He oded through Ulysses!

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Maybe the Origin of Spirit,

With great Certainty its Future,

Timeless and ethereal,

(Modernity: its Butcher?)

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The Soul in vocal Form,

The Form and Soul and Wrath,

…Before Plato was born,

The Song was dressed in Math!

The Rhythm and the Beat,

The tempo of my feet:

The Temple of Delight…

Silence…what a Fright!

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An Ode throughout the World,

The World through in the Ode,

The Metronome of Joy:

Orchestrating. Whole.

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Spinoza: Odal Geometry!

The recipe for Harmony:

A base of God or Nature,

Bring mind, bring soul to Structure.

A cup of strength and rigor.

Voila! Now Man is bigger!

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Borges: He did ode.

The Maze indeed abode.

Reflections to Infinity,

In story and in poetry,

His essayistic whisper,

Containing all Eternity.

The Mirror and the Mirror,

Repeating my existence:

The echoes of my soul!

The great eternal Ode!

That is God! Ich bin Whole.

>

Dr. Brandy Reyes,

1272018,

FU11Y Hope-,

Infinity.

 
Contributing Writers DRUGS - February 2018

The Epidemic in Tijuana

As we near the close of this month’s issue, it’s worth remembering that every drug statistic is an aggregate of individual lives. In the following poem, Dinora Escobar shares the story of a young woman living with drug addiction far from home.


Written by Dinora Escobar

Tijuana, a famous city on

the border of Mexico and California, USA.

An area known as Zona Norte, by the Tijuana Arch.

The Arch is well known. At the entrance of Tijuana, right in the heart of Zona Norte.

It’s like a little Vegas”, as many tourist say, but much more poor and dangerous a place; full of drugs,

prostitution, crime, poverty. A place where everything has a price, even your freedom.

Law enforcement is corrupted, a place where many come to fulfill their fantasies, and go home like nothing

ever happened. But what about those that this is their reality. A fast lane life, a place that, to many is a fun,

tourist place and to others this is home. A place to survive.

A place to easily get caught up and lost, where many end up like Ieesha Shiann.

Ieesha Shiann, is a female aged 24, born in mid east of the United States.

She resides in the “zona norte”

located at 1st and coahuila.

Ieesha, living life day by day.

To support her drug habit and to get by she is also a worker of the streets, prostitution. She uses heroin and crystal methamphetamine, also known as “criko”or ice” on the streets.

Ieesha has a story that no one knows. A lot of people wonder, but don’t understand her due to the language barrier, and that she’s mostly in her own world of hallucinations. It is hard to get a full story or even a full sentence without distractions.

I asked Ieesha if I could interview her. She seemed a little scared, uncomfortable with the idea of it, but then she agrees.

Ieesha where were you born?

In Minnesota with the snow and where I lost my babies.

You have kids?

Yes two and I lost them.

How did you lose your kids?

The system took them from me and put them with another family and I don’t know where they are.

Why and how did you start doing drugs?

I lost my kids, don’t know where they are.

How did you end up here?

If you’re not from here?

He left me here.

Who?

A men we got high. I was so high on drugs I can’t remember, but we were here together getting high. High, for a couple of weeks and one day he left, I couldn’t find him I didn’t know what to do.

How long you been here?

I think three years

Where’s your family?

Don’t know I need to contact them, someone to let them know where I’m at.

What do you consume and how do you get by as far as financially?

You want sex?” That’s all I say to get “globo”.

Globo means balloon in English. A word that is used for the little plastic containing the drug.

Where do you sleep? Shower?

If I have money motels sometime, or a client will pay for a room all night and if not I sleep like the” dogs and cats”.

What does that mean?

Wherever I can lay down on the streets. If is cold or rains I can use boxes to shield myself from the cold.

Ieesha has asked me in the past if their are any Rehabilitation Centers here in Tijuana.

Yes there are but as private organizations. So there’s a fee.

At times I just wonder about Ieesha. She comes in sayshi”, she stares around. and she cries. Cries and she only speaks of what I believe is a constant memory to her, in her head. What she can still remember and acknowledge; her kids that she lost and a man that left her here.

Why don’t you cross the border if you’re a USA Citizen?

I never go to border or cross. Nope never cross.

Why? You can get help out there.

Is too late. Where do I go?

Like many others Ieesha randomly sleeps in the streets and hopes for shelter.

She goes around to the local stores at times to ask for food, including my work place.

Many people that know her will hand out clothes to her. They say she wasn’t like this at first.

She was a normal, healthy, young girl,

but drugs have made her lose herself to the streets.

Ieesha