Category Archives: ~burning woman~

Tonight I Shall let my Heart Speak


(a poem… by Sha’Tara, testing my own darkness)

Tonight, I said to myself,
When darkness has fallen
I shall let my heart speak.

(A moment of madness
or sudden bravery?)

I do not trust the language of the heart,
The language of emotion, of the past.
I do not trust the memories it recalls
How can I ever prove if they be true or false?

Then my heart speaks:
Distorted images of forgotten memories
Swamp my tired mind.

(I regret, too late, opening that door
to an old past disowned long ago.)

Cold dead things arise from foggy depths,
Feelings, thunderclouds beyond the hills:

They say, this is you, oh yes, this is you!
You made us, we are your past and we are!

Oh heart! Accuser, torturer,
Can you not forget?
Can you not leave me be?

(Have you ever heard its laughter,
your own heart mocking you?)

You should not have opened this Pandora’s box,
All alone in the night, in your own personal darkness.
You cannot put us back in there now, however you try,
We’ll hover forever about your worthless mind.

Will morning dissipate these Djinns?

 

If Only I still had Faith!

A poem by Sha’Tara

If only I still had my childhood faith!
If only I could still believe as I did then!
I would storm the gates of heaven,
I would be a Greta Thunberg
Sitting day after day on the cold stones
Watching souls come and go; praying,
Wishing, hoping, thinking, dreaming!

Then after forty days and nights
I would stand in my hunger and thirst,
In my destitution and my unbearable pain,
Turn to those cold pearly gates
And I would yell for God, yell and scream!
I would call Him, curse Him, revile Him
With every vile name under the heavens,
Throwing myself against the bars
Leaving trails of blood dripping down
Upon those hard, cold stones.

If only I still had my faith, if only!

Man’s Last War

 – a poem by Sha’Tara

The world hasn’t changed much
Since so long ago I was born, when I happened
For no reason it would seem, without hubris.
I learned to talk, walk, listen and observe
With the sense it all had to mean something
In the end.

The world was cruel to me when I was young
Though I didn’t know that then, it’s what is
To a child life is the norm, the form.
There was much hardship, harshness
Little tenderness, and it seemed dangerous.
One could get used to tenderness
And the world I knew hated it with passion
unchecked.

Life is cruel they said without apology,
Why not, they’d just survived a world war
Knowing naught but blood and losses.
I thought, yes, I have to be bold, and tough,
I too must survive, there’ll be another war
And I must know how to fight it; must know
My enemy before he knows that I know
I will beat him.

No, the world hasn’t changed, not at all.
The same people lie, cheat, rob and rule,
The same people suffer and die, their blood
Lubricates the scythe blindly sweeping
To leave fodder and dying stubble in its wake
To be ploughed.

Yet something did change, has changed:
A new World War is being fought
No longer man against man but once again
Man against nature-she fighting her protracted way
She can never lose. Man in his hubris
Still believes he can win this war and it will be
As he never, ever, won any of his other wars.
Earth withdraws her bounty.

Man’s motto remains against, never with
Rashly, brashly he spreads his nets,
His barb wire, his jet trails, his towers,
His stacks, his chimneys, his warehouses
His poisons, his noise, his armaments and bombs,
All to be measured in corporate profits for
The rich to get richer.

Civilization teeters on the brink of extinction,
The skies are deeply troubled, changing colours,
Glaciers melt, calve, fires burn, smoke rises:
Death, death, death! Booms and cackles
The Lord of Greed, the God of man, terminator
Soulless and heartless

The last man stands on his funeral pyre
Proudly made of planet Earth’s skin
Sure he’d won his very last war against life.
*********
He raises his fist to the soured heavens,
Claiming his last divine imperative thinking
I have destroyed the environment, I have killed
All that sustained life. I leave my boot print
On a weak, worthless and dying world, hah!
“I Am become Death, the Destroyer of Earth,
I will be remembered, halleluiah!”

How then does one achieve enlightenment?

[thoughts from   ~burning woman~  and essay, by Sha’Tara]

Quote: “Prescience reveals no absolutes, only possibilities. The surest way to know exactly what the future holds is to experience it in real time.” (Sandworms of Dune – Kevin Anderson)

How do I approach this? Let me say that lately I have been allowing myself to “feel” and that has translated into deep and abiding sorrow for this world. Certainly if one is remotely aware of the many sick things going on here, or being done here, there must arise a sense of anxiety. But “anxiety” means concern for one’s self, or one’s “special people” within the greater body politic.

Sorrow is a different thing, as I have written about before. My understanding of it is, it isn’t about me (or mine, if I had any special people) but about all of it, about the flow of life… and death… all around me, as far as my senses can reach.

One achieves “enlightenment” when one gathers enough personal courage to look at her or his world exactly as it is and not as the conflicting sources of propaganda declare it to be. Yes, that takes courage because it removes all the facile excuses we constantly make up to justify our sustaining beliefs regardless of how such beliefs affect others. Enlightenment means I no longer regard others as conveniences to supply my endless wants; I no longer view them as competitors for space or resources; I no longer see them as threats to my personal, or national, beliefs and security.

Enlightenment means becoming aware of reality without blinders or protective armor. It means choosing to become vulnerable so that others may not have to feel vulnerable but safe in our presence.

Enlightenment then means living the compassionate life does it not?

If we accept the truth of our current social condition, that being a very difficult thing to do, we will of necessity plunge into a maelstrom of personal conflict. If we are of the relatively “rich” West, we will feel the weight of responsibility for many of the world’s ills and we won’t know what to do about it. We will want to protest; we will seek to blame someone, particularly “they” for the world’s major problems. We will think that just changing “me” is useless in the grand scheme of things and when we see that all our struggles, our protests, our votes and our hopes are increasingly dashed, we will go the route of despair, despondency, denial or seek solace in “old time religion” and our spirit will die within. We will go through the motions of living and when death comes, that will be that. It might even be seen as a relief from pointlessness and boredom.

This reminds me of a song I once wondered about so long ago, sung by Peggy Lee: “Is That All There Is?”

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3sWTnsemkIs

Lyrics:
I remember when I was a very little girl, our house caught on fire
I’ll never forget the look on my father’s face as he gathered me up
In his arms and raced through the burning building out to the pavement
And I stood there shivering in my pajamas and watched the whole world go up in flames
And when it was all over I said to myself, is that all there is to a fire?

Is that all there is, is that all there is
If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing
Let’s break out the booze and have a ball
If that’s all there is

And when I was twelve years old, my father took me to a circus, the greatest show on earth
There were clowns and elephants and dancing bears
And a beautiful lady in pink tights flew high above our heads
And as I sat there watching
I had the feeling that something was missing
I don’t know what, but when it was over
I said to myself, “is that all there is to the circus?

And then I fell in love with the most wonderful boy in the world
We’d take take long walks down by the river or just sit for hours gazing into each other’s eyes
We were so very much in love
And then one day he went away and I thought I’d die, but I didn’t
And when I didn’t I said to myself, is that all there is to love?

Is that all there is, is that all there is
If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep

I know what you must be saying to yourselves
If that’s the way she feels about it why doesn’t she just end it all?
Oh, no, not me I’m not ready for that final disappointment
‘Cause I know just as well as I’m standing here talking to you
When that final moment comes and I’m breathing my last breath, I’ll be saying to myself

Is that all there is, is that all there is
If that’s all there is my friends, then let’s keep dancing
Let’s break out the booze and have a ball
If that’s all there is

Yesterday was my 73rd birthday, a pretty good milestone, even by today’s standards and I realize that all my life I have refused to accept that “is that all there is” condition.

In “Sandworms of Dune” Kevin Anderson wrote: “By following the same beliefs and making the same decisions one wears life’s path into a circular rut, going nowhere, accomplishing nothing, making no progress.”

That is “the” problem Earthians seem unable to confront and move beyond. Many a time I suggested doing something outside the status quo in order to get off the treadmill. I was mocked and accused of not knowing the difference between imagination and reality. Eventually I chose in favor of imagination and against man’s sacrosanct reality. I chose against “Is that all there is” and went on a life-long quest for whatever lay beyond this view.

I found the doorway, and I saw the future, yes, and experienced it in real time. That is what the gate keepers do not want Earthians to realize: that their future exists, that it is waiting for them to enter into it and experience it, that it is neither some bullshit religious “heaven” or “hell” nor equally bullshit materialistic annihilation.

If we would become truly enlightened we all have to take that chance and go questing for our own particular future. It’s a strictly personal reality and not a collective affair. Scary thought that, hm?

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #74

It’s a simple, age-old choice.

One, I believe and I trust the High Priest to know better than I ever could. In his hands I die a sacrifice to the God as I have been in the habit of doing over and over.

Two, I walk to the Knight, kneel, accept the knighthood proffered. I take the weapons, walk past the altar into the room where the demon in black metal armour awaits my entrance. He is ready to fight me, dishonour me, kill and devour me along with all I have ever loved and cared for, living or dead.

That is the choice I have been moving towards since I evolved into ISSA consciousness. This choice determines whether I graduate, or remain in obedient subservience and servitude to a Higher Power.

I choose the weapons. I go to meet Warmo. It is time.

End blog post #73
_________________

Begin blog post #74

I am given a light early meal and in another upset, I am dressed in a sleeveless short white cotton shift. Even my trainers give a slight bow of the head to me. I feel like sobbing out loud, this is such an emotional affair. I am overwhelmed and embarrassed by it all. The kitchen staff is allowed to come out and wave to me. The overseer comes over and touches my shoulder and whispers a typical T’Sing Tarleynan good luck saying that translates roughly as “keep the sun shining” and pats me on the head. I needed that little bit of ‘enlightenment’ to bring me back to ground level.

I thank the old overseer from the heart and let him see my face covered in grateful tears while I smile openly, freely. I silently wish them all well.

‘Thank you, thank you, thank you, all of you wonderful people who are demonstrating your real humanity today. I bless you all…’

But their inane law prevents me from saying the words to them aloud. So I carry them in my heart, for now. And in my mind I plant them in the soil of this place, under the paving stones. In time, perhaps they will emerge and fill all the cracks in these structures.

And I’m led into the arena to meet my arch rival, my nemesis who has hounded me through so many lives and given me so many nightmares. Yet were it not for him I would never have found my way here, to this transition point.

When the crowd sees the female fighter in the white dress come forth to the armour and weapons table, they fall into dead silence. This has never been seen. Of course there is no riff-raff in this crowd, the prices of admission being astronomical. This is the day for the aristocracy to enjoy itself. Still, the silence prior to any fight is unnerving. I strip my dress off, stand naked as per protocol, do a few bending exercises to demonstrate my fitness and with some help, don my armour for the first fight involving the staff.

I have studiously avoided looking in Warmo’s direction. I want to use my so-called sixth sense and feel his presence rather than study him with my physical senses. It’s his mind/heart I must penetrate and remain vigilant over. To him I must project, send, nothing but white noise. I must block any thought aimed at me while attempting to read his. Remains to be seen how much of an adept he is at this game. Concentrate, focus, collect, withdraw, analyze, discard and repeat until nothing of value can be gained from the exercise.

An eternity and the centering trumpet sounds. I walk to the center, still looking down, not at him. I sense a slight discomfort from him. He is probing me with his eyes, ears and nose. To a much lesser extent I feel his mind probe but it is weak. I lift my head just enough to see his weapon and the arc it’s going to describe on the very first swing. I turn to the King’s dais and although I cannot see him, I know he’s watching his holo and has me on close-up. I salute with my staff held high at a slight upward tilt and bow. Then I wait without fear or tremor for the second trumpet.

As soon as it sounds I literally jump out of my trance and begin the dance with him. I already knew he would swing left and I parry, jumping back, not yet engaging my bionic ankle. I must ‘study’ his moves for he knows much more of mine than I of his. And I take careful note of the long sword in the scabbard on his back. I try to see if it is lashed with thongs I could cut with the cutting point of the staff – very unlikely.

I keep moving back, back, drawing him to me as a magnet draws steel. I move in and out of trance, sometimes seeing an SS guard, complete with the dreaded insignia on the coat – he knows of my ancient morbid fear of men in police or military uniforms. Sometimes I see a Melkiar robot in gleaming black metallic armour and the staff becomes a death tube. Sometimes it’s a giant demon from hell, his black carapace smoking and his eyes red laser beams. Then I see a human being desperate to escape the mould his vices have locked him into for eternity or until his Valkyrie, his Avenging Angel of Death and Ultimate Mercy kills him and pulls his soul from it. I see an evil black hooded Darth Vader from an Old Earth flatvid sci-fi production coming at me with a red light stick.

End blog post #74

We the People: a Grim Fairytale

[a short story by  ~ burning woman~ ]

Once upon a time (well, that is the usual opening for a fairy tale, is it not?) there was an empire that covered an entire world. It was not a peaceful empire, in fact it was terribly dysfunctional. However, the kings and other rulers of the various kingdoms, duchies and quaint inventions called “nations” liked it that way.

There were endless wars which greatly benefited the elites and allowed the peasants and serfs or citizens to pretend at being “somebodies” by fighting and killing each other on a regular basis. For that world such behaviour was considered entirely normal. People who thought otherwise and who refused to fight and kill their neighbours were classed as traitors and in some periods, were executed, in others simply jailed. One thing for sure, at all times they were mocked and called cowards.

Such conditions are conducive to bringing forth cowardly and corrupt leadership and at times some group of people would overthrow such leaders and change the status of their land from, say, a kingdom or a colony to, say, a democracy. None of them actually understood what a democracy was since there had never been any to learn from, but they made it up as they went along and lo and behold, before they knew what had happened, their “democracy” had become a totalitarian regime quite identical to what their history books told them of the times before their revolution.

But, they cried, how can this be when it is “We the People” who decide how things should be run? So they talked, loud and vociferously about the role that “We the People” played in this drama and why things had turned on them. They blamed one-another for failing to vote, or for supporting the wrong party and those who were blamed, blamed right back. They blamed the politicians, well, of course! They blamed their elites, just as their forebears did. The problem was that now the elites operated with impunity within the democracy that “We the People” had presumably set up precisely to prevent such a thing from happening.

As things heated up, there even began talk of another revolution. It was a lot of angry talk and no one really knew how to bring about a revolution. It seemed that would require much organization and really, no one was up to jump starting such an irrevocable step. They needed the support of “We the People.”

In keeping with the propaganda relating to the previous revolution, it seemed logical that once again it would be “We the People” who would have to rise up, overthrow the entire corrupt system of religion, government and finance/business, and establish a new system. That made sense, so those with the loudest voices decided to bring “We the People” together.

And children, that is when those who wanted a revolution discovered that “We the People” was a complete chimera. There was no such thing as “We the People.” The idea that a majority core group held the real power of the democracy had always been pure propaganda by the two-party system of government so that the people would continue to believe that at the heart of it a legitimate, patriotic, educated, aware watchdog group of citizens kept tab on its government and had a tight leash on its politicians.

It was a terrible blow to the ego of those who would stop the corruption to discover that there had never been a “We the People” force in the land but exactly the opposite: a ragtag collection of people who distrusted one-another and often hated one-another for being of the wrong skin colour, or from the wrong ethnic background, economic level or religion. Instead of unity, they saw mass shootings and mass incarcerations of innocent individuals. They saw greed, hubris, abuse, violations of every known human rights and widespread destruction of the environment. They also saw that the masses, those who should have been “We the People,” identified with these destructive ways and participated in them, often with gusto while supporting and defending their blatantly corrupt leadership.

“Sadly children, they did not live happily ever after.”

“What happened to that world teacher?” asked a small boy.

“As to be expected, it destroyed itself and all the people on it died.”

“Oh!” echoed the children in horror.

“But it’s only a fairy tale, isn’t it?” Ventured an older girl in the back row.

“Well… no, it’s not really a fairy tale at all.”

A Man, a Survivor

[a poem by   ~burning woman~  ]

A strange old man, a very ancient figure,
that’s who he was,
who he is,
who he will always be
.

A man of many titles in as many times:
poor Bill, mendicant, beggar and tramp.

At times,
panhandler, good-for-nothing loafer,
deadbeat, vagrant, hobo, gypsy
and in more recent times,
a welfare bum.

Sometimes this strange man
whom everybody sees, nobody knows
comes back from the sea,
sometimes from the wars or prison:
no one comes to the quay
or the bus stop to meet him

and to hug him.

Alone,
carrying a damp and dirty canvas bag
he limps down some dark alley
to find a familiar den,
a smoke-filled tavern, an inn.
a halfway house.

For a few coins, a room under a stairway
a garret with drafty shutters,
a condemned house

become his home ’til the angels come
or the demons, and who can ever tell?

Sometimes he just gets tired of jostling
for position and wealth – leaves one night
never to come back. Why for?

His wife re-married, does he care?
Who’s to know? Not even he
wandering the drafty city streets
with his new title and essential wealth.

He’s a successful miner now,
mining garbage for treasures
haphazardly arranged in a rusty shopping cart
(of front squeaky bent wheel
from an accidental encounter with a taxi)
until deposited for safekeeping.

They call him homeless now, the
politically correct term
for this strange old man who never did fit,
who in his youth had a strong back
to break up the coal, carry gear and pack a rifle
walk through flooded paddies
and burn babies in their mothers’ arms
inside grass huts in a land so far away.

He knew well enough then why he did this:
for God and country and freedom
they’d told him so and he believed.

He came back from the killing fields
to log the dark green hills
until the trees were gone.
He cleaned out curbs and culverts
for a pittance in part time jobs
to bolster free enterprise and capitalism.

“It’s all good” they said with a leer
and what could he do but believe?

He doesn’t remember much of that
and really, what does it matter now?
the rich got richer and died,
the dead remain dead
and he’s got his place
behind four loosened cement bricks
under a forgotten embankment
where he hides his “Precious”
and keeps a mouldy sleeping bag,
drinks, sleeps and feeds his nightmares
of bullets and blood,
of flames that roast flesh,
of screams of pain and terror:
the voices of the dead
his last remaining friends.

It’s time to work the streets again,
push the rusty cart with the squeaky bent wheel
until the angels return again
or the demons, and who’s to know?

He’ll be there again tomorrow
and the day after that
and even after the Great Day
there he will be in his dirty tattered rags
his long stringy hair blowing wildly
in the cold, cold winds that haunt
the endless dirty, drafty, empty city streets

What will his title be
next time I pass him by trying not to notice?

I think I already know this, in my heart
as I look around and ponder this place:
he’ll be the survivor.