"There is no such
thing as perfection. 
Each step is a step
towards the next step."
~C.F.

 

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smart sister Susan Fisch
for helping to edit my writings
in both English & French.
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The RELATIONSHIP

April 12, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

The AFFAIR

by Charles Fisch ©

They simply collided
while rushing off somewhere
Disarmed and thrust face to face
now oblivious to time or place

Both constrained
and fragile in their own way
each envisioned the other
as that worn out cliché
a Messiah who would
rescue them from the rubble
of failures rejections
inadequacies fears
all crumbling foundations
of unfulfilled dreeeams

After many fallow years
they now sprung to life
before the alarm clock blared
to dance through the day
and to party late into the night
bodies and souls entwined
in euphoric bliss

But they got too close too fast
or something or other
did not go their habitual way
They got scared
of getting hurt —again

Or was it some lingering trauma
like scraped knees
from pre-adolescent years
which interfered
as residual recurring phantom tears
or some idealistic fantasy image
which disappeared and magically
re-materialized as reality
—with flaws 
—eeou

They could have tried to compromise
as good relationships necessitate
or see this roadblock as a mirror
to introspect and evaluate the reflection
in their own stagnant pool of fears

Instead they ran away —again
reeking of blame and shame
in the safety and comfort
of their ingrained mundane routines
their predictably scripted rituals
each in the comforting smell
of their own lair
brooding in dark stale air
—licking childhood wounds…

 

 


Eulogy for Simone

June 08, 2016  •  1 Comment
KINDRED SPIRITSKINDRED SPIRITS<span class="large">The best place</span><br/> <span class="large">to meet Kindred Spirits</span><br/> <span class="large">is on the dance &fnof;loor<br/> moving freely </span><br/> <span class="large">in a stupor of joy </span><br/> <span class="large">smiling eyes embrace </span><br/> <span class="large">souls intertwine<br/> connections blossom</span><br/> <span class="large">without the need </span><br/> <span class="large">~for words.</span>

Eulogy for Simone

by Charles Fisch  June 6, 2016 

The delightful Simone is how I always thought of her…
She made a human connection in every conversation. Always present and benevolent…
A rare jewel of light in an age when people communicate
terse meaninglessness in 144 characters.

 

Simone was one of my students at George Brown College Graphic Design Program. And she made the Dean’s list… She was very proud of that. Her charming personality made her memorable immediately and throughout the year. Over the years I bumped into her at various venues. Recently she was showing her paintings at the Toronto Outdoor Art Exhibition at City Hall. She was delighted to see me. We hugged and talked for hours in the warm sunlit square amongst hundreds other wonderful artists in their tents. As always, I walked away feeling content. 

So it was a huge shock to find Simone at a PsychPrison of a downtown hospital. Her neighbours had taken her to the police station to get her help, because her words were not making sense. From there she had been forcibly drugged; sedated for over a week with anti-psychotic medication. By the time I visited her she had subdued her demons and was similar to how I had ever seen her before… Although looking very frail and trying to remember what happened… 

Simone asked me to not focus on her “Dis-Ease.” She didn’t want to be labeled or thought of as a sick person, but as a friend. She wanted me to take her to art galleries and talk about art. Of course…That is the same as I would want to be treated. But I never got a chance to take her to any galleries. After being released, she mysteriously died. 

I realized that Simone had suffered privately. Reluctant to show her inner struggles to the world, she tried her best to hide her condition. So many people hide their true selves, whose struggles seem to be out of the mainstream of “Appropriate Struggles” —as dictated by media or religious or medical myths. It is only in emergencies or tragedies that we find out how some people cope with their lives. 

Trying to hide one’s true self is not based on irrational fears. People don’t know how to handle others who are very different —temporarily or altogether. Most societies teach some form of “Othering” through cultural myths… There may be fear due to unpredictability… The stress of not knowing how to respond… Issues of reputation through association… The ones who see the pariah as their “mirror image” or resemblance are the most afraid of the connection! 

Some family members may be ashamed of relatives who are different and shun them —physically and/or emotionally— since childhood. That only adds to their misery. The labels become “Internalized Oppression” —self hatred. It often manifests in fear, low self-esteem, vulnerability, anxiety, depression, feeling ugly, incompetent and inadequate, fantasies of &/or attempts of suicide, even homelessness. Consequently, they may behave “unhappily” at times; even antagonistic… Which may make them more burdensome… But no one can keep it all bottled up consistently. 

The ones who develop psychotic episodes are probably AM radio tuners channeling the blame and hatred of society in the denigrating voices they hear. But it is through inclusion that healing takes place. In many traditional societies these same people may be revered as visionaries and mystics and honoured. I wonder if the voices that revered mystics hear are as hateful as those of imprisoned Schizophrenics in Religious Dictatorships, or those who are homeless in free Capitalist societies? 

About 20% of humanity has “brain circuit” or “Wiring Disorders,” according to the National Institute of Mental Health. It is a more accurate term than the emotionally laden “Mentally ill.”  5% have it to a debilitating level. Anomalies of the psyche seem to be higher amongst creative people than the general population. Artist have had to deal with these issues through centuries, millennia…  Historical records of famous artists showed how they coped with their lives in spite of inner struggles and outer struggles —often caused by their conditions. So many creatives have lived through depression, alcoholism, drug addictions, bipolar disorder, PTSD, schizophrenia, etc. Yet in spite of it all, created beautiful meaningful works which enriched societies for decades; centuries. They mostly did not know how to understand, or cope with, or control the incredible alternate energies they were experiencing. Such things were not taught in schools. Maybe in Shaman school…

 

.

Some realized that their condition heightened their creativity. That is what artists live for. The initial stages of a psychotic episode for example, are said to be an especially creative time, which blurs the line between madness and genius. VanGogh painted his swirling masterpiece, “Starry Night”  during one of those episodes in a mental hospital. Apparently he expressed a complex mathematical theory about fluid dynamics, in that painting. Frances Crick said that he had actually “perceived the double-helix shape [DNA] while on LSD.” 

Saints, visionaries, shamans have taken drugs and fasted to increase the hallucinogenic processes of their minds. They wanted to suppress their ego consciousness, to access their unconscious mind; to become receptive to repositories of memories of humanity, which Carl Jung called the “Collective Unconscious.” Actually, all of us naturally produce LSD in our brains. We all have the availability of altered states to heighten our creativity. Sugar suppresses it. Sugar is poison…

Simone had explained to me that she has had this condition before and was taking medication for it, but it had blunted her 3rd eye. She was trying to control it through herbs. That may sound ridiculous to some… Not all of humanity would agree with the concept  of 3rd eye, but some of us would label it as “intuition” or “association skills,” which are another form of non-linear thought. A faster way of arriving at conclusions… Not having those skills is like an amputation of a part of one’s mind. A vital part of every creative person’s process —missing. Limping instead of flying.

Mind numbing “Medical Treatments” with “legal” pharmaceutical drugs or Shock Treatment, all with distressing side effects, is truly unbearable for many people —especially those who live by and for, creativity. If the cure is as debilitating as the disease, naturally they will want to try more benign treatments. A similar movement is happening with cancer drugs vs Marijuana, ginger as a blood thinner instead of Warfarin; ginger and turmeric also lower blood pressure instead of Statins, etc. Whether it be pharmaceutical or herbal, there is always experimentation needed with medication, either to get the right dosage or the right combination of medications. With some conditions there is suffering with or without treatment —only a matter of degree of difference. 

We all try in our own way to improve ourselves. It may not be evident too others on a different path in life, or to those who are in a hurry and think they can actually get anywhere fast… Every change happens one molecule at a time. If you rush by at 100miles an hour, you miss —or dis-miss— the finer details. But, it is what we learn along the way that also counts!

One of the side effects of suffering, after having overcome the bitterness associated with it, is learning compassion for the suffering of others. Buddhists say that it is during a time of suffering that we are most open to learning compassion. In Judaism, the Talmud/Berakhot-5 says, “God gave Israel three good gifts, and all were given only through suffering.” It is common experience that we have greater feeling and appreciation for things we acquire through suffering. In Christianity, suffering is a recurring theme and is considered a necessary ingredient for maturing spiritually and learning to overcome evil with good. Simone seemed to have learned those lessons well. I had only ever known her as a loving individual. That is how she was with me.

I will always honour Simone for her truly lovely spirit. As well she represents for me the struggles of all artists who strive to be creative.

I also realize that I have to re-prioritize my life. Many of us also need to make that adjustment. We need to make time for Kindred Spirits —before they leave their bodies and disperse back into the stars. These are the people we have to cherish…Spend more time with… Enrich each others’ lives with beauty and caring… Especially during their most vulnerable moments. We have to accept every part of them —as we have to accept every part of ourselves. We cannot expect others to live up to a concept of perfection that we cannot live up to ourselves.

Good bye for now, dear sweet Simone until we can dance together again freely as spectral waves; auroras of shimmering colours, painting the universe with starlight. 

 

 

 


TWEET POEMS

April 16, 2016  •  Leave a Comment

Tweet Poems

by Charles Fisch © 

Vanishing Beauty

once upon a time
stalkers chased me
up and down the street
with sweet ravenous smiles
and offers of treats
a few wrinkles later
they look past me
at younger fresher meat

Beauty Piranhas

A handsome tall friend of mine
takes me for a walk sometime
all eyes on the street
devour his exquisite beauty
piranhas eat his flesh to the bone

as I just disappear

Useless Veils

Women hide in veils
as shields against
impure thoughts of men
but scents travel through cloth
arousing passionate fantasies
that mundane features
freely exposed may repel

Kindred Spirits

The best place to meet
kindred spirits
is on the dance floor
in a stupor of joy
eyes intertwine
bodies and souls embrace
communications blossom
without the need for words 

Don't Look–But Look

My eyes are up here
she roared with vehemence
but she'll be even more upset
when she grows older
and no one looks at her breasts
—anymore

Men are Pigs

if men are pigs
then women are sows
we are all born as animals
whether we end up wearing pants
or jewel-embroidered gowns

Abused Animals

Abused animals
— human or any other kind
will attack or run away
if approached directly
even with food in hand
they tunnel vision death
and feel only distress

Hello, Hello

I tried to call you on the phone
but your communication device
—was divisive
it trapped me inside
an insipid mindless greeting

an invisible jail
of utter nothingness

 


WINNER !

December 09, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Winner!

Charles Fisch©2012

TV news was really awesome tonight ~ custom made for adrenaline junkies.
Right here in town there were several wretched murders, a 15-year-old serial rapist,
a gang shoot-out at the mall and a squad of cops busted for selling confiscated drugs.
How crazy is that? Then, a dictator was psychotically butchered with machetes in the street…
While elsewhere, veiled suicide bombers swooped in like a swarm of black crows
to blow a temple sky-high ~ killing 57 people. Wow! Now the weather girl
was warning of a massive hurricane heading this way.

“Get off my screen!!!” Jerry yelled at the weather girl with a mouthful of hamburger, as he awaited the lottery results.

His vacation started today and the only thing he did so far was to max his credit card. The $100 million mega draw mousetrapped him into buying prize tickets worth several months of his salary. But this time he was really sure he would win. All his hundreds of quick-pick fantasies were signed and systematically laid out on the dinner table while he waited for the lottery show. As he relentlessly ripped apart greasy fast food with his teeth like a ravenous animal, orange ooze slimed down his neck and furry arms.

At long last the big-haired, tightly corseted lottery model reached for the balls printed with the winning numbers, as they dropped from the Random Number Generator like bird-poop. With effeminate mannerisms, she bent slightly at the hip to pick up the spherical objects one after the other. Each desperately coveted heartthrob in hand prompted her to take a deep breath ~ lifting her big fake “Silly-Cones.” After several teasing seconds of anticipation, the oracle of fortune revealed the worshipped numeric characters with her freshly injected swollen lips. “And the winning numbers are...3…5…8…13…21…and…34. Good luck!” said the flirty mannequin.  

Jerry had remembered those same numbers, from a long ago school assignment, which had gotten him his lowest mark ever. They were the Fibonacci Sequence ~ the ancient Golden Ratio. And, that set of numerals was glowing brighter than the others on his table.

He won!!!! Jerry just won a $100 million dollars!!  

Silence invaded the room. The TV blared lottery propaganda and cheery music, yet the cosmic quiescence drowned it out completely as Jerry stared vacuously at the screen ~ stunned.

As his breath slowly returned, an intense cold-warm shiver radiated from his solar plexus and enveloped him in a feverish realization that he was no longer a “Loser.” He was finally a “Winner”! Exploding from his seat like a grenade, Jerry was ready to grab the life that he had been cheated out of.

But it was Friday night of a long weekend. The lottery office would not open until Tuesday. He had to keep his treasure and himself safe until then. In a panic, he opened and slammed shut his cupboards and fridge in search of food and booze. Nothing to eat! Yet he must not leave the sanctuary of his home. Outside, a ten ton truck could flatten him. 

However...there were a few 8 year old bottles of fine booze he was saving for a special occasion. This was a very special occasion. Dancing nude in his living room, swigging a dusty bottle of wine, Jerry shrieked with blood curdling joy. His hirsute jelly-belly, man-boobs and whale-blubber buns, were bouncing in all different directions as he danced and kicked the air with pigeon-toed clumsiness and flailed his pudgy arms around ~ shamelessly caterwauling Lady Gaga songs. 

Three bottles of wine later, he was passed out on the floor. When he woke, the house was shaking from the gale outside. He could see the twister through the window. It was headed straight for him.

The walls were trembling. Wooden supports were cracking, shredding into splinters and crashing with a thud. Metallic beams were being twisted like melting cheese. Electrical wires became firecrackers of subatomic light particles as they were being mangled. Then it went dark!

 The house was imploding from the 150 decibel whirlwind. As part of the roof flew away, a pillar collapsed onto Jerry, trapping him under metal, wood and plaster debris. When the dust settled, he could see gloomy grey clouds churned by gusts of wind forming fingers, which clawed towards him. Rain and thunder relentlessly pounded the wreckage as he lay paralyzed. Frantically struggling to get free, he yelled for help but he could not even hear his own voice from the deluge. 

Any minute now a reporter with lights and camera crew would lift the house off him like superman, to interview him for TV. He would deservedly have his moment of fame... Trapped under the rubble, hungry, hung-over and bruised, Jerry waited to be rescued. But no one came.

 

     With no TV to distract his introspection, he realized that he was experiencing “news” the way no reporter could convey it ~ seeing and hearing, but also feeling, smelling and tasting the news. The television journalism that had so delighted him for decades, he now saw as an abstract cubist portrait of multiple noses, eyes and ears, hacked off, bleeding and collaged together —a continuous ephemeral barrage of horrid events, devoid of context and humanity. Each crisis was just a visual gulp of adrenalin; entertainment for hollow voyeuristic masses to momentarily feel something at a safe distance, remotely controlled, without having to commit to anything. 

As he became hungrier and weaker, he started to hallucinate. Lying in the crumbs of his life, he reminisced about memorable moments of his yet unwritten story. Since childhood he had wanted to become famous, but did not know for what. Flunking acting school dashed his hopes for celebrity. Design training was another embarrassment. His stubby fingers could not master fine skills. And, he was told by one snooty bitch professor that that his creative visions were irksomely mundane. 

At the theatre where he worked as a stage-hand, he memorized each new script and the roles of all the actors, hoping to replace someone who actually did “break a leg,” or anything else. He listened to each utterance and quality of breath. Every emotion of the characters had a visceral effect on his soul as he carried his props around ~ sometimes tearfully ~ backstage. He got into trouble once for whispering the lines to an actor who had forgotten the words. 

Love had also been painful for Jerry. At school he had been the fat mascot for bullying. Brown hair, brown eyes, bald by 25 ~ most people looked past him. But the ones who looked through him were the most hurtful. So, he was eager to please. He was obsessively compelled to gather positive reactions from everyone he met, with overwhelming attentiveness and annoying optimism. A quiet moment meant inevitable rejection ~ hence he worked himself into a frenzied Attention Deficit Disordered chatterbox around people. He was too much, yet not enough, all at the same time. On the rare occasion that drunks gave him a chance for sex or romance ~ they ran for their lives half way through the “date.”

But he now wanted to forget the past and dreamed of being held in a loving warm embrace…

Jerry became aware that he could not feel his legs and was starting to drift in and out of consciousness. Saliva was collecting in his throat, producing a choking, crackly “death rattle.” Then a final moment of lucidity.

Wanting to be rich and famous like the celebrities he saw in the media caused him to chase fool’s gold aspirations based on mass manufactured plastic daydreams. All his beliefs, lifestyle and goals had been clichés programmed by television. The nasty design teacher was right. It was time for a makeover. He promised himself that he would no longer be led around by the nose by mercenary propaganda. Discovering who he really was and what he really enjoyed would be the foundation for his new, intrinsically motivated life, if he could ever distil what that is.

With his last breaths, Jerry started to giggle. Like the Buddha, he was laughing at the folly of humanity ~ and his own. He recognized the irony of winning the mega prize just before he would die and could never use it, nor take it with him. Jerry loved irony, parody, satire and sarcasm. The idea that the cosmos would have a sense of humour was hilarious.

Rain drops on his face washed away all that was ever meaningful to him. Possessions, rejections, dashed hopes, even momentary delights became irrelevant. Nothing mattered. He saw everything, including himself, as just molecules ~ less dense and more dense conglomeration of molecules strewn about in space…temporary clumps of dust, to be scattered back into the universe by earthly, solar and galactic winds. Then his mind went empty. He had reached enlightenment!

Clutching the mega prize ticket over his heart, Jerry’s soul left his body. He died laughing.

On quiet days, echoes of his laughter ricochet amongst buildings, gleefully chased by children
~ oblivious to their mocking prophecy. 

   

 


Saturday Afternoon at the Opera

August 23, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Saturday Afternooat the Opera

Charles Fisch©Jan.10, 2011~July 2015

We rarely heard music at home on a weekday.
After dressing and feeding her small children, my mother dutifully disappeared
into her household chores. The usual sounds we were immersed in were water running, scrubbing, clanging of pots, food simmering and hours of tap-tap-tapping
of the antique foot-pedal sewing machine. 

Mom was generally attentive and tender, but lately she had been shrieking at my younger sister and me when she wanted something…Then there was “that silence” again. Sis and I tiptoed around, shushing eachother to avert “the wrath of Mom.” Apparently Dad was having another affair and Mom was consumed by the private thunderstorm brewing in her head. She was plotting something…We knew better than to interrupt.

          As children we were not taught to ride a bike or swim; but we entertained ourselves, as kids usually do. My sister played with her dolls on the front steps, the dog loyally lying beside her. Sometimes I helped to make dresses for the dolls, having learned to sew from watching Mom make our clothes.

          Curious by nature, I preferred to forage in the sunlit garden for interesting worms and bugs: iridescent green beetles, red spotted ladybugs, crickets, butterflies, fireflies, spiders...I had a whole collection in bottles with holes in the caps for them to breathe. With practice I figured out how to pick them up so they wouldn’t bite me ~again. Of course, my favourites were the horned stag beetles. Dad took us to the zoo once where the deer with great antlers reminded me of my beetles. Everyone seemed to tolerate my wide-eyed ravings about the similarity.

          My best friend and neighbour was born on the same day as me. But he was not as obsessively enamoured by bugs as I was. He liked cars better. Sometimes we would jump up and down in delight at the edge of the sidewalk watching the different vehicles that rolled down our street. We chased after our most prized ones and could often be heard screaming with joy when sports cars went by…or screaming with panic as the bigger boys chased us down the street. Our days were full of adventures and games with lots of giggling from dawn to dusk.

          When father came home from working in a factory all day ~exhausted~ we knew not to bother him. Supper was always waiting. In focused silence he swallowed his food whole, like some reptile. Although, he did have a soup-impediment…Giggling at his raspy slurping never got old. But this was the crucial moment of the day that Sis and I feared the most. If Mom attacked him with things that needed to be done, he often agreed impatiently, his facial expression implying that it could have waited until he had finished eating. If they were both silent, there was the tense energy-potential of an explosion ~of screaming and yelling. 

          Having finished eating, Dad lay down to listen to his treasured 33-rpm classical music and opera recordings. My frisky young-boy energy came alive to the music ~skipping, kicking, bending, twisting, leaping, twirling and frolicking around the house…sometimes breaking furniture. For my birthday, Dad had taken the whole family to a special performance of Swan Lake with the “Prima Ballerina Assoluta” of the Bolshoi Ballet. After that, my feet didn’t touch the ground for months ~more accurately a life-time… Dad sent me to ballet school when I was seven years old, hoping to tire me out. Secretly he envied my lithe elastic body type. He was born a bear.

          Every Saturday afternoon, Dad lay on his back on the couch escaping into Dostoyevsky’s dog-eared thick novels, which he held in his right hand close to his face, while his left hand waved in the air, conducting Maria Callas on the record player. His every waking and sleeping moment was spent fantasizing about the life that had been denied him. He should have been playing chess with the élite, arguing literature or politics with intelligentsia and applauded on stage along with Maria Callas. He had a voice. Everyone told him that he should have been an opera singer when he yelled at them. But I never actually heard him sing…

          A high-bred family had employed Dad’s 16-year-old mother ~our grandma~ as a live-in maid. But the head of the household got her pregnant, then discarded her along with her baby. Years of struggles awaited them as they both grew up on the streets. No welfare in those days…Unwed mothers with their “bastard” children were not called “single-moms.” Other degrading names were reserved for them…As soon as she could, she sent him to an orphanage out of shame. For an orphaned child it was eat-or-be eaten. Young Dad grew up to be a street-bully to get by.

          Then the war invaded everyone’s lives. Dad was drafted into the army and eventually ended up in a prisoner of war labour camp in Siberia; released only years later. He had now lived through 2 great wars, having been born in the middle of the first one. When he returned home, his survival instinct found him work as an upholsterer. Next, he set his goals on Mom ~a successful tailor and an independent woman.

 

 

 

 

  A confident cocky young man with a steady job, he courted her for years and would not take “no” for an answer. Yes, he was good-looking, and at times charming; but her intuition must have warned her that in the very least they had nothing in common. She told us that she finally agreed to marry him because so many men had died in the war or were never heard of again. Slim pickings…What she regretted most was not wedding the handsome photographer who wanted to take her to America just before the war began.

          Mom may have understood that physical and emotional injuries caused Dad’s impatience and angry outbursts…Or maybe not…But she was now stuck in a distressing marriage, with the statistically correct 21/2 children ~due to a recent miscarriage. In a bombed-to-shreds disaster zone of a city, rebuilding from rubble, and low on food and resources, there was no way out for either of them. They just had to survive.

          Muffled fantasies about missed opportunities and mangled yearnings were their only temporary escape. If their goals or fantasies had been compatible, it may all have been more bearable. But while he was forever searching, she was busy maintaining…Dad obviously overcompensated for having been thrown out with the placenta through the castle window. Not only was he belligerent and arrogant, but also his greatest aphrodisiacs were kitsch gilded grandeur and celebrities. The ultimate romantic, he was constantly ready to give up everything for a torrid affair, desperately seeking the love he never had from birth. Mom, on the other hand, was content with mundane nesting. A bland but devoted asexual accountant would have suited her better. Sex was another duty for her. She was “a virgin martyr,” according to Dad. The death of her father at age 15 was depressing enough, but she was further traumatized by the consequent arranged marriage that she soon escaped. They were both on a leash held by their past.

          Understandably, amongst other of Dad’s less than charming qualities, such as embarrassing Mom in public with his constant arguing with everyone, and dressing like the homeless, his chainsaw snoring could not have been a turn-on…It certainly woke me. Sometimes I was eyes-wide in the middle of the night, watching everyone sleep and listening to Dad’s abrasive noises erupting from under the pillow over his head. His snoring initiated my life-long sleep disorder, amongst others...

          At times they were affectionate towards eachother for short periods; a show-hug or a kiss performed for the children here and there; but never any encouragement or consoling. To acknowledge that they were both in hell together and would support eachother would have helped…But those subtle forms of affection were not part of their consciousness. They could not emulate what they never got or learned in childhood. Instead they constantly reconstituted the pain of previous disappointments and betrayals through belittlement and blame. The past kept flooding back as if it were happening all over again in 3D on a giant screen. Nothing was ever forgotten, nor forgiven…constantly in eachother’s faces, even in withdrawn silence.

          Mother was more difficult to barricade from my father’s bubble of subjugated daydreams than were his children…She felt especially domestic when Dad listened to opera. At the precise moment that “La Divina,” Prima Donna Callas, hit high C live at La Scala, Mom arrived with the vacuum cleaner ~nyiaaaaaahhhhhhh~ drowning out Maria’s spectacular crescendo. Dad would bellow at her with imperial indignation that regularly alarmed the neighbours. She would scream back at him…The children cried…The dog howled…It was literally a “breathtaking,” three-ring, operatic circus.

          Yelling was my parents’ “conversation style.” Sometimes it was scary, but the shouting filled the house. It felt more like home than the dense pregnant silences. {} 

   

 


Heavy Date

June 22, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Heavy Date

 

Charles Fisch ©Jan.11, 2011

My intuition squealed with distress…

The mother I had known and trusted my whole life was no longer herself. The house-broken wife in her usual shabby tent dress suddenly appeared as a crazed spy from hell! Shrouded in an old trench coat, kerchief and sunglasses ~emotionless, yet silently boiling with rage~ she grabbed me sternly by the wrist and pulled me behind her like a bewildered animal. We headed out into the night…As it turned out, I was going on my first date ~at age five~ the worst date of my life.

My mother’s intuition was more developed than mine. Somehow she knew that my father was dating her best friend. So, we all went on “his” date. Mother stalked them like a hungry carnivore, while dragging me along like a piece of toilet paper stuck to her shoe. We hid behind buildings, fences, trees, crouched behind cars, as we followed father up streets and down alleys. When she ran faster than my tiny legs could keep up, my feet never touched the ground. At the slightest whimper I was shushed into submission.

We eventually caught them in the act in a most unexpected scary dark place. Mom shrieked out years of frustration. Dad bellowed back with indignation. The usual screaming match, but more psychotic. We slept at grandma’s house that night.   A restless sleep…The image of my father, naked with another woman in a grungy place amongst murky shadows and my mother screaming, left a Gordian-Knot in my stomach ~for decades.  

 

 

While dad was away at work the next day, her panicked girlfriends arrived to our darkened home. Their attention was beckoned by muffled crying, which led them to a candle-lit room with curtains closed ~where mom lay in bed. She rose decrepitly as if she were a patient in a palliative care unit and with arms raised to the sky, yelled, “KURVA !" (koor'-vah = whore). 

The gossipy confidantes kept telling her that her most beloved and trusted friend since childhood had betrayed her. Being loyal to a fault, she couldn't believe that Magda would try to steal her husband and hurt her. She needed proof ~and now she had it...

Mournfully, she recounted her tragic escapade from the previous day with Shakespearian skill, accentuating her soggy saga with furled brows, clawing fingers, throaty sobs and tears the size of eggs smashing to the floor. Her chorus of wailing women completed the morality play.

In the end, mom’s greatest outrage was that dad had sex with Aunt Magda in a patch of grass under a bridge ~he didn’t take her to a nice hotel.

The gossipmongers’ advice ~to withhold sex as extortion~ backfired on mom. Dad was a practical guy. If he couldn’t get it at home, he got it elsewhere…

Aunt Magda became a pariah. But there seemed to be endless neighbourhood “whores” who were enthusiastic about dad’s charms. Mom continued to hunt them down regularly. She could have been so much more than a housewife... Bounty hunter would be at the top of the list.

   

 


PREMONITION

May 21, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

Premonition

Charles Fisch ©2011

A comforting warm bath was Jackson’s whole universe 
and timeless prison. He was trapped alive in a horizontal fluid-filled
glass pod, like a preserved specimen. Countless stacks of similar glass containers
with naked living human captives surrounded him
as far as the eyes could see.

Jackson had been sentenced to incarceration at the secret “LiquiCell Institution,” but not for actually committing a crime ~yet.
A fall in the street, which resulted in prefrontal lobe brain damage, meant that he “could” become a threat to society. Countless studies of dangerous offenders in penitentiaries showed that most of them had prefrontal lobe damage or underdevelopment. Many of them had tendencies towards impulsive, aggressive behaviour. Their inhibitions and ability to defer gratification were deficient ~all they knew was what they wanted in the moment. Without consideration of the future or consequences of their actions, these people did not have the ability of moral reasoning. Thanks to science, such sociopaths were now identifiable before they caused damage to living beings or property.

A recent crime-prevention law associated with public safety and security, allowed for people to be labeled criminals based on suspicion. The government was getting tough on crime. Regardless of his innocence or victimhood, Jackson was removed from society.

The new, classified, subterranean “LiquiCell” prison stored human cargo in slightly larger than body-sized clear glass capsules. They were filled with a warmed antiseptic bio-gel, which maintained hygiene. Every enclosed organism was connected to an automated neural network and all their bio-functions were monitored by the central computer. Cardiovascular, hormonal, immunological and neurological activities for each body were measured through wireless bio-nanosensor arrays ~miniature laboratories. Then the system automatically made necessary adjustments of medication through needle-free injection devices, to ensure optimal levels of biological functioning. Cordless stimulation electrodes interacted with various body parts, to elicit muscle contraction, to sustain muscle tone, to prevent blood from settling and to defibrillate the heart in emergencies. Calorie restricted essential nutrients were dispensed in liquid form through feeding tubes; waste removal apparatus was also connected. The only things the perfect homeostatic system could not control were hair and nail growth.

The new “correctional institution concept” secured financial savings for the government in the millions per year. Only one computer network operator was required for 1000 inmates per 8-hour shift, apart from a weekly maintenance crew. A medic perused the daily reports for anomalies and took care of emergencies. Real estate space, salaried personnel and food costs were greatly reduced; but added expenditures for rehabilitation, social programs, education, recreation, discipline problems, riots, or hunger strikes, were eliminated and replaced with thrifty soft restraints for wrists
and ankles.

Several pharmaceutical companies contributed capitol as corporate partners. Their tranquilizers, antidepressants and other medications enabled the success of the venture. Due to the large quantities of their products used daily, the projected returns on their investments guaranteed large profits. Free test subjects for experimental drugs were an added benefit. The mortality rate was not much higher than the national average for confinement facilities. Fatal medical complications were balanced out by the absence of the most common prison deaths: suicide, cardiovascular diseases, illicit drug overdoses and violence.

The bodies were sedated into a near coma state. Floating in and out of consciousness in an opioid haze, Jackson had forever to relive and figure out what went wrong, interspersed with memories of his family and friends and a life that he missed. Over and over again he asked himself how his own country could treat him like this if he had never committed a crime. How could this organization be legal? Had human rights become overshadowed by a fearful and obsessive need for security? Was his country mutating into a fascist state without anyone noticing? Would he ever get his life back? Would he ever see his loved ones again?

A one-way transparent flexible LCD screen was fitted onto each capsule above the eyes, to influence brain activity and rehabilitation through audio-visual means, as well as to block most of the view to the outside. Melodic music was accompanied by images of beautiful landscapes. Additionally, middle-aged female readers from every racial background, recited moral short stories and positive affirmation poems, with tender compassionate expressions. Listening to the soothing synthesized music was a welcome distraction from an underlying anxiety over a fate Jackson still did not understand, nor could accept. 

 

 

The trustworthy maternal faces and voices of the storytellers consoled him like his own mother, who had read to him before bedtime during his childhood. It was an ironic paradox that Jackson felt ephemeral torment, yet he floated in carefree comfort, with all his needs provided. He was not unlike millions of people in the world, who feel trapped in their routine daily lives, merely existing in unfulfilled comfortable comas, sedated with alcohol, antidepressants and television ~or religion.

The lighting was consistently dim; there was no day and night punctuated by light and dark. But after some time, Jackson recognized a schedule of waking with music, followed by muscle stimulation, then medication and movement of liquid in the feeding tubes, and readings. He counted units of time through his heartbeat, which was amplified in the liquid. At 60 heartbeats per minute, each musical piece lasted 5 minutes and each reading was 15 minutes long. During the day, readings were alternated with a set of 3 musical pieces, interspersed with movement in the feeding tubes and dosing of medication, ending with forced sleep. Then it started all over again ~presumably the next day. By his calculations, he had been subjugated for 726 days ~or longer...

As Jackson became accustomed to the tranquilizers, he regained some lucidity. He tried to send neural impulses back into the system through muscle contractions using Morse code —just a plain S-O-S of long and short intervals. Due to a glitch in the system, he eventually got back a faint Morse code reply. Apparently, there was another prisoner in the building who knew the code. They sent messages back and forth. Another man was also unfairly taken from his life and confined. There was general injustice here. Something had to be done about it, but they were trapped and useless, which caused them more despair.

Jackson’s neighbours caught glimpses of him and started imitating the Morse code messages, with nonsensical meanings. They intuitively understood the mechanism of sending messages and felt the responses, but did not know the language system of Morse code. Soon all the captives were trying to communicate in the same manner. It gave them hope to know that they were not alone. These were human beings who needed something meaningful to do with their lives, something or someone to interact with, other than to just lay there like living corpses. Before the supervisors could diagnose the irregular electrical activity, the wiring overloaded and burned out. The prison was no longer functioning. As the medication wore off, more and more people kicked their way out of their glass cells, ripped off the restraints and tubes and helped others escape. 

A thousand naked slimy angry men were marching down the highway towards the city. The scandal of the century was about to erupt in the news media…

Jackson awoke in the hospital in breathless bewilderment. The nurse tried to reassure him that he had been sleeping and was having a nightmare; but he was safe now. His wife and three children were sitting at his bedside waiting for him to awaken and greeted him with loving hugs and tears of joy. He had been in a coma for 3~months. During this time, his spouse, children, his parents, siblings and friends had been taking turns sitting by his side every day ~waiting and hoping. They entertained him with stories, poems, soothing music and informed him of what was happening in the world, knowing that he would hear everything. They also gave him daily massages to keep his limbs from atrophying. All his loved ones felt blessed to have him back. Since he could now eat by himself, the nurses happily removed his feeding tubes.

A doctor came in and explained to him that he had been hit by a car, which had put him into a coma. Luckily, no broken bones were found, nor was there any organ damage. Unfortunately, the results of neurological and brain imaging tests showed that he had suffered frontal lobe brain injury, for which there is no cure.

The physician also mentioned that while he was sleeping, the government had enacted a new preventative safety and security law. Jackson would have to stay at the hospital until he was well enough to travel. Then he would be moved to a new rehabilitation facility.

As the doctor was leaving, a security guard posted outside his room came in and handcuffed him. He was wheeled off to a segregated hospital wing, while his family was left behind crying in confusion. Awaiting his transfer to the LiquiCell Institution, Jackson’s nightmare was just beginning... 

 

 

 
   

 


Modern Muslim Fairytale

April 16, 2015  •  Leave a Comment

 

A Real Muslim Spring come true...
A Modern Moslem Fairy Tale 

Charles Fisch ©2015 

Tiny, frail Adilla had been crying and praying to God, to be freed from an atrocious misfortune awaiting her.  In one week, on her 13th birthday,
she would have to marry the village elder’s 47-year-old fat-bellied, bald son Abbas, whose rotting teeth and long, scraggly, grey beard smelled like a goat that
chain-smoked Gitane cigarettes. Abbas had never seen Adilla’s face without
her veil, yet he admired her with frighteningly lecherous stares
—which gave her churning indigestion. 

Everyone congratulated her on the great privilege of becoming his 4th wife. But their adulations merely reminded Adilla of that dreadful moment before the wedding, when Abbas’ ancient mother would test her virginity. To make sure her hymen was intact, the old witch would insert her coarse, shriveled finger with hangnails, inside Adilla’s “forbidden flower.” Her life would be worthless garbage without that tiny piece of skin. If that would not rob her of all dignity, then her son would, by raping her and ripping her open on their wedding night. She felt noxious whenever she thought of Abbas’ fat, hairy, putrid body lying on top of her, filling her with his toxic juices, crushing her and suffocating her with his bushy beard, slimy with rancid saliva. She imagined herself fully bloated, pregnant by him, her delicate bones fracturing under the weight of his demon baby. 

She had often voiced her opinion that a young girl who is married off to a middle-aged man was “legalized” child-rape. Surely a grown man who had sex with a young girl —who is not his wife— would be jailed in every country in the world for “Statutory Rape.” Why did marriage excuse the same act? Sex with a child —married or not— is rape!!

Her mother, out of fear and shame, tried to muzzle her with her hand each time she expressed such blasphemy —especially in public. Countless times her aunts told her stories about the blessed Mohamed who married his favourite wife Ayisha when she was only nine years old and he was in his fifties. The aunts insisted that whatever the holy prophet did was sacred. They further illustrated their approval with the story of Jesus’ mother, Mary, whose earthly husband was age thirty-seven when she was fourteen and honoured with the radiant child in her belly. It was urgent for them to convince Adilla that every young girl had to obey the beliefs of her religion in order to save her from eternal punishment and harsh retributions of other believers. Women’s most important roles in life are wife and mother —according to God’s laws.

Adilla always listened politely, but remained defiant. She had never forgiven the aunts for holding her down and cutting her private parts with a piece of broken glass on her 8th birthday. Apart from unbearable pain, she got an infection and nearly died. It could not have been God who required that horrific genital mutilation of children.

The forlorn child-bride-to-be, had been crying herself to sleep every night, holding to her heart the only solace available to her —magnets that fell from a military jeep that had rumbled through the village. She could not run after the jeep fast enough to return them. They belonged to her now.

Her brothers had once seen magnets at school and eyed these as prized toys. But Adilla had never been to school. Her father forbade it. To her, the magnets were some form of miracle. She could not understand how pieces of metal could pull each other close and alternately push each other away. She often wished she could do the same —push away hurtful people and draw caring people towards her. She especially wished that she could magically repel her younger brothers every time the mischievous boys tried to grab the magnets from her hands.

As the cursed wedding day approached, her family was in hectic and joyful preparation for the “blessed event.” Yet Adilla was becoming more and more despondent. Strange sensations loomed in her body and were becoming quite unbearable.

On the way back from the market with her brothers on Monday, Adilla’s heart started beating very fast. The stones under her bare feet were increasingly gouging her flesh. Her face was burning and she could not breathe in the veil that she was required to wear over her face in public. In a state of uncontrollable anxiety and tears, she ripped the cloth off her head and ran down the street with hair flying in the wind while scattering all the vegetables they had bought for the family supper. All the scowling men along the way appeared blurry —like shaking, overlapping images— as if she was looking at them through a kaleidoscope.

One of the men grabbed at her and seemed to fall in her wake. Another man went to slap her, but recoiled, yelling out in pain. A third tried to hit her with a stick and he too screamed —his arm was broken!!! Many of the village men seemed to be running after her, all the way to her humble home at the end of the road. Gasping for air, she made it to the house and bolted the door behind her, which they tried to break down. Her father fended them off with a gun.

The ferocious men complained that his daughter had hit them and had broken the arm of one of them. All the accusations seemed absurd to her parents. Clearly she did not even reach to their shoulders in height and weighed not much more than a hen. She was the shyest girl in the village.

But the men insisted that she was violent and contravened God’s laws by exposing her face in public. She must be punished! After much loud arguing and threats, they eventually left. Adilla’s house fell into an electrified quiet in anticipation of the troubles ahead…

News of the scandal quickly reached her husband-to-be, who was now banging on the front door, demanding to know what had happened. Adilla was still whimpering in a heap in the corner of the kitchen. Her sobbing intensified upon hearing Abbas’ angry voice and approaching footsteps. She began to scream that she would never marry him and ordered him out of their house, never to return!

Her parents were mortally embarrassed. This disaster would bring dishonour to the family. Her father tried to patch things up, but she kept screaming and would not listen. Abbas left, slamming the door shut on their future.

The Imam sent his brother to fetch Adilla. As prescribed in the Quran, four men had shown up as witnesses to her transgressions in the street the previous day. The Imam had no choice but to have her punished with 50 lashes in the public square. She was doomed.

Tearfully, Adilla walked to the square with her captors and obediently knelt, as instructed. An enormous bearded man brandishing a cane belligerently approached her upon a nod from the Imam. Raising it high in the air, the man whipped the weapon towards Adilla’s back, only to yell out in pain from being hit across the face, full force, with his own cane. Bleeding and enraged, again he tried to hit her, only to feel the strike across his own back. Abbas now ran up to Adilla with a malicious snarl and vehemently threw a jar-full of acid in her face —a customary revenge of jilted men. But the acid splashed backwards and flowed down his own face. It left a trail of bright red bubbling blisters as he shrieked with the same pain that those women experienced who had acid thrown in their faces.

Some of the villagers yelled that Adilla was the devil and began throwing stones at her —as they would at the Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca. But the stones flew backward in a u-turn and struck them on their own heads, leaving large welts. 

 

Then thunderous echoes of guns firing could be heard, as a gang of big bearded men with Kalashnikov rifles descended on the village square and started shooting at her. They also cried out in pain, pierced by their own bullets, as they dropped to the ground in agony, blood flowing down their arms, legs and torsos. Bellowing hateful threats at Adilla, they never considered that the prophet Mohammed would not agree with the shooting of young girls or any children

A few of the younger women defiantly tore the veils from their faces and surrounded Adilla to protect her and show solidarity against their oppression as women. Adilla’s shield protected them in turn, repelling the gunfire, bullet by bullet, back at the ones who fired on them. Grandmothers wrapped the fragile girl in their garments and carried her away from further harm as the rest of the villagers watched with anger and fear. Some knelt with heads to the ground and prayed to God to protect them from this devil.

Miraculously God had answered Adilla’s prayers. In some strange magical way, she became like her magnets, able to deflect hateful intentions and draw towards her gentle, loving people. 

Adilla realized that she could not stay in the village any longer. Although the men feared her, they would be relentlessly vengeful. These thugs would not give up trying to harm her and her family for seven generations to come. They had already sent for “religious police” from the capital city to investigate sorcery in their village. The punishment would surely be a humiliating torturous death. 

Friends helped her and the other young girls to leave town in the middle of the night. With the magic magnets in her hands and her new-found powers, Adilla and her gentle band of revolutionaries ventured down the village road in moonlight to start a new life in the big city.

Along the way, they were fed by kindly people in the many villages they passed through; but when they arrived in the capitol city, they were just a few of the many beggars who had nowhere to sleep and had nothing to eat. Soldiers herded them from one street to another. Bad men wanted to exploit them as work slaves and sex slaves. Other street people wanted to rob them. Adilla’s new powers came in handy to repel the marauders…Yet they often had to flee for their lives to avoid danger. One day became the next. Each day new perils loomed and it was a constant chore to find food and places to sleep. 

On a Friday after midday prayers, a group of young people were frantically running down the streets, yelling that they wanted freedom. Many others joined them with great jubilation. Soon their numbers swelled to thousands.

The army arrived and started shooting people. One of the bullets was turned back and shot the soldier who fired it, which prompted other troops to fire indiscriminately into the crowd. People were falling in the street. But with Adilla’s help, bullets fired back on the soldiers, and they also fell wounded.

Some of the enforcers located the source of the passive weapon as Adilla, encircled her and fired upon her. But they were consequently wounded and disarmed. Others came in pick-up trucks with enormous guns, but were no match for Adilla’s abilities. The trucks were torn to shreds by their own bullets and lay belly up, smoke rising from them.

Tanks rolled in, only to be demolished by their own artillery. Helicopter gunships and rocket launchers were aimed at Adilla and her friends, but they too were destroyed by their own munitions. Great explosions reverberated throughout the city as the helicopters spiraled to earth and blew up. Thousands of soldiers lay wounded amongst mountains of destroyed weaponry.

Adilla realized that, as God's vessel, she also had the power to heal. The ones she had wounded were then enveloped within a golden light of love. God was healing them…Amidst tender whispers of encouragement, numerous invisible angelic hands soothed and massaged away all their physical pain and life-long anger due to emotional trauma and unfulfilled aspirations. Soon they were revitalized in body and in spirit. Disarmed by tears of joy, the killers no longer hated anyone, nor did they want to hurt anyone. They joined the rebels who demanded freedom. The army was defeated. 

Thundering screams of joy exploded around the land. People sang, danced and played music in the streets. Women tore off their hijabs, niqabs and burkas and burned them in big bonfires in the streets, their faces beaming with smiles in the sun. Then holding Adilla high in the air with great reverence, the idealists marched to the dictator’s palace. A throng of voices that became one voice demanded that the tyrant leave their land.

The despot and his family and all the corrupt oppressors fled in fear, leaving a power vacuum. Fundamentalist extremists tried to hijack the country through intimidation and murder. Again they wanted to deny music, singing, dancing, education and human rights. They wanted to bully women into wearing degrading veils, to maintain them as faceless, powerless possessions. But neither men nor women wanted that anymore…Exchanging one omnipotent tormentor for another would be abhorrent!

These people wanted a better society, where everyone would be treated with equal respect, regardless of their social status, wealth, age, religion, gender, sexual orientation, or ability…A place where all good people could thrive and fulfill life goals of their own choosing. In this new democracy, anyone could stand for office, or vote for a candidate of their choice in free and fair elections. Women would attend school and study what they wanted. They could work in any profession and could even become president…or a judge…or an Imam…and could drive or fly vehicles and walk alone in the street without fear of harm. There would be no hunger or homelessness. Everyone would be included to contribute what they could to their society and in the least, earn a “living wage.” In this haven, violence and killing would be considered an abomination. Weapons and their manufacturers would be banned. Suicide bombers would not be revered as heroes or martyrs, but despised! In their new nation, any two people who loved each other could marry —including Gays. Everyone would have the right to their personal beliefs, and the right to express them peacefully. They could question anything and anyone, even the president —even religion!!! There would be freedom of religion and freedom FROM religion, enshrined in the constitution.

And so it happened...With the revamping of the educational system based on science and Human Rights —not religion— Adilla and her gracious rebels did create a secular country that was admired by all nations. Once peace was established throughout the land, prosperity and wellbeing followed —for all, not just the rich…As it should be throughout all of humanity.

 


Adam's Dream

November 18, 2014  •  Leave a Comment

Adam’s Dream

Charles Fisch©2011

Adam finally got his wish to see reality as it really was
—when he was struck by lightning and died.

Once resuscitated, everything looked the same as before, yet it felt different and unreal —as if he had landed in a parallel universe. The significance of everyday objects, events and relationships that he had known all his life elicited new questions. Adam now saw all of life with many possible meanings and outcomes. Even the simple act of eating toast became a mind-expanding experience.

“LightningBoy” suddenly became popular at school, further complicating the existence of the shy, average-looking teenager who had walked unnoticed down the same corridors and streets for years. Now, everyone wanted to know what it felt like to be struck by lightning. He was invited to speak at functions and asked to hang out by people who had ignored him before. His new popularity was enjoyable; yet at the same time, everything was too overwhelming for him. Then a few weeks later the visions started…

A library book aroused his curiosity and gave him some hope of understanding his condition. Excerpts from Christian and Buddhist scriptures stated
—without explanation— that we do not see reality the way it really is. Luckily, his Psychology studies offered theories of how we perceive it. After converting colour and sound from nature into patterns of electrical pulses —the language of the brain— we then re-interpret the signals thus created by “giving” them meaning. Yet, we are able to see, hear and smell only a small percentage of what various animals perceive. We are missing a large part of the world.

Did the scriptures mean that our incomplete perceptions —which we re-interpret based on cultural norms and past experiences— cause us to have a deficient, misconstrued understanding of our universe? If so, what is reality?

Adam’s perceptions began to change. He saw everything on a microscopic level, as clusters of molecules. Air was less dense and objects and living beings were more dense —conglomerations of molecules. Light separated into multitudes of colour waves, bouncing from object to object. There was no space…no emptiness. Everything was astir with brilliant chromatic waves and molecules. All living and inanimate objects were in constant motion, somewhat similar to a Van Gogh painting of stars —but much brighter, more detailed and more explosive.

Listening to Adam describe his new visions, people became suspicious of him. His parents were the most alarmed. They took him to various specialists, who labeled him Schizophrenic and prescribed medications. He refused them. They made him feel sluggish, like a zombie in a fog.

He was not suffering without the meds, but daily life required a great deal more energy for Adam to process and to understand. He could not screen out anything anymore. Everything was happening all at once, non-stop —sight, sound, smell, sensation, coming at him from all angles. He was afraid to go outside because there was too much to handle. Often he stopped while walking and stared into space, fascinated by what he saw.

Sometimes he fell asleep from exhaustion in the middle of a conversation. People were bewildered when he went into contortions and screamed with fright —obviously in an intense dream state. One of the doctors at the hospital recognized complex foreign language structures in his somnolent utterances —ancient Persian, Khoisan, Inuit and dolphin speech, amongst other unidentifiable languages. Specialists studied and prodded him with every possible scientific test, with no conclusions.

His dreams seemed to be revelations about social struggles that pitted harmony and justice against power needs and greed. The dormant visions involved fascinating people and creatures made of light, gasses, liquids, and materials other than flesh, such as bodies of subatomic particles with intelligence. Incredible energy weapons killed individuals and populations, while others harvested their life-force. The most advanced weapons did not harm —they healed people. Upon impact, life-forms felt orgasmic beatitude and were able to release all of their pent up fears, pain and indoctrinations.  Afterwards, they were able to make more benevolent decisions.

Adam was an observer in the dreams, but equally vulnerable to physical experiences. The visions were so real —every tiny detail in 3D hyper reality— that apart from sweating profusely, sometimes he had injuries when he awoke.

One day his anxious mother was examining his lesions as he tried to explain his new dream-life to her, when he fell asleep again. This dream seemed to take a different turn. Bacteria on his skin surface became visible to him. Then, he could see inside his torso, noting his heart, lungs and stomach moving at different rhythmic rates. He recognized cellular structures in his organs and he shrank to become the same microscopic size as the cells. Inside his blood vessels, he was carried off by platelets and digested by macrophages. Shrinking further, he then observed molecules as they interacted with organelles within his cells. His own DNA strands became a jungle-gym for him to swing about. This was fun.

Amongst molecules, he could see electrons whirling around the nuclei of atoms, with a great deal of space between them. The nucleus contained hundreds of subatomic particles, shooting, swirling, bustling, exploding, transforming from one into another in a bubbling stew. Further magnified, all the particles were made of various forms of light glowing brighter than Adam could withstand. He marveled that everything which existed was made of light. He finally understood the scriptures’ allusions to our illusory world —nucleic and electromagnetic forces created the semblance of solidity, while dieters would be happy to hear that weight is an illusion of gravity.            

Suddenly his dream changed. Adam was now full size and traveling at high speed in space; across our solar system, to other solar systems and through other galaxies.

The same pattern repeated itself from microscopic to macrocosmic. Planets orbiting the sun were like electrons circling the nucleus of atoms with an equal proportion of space between them. The sun was volatile like the atomic nucleus. Star systems grouped together to form galaxies like multi-branched molecules which form living cells. Super clusters of galaxies connected by filaments of Dark Matter were reminiscent of the cell clusters that made up organs of living beings. Everything was in constant motion
—rotating, expanding, exploding, contracting and transforming from one thing to another in a streaming soup of radiation and atomic particles.

On his journey, Adam saw planets with skyscrapers and orbiting satellites. There was life on other worlds and there were civilizations more advanced than ours that he recognized from previous dreams. Curiously, time slowed near sources of gravity. Planets seemed trapped in their own time bubble.

At one point, galaxies and nebulae started to dissipate. Beyond all the galaxies there was utter emptiness. As he was now far away from all matter, he could make sense of the structures of space that he had traversed. They seemed to be the cells and organs which made up a very large living being. He realized that he had been living inside an enormous entity and was part of its makeup, like bacteria inside another organism. The life form that he was obviously part of —and we are all part of— was floating in space and glowed with a magnificent multicoloured light, brighter than the sun. Only an indirect gaze at it was possible without pain. It resembled human form, but also had tentacles and exotic textures and patterns across its surface. The creature seemed to intermittently separate into many other similar individuals and then recombine into one, like an expanding and contracting universe and parallel universes.

Adam became aware that inside the creature he
had felt whole and satisfied, but outside the creature, he felt only void —utter emptiness. A sad, forlorn feeling that he had never experienced before, now weighed on him. It felt similar to a very deep depression, a feeling of disconnectedness, timelessness and hopelessness. But now, this feeling was magnified to its ultimate extreme. He felt like he was devoid of any life-force —dead!

 

For a long time Adam and the creature stared at each other. He wondered if this being was God. Are we all a part of God? Are we like symbiotic or opportunistic bacteria, or are we passive content, predisposed to “ITs” processes? If we are like molecules in ITs belly, is IT even aware of us?
Do our prayers matter? 

The creature began to speak, but the sounds that came out were too overwhelming and unintelligible for Adam to understand, or to even bear. It sounded similar to musical sounds of an immense contemporary orchestra playing a carefully composed cacophony of satisfying melodies. There were trillions of units of information in each phrase. Adam was inundated by the sound as if he was hit by a tidal wave. It carried him further away in space, tumbling head over heels.

At some point he began to understand some of the meaning on a purely emotional level. He could not put it into words or make out details, but he felt comforted. Then the creature grabbed at him with huge hands and drew him inside.  

Adam suddenly awoke, smiling and humming a tune. Apparently he had been in a coma for 2 years. His parents and friends were notified that LightningBoy had awakened. Everyone surrounded him in the hospital with great joy. They all wanted to know what he had experienced.

He recounted the story of his travels and of meeting The Creator in person, which imbued him with a contentment that he had never experienced before in his previous lives. He assumed that the image that he had encountered was merely a symbolic representation given to him so that he could have some tangible grasp of his experience. God, neither male nor female —IT— is expansive beyond our comprehension, not actually a creature that we humans can see or experience with our small limited minds.

Adam returned from his journey with a great amount of information that the Divine Being had placed in his mind, with the purpose of sharing his illumination with the world. He knew it would take him a lifetime to unravel it all. So he started writing a book of all that had been revealed to him.
This would be his life’s work, knowing that this “Book” was the most recent lesson or inspiration from God to humanity. The significance of messages in God’s previous “Books” had lost their value, as a large number of humans had now evolved past the need for threats and punishments to guide our social evolution.  

This new Book was called “The Invitation.” In this anthology, threats of eternal punishment did not exist. No hands or feet were cut off, nor eyes put out, nor any other form of mutilation practiced. There were no proverbs about shunning or expulsion or slavery, nor about stoning to death, nor turning to stone, nor poisoning, stabbing, hanging, burning, crucifying; and definitely no explosions, nor any other cruel punishment for breaking commandments —as there were no commandments. Neither were there plagues, nor locusts, nor rivers turning to blood, nor babies killed, nor requirement of animal sacrifice. Purity was associated with altruism and compassion, not virginity. Teachings of hatred against nonbelievers and incitements of killing in God’s name, or any form of reward for killing —on earth or in heaven—was discouraged. God, being omnipotent, did not need any puny creatures like humans to wage battles for “IT.”  

Adam recognized that God simply invited everyone to enter into ITs realm of love and peace. The choice to connect with The Divine was available to everyone when they were ready; and no one was required to wear theatrical costumes or masks or hats to signify that they were believers. There were no punishments for rejecting God. Understanding and believing in ITs Principles willingly, was its own reward.

By not following God’s Principles, humans will continue to create more poverty, disease, war and misery for ourselves and for other species. Hell is on earth… Heaven could be as well...

Those who embrace The Creator’s message to relinquish all aggression, adopt compassion and live by ITs Principles, will enjoy the energy that naturally flows throughout the universe. They will help to revitalize humanity. Those who have not yet understood, obstruct the free flowing energy of their own life and impede the life force of others. But they can try again and again in new bodies, until their essence is cleansed of fear, hurt, guilt, shame, greed, narcissism, power, hatred…and pure enough to want to open to God. True believers are not necessarily those who profess their beliefs in words —they purely express them through deeds and imbue others with joy. Those who call themselves atheists, but practice God’s Principles, can also pure of heart.

Adam wrote God’s words for all to read, based
on “The-10-Principles” which would enhance
life on earth:

1.   Fundamental rights of everyone to life
and the resources of life: 
  
security, healthcare, education, air/water/food,
regardless of citizenship

2.   Undeniable Freedoms: 
• Belief • Expression • Association • Intimacy
• Freedom to pursue life goals and to travel
• Freedom of information and communication
• Freedom of religion • Freedom from Religion
• Freedom from intimidation, cruelty, exploitation
• Freedom from political/social/chemical or mechanical/electronic control of free individuals,
groups and populations

3.   Equality, Respect and Dignity: 
fairness and justice for all regardless of age, sex, social status, ability, sexual orientation, belief  

4.   Inclusion: 
all individuals are members of humanity and need inclusion in society, social life, equal access to work/employment, education/skills equal access to economic opportunity, ability to run for public office

5.   Non-violence: 
• always seek peaceful solutions to problems
• No killing    • No vendettas or retaliations
• No psychological or social violence

6.   Contribution: 
all individuals should contribute to their community, 
or to the world, any way they are able

7.   Responsibility: 
• Societies are responsible for every person
• Each person is responsible for every other person 

8.   Self development: 
• Impeccability • Striving to live up to one’s potential  
• Lifelong Learning encouraged at school, home, workplace, to be made possible for everyone by governments

9.   Atonement and restitution for causing suffering or destruction:   • should be taught from childhood

10. Respect for nature: 
• non-polluting energy sources should be used
• Non-tampering with species through genetic
   modification or hybridization 
• Humane treatment of animals

Adam traveled around the world and taught God’s newest message to everyone who was willing to listen —and in their own language! Multitudes of lives were enhanced and redeemed by The-10-Principles. Where once there was dictatorship and war, people freely celebrated joyfully and danced in the streets. Where there had been poverty and famine, those who were able could work towards a fruitful harvest; and everyone had enough to eat. Where once there was loneliness and pain, people rejoiced together. Land that once was brown with drought grew vibrant green. The air was sweet with the scent of crops and flowers. Eden was reborn all over the earth.

   

 


Photography is the 'Folk Art' of the 21st century.

August 11, 2014  •  Leave a Comment
Photography is the 'Folk Art' of the 21st century. 
Charles Fisch © 2014
Camera images frame ideas by focusing on a detail of the universe.
They also extend memory and allow the sharing of experiences across space and time. 
Yet, all that the camera does is focus light through a hole and then create a stable image from it.
In essence, images made by cameras are mere documentation. 
X-ray machines are big cameras… 

A hundred years ago a photographer was a highly skilled professional. But today, "Point-and-Shoot" automatic cameras effortlessly reproduce what they see without the need for skills. We now have proof that even a monkey can do it. A macaque ran away with a man's camera and took hundreds of well focused pictures of himself before the camera was recovered. *

These cameras allow anyone to make a recognizable copy of something that already exists —or existed for an ephemeral moment. A majority of posts on social networking sites and photo-sharing sites seem to have used automatic cameras. Somehow, they remind me of Folk Art, or Naïve Art.

Folk Art is often distinguishable by a naïve deco-rative style that tries to illustrate things the way they are seen in nature, usually devoid of rules of perspective or proportion. These works portray rural or urban scenes with people doing familiar things —caricature copies of generally accepted reality of that era— using unsophisticated self-taught techniques in paint, clay, wood-carving, etc. William Kurelek and Grandma Moses come to mind for painting. But no doubt someone will correct me by pointing out that there are now University art programs teaching Naïve art as an academic discipline. "Faux Naïve"?

While point-and-shoot cameras usually depict perspective, the images they produce are Folk Art or Naïve Art —without style. The "selfie," the group shot, pets, kids, travel, fashion, sports, the shocking, political activism, and various cultural imitations of one another… These portrayals are the commonly accepted
day-to-day visual narratives of this era. Immortalizing them has a mostly utilitarian nature —memory, sharing and promotion. Like Folk Art, they are not meant to be
high art.

Point-and-shoot artists just want instant gratification without skill, effort or commitment. Yet some believe that the haphazard documentation of their environments using cell-phone shots decorated with automatic filters, actually compete with highly skilled professional artists' works. In today's climate of inclusiveness and celebrating the mundane, they fit perfectly. Hopefully, "Automatic Naive Art" will not become the new standard in aesthetics.

Before cameras became common, painters were saddled with the task of learning painstaking artistic skills to be able to reproduce three-dimensional reality in two-dimensional form using paint. After the camera became an acceptable tool of art, painters decided that the camera can do a more accurate job of reproducing or documenting recognizable reality. Thus, they freed themselves from artificial classical themes and idealized portraiture of wealthy people, in order to paint light, colour, emotions, ideas and abstraction with or without form. They started to explore their craft in a new way. Instead of trying to hide brushstrokes, the strokes and paint became a three-dimensional texture of the composition. The way they manipulated the materials became their unique fingerprint and trade-mark. The invention of a technology —the camera— revolutionized painting.

The camera allowed the creation of recognizable images without having to learn to paint. New pro-fessions and industries emerged. Automatic technologies further democratized image-making and the documentation of reality. Both initiated communications and political revolutions. 

 

Since Guttenberg, printing presses generated empires of influence through persuasion of the masses, but the affordable point-and-shoot camera and digital social media, in effect, put printing presses into the hands of amateurs. Automatic cameras gave average people a voice and a rewarding pastime that celebrated the pleasures of "creating" even with minimal skill. Cultural imperialism, old dogmas and oppressive ideologies are now being challenged as much by point-and-shoot cameras as by weapons. Of course some are better at it than others…

As new technologies emerge, previous ones tend to fade into history along with their inventors and expert users. They were necessary stepping-stones to the present, as the present is to the future.

For most of the 20th Century, printing of the black-and-white image onto paper was an integral part of photography. Limited image manipulations were made during the printing process. Today, the act of taking a picture is a separate operation from adjusting or creating a final image, and separate from printing —even as listed job descriptions.

Digital tools have greatly expanded the ability to manipulate images and to print them. We can now print incredibly detailed colour images with a variety of printers and permanent inks and onto diverse materials, including metals. We can also publish with light on digital screens that easily fit into the hand or barely cover the eye, or conversely are the size of buildings (Jumbotron) —and can be instantly streamed to the other side of the world. Holograms and 3-D printing are also a form of publishing photographic images. Of course, displaying one's work on a Jumbotron with perfect clarity does not make it art…

Painters re-evaluated their art-form with the invention of photographic technology. Now photographers need to re-evaluate their work to include the new technologies of image manipulation, printing and publishing. For example, "How will the work be displayed?" is an important question. The answer will be determined before the image is shot, by sensor size and resolution of the camera. If a small image is enlarged, it becomes more blurry as it increases in size. Professional photographers are faced with similar dilemmas daily. This idea may escape the point-and-shoot naïve artist, who is satisfied by an online digital album or 4x6 paper prints.

Art improves only through experimentation. Today, this is not even a choice, but a necessity as "legacy" (old) technology no longer works with the newest products. Just keeping up with software and hardware upgrades are costly and challenging. Yet one has to be aware of the concepts and names of the advancements, if only to get the quality of printing one wants. The technicians may be just pushing automated buttons as they were trained to do —without true understanding. But those who revel in the newness and integrate it into their work will benefit with a shift in their thinking and creative processes. We are so lucky to have free internet tutorials available for those who want to learn.

Although, there is no automated function for solid design principles and colour harmony. And, the use of technology devoid of ideas and meaning, creates meaningless expressions… Meaningful images are the most memorable.

* http://www.theguardian.com/commentisfree/2014/aug/06/wikipedia-monkey-selfie-copyright-artists)