Another Death in July

(This post is an edited version of a lyrical essay first published on runningtodeath.com‘s July 2021 post)

Death possesses a particular life of its own – does it not? A glimpse into the bowels of what once was. Life and death, in this particular context, refer to existence and no longer extant: but how can one quantify and/or qualify existence if existence encompases everything and all for an unquantifiable infinity? Or, otherwise, it is plug and play into a loosely and arrogantly defined continuum model expressed and defined by “masters of time”? A sentiment and philosophy acknowledged in the band name N.E.R.D. (No-one Ever Really Dies), unless…

William S. Burroughs makes astute observation and provides deeper (spiritual) commentary on a not dissimilar concept on page seven of his book, The Western Lands: his postulation of a soul’s existence and lifespan pressed against an uncited scientific rubric of soul substantiation and their cosmological essence: 

Can any soul survive the searing fireball of an atomic blast? If human and animal souls are seen as electromagnetic force fields, such fields could be totally disrupted by a nuclear explosion. The mummy’s nightmare: disintegration of souls…

As long as electromagnetic force fields (Souls) composed of interconnective energistic matter, (fleshless human entities) our corporeal destinies, (if mushroom cloud causing annihilations remain unpressed) stand just as valid as the Big Bang and Pharrel’s, the rest of the N.E.R.D. clans, countless musicians, artists, and other cosmically attuned creatures of the Universe, and, lastly, the sagacious Joni Mitchell, who eloquently expresses her Universal understanding in the song, Woodstock, at the Woodstock festival in 1969: 

…We are stardust / We are golden / And we’ve got to get ourselves / Back to the garden / Billion year old carbon / Caught in the devil’s bargain / We are golden / And we’ve got to get ourselves / Back to the garden…

There exists an irrefutable responsibility upon the mislabeled and scapegoat identified “lost” : individuals blessed and cursed with grace and consciousness bound to infinity’s universal, sentient composed, stardust – an invincible ubiquity beyond our limited access to the physical realm. And this was exactly Toshio’s conundrum, reality: and its proceeding stages of ambiguous recompense. Toshio realized his heart, mind, and soul coalesced seamlessly at the five-point crossroads of infinity, ambiguity, an indefinable void, absolute consciousness, and nowhere.

What Toshio began to realize was (gifted by way of metamorphic transition from experiential waking to purgatorial ephemera) these were his final days of corporeal engagement: now he, like Dante, must backfill the blind spots of his emotionally inconsiderate and self-filled past: Toshio was now relegated to self-examination without judgement – how can one, with unbiased self-evaluation and grace, determine the punishment’s severity as equal his crimes during his consequential past? One can suppose a teasing out, through allegorical recapitulations of actors by other names, the degree and dose of other’s resentments and interpersonal misfirings held captive in the affected’s minds… 

A crawl into the periphery from a petri dish viewfinder explodes upon the screened canvas within his mind, a byproduct manifestation from the pineal projection: a responsive display of color, sound, texture, and timbre from the near catatonia causing stimulation his consciousness just entered.  

We are Dante; we are Virgil; we are Toshio: there is no escape. Another musical poet enters my mind to help illustrate the enormity of our cause, or struggle, or path to accepting the guilt: and that is Aimee Mann and her song, Wise Up.

It’s not / What you thought / When you first began it / You got / What you want / Now you can hardly stand it though / By now you know / It’s not going to stop / It’s not going to stop / It’s not going to stop / ‘Til you wise up / You’re sure / There’s a cure / And you have finally found it / You think / One drink / Will shrink you ’til you’re underground / And living down / But it’s not going to stop / It’s not going to stop / It’s not going to stop / ‘Til you wise up / Prepare a list of what you need / Before you sign away the deed / ‘Cause it’s not going to stop / It’s not going to stop / It’s not going to stop / ‘Til you wise up / No, it’s not going to stop / ‘Til you wise up / No, it’s not going to stop / So just, give up
As a reader (and listener) one can easily get caught in the song’s lugubrious misdirection. This song is not defeatist. This song represents strength, hope, acceptance, and the experiential rock bottom one requires to precipitate a psychic-shift. Do not give up on life. Give up fighting life. Fighting life is analogous to fighting grape jelly or Jell-o (and look what happened to Bill Cosby). Running to Death (RTD) strives imperfectly towards this ethos: a recognition and acceptance that life is, in fact, an impossible absurdity, and carving a path through its intransigent brambles (to spite it – life) presents us a most worthy option to rebel against its annoyances. Give up the fight, and stop at no cost to carve a worthwhile sliver, a place (perhaps not of the physical world) to spend your time (our most valuable asset) and attack your passions with adamantine vengeance; cherish your most adored activities; fawn over and support your favorite people with irrational love; go to, and find more of, inspired locations to bathe in sunsets on hillsides and full moons on diamond shined lakes; dive headfirst into your infinite spirit’s galvanizing activities. And I want to be very clear on this following point: sure, I am talking to you (if you choose to listen), but first and foremost, I am talking to me. I seek a way, a path, to decency – a life I can feel proud of and content with – because we will blink, and either look back on a life well lived or a field of resentful regrets. And it is a choice. Most folks are as happy as they make up their minds to be (they say Abraham Lincoln said that): Each day I must welcome the responsibility to engage in a conscious effort to choose. Misery is where I cut my teeth, honed my essence, sharpened my soul, and unraveled my being. I am beyond lucky and fortunate: it mostly came back together ; ) – I fought for, and earned the right to, devour beauty in the face of cowardice’s subservience. May you identify and welcome Toshio’s passage in your travels.

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