Mind Fields: Poetry & Such

Ideas Like Never Before

Boulder breakers and charcoal makers

the poor

wait for something they don’t know what

just breaking rocks to earn a penny,  rocks to pave

gravel roads that go away. Anywhere

is better than poor in Africa, Asia, America, the poor are broken just like the stones they break.

Ending poverty is the work of a civilization. If we can’t end poverty anywhere in the world, we are not a civilization

What to Believe

These days I can’t believe anything. A lie

hovers overhead day and night. All the competing agendas clash

and the books, videos, news,  none remain without a stink

of mendacity. The liars hold the highest offices. They control

information. Their tech is the latest but

their lies are old, ancient, lies told by tyrants to the innocents.

Those who are brave defy their terror and protest. In Iran,

the women are sick with disgust at control by tottering old men wearing white fezzes and large skullcaps. Liars! I can’t

hold enough outrage! I see things daily

I never expected to see, ever. People are murdered by lies. 

It was said, “A lie is both murder and suicide in the world of the spirit.” Mostly these days it’s murder. The suicides will have to wait

to write their notes. The supply of pencils, pens and paper

has been interdicted by the Lie Police.

Will Truth set us free? Perhaps in the Kingdom of God, but here

Truth has been split asunder and reality can’t be recognized by anyone but other liars, and those are so far lost from Truth that they would not know it

IF IT BIT THEM IN THE ASS.

Saving What’s Left

“It’s broken.” My grandson stands over his red fire truck. The wheels have come off. The boy’s lower lip thrusts out and I can see that his heart is broken too. If I tell him that it’s just a toy, he won’t be comforted. This was the only truck in his world and now his grief will carry him to a child’s little hades, for just a minute. What is a minute to a three year old? It may as well be forever. For the duration of that minute all hell breaks loose and his tears and rage fill the room till all the grown-ups flee. Except me. I’m the baby sitter. I know how he feels. 

The world is broken, our world.  And it was we who broke it, stuffed it, neglected it, tore its roots out. Has it come to this? My grief for a broken world carries me to my own hades, my underworld of sorrow where what has been done cannot be undone until we have atoned like ancient Jews on Yom Kippur.? What punishment do we receive if we fail to atone? Regret, more like: oh the regret we have yet to feel as the land sinks and the seas rise. Our earth is frangible, it can be waylaid like the victims of highway robbery. “Hands up, planet!” The men in dark suits are digging holes. “Can’t you see we’re busy here? Go away with your storms. We know how to deal with your kind!”

They’re only doing their jobs, they’re following orders. 

“Take them away”, croaks the man in the suit and tie. “Take them away and hide them in the deepest mines.” ]

It’s broken. Can it be fixed? The next generations are tasked with this inhuman mess. They will have to be strong beyond what we know. They will have to develop themselves in unforeseen ways to have the stamina to work within the broken systems on the derelict highways. Armageddon will be indefinitely postponed. It already happened and we missed it. We were busy fighting. The next apocalypse will hit us before we’re ready. That is the nature of things. We have only the promise in Luke and Mark and John, Christians before Christianity, who learned that the lilies of the field will always be in their raiment, even if it is only in heaven. 

_____________________________________________________________

Arthur Rosch is a novelist, musician, photographer and poet. His works are funny, memorable and often compelling. One reviewer said “He’s wicked and feisty, but when he gets you by the guts, he never lets go.” Listeners to his music have compared him to Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, Randy Newman or Mose Allison. These comparisons are flattering but deceptive. Rosch is a stylist, a complete original. His material ranges from sly wit to gripping political commentary.

Arthur was born in the heart of Illinois and grew up in the western suburbs of St. Louis. In his teens he discovered his creative potential while hoping to please a girl. Though she left the scene, Arthur’s creativity stayed behind. In his early twenties he moved to San Francisco and took part in the thriving arts scene. His first literary sale was to Playboy Magazine. The piece went on to receive Playboy’s “Best Story of the Year” award. Arthur also has writing credits in Exquisite Corpse, Shutterbug, eDigital, and Cat Fancy Magazine. He has written five novels, a memoir and a large collection of poetry. His autobiographical novel, Confessions Of An Honest Man won the Honorable Mention award from Writer’s Digest in 2016.

More of his work can be found at www.artrosch.com

Photos at https://500px.com/p/artsdigiphoto?view=photos

_______________________________________________________________

Want to be sure not to miss any of Arthur’s “Mind Fields” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you find it interesting or just entertaining, please share.


Mind Fields: Poems And Ideas For The Field Of Mind

Intrinsic humility is the understanding that one’s own life may be full of fascinating details but the lives of countless others are equally as fascinating to themselves as your life is to you.

Sound of  rainfall:

tiny infant fingers

tapping the roof

thousands at a time.

The Enemy

Life is not my enemy. True,

It will kill me before too long but

death is the act of highest compassion.

I have a purpose. How kind of life to provide

me with that sense of my being.

Life is not my enemy. How would a great teacher be

a nemesis unless it was necessary? Life is not my enemy.

We Must Fix What Is Left

Oct 31, 2022

“It’s broken.” My grandson stands over his red fire truck. 

The wheels have come off. The boy’s lower lip thrusts out and I can see that his heart is broken too. If I tell him that it’s just a toy, he won’t be comforted. This was the only truck in his world and now his grief will carry him to a child’s little hades, for just a minute. What is a minute to a three year old? It may as well be forever. For the duration of that minute all hell breaks loose and his tears and rage fill the room till all the grown-ups flee.  Except me.  I’m the baby sitter.  I know how he feels.  The world is broken, our world. And it was we who broke it, stuffed it, neglected it, tore its roots out. Has it come to this? My grief for a broken world carries me to my own hades, my underworld of sorrow where what has been done cannot be undone until we have atoned like ancient Jews on Yom Kippur.? What punishment do we receive if we fail to atone? Regret, more like: oh the regret we have yet to feel as the land sinks and the seas rise. Our earth is frangible, it can be waylaid like the victims of highway robbery. “Hands up, planet!” The men in dark suits are digging holes. “Can’t you see we’re busy here? Go away with your storms. We know how to deal with your kind!”

They’re only doing their jobs, they’re following orders. 

“Take them away,” croaks the man in the suit and tie. “Take them away and hide them in the deepest mines.”

It’s broken. Can it be fixed? The next generations are tasked with this inhuman mess. They will have to be strong beyond what we know. They will have to develop themselves in unforeseen ways to have the stamina to work within the broken systems on the derelict highways. Armageddon will be indefinitely postponed. It already happened and we missed it. We were busy fighting. The next apocalypse will hit us before we’re ready. That is the nature of things. We have only the promise in Luke and Mark and John, Christians before Christianity, who learned that the lilies of the field will always be in their raiment, even if it is only in heaven. 

I Forget

September 26, 2022

I forget that evil tyrants run the world.

I forget that artists and thinkers

barely exist, barely scratch by

with a sigh, with patient resignation.

I forget that kindness is hindered

at every turn by evil intentions of those who command

the power of Calamity.  I forget

that bad guys have no love

but don’t even miss it. I forget

that tenderness is

but a beginning to ever greater tenderness.

I forget that

we create ourselves in versions

of the pattern laid down within

the great infinite Memory. I forget everything

except that I exist and sometimes I forget that, too.

What I remember is this: I am aware of you. I am aware of your scent and the streams of feeling that flow between us. 

That I Can Never Forget.

________________________

Arthur Rosch is a novelist, musician, photographer and poet. His works are funny, memorable and often compelling. One reviewer said “He’s wicked and feisty, but when he gets you by the guts, he never lets go.” Listeners to his music have compared him to Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, Randy Newman or Mose Allison. These comparisons are flattering but deceptive. Rosch is a stylist, a complete original. His material ranges from sly wit to gripping political commentary.

Arthur was born in the heart of Illinois and grew up in the western suburbs of St. Louis. In his teens he discovered his creative potential while hoping to please a girl. Though she left the scene, Arthur’s creativity stayed behind. In his early twenties he moved to San Francisco and took part in the thriving arts scene. His first literary sale was to Playboy Magazine. The piece went on to receive Playboy’s “Best Story of the Year” award. Arthur also has writing credits in Exquisite Corpse, Shutterbug, eDigital, and Cat Fancy Magazine. He has written five novels, a memoir and a large collection of poetry. His autobiographical novel, Confessions Of An Honest Man won the Honorable Mention award from Writer’s Digest in 2016.

More of his work can be found at www.artrosch.com

Photos at https://500px.com/p/artsdigiphoto?view=photos

__________________________

Want to be sure not to miss any of Arthur’s “Mind Fields” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you find it interesting or just entertaining, please share.


Mind Fields: Agoraphobia and Astronomy

Mind Fields

I Conquered My Terror Of Open Spaces with Astronomy

Once upon a time I was severely agoraphobic.  For years I had a terror of strange spaces. I was limited to my house, my yard, my car, and my place of work. If I attempted to break this tight little orbit, I got sick. At the time I didn’t know the term “Panic Attack” but I had all the classic symptoms. My stomach churned, my heart raced, and I had to fight for every breath. If I tried going anywhere outside my tiny race track I got so tied into knots that I was completely paralyzed. I had no social life, I did nothing but read, watch TV and observe the animals that visited the hillside behind the house.

One day I was out in the yard in the deepening twilight. I had a pair of binoculars in my hands for watching a herd of deer who came to feed on the ripening pear trees at the top of the hill.  It was almost dark and I had an impulse to turn the binoculars towards the sky.

I was stunned. The binoculars showed thousands more stars than could be seen with the naked eye. It was visually confusing but so beautiful that I instantly fell in love with the night sky.

I spent the next several hours scanning across the heavens, trying to locate familiar stars in familiar constellations. My Sky Vocabulary was pathetic. I knew The Big Dipper (which is only part of a constellation), I knew Orion and I knew Cassiopeia, because of its distinctive sideways “W” shape.

I saw things through the binoculars that I couldn’t name. I saw clusters of stars that looked like back-lit luminous cotton. I was lost, in the topographic sense. If I chose to examine a single star in an obvious constellation I could find it.

I could locate the end star in the Big Dipper. But it was difficult to maneuver to the next star in the line without first taking my eye off the binoculars, locating my target, then carefully measuring my angle of movement. Otherwise the sheer abundance of stars was confusing.

I was lucky to live in a dark suburb sixty miles from San Francisco. There were no streetlights.  In late summer the Milky Way can be seen with its glowing fleece and its lanes of darkness and dust.

It breaks my heart to think of the billions of people who will go from cradle to grave without seeing a dark sky, without seeing The Milky Way in all its majesty. There is a vast population of human beings who will live without giving the night sky a passing thought. To me, a life without awareness of the sky’s beauty is like an amputation of the soul.  It’s as if one is cut off from one’s ancestors, from the thousands of generations who measured their lives by the movements of the heavens.

I’m not a scientific person. I have no math skills, no understanding of chemistry. I slept through those classes when I was in school. Now I became a student. I was determined to give myself some training in astronomy. I raided the library for celestial material. I learned to read sky charts and I subscribed to magazines. I joined a club.

I needed to see a darker sky. It became an insistent organic hunger. I felt compelled to go places more than a hundred miles from a large city. There is a substantial difference in what’s visible from a washed out sky and one that isn’t compromised by light pollution. I HAD to be under that dark sky!

The problem was that I was agoraphobic. The idea of getting into a car and driving to a new place hundreds or even thousands of miles from home made me break into a cold sweat. I have since realized that my agoraphobia was but a subset of phobic responses to a larger meta-phobia that I call Neophobia: Fear Of New Experiences.

This is a common posture for people with PTSD. I consider that almost everyone has some kind of PTSD, that PTSD is another name for the experience called “Life”.

There are, however, people who have more severe life trauma, longer lasting and more intensely painful body memories. I qualify for this troubled group. I’m wandering a bit, here, but that’s all right. This is about reviving in myself the ability to wander. The point of this little article is the way I pitted a powerful passion against an equally powerful terror.

I was corresponding with sky observers who had been to places like Joshua Tree and Anza-Borrego State Park. These are DARK places. On clear moonless nights the sky opens like a new love affair! Stars are rated by magnitude, with the lower numbers indicating greater brightness. 

Let’s describe a star of Magnitude 1 as a star visible even in a well lit city. The star Sirius, the brightest naked eye star in the sky (excepting the sun), is a magnitude -1.4. That is Negative One Point Four. The brighter stars go into negative numbers. A bright full moon is Mag -12.6. The sun is magnitude -26.8. If you stand in the middle of Times Square you might see thirty stars. I could see several thousand stars in my unlit suburb. One way that astronomers describe sky clarity in terms of visible magnitude. I was living under a Magnitude 3 sky. My friends in the Mojave Desert were under a Magnitude 6 sky! In practical terms that would describe a sky so rich in stars that the outlines of well known constellations almost vanish in the profusion of surrounding stars.

I was yearning to experience dark, beautiful skies. At the same time I was terrified to leave my yard.  I could barely cross the street. But I wanted to go to the high desert, down to the Mojave and cross into Arizona, where the cities are distant and the sky is dark and the colors of the stars sort themselves into distinct categories of white, red, yellow, green and blue.

I struggled, I procrastinated, I beheld my fear like a chain and a set of padlocks, and I was angry with myself. Everyone goes places! Millions of people jump into cars, get into airplanes, leap from coast to coast, continent to continent without giving such travel a second thought.

I was barely capable of making the twelve mile drive to my place of work.

I had an acquaintance who spent a lot of time in Yosemite Valley. She was planning a drive from the Bay Area in two weeks. I explained my phobia and asked if I could come along. She was willing to help.

The big terrors that we harbor in our fantasies usually turn out to be less taxing than the grief we’ve given ourselves in anticipation of the event.

On the appointed day, I got into my friend’s Honda, carrying my binoculars, a book of star charts and two changes of clothes.

As we drove up Highway 80 I sat in the front seat, rigid as setting concrete. I was desperately ill for the first sixty miles. An hour-long panic attack savaged me like a hungry wolf. I felt as if I would never be able to get back home. Then I  had the sensation of hitting a giant rubber band. It stretched and stretched, urging me to reverse my direction, to turn back. 

I had deliberately trapped myself by this arrangement. I couldn’t tell my friend to cancel her trip because I was phobic, because I was, basically, a great big scaredy cat.

I knew I had to break through the rubber band. I was so sick with fright that we had to stop on the side of the road three times so I could puke. My friend was beautifully patient and supportive.

Just beyond Sacramento, about eighty miles from home, I puked one last time and the rubber band broke. The pressure vanished.

I was free. I could go. I was still scared but I could go to see the sky from Glacier Point, from an altitude above five thousand feet, from a place where the sky’s clarity is utterly pristine. 

Nobody really wants to face their deepest fears. We would prefer to get through life dodging and weaving, minimizing our risk; but some fears are debilitating. My phobia was preventing me from pursuing a love affair with the sky. My phobia was crushing my life, and if this was the only way to deal with it, pitting terror against passion, then so be it. 

Passion won the contest of psychic forces. Since my breakout to Yosemite, I’ve traveled thousands of miles, lugging telescopes, cameras, attending star parties and living a life of stellar enjoyment. What can I add? Go ahead: elope with your terrors! Go! The things you fear are never as bad as you think they will be. In fact, they seldom happen at all. You’ve wasted years dwelling in a phobia when you could be living a free unfettered life.

________________________________________________________________

Arthur Rosch is a novelist, musician, photographer and poet. His works are funny, memorable and often compelling. One reviewer said “He’s wicked and feisty, but when he gets you by the guts, he never lets go.” Listeners to his music have compared him to Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, Randy Newman or Mose Allison.

These comparisons are flattering but deceptive. Rosch is a stylist, a complete original. His material ranges from sly wit to gripping political commentary.

Arthur was born in the heart of Illinois and grew up in the western suburbs of St. Louis. In his teens he discovered his creative potential while hoping to please a girl. Though she left the scene, Arthur’s creativity stayed behind. In his early twenties he moved to San Francisco and took part in the thriving arts scene. His first literary sale was to Playboy Magazine. The piece went on to receive Playboy’s “Best Story of the Year” award. Arthur also has writing credits in Exquisite Corpse, Shutterbug, eDigital, and Cat Fancy Magazine. He has written five novels, a memoir and a large collection of poetry. His autobiographical novel, Confessions Of An Honest Man won the Honorable Mention award from Writer’s Digest in 2016.

More of his work can be found at www.artrosch.com

Photos at https://500px.com/p/artsdigiphoto?view=photos

________________________________________________________

Want to be sure not to miss any of Arthur’s “Mind Fields” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you find it interesting or just entertaining, please share.


Mind Fields: Baby Boomers And Self Hatred

Mind Fields

I’ve noticed that some (as they are called) Baby Boomers are like Jews who are anti-Semitic. My mother was a classic Jewish anti-semite. Hateful rhetoric dropped from her mouth like crap from an owl’s cloaca. “The Jews will trick you every time,” she often said. “You can’t trust them.” Another of her favorites: “Money’s what they’re about. Money money money.  Jews do one thing well, and that’s make money. It’s a shonda that Hitler didn’t succeed in wiping them out!” The word “shonda” is Yiddish for “shame” or “too bad”.

As I got into my early teens I stopped being afraid of my mother. I’d outgrown her. She couldn’t beat me up. “Mom”, I would riposte,  dodging her clumsy right hook and restraining my urge to retaliate with a knockout uppercut. “You’re a Jew, I’m a Jew, dad’s a Jew, Sandy’s a Jew. How can you say this horrible Nazi crap?”

My mom was crazy. I mean truly bat-poo crazy. Her mind ran like the railroad tracks that led to Auschwitz. There were predictable stops at the same stations at the same times. There were no deviations. Is that one definition of crazy? “An extreme rigidity of thought in which facts and nuances cannot be accommodated lest the pathological structure of said rigidity be broken like a bridge without proper support.” 

Let me get back to my original thesis, regarding Baby Boomers. I’m seventy four years old. Demographically I’m a baby boomer. In other cultures I would be a respected Elder but in Amerika I am seen by some as an irrelevant, un-hip old fart who still listens to Sixties pop music. Let me correct this misapprehension. I listened to (and still listen to ) John Coltrane, Charles Mingus and their ilk. I admit to being a huge musical snob.

I enjoyed post-1965 pop music. I bought a limited number of pop records. I bought the second Rolling Stones record. I bought five Bob Dylan records, starting with Bringing It All Back Home and ending with Blonde on Blonde. I hesitated at John Wesley Harding. I had to wait a few years for Dylan’s Multiple Personality Disorder to roll over like slot machine fruit to a configuration I recognized. I never bought a Beatles record. I wasn’t a fan. I am now, but I still don’t buy their records. Who needs to? 

It’s weird when I read articles in which Baby Boomers are generalized into a sociological cluster that resembles a haul of mackerel in a giant net. Our nation has been dominated by some nebulous force called Youth Culture since we were Youth ourselves. Now, if we don’t understand or enjoy Hip Hop we’re relegated to the Outer Limits of cultural discard.

Some of the best music I hear is television tease-music. These are theme songs, fragments or background percussion/guitar riffs. They are sound-memes, identifiers of historic hit series like Sons Of Anarchy or Breaking Bad. My ear tells me, “Hey, that’s pretty good stuff..”.  Fortunately there is a Breaking Bad CD, or several, divided by Seasons. They’re like playlists. Tasty!

The contemporary musical acts to which I am exposed are forgotten as soon I’ve heard them. I give Lady Gaga props for her science fiction wardrobe and catchy tunes. But most of the singers or bands I hear get me to wondering. Can they play at all? Have they spent fourteen hours a day practicing fundamental exercises on their chosen instruments? Can someone explain to me why the musical acts on “So You Think You Can Dance” are so abysmal? We love the dancing and choreography. Love it! I’m convinced that dance is in the midst of a golden revival, the invention of truly new languages. But when each week’s “musical guest” appears we shudder and watch in horrified dismay. Is some paradigm being revealed? Is music being sucked into a rip tide and washed out to sea?

I seriously doubt it. The distinction here is that the music that’s getting “play” is crappy. I have no refuge. If I want to listen to jazz I’m welcome, of course. But there is no more John Coltrane, no more Charles Mingus. Now we have Marsalis Gumbo, that well known New Orleans dish. It’s good stuff, it shows prowess, soul, it’s jazz. It seems, however, that musical innovation is being led by technology. One can buy a machine that makes sounds that seem to emanate from remote corners of the galaxy. It has no difficulty playing in 15/8 time. We can write and play whatever we want! Our imaginations have been unfettered. Where are the people putting these awesome tools to use? There are no musical categories any more. Jazz as a dynamic art form ran out of gas around 1970. It had played itself into a corner called “New Wave” or “New Thing” and hardly anyone could tolerate the caterwauling that emerged from the saxophones of Albert Ayler or John Tchicai. (A confession here: at the time, I loved New Wave. I was taking acid). 

I’m not ashamed of being seventy four years old. The alternative is to be dead. Anyone who has reached such an age has survived a given amount of horrible shit. I’m proud to be a survivor. I know certain things. Shit is a great teacher. 

My mother taught me by negative example not to feel contempt for my own tribe. Her railroad tracks ran out in 1980, when she committed suicide. She rolled up on the terminal station of her mental Auschwitz and it didn’t look very inviting.

I know this isn’t my best-written piece, I know it’s sloppy and barely hangs together. I’m trying to start a conversation. I’m tired of being dismissed by little kiddies half my age who are now taste-makers, trend-setters and power brokers.

I’m trying to make my mark as a writer and I passed Rejection Slip #500 a long time ago for my novel, CONFESSIONS OF AN HONEST MAN. It’s as profound and touching a story as all get-out, it will make you laugh and make you cry but it has no vampires, nor anything with long teeth, it’s just about people and the way they go about healing themselves from having crazy mothers. Seventy pages of this book take place in 1982 Afghanistan! It’s exciting as  hell!

Literary agents, editors,  publishers, taste-makers and other cultural filters and gate-keepers will some day be either seventy four years old or six feet underground. I invite them NOW, (before it’s too late) to get on my train, whose tracks are constantly being built right under the engine and we never know where we might end up.

(Today’s magic word is “Duck on a string”.  Okay, four words.)

_______________________

Arthur Rosch is a novelist, musician, photographer and poet. His works are funny, memorable and often compelling. One reviewer said “He’s wicked and feisty, but when he gets you by the guts, he never lets go.” Listeners to his music have compared him to Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, Randy Newman or Mose Allison.

These comparisons are flattering but deceptive. Rosch is a stylist, a complete original. His material ranges from sly wit to gripping political commentary.

Arthur was born in the heart of Illinois and grew up in the western suburbs of St. Louis. In his teens he discovered his creative potential while hoping to please a girl. Though she left the scene, Arthur’s creativity stayed behind. In his early twenties he moved to San Francisco and took part in the thriving arts scene. His first literary sale was to Playboy Magazine. The piece went on to receive Playboy’s “Best Story of the Year” award. Arthur also has writing credits in Exquisite Corpse, Shutterbug, eDigital, and Cat Fancy Magazine. He has written five novels, a memoir and a large collection of poetry. His autobiographical novel, Confessions Of An Honest Man won the Honorable Mention award from Writer’s Digest in 2016.

More of his work can be found at www.artrosch.com

Photos at https://500px.com/p/artsdigiphoto?view=photos

____________________________________________

Want to be sure not to miss any of Arthur’s “Mind Fields” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you find it interesting or just entertaining, please share.


Mind Fields – “Missing: One Male Libido”

Mind Fields

LOST: ONE MALE LIBIDO This libido (center figure) was last seen on December 31, 2016.  It is approximately ten feet tall, six feet wide and four feet deep.  It has between twelve and twenty horns of various descriptions.  It’s covered in long brown fur and has eyes all the way around its cylindrical body.  The number of fingers, tentacles and hands it may possess are unknown as it can sprout extra limbs at moments of high stress.  It is not very intelligent but possesses a wild cunning that can catch pursuers off guard. If you see this libido DO NOT APPROACH IT. DO NOT ATTEMPT A DIALOGUE. IT IS NOT AMENABLE TO REASON. Call the local sheriff’s department, dial 911 or email me at artsdigiphoto@gmail.com.

There are commonly available and well known techniques that calm this libido but I discourage their use except in extremely dangerous situations. Under proper conditions this is a highly trained and valuable libido. I am reluctant to cause it damage or harm. You might call it by one of its names: Thor, Zeus or Johnny. This tactic may backfire, however, for if it is Johnny and is called Thor or Zeus it gets very upset. Likewise if it is Thor and is called Johnny, etc… The best approach is simply to say, “Hey big guy. How’s it hangin’.” It has been trained to recognize this as a non-threatening mnemonic. It may trigger my libido’s desire to return to its so-called master.

I repeat: DO NOT APPROACH THIS LIBIDO. CALL THE AUTHORITIES OR NOTIFY ME AS SOON AS POSSIBLE at artsdigiphoto@gmail.com.
REWARD OFFERED: I will give you, free of charge,  my guaranteed technique for healing all stress, depression and emotional trauma.

SPECIAL CAUTION: Do not mistake this libido for the so-called Bigfoot, Sasquatch, Yeti or Skunk Ape. It is not a primate and is immune to veterinary drugs. Rather than seek out police or Forest Rangers it may be more useful to find an old shaman from the Chumash or Miwok tribes. A qualified shaman will likely be more useful in the safe return of this treasured libido.

_________________________________________________________________

Arthur Rosch is a novelist, musician, photographer and poet. His works are funny, memorable and often compelling. One reviewer said “He’s wicked and feisty, but when he gets you by the guts, he never lets go.” Listeners to his music have compared him to Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, Randy Newman or Mose Allison. These comparisons are flattering but deceptive. Rosch is a stylist, a complete original. His material ranges from sly wit to gripping political commentary.

Arthur was born in the heart of Illinois and grew up in the western suburbs of St. Louis. In his teens he discovered his creative potential while hoping to please a girl. Though she left the scene, Arthur’s creativity stayed behind. In his early twenties he moved to San Francisco and took part in the thriving arts scene. His first literary sale was to Playboy Magazine. The piece went on to receive Playboy’s “Best Story of the Year” award. Arthur also has writing credits in Exquisite Corpse, Shutterbug, eDigital, and Cat Fancy Magazine. He has written five novels, a memoir and a large collection of poetry. His autobiographical novel, Confessions Of An Honest Man won the Honorable Mention award from Writer’s Digest in 2016.

More of his work can be found at www.artrosch.com

Photos at https://500px.com/p/artsdigiphoto?view=photos

________________________________________________________________________

Want to be sure not to miss any of Arthur’s “Mind Fields” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you find it interesting or just entertaining, please share.


Mind Fields: Coltrane’s Dead

Mind Fields

This is an excerpt from my novel, Confessions Of An Honest Man:

The men get into the car and Zoot steers it carefully across the bridge. “Still need a Pissngas?” Zoot inquires mockingly.

“I forgot I had to pee,” says Aaron. “Now I got to pee really really bad.”

“Well shit, get out and pee, we about fifteen minutes from the Steelville turnoff.”

Aaron goes out behind a bush and relieves himself. He hears the sound of his own stream against a world that has gone supernally silent. There is no wind, no bird song. The sky is a weird shade of pink. As soon as he is finished the rain begins to fall again. The drops are huge, heavy, laden with silt. Covering his head, Aaron races back to the car.

After driving for ten minutes in silence, a black and white road sign appears. The trapezoidal shape of the state of Missouri encloses a number four. Fifteen yards past this sign there is a green board with white letters and an arrow pointing to the right. Steelville, eight miles, it indicates. At this one-sided intersection is a little gas station and a tiny grocery store skirted by a wooden plank walkway. Zoot pulls into the station. He gestures to Aaron to stay in the car. This part of Missouri isn’t explicitly segregated, but it has the taint of old rebellion. Zoot asks a black attendant to fill the tank, and Tyrone jumps through the rain towards the store, looking for another pack of cigarettes. Aaron watches the Schlitz Beer sign flicker, rolls the window down to smell the storm-soaked earth. He knows this country, too. He has come here for vacations with his family. They have gone to Bagnell Dam, Lake of the Ozarks, Wildwood Resort. In a childhood with a paucity of happy memories, this country means peace, relief, respite, jumping from a pier into the lake, riding horses, mom on her best behavior, dad relaxed and having fun.

Zoot chats with the station attendant about the twister, informs him that the Willens Creek Bridge is no longer covered.

“Be damned,” the man says, “twister blew the top the bridge away? No shit?”

“No shit, almost blew us away too, turned this here Lincoln Continental hundred eighty degrees backward but left a cigarette in the ashtray, still lit and ready to smoke.” Zoot’s dialects always reflect his circumstances. He pronounces “this here” as “thissheer”.

Hurriedly finishing the transaction to get out of the rain, the attendant takes Zoot’s money and rushes back into the shelter of the store.

A moment later, Tyrone comes walking out, holding a newspaper limply in his hand. His mouth is hanging open, his eyes have a staring and shocked quality, as if he has just survived a terrible battle. He opens the passenger’s door , throws the newspaper towards Aaron in the back seat and slumps abruptly on the plush leather, one leg hanging out the side.

“You look like you just got terrible news,” Zoot observes with concern.

Tyrone nods and points towards the newspaper.

“Coltrane’s dead,” he says mournfully. “It’s in the paper. He died yesterday.”

There is a stunned silence. Aaron feels as if he has just taken the first plunge on a roller coaster ride, his stomach goes up through his chest.

“No,” Zoot says. “No.”

Tyrone has the paper folded out to the entertainment section. It is the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. There is a big article about Barbara Streisand, a review of the new James Bond movie, a review of the Led Zeppelin Concert at Kiel Auditorium. Down in the far right corner of the page is a two-paragraph squib. ‘Jazz Musician John Coltrane Dies,” it says. There is sketchy information about the jazz giant succumbing suddenly to liver cancer.

Aaron puts his face in the paper and squeezes himself with it, crumbling it around his cheeks. “He is forty years old!” He wails. “Forty years old! What is happening? Why are jazz musicians dying? Why Coltrane, of all people, Trane? “

Desperately, he claws at Zoot’s shoulder. “We’re all professional jazz musicians, Zoot. Is this my future? Is this Tyrone’s? Are you going to die on us, too? Why can’t we survive? What are we doing to ourselves?”

Zoot stares straight ahead, seeing nothing. He reaches across his shoulder and pats Aaron’s hand, squeezing it.

“You’re just beginning to see what it’s like,” the old musician says. “It’s dangerous to be a genius. That’s why I stay in this chitlin circuit groove, play the college campuses, keep my mid-stream profile. And this is hard enough. You think Coltrane can be inspired every night? You think he can get up there and reach down into his guts and deliver a brilliant set five nights a week, be a genius?”

A core of bitter reflection stains Zoot’s voice. These are things he generally keeps to himself. As he speaks, his anger grows and his voice scrapes with frustration and old pain.

“You have to use something, like Bird, like Lester, you have to use something to get to that place where you even feel like playing at all, let alone be great. Then you raise the standard, people turn out and expect to be transformed, to hear an oracular performance, night after night. I smoke my weed, that’s how I do it. And I don’t ask too much of myself. That’s why I’m sixty-three and still playing. I know how much I can give. Men like Coltrane, they don’t know moderation, they can’t know moderation, they have to keep pushing the limits or the critics jump on their ass, the fickle fans get restless, the talk on the street starts goin’ ‘round, ‘Trane’s lost it, Bird’s lost it, Jackie’s lost it, Prez’s lost it, Bud’s lost it! You have a couple bad nights and all these assholes who can’t play a note go talking, he’s lost it, lost it, getting’ tired, man, runnin’ out of steam, his great days are behind him, what a shame, used to be a great musician.”

Zoot pauses for a moment, looking at his sidemen, at his disciples in the mystic art of music. Then he spits a long gobbet out the window and says, with a lengthy and contemptuous drawl, “Sheee-it! Son of a fucking bitch!”

He turns backward to look at Aaron. Cobra-like, he shifts his body, glancing at Tyrone beside him. He is seething, indignant. “That’s why genius musicians die. They have to die! Ain’t no choice! Once they get a reputation as a genius, they have to be a genius every night. They use it up! Then they’re gone!”

He turns on the engine and drives about a hundred yards down the road. He pulls onto the shoulder and scrunches the emergency brake with his foot. He puts his large hands in front of his face, then leans into them and begins to weep.

It is contagious. These three friends, of different ages, races, different backgrounds, are not afraid to show their feelings to one another. The three jazz musicians, on their way to a gig, taking a short cut through the back roads of Missouri, pull onto the side of the country lane and weap for John Coltrane.

Purchase Link: https://www.amazon.com/Confessions-Honest-Man-Arthur-Rosch-ebook/dp/B01C3J0NK2

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Arthur Rosch is a novelist, musician, photographer and poet. His works are funny, memorable and often compelling. One reviewer said “He’s wicked and feisty, but when he gets you by the guts, he never lets go.” Listeners to his music have compared him to Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, Randy Newman or Mose Allison. These comparisons are flattering but deceptive. Rosch is a stylist, a complete original. His material ranges from sly wit to gripping political commentary.

Arthur was born in the heart of Illinois and grew up in the western suburbs of St. Louis. In his teens he discovered his creative potential while hoping to please a girl. Though she left the scene, Arthur’s creativity stayed behind. In his early twenties he moved to San Francisco and took part in the thriving arts scene. His first literary sale was to Playboy Magazine. The piece went on to receive Playboy’s “Best Story of the Year” award. Arthur also has writing credits in Exquisite Corpse, Shutterbug, eDigital, and Cat Fancy Magazine. He has written five novels, a memoir and a large collection of poetry. His autobiographical novel, Confessions Of An Honest Man won the Honorable Mention award from Writer’s Digest in 2016.

More of his work can be found at www.artrosch.com Photos at https://500px.com/p/artsdigiphoto?view=photos

____________________________________________________________________

Want to be sure not to miss any of Arthur’s “Mind Fields” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you find it interesting or just entertaining, please share.


Mind Fields: Don’t Fall Apart

Mind Fields

You can’t fall apart when things go wrong. And when I say “go wrong” I mean badly wrong, way wrong. The loss of a job, the death of a loved one, a diagnosed illness: that kind of wrong. You can’t fall apart.

 It’s difficult, NOT to fall apart. We don’t have rational control of emotions. Grief, despair, depression, are creatures with wills of their own and they seem to take over the daily habits that normally sustain us. How do I NOT fall apart? How do I fight back and regain my dignity after seemingly chucking it into the trash? Where do I find the “fight” in me, after I’ve curled into a fetal position and gone”waaaah!”

The answer is “ANY WAY YOU CAN!” I thought to do some writing, and I ended up writing this. Which will take about five minutes. I wanted to work on my novel in progress and I sat staring at the page feeling waves of terror streaking through my innards. It’s difficult to write through waves of terror. I’ll make it.

I’ll get there.

Last year a man died suddenly. He was the man who provided me with three quarters of my contracting work. Then I had a major health scare. Things began going to pieces, one little piece at a time. Isn’t that always the way it works? No, it isn’t. It’s never just one big thing; more like a lot of little things until it seems that nothing will ever go right again.

That isn’t true! That’s the voice of depression. As a grizzled veteran of the fight against depression I understand the feeling that a low emotional state is permanent. It isn’t. But you can’t fall apart. You have to fight back. Depression is a force of nature with which we contend. It’s here that we find our own heroism. Here, in the battle against the cognitive darkness that threatens to overwhelm us at any time. This is where we ultimately shine.

If you’ve got any energy, go clean something. That often works well to lighten the mood. Or, better, go help someone else who is in trouble. In the process you will forget your own troubles.

Arthur Rosch is a novelist, musician, photographer and poet. His works are funny, memorable and often compelling. One reviewer said “He’s wicked and feisty, but when he gets you by the guts, he never lets go.” Listeners to his music have compared him to Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, Randy Newman or Mose Allison. These comparisons are flattering but deceptive. Rosch is a stylist, a complete original. His material ranges from sly wit to gripping political commentary

Arthur was born in the heart of Illinois and grew up in the western suburbs of St. Louis. In his teens he discovered his creative potential while hoping to please a girl. Though she left the scene, Arthur’s creativity stayed behind. In his early twenties he moved to San Francisco and took part in the thriving arts scene. His first literary sale was to Playboy Magazine. The piece went on to receive Playboy’s “Best Story of the Year” award. Arthur also has writing credits in Exquisite Corpse, Shutterbug, eDigital, and Cat Fancy Magazine. He has written five novels, a memoir and a large collection of poetry. His autobiographical novel, Confessions Of An Honest Man won the Honorable Mention award from Writer’s Digest in 2016.

More of his work can be found at www.artrosch.com

Photos at https://500px.com/p/artsdigiphoto?view=photos

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Want to be sure not to miss any of Arthur’s “Mind Fields” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you find it interesting or just entertaining, please share.


Mind Fields: When We Are The Sociopaths

Mind Fields

The Sociopaths

If you vote for a sociopath to serve in public office, you may be acting from your own sociopathic tendencies. Americans have succumbed to a sociopathic culture that is sad and shocking. It isn’t wealth or poverty that counts in the USA. It’s numbness to the suffering of others. It is disturbing that numbness has spread itself wide, that apathy has replaced interest in public discourse. The awful fact is that people are dead inside. How do I know this? I know it from personal experience. I was also dead inside. Now, I have a bit of life within myself. I continue to fight this social and spiritual desolation. I am less dead than in the past. I use every tool I can grasp: therapy, meetings with a group, reading about psychology, learning about Consciousness itself. 

Growing up in a typically dysfunctional family has left me reeling with emotional pain and often engaged in struggles with addiction and other debilitating conditions. I didn’t want this! I wanted to live free and happy but that is neither possible nor even desirable. I have learned patience and the ability to frame my narratives of pain in terms that show their creative importance.

As far as I know, I was not “sent here” by anyone other than another faculty of my very core SELF. We need to understand that possession of a Self is a very high privilege, a vital connection between what is human and what is not of this world but of some inner possibility. Selfness is a condition of consciousness, a unique and important faculty of identity. It isn’t random, it doesn’t come from nowhere. It comes from within the mind and the fact that there IS a mind at all is crucial. Why? Why have a mind? Of what evolutionary use is a mind? All creatures have minds and some of them may be highly organized and developed. We have no idea what goes on in the mind of an animal like a whale or an elephant. It seems clear from observation that they are not automatons. Nor are they entirely conditioned by nature. There is something else, something beyond our grasp, about the minds of other species. We are desperately uninformed. At best, we are guessing, by way of zoologists, veterinarians, communicators and empaths. 

What if a blue whale knows about the cosmos from an entirely different perspective? What if its brain produces some profound psychedelic that eludes human beings? In its own way it may be swimming among the stars. Is there not an inner life within the life we see? Should not a bear possess an inner life? Does not its memory belong to the universe?

It is essential to respect ALL life forms as conscious and sentient. The concept that MAN is above all other life forms is specious and dangerous. We need to get over ourselves.

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Arthur Rosch is a novelist, musician, photographer and poet. His works are funny, memorable and often compelling. One reviewer said “He’s wicked and feisty, but when he gets you by the guts, he never lets go.” Listeners to his music have compared him to Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, Randy Newman or Mose Allison. These comparisons are flattering but deceptive. Rosch is a stylist, a complete original. His material ranges from sly wit to gripping political commentary.

Arthur was born in the heart of Illinois and grew up in the western suburbs of St. Louis. In his teens he discovered his creative potential while hoping to please a girl. Though she left the scene, Arthur’s creativity stayed behind. In his early twenties he moved to San Francisco and took part in the thriving arts scene. His first literary sale was to Playboy Magazine. The piece went on to receive Playboy’s “Best Story of the Year” award. Arthur also has writing credits in Exquisite Corpse, Shutterbug, eDigital, and Cat Fancy Magazine. He has written five novels, a memoir and a large collection of poetry. His autobiographical novel, Confessions Of An Honest Man won the Honorable Mention award from Writer’s Digest in 2016.

More of his work can be found at www.artrosch.com

Photos at https://500px.com/p/artsdigiphoto?view=photos

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Want to be sure not to miss any of Arthur’s “Mind Fields” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you find it interesting or just entertaining, please share.


The Many Faces of Poetry: Routinely

Routinely

Routinely. We

Drive 3 ton vehicles seventy miles per hour.  We do this in swarms, crowds, jams, at all angles and approaches. Routinely. Somehow it’s unusual to die in traffic on the way home. I don’t understand it.

Routinely. We

Bathe ourselves in electronic light. Hours and hours each day the photons emitted by our gear pass through our bodies. 

Routinely. We Eat food that amounts to tenderized and processed glue.

Routinely. We stay indoors for hours, days, weeks, even months. It’s what we’re SUPPOSED to be doing. Right?

Routinely. We talk to no one for months on end.  We have plenty of chat, little real talk.

Routinely. We expose ourselves to huge clusters of information in the form of digital glop, yet somehow we only go slightly insane.

Routinely. We breathe toxins generated by our culture without being aware of it.

Routinely. We witness horrors on the news and barely shrug because we are numb to horrors in this age of surfeit of  horrors.

Routinely. We vote for callous lying cretins and elect them to public offices they don’t deserve. Routinely we continue allowing venal malicious fools to exploit us without doing a goddam thing. Routinely we accept a political situation that would not be too difficult to change but we don’t change it even though it’s destroying us.

Routinely. We juggle scenes of increasing complexity.

Routinely. We melt down when the complexity is overwhelming. The crazy shit we do depends on who we emulate. Do we shoot up a supermarket or do we binge on ice cream?

Routinely. We are surprised by what happens when we process this degree of overstimulation and make terrible decisions. Routinely our judgment is flawed by the input of mis and dis information.

Trust nothing but your own experience.  Routinely.

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Arthur Rosch is a novelist, musician, photographer and poet. His works are funny, memorable and often compelling. One reviewer said “He’s wicked and feisty, but when he gets you by the guts, he never lets go.” Listeners to his music have compared him to Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, Randy Newman or Mose Allison. These comparisons are flattering but deceptive. Rosch is a stylist, a complete original. His material ranges from sly wit to gripping political commentary.

Arthur was born in the heart of Illinois and grew up in the western suburbs of St. Louis. In his teens he discovered his creative potential while hoping to please a girl. Though she left the scene, Arthur’s creativity stayed behind. In his early twenties he moved to San Francisco and took part in the thriving arts scene. His first literary sale was to Playboy Magazine. The piece went on to receive Playboy’s “Best Story of the Year” award. Arthur also has writing credits in Exquisite Corpse, Shutterbug, eDigital, and Cat Fancy Magazine. He has written five novels, a memoir and a large collection of poetry. His autobiographical novel, Confessions Of An Honest Man won the Honorable Mention award from Writer’s Digest in 2016.

More of his work can be found at www.artrosch.com Photos at https://500px.com/p/artsdigiphoto?view=photos

______________________________________________________________________

Want to be sure not to miss any of Arthur’s “The Many Faces of Poetry” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you find it interesting or just entertaining, please share.


Mind Fields: Two Of My Thoughts

Mind Fields

Two Of My Thoughts

#1

Discernment is the ability to obtain sharp perceptions or to judge well. That’s from Webster’s dictionary. I bring it to your attention because if this nation is suffering from a widespread psychological disorder it is this: a lack of discernment. It is the inability to judge well from the information that’s available. There are millions of casualties to this disease which is more sinister than Covid 19. It is something that has no name. I call it The Plebny or Recalcitrant Flux.  Any force, power or person who spreads this disease is committing crimes against our planet. In this turbulent time we NEED discernment to pick our way through the fields of ignorance and bad information. Listen to me: bad information. There’s no such thing as bad information. I refer to the mis and disinformation filled with distorted content, warped propaganda, mendacity in the service of ego and power. We’re afflicted by people in power who lie automatically, without internal scanning or external censorship. Damage is being done! Without discernment we are easily manipulated, like cattle being led by nose rings. Further, these people without discernment are unaware of their lack. It is impossible to engage in dialogue with people who can’t perceive with precision and conscience. I am willing to consider other points of view. I’m not stuck. It takes a little effort to discern things. It takes honesty, most of all. With whom are we honest? We must be honest with ourselves most of all because human beings have a tendency towards various mental impediments to honesty like Denial, Shame, Depression, Grandiosity, Narcissism, Sociopathy, Psychopathy, Crushed Affect, Sleepwalkers Syndrome, Intentional Psychomyopathy and Heartbane. There are so many wacked out people in the world that the earth is saturated with their craziness.

A few wild names in there? Blame Mad Magazine and my high school pal and class comedian, Jay Grodsky, for that. We made up goofy names together. He had a ducktail in the back of his head and a giant spit curl falling across his forehead and he was the coolest guy in the world. This was WAY before Travolta but about contemporary with Edward “Cookie” Burns. Jay’s divorced mom didn’t care what he did and he had this big house to fool around in. I idolized Jay but I fear that he barely knew I existed. I wasn’t very cool. In those days I absorbed the coolness of others rather than, as I do now, generate coolness from my nature. I am a cool guy. I waft coolness from my pores.

#2

I think poets write for themselves. I never expect anyone to read my poems. And if they did, what would they make of them? I read a few poets. it’s never been the most fascinating literary form for reading. It’s great fun to write it. When a poem occurs for me, I’m in love with the language. I’ve made it do something it’s never done before.  Language exudes emotion. Can I possibly convey how I feel in love?

I’m in love with my therapist. That’s both corny and compelling. A great therapy is one where you and your therapist fall in love,  but have enough sense to stay therapeutic rather than personal. I don’t know my therapist. I don’t have to; not to love her. Believe me, I love her with a deeply lusty feeling. I love her with my body. Other than a few hugs we’ve never touched. But I love her in many ways. I told her that I love her for what she knows about me. I’m already inside of her. By knowing me, she loves me, and that’s the whole story. She gives me definition, the outlines of my bones and organs become visible.

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Arthur Rosch is a novelist, musician, photographer and poet. His works are funny, memorable and often compelling. One reviewer said “He’s wicked and feisty, but when he gets you by the guts, he never lets go.” Listeners to his music have compared him to Frank Zappa, Tom Waits, Randy Newman or Mose Allison. These comparisons are flattering but deceptive. Rosch is a stylist, a complete original. His material ranges from sly wit to gripping political commentary.

Arthur was born in the heart of Illinois and grew up in the western suburbs of St. Louis. In his teens he discovered his creative potential while hoping to please a girl. Though she left the scene, Arthur’s creativity stayed behind. In his early twenties he moved to San Francisco and took part in the thriving arts scene. His first literary sale was to Playboy Magazine. The piece went on to receive Playboy’s “Best Story of the Year” award. Arthur also has writing credits in Exquisite Corpse, Shutterbug, eDigital, and Cat Fancy Magazine. He has written five novels, a memoir and a large collection of poetry. His autobiographical novel, Confessions Of An Honest Man won the Honorable Mention award from Writer’s Digest in 2016.

More of his work can be found at www.artrosch.com

Photos at https://500px.com/p/artsdigiphoto?view=photos

______________________________________________________

Want to be sure not to miss any of Arthur’s “Mind Fields” segments? Subscribe to Writing to be Read for e-mail notifications whenever new content is posted or follow WtbR on WordPress. If you find it interesting or just entertaining, please share.