The Iguana Effect

LostWorld3Ever since I was about ten I’ve wanted to make my own monster movie. When I was a teenager I made a few with friends. When I was around 27 or so I got myself a VHS video camera and with my friend Dana Mitchell (now Dana Plambeck) I put together a script and started working on what I hoped would be a semi-professional film.

I made a miniature set of downtown Akron out of old laundry baskets (the square holes looked sort of like windows) and cardboard boxes and I discovered that a friend of a friend owned an iguana that he was willing to let me use in the movie. I took my little buildings, a bunch of Matchbox cars and my camera up to his place in Cleveland one summer afternoon and got to work.

At first the iguana was kind of lame. He just sort of sat there. The guy who owned him said, “I can make him bite the cars if you want.” That was exactly what I wanted! So I asked him to do it.

The guy stood behind the iguana and pulled its tail. Whenever he pulled the iguana’s tail the iguana would bite whatever was in front of him. It looked awesome!

I will never forget this moment, not just because it was so cool but because I learned something really important that day. Watching that iguana bite those cars I suddenly realized, “That’s ME!” That is what I do all the time.

The iguana was being bothered by something behind him, something too big for him to fight. So instead of turning around and biting the giant anthropoid who was pulling his tail, he went after the smaller thing in front of him. We all do this all the time. It’s hardwired into the reptilian portions of our brains. It happened to me very recently and I’d like to tell you about it.

Last week around Thursday I found out that one of my best friends, Logan, a guy I’ve known since high school, has stage 4 esophageal cancer. He lives in Portland and even before he was diagnosed I’d been planning to stay with him and his wife when the movie about me was shown up there. Amy, his wife, said we shouldn’t cancel our stay at the house. She thought the company and the distraction would do Logan some good.

This was devastating news. Logan is two years younger than me and might have been the very first fan I ever had of anything artistic I did. I used to make a zine called The Reptile. I probably printed a dozen or fewer copies of each issue. It was your typical punk zine with stupid jokes and dumb cartoons, Xeroxed at the local Kinko’s copy center. Logan was one of the few people who actually bought the thing. When I stopped making them he and a friend of his started putting out their own zine called Not The Reptile, which was actually a lot funnier and better produced than mine had been. I remember at the time I thought it was really touching they’d done that. But, of course, an 18 year old boy is never going to say that out loud to a couple of 16 year old friends.

ZLALater on I moved into a house with Logan and his then-girlfriend Laura and another friend of ours named Steve. At the time Logan sang for a band called the Zen Luv Assassins. In those days I didn’t usually tell people I was involved in actual Zen practice. I’m sure none of them knew I was often sitting zazen upstairs during their noisy rehearsals in the basement.

Anyhow, at almost exactly the same time as I learned that Logan had cancer someone in the comments section of this blog decided it was time to have a hissy fit over a wholly imagined slight he decided I’d given him. And I got to watch the Iguana Effect go into action big time.

Logan’s cancer is huge and scary and there’s nothing I can do about it. So all of the anger and frustration I felt about the diagnosis suddenly got trained upon this guy and his silly little screaming baby meltdown in the comments section. I didn’t write anything about it here or confront him. But you should talk to some of my friends to see how much it upset me! I was ranting about it to anyone who would listen. And they were all telling me what I knew already, that it was nothing at all, that the guy was getting his panties in a twist over something that never even really happened, that I should just ignore it.

I wanted to bite that guy just like that iguana bit those Matchbox cars.

But I also knew that the Iguana Effect was very likely happening to him as well. There was probably something else in his life that he couldn’t control and so I became the focus of all his anger and impotent frustration about whatever that might have been. As mad as it made me, I could see it for what it was and knew I had to temper my reaction accordingly. Even calling it a “hissy fit” and a “silly little screaming baby meltdown” here feels like a reaction more to my anger over what’s going on with Logan than anything directed at the guy on the comments section. That guy probably doesn’t read this blog anymore so I’m not all that concerned he’ll see my description. But if you are reading this right now, Mr Commenter, please know that I’m just lashing out at my former housemate’s cancer and not at you. Sorry about that.

Now some of you must surely be asking yourselves, “If Brad did all those years of zen practice and he still gets upset over things that don’t matter, what the hell good is zazen?”

It’s a reasonable question. It’s one I had myself when I saw my teachers behaving like real people instead of like the kind of serene ethereal beings I hoped I could one day become. It shook my faith in the practice and made me wonder if it might be better to just give it up, or to look for something else taught by someone who really was an ethereal being made flesh — like the guys who advertise in the backs of all the meditation magazines. Surely they never get upset at anything! Look at those beatific smiles they always have!

BuHotCakeHouset it doesn’t work like that. Those reptilian reactions do not go away no matter how much meditation you do. Not even for those smiling guys in the backs of the meditation magazines. What you learn through meditation practice is how to stop believing them and how to stop feeding into them. This is relatively easy to do when the thing pulling your tail is not so big and horrifying, when its something like a bad day at work or fatigue or things of that level.

But when it’s bigger and scarier than that, like a friend getting cancer or a pending divorce or stuff along those lines, the Iguana Effect kicks in much harder. You find yourself feeding into whatever minor and more controllable frustration sits in front of you like those Matchbox cars in front of that iguana. You’ll even see yourself biting at it just like that iguana did and even understanding precisely what’s happening and why, and yet still somehow doing it anyway.

All you can really do then is step back. Stop. Take a temporary vow of silence (I did this for about 24 hours). Do some more zazen. It’ll be the most frustrating zazen you ever did. Even a 20 minute sitting will feel like it’s going on for 47 years. But it will help. Trust me. It really will.

*   *   *

Tickets for four more screenings of the documentary about me, Brad Warner’s Hardcore Zen have just gone on sale! I will be at all of these screenings, signing books and posters and shaking hands with people and generally being a Matchbox car you can bite to relieve your frustrations about something else. Here’s the rundown.

Boulder, CO January 18, 2014 7:00 pm

Denver, CO January 19, 2014 1:00pm

Brooklyn , NY March 14, 2014 7:00 pm

San Francisco, CA April 20, 2014 7:30 pm

*   *   *

This site is still supported by your kind donations. It’s the only way I make any money off of what I write here. Your donations are deeply appreciated and are what has paid my rent for the past couple years. Book sales do not do it!

57 Responses

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  1. Mayneric
    Mayneric December 19, 2013 at 12:33 pm | |

    I do this ALL the time. I get low on money and stress about bills but instead of letting it stay there I start getting grumpy over the littlest things my kids or wife do. Eventually I will see what is happening (never had a name before, thanks!) and back off but then of course I feel bad about the way I was behaving. It can be hard to get off of the hampster wheel once you get started.

    Are you going to bring your movie and yourself to Kansas City? Please do.

    keep up the great posts, even if you aren’t an ethereal being! :)

  2. TomSwiss
    TomSwiss December 19, 2013 at 1:33 pm | |

    “If Brad did all those years of zen practice and he still gets upset over things that don’t matter, what the hell good is zazen?” When I catch myself being a jerk and despair of my spiritual practice as a result, I tell myself, “Well, yeah, Tom, but if you’re this much of a jerk with it, think how big an asshole you’d be without it!”

    Thank you for introducing a new term into my vocabulary. Hopefully, being able to label the “Iguana Effect” will help me catch it and stop it sooner.

  3. Hungry Ghost
    Hungry Ghost December 19, 2013 at 3:04 pm | |

    I’m pretty much an iguana with an occasional Human effect

  4. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 19, 2013 at 4:22 pm | |

    Brad Warner’s comment section is one of the few places where discussion of Zen practice makes me laugh- thanks, Hungry Ghost! :)

  5. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 19, 2013 at 4:36 pm | |

    I wish your friend Logan the best, Brad!

    I have a temper, too- got it from my father, I think. Funny how it shows up when I try to do things that involve especially linear thinking (like reading and writing computer languages), and I interact with people who are not in a linear-thinking mode. At least I can see that there’s something of that involved in my temper, sometimes.

    Not that my linear-thinking mode is all that good. I am pretty much reconciled that I am only good for letting go, and I can’t even do that, actually. Useless. Perfect for zazen, eh?

  6. Brent
    Brent December 19, 2013 at 4:37 pm | |

    I remember when I was a kid my iguana Dad would say things like “You made me angry!” like it was my responsibility to prevent him from having difficult emotions. Externalizing his state also allowed him to avoid finding out the truth in my position and from potentially acknowledging and apologizing for his part in our miscommunication. My Dad had lots of big things pulling his tail when I was a kid. He was also treated like I was when he was a kid, so he was hallucinating pretty badly to begin with. What a mess.

    Hope everything goes as well as possible for your friend and that you have a great visit.

  7. senorchupacabra
    senorchupacabra December 20, 2013 at 8:58 am | |

    I’m notorious for this kind of stuff. I get angry at work or something and I take it out on my poor wife and kids. I always feel terrible about it, and I think I’ve gotten much better at not doing so, but damn am I lucky to have such a great family. They have every right to have kicked me to the curb long ago.

    It’s also great that you’ll be headed to Colorado. I’m going to try to make either the Boulder or Denver showing.

  8. Alan Sailer
    Alan Sailer December 20, 2013 at 10:52 am | |

    Brad,

    I find this post to be particularly satisfying. The iguana/reptile brain analogy was well placed and everything you wrote made perfect sense.

    One of the earliest effects that I noticed when I started meditating was an increase in self-awareness. On good days I can catch myself getting irritated and drop the desire to nip at innocent bystanders.

    Iggy and the Iguanas.

    Just had to say that….

    Cheers.

  9. Mumbles
    Mumbles December 20, 2013 at 4:07 pm | |

    Oh yeah! Alan!! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Qmp3unVlVhI

    Huh. I am in awe of your honesty, Brad. If I had known about your thin iguana skin long ago I might not have held your feet to the fire so often just for the F of it, or rather I might’ve but then understood the passive/aggressive/reactive stuff better. Or something. Or not. Good post.

    Sincerely sorry about your friend’s health, I hope he gets better.

  10. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 20, 2013 at 7:32 pm | |

    “It is also the original nervous system, emerging in the first vertebrates over 500 million years ago and becoming more complex as vertebrates evolved – possibly even giving rise to the brain itself.”

    http://neurosciencestuff.tumblr.com/post/38271759345/gut-instincts-the-secrets-of-your-second-brain

  11. Mumbles
    Mumbles December 21, 2013 at 8:28 am | |

    http://www.atomicmonsters.com/creaturewiththeatombrain.htm

    In the remake I play Dr. Steigguana…

  12. zucchinipants
    zucchinipants December 21, 2013 at 5:48 pm | |

    So you had your Iguana Effect moment, where you took out your frustration (in public) on whoever that guy was. But wait, there’s more!

    In this installment, you get to display a different Iguana Effect, where you bask in the sun as your devoted fans come in and say, “yeah, man, you’re so real! life is just like that! I lash out at people, too!”

    Escaping blame, with a little help from your friends.

    1. Hungry Ghost
      Hungry Ghost December 21, 2013 at 7:14 pm | |

      I hope I don’t sound like you when I go to the dark place and fire up the old ‘puter

      1. zucchinipants
        zucchinipants December 22, 2013 at 7:13 pm | |

        Have you fired it up yet?

  13. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 22, 2013 at 10:26 am | |

    Speaking for myself, zucchinipants, I sympathize with Brad’s dilemma, that he is only who he is no matter what the tradition around lineage would say he is.

    It’s not that I excuse Brad for his behaviour; it’s only that he’s the only one who can correct it, and as Milton Erickson is said to have believed:

    “Erickson maintained that it was not possible consciously to instruct the unconscious mind, and that authoritarian suggestions were likely to be met with resistance. The unconscious mind responds to openings, opportunities, metaphors, symbols, and contradictions. Effective hypnotic suggestion, then, should be “artfully vague”, leaving space for the subject to fill in the gaps with their own unconscious understandings – even if they do not consciously grasp what is happening. ” (Wikipedia)

    You may have to read between the lines, zucchinipants, in order to take for yourself and provide for others in the comments section of anybody’s blog.

  14. Fred
    Fred December 22, 2013 at 3:19 pm | |

    “So you had your Iguana Effect moment, where you took out your frustration (in public) on whoever that guy was. But wait, there’s more!

    In this installment, you get to display a different Iguana Effect, where you bask in the sun as your devoted fans come in and say, “yeah, man, you’re so real! life is just like that! I lash out at people, too!”

    Escaping blame, with a little help from your friends.”

    That’s pretty good zucchini, but Brad didn’t really lash out at the guy.

    Everyone around us is going to die if we don’t die first. It’s no big deal.

    And having an asshole personality or not has nothing to do with realization.

  15. Mumbles
    Mumbles December 22, 2013 at 5:05 pm | |

    Fred! Where you been brother? Hey give me your reaction to this dream I recently had….

    I sat close to Mrs. ______, a 88 year old woman I have worked with for many years who is an activity director at a local Senior Center. In my waking life she is gradually slipping into dementia, possibly Alzheimer’s disease, in the first stages where a person understands that they are slipping, and are slowly resigning themselves to the inevitable. I had a conversation with her a few days prior to the dream, and noticed the dementia is getting worse and she recognizes this. In the dream we sat very close as she addressed an audience about certain things about me that I had said maybe 15 years ago, contrasting that with how I feel about myself now. As she explained this she sometimes faltered (due to dreamland dementia) and I would encourage her to continue, that she was doing just fine. There was a power point or some other kind of illustration on the wall opposite of where we sat that the audience was viewing as she talked. At the very top of the list of things illustrating what I used to believe in it said EVERYTHING IS MEANINGFUL. I was puzzled a little by this, knowing that in the last five or more years I’d decided that nothing intrinsically holds meaning, and that if we invest meaning in an object or an experience, it is at best a fleeting investment that produces momentary joy and at worst an arbitrary overlay that has nothing to do with raw naked reality. The next morning reflecting on the dream, I was washing my hands, pondering how the routine crushes wonder and hope if we let it, rather, it is up to us to find meaning in every little thing we do or that we observe. I laughed, now understanding that I can hold at least two points of view to be valid at the same time, that the glass is simultaneously both half empty and half full. I also saw that through creativity I have been able to keep the golden thread of wonder I had as a child, even though now as an adult the parameters of whatever is always “new” are nailed down by conceptualization (ie; brown is brown, green, green) and relative sameness, everything in its own way is a “given.” But the next painting is always new, the next song, the next essay, poem, story, gesture, and that branches out infinitely in every direction so that the mundane again retains its uniqueness, its richness. Hope is alive depending on this constant re-invention to re-invent itself forever. Faith is in the process.

  16. Wedged
    Wedged December 23, 2013 at 9:01 am | |

    “You can count on the same old group of commenters coming here to pat you on the back, singing praises…”

    Yup, you can!

    That was incredibly helpful…I read this post last week and over the weekend I couldn’t believe how many times I envisioned someone pulling my tail. I think you should patent the idea ;) I’d be in this mental rant then I’d feel the tail tugging. It’s very true…what I was truly annoyed with was never because of what was in front me. Not once! It’s a very cool way to visualize that whole process of blaiming something else for what is annoying you. Like blog posts and comment sections.

  17. navybsn
    navybsn December 23, 2013 at 10:54 am | |

    I am certainly guilty of this. In my line of work, I am constantly exposed to people/behaviors I have disdain for (drug seeking/abusive personalities etc) but I’m not allowed to “give back what I’m given”. Always have to put on a “nice” face. On too many occaisions, I’ve gone home and taken that out on the family. Meditation has definitely made me more aware of it, but it certainly hasn’t eliminated it.

    Lately, I’ve been trying a new strategy in both my practice and my daily life. I call it “bagging & tagging”. It’s nothing new to most practitioners but it is new for me. Basically, it’s just acknowledging the feeling, labelling it, and dismissing it. Seems to be working okay so far. I realize this is pretty fundamental practice, but it’s the first time I’ve tried to apply it (both in meditation and life in general).

    More importantly, as a 2x cancer survivor who has been given 6 weeks to live, Twice…my thoughts go out to your friend and his family. It is a struggle, it can be overcome, but it sucks big donkey *#%@!

    Don

  18. Alan Sailer
    Alan Sailer December 23, 2013 at 11:24 am | |

    Don,

    “Bagging and tagging” sounds exactly like the technique Joko Beck taught. She called it labeling thoughts.

    I respect her work very much so I can’t help but think that you are trying out a very worthwhile technique.

    Cheers.

    1. navybsn
      navybsn December 23, 2013 at 1:41 pm | |

      Alan,

      I got it from Ron Crouch’s site:
      http://alohadharma.wordpress.com/how-to-meditate/

      It’s funny, I have been reading and studying Buddhism loosely for about 15 years. That site was the first time I read something in plain language about how to meditate that made sense to me. I actually feel like I’m getting somewhere now that I’ve implemented that technique instead of just sitting there with my eyes closed!

      1. Alan Sailer
        Alan Sailer December 23, 2013 at 3:50 pm | |

        Don,

        Good luck.

        Although meditating with your eyes closed does brand you as a heretic of the highest order :-)

        But I can just let that just pass…..

        Cheers.

  19. Fred
    Fred December 23, 2013 at 1:32 pm | |

    ” At the very top of the list of things illustrating what I used to believe in it said EVERYTHING IS MEANINGFUL. I was puzzled a little by this, knowing that in the last five or more years I’d decided that nothing intrinsically holds meaning, and that if we invest meaning in an object or an experience, it is at best a fleeting investment that produces momentary joy and at worst an arbitrary overlay that has nothing to do with raw naked reality”

    My mother had dementia, and I took care of her and walked her through her death.

    Yes, someone is obligated to play both sides treating the arbitrary overlay as
    being real and meaningful, while at the same time knowing there is nothing
    there but the raw, naked reality.

  20. Brent
    Brent December 23, 2013 at 4:31 pm | |

    I am sitting in my apartment looking out the living room windows at snow gently falling on the trees.

    In a similar way, I am looking out the pupils in my eyes at my apartment windows.

    But where am I looking *from* ?

  21. Mumbles
    Mumbles December 23, 2013 at 8:39 pm | |
  22. Mumbles
    Mumbles December 23, 2013 at 9:07 pm | |

    And, uh, maybe this is why Brad’s “bio” as well as this film are not available on dvd? http://www.vice.com/read/the-shoplifting-for-american-apparel-movie-is-a-steaming-pile-of-crap

  23. pirooz
    pirooz December 24, 2013 at 1:36 am | |

    The DVD will be out when we’re done screening the film in theaters. It would be tough to get people into seats if they could already buy the DVD or make a download. We’re also doing a new approach to distribution. We tour with the film and meet people. Sometimes we have break dancers or fun guests. That’s what I think will make for better movie experiences, or, at least, give audiences something different than a film in 3D or the next comic book film.

    Highlights: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4IJmoWwZEAM

    David’s review of the film was strange coming from a friend, but that’s what happens. Yes, him and I have a history; at the same time, he still may have hated the film. It’s not a traditional one. Usually, people respond 50-50 to SHOPLIFTING. Some people love it and some people don’t. I understand. I made an unorthodox film. I’m not sure David’s review was objective — since there is no positive counterpoint — and it could have been personally motivated by our friendship or lack thereof — but it doesn’t really matter. Ultimately, you can watch the film and decide for yourself.

    http://www.shopliftingfromamericanapparelmovie.com

    You can also read other reviews of SHOPLIFTING.

    http://www.piroozkalayeh.info/#!press/csmp

    Richard Grayson, one of my favorite authors, loved it, so that makes me happy.

    http://who-will-kiss-the-pig.blogspot.kr/2012/12/saturday-night-in-williamsburg-new-york.html

    We’ve only had a couple fan reviews for the documentary so far. They seem positive.

    http://notyourleadinglady.com/life/hardcore-zen-and-brad-warner/

    Also, please remember we’re not some big Hollywood conglomerate. 98% of independent films don’t see the light of day. We’re very lucky that Local Screen has
    asked us to beta test their new model for film distribution, which is basically a pay-to-play model. We’ve also been lucky to be reviewed and put into film festivals, but this is no guarantee that we’ll be distributed by some major company and be in every store like a THOR, etc., instantaneously. We can only hope that with each film and our alternative forms of distribution, that we’re able to generate interest into what we’re doing.

    If you’d like to see our other films, or help support us, please get a ticket or purchase a digital download, or a DVD. The DVDs will be released to people who donated on our fundraiser by April 28, 2014. We will also have links to buy DVDs, etc on the ilikenirvana.com and my personal website once the movie tour is finished.

    Hopefully, some distributor will like our film and be so impressed with our independent distribution strategies that we get on Netflix, etc., but we’re just going step-by-step for now. Who knows? We may have good news once this tour is done. Until then, there’s always seeing the movie in a theater and hanging out with us. ;)

    http://www.local-screen.com

    P.

  24. Mumbles
    Mumbles December 24, 2013 at 7:29 am | |

    Yeah I meant your documentary. I was just pullin’ your tail. Nice still photo of you sledding in that link. Have a Merry day before Christmas.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=g7nzbOL3Ygw

  25. Brent
    Brent December 24, 2013 at 7:48 am | |

    yo mumbles! I thought Peter Murphy did that song, now I know his is a cover- thanks for schooling me!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6NaMOZ4oGPo

  26. Fred
    Fred December 25, 2013 at 6:20 am | |

    “But where am I looking *from* ?”

    You are looking from the universe through the prism of the “I”

    1. Brent
      Brent December 25, 2013 at 8:57 am | |

      …and where is the universe?

      Merry Christmas Fred!

  27. Fred
    Fred December 25, 2013 at 6:30 am | |

    “the film is empty”

    Good, it’s a zen film

  28. Fred
    Fred December 25, 2013 at 6:34 am | |

    “Sometimes we have break dancers or fun guests. That’s what I think will make for better movie experiences, or, at least, give audiences something different than a film in 3D or the next comic book film.”

    How about a couple of strippers, or maybe some of those suicide girls.

  29. Fred
    Fred December 25, 2013 at 7:01 am | |

    John, in response to your dream about the lady losing her self in real life and in
    the dream, and that everything is meaningful, enlightenment is a dream too.

    From the dream within a dream of the dream, Merry Christmas.

  30. Fred
    Fred December 25, 2013 at 7:13 am | |

    The positive reviewer:

    “Nora says:
    I wasn’t just a believer, I was born into it and worked at the Celebrity Centre in Hollywood. I don’t know why that would make you stop reading. Clearly I am not doing Scientology anymore. I am a Zen Buddhist.”

    Is there such a thing as a Hollywood Celebrity Centre?
    She’s a cult switcher.

  31. Mumbles
    Mumbles December 25, 2013 at 8:31 am | |

    Thanks Fred, & right back at you, wherever we are/n’t! In the spirit of the season, on this festive occasion, an, er, blast from the past…

    Gas
    by Charles Bukowski

    my grandmother had a serious gas
    problem.
    we only saw her on Sunday.
    she’d sit down to dinner
    and she’d have gas.
    she was very heavy,
    80 years old.
    wore this large glass brooch,
    that’s what you noticed most
    in addition to the gas.
    she’d let it go just as food was being served.
    she’d let it go loud in bursts
    spaced about a minute apart.
    she’d let it go
    4 or 5 times
    as we reached for the potatoes
    poured the gravy
    cut into the meat.

    nobody ever said anything;
    especially me.
    I was 6 years old.
    only my grandmother spoke.
    after 4 or 5 blasts
    she would say in an offhand way,
    “I will bury you all!”

    I didn’t much like that:
    first farting
    then saying that.

    it happened every Sunday.
    she was my father’s mother.
    every Sunday it was death and gas
    and mashed potatoes and gravy
    and that big glass brooch.

    those Sunday dinners would
    always end with apple pie and
    ice cream
    and a big argument
    about something or other,
    my grandmother finally running out the door
    and taking the red train back to
    Pasadena
    the place stinking for an hour
    and my father walking about
    fanning a newspaper in the air and
    saying, “it’s all that damned sauerkraut
    she eats!”

    “Gas” by Charles Bukowski, from The Flash of Lightning Behind the Mountain. © Harper Collins, 2004

  32. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 26, 2013 at 7:33 pm | |

    Kinda like the edge zucchinipants gave the thread, there, for awhile. Thing is, you can’t hit a moving target by aiming where it was, and you can’t truly speak to someone if you already know what you’re going to say.

    Great dream, Mumbles.

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=OOgpT5rEKIU#t=39

    “Bagging and tagging” or “labeling thoughts”- is that really necessary? Oh, ok, for a second there I thought you were doing it for some reason.

  33. Mumbles
    Mumbles December 27, 2013 at 9:40 pm | |
  34. Andy
    Andy December 28, 2013 at 5:46 am | |

    The Straw Man Looks Forward To A [Zucchini] Pants New Year And A Mumblesome Semiotics.

    You’d have thought by now that I’d have gleaned
    something about humanity or the human
    condition or somesuch. Coughing up Magritte’s apple
    left only the canvass, by the way, the way beetroot juice
    blushes the toilet paper with bowel cancer,
    which only serves to remind you or recall me.

    The epistolic horizon is your severance pay
    and while for me nothing is spent, conifers
    sway in garden on undone gusts. Tell me about it!
    Meaning takes a picaresque turn, but what of it?
    If I faced you, perhaps we’d blend through
    like shadows. But then what’d be left to strangle?

    The difference appears from the comforting fallacy
    that raises flesh to an imagined feat, and then the bones
    of mountains fall flat, awash with dawn.
    I could root through your refuse for an origin myth
    to take literally, but you’d plump me with your unique
    take on things. I’m nothing if not a pop-psych

    rorshach, sound-bitten rain, saffron erotica.
    If you call me a meme again I’ll caste an idiom
    on the love you sought for an enemy. Was it always
    this way? Way back I must’ve been a grunt
    or a cat-call apostrophizing positrons into the god-head.
    (Compare me to a monkey, by all means).

    Allow me to sublimate your self-loathing. I’m porous
    to all the hells in your argument, and the holes
    why, they have their unguents. It’s like knowing
    I’m gonna kick you in the ass tomorrow and your foot
    is sore – there are uses for the sublime onanist
    but impolitely masturbating is one of them.

    Okay, I merely capsized what happened
    having fallen to that side. The more intricate
    you play me the vaguer my grasp on who I am
    beyond a filigree of transendence, beyond the gut
    instinct to have it sent back the way it came out
    coming as I must do to one of those out-comes.

    1. zucchinipants
      zucchinipants December 30, 2013 at 1:33 pm | |

      tl;dr

  35. Brent
    Brent December 28, 2013 at 10:01 am | |

    ♦ ♦ ♦ ♦

  36. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote December 28, 2013 at 10:18 am | |

    ♦ ♦ ♦
    ♦ ♦

    .
    .
    .
    ♦ ♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦♦
    !&&!

  37. simeonjin
    simeonjin December 28, 2013 at 2:41 pm | |

    Speaking of iguanas and the unconscious I once had a dream where I was slowly being eaten alive by a giant iguana–perhaps more of a Komodo Dragon.

    My best friend at the time was able to help me get out of the lizards mouth, his hair was standing on end and had an electrified look to it. Then we were in a maze of hallways and we got separated. I came to a door with hundreds of locks on it and couldn’t get out. Finally I found a door that I could open and escaped the maze only to be attacked by mechanical dogs which I escaped by jumping up on a pedestal of some sort where they couldn’t get to me.

    It’s interesting how some dreams are filled with powerful symbols and images which can stay within memory for a long time.

    Iguanas/dragons/serpents are often interpreted to symbolize something nefarious or evil, especially within the western canon of religious philosophy. My best friend who is intensely religious as a christian came to my aid in the dream. Unfortunately he is a heroin addict and I haven’t spoken with him for some time. I interpreted the giant iguana in my dream to be my depressive tendencies which were slowly eating me alive.

    The so-called unconscious is a powerful force in our lives and zen is a path of awareness and balance of conscious and unconscious mental forces.

    I always thought it a bit strange to my western mind that the concept of Kundalini has been interpreted as the “coiled serpent” since serpents have historically been feared by mankind and for good evolutionary reasons.

    Understanding though that our brains and minds are based off of the reptilian brain is an important scientific realization as well as a realization resulting from the awareness that can be cultivated by zen practice.

  38. Mumbles
    Mumbles December 28, 2013 at 6:17 pm | |
  39. Mumbles
    Mumbles December 28, 2013 at 7:24 pm | |

    My new years resolution is to write a novel in homage to Flaubert’s Temptation of St. Anthony based on Buddha’s temptation by Mara. Meanwhile:

    The Whiskey

    Caramel hell
    inside the outside
    round with grooves
    conformed to the fingers
    Ice melt
    sweet undertones
    of cherry and
    brown sugar
    orange mush
    muddled rind
    At first
    repellent, bitters
    bite and squiggle
    on the chalkboard
    drawing monsters
    dry humping
    sideways through a
    keyhole
    Its tiny, hot,
    and not pretty
    Later, the expanse
    unfolds a landscape
    of lugubrious pancake
    logic covered by
    late night
    porno GIFS
    about all the
    ltd attn spn
    can handle
    Then black hole
    spanked out
    no dreams
    into abyss of
    piss missing
    If I could look
    through this
    musty glass
    onto a world
    it would glisten
    Listen I was made
    cash poor I cannot
    dictate fate it is
    in the hands of
    Jim Beam.

  40. The Grand Canyon
    The Grand Canyon December 29, 2013 at 9:12 am | |

    “The Source Family” is now available for streaming on Hulu. It’s groovy. You’ll dig it. http://www.hulu.com/watch/575647

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