i started this post last week, before the news of proud boy's very incredibly inevitable diagnosis broke.
here's the thing.
remember the neverending story? proud boy is the nothing. he conquers by obliteration. he obliterates every frequency, leeching away any and everything else we could be looking at or thinking about and calcifying it with himself. who, by the way, if you hadn't noticed? he clearly despises, as is the case with all covertly suicidal narcissistic abusers, as this is the root of all narcissistic abuse by the covertly suicidal. they make everything over into their own image so they no longer have to acknowledge the existence of anything better, which ultimately means anything remotely different.
they kill themselves from the outside in.
the moment in last tuesday's debate that gave me cause to press my face into my bunched up hooded sweatshirt and scream was the moment when the american president scoffed that the number of american citizens with pre-existing conditions could possibly be as high as the number biden gave. as a matter of fact, biden's number was 1) actually on the low side, and 2) could in no way account for all the ways the pandemic is exploding those numbers, because as much as we're learning about the after effects of this virus, we still have no fucking idea. this "leader" is looking to strip the american people of ACA protections at a time when this will prove fatal to a whole lot of people, some of them people you care about, one of them me. it's eugenics, plain and simple. who needs death camps when you can ruin people just by breathing on them?
the fact that proud boy didn't go into his first debate after 1348 days in office without at least a reasonable estimate of the number of americans with pre-existing conditions painfully burned into his brain (i'm pretty sure i have dyscalculia, so i get it, sometimes exact numbers don't stick, but jeezaloo that's why seshet gave us index cards) further demonstrates his unfitness for office. i could go on, but that hungry nothing is already consuming everything that even glances it and i, for one, need to offer more of my attention to other matters. as a matter of fucking survival, to be frank.
vote like our lives depend on it.
now i'm going to write somewhat meanderingly about my spiritual history by way of my relationship with incense. i'm a little rusty, writing-wise, so i've included images to compensate. enjoy.
prasad's "celestial amber" masala, which i bought from a table vendor my first month at the junior college, was the first incense i loved.
it smelled like sacred space and forest at once. forest inside of sacred space. sacred space outside of comprehension and time. it smelled like an ancient temple, velvet folds rolling up on patinaed brass. fissures in garnet. deep space nebula. celestial, indeed.
i could go on.
i kept it in my military surplus backpack in the same pocket as the orange A5 spiral notebook where i wrote poetry until the fragrance transfered, then stowed the package with one stick remaining in a converse shoe box along with all the lesser stuff i'd acquired at the shopping mall candle store during my brief stint at natural wonders.
i found the second incense i loved, padmini's spiritual guide, at the first metaphysical shop i could drive to without getting terribly lost. it was a compromise. as much as i loved having gone there, i didn't really like going there. while i shopped, the proprietor would emerge from the batik-curtained back room to stare at me from behind the display counter. she made me feel suspicious; worse still, she made me feel like an inconvenience. she gave psychic readings, though her treating me like a shoplifter made me doubt her credentials, because no. my shoplifting career effectively ended when the cadbury egg i stole from the grocery store but couldn't, for some reason, entice myself eat, broke open all over the seat cushion of my mom's archie bunker chair and didn't magically disappear even though i flipped the cushion over and felt really bad about it. the incident haunted me for years. i still can't stand cadbury eggs, though in all fairness, it could just be that foil wrapped pods of tooth-decay flavored slime aren't really my scene. why do that to perfectly decent chocolate? i suppose it is possible that if i had pocketed a lindor mint truffle, i might now be in prison. anyway, because of the uncomfortable dynamic with the shop owner, i couldn't go to that shop very often and was prone to making poor decisions when i did.
i tried to counteract the discomfort by anchoring with my spirit guides: i listened for ~r~, i kneaded a little dialogue with ~r~ in the back of my head, i let ~r~ steer my attention, direct my eye, shoot that little tingle of confirmation through my fingertips when i touched something that needed to come into my life, at least for a time.
~r~ liked the package for spiritual guide, in this case a narrow rectangle sampler containing eight sticks. the name made them giggle. try that one, giggled ~r~, i like the box, so i did. i burned it frequently that winter, my first year of college, my bedroom dark, the vertical blinds open to the yard, white snow gone iridescent in the moonlight. it smells like winter, just inside from the cold. it smells like getting ready in the morning those last few months when my body, time and spirituality still felt like my own; those last few months before i stared feeling like an intruder in my own experience.
after that horrible spring, spring of the psychic vortex, spring of the social trauma that shut me down for years, spring going into a summer from which i emerged friendless and collapsed into the autumn my mother was diagnosed with cancer - that term that went so wrong i landed myself on academic probation at the junior college - i could go on, but i shouldn't: i didn't burn spiritual guide for sixteen years after that. the proust effect, it is real, and not always in a beneficial way.
at new years 2009, i got a first class upgrade, a free plane ticket and a strange afternoon naptime tour of empty gates at o'hare in exchange for giving up my seat on an earlier flight to baltimore. i loved what will probably be my single experience flying first class. bonded with the music producer in the neighboring seat. he also had family ties to chicago. he also had given up his seat on the earlier flight. i was in the second group to board, that never happens. plenty of space to stow my luggage. flight assistants readily smiled at me. got to drink free booze on a plane. if that's what air travel was like more often, i might find air travel to be slightly less loathsome. still can't afford it, monetarily or physiologically, but there you have it.
i used my not first class comp ticket to fly to kansas the following winter and meet one of my first livejournal friends. as it happened, she'd just received a big order from her favorite incense company: padmini. we sat in front of her altar and talked the hazy kansas january sun up the first night, sampling the new stuff. the next night we mutually acknowledged that in spite of our shared sleep disorders, we were no longer teenagers.
before she went to bed at a slightly more reasonable hour, she lit her altar up for me with tea lights and a stick of spiritual guide. i stayed up with the candles, writing half a page i have no memory of writing and fell asleep on my open notebook. the resulting content initiates my first chapbook, "read it back."
it was magical. the first bit of magic i'd found in a while, in fact. i needed it.
the last day of my visit, u took me to her favorite witch store. she gifted me a ganesh statue and a hundred gram pack of spiritual guide. the formula is exactly right. it smells markedly better than any other package of spiritual guide i've purchased since, strictly for the purpose of stretching out u's gift as long as possible. i assume the reason it smells so good is because u gave it to me.
it's lasted me now through ten years and two moves. i found it the week i was radioactive, quarantining alone in my first apartment, and burned it while listening to records at night. now i'm not sure where it is, but know i'll find it when the time is right. until then, it's good to know that the internet can readily provide a quality stopgap in time for what is shaping up to be a long cold lonely winter.