IT IS A BOUNDLESS COLD AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD…

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By Tom H. Brooks 3

Date: Friday, January 7, 2011, 8:13 PM

  I have fought my way through 47 kilometers of blinding snow to send
you this dispatch.  After blundering aimlessly through the numbing
cold, I have finally found an old, obsolete computer on which to
write.  I am at a tiny, dusty cafe enjoying a cup of green tea and a
riceball in a small Japanese farming town that shall remain nameless.
Everything around me is blanketed in a thick layer of deep winter
frost.

IT IS A BOUNDLESS COLD AT THE EDGE OF THE WORLD.

I am in the remote mountains of northern Nagano prefecture.  I am
now living in the hollowed-out base of a giant and ancient Zelkova
tree in a shelter of my own design. It is warm and cozy, however,
lacking in modern conveniences.  I have spent the last month of this
winter chopping firewood and digging for edible roots and berries.  I
hunt for rabbits and the occassional fat pheasant.  I am clothed in
many layers and the skin of a giant bear I slaughtered myself, not by
choice…it was him or me.  He lost.  I have a long, graying beard.  I
am a hermit and I survive the blistering cold by sheer willpower.  On
the rare warmer days, I fish on the rocky banks of the winding
Asahikawa-あさひかわ….(the Sunrise River).  I am sometimes lucky enough
to catch a shiny, silver salmon.
In the cold nights, I sit in my little hobbit hole reading Burton’s
translation of “1001 Arabian Nights” by firelight.  Of all things to
be reading…yes?!?  I dream of the burning Saharan sands, camels,
oases, veiled and dark-eyed dancing girls, incenses and oils….but
then I wake up in the hollow base of a tree with the freezing wind
howling like a banshee outside. It seems there is no end to the snow.
I wait for signs of spring; snow melting, a warmer wind, migratory
birds returning, cherry blossoms…time will tell.  Only the strong
survive.
Wishing you all the best, from the summit of MY mountain; your friend,

Tom H. Brooks 3

(This one`s a flashback to a letter I wrote to my friends back in Los Angeles and NYC when I was living in Nagano, Japan in the midst of a brutal winter.  It is not a poem; it is just me babbling … AGAIN…)
My above attached digital artwork is called The Corridor
THB3

2 GREAT QUOTES ABOUT POETRY…

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“ALL POEMS ARE OCCASIONAL, THE PRODUCTS OF CIRCUMSTANCE.”

Johann Wolfgang von Goethe

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“EVERY POEM IS A RESPONSE TO AN EXTERIOR OR INTERIOR STIMULUS.  THE CIRCUMSTANCE IS THAT WHICH SURROUNDS US AND WHICH, WHETHER AS OBSTACLE OR SPUR, IS THE ORIGIN OF THE POEM, THE ACCIDENT THAT PROVOKES ITS APPEARANCE.  BUT THE CIRCUMSTANCES ARE NEITHER EXPLANATIONS NOR SUBSTITUTES FOR THE POEMS, THEY ARE AUTONOMOUS REALITIES.  POEMS ARE BORN FROM A CIRCUMSTANCE AND YET, AS SOON AS THEY ARE BORN, THEY FREE THEMSELVES AND TAKE ON A LIFE OF THEIR OWN.”

Octavio Paz

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Truer words have never been spoken…..THB3

 

AN EXPLANATION OF THE STREET JOURNALS…AND MYSELF

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By Tom H. Brooks 3

Digital Desolation is the title of the above work…..

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Well, there you have it; fourteen years of insanity stuffed into one month for your reading pleasure.

By now, I have probably successfully offended everyone with insults, vulgarity, and blatant generalizations.  I`m sorry (but not THAT sorry).  If nothing else, these STREET JOURNALS are honest, and you can`t ask for much more than that.  They reflect the trials and tribulations, the highs and the lows, the endless variances of one man`s crazy life…MINE.  I have given you a piece of myself, but there is so much more that lies beneath the surface.

Hopefully, these STREET JOURNALS have, at times, also touched your heart and soul with their brute, in-your-face reality AND fantasy.  If you`re confused with what I`m speaking of here, or you started reading in the middle of the series, I suggest you go to my website blog homepage and start with the very first one in the archives, THE LA JOURNAL.  Start reading from the beginning and it will all start to make sense.

Last year, I realized once and for all that THE STREET JOURNALS are not likely to ever be published in any type of print.  They are too wild, random, and unpredictable.  It`s comparable to when a famous dead writer has his/her letters published – it`s only because he was ALREADY famous.  And I am NOT famous, nor am I published.  So I simply decided to put it out there myself for all who may be interested.  And now it`s yours to love or to hate.  That, of course, is your decision…

From here on out, we are in the present day for me.  I am going about my life in Japan.  Things are not as crazy as they used to be, but they are perhaps crazy in a new and refreshing way.

And here, I have to take a moment to say one thing.  All my irritation and complaints about this country where I now dwell; they are all starting to fade away.  I am starting to adjust….FINALLY.  This country has been good to me.  Japan has been nothing less than a fascinating experience that continues to surprise me in new ways everyday.  I have spent most of my time here writing, taking photos, and creating new things, in general.  I would have never found time for this in the chaos of my life back in America.  It has been the proverbial “blessing in disguise.”

I will soon follow up with my poems that I have been writing all throughout my life under many different conditions and in many different places.  I will continue to share my photographs with you.  And whenever a new STREET JOURNAL is completed, I will publish that as well.  I am in the midst of #75 as I write this.  I will continue to write until the day I die…because I HAVE TO.  It cannot be stopped.  And why would I want to stop anyway?!?

Thank you very much for reading along with me this far, those of you who have or continue to do so.  I hope I have given you something special, something different that you will NOT forget.  And to any new readers, welcome to my world.  Life goes on for all of us, my friends.  Let`s stand up and live it the best that we can.  Peace and love to all…

Tom Henry Brooks 3

Tokyo, Japan

March 9, 2014

 

 

NEW DOORWAYS…

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By Tom H. Brooks 3

I would like you to meet STREET JOURNAL 74…

Yes, it`s true……..

The thrill-ride STILL continues………………………………………………………………
Friday, December 13th, 2013
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Tokyo Winter
2013-2014
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12/14/13
Chiharu and I had an adventure day today.
We went to the spectacular Hama-Rikyu Gardens in Chuo-ku and the old fish market at Tsukijishijo.
Both places are old and have a lot of history and the gardens were SUBLIME.
After the quiet beauty of the gardens and the absolute CHAOS of the busiest fish market I`ve ever seen, we were both in need of some more peace time.  We went to another lovely park,
Kiba-koen, and then we went to the Tokyo Museum of Contemporary Art.  There were two special exhibitions aside from their excellent permanent collection.  We saw a showing of pieces from artists around the world called Bunny Smash, of all things.  Then we saw an amazing exhibit from a Japanese artist named Tokujin Yoshioka called Crystallize.  It was pretty damn unusual and consisted of all white and silver and clear arrangements with space and light.  He was using clear plastic straws, metals and clear plastic objects.  It gave an impression of snow and/or alien landscapes bathed in an unearthly glow.  Hard to describe and gorgeous to look at, I give this guy 120% for originality.  Fortunately, I took photos (of course!)
Favorite Artworks and Pieces from the day:
Water Block
and
Rainbow Church   by Tokujin Yoshioka  from the Crystallize exhibit.
…and from the Bunny Smash exhibit, namely from Labyrinth Garden Gently Inverted Worlds:
Lost Garden  (2009)   by Leandro Erlich
and
No Numbers  (2013)   by Richard Wilson
Instant World  (1987)
Coin Locker Hotel  (1984)
Howling at the Pig  (1980)
This is Affluence   (1975)     all by Tsunehisa Kimura
Stardust of One Hundred Million Light-years    by Yayoi Kusama
Girl With Hair Ribbon    by Roy Liechtenstein
Overcast 1     by Robert Rauschenberg
Circular Train A (Telescope Train)     (1968)   by Hiroshi Nakamura
{ Most of this stuff, you can find on Google images if you are curious.  The ones I managed to get sneaky photos of, you will find on my Flickr account at Nomad108; again, just Google Nomad108}
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I hate winter more than ANY living human being on this earth.  This is not a question of maybe – it`s a FACT.  I used to complain about Los Angeles winters, which are nothing.  I can`t wait for spring…
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“Day after day

alone on a hill

the man with the foolish grin
is keeping perfectly still
But nobody wants to know him
they can see that he’s just a fool
and he never gives an answer
But the fool on the hill
sees the sun going down
and the eyes in his head
see the world spinning round…
Well on the way
head in a cloud
The man of a thousand voices
talking perfectly loud
But nobody ever hears him
or the sound he appears to make
and he never seems to know just what –
But the fool on the hill
sees the sun going down
and the eyes in his head
see the world spinning round… “
Lennon/McCartney
The Beatles
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“And the Days Are Not Full Enough
 
And the days are not full enough
and the nights are not full enough
And life slips by like a field mouse
not shaking the grass…”
Ezra Pound
Cantos
 
Bukowski never seemed to like this guy that much and after skimming through hundreds of pages of his poetry, now I think I know why.  It seems to be a lot of gibberish with just a few gem lines thrown in.  Now, I don`t want to shit on a dead man`s grave or wipe my ass with his immortality, but I just couldn`t seem to get much from it.  I had to REALLY search just to find this, and even this isn`t THAT great.  I mean, if you just ramble on and on and then call something poetry, is it really saying anything?  If you yell, `Movie!` in a crowded firehouse, is it wrong?  Does the Pope shit in the woods?  What comes first, the chicken or the egg?  Why do they call it a HAMburger when it`s made of beef?  And is it still a hamburger if it doesn`t have a bun or is it just ground-up meat on a plate?  Where was I going with this?  And if I give it a clever title, is it poetry?  NO.  And now, perhaps, you see my point and we understand each other… (or not…)
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BUT…Ezra was right….the days are not full enough, nor the nights.  For more on this topic refer to MY `poem`, Never Satisfied…
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A Poem That Explains Everything   by THB3
IT ALL MEANS NOTHING…
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“How many will come after me
singing as well as I sing, none better;
Telling the heart of their truth
as I have taught them to tell it;
Fruit of my seed,
O my unnameable children.
Know then that I loved you from afore-time,
Clear speakers, naked in the sun, untrammeled…”
Ezra Pound
(alright, alright, he`s got a few good ones…)
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12/25/13
Now, everybody knows that I DON’T GIVE A SHIT about the holidays, but I just have to say this anyway.  Ahhh, Xmas in Japan; the most magical time of year.  Soulless AND joyless, indeed.  I commuted to work on the packed cattle train just like any other day.  I spent the morning with a bunch of screaming little brats running around in circles while I managed to just barely hang onto my sanity, what’s left of it anyway.  I rode another nightmare train home with 10 million people and I had no energy left to do anything but stare at the walls.  And if I hear any more Christmas music I’m going to kill somebody.
Yes, a Japanese Festivus; about as interesting as a plastic Christmas tree in a bare, white room with cracked walls and sputtering electricity; about as sterile as an assembly line of robots – MAKING more robots; about as beautiful as a steaming dogturd in a filthy winter gutter; about as ridiculous as Santa firing all his elves and outsourcing – to China.  Joy to the world, motherfuckers…worst – Christmas – EVER!
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“Being a genius is SO goddamned EXHAUSTING…”
Xavier Yeats Zenith
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“…and the words of the prophets
are written on the subway walls…”
Paul Simon
The Sound of Silence
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“There is an important difference between the words “loser” and “outlaw.” One is passive and the other is active, and the main reasons the Angels are such good copy is that they are acting out the day-dreams of millions of losers who don’t wear any defiant insignia and who don’t know how to be outlaws. The streets of every city are thronged with men who would pay all the money they could get their hands on to be transformed — even for a day — into hairy, hard-fisted brutes who walk over cops, extort free drinks from terrified bartenders and thunder out of town on big motorcycles after raping the banker’s daughter.Even people who think the Angels should all be put to sleep find it easy to identify with them. They command a fascination, however reluctant, that borders on psychic masturbation.

The Angels don’t like being called losers, but they have learned to live with it. “Yeah, I guess I am,” said one. “But you’re looking at one loser who’s going to make a hell of a scene on the way out.

Hunter S. Thompson
“Hell’s Angels (A Strange and Terrible Saga)”
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Never make the mistake of thinking you’re so smart that you have nothing left to learn…
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“Those who do not learn from the lessons of history are doomed to repeat the same mistakes again and again.”

(… which means pretty much everybody nowadays…)
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“Please, Sister Morphine,
Turn my nightmare into dreams…”
The Rolling Stones
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“I offer her that kernel of myself that I have saved, somehow— the central heart that deals not in words, traffics not with dreams, and is untouched by time, by joy, by adversities.”
Jorge Luis Borges
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“I would venture to say that the baroque is the final stage in all art, when art flaunts and squanders its resources. The baroque is intellectual, and Bernard Shaw has said that all intellectual labor is inherently humorous.”
Borges
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My life has become so goddamned exciting that all I can think about is getting through the day at fucking work so I can get home and watch “Justified.”  That’s right, a TV show is the highlight of my day.  Ain’t life grand?!?
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Since I’ve been in Japan, I’ve written and said a lot of things that may have seemed insensitive, perhaps even rude or vulgar.  I have judged people without hesitation and I have made many racial generalizations.  I would just like to say that I am NOT sorry for any of this because up until now, I have been right about everything.  I’m just waiting for the day when some interesting, artistic person comes along and shocks me with their originality and their soul.  When and if that moment ever comes I will finally be proved wrong, at least partially wrong.  At this moment, however, my descriptions of the soulless Japanese robot are entirely 100% accurate.  Please, I invite you – ANYONE in Japan…prove me wrong.  I’m dying over here.  Being an expatriate is overrated.  At least I have plenty of time to get my creative groove on.  When I’m not doing that, I just wander aimlessly around the city and drink beer or I watch television until my eyes bleed.  Konnichiwa, BITCHES!!!!!
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Toei Death Line, Friday night: Some pathetic suicidal fuckface had to go and take a header onto the tracks in front of the train…AGAIN!  What a loser!  I don’t even feel bad for saying this, it pisses me off so much.  What a selfish, weeping, asshole BITCH to go and off yourself on a busy Friday night at rush hour.  Most of the rest of us HAVE lives, at least some kind of lives.  We have beers to drink, women to bang, TVs to watch, dinners to get home to.  You self-absorbed loser.  How could you?!?  Couldn’t you have at least killed yourself on a Tuesday afternoon at 2 PM when there’s REALLY nobody who gives a fuck?!?  See you in hell where I look forward to punching you in the face and breaking your fingers off like spindly wooden chopsticks….
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1-27-14. Tsurumi,  Kanagawa Prefecture,
Kawasaki City:
Walking through what seems to be an abandoned Edo Period village.  I boldly entered an old house where I found the door unlocked .  Amazing.  Like a goddamned time warp.  Trespassing is absolutely essential to my photographic art.
It is my signature, my stamp,  MY identity…
(see above photo…)
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“It is a laborious madness and an impoverishing one, the madness of composing vast books—setting out in five hundred pages an idea that can be perfectly related orally in five minutes. The better way to go about it is to pretend that those books already exist, and offer a summary.”
Borges
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“Historical truth, for Menard, is not “what happened”; it is what we believe happened.
There is no intellectual exercise that is not ultimately pointless. A philosophical doctrine is, at first, a plausible description of the universe; the years go by, and it is a mere chapter—if not a paragraph or proper noun—in the history of philosophy. In literature, that “falling by the wayside,” that loss of “relevance,” is even better known. “
Borges
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“Quis custodiet ipsos custodes?
Who will guard the guards?”
Juvenal
“Satires”
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“I`m not sure you understand my position…”
“But I do, counselor.  Actions create consequences which produce new worlds and they are all different.  Where the bodies are buried in the desert – that is a certain world.  Where the bodies are simply left to be found – that is another.  And all these worlds, heretofore unknown to us – they must have always been there, have they not?
I would urge you to see the truth of the situation you are in.  That is my advice.  It is not for me to tell you what you should have done or not done.  The world in which you seek to undo the mistakes that you make is different from the world where the mistakes were made.  You are now at the crossing, and you want to choose, but there is no choosing.  There is only accepting.  The choosing was done a long time ago.  I don`t mean to offend you, but reflective men often find themselves at a place far removed from the realities of life.  In any case, we should all prepare a place where we can accommodate all the tragedies that sooner or later will come to our lives, but this is an economy few people get to practice.
You continue to deny the reality of the world you are in.
Yes, you are at a crossing, but it should be with the understanding that life is NOT going to take you back.  You are the world you have created, and when you cease to exist, the world that you have created will also cease to exist.  But for those with the understanding that they are living in the last days of the world, death acquires a different meaning.  The extinction of all reality is a concept no resignation can encompass.  And then…all the grand designs and all the grand plans will be finally exposed and revealed for what they are…”
Cormac McCarthy
Script for the film The Counselor
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“The Circular Ruins

And if he left off dreaming about you … ?Through the Looking-Glass, VI

No one saw him slip from the boat in the unanimous night, no one saw the bamboo canoe as it sank into the sacred mud, and yet within days there was no one who did not know that the taciturn man had come there from the South, and that his homeland was one of those infinite villages that lie up-river, on the violent flank of the mountain, where the language of the Zend is uncontaminated by Greek and where leprosy is uncommon. But in fact the gray man had kissed the mud, scrambled up the steep bank (without pushing back, probably without even feeling, the sharp-leaved bulrushes that slashed his flesh), and dragged himself, faint and bloody, to the circular enclosure, crowned by the stone figure of a horse or tiger, which had once been the color of fire but was now the color of ashes. That ring was a temple devoured by an ancient holocaust;

now, the malarial jungle had profaned it and its god went unhonored by mankind. The foreigner lay down at the foot of the pedestal.

He was awakened by the sun high in the sky. He examined his wounds and saw, without astonishment, that they had healed; he closed his pale eyes and slept, not out of any weakness of the flesh but out of willed determination. He knew that this temple was the place that his unconquerable plan called for; he knew that the unrelenting trees had not succeeded in strangling the ruins of another promising temple downriver—like this one, a temple to dead, incinerated gods; he knew that his immediate obligation was to sleep. Aboutmidnight he was awakened by the inconsolable cry of a bird. Prints of unshod feet, a few figs, and a jug of water told him that the men of the region had respectfully spied upon his sleep and that they sought his favor, or feared his magic. He felt the coldness of fear, and he sought out a tomblike niche in the crumbling wall, where he covered himself with unknown leaves.

The goal that led him on was not impossible,

though it was clearly supernatural: He wanted to dream a man. He wanted to dream him completely, in painstaking detail, and impose him upon reality. This magical objective had come to fill his entire soul; if someone had asked him his own name, or inquired into any feature of his life till then, he would not have been able to answer. The uninhabited and crumbling temple suited him, for it was a minimum of visible world; so did the proximity of the woodcutters, for they saw to his frugal needs. The rice and fruit of their tribute were nourishment enough for his body, which was consecrated to the sole task of sleeping and dreaming.

At first, his dreams were chaotic; a little later, they became dialectical. The foreigner dreamed that he was in the center of a circular amphitheater, which was somehow the ruined temple; clouds of taciturn students completely filled the terraces of seats. The faces of those farthest away hung at many centuries’ distance and at a cosmic height, yet they were absolutely clear. The man lectured on anatomy,

cosmography, magic; the faces listened earnestly, intently, and attempted to respond with understanding—as though they sensed the importance of that education that would redeem one of them from his state of hollow appearance and insert him into the real world. The man, both in sleep and when awake, pondered his phantasms’ answers; he did not allow himself to be taken in by impostors, and he sensed in certain perplexities a growing intelligence. He was seeking a soul worthy of taking its place in the universe.

On the ninth or tenth night, he realized (with some bitterness) that nothing could be expected from those students who passively accepted his teachings, but only from those who might occasionally, in a reasonable way, venture an objection. The first—the accepting—though worthy of affection and a degree of sympathy, would never emerge as individuals; the latter— those who sometimes questioned—had a bit more préexistence. One afternoon (afternoons now paid their tribute to sleep as well; now the man was awake no more than two or three

hours around daybreak) he dismissed the vast illusory classroom once and for all and retained but a single pupil—a taciturn, sallow-skinned young man, at times intractable, with sharp features that echoed those of the man that dreamed him. The pupil was not disconcerted for long by the elimination of his classmates; after only a few of the private classes, his progress amazed his teacher. Yet disaster would not be forestalled. One day the man emerged from sleep as though from a viscous desert, looked up at the hollow light of the evening (which for a moment he confused with the light of dawn), and realized that he had not dreamed. All that night and the next day, the unbearable lucidity of insomnia harried him, like a hawk. He went off to explore the jungle, hoping to tire himself; among the hemlocks he managed no more than a few intervals of feeble sleep, fleetingly veined with the most rudimentary of visions—useless to him. He reconvened his class, but no sooner had he spoken a few brief words of exhortation than the faces blurred, twisted, and faded away.

In his almost perpetual state of wakefulness, tears of anger burned the man’s old eyes.

He understood that the task of molding the incoherent and dizzying stuff that dreams are made of is the most difficult work a man can undertake, even if he fathom all the enigmas of the higher and lower spheres— much more difficult than weaving a rope of sand or minting coins of the faceless wind. He understood that initial failure was inevitable. He swore to put behind him the vast hallucination that at first had drawn him off the track, and he sought another way to approach his task. Before he began, he devoted a month to recovering the strength his delirium had squandered. He abandoned all premeditation of dreaming, and almost instantly managed to sleep for a fair portion of the day. The few times he did dream during this period, he did not focus on his dreams; he would wait to take up his task again until the disk of the moon was whole. Then, that evening, he purified himself in the waters of the river, bowed down to the planetary gods, uttered those syllables of a powerful name that

it is lawful to pronounce, and laid himself down to sleep. Almost immediately he dreamed a beating heart.

He dreamed the heart warm, active, secret— about the size of a closed fist, a garnet-colored thing inside the dimness of a human body that was still faceless and sexless; he dreamed it, with painstaking love, for fourteen brilliant nights. Each night he perceived it with greater clarity, greater certainty. He did not touch it; he only witnessed it, observed it, corrected it, perhaps, with his eyes. He perceived it, he lived it, from many angles, many distances. On the fourteenth night, he stroked the pulmonary artery with his forefinger, and then the entire heart, inside and out. And his inspection made him proud. He deliberately did not sleep the next night; then he took up the heart again, invoked the name of a planet, and set about dreaming another of the major organs. Before the year was out he had reached the skeleton, the eyelids.

The countless hairs of the body were perhaps the most difficult task. The man had dreamed a

fully fleshed man—a stripling—but this youth did not stand up or speak, nor could it open its eyes. Night after night, the man dreamed the youth asleep.

In the cosmogonies of the Gnostics, the demiurges knead up a red Adam who cannot manage to stand; as rude and inept and elementary as that Adam of dust was the Adam of dream wrought from the sorcerer’s nights. One afternoon, the man almost destroyed his creation, but he could not bring himself to do it. (He’d have been better off if he had.) After making vows to all the deities of the earth and the river, he threw himself at the feet of the idol that was perhaps a tiger or perhaps a colt, and he begged for its untried aid. That evening, at sunset, the statue filled his dreams. In the dream it was alive, and trembling—yet it was not the dread-inspiring hybrid form of horse and tiger it had been. It was, instead, those two vehement creatures plus bull, and rose, and tempest, too—and all that, simultaneously. The manifold god revealed to the man that its earthly name was Fire, and that in that circular

temple (and others like it) men had made sacrifices and worshiped it, and that it would magically bring to life the phantasm the man had dreamed—so fully bring him to life that every creature, save Fire itself and the man who dreamed him, would take him for a man of flesh and blood. Fire ordered the dreamer to send the youth, once instructed in the rites, to that other ruined temple whose pyramids still stood downriver, so that a voice might glorify the god in that deserted place. In the dreaming man’s dream, the dreamed man awoke.

The sorcerer carried out Fire’s instructions. He consecrated a period of time (which in the end encompassed two full years) to revealing to the youth the arcana of the universe and the secrets of the cult of Fire. Deep inside, it grieved the man to separate himself from his creation. Under the pretext of pedagogical necessity, he drew out the hours of sleep more every day. He also redid the right shoulder (which was perhaps defective). From time to time, he was disturbed by a sense that all this had happened before——-His days were, in general, happy;

when he closed his eyes, he would thinkNow I will be with my son. Or, less frequently, The son I have engendered is waiting for me, and he will not exist if I do not go to him.

Gradually, the man accustomed the youth to reality. Once he ordered him to set a flag on a distant mountaintop. The next day, the flag crackled on the summit. He attempted other, similar experiments—each more daring than the last. He saw with some bitterness that his son was ready— perhaps even impatient—to be born. That night he kissed him for the first time, then sent him off, through many leagues of impenetrable jungle, many leagues of swamp, to that other temple whose ruins bleached in the sun downstream. But first (so that the son would never know that he was a phantasm, so that he would believe himself to be a man like other men) the man infused in him a total lack of memory of his years of education.

The man’s victory, and his peace, were dulled by the wearisome sameness of his days. In the twilight hours of dusk and dawn, he would prostrate himself before the stone figure,

imagining perhaps that his unreal son performed identical rituals in other circular ruins, downstream. At night he did not dream, or dreamed the dreams that all men dream. His perceptions of the universe’s sounds and shapes were somewhat pale: the absent son was nourished by those diminutions of his soul. His life’s goal had been accomplished; the man lived on now in a sort of ecstasy. After a period of time (which some tellers of the story choose to compute in years, others in decades), two rowers woke the man at midnight. He could not see their faces, but they told him of a magical man in a temple in the North, a man who could walk on fire and not be burned.

The sorcerer suddenly remembered the god’s words. He remembered that of all the creatures on the earth, Fire was the only one who knew that his son was a phantasm. That recollection, comforting at first, soon came to torment him. He feared that his son would meditate upon his unnatural privilege and somehow discover that he was a mere simulacrum. To be not a man, but the projection of another man’s dream—

what incomparable humiliation, what vertigo! Every parent feels concern for the children he has procreated (or allowed to be procreated) in happiness or in mere confusion; it was only natural that the sorcerer should fear for the future of the son he had conceived organ by organ, feature by feature, through a thousand and one secret nights.

The end of his meditations came suddenly, but it had been foretold by certain signs: first (after a long drought), a distant cloud, as light as a bird, upon a mountaintop; then, toward the South, the sky the pinkish color of a leopard’s gums; then the clouds of smoke that rusted the iron of the nights; then, at last, the panicked flight of the animals—for that which had occurred hundreds of years ago was being repeated now. The ruins of the sanctuary of the god of Fire were destroyed by fire. In the birdless dawn, the sorcerer watched the concentric holocaust close in upon the walls. For a moment he thought of taking refuge in the water, but then he realized that death would be a crown upon his age and absolve him from his

labors. He walked into the tatters of flame, but they did not bite his flesh—they caressed him, bathed him without heat and without combustion. With relief, with humiliation, with terror, he realized that he, too, was but appearance, that another man was dreaming him.”

Jorge Luis Borges

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“I, myself, alone, have more memories than all mankind since the world began,” he said to me. And also: “My dreams are like other people’s waking hours.” And again, toward dawn: “My memory, sir, is like a garbage heap.”

Borges

_____________________

THE PASSENGER

I am the anonymous mask

that rides the train of the damned.
My eyes are black holes
of empty nothingness
and I do not REALLY see
anything that lies before me.
I live a life of servitude
that serves no purpose
but to make others richer.
Free thinking is unknown to me
and beyond my comprehension.
My head is as empty as an
ancient dried-up riverbed
in the Sahara Desert.
I am Sisyphus endlessly pushing
a giant boulder up a mountain.
I am a grain of sand
on an endless shore
on a sea of blood.
There is no moon.
There are no stars.
The sun is blotted out
by black clouds of despair.
I have given up all hope
for anything better.
A pig that is destined to become bacon
serves more purpose than I.
Many others without hopes or dreams,
without willpower,
surround me with their uselessness.
We shoot through the tunnels
of the vast metropolis
and get off at our assigned prisons.
We emerge from steaming holes in the ground
like a plague of rats from hell.
We perform our assigned tasks
and then go home to watch
other drones live their lives in television fantasies.
The show goes on.
The nightmare continues.
Will I ever wake up?
Will any of these robots beside me
awaken from their sluggish torpor?
Unlikely.
Quite unlikely, indeed…
We continue our journey to nowhere
in perfect ignorance.
I am the passenger
on the train of the damned…
THB3
9:55am on the Toei Shinjuku Death Line
Monday 2-3-14
Tokyo, Japan
Not very poetic, but VERY true and honest…
I wrote this while observing all the robots on the way to work on a packed Tokyo train.
Faces glum and expressionless, just staring hopelessly into space or reading Manga
comic books, texting, or playing video games on cell phones.  Just plain sad, a true
picture of quiet despair.  I wonder how my face looked…?  At least I know I was thinking…
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2-3-14
Superbowl MONDAY in Japan….AGAIN!
And nobody cares.
To hell with it….
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“As the end approaches, there are no longer any images from memory— there are only words. It is not strange that time may have confused those that once portrayed me with those that were symbols of the fate of the person that accompanied me for so many centuries. I have been Homer; soon, like Ulysses, I shall be Nobody; soon, I shall be all men—I shall be dead.”
Borges
The Immortals
____________________
And so…we come to the end of yet another Street Journal.  Once again, it has been filled with my words and the words of others, words inspired by the mystery of life – words from the heart.   It has been another fascinating experiment in a new form of writing, what I like to call…
FRAGMENTATIONISM.  I do this because I must.
The Tokyo winter is winding down.  The days are windy and crisp.  The nights are long and cold.  An orange crescent moon sets in the west as I send you this dispatch from the Far East.  Spring is near and life goes on…for all of us…
So it goes…
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THERE WILL BE MORE STREET JOURNALS….stay tuned…
_____
THB3
2-5-14
Tokyo, Japan

FROM THE FURTHEST EDGES OF THE UNIVERSE TO YOU…

Standard

By Tom H. Brooks 3

And this is STREET JOURNAL 73

The above is my digital artwork named

The Mechanics of Abstraction

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super-ultraminimalism
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This might be able to hold your attention for 20 minutes or so….
If not, call my secretary – we`ll do lunch…
or….you can send me a `tweet` or a `twit` or whatever the fuck those things are called later…
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MAVERICK
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“Flow, my tears, fall from your springs…
Exiled forever, let me mourn;
Where night`s blackbird her sad infamy sings,
There let me live forlorn.
Down vain lights, shine you no more…
No nights are dark enough for those
That in despair their lost fortunes deplore.
Light doth but shame disclose.
Never may my woes be relieved,
Since pity is fled;
And tears and sighs and groans my weary days
Of all joys have deprived.
From the highest spire of contentment
My fortune is thrown;
And fear and grief and pain for my desserts
Are my hopes, since hope is gone.
Hark! you shadows that in darkness dwell,
Learn to condemn light
Happy, happy they that in hell
Feel not the world`s despite.”
John Dowland (1596)  Musical Lyrics or Poetry (both, really…)
Lachrimae Pavan or Seaven Teares
(See my latest YouTube video, THE SEEKER, to hear this amazing music…)
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The Raw Shark Texts by Steven Hall…..the first book I ever felt like taking the time and effort to type the whole damn thing so I could keep it forever on my Google Drive.  I don`t know why, but I had this overpowering urge to type all 400 pages of it and I had a very strong feeling that doing this would open some new doorways for me into a world of my own writing, my own novels.  So I plod onward a page at a time, typing out this conceptual masterpiece, word by word, toward an unknown result……..come what may……
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R.I.P. Lou Reed…Sunday, 10-27-13……Now, you`re taking a Walk on the Other Side…c u there…
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“It`s very difficult to logically explain the illogical.”
“`It`s a distance that can`t be measured.`
`Like the distance from one person`s heart to another`s.`”
“Once you pass a certain age, life becomes nothing more than a process of continual loss.  Things that are important to your life begin to slip out of your grasp,  one after another,  like a comb losing teeth.  And the only things that come to take their place are worthless imitations.  Your physical strength, your hopes, your dreams, your ideals, your convictions, all meaning, or, then again, the people you love: one by one, they fade away.
Some announce their departure before they leave, while others disappear all of a sudden without warning one day.  And once you lose them you can never get them back.  Your search for replacements never goes well.  It’s all very painful – as painful as actually being cut with a knife.”
Haruki Murakami
“1Q84”
Reading this thoroughly unusual book for me at this VERY strange time in my life is simply perfect.  It creates an atmosphere of hallucinatory otherworldliness.  At times, I feel as if I am the only person in the world amongst the birds and the wind in the trees.  I sit here by the river now.  An autumn wind rattles the tree branches and a crow squawks his enigmatic call.  I am one with it.
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“…the place where he is meant to be lost…”
Murakami
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“No one knows for certain what it means to die until they actually do it”
“Time Now For Ghosts”
Murakami

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10/31/13  4:30pm  Tokyo, Japan,  Halloween
“Winding Lives
Fate and Straying”
I just saw this perfect example of Japanese bad English on a girl`s shirt as she walked by.  I stand here in Shinjuku after another seemingly fruitless job interview.  Somehow though, the shirt seemed perfectly appropriate to the moment.
  I am about to board a Chuo Line train to Koenji, one of the main locations in Haruki Murakami`s masterful book, 1Q84.  I don`t know why, but I am irresistibly drawn to this place he speaks of with such familiarity.  It`s a cool autumn evening.  Come what may…
*   *   *
Koenji turned out to be a nice, quiet neighborhood, in turn both hip and funky in some parts and somewhat mystical in others.  I met a nice artist girl named Asuka Ishii by visiting her gallery.  Koenji was totally worth the trip and I will definitely visit again.  Now, to Shinjuku for Halloween party time viewing…
*   *   *
Halloween in Japan is absolutely NOT as drunken-crazy as in America – BUT – it still defies description.  I`ll leave it at that and just let you wonder.  You have to see it for yourself…
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Tsukijishijo station off the Oedo line for a taste of OLD Tokyo…
Fish market & old buildings…
Hama Rikyu Gardens
Also, hit up the beach in Odaiba and the incredible haunted island with the gun battlements from 1853…
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Dias de los Muertos…….(My slideshow is on YouTube at tomhbrooks3)
My incredibly ridiculous bike ride of epic proportions from 11/1/13.  I went southwest along route 357 until I reached Odaiba and then I cut up to an amazing park, went over Rainbow Bridge, went north through Chuo-ku and passed throughout the old buildings of the fish market and continued curving to the east again until I hit route 50 and made my way home.  It was one of the best rides I`ve had yet in Tokyo.  This city is endless and I will never tire of exploring it…..
In retrospect, I don`t think this ride was any longer than any of my epic Los Angeles or New York City rides, probably shorter, in fact, BUT…..this city is so incredibly DENSE.  It seems as if I`ve passed through at least 111 different worlds today.  That is definitely what distinguishes the Tokyo city adventure from the American city adventure.  Actually, it could be comparable to my trips from Staten Island to Coney Island through Brooklyn – different neighborhoods every few blocks.  LA trips along the ocean are more or less the same general scenery, but THIS was a whole new ballgame, and I won the game, baby, let me tell ya…..
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Check out the art work of Yayoi Kusama
and the architectural masterpieces of Ando Tadao
(Google images and Wikipedia will give an overview…)
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Go to Nikko in Tochigi Prefecture
and also travel to Kagawa and Tokushima in Shikoku Prefecture…
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I was watching a promo video on YouTube for Lucha VaVoom in downtown Los Angeles at the Mayan Theatre.  It`s like Mexican wrestling and burlesque dancers and drinking tequila….
absolutely ridiculous and, at the same time, spectacular.  I always wanted to go see that show and I never got a chance.  You snooze, you lose…..that cliche holds true…
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The best Mexican food website EVER….
just looking at it makes me hungry…
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Visit the Tokyo Museum of Contemporary Art in KIBA…
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“The good aren`t always right; and the bad don`t always have it wrong…”
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SHOW ME A SANE MAN AND I WILL CURE HIM FOR YOU.
This has been today`s psychology lesson, brought to you by the great
CARL JUNG
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This has best represented our existence since the beginning of time and philosophical thought:
                                    ?
Exactly.
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11/12/13  I`m working in Bunkyo Ward, Tokyo (Hakusan Station near Korakuen and Tokyo Dome)
{this is just so I remember these crazy names and this excellent date}
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“Pretend to be completely in control and people will assume you are.”
Nolan Bushnell
Founder of Atari
and mentor to Steve Jobs
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“Stay Hungry.  Stay Foolish.”
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Reading the biography of Steve Jobs on my iPhone seems to me a strange and beautiful irony.
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“TAXI SMASH FACE”
Tim Hudock
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Music: There are songs that stay with you throughout your entire life…
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Well, I`ve started my new job at the company called *** and it makes the last one look like being on acid on the 666th level of the ABYSS.  This new one is a thousand times better.  But fuck the babbling work talk.  Tonight, I want to write about a 9-year-old boy named Aoi.  Today was very likely the last time I will ever see him.  You see, I`m just TRAINING at this particular school – just passing through in other words.  Next week, I`ll be somewhere else, only to be moved still again to another location somewhere in the vast Tokyo metropolis.  In any case, this kid was a first-class little character that touched my heart in some strange way.  Perhaps he was a young kindred spirit; we had a kind of instant connection that just doesn`t happen very often in life….with ANYONE.  It was the first and last night to meet young Aoi.  This is a name that can be for Japanese boys or girls; more commonly in the latter.  It can mean `BLUE`, but I didn`t see how it was written in Kanji (not that I`d be able to read it.)  He was a good-looking, smart young fellow – smart as a whip, really.  He was strange and eccentric, but not in a lunatic kind of way – just odd, different.  He had intelligent eyes and a curious mind.  He`s participating in a spelling bee this Sunday and if he wins, he gets 10,000 yen towards a trip to Hawaii.  His mom, his dad, his grandma, his mom`s sister – all of them – are doctors.  He comes from a real medical family tree.  An admirable profession, to be sure, but I think, perhaps, not exactly HIS goal or disposition.  He seemed to me a little bit of a dreamer, creative, artistic and quirky.  Right when we started talking, we clicked like we`d known each other for years.  It was like talking to a miniature adult.  He was enthusiastic and humorous and talked in a somewhat manic, but intelligent manner (does this sound at all familiar?)  He lived in America for a long long time (most of his first 9 years), so his English was flawless and without accent.  In fact, he seemed more American than Japanese.  His dad was like a big shot surgeon somewhere in Pittsburgh.  We immediately starting talking without pause about Pittsburgh and a myriad of other places he`s been in the USA…San Antonio, Los Angeles and New York City, to mention a few big ones.  I asked him if he missed America or if he was happier in Japan.  Without missing a beat, he said, “I miss America.”  He said people in Tokyo were boring and Americans were more interesting and fun and different.  I mentioned Tokyo robots and he said, “Yes, robots!  Exactly!”  He likes making things, arts and crafts, reading, growing things in gardens and cooking.  He also had an amazing knowledge about animals.  This kid had `ARTIST` written all over him.  However, I KNOW that coming from a rich and prominent family of Japanese doctors, the chances are about 92% that he will be railroaded into being a doctor whether he wants it or not.  I told him that maybe he could be a veterinarian specializing in animal surgery and maybe his parents would accept that AND he could be an animal doctor that is an excellent master chef.  I told him to never lose his dream and to be true to himself.  There is so much more I talked to this amazing kid about that listing it all would probably bore you.  Let it suffice to say that I taught him more AND learned more from him than most people probably communicate to each other in 2 weeks.  Before he left, he gave me a little lizard-like dinosaur paper origami cutout that he made for me.  He just wordlessly handed it to me in a friendly and casual manner and then said goodbye.  Why do I take all this space to write about one kid?  He touched my heart somehow in a melancholy way.  Maybe I saw in him something of myself and we all know how crazy my life has been.  He was really a one-of-a-kind character and I wish him all the best.  He`s only at the school one night a week, so it`s entirely likely that I won`t see him again, but I WILL remember him.  I can`t really explain why.  When I was walking home through the dark, cold night streets on the edge of town, I found myself thinking of that kid and hoping for him to have a good life.  And I`m keeping that paper animal cutout.  I hope he finds his dream.  I hope I find mine too.  It`s never too late to keep trying…
“A mind forever voyaging through strange seas of thought, alone…”
                                                                          William Wordsworth
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“THE SPIRIT NOW WILLS HIS OWN WILL, AND HE WHO HAS
BEEN LOST TO THE WORLD NOW CONQUERS THE WORLD.”
FRIEDRICH NIETZSCHE
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“God is in the details.”
A maxim embraced by the Bauhaus aesthetic (Walter Gropius and Mies van der Rohe, especially)
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“It is better to be good than to be original.”
Mies van der Rohe
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KAROUSHI… death by overwork (the Japanese salaryman)
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If you feel that you may be lacking the imagination to believe in `impossible` things, read this quote….
“Why, sometimes I`ve believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast.”
Lewis Carroll
Through the Looking Glass
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SEA OF THE DEAD    by THB3
A multitude of nameless silences
The errant cries of small birds
The squawk of a raven…
Angular shadows stretch across
the soil into geometric patterns of death
A forest of gray stones
in marble and granite
Monuments for those lost to this world
I hear your muted voices
speaking to me through
the open window of timelessness
The wind rattles and hisses
through the cool green shade
of the ancient bamboo grove –
– it has stood here wordlessly
for countless and untold years
while the vast city grew up around it
Time has forgotten this place
but some of us are still listening
to your cryptic whispers in this sea of the dead
Although you had no choice,
I pay my quiet respects to these brave souls
who have crossed over to the other world
With no regard for past, present or future,
your silence says so much –
much more than mere words ever could
As your ashes disperse into the soil of this earth,
you become one with the dust from whence we came
Speak to me;
I am listening…
THB3
(Written at a graveyard/shrine in Chitose Karasuyama in western Tokyo on 11/22/13
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It seems that I have a fascination with death and the world (worlds?) beyond….
I have always loved hanging around graveyards, the quietest parks in town.  I think, perhaps, I identify more with the dead than with the living…
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Friday night, 11/22/13
Although I`m enjoying myself as I always do when I`m alone, I truly feel as if I don`t really belong anywhere, no matter where I go or what I do in Tokyo.  It is an ocean of anonymity…
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I only know my way around this crazy city of Tokyo on foot, skateboard or bike (and even all that is sketchy and random).  When I`m underground in a train station, however (and I HATE to admit it), I`m just fucking LOST…
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I`m sure everyone has heard of golf-pro shops.  Well, get this; I just saw an “S&M-pro shop”….
SPEC-FUCKING-TACULAR……
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“The truth is what those in power wish it to be.”
“The exile does not choose his Babylon.”
`Dr. Narcisse`
Boardwalk Empire
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“Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.”
Lee Clow & Steve Jobs
Apple “Think Different” Campaign
1997
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This fucking train line (Toei Shinjuku Line) I’ve been taking to work every goddamned day has like one of the highest suicide rates in the world.  It travels through a huge swath of western Tokyo where there are no safety rails whatsoever & these little bastards are throwing themselves onto the tracks like lemmings.  Henceforth, I shall call this line the ‘Toei Suicidal Death Line.’
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One thing I`ve learned in life; somebody, somewhere, is ALWAYS complaining about something
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11/30/13
RIP Paul Walker; After 5 or 6 Fast and Furious movies, you were killed with cruel irony in a fiery car crash.  At least we know that you weren`t driving.  Good luck in that eternal street race on the other side….
“I live my life a quarter-mile at a time…”
“What`d you put in that sandwich?”
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“So which car do you want?”
“ALL OF THEM.”
________________
“Nature loves simplicity and unity.”
Johannes Kepler
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The Pedestrian
 
A man walks endlessly through the vast sprawling city.  He is continuously alone and anonymous.  He moves along aimlessly, wandering its boulevards, thoroughfares, side streets, empty lots, parks, structures and back alleys.  He meanders both above and underground.  He is constantly amazed and wide-eyed at everything that catches his eye from the most obvious to the most inconspicuous details.  He soaks it all up like a sponge.  He takes in every little observation with a shutter click of his mind`s eye.  Nothing escapes his notice.  He strolls from the fringes to the center and back again.  He goes from the furthest edges of industrial wastelands and forgotten ruins to the very heart of the city, the beating throbbing heart of its economy, the engine that drives it ever-forward.  He has no destination in mind.  The journey itself IS the destination.  His only goal is to SEE, to learn, to explore.  In this roundabout and haphazard way, he comes to know the heart of it, its soul, so to speak.  He becomes one with the city.  It is like taking a walk inside himself, through the labyrinth of his own complex mindscape.  There are no accurate maps for this uncharted terrain.  Where his mind and the landscape come together is the nexus, if you will.  There is no name for this location and if you are lucky enough to find it, it is the place where one finds epiphanies…revelations.
There is no end to this, nor would he want there to be.  There is an old saying; “The longest journey begins with but a single step.”  He has taken that first step and many, many more since.  And, his journey has just begun.  Where it leads….?  Well, only time will tell….
THB3
Wednesday 12/4/13  1:00pm
Kyodo, Western Tokyo
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Where I am right now – this is MY WORLD – other people just happen to live in it…
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An old Shinto shrine, in the middle of what has become the city streets; they just built around it.  A strange sight, indeed…
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12/10/13
I had an excellent conversation this morning by the train station at Sakurajosui.  I talked to an old Japanese man who called himself Henry, of all names.  He was a first-class character, indeed….
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“The more the universe seems comprehensible, the more it also seems pointless.”
Steven Weinberg
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12/11/13
You know, it turns out ravens like BBQ Cheetos.  I fed a whole flock of `em during lunch at the lake in Sakurajosui today…
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“If I mean to save my life, then I have to come within an inch of destroying it.”
Paul Auster
The Book of Illusions
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I NEVER INTENDED FOR THINGS TO TURN OUT THIS WAY.
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“…one of those rare people in whom mind ultimately wins out over matter.  Age doesn`t diminish these people.  It makes them old, but it doesn`t alter who they are, and the longer they go on living, the more fully and implacably they incarnate themselves.”
Paul Auster
The Book of Illusions
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“And it seems no less evident that the various sensations or ideas imprinted on the sense, however blended or combined together, cannot exist otherwise than in a mind perceiving them.  Secondly, it will be objected that there is a great difference betwixt real fire and the idea of fire,  between dreaming or imagining oneself burnt, and actually being so.”
George Berkeley
The Principles of Human Knowledge
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“I am a ridiculous man.
 God has played many jokes on me.”
Paul Auster
The Book of Illusions

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THB3