So much has been lost to the hubris and cupidity inherent to the hyper-industrialization and commercial hustler that defines the Anthropocene Epoch.
To take it all in, to allow oneself to feel the full implications of the dire situation, of the ecocide and humanity lost to endless war and economic exploitation, one would be knocked to one’s knees with sorrow or compelled to give voice to bursts of full-throated rage.
Therefore, as the grid-decimating tide of hurricane Sandy recedes and the power and lights have been restored to our East Village, fifth floor walk-up flat, I sit at my writing desk, and I am staring down the scope of my cerebral cortex, desiring to unload both barrels into the delusional asses of climate change deniers.
This mutant strain of hurricane (that has inflicted much disruption in our lives and a great amount of stress on my six month-pregnant wife, Angela) was caused by changes in the Gulf Stream, wrought by man-made greenhouse gasses.
Personally, I’m done with attempting to persuade idiots by intelligent discourse and fools by plying them with common sense… finished with issuing reasoned warnings to dissemblers and dimwits who claim the iceberg directly in the path of our ocean liner is simply an ice dispenser, conveniently located to refresh our beverages.
Sandy (as did Katrina) reveals how tenuous the grid work of final stage capitalism is… how rapidly it comes unraveled by nature’s impersonal fury.
While composing the first draft of this essay (pre-Sandy)—as I was writing the following lines, “Often, the soul is forced to get your attention by guiding you into situations that serve to open your heart by means of breaking it. Closed off from the temptation and tumult …” — I received a phone call bearing the message that my best friend in this breathing world was dead.
The next lines I wrote were: Alright then, soul, you have my full attention, although my eyes are blurred and scalded by tears.
After inexplicable and heart shattering events, one’s mind searches for deeper meaning… even when there can be none gleaned from quotidian tragedy. In this case… a fall involving a bicycle, and a friend, a brilliant artist, a vivid soul, a warm, passionate human being, a generous, compassionate companion has been forever lost.
Meaning is an ad hoc, flimsy structure… erected of metaphysical eggshells… convictions garnered from happenstance, the traumas of early life, books happened upon, chance meetings, misheard advice, friendships lost and cultivated.
In the presence of death and in the aftermath of great storms, we apprehend how vainly we cling to the illusion of certainty and permanence. Yet, deep down, we know how insubstantial our constructs are. How fate and circumstance can intervene, and can leave us staring into the indifferent maw of eternity.
“For in much wisdom is much grief, and he that increaseth knowledge increaseth sorrow” —Ecclesiastes 1:18
Phil Rockstroh is a poet, lyricist and philosopher bard living in New York City.
Yet a bio amounts to dharma for dimwits: It defines a human being in the same manner and degree of veracity as a restaurant menu describes the various slabs of meat offered … commodified things that were once living beings.