--for Ariana Reines
On Halloween, 2011 it is estimated that the 7 billionth human child was born. 7 billion humans are here now. And we have displaced or made extinct SO MANY other species of creatures that we have ACTUALLY lost track! When poet Emily Dickinson was alive less than a billion humans existed on Earth. When she was alive wild bison roamed the open plains of the United States. Today there is just a small group of them in Yellowstone National Park, and those were put there to be wild on purpose because there were literally no wild bison left. They are museums of fur and hooves. We love our museums, they comfort and tranquilize us when we feel uncertain of the choices we have made. I have NEVER been MORE TERRIFIED than I am this Halloween!
Find a space in public to meet with other humans in silence. Create a flyer inviting anyone to come. Please do not invite your friends, it's IMPORTANT to let this time be for you to come together with total strangers. But let it be silent. Make several flyers and hang them in libraries, coffee shops, grocery stores, etc. My flyer read: THE SILENT MEETING GROUP -- WEDNESDAY – 10/26/11 – 5pm to 6pm – 2nd floor couch area of THE BOOK TRADER (2nd Street near Market Street) – ONLY RULE: NO TALKING. Show up a couple minutes late. I lurked around a bit, not wanting to appear too eager because I didn’t want anyone to know that I had created the flyer for the meeting.
To be perfectly honest this (Soma)tic is something I have NEEDED to do. How many people do I meet a day where I say to myself “IF I HAD TO LISTEN TO THIS PERSON EVERY DAY OF MY LIFE I WOULD KILL MYSELF!” Today’s answer: 7!!!!!!! (an exclamation point for every one of them) My threshold for small talk and stupidity is so low in this time of acute poverty and war that I could actually SCREAM when I face it! And in the past five years I have watched rich hipster yuppies take my neighborhood over. It belongs to them now and they know it, and they want me to know it. The amount of bullshit I have to witness at the grocery store is incredible at this point. INCREDIBLE! Watching the spoiled rich be malicious to stock clerks, “WHAT DO YOU MEAN YOU RAN OUT OF IMPORTED OLIVES!?!” This brand of selfishness INFURIATES me! And there are now so many new condominiums in my neighborhood that those of us who rent apartments are the extreme minority. In fact the last public Laundromat in “our” neighborhood shut down and was turned into a ticket office for the ballet and opera. I’m doing my laundry in the bathtub because otherwise I would have to get on a bus and go many blocks across the city to even find a Laundromat to use. My soul is worn thin by human beings who don’t care about the infrastructure of community.
The Silent Meeting Group was – quite honestly – an incredible experience! I hovered around before joining the small group. There were six of us, and after being together in complete silence for awhile you begin to SMELL the others. Smell you, I SMELL something, maybe it's you, yeah, IT'S YOU! And it's okay. You smell just fine, but I smell you just the same. At one point a man in the group started to talk, but stopped himself, then wrote on a piece of paper for us to pass around, “Maybe we can all get a snack afterwards.” He seemed very sweet, however---
IMPORTANT: Do NOT go for a snack! You have poetry to attend to! For the entire hour of the meeting take NO NOTES! Meditate with these other humans, these fellow travelers in complete silence. If no one shows up the first time KEEP TRYING! People WILL show up! Enough humans will show up. You will all show up together. The only notes you take should be in your head. Make note of ALL THE SOUNDS around the group. Do not fear LOOKING at these people. The kinds of people who show up will understand, and will be looking at YOU as well! Look at how WEIRD our world can be! It’s beautiful and peculiar! What and how are we communicating without talking? Remember these things. Then as soon as the hour is up, casually walk away WITHOUT TALKING! NO TALKING! GO, GET GOING, GO SOMEWHERE where you can sit and quietly take account of your silent meeting. Take the quiet with you. I took a subway to a grocery store in my neighborhood. This is what I observed:
Outside the grocery store tonight a man and woman approached the entrance. He grabbed one of the large shopping carts. She said, "Why don't you get one of the smaller ones, we're only getting a few things." He said, "I'M A MAN I'M NOT PUSHING AROUND A SMALL CART!" She rolled her eyes and went inside. HOW FUNNY! I must admit that I had thought he was hot, but when he said THAT he was suddenly 10 times HOTTER! He reminds me of my old boyfriend Nate, a double Leo with a Scorpio moon and a fresh ax to grind every morning until he's had sex and coffee. HAHA!
Take your notes and shape them into a poem. The Silent Meeting Group might be something you want to continue in your life. I think I want it in my life!