The Human Condition

Our cozy little planet is presumed to have existed for over four and a half billion years. In the most recent three of those, it has been teeming with life. They come and go, and more than we will ever know of. The truth is there have been many species of fascinating creatures that crawled, squirmed, floated, swam, galloped, trotted, scurried, walked, ran and flown throughout our ever changing environment called Earth. Each had its mechanism for being. Each had the means with which to move about, perpetuate and thrive; the means with which to process some form of cognition, or maybe at the very least the means with which to perceive. Each had within it the mechanism responsible for ending the inadequate; the unnecessary; the obsolete. Some of these creatures persisted for millions of years before the mechanism within them led them down that narrowing path. To appear as if they never existed or at best to forever sequel into a display at the Smithsonian. To be something to learn from. We humans, the latest upgrade model of hominid, are no different. We have our own mechanism of survival, perpetuation, and ultimately, our own demise, “The Human Condition.”

The human condition, it mars the soul, and burdens the spirit. It is the initiating tool, cycle and grand culmination of all of societies mistakes and undoings. Whether you think of it as sin, failure, shortcomings, ethical or moral turpitude, or unhealthy normal reactions to abnormal stress. It divides us from harmony. It unites us in doleful conspiracy. It diminishes our value as a species. It threatens to resolve our issues with finality. To cure the infection we fester upon this planet by allowing us to render ourselves onto the path of extinction. We can learn to heal the wounds of the human condition. Treat the symptoms, and practice good preventative care, and we will prevail. Cure the human condition and we will evolve to something better; something truly amazing.

Monday, October 11, 2010

One Artist Homage to Another...

I was at a dinner hosted by the UCLA Chicano Studies Research Center. As someone else's guest mind you. To that, I would like to add, I am very grateful to Lupe Anguiano for allowing my wife and I to accompany her. It was such an incredible honor.

There were some very distinct minds present at this dinner. The least of which, I would humbly say, was my own. Still, It was nice for me to be afforded the opportunity of skimming across the surface of so many captivating conversations.

I met an artist by the name of Harry Gamboa Jr. Even within the vagueness of a simple typical social exchange, it seemed to me that the artist was at work. We exchanged pleasantries, talked about our kids, talked about what we do. There was something about the manner of his interactions with others. It seemed to suggest that he sees all the living art around us. I believe that with real artists, their brains are skewed in that direction. It weighs heavy on that side. It is what they do, breathe, view, wake, interpret, and value life using the measure of their will - their art. I was inspired. I hope that Mr. Gamboa doesn't mind that I name dropped here. As trite as my comment may seem, the truth is that I found him to be a very intriguing artist to talk to. Also, I hope that no one is seriously offended by the lack of sophistication in this piece or for the bastardization of the three languages I butchered (English, Spanish, Spanglish) in the process of writing this piece. Please, people lets just be happy that inspiration occurred, yes?

That’s Not Me
© Patrick B Oviedo Jr.
written June 10, 2010

I want to learn to be naked and free
That’s when I met this vato, on the street, just the other day

I don’t mean some old vato “with a gold tooth”, a grifa or a frajo, hairnet ponytail, one button blue and gray flannel chaquetita
Or one of them young pelados “with a gold tooth”, big scary knuckle fist, pingas in his pocket and a fila or a quete

but, a vato man, I mean an artist
a vato with a vision

And not just some old retread vision from way back when
but, a vision for today... an awakening!

He said, Cut it Out! Tear it Out! Puke it Out!
Regurgitate projectile vomit onto the street!
It’s not you, so get rid of it!

Erase that corporate allegorical image of yourself
don’t be debased by that craftily inlayed, printed by a buzzing tattoo needle in your mind - thing!

It’s not me man! It’s not me!

So I ripped off my Tommy Hilfiger Tee...
And now I use it to dry my feet...
I took my calcones and turned them into a bird's nest
And my pinche Nike shoes, I gave them to some vato down on skid row...

Give me some huaraches or chanclas or even just some calcetines a la barata
Give me back my camiseta de la segunda
And wash them all with Habon Zote!

No wait, I said, Sabes Que! Fuck it, I don’t need no ropa!

My verijas! That’s me!
Get them free, let the breathe!
Let them feel the bright and sunny Southern California sunshine and air

Feel it in your soul, feel it to your bones
Feel it where the sun don’t shine...

He said, That’s it, vato!
Stop watching that mugrero on TV - "You 'member"
Yea, I 'member, that ain’t me... that stuff is puro shit!

So, throw away that designer this and designer that
That’s not what you need
That body spray? What’s it called? Axe!... Well, it smells like ass!
That 99 cent MP3... ugh, it sounds like shit!
Ambercrombie and Fitch... come on now, it is shit
That Starbucks, Coffee Bean, Mickey D’s Frap... Guess what!? It taste like crap!

Bota lo todo a la verga!

And then...

That’s when the chota came, wearing white latex gloves
'Cause they didn’t want to touch my verijas...

They took me to the psych unit

I said, wait, wait wait, sabes que? Chinga tu madre!

And then...

That’s when the doctor came and said to me as he stuck the needle in my ass...
We’ll let you be, as soon as you are calm
And in the morning, we’ll even discuss your delusions of being naked and free

And just before the psychotropic venom seized my brain, I said one last thing...

You don’t understand Doc... I met this Vato... and that’s not me...

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