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So it came to me yesterday – I had some times going on, bad things – hurt thoughts. Shook them off though – the sun was out and the sky was maybe perfect. Clouds like fingers over the transmission lines so you'd think that lightning might spiral between them – helical even. The wind was just right too – pushing off the snow which had come hard and fierce – insistent, but not strong, not enduring earlier in the week. It seemed like spring, overcoming – a tolerably helpful portent. So out of the morning haze I got it together to finish my chores and it turns out that my unemployment had been deposited in the bank – which is not quite like a paycheck – which thing may as well be a wand of lapis or a sword of fire to the contemporary wizard – but close enough – money and assurances, Pentacles. So I practiced my discernment, woke up my wintery blood and drove around a while. Down into unvisited portions of the metropolis and found some looked for places, talked to those who expected me because of earlier telephone conversations – Which is Amazing though maybe only sort of. People typed messages at me, little birds, and I made more phonecalls thinking I'd see or be seen by people because an electric snake bit them. It calls them into being. That's what I said to myself.
Then I came home to read a while, Pekar's biographies of the Beats, thinking Old Harvey P is from my town just like me. I like him for that if nothing else, that and that he made a thing. Making a thing is an act of will, admirable, being from here is an act of contrition, noble.
But then I was thinking – I'd be out later for dollar drafts and that's magic too! Spirits and Economical. Or anyway it's a boon and not one to look at lightly. Still remembering twenty-five cent pabsts in the lurkier corners of my demesne but accepting fortune. My friend was getting older last night – today I suppose. Night is the change of days not the chime of some clock – nevermind the electric snake that bites and says otherwise. Out of jokes and affection and bitter contempt I'd fashioned him a painting a ways back – He'd asked for it, A vagina, I'd painted it for him and then proudly unfurled it and waved it around like a flag trying to get girl's phone numbers. It worked only a little. But I figured it's his birthday I aughta get him a thing, and then thinking Fuck That I aughta make him a thing. So I decided to make him some magic.
I'd done this thing once before – The Hundred Abolitions – it's a thing that I think is maybe only for me cause it's got to do with a few special feelings that I have about specific manufactured goods. Manufactured goods are manufactured and not exactly of the sort of thing that you maybe can work the old Will over – but that's part of it isn't it? Making a thing from anther thing? Buying something is basically finding it in the wilderness cause there's more paper laying out for use on store shelves in my neighborhood than there are leaves – it's gathering and there was discernment involved the 3.5 x 5 inch cardstock, the Sharpie pen with just the right tip – discernment. Like picking the stones out of a stream – you find the right kind and you'll skip it five times – find the right pen and the right paper – you might make a thing that's magic. I did. The Hundred Abolitions is just a list, one item per card, you Tell what can't be done. I phrase it like this: Do Not _____ This Man and fill in the blank with versions of 'harm' or 'kill' and think of a hundred bad things I wouldn't like to happen to my friend. And I think pretty hard about it – go into a little trance – suck down some magic smoke that I learned about - native to the New World and famous for making peace, and then I imbibe a potion of secret origin, fashioned from the rarest ingredients of the Amazon and the Congo – a jungle nectar! Empowered thus I got to writing, mainly on the steps of St. Mary's Polish National – down the block…
Oh and there was this – walking. Walking's good – straight and narrow, the sidewalk, cars rush by, putting the wind at your back and in your face both at once – leaf in turbulence, it brings you up and awake – and just at the edge of sunset – just where the sun is starting to eat up the horizon – again there are the transmission lines, telephone poles, the jumble of fabricated houses, industrial smokes, commercial lots, For Sale – Commerce – leaf in turbulence. I leave my house walking out thinking hard and saying: "I'm the best wizard in this town." Which is true because you say it, that's a thing to say – self reinforcing feedback loop – say what you're going to say – if you don't believe that when you say it – well it isn't true. Not another wizard in the world begrudges you thinking you're the best except that when you say it to them? Well you've got no business being a wizard if you don't think you're the best in town. So I say what I want to say and I go out- up a hill down a walk, straight and narrow and I want to be strong because I want to do some magic - so I say to myself walking down the road – Leaf in Turbulence – except not, because it's turbulent but I'm under my own power, not guided – not pressed, not flowing – But Going. Going My Way. That's a thing. I know it's all right because the traffic lights are with me, don't break pace not once, people walking their dogs, they can see I've got purpose, out of the way, out of the way. Saying to myself- "I could make a better world, I could make a world better than this." Which I do think is true –but then I see a Robin and I get a little shook up because I don't think I have it in me to think up Robins and what they mean and how good they are – and then I figure I'm okay because the Robin is important to me and I saw him hop hopping down my path and I took it for a good sign. So I get my materials and I sit on St. Mary's steps – the old church that isn't old – just ugly – I could tell you that they moved it here from Poland brick by brick and that it was built in 1964 and if you saw it you might believe me, Soviet. Anyway it's got two staircases one facing south and home and toward a lot of good places in my life, and one facing north and to the city's heart – but also across the street from a personal symbol of bad vanity and overreaching – so I sit with my back to the bad sign and start my composing.
I could, well I guess I could try to appeal to better angels? Decent powers and wish for my friend all kind of good things –but I doubt I'd know a helpful spirit if it were helping me. Meanwhile I'm vindictive and mainly know from cursing people – So I figure I put together the list of bad things I'd rather didn't happen to my pal and then I put it together- the Hundred Abolitions and mark it up with a little bit of the Lemegeton Clavicula Salomonis – old acquaintance in there who owes me a little – I mark the name, not much bigger than my own – that for flattery's sake not cause he's better than me. Wrap it up in some red ribbon I keep for that purpose and drip a bit of the old Saturn Oil – appeasing Saturn since he's the fucking plague god and needs appeasing- maybe a few months late. Spilled a beer in honor but made it seem like a mistake – try that one out by the way! Works strong, you're getting ahead of yourself and maybe wanna make sure you're getting home tonight? Tip one down it's worked for me. Leave a cigarette to go in the ashtray – one for dear old granddad who loved em like I do and maybe can't get them but I leave one for him and give my friend his hug and his beer and his magic spell and we'll see if the world's not kinder.