Terry Riley, A Rainbow in Curved Air, 1969.

Democracy isn’t efficient, and the only politics I recognize lies
between us, undefined, requiring no casting of votes. It asks that we
admit we’re both present, all present, in the same multiform space—
within me or you. I would never ask you to follow me; I will never
acknowledge a leader. I am my president. But also, I am
everyone, trying to be with you, because I exist, and always have
.

Alice Notley, “Two of Swords,” p6. Certain Magical Acts. Penguin, New York: 2016.

VERY STABLE GENIUS: It’s kind of beautiful. I mean, the mental health industry is pretty insane too. This is shadow Mars conjunct Jupiter: the mental fitness of the meathead gangster president (Mars rules the HEAD) attacked by Ph.D. grandees who earn their living guarding the perimeters of sanity, amending their ever-fattening DSM. May they smash their heads together hard enough to bring down both the fiefdom and the kingdom. Or whatever.

The psychiatric community was not just complicit with waterboarding and other forms of torture during the Bush administration; they advised that administration on which modes of torture would have the greatest efficacy. There have been apologies and reckonings, but between the torture, the pharmaceutical industry, and the fact that most of the mental health professionals I know are incredibly depressed, the good will of certain therapists, like the good will of certain Democrats, has nevertheless paved the road to hell.

I’m not saying the orange one isn’t crazy. But the question of his sanity seems way beside the point: our order is crazy, and if so many people feel they’re living in a mass hallucination, it’s because duh we are. Anyway most people are variously neurotic, miserable, and insane, and we have good reason to be. That’s part of why it’s so important to try to be nice. It’s also why you should quit alcohol and drugs. Sanity is really interesting. It’s the holy grail of our time.

The “very stable genius” defense is the defense of the artist. Maybe that’s why I like it. Trump is a comedian. Poor guy.

This presidency has taken an axe to what the collective has heretofore been willing to admit into the real. This has been a convulsive era of fiction, toxic brain waste, reeking effluent from the collective psyche geysering up into a reality once domesticated—also oppressively, so don’t get fucking nostalgic on me—by neoliberalism.

Aside from the frontal attacks on the lives of immigrants, Dreamers, the incarcerated, the nonwhite, the trans, people with wombs, the sick and the potentially sick, this presidency has gaslit and freaked out millions who either are or could potentially become the targets of his spume and flunkeys. But instead of hating him for it, which is a waste of your precious energy, I recommend one, quitting drugs and alcohol, and two, reading and writing more poetry.

I get why so many people are suddenly buying crystals and consulting astrologers. Yes, some of it might be hysterics, a symptom of the spiritual starvation of the American experience, but my clients are some highly critical and brainy people, and my sense is, they, like me, yearn to align their existence to channels of energy and rhythms of life—likewise to laws—that are older, deeper, more universal, and more inexorable than the bilge in every clogged pipe of our current system. I’m not going to make a claim for astrology’s legitimacy. I’m a poet. Worrying about legitimacy is death in my art.

I think people are starving for reality, not for fantasy, and all the crystal-buying and scrying isn’t so much the mass cretinization and return to superstition that Carl Sagan warned against, but rather a search for roots. Few if any can really say who we are, or what our universe is, but there are traditions that have painstakingly described its structure and sought out its laws. It’s a course of study. I’m a student. I think you are too.

Karen Weiser and Alice Notley, introduced by Fanny Howe at the Woodberry Poetry Room, Harvard.

Ariana Reines

January 7, 2018. Photo: Ariana Reines.


Ariana Reines is a poet & playwright. She astrologizes at lazyeyehaver.com.