A BRIEF HISTORY OF HUMAN SPIRITUALITY
Thousands of years ago, people were born with only one ear. The ear was created to replace a third eye. The gods or the spirits or Gaia decided humans having third eyes was a wasted privilege. There was no need for hearing when we had third eyes, but suddenly were functionally blind and needed a new sense to keep us sensible. We heard birds that sang sweet songs, but some birds screeched like banshees. Wind, rain, and thunder became noises that forced us to stay in our caves. This new sense we possessed held anxiety, something altogether new, something that confounded minds beyond the basic purpose of brains. Taking away our third eyes created psychology. Being able to hear the world around us created chaos. So, the gods or the spirits or Gaia added an extra ear to balance our behavior. Of course, noses came next which allowed us to understand we can stink. Then we opened our mouths to express our disgust which led to speech which led to language which led to opinions which led to trying to make sense of stuff that made no sense which became belief.
IF I BECOME A BUDDHIST MONK IN NEPAL
I admit I doubt I could cut it as a Buddhist monk. But to chuck everything and move to Thailand or Nepal? (I think Nepal is choice #1.) I certainly couldn’t survive a period of silence. (Maybe, I could get dr’s note from my shrink or find a Reform Jewish Buddhist order.) To live the life of a Buddhist monk sounds like a wonderful idea, but I don’t think they do 1-or-2-week trials for people who think it’s a wonderful idea. I probably won’t be allowed to have my iPhone and my iTunes account with all the music I’ve accumulated from decades of CD purchases. I wonder if Buddhist monks in Nepal are allowed to paint as a hobby. Where would I get paint? What would I paint on? The thought of doing tai chi or something similar daily or gardening on a mountain steppe sounds like a stressless fantasy. There would be no cheesecake or mac-n-cheese or clam chowder or pastrami Reubens or apple fritters. The ingredients for meals would be severely limited, and I might get healthier in a manner my cardiologist wouldn’t believe. I might learn that I don’t need so much stuff. All the stuff that overstuffs my life like a cheap giant stuffed animal won playing whack-a-mole or shooting targets from a rifle with a bent sight at the county fair. Those stuffed animals are too large for the most kids’ and adults’ bedrooms. The unpremium stuffing is never soft enough for hugging. Buddhist monks in Nepal don’t play whack-a-mole or eat pastrami Reubens or become monks to destress. Becoming a monk isn’t an idea or fantasy. Nepalese Buddhist monks don’t need an extensive iTunes library or meditate listening to Stevie Wonder or Bossa Nova. Plus, they can’t take a roadtrip to Trader Joe’s on a whim.
A MAN MEETS A GUN
It sits atop a table. He is hesitant to touch it. It is ice cold to the touch. The single second he felt his palm hug the handle, the exact moment he allowed his trigger finger to finger the trigger, he felt the whites of his eyes lose their bloodshot. At the practice range, he aimed his new possession at a life-size human-shaped piece of card stock paper with bullseyes printed on face and chest. He knew he held a new power. He knew he held the power to end a life. He also knew better. But there were times he wanted more bullets and a larger magazine, an opportunity to write his story with more power.
Bryan Franco is a 55-year-old gay, Jewish poet/spoken word performer from Brunswick, Maine. He competed with the Portland Maine Rhythmic Cypher slam team in the 2014 National Poetry Slam in Oakland, California. He has performed live on stage at The Nuyorican Poet Café in New York City and in Zoom open mics in the US, Canada, England, Ireland, Scotland, France, Australia, Singapore, Japan, The Netherlands, Switzerland, and Lebanon. His poetry is published in the US, Australia, Ireland, and Scotland and has featured for poetry events and podcasts in the US, Canada, England, Ireland, and Scotland. He hosts Café Generalissimo Open Mic, is a member of Beardo Bards of the Bardo poetry troupe, painter, sculptor, gardener, and culinary genius. In November 2021, his book EVERYTHING I THINK IS ALL IN MY MIND was published by Read or Green Books.