Tormentor (I Am The Meteor Hammer)

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Title: Fister, “Flail” from the PRIMITIVE MAN/FISTER Split 12″

I’ve been reflecting lately on the pervasive idea that I don’t have anyone in my life who I trust implicitly. Obsessive ruminations feeding a chasm of paranoia. An inability to forgive, to see the other side, to let go. Precious solitude reflected in a negative. Strangers seem easier, but only objectively. There is no worry in the unknown there, because nobody actually exists to me until I have to look them in the eye. And then suddenly they are all too real, and in an instant they own a piece of me which I never knew I had, never knew enough to miss until it is ripped away. I tell myself lies like there aren’t many pieces left, in feeble attempts at self comfort, but the truth I keep buried in the back of my skull is that this will go on infinitely because two things are forever. And one of them is suffering.

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© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

But You Can Make My Teeth Growl

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Spinning: The Melvins, “Night Goat”

I feel like my intellect is the only thing preventing me from diving headlong into insanity with utter abandon. Despite much evidence to the contrary, I am a fairly intelligent bag of meat and calcium, and my philosophical background ensures a certain level of logic and critical thinking. Thus I am able to identify and recognize much of this madness for what it is, a product of delusion and mental illness. So, on a logical level, I realize many of the things I think and feel are not “real,” in the sense that they are perpetuations of the sickness inside my mind. However, there is a very big difference between knowing something to be true on an intellectual level, and believing it to be true on an emotional, intrinsic level.

But then, another thought. Sure, I have certain manifestations of insanity that I can identify as such. But what of all the other things, the perhaps truly delusional things, that I don’t recognize for what they are, that I accept without question as “real” and “true” to my accepted understanding of “reality”?

WOAH.

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Installation by Katie Grinnan

© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

The Pills You Take To Mend Will Be the Architects of Your Destruction: A Musing on Paxil and the Struggle With Madness

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Illustration by Joel Benjamin

Someone dear to me shared this outstanding post from Vice News on the subject of psychiatric medication withdrawal. You can find the original post by following this link.

Below is one of my own rantings on the subject from recent months.

Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan

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I have been on and off various psychiatric medications for my entire adult life, mostly concurrent with a good fifteen plus years of self-medication with “illicit” drugs and alcohol. Surprise of all surprises, I am also the kind of “adult” who can never seem to get his fucking life together.  This instability accounts for my inconsistency with staying on the legal drugs — I lose a job, I lose insurance coverage, I lose my doctor, I lose my mind.  In the midst of this, I destroy everything. 

Beyond that, I have ever increasing doubts about the efficacy of psych meds at all, coupled with growing anecdotal evidence and research suggesting I’ve never been accurately diagnosed in the first place. But that is a topic for another time…

I mentioned here that, for various reasons and circumstances, I would be going off the current “wonder drug” that I’ve been pumping through…

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Alan Moore, Rorschach, and the body

the body

the body


“Stood in firelight, sweltering. Bloodstain on chest like map of violent new continent. Felt cleansed. Felt dark planet turn under my feet and knew what cats know that makes them scream like babies in night.

Looked at sky through smoke heavy with human fat and God was not there. The cold, suffocating dark goes on forever and we are alone. Live our lives, lacking anything better to do. Devise reason later. Born from oblivion; bear children, hell-bound as ourselves, go into oblivion. There is nothing else.

Existence is random. Has no pattern save what we imagine after staring at it for too long. No meaning save what we choose to impose. This rudderless world is not shaped by vague metaphysical forces. It is not God who kills the children. Not fate that butchers them or destiny that feeds them to the dogs. It’s us. Only us. Streets stank of fire. The void breathed hard on my heart, turning its illusions to ice, shattering them. Was reborn then, free to scrawl own design on this morally blank world.

Was Rorschach.

From Wallpaperup.com

From Wallpaperup.com

Does that answer your Questions, Doctor?”

— Alan MooreWatchmen

Rantings on Madness with a Dose of Damn the Man

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After months of dealing with paperwork, questionnaires, waiting in lines, hours on hold on the phone, ridiculous inquiries, bullshit red tape, and other fucking ridiculousness, I still am no closer to obtaining health insurance. I have no idea what is going on with my mental health disability claim, and am at a loss of who else to try and contact. All avenues explored for low-income or no-income access to medical and/or mental health treatment services have been a fucking flaccid cock suck. I am too broke to afford food for my dogs. And I can’t even get hired at goddamn shithouse Target or fucking Wal Mart.

THIS. THIS is why motherfuckers snap and lash out in horrific, destructive violence. Fuck my life.

I’m throwing a self-pity party, and you all are invited. Bring cake you fuckers.

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Then, later….

So.

Around the same time that I started trying to get that good government-funded insurance coverage at the beginning of February, I also filed a claim with the Social Security Administration for mental health disability. Anything to get a little assistance while I try and un-fuck my mind.

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Just as we were about to move to Cheyenne at the beginning of April, I finally saw some movement on this when I got a call from a representative at the Tucson SSDI office. They needed to schedule an evaluation with a head shrinker to determine if my Crazy is legitimate. However, this appointment wouldn’t be happening until the start of May, by which time I planned to be nestled snuggly in the springtime snow drifts of Wyoming.

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Of course, this creates a problem. And the government minions in Tucson have no powers of influence outside of their own little Sonoran desert bubble, so the entire case would have to be put on hold and transferred to the Cheyenne SSDI office for further processing. Sure, whatever, just get it done. “Someone should be calling you in a couple of weeks,” I was assured.

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Here we are, six or seven weeks later. Fuck all. So I call the local Social Security office to check in, find out what’s what, see if I can do anything to move this along. Lo and behold, it turns out the fucking case was never even transferred from Tucson. It has just been sitting in limbo this entire time that I have had a thumb jammed up my ass to try and keep the Crazy from leaking out too much.

Fuck you, Government. Your shit is ABSURD.

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Oh, and I forgot to mention. It’s not that I don’t want to work. I have had several interviews over the last several months, in both Tucson and Cheyenne, for jobs I would have been proud to work. The interviews start off great. By the end of them, I have devolved into a bumbling, anxious, sweaty mess that can barely utter a comprehensible sentence. Call me crazy, but I suspect that might have been a factor in me not getting hired…

BitchFest over. For now. 🙂

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But first, for good measure….

In my madness, I am actively trying to alienate most or all human meat popsicles from my life. I’ve managed to purge several high profile carcasses so far this year, and there have been a few unplanned casualties. But all that means is we clearly need to step it up a notch!

Still chock full of irreverent sarcasm, however. We’ll need plenty of that to be in this thing for the long haul…

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© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

Released from Hell in Ecstatic Frenetic Suffering: An Evening with the body and Full of Hell

Original Image by Keith Coombes

Original Image by Keith Coombes


The dreary, morose mood hanging in dense, foreboding clouds over Cheyenne yesterday was ideal to set the day’s tone and prepare this sleepy town for the deceptively inconspicuous arrival of two of heavy music’s most devastating forces.  For a few frenetic hours, downtown Cheyenne’s Ernie November store was home to the cataclysmic DOOM of Portland’s the body and the schizophrenic grind of Maryland’s Full of Hell, a rare and intimate record store appearance on the two bands’ current swath of decimation across the States.  While the style and tempo of extremity offered by the two groups paints a jagged brush stroke across several of heavy music’s varying subgenres, both groups are equally mired in themes of misery, rage, internal conflict, cathartic suffering, and exploration of the darkest recesses of human consciousness.  As such, their disparate sets provide a glimpse of both sides of the same desolate, leaden coin, and hint at what we might expect from their planned upcoming split album, anticipated for release later this year.

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Watching the body set up their deceptively simple-looking gear, those not prerequisitely attuned to the sonic terror and devastation offered by the duo of Chip King and Lee Buford might be tempted to underestimate the suffocating aural intensity that is about to be unleashed.  All assumptions are quickly compressed and obliterated by the first impossibly heavy notes to fill Ernie November’s space, as King’s thundering guitar rig and Buford’s gargantuan drum kit unleash psychosis-inflected hell upon the unsuspecting hordes.  King and Buford are merely tuning in their instruments, tweaking sound levels, but this is enough to draw the loitering masses in from the street.  As corpses begin to crowd into the record store’s tight back room, there remains a conspicuous barrier of space between the masses and the body, as though some shared unspoken dread is coursing through the crowd, urging us to keep a safe distance from this feral beast.  By the time the duo have waded midway through the sludgy, panicked insanity of their first song, however — with King’s trademark shrill wail cutting through the murky depths of sonic hell like obsidian — the sheer weight emanating from their very cores has consumed us and drawn us all close, mutually aggrieved lost souls marinating wearily in the aural intensity of our suffering made corporeal.

the body

Throughout their roughly half hour set, the pained severity and combative, introspective vehemence of the body never lets up.  Individual songs bleed into one another in walls of chaos and noise.  Split seconds of apparent reprieve are quickly subversed and subjugated, the air at once purged from the room just as one gasps for a desperate breath.  While the brand of extremity offered by the body is not designed nor intended to get the psychopaths in the pit churning, the sheer gargantuan and suppressive ambiance and tone of internalized fury created is enough to leave the languidly headbanging crowd prostrate once that last piercing bit of feedback and grinding distortion fades out.

the body vignette

In ironic comparison to the initially timid gathering before the body’s set, the throng congregates dangerously close as Full of Hell complete the set-up on their equipment of destruction — ironic because the experience offered by Full of Hell is the one more likely to result in potentially inimical confrontation.  Indeed, the entire place erupts into a teeming mass of flailing limbs and furious headbanging at the first lunatic sound emitted from the instruments of this demonic four-piece.

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Full of Hell ringleader Dylan Walker meticulously builds a monolithic wall of chaos and noise before his cohorts rip brazenly into their opening track, a method he will repeat at points throughout the set, providing the band and the crowd both with fleeting moments of schizoid sublimity in which to catch their breath before charging headlong into the next phase of exorcistic fury.  Walker flings himself around the room in erratic frenetic purgation, blurring the line between performer and participant as his feral shrieks and grating, raspy explications blend with the manic insanity of sound created by his bandmates.  Dragging around a broken leg in a cast, bassist and co-vocalist Brandon Brown weaves the low end of his instrument through the jagged, chugging riffage and feedback-laden madness emanating from guitarist Spencer Hazard’s wall of Orange, alternately bent over in rhythmic deliberation between bouts of guttural vocal scorn.

Original Image by Keith Coombes

Original Image by Keith Coombes


The true psychopath of the bunch, however, proves to be drummer Dave Bland, whose enraged, loathsome punishment of his kit leaves one keen to avoid becoming the object of his wrath.  I’m not sure how much money that drum kit owes him, but Bland is intent on collecting the balance in blood and suffering — whether plodding headlong in thunderous, leaden exultation, or charging furiously with frenetic, manic rapidity, there is no question of where the tortured, pulsating heartbeat of this group lives.  Dude is a goddamn madman, and yet by the time the final caustic note fades on Full of Hell’s set, he is likely the least exhausted carcass in the room.

Original Image by Keith Coombes

Original Image by Keith Coombes


Having moved to Cheyenne only a month ago, this show served as my personal welcoming party to the great Wyoming outback, and I couldn’t ask for a more potent, affecting, or purgative greeting.  Perhaps single-handedly injecting life into what might otherwise be a non-existent live music scene in this area is local Ernie November proprietor and savage beard tamer extraordinaire — not to mention recently annointed “Janky Promoter” — Keith Coombes.  As is the case with most other acts hosted at Cheyenne’s musical mecca, the show tonight was funded through donations from those in attendance, a refreshingly DIY approach in today’s live music world, where music fans are more accustomed to dealing with price-gouging promoters and ticketing agencies.  It seemed everyone was only too happy to kick in whatever they could, be it a few loose bills or the product of several hours skilled labor.  After all, touring ain’t free, yeh fuckers!

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To further fund their trek across the Mother Land, the body and Full of Hell brought plenty of choice merch to the party, as well.  Particularly impressive was the vinyl selection offered by the body, which nearly covered their entire prodigious discography (saved for a wealth of rare 7″ and EPs that one must in turn scour the earth for).  Full of Hell also had their studio discography on display for purchase in vinyl or compact disc format, along with a band logo patch, ball cap, and several fashionably filthy t-shirts.  Before the show, I was able to snag a copy of Full of Hell’s recent collaborative LP with Japanese noise god Merzbow (aka Masami Akita) from Dylan himself, along with a much coveted copy of the body’s 2014 collaborative EP with Louisiana’s Thou, entitled Released from Love.  (Read my review of their 2015 collaborative full length, You, Whom I Have Always Hated, by clicking here.)  

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I nearly nut in my pants upon seeing that this album was available for purchase, as I had thought the initial limited pressing was out of print and now unavailable for purchase outside of collector trade circles — needless to say, I snatched that burdensome bitch up quick!  Not content with my haul, however, that good post-show glow found me sacrificing the rest of this week’s sustenance fund to also snag a pressing of the body’s Master, We Perish, one of the remaining few outliers to their discography I lacked in possession, along with a patch from each group.  My only regret is that I didn’t try to trade a kidney, or bring more money, though a parting fist-bump and bit of fan-boy adulation with Chip King helped dull my suffering.

However, seeing as how Keith is still holding the latest release from psychedelic voyagers White Hills for me, which he was kind enough to special order, perhaps this extra kidney will still come in handy…

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The best experiences in life are often those which find one left wanting, and such was certainly the case by the end of this night’s celebratory rage party.  For the ride home, always a somber affair post-concert, I plugged in the body’s recent self-released CD-R rarity, an EP entitled The Tears of Job, which was issued to backers of the group’s recent “Help the body get a van” Indiegogo campaign.  A striking shift in style from their customarily overpowering compositions, the tracks that make up this EP are much more sparse and spacious, a fitting denouement to the evening as I drove through the ethereal fog and gloomy, rain-drenched streets of languid Cheyenne, a lonesome drifter reluctantly returning to the “real world.”

streets blue

© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

streets grey

To Attempt Openness

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Image by Andrew Gable

It has been brought to my attention, by some of the more laid-back voices in my head — they had to band together in solidarity to be heard over the rest of this rabble — that, by and large and for the most part and all that, our posts on this page have been somewhat heavy on the belligerence, whilst largely ignoring the dharma.

After some careful self-reflection (which was, of course, preceded by ire, indignation, denial, and not a small amount of surly, boisterous resistance) I am inclined to agree. Actually, this imbalance is — as allegorical symmetry is so wont to do — reflective of a physical and psychic disparity of serenity in my “real life” that I have been aware of for some time. And while I am keen on reflecting in ponderous deliberation a meriad of cause and effective methodology with which to address this pervasive disquiet, the lethargic, apathetic procrastinator in me is loathe to take any real and deliberate action.

This must change. And this change must begin now. I am very much aware of the things I need to do in order to progress along this path of steady calming. It is time to stop thinking on them, to stop talking about them, to set aside my fears and reservations and actually fucking DO something.

For now, that something will be this, a two-parter:

1.))) I must practice zazen much more often, and with deliberate regularity.

2.))) I must WRITE.

There can be no peace in life with such disquiet and upheaval in the mind. The zazen is intended to address this on a spiritual level, and the writing will address it on a cathartic artistic level. And I don’t mean more of the same of what I’ve been doing, simply churning out casual snippets of egocentric musing when the mood strikes, or because I feel I need to fulfill some personal obligation to post some drivel on WordPress every day.

I need to be writing in earnest, with passionate deliberate fury, writing honestly and unabated and without fear or reservation or expectation, without even intent of having what I write be seen by eyes that are not my own. I need to be writing madly and selfishly and obsessively. I need to stop shallowly pondering meanings and themes and intent and stop attempting to prematurely ejaculate some kind of superficial, pretentious grandeur into the idea of a thing and simply fucking WRITE it (I’m speaking about my “novel” here).

And don’t forget the zazen.

And, so it goes that I will be throwing my energy into fulfilling this two-part goal in the coming minutes and hours and days and weeks. I may share some of what’s produced on here, but my focus needs to be on doing these things selfishly and with absolute self-serving intent, for now. No expectations.

That being said, I’d like to welcome a new pen to the WordPress community, a madly brilliant young lady who is also a dear friend of mine on “the outside.” Monica unleashed her blog, Musings of a Baby Tiga, upon the world only a few days ago, however if you give her a follow you are sure to be intrigued, disturbed, inspired, obsessed, and otherwise enthralled with what she and her mind have to offer. She is most certainly One Of Us…

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Image by InfernoTheRoyal

© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

An Intrepid, Wandering Hermit

Goddamnit if my happiest, most serene moments of any given day don’t always come when the “rest” of the world is asleep. It’s in these moments that I can’t imagine why I would ever try to deny that fact, that I absolutely prefer to exist in solitary and apart from everyone else. It’s also in these moments that I wonder how to reconcile my antisocial misanthropic isolationism with aspirations towards a more compassionate Buddhist sense of spirituality.

The struggle is real…

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Image by Tim Burton

© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

an apology of sorts

Image by Righteous Indignation

Image by Righteous Indignation

i suppose i
shouldn’t be upset
you’re right,
after all
in a way.
i don’t care for you.
i don’t have the energy to.
my compassion and
empathy have been
so abused and
disregarded, even
by my own choices,
that i can no longer
muster the energy
to care. Even for you.

Violin+Birds by Judy Johnson-Williams

Violin+Birds by Judy Johnson-Williams

© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.

before the breaking

Moon Dog by Nick White

Moon Dog by Nick White


i can no longer recall
who i was before
the breaking

memories faded, distant
brittle frames from
home video left out
in weather and dust

there are hints
subtle whispers
a scent on the breeze,
suggestions of
who died that day,
reminiscent personality
left to rot in
so much mire.

i miss him
a bitter longing
or perhaps just the idea
that once this all
was different.

where once was
hope, now bitter
despondency.

where once was
love, now scornful
loathing.

where once was
passion, now caustic
agony.

where once was
vigor, now apathetic
lethargy.

where once was
genial empathy, now
selfish indignation

where once was
wholesome symmetry, now
all lies shattered.

Facing Uncertainty by Sara Biljana

Facing Uncertainty by Sara Biljana


© Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan, 2015. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of this material without express and written permission from this blog’s author and/or owner is strictly prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Ryan Scott Sanders and Dharma and Belligerence: Mad Rants from a Free-Range Buddhist Hooligan with appropriate and specific direction to the original content.