It all works out in time (You may take my eyes, but baby I’m not blind…)

Title: Cage the Elephant, “Spiderhead” from the album Melophobia *

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Images by Christopher Ian MacFarlane

Perhaps one of the times my head explodes, these spiders will come pouring out. There will be casualties. The truly hardy ones will scatter on remaining legs to those dark corners of existence where few would think to find shelter. The ones who make it back before I finish reassembling my shattered skull will have stories weighty with wisdom they will refuse to tell. Because not everything in this life is meant to be shared.

I’m a man of my word, and that word is always regret…

…I’m trying to be the best man that I can,
Things don’t always work out in the end…

Godhunter & Amigo the Devil, “Weeping Willow” from the 7″ collaborative record The Outer Dark

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A spider lives inside my head
Who weaves a strange and wondrous web
Of silken threads and silver strings
To catch all sorts of flying things,
Like crumbs of thoughts and bits of smiles
And specks of dried-up tears,
And dust of dreams that catch and cling
For years and years and years…

Shel SilversteinEvery Thing on It

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* I absolutely ripped this device off from a fellow WordPress bleeder, the lovely and talented “Zeebam”. Her unique photography and poignantly emotive writings hit home in a certain way, like this piece here.

© 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.

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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

There’s more than one way to pleasure the beast…

Image by Bill Smith

Image by Bill Smith


Whilst pursuing various “scholarly endeavors” today, I’ve been listening exclusively to Converge’s entire discography — including splits (no fucking demos, though) — in chronological order. The experience is akin to masturbating furiously and then punching oneself in the dick just before climax, over and over again, with fluctuating intensity. And I mean that in a good way.


Les 3 Meres by David Nebreda

Les 3 Meres by David Nebreda

one drop

Insomnia by Sevgihan Soydan

Insomnia by Sevgihan Soydan


What follows is a selection from The Sacred Lost Tomes of The Ryan, the brief and terrible history of which is glossed over here and here.  A lysergic, funereal ode to insomnia and hallucinogen consumption, this piece of shit was written circa 2001, possibly not long after I dreamed I died.


one drop

i can’t sleep, but somehow?
-mygrain- (of) thoughts pulsing through my head
numb the pain, disappear for another day
i can’t feel, myself, no sensation to name,
empty inside, heart like a hole, head like a…THEN—
fever pitch rising, temperature rising, waters rising, cringing, rising
wave comes over me (canyouhearthatsweetsicklysound?)
and i rise to the level – KICKED in back of head –
and the race begins, not out to win but rather
careen out of control, yes i am lost in this madness
(but remember, you chose it) though not, yes…somehow comfort…
crying isn’t what it used to be, laugh through the deluge, but
in the end, who really knows? no state to think…
— where should you be?—

nowhere.

they say overthinking separates, but really….can I help it?

Insomnia by Kristie Holliday

Insomnia by Kristie Holiday


© 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 demons got my beautiful, loving daughter…” via The Washington Post

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Doris Fuller with daughter Natalie, 2004

Read “My daughter, who lost her battle with mental illness, is still the bravest person I know” by Doris A. Fuller on The Washington Post.

In case some of y’all don’t know, this “crazy emo brain cloud bullshit” kills motherfuckers.  This kind of story always hits home, because it makes me realize the potential consequences of my own suicidal ideation, and it makes things like the death of my brudder Branden come up fresh and new again. (A tale for another time…)

To paraphrase a friend, after every manic episode, every bout of deep depression, every nervous breakdown, every psychotic break, it becomes harder and harder to bounce back, to find your center again, to remember who you are. Some don’t make it back.

For those who may need them, below are a few links to resources for help in moments of crisis.  Please, if you need to, use them.  If you don’t, guaranteed someone you know does, so feel free to pass them along.  And keep your head up!  There’s plenty more ridiculous shit to experience. 😀

National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (US)
1-800-273-8255

National Crisis Services (US)

List of Suicide and Crisis Hotlines

Crisis and Suicide Hotlines (Canada)

International Suicide Prevention Lifelines

International Crisis and Suicide Hotlines

The so-called ‘psychotically depressed’ person who tries to kill herself doesn’t do so out of quote ‘hopelessness’ or any abstract conviction that life’s assets and debits do not square. And surely not because death seems suddenly appealing. The person in whom Its invisible agony reaches a certain unendurable level will kill herself the same way a trapped person will eventually jump from the window of a burning high-rise. Make no mistake about people who leap from burning windows. Their terror of falling from a great height is still just as great as it would be for you or me standing speculatively at the same window just checking out the view; i.e. the fear of falling remains a constant. The variable here is the other terror, the fire’s flames: when the flames get close enough, falling to death becomes the slightly less terrible of two terrors. It’s not desiring the fall; it’s terror of the flames. And yet nobody down on the sidewalk, looking up and yelling ‘Don’t!’ and ‘Hang on!’, can understand the jump. Not really. You’d have to have personally been trapped and felt flames to really understand a terror way beyond falling.”  — David Foster Wallace

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Image by Neo-Surrealism Art

Crazy Pills and Brain Storms

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I am going off my medication.

There are several reasons for this.  The first is the Perfect Storm I unwittingly rowed into.  Without going into too much detail, I ramped up the Crazy, quit my job, lost my insurance, all in the middle of finding out my doctor was retiring from patient practice. Without insurance or a job, I’ve been unable to get a new doctor or have my prescriptions refilled. With the Crazy running increasingly out of control, I’ve had trouble searching for a new job and have ruined the few potential opportunities that have come along. Perfect storm.

So, I’ve known for about a month that my prescription would be running out. I started taking half doses for the last couple weeks in an effort to wean myself off physical dependence. I did try every avenue I could think of to try and maintain these medications and to obtain medical advice, but the medical system in this country is still faulty and broken and plenty of people like me get dropped through the cracks. No biggie, it has happened before.

Regardless, getting off of these particular medications is something I feel I would have chosen to do even if not forced into it by circumstance. Events in my life of late have led me to a great deal of introspection and self-reflection. Certain psychological and emotional issues that I mistakenly assumed were extinct assembled in hordes below the surface before finally coming unleashed upon the world in horrible misery a couple of weeks ago. We’ve weathered the worst of it, I think, but that leaves the hard part: sifting through the wreckage.

What I am trying to say is, I have been looking back, tracing lineages, and introspectively dissecting my own history of madness to try and get at the sources, the core of what is housing and feeding these festering demonic creatures that insist on destroying everything I try to cultivate in my life.  While it is clear that my issues go back ages into the Ryan’s troubled and ancient history, I have truly come to believe that this psychiatric wonderdrug coarsing through my veins, while intended to help curb and treat the problem, has in fact only been compounding it.

Evidence of this is as follows. After having been off psychiatric meds for several years (following the previous meltdown), I finally got myself enrolled with medical insurance and back under treatment for anxiety and depression in the Spring of 2014. During the time I was without treatment or medication, I maintained by either self-medicating or isolating and “powering through.” Most days were okay. Some were bad. The worst were relatively few and far between, but are what drove me to get back under medical care.

Following the initial month of physical acclimation to new medication, during which the drug’s active properties build up to effective levels in your system, I started to feel pretty damn great! Some of the potential side-effects were potentially troublesome, but with Crazy pills they all potentially are. I remembered feeling some apprehension when I read about the difficult withdrawal symptoms patients have when stopping use of one of the drugs, but it seemed to be working so well that I decided the risk was worth it.

Unfortunately, the apparent effectiveness of the medications quickly tapered off, even declined. At first, I just assumed my body was acclimating to the drugs, and that what I was feeling was me growing accustomed to this newness, settling in to “normal.” Soon, however, I could tell I was doing worse. It was not long before my Crazy was back to the level I felt before starting treatment.

So, of course, I discussed this with my doctor. And, of course, the solution was to increase my dose. Makes sense. Everything followed in due course much as one would expect: the acclimation period; effectiveness; plateau; descent. It seemed my body was just too good at adjusting itself to new levels of drugs, my Crazy too proficient at adapting and overcoming. After all, I was an active drug addict for more than half of my life. I have tolerance, yo.

Again, I went to my doctor to discuss. Maybe at this point it was worth it to abandon this pharmaceutical cocktail and try something else, I thought. Unfortunately, I found my doctor in the last week of retiring from direct patient care. Apparently I had missed the notice in the mail. It was just my last bit of good luck that I called to schedule an appointment a few days before his last day. All he could do was refer me to a new provider and give me adequate refills to get through a three-month waiting period. New patient problems, yo.

In the meantime, while waiting until I could get on the panel of another medical provider, all hell decided to break loose in my brain. Confusion. Mania. Depression. Whirlwind of thoughts. Paranoia. Bewilderment. Anger. Violence. Defensiveness. Scorn. Anxiety. Lashing out. Self-loathing. Misanthropy. Suicidal ideation. Hallucination. Destructiveness. Ruin.

What started as a slow and gradual decline soon sled steeply into full-on maddening descent and downward spiral. I get the sense it was painfully slow and toilsome for the people around me. In here, subjectively, from my perspective, the whole thing happened so quickly I couldn’t even see or feel to get a grip until the worst of it was done. Hindsight and all that.

I woke up to find myself physically and mentally bruised and bleeding. Alone. Bridges torched, relationships in shambles. In my madness and loathing, in those moments of lashing out trying to stay afloat, I severed some vital ties that I fear in my darkest moments might never be mended. I found myself having dug in, burrowed, hidden myself below the surface of all beauty and magnificence. I had led myself to the lowest point yet in a pit of despair that had become so comfortable as to feel like home. I didn’t want out, subconsciously. And so I hurt everything, everyone that tried to lead me towards the light.

This Shadow has always been a part of me. It always will be. I made the mistake of believing I could separate from the darkness through sheer willpower and focus. I know now that belief is a fallacy. It is not about separating from the diseased parts of ourselves. It is about reconciling those parts of ourselves with the whole, with finding balance and harmony and seeking healing through the whole, the absolute, with becoming complete and not separating, dividing, or removing. Nothing will be gained with trying to cut diseased flesh from bone, with dividing or fracturing. It is about rebuilding.

In any case, I can see now that my issues extend outside and beyond the realm of pharmacological interactions or biological side effect. However, in looking back, in searching clues recovered from the wreckage of this latest subjective event horizon, it seems clear to me that the medication I have been on has not done me any favors. If anything, it felt like the medication was water on the Gremlin of my Crazy. I need to get back to a baseline, to find out what “normal” feels like for the Ryan at this point.

I feel like doing that is the only way to move forward.

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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.

The Crow, the Coyote, and the Butterfly

I had a dream last night centered on my longing and affection. Near the end of what I remember of the dream, a cawing raven flew over us meaningfully. It was nice.

Just now, walking the neighborhood with the Pack, a crow was calling to us from a nearby juniper. Once it got my attention and I turned my head, it flew, crying out, in an arc just over my head. It was this itself which brought back the memory of last night’s dream. Then, just down the road, we came within feet of a scared and injured coyote nestled in the bushes of an alley.

I may or may not have a history of perhaps partially drug-abuse induced brain damage and psycho-neurotic tendencies. But this means something.

this is Our World (wherein Our hero acknowledges and rejects your reality and proceeds to create His own)

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The Real Banksy
Banksy Goes Gaza

This is Our World. There are many like it, but this one is Ours. Our sky bleeds purple, and god is a chimpanzee train conductor in a top hat who shits Jolly Ranchers and carries a flask full of children’s tears. His name is Roger, but that’s not even his real name. Or FACE!

Patton Oswalt’s monkey god

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Also, we have snickerdoodles. They grow on doodlestalks here. I wonder if there are giants? I’d better go explore…. 😉

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Have you found Our Saviour The Ape of God?

© 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.

A melodramatic and introspective aside concerning the things that stay and those that stay with you…

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Here’s the poor, ignorant bastard with his head so far up his doppelganger’s ass in infinite dimensions that he only now realizes The Meadows are a test.  They are always a test; for those who call them home, the test becomes ingrained, a constant, unwavering embattlement between the Place, the demons, and the soul.

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For those just “passing through” — us Tourists, regardless of intent or purpose — the test is even more subjective; it is a breeze or a burrowing — a kiss or a fist — torture-tailored for and experienced only by the individual.  As it should be.

And this dumb motherfucker, for all of his showy verbose diction and ponderings of the cosmos, is too goddamn dumb to know he failed the Test. Dammit!

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Well…if yer gonna be dumb, yeh gotta be tough.  And also, study more. Otherwise you’ll just stay dumb. 🙂

“We all go down for the sacrificial moment
Crucifixion nails stain the bed of the holy.
Space thing blues diamond studded – sugar coated
Well, I am hell a miracle overloading…” – Rob Zombie

© 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.

psychotic rage poem on suicide and loathing

FUCKING HATE EVERYTHING.

no thoughts conjured
save for
rip my throat meat free
crimson saviour shower
watch the world
bleed out

perhaps this isn’t
“Normal.”

© 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.