The Crazies Manifesto

The Crazies Manifesto by Andrea Balt

  1. I will remember what it was like to be born, and all the beautiful things I used to point at before I could speak them. I’ll reinvent curiosity and memorize delight.
  2. I will forgive, because no one survives. I’ll keep the bruises but get rid of the blue. I’ll kiss my Judas back. (I have my own crosses to carry).
  3. I will believe in ghosts and fairy tales. And elves and science fiction. I won’t declare a world impossible until I’ve tried to build it with my hands and when my pulse shakes like a leaf, I’ll say sure, let’s, why not.
  4. I will fight with the sword of my tongue, not my fists. I’ll also fight with my silence and lips. And turn all my blood into metaphor and blossom my way into fierce cherry trees.
  5. I will love like it’s the end of the world and the house is on fire. And if it’s not, I’ll bring the matches. I’ll love even when I don’t, or when I lose, or when love’s fleeting like sunsets or thick like bone or long or heavy or boring like the book I’m never done reading and writing.
  6. I will live every day like it never happened before or like a tune to a song still unwritten. And I’ll record every hour on my face, and in this short-lived human dilemma, I’ll try to be in all my pictures, heartbeats, adventures and wrinkles.
  7. I will dream up my reality. I will not be reasonable or realistic. I’ll write sideways on lined paper and I’ll always put heart over matter and imagination over knowledge.
  8. I will create a thousand planets from scratch and then I’ll add them to the Milky Way so I can help expand the universe. I’ll make up a new language out of dust and come up with a hundred different ways to say your name.
  9. I will be honest rather than loyal. Because to get through the dark forests of life you need a lamp, not a shadow, and trust is not a blind soldier but the soul’s one and only chief of staff.
  10. I will be wild and untamed. I will believe in wolves. I’ll be insane, uncivilized, emotional and personal. And I will take the ring to Mordor even if I don’t know where Mordor is. I’ll be the child I left behind. I’ll be the door and key to me.
  11. And when I come to die, the only thing I will regret is leaving all my stories, unfinished, on your chest. But I should hope to live in such a way, that time would breathe me out and back into your lungs, until there’s no more me or you or words or why.

So this is for us….

… so this is for us.
This is for us who sing, write, dance, act, study, run and love
and this is for doing it even if no one will ever know
because the beauty is in the act of doing it.
Not what it can lead to.
This is for the times I lose myself while writing, singing, playing
and no one is around and they will never know
but I will forever remember
and that shines brighter than any praise or fame or glory I will ever have,
and this is for you who write or play or read or sing
by yourself with the light off and door closed
when the world is asleep and the stars are aligned
and maybe no one will ever hear it
or read your words
or know your thoughts
but it doesn’t make it less glorious.
It makes it ethereal. Mysterious.
Infinite.
For it belongs to you and whatever God or spirit you believe in
and only you can decide how much it meant
and means
and will forever mean
and other people will experience it too
through you.
Through your spirit. Through the way you talk.
Through the way you walk and love and laugh and care
and I never meant to write this long
but what I want to say is:
Don’t try to present your art by making other people read or hear or see or touch it; make them feel it. Wear your art like your heart on your sleeve and keep it alive by making people feel a little better. Feel a little lighter. Create art in order for yourself to become yourself
and let your very existence be your song, your poem, your story.
Let your very identity be your book.
Let the way people say your name sound like the sweetest melody.

So go create. Take photographs in the wood, run alone in the rain and sing your heart out high up on a mountain
where no one will ever hear
and your very existence will be the most hypnotising scar.
Make your life be your art
and you will never be forgotten.”

― Charlotte Eriksson

Falling Through

Words weep me
I fall like fat capsules of catastrophe
Down the cheeks of the Mind

I am purified in ways
I never thought I could find
Truths I never thought I would own

But still I am left silent
Still clinginging to the half-chewed bone
A ration meted out to me by Memory

Waking up isn’t always easy
Rewriting our Stories and history
Falling through cracks that appear from Nothing

Charleen Johnston
September 2008

Twisted and tampered

I’m twisted
and tampered
And feeling Pampered
by Life
This Night
This tribute to Light
is but a Face
Of the race I run
The case I’ve begun to sort thru
And contort to
And still the Sun shines thru
Like icing on the cake
That in my Womb I bake
With creativity at stake
For far too few
Understand
The clues
And wake and take the break
For Life is the Steak
And potatoes
Of the Days which grow
Through my labors

I take the Smile and
Fake senile
And pretend to Forget
That I Am
still Wet
Gleaming like sweat from the brow
Of the Holy Cow
Who Was
Slaughtered in Fear
Cooked
for our Dear who is Slave
To the Tears
That have Flooded before…
Knocked
down their doors
And
Dripped right through
The cracks in the Floor….

Peace
Is Sweet
And a Covert Operation
At best
Is less
Than a fatal test
Of the rest.

Charleen Johnston
2002

Breathe Deeply….

Take a deep breath , folks,21st century Fox
Poppin off the top of this metropolis, Mocks
Your intelligence and plays on your emotions
So easily led and Fed the poisonous potion
Of political devotion gift wrapped with Shock…
Take a Deep Breathe and be ready to surrender
All the Scripts that rip right thru this Dyin ember
….
Step away from the Line, step away from the Lies
Every single scene is a Set meant for your mind
A studio Setting created just for the blind
Adherence to the program that steers your Lives….

It’s not even abstract, not just metaphor…
A Literal Configuration of Lets Pretend Some More
Actors n Agents and Fictitious Stages
The masses addicted to social Graces from
Instagram faces in Media Contagion….

Bless Your hearts, my friends
Find your Center, Within
Everything else
Is a trick
Of the Lens

Charleen Johnston

1-7-21

Let your heart break

Photo by Kevin Stiles, model Jade Brannon, dress by Charleen Johnston

Let your heart break.
Let it bleed. Let it ache. Let all its pieces fall to the floor at your feet. Let the tears flow. Let yourself fall to your knees. Let the pain become physical.
Let yourself live in a way where your heart is allowed to be broken.
By this, I don’t mean put your heart in harm’s way and fail to care for its welfare. I don’t mean date people who are difficult to love and pretend it doesn’t matter when they throw you out like the day’s trash.
I don’t mean orchestrate your life in a way where your needs aren’t being met or you lack the feeling of love and support. I don’t mean neglect to put yourself first and position yourself as someone else’s proverbial punching bag.
I don’t mean choose self-destruction over self-construction.
What I mean is this: don’t be ashamed if you love hard and it falls apart. Don’t buffer the fact that your heart shattered to pieces. Don’t hide it, lie about it, shy away from it, or deny it.
Don’t avoid an important experience for fear that you’ll get hurt. Don’t look away from it when someone else is in pain, or when someone you love is suffering beyond your comprehension. Don’t mask it, ignore it, downplay it or try to escape from it.
Don’t think for a second that it is wrong for your heart to be breaking.
If your heart is broken — let it be broken.
Let it all fall apart.
Because there’s more than enough sorrow in this damn world that should, and will, eviscerate your heart.
I’m not just talking about your first love walking away, or your partner of 10 years deciding they want to be with someone else. I’m not just talking about losing a job or not getting into your college of choice.
I’m talking about things like watching a loved one die after months of suffering — or, on the other hand, having them die so suddenly you didn’t get the chance to say goodbye.
Losing a child that you loved more than anything, or losing a child before you had the opportunity to even get to know them.
Knowing that someone was abused, belittled and beaten because of the color of their skin or their sexual preference.
Finding out that someone who means the world to you has spent their whole life in a perpetual state of self-loathing.
Watching someone slowly die from the inside out and being utterly unable to change it.
Loss, destruction, inequality, unforgivable acts of violence, unimaginable amounts of pain — you’re never at a loss for reasons to be heartbroken.
And you have to let it in; you have to let the hurt come through. Because trust me: it’ll only eat you from the inside out if you don’t.

Let yourself feel the pain.
Pain changes you. It transforms you. It softens you and hardens you at the same time.
It breeds wisdom and humility. It puts things into perspective. It allows you to feel more empathy and compassion. It heightens your standards and lowers your guard.
You’ll never be the same; you’ll never go back to who you were before the breakdown, and that’s on purpose. That’s how it’s supposed to be.
It means you’ve grown. It means you cared about someone or something enough to get hurt. It means you put your precious heart into the way you live and love and approach significant situations in your life.
It means it all meant something. ⠀
If you’ve ever caught a glimpse of death, and just a tiny glimpse will do, you’ll know that none of the other shit matters. The status, the achievement, the money, the need to keep impressing people you don’t even know — none of that means one iota in the larger scheme of things.
The only thing that truly matters is that you loved and that you loved hard. And when you put your heart on the line, it opens itself up, and it also gets beat up. That’s how it all works.
That also means you’re doing something right.
Keep going.

~Shannon Leigh

Freshly Fingered Fabrics

Art by Vali Meyers

Freshly fingered fabrics
lapse into gentle silence,
those fraudulent fabrications
that twist into violence
and disappear
have dragged tear by tear
down my cheek registered fear
among all but the meak
The brave, they say, is
the true slave
to fantasy…..But I
pledge myself to anonymity
suffering gently these
sweet thorns that are born
from trying too hard
from crying too loud
aching and waking and forsaking
the crowds
sweet appraisal;
The damsel is silent, in distress
underdressed in her amnesty…
this distant hypocrisy
forgets me
and I swerve to define this
line of my observations
this truth of my inner nation
proclaiming itself to be
free
mired in mud
transpired in blood
higher than the seers
who predicted the flood.
Babble on….sweet priest
deceive the ignorant on the streets
of Babylon
anoint your tampon and slide in
to plug up
the slut of your ideology
to stop the flow
of connection of energy
from the heart of god
to the god of Earth
who whispers secrets
in the form of Birth.

{Charleen Johnston 11.27.2002}

Broken Through

Becoming one with this itch, I scream
silently pointing fingers of blame
mirror mazes blazes back at me
with glaring intensity
I scratch; hide from the faces
that hatch within this mould,
folding in on me; becoming me
in some sick dream…wearing
my masks and laughing
till my words spill chaotically
trying hurriedly to heal
the split; duality disappearing
with Light embracing Dark,
a dance of essence…
and I am reformed,
consciously;
I take the fake parts and hearts
and tear them apart
to reveal the Real,
the healing taking place between
this world and this dream
the great arc, the great bowl
with which my fever is fed,
this empty vessel fuelling
fire in my head;
I am held; they drink of me
like a wine sweet;
the intoxication of the beast;
listen, dear sir…would you care
to cleave this belief with me,
turn it into dichotomy?
Ah, there’s the secret, the sane
hand with which I claim
this land, this realm…
splitting hairs for fear of
Life, reconciled in the wiles
of the worm; earth furnished
and tarnished to term…
faded…outmoded…games played
with translucent trust…
am I breaking apart, fading away
claiming only the name of
the game, but suffering the
flame like all the rays
that have manifest here
since the Dawn?

~Charleen Johnston 2005

Odd to Self Righteousness

everywhere I look, everywhere I see
the darkest of darkness peeking out
from a cracked vessel trying to Be

woman turns on man, sister on brother
pointing fingers gnarled snarls
condemning one another

the great Web, tangled souls, human mess
terrified Minds , shouting mouths
convinced of their own righteousness

lost in the labyrinth of mental tricks
blaming each other for tocs and tics
forgetting that flesh and heart and blood
mean more than media falsehoods

Ideologies and Isms created as schisms
which one do you belong to?
hate your brother your father your mother
unless they agree with you ?

We are all the same here, we are all in the Tear
that falls further each day
from the Eye that seems to look the other way

so close your Screen, stop tapping keys
open your heart, try to see
youve been tricked into hating
your Human Family

As long as the Hatred blinds the Fearer
You are the same as your Neighbor
Staring in the Mirror

“Spy vs. Spy, baby’s a freak show
Lines form just to the right of your keyhole
Eyes from the paintings seem to follow
Mirrors cap both ends of your telescope.”

Charleen Johnston 1/25/17

The TerraFractal

….the eye of the hurricane is on its way, to ransack and flapjack
the core of all our brains, speeding up the rate at which we perceive the
perforation, the fate of which could rip and tear a nation, a station, a
fusion of minds incoherent redundant grasping for meaning but dormant
fleeing the feeling of torment peeling the rots from the dealings and
knots from the zealous run leper run

run leper run its all just for fun
on a level so deep its not understood does it make it less
Real
does it make it less concrete does it make it worth
the run the gun the gripping of the sun in attempt to hide defeat

SMILE on the periphery it is a storm, a chaos, an insistence on resistance
but at the core, it’s unchanged, it neverwas and neverwillbe, and neveris,
but still
existing giving us the balance to create
lands in time hands in line to co create with malleable laws

implicate order enfolded within each explicate experience
shooting out from the source in fractals of difference and intensity
and vibration and density till the impulse reaches completion
loses its thrust coarsens its vibration yet mimics the One
and then begins its evolution back to the Within with all the
cohesion of experience and lessons and soulsparks and
mouldings holding on to Awareness as it ascends
back to the heart of the hologram to enrich the totality
of all that is
with each divine perspective as it returns
and ReTurns the wheel as the cycle continues
and spins out again
the impulsion the force the flickering light of
love to enforce the dynamic dance of desperate
dreams……………

charleen johnston 2004