TEMPLE OF MAN by Gerry Fialka  - Venice BeachHead Feb2020

Robert Alexander (1923-1987), also known as Bob and "Baza" was a poet, collagist, printer, assemblage artist and ordained priest from Venice, California. He hung out with Charlie Parker, Lord Buckley and Slim Gaillard. Alexander founded the Temple of Man in 1960 in San Francisco, moving it to his home (1439 Cabrillo Ave) in Venice in 1968. The Temple served as a meeting place for artists, poets, and musicians including George Herms, Marsha Getzler, Ed Kienholz, Wallace Berman, Eric Alhberg, Stuart Z. Perkoff, Tony Scibella, Frank T. Rios and Philomene Long, who held free weekly yoga classes.

Alexander's maxim: "In all this, persons come first. None of the above is to be construed as a rule or regulation. Humanness always comes first!" radiated at the 60th anniversary party on January 11, 2020 at Beyond Baroque.

Here's an unedited transcript of my presentation: "Let Us Pry? NoThing" by Gerry Fialka

Nothing is over or under
Things is
And then we change
We think ourselves as we were
What is we now  - Phil Whalen

Sister, Brother can you paradigm? Thanks to our host George Herms for hoicking up the Phil Whalen poem in the invite to this gathering . . . so in the Temple, Let Us Pry. Phil said, "This poetry is a picture of a mind moving, which is a world body being here and now which is history . . . and YOU !" We are HERE NOW writing a detailed history of the future, IN HONOR OF Ram Dass (whose lieberry card is over due cause he's floating in dis room past due his 3 daze of lingering ala the Tibetian Book of the Dead). LET US BE HEAR NOW !!! Consciously please take in a breath, 1 - 2 - 3, breath in (pause - the gap is where the action is) and RELEASE, ahhhh!!! Buddhist consciousness is alive. Frank Zappa said a "true Zen saying . . . Nothing is what I want." He prompted audience partiSEEpation. So in honor of the Occupy Movement's human microphone and the call & response tradition, I will say the line and please repeat it out loud.

me= Nothing is what I want.
everyone= Nothin is what I want.

Let's try another...
me= we started out with nothing, and still have most of it left
everyone= we started out with nothing, and still have most of it left

And another from Fluxus Dick Higgins:
me= Starting with nothing is a good way to get somewhere
everyone= Starting with nothing is a good way to get somewhere

Thank you, let's keep this interactive:
Raise your hand if you can forget to die?

Manga writer Ohba says, "All humans will, without exception, die. Afterwards, they go to MU (nothingness)." "I only believe in reincarnation in one of my past lives." That's from another EYEcon who just went to the comedy club in da sky - PAUL KRASSNER. He taught me this joke:  Two kids are playing baseball. The batter looks to the sky and pleads, "Please god, let me hit a home run." And then the pitcher says, "Please god, let me strike him out." The clouds part and god's voice yelps, "YOU SUPERSTITIOUS FOOLS ! "

Symbolist Paul Valery wrote, "God made everything out of nothing, but the nothingness shows thru." In honor of Buck Henry's question to me: "Is this leading to something?" Yes it tiz . . . Ireland and James Joyce. Ladies first. Lady Morgan, Irish novelist, wrote:
Nothing's new
Nothing's true
Nothing matters

Evoking Dada. When Don Van Vliet (Captain Beefheart) was asked what he thought of Joyce, he responded, "Joyce who?"

Again please . . . human microphone for Don's poem:
The stars are matter
We are matter
But it doesn't matter

Firesign Theater: Everything you know is wrong.

Hear's a quickie update from cliche to archetype. We can actualize the "abnihilization of the etym" (James Joyce's words for making something out of nothing). For over 25 years our Marshall McLuhan - FINNEGANS WAKE Reading Club has read two pages of James Joyce once a month with fiery discussion in ah babel of words. 

I posted a flyer in the lobby to encourage your involvement. It had testimonies from Sam Beckett, Joan Didion and ESPecially Philip K Dick and Patti Smith. Five Hi-Skool students responded and continue to attend. They contribute refreshing input. Youth RE-evolution. 

Again Finns, WAKE ! Please do join us first Tuesdaze. It is literally possible to flip a rejection into a redirection. Turn a breakdown into a break through.

Word is the most universal and addicting drug. If we study the hidden effects of our inventions, we can cope with what we don't like bout'em and cope. I may be a failure, but I am not a miserable failure. Success may be in our trying to go to the TEMPLE again. And like all of us, perhaps there will be an occasion - maybe RIGHT NOW - when we'll look up from what we are doing and listen to the distant music of a calliope and hear the voices and laughtears of the people and places of our pasts. AND perhaps, there'll flit a little errant wish, that we may not have to become old, never outgrow the parks and the merry-go-rounds of our youth.

And we can smile and know it is just an errant wish, some wisp of memory, some laughing ghosts that cross the mind of Phil Whalen, when he asked "How do you like your world?"

Great question, Phil, I don't wanna ruin it with an answer. Thank you.
(Inspired by Finnegans Wake, Rod Serling and Everybody for hosting! )

S.A. Griffin, who MC'd the poetry reading, added: 
"If you meet Buddha on the road, kill him with kindness. Yes, now is the only place anyone ever can be, altho our thoughts are always fishing forward and casting back, now is the mystery train that keeps on track and on time. Just have to be at the station to get on board. It is never a question of when, but rather, a matter of now. Nothing matters, and it is all a matter of choice and no matter how much we know, we know nothing. We are no nothings. Don't ask "when," get your ticket punched "now." Always room, always waiting, and the train never stops. Nothing is what we want, everything is what we get.

If the universe is abundant, it is abundant for one reason only: by cosmic design everything in the universal hinges on economy.

Never know where you are going and you will always get there.

We are always at our best.

Easy to be young, and no matter how old, the good always die too young." 

++++ Be sure to read the article Humanness Always Comes First by Kate Wolf, East Of Borneo online magazine, 3-14-12 https://eastofborneo.org/articles/humanness-always-comes-first/ AND check the photo by Lyle Mayer