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The Cat's Maw by Brooke Burgess

The Cat's Maw

by Brooke Burgess

Giveaway ends November 09, 2014.

See the giveaway details at Goodreads.

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RIP: ‘Of Endings and Enlightenment’ (RE-POST)

(I’m breaking with the usual distractions to feature not only a ‘mindful’ side – meditation practice – but also to honour one of my most treasured personal influences.   Joanne Telfer passed away in Sept 2008, and I haven’t spoken of it publicly since.  I hope you’ll do me the kindness of enduring this lengthy and somewhat maudlin post for the sincere revelations within.   And please…feel free to share with anyone you think might benefit from the telling.  Many thanks, BB)

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This hurts.  

So much so that I don’t want to be here anymore. 
All I can think is that I’d rather be with you.  Wherever that is.
You’d probably just mock me, and call it a ‘cop-out’.
I haven’t suffered anything compared to you.
But you only need to see it once, remember?
You only need to know that it’s real…
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It seemed like a grand idea at the time.  Self-discovery!  Personal improvement!  Spiritual progression!  Ten days at a remote Buddhist retreat in southeast Thailand.  Eighteen hours each day to focus on ‘mindfulness’, in whatever task was assigned.

The wake-up bell at 4AM.  Using candlelight to wash and dress oneself.   Bare feet on cold, wet grass.  Orion’s jewelled belt pointing the way through the jungle from a sky made of black velvet.

The sexes sit on opposite sides of the sand-floored sala.  This divide persists for the duration.  Separate dorms.  Dining areas. Walking paths.  Eye contact is discouraged.  A deeper, deafening silence.

And then the day truly begins…

Meditation.
Yoga.
Monk lecture.
Rice soup and (fly-covered) fruit.
Monastic chores. (sweeping for me)
Meditation.
Zen Walking.
Monk lecture.
More rice.  Vegetables.  A cooked rice ‘dessert’.  More flies.
Thermal springs (oh yes)
Meditation.
Monk lecture.
Zen Walking.
Meditation.
Tea.
Meditation.
Zen walking.
Meditation.
Lock-down.

A rush for the communal toilets.  The sound of 40 men, dressed in coloured sarongs, ladling water over their heads and shoulders in unison. Slapping and scratching at hundreds of insect bites.  Grunting and flatulating behind thin wooden doors.  Gasping in frustration and disgust at having to ‘tidy one’s business the Indian way’.

Candles again to navigate a 2x3m cell with concrete bed, barred window, mosquito netting, bamboo mat, and…wait for it…a wooden pillow.  If you’re lucky, then your room affords a slight breezy balm to humid 30C+ nights.  If you’re not – if you’re cursed with Karma like mine – then you’re adjacent to the latrine, the air deathly still, with a spider the size and hirsuteness of a kitten clutching a pulsing egg-sack a few feet above your face.

Somehow you drift.  Somehow peace finds you on the slab. Somehow, sleep swallows you whole.

We raise a glass and dine as ghosts in the belly of a dreaming whale…

missle-head-bell-1

The bell.

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They call her Cookie

But that’s not her true name

As anyone with a cat knows

We give them names like collars

With shiny bells to announce their comings and goings

But there’s so much more 

Beneath the matted fur, and pained hips, and failing insides

To a creature such as this

Behind emerald eyes

I feel the wild lion’s gaze

Beneath heavy paws

I hear the hunter’s approach

Between hungry jaws

I see the fate of a thousand mice

And before she leaves this world

Before she purrs and cries her last upon your lap

Before she slinks into the Shadowlands

Maybe she’ll whisper it to you

Her true name

Then you will know not to grieve

Because she will stalk you ever after

And find you in your dreams

NATO Envoy: Military Planning Against Iran and Syria is Underway :

anti-propaganda:

‘The grand chessboard is in play.

Last month we reported that the Pentagon has issued a warning order to ‘Prepare for War’.

According to Dmitry Rogozin, Russia’s envoy to NATO, it’s not just Israel and the Pentagon that are getting ready to expand the middle east theater:

Rogozin said in an interview with Russia’s Izvestia daily newspaper published on Friday that the NATO was pursuing a long-reaching goal of preparing an attack on Iran, adding that the alliance intends to change governments whose views do not coincide with those of the West.

“The noose around Iran is tightening. Military planning against Iran is underway. And we are certainly concerned about an escalation of a large-scale war in this huge region,” Rogozin added.

The Russian envoy further pointed out that Syria and later Yemen could be NATO’s last steps on the way to launch an attack on Iran.

This comes as there are speculations that Israel is preparing for an attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities to divert attention from Palestinian efforts to join the United Nations.

Source: Press TV (August 6, 2011)

If Russia is to be believed (and be assured that Mr. Rogozin would not be giving interviews without prior consent from Mr. Putin and President Medvedev) the missile defense shield being built by the EU is designed not to defend against missiles from Iran, but to prepare for an attack: 

Washington has said its nuclear missile defense plans were designed to prevent any possible missile strikes from Iran or North Korea.

“The missile defense system is not purely a defensive system,” envoy Dmitry Rogozin said. “There are serious and authoritative experts in Russia and in other countries who fear that the creation of a European missile defense system, officially assigned the task of blocking a threat from Iran, may in fact be a pretext for preparing an attack on Iran.”

Source: Ria Novosti (July 28, 2011)

Since 2001 Western nations have continued to expand their prescence in the region, and with the events in Egypt, Tunisia, Libya and other nations it’s becoming clear that not only is World War III on the horizon, we may very well be involved in it right now.

Tension is building, and as the economic, financial and political woes in the US come to a head, we can fully expect blame to be shifted, in one form or another, to Iran and others who will be deemed hostile to world peace and the safety of the United States.

Iran is in play, but first Syria and Yemen may need to be addressed. Rogozin claims that this, too, is becoming reality:

NATO is planning a military campaign against Syria to help overthrow the regime of President Bashar al-Assad with a long-reaching goal of preparing a beachhead for an attack on Iran, Russia’s envoy to NATO Dmitry Rogozin said.

The UN Security Council condemned on Wednesday ongoing violence in Syria and urged the country’s authorities to stop using force against peaceful protesters, while saying the current situation in the country has not yet called for NATO interference.”

[This statement] means that the planning [of the military campaign] is well underway. It could be a logical conclusion of those military and propaganda operations, which have been carried out by certain Western countries against North Africa,” Rogozin said in an interview with the Izvestia newspaper published on Friday.

Source: Ria Novosti (August 5, 2011)

We can ignore this as pure speculation and conjecture, or we can consider that this is how World Wars have started in the past. The chess pieces moved around on the board for over a decade before World War I became reality. The same was true for World War II.

What we may be witnessing now is the prelude to a third war that will encompass most of the world. If Iran is attacked it is difficult to predict how the Chinese and the Russians will respond, but considering their position on Libya, they won’t be happy about it.

Couple that with trillions in their reserves that will be hyperinflated away and the battle for critical resources like oil, water and food, and we have a recipe for disaster.’

Game of Thrones, indeed…

(via amodernmanifesto)