Excerpt From my play “Cyclops”

Art by Noah Mann-Engel

“Sadness”. Art by Noah Mann-Engel

[Scene: A field of peppers near a town in rural Valencia. There is a barn and a wagon piled with sacks of peppers. Two people, one old man, one young woman, are bent over picking peppers together]


Carlos: I think we will end up doubling our yield, at least, over last year. And Espelettes are popular in the trade market. I love the smell of the dirt. It is familiar.


Eulalia: It’s not at all familiar to me. I had never thought of myself as a farmer, never even planted a flower, before this past season. I was always in town, with my father, hawking his silver pieces.


Carlos: He was a silversmith, your father?


Eulalia: He was. A good one. Made the cases of pocket watches and cigarette cases mostly, but he would sell his more artistic pieces, the moldings and the engraved rings, at least twice a week, out in the market. It was just me and him most days and that was fine.


Carlos: So you were assigned a farming trade against your will? That does not seem like the act of an anarchist…


Eulalia: No, you misunderstand; I chose a farmers trade. I wanted to be away from the market.


Carlos: It bothered you


Eulalia: The men were all hard working, or so it seemed, but half or more colluded to keep prices high, and my father was at the head of a craft union that would not hire socialists or radicals. It was something that made me hate my father, and I think he hated himself.


Carlos: That’s the way of the market I suppose


Eulalia: Yes. He went bankrupt a few years ago when the silver market imploded. Or so he says. I think he just spent too much of his money on his mistresses. Either way we were suddenly poor. So instead of marrying some idiot middle aged merchant I and popping out 6 children I chose to be a farmer. I am still only 18, so I can afford the time to struggle a bit in learning my new trade. I just want to be of some use. Conning status starved men of their meager wages was not something I was prepared to settle for.

Carlos: You don’t sound like a radical


Eulalia: I don’t think I ever said I was a radical


Carlos: if you are against the Nationalists, you are a radical.


Eulalia: Then I am a radical. I am not a dogmatist though.

Carlos: Not much dogma in picking peppers.


Draft of “Capitalism in its Last Days”

art by Noah Mann-Engel

art by Noah Mann-Engel

The following is an excerpt from an essay I am working on about the end of capitalism. Enjoy!


We forget, often and with deleterious consequences for the public intellectual exchange, that capitalism, or, a system designed for or in sympathy with an economy of exchange of goods for services and the requisite institutions private and public thereof, has no ideological leaning. Systems of capitalism, first colonial, then industrial, and now digital as well as industrial, have always sought to ingratiate themselves with the powers that be, so to speak. Capitalist economies have survived, and even thrived, under republican, democratic socialist, authoritarian and even totalitarian regimes. The pursuit of wealth in material forms as well as in the form of stock, cash, and credit, seems to be a uniquely human disorder. It is telling that in the mind of many a human there is a moment of consideration of making a profit by destroying human life before one comes to ones senses. Capitalism, in the form it inevitably takes when it is hindered only by the most token of regulation, is an economic philosophy of the sociopath and for the sociopath.

This is not in and of itself a bad thing; no product of human thought is “bad” or “good”. There is only relative consequences, for good or evil, that stem from people acting consciously or unconsciously in service of a philosophy. But history and the very structure and morality of capitalism in the real world show that capitalism allows far too many avenues for those who wish to exploit others for profit to do so. At the moment in the United States a conservative and proto-fascistic political party known as the Republicans represent the interests of capital. But it was not always this way. Capitalism benefited under the rule of such liberal paragons as FDR and JFK. Capitalism is an ideological chameleon, metamorphosing from one political shade to another, depending on circumstances.

Middle East, Politics

The End of the Conflict Must Start Now


I consider myself a cultural Jew. Someone who feels a close and growing affinity for this religious cum cultural tradition. I must be clear from the start. I do not believe in god, God, or gods or great spirits or unmoved mover or prophets or massiahs or gurus. The Old Testament is 95% vile and misogynistic bullshit, 2% passable to genius poetry, and 3% philosophical exploration of psychology through mythological tropes. It is that 5% together that makes the Jewish theological foundation, like the majority of Sikhism (my personal favorite religious theology) and elements of early Buddhist philosophy, essential to human art, law, culture, and modes of thought. I wish I were a Jew sometimes, in the sense that I wish I had that deep cultural tradition, a shared sense of philosophy and community. It is compelling, and at its best, beautiful. There really are too many Jewish geniuses to be listed in one sort political tract, but I must acknowledge the genius of whomever wrote the Song of Solomon, the creators of Klezmer music, Larry David, Jerry Seinfeld, the Mendelssohn siblings, the Marx Bros., Kirk Douglas…and on I could could for paragraphs. The world, which, has taken so much from the Jewish people and humanity, owes the Jewish people an incalculable debt. I love Jewish culture and the Jewish people.

Which is why it is Ironic, then, that I will most likely be denounced by many as an “anti-semite” (a terrible and in many cases completely deserved condemnation) for what I am about to say:

The United States should support an amendment in the United Nations (such as it is now with the current permanent member veto charade) calling on any nation that considers itself “free” or “humane” to send peace keeping officers, health and mental healthcare personnel, and a court of inquiry into charges of crimes against humanity committed by the Government of Israel through its racist and xenophobic colonizing laws and executed by its military arm the Israeli Defense Force (IDF). Jerusalem should be made into an internationally protected and neutral city, with equal right of access to those of all religions, philosophies, and creeds. There will be no weapons allowed in Jerusalem. A truth and reconciliation commission will be established to allow for a process of regional and cultural healing. The Palestinian people will be allowed to travel and live freely throughout what is now known as Israel and the same goes for the Jewish people still living there. Jews will be allowed unlimited emigration to the region of Palestine with the understanding that all people must live together and as political and social equals. Israel/Palestine will be an international protectorate policed and defended by a UN force headed by soldiers from the 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council amounting to no more than 20,000 soldiers and 5000 Military Policemen at any one time. The military element of the protectorate will be headed on a revolving basis by an independent council of retired officers from the armed forces of each of the 5 permanent members of the UN Security Council. The people of Israel/Palestine are free to leave the state or enter it at will, and each permanent resident over the aged 16 or older would be eligible to vote for representatives to a regional assembly to govern regional economic, social, cultural, and healthcare concerns. A local police force composed of members of all of the ethnic and religious groups of the region will be maintained. All political and military prisoners on either side will be unconditionally released.

This is a beginning. Only a beginning. This is not about Jews. This is not about Palestinians or Muslims or Christians. This is about fascism, racism, and injustice. This is about a festering sore on humanity, the conflict of the Monotheisms in the Levant, must come to an end. Now. Let us have a Middle East that can truly embody the blessing

ברכת הבית:
בזה השער לא יבוא צער.
בזאת הדירה לא תבוא צרה.
בזאת הדלת לא תבוא בהלה.
בזאת המחלקה לא תבוא מחלוקת.
בזה המקום תהי ברכה ושלום.

Dukkha/Weightier Than Mount Tai



aye aye

there is a thorne

in my foot

it bleeds

and I have to pluck it out

and it bleeds more



it clots


Sun Yat Sen

and then the Generalissimo

these are the leaders we get before

the Red Emperor

a bourgeois nationalist revolutionary

and a beer hall putsch wannabe

20 years of bland protestant incompetence

and then

the programed life

of leaps




a beggar

was throwing coins into the brush

the Buddha came over and retrieved the coins and

brought them back to the beggar

and the beggar wept and thanked him for his generosity

and then he returned to throwing coins into the brush

Civil rights



50 years ago today

Blood and tears

ran on the Edmund Pettus Bridge

The people gathered

would not give way

to the false might

of segregation and reactions

John Lewis earned his red badge of courage

that day

a broken skull from a

Selma Police Man’s baton

they can’t beat you with words or reason

so they beat you with sticks and stones

march across the bridge

one man, one woman, one vote

that is the promise

that is the mission

the rights are yours

take them!

show the racists

and the conservatives

and the reactionaries

that their beliefs

their hate

is not welcome in this

land of ours

brave souls marched in Selma

were trampled underfoot

by terrified men with small hearts

and smaller minds

one man, one woman, one vote

Can you hear their voices raised in song?

Can you hear their feet on the pavement?

Can you hear them, Congress?

Well, can you?


Paramartha/The Manchu Begin to Lose their Grip on the Mandate of Heaven


The Buddha is in the sky

and he is blue like the sky

but I can see him smile


the Qianlong Emperor

of the illustrious and powerful

middle kingdom

has taken our family


curse him

let the mandate

be alien to him


The Lamas sing

in the mountains

so high

up that their lungs


from lack

of air

find refuge under the tree

away from the sun

away from the stinging wind

and from pain

Buddha will smile

and laugh

at your revelation


the foreign devils

have returned

and they have more

flower oil

to beguile my peasants

so that they leave the fields


they mean to starve the

Great Qin

by sowing madness

in my peasants

So we will send the


after them


you sought


but there were only

more questions

and confusions

Mara is dancing in the flower



Lin Zexu served the

Daoguang Emperor





“the barbarians have no

shame, and poison

a better nation and people

into defeat

the barbarians’ is a purloined victory

Buddhism, poetry

The Khan is in Tibet/Samyaksambuddha


‘brug banner

zing skya scales

grinning and bald

under the hooves of small horses

The Khan of all

between the two oceans


Mara bleeds into my eyes and

screams into my chest

a breath smelling of


and it is so hard to resist


The banner of the horse tails


reigns triumphant

the tumens

roam the roads

the beat into the dirt

I look to the west and see only their empire

I look to the East and the North and the South

and I see only their empire



nettles and thirst

blasting heat

like Mara belching fire

the air shimmers

and the beggars

sitting lotus




I strive




is a appendage

of the


who possess

the Mandate

of heaven


and now his illustrious successor