Tootsie Roll Pop

It’s structured like an Aesop fable.
Boy asks cow behind a fence.
Boy asks fox on a rock with Stevie Wonder sunglasses.
Boy asks turtle with old man spectacles and raspy experienced voice.
Boy asks owl on a branch of a tree with graduate mortar board cap and tassel.

Awakening with a childhood advertising fable on the mind.
God knows why or how.
Images from the past creeping in through the seams of sleep.
And the pop wrappers look like ghosts over the sweet round, global candies.

Change for me, says the God within you.
Could you be a screenwriter? Yes.
Could you be a poet giant? Yes.
Could you paint like Van Gogh? Yes.
Could you embrace a writhing, filthy world that doesn’t embrace you? Yes.
Can you love the apocalypse now? Yes.
You can die within the madness and be born again of the spirit.
That’s your mission.
Show them how to die gracefully.

Can you make a Mona Lisa that’s a skeleton? Yes.
Can you paint that smile in bone? Yes.
Do you dare imagine your own death? Yes.
Are you alive? Is anyone? Are you asleep? Is everyone?
Are you awake?
Who are you who thinks in terms of awake and asleep?

Why does a challenge of flavor wake you up?
Why is cinnamon a stimulant?

How many licks does it take to get to the center of a Tootsie Roll Pop?

A genius, unknowing perhaps, all-knowing perhaps, crafted that iconic little TV commercial.
And it could have been some kind of 1970s harbinger.

How many licks?
Something hard.
Something sweet.
Something with a chunk of shit in the middle.
A little sweet Tootsie Roll under hard candy.
Something to get at that’s just more sugar.
But it’s sweet and it’s different and it chews,
and you can stop licking and get your teeth into it.

There are shortcuts to the hard candy.
You don’t have to lick and go slow.
You can chomp away and get to the chocolate fraud roll in the middle sooner.

The philosopher owl does so.
He’s the role of the scholar and wise man.
He caves in to temptation and crunches through the hard candy.
He’s looking for truth, but there’s only soft, taffy-ish candy in there.
A piece of industrial chew.

And worse yet.
There’s nothing after the Tootsie.
There’s a worn out little stick and no more eating.
A stick made of rolled up paper.
You unravel it like a scroll.

Finally, just your sweetened mouth and the end of an experience.
Wonder what that owl says and does when that discovery arises.

For the candy company – the world, the stage, the larger organization that makes sweet things –
the hope and game is for you to buy more mysterious pops.

But the mystery is gone, especially if you’re wiser than the owl.
Who by the way has affect that’s kind of dumb.
Kind of airhead silly.
He’s drunk or stoned or goof-balled in some way.
He sounds old and baffled.
And he has some kind of silly giggle to him.

So is the character you play.
Stay with me.
That silly character participates in delusion.
But what a sweet delusion it is.
To know when you participate in delusion.
There’s a life strategy.
Recognizing your participation in games of hope, savor, anticipation, want, sweet pursuit.
To know that and even cultivate those feelings is good –
as long as you know you’re just a cartoon owl character.

I prayed for clarity.
And I received in the form of a memory of an owl.
An old silly owl from a cartoon advertisement between cartoon fables in an afternoon as a child.
We loved that goofy owl.

So no.
You are not the company that makes pops.
You are not the owl – the silly made up character made of animation and painted lines.
Though you are both.
You craft your sweetness and your experience, and you sell both to the waking and unawakened world.
You are a wild dancer who appreciates sweet experience.

And that owl demands a number.
He wants science.
He needs to know how many licks until he gets to something different.
How much time and effort until he can see change?
But he’s hasty.
He’s impatient.
And you are him.
The sweets are here.
You need not time everything that’s all here now.
Experiences are selected for you.
It’s your job to follow them through.
You are patient.
You animate the owl.
You find the sweetness.
You choose or don’t choose to count the licks.
You are all of it.

“The world may never know.”