Because the centre cannot hold, everything screwed up, falling apart, I saw the best minds go two rounds then throw in the towel while the worst are full of irrational exuberance, jacked for the 100 Year War against the poetic imagination. Behold illegal land grabs, regard fire sale resource exhaustion, eyeball the global caramel popcorn meltdown. All is one big hairy beast slouching down Memory Lane, a cheese-covered cornball colossus chomping Long March revolutionary beernuts, minestrone meatball messiahs to prophesy the Second Coming of the opening act: Saigon/Baghdad Pussies Breakdancing On A Hot Tin Jihad. Surely some Breaking News is at hand. Is Christ returning, Jaweh making another comeback on clouds of dry ice, Mohammed boogying to the smell of napalm in the morning? Or is the Beast of the Apocalypse bringing high heat, shaking the very foundations of the New Franco-American Century, undermining our faith in Empire, destroying confidence in star-spangled canned spaghetti? According to the latest poll numbers, most fine upstanding citizens would prefer to torture the bellhop rather than see their children blown up by a nuclear suitcase bomb. Send us your opinion. Email brain-wave to Paris Hilton dot com. A CNN partner hotel. Its a long train of associations stopped for martinis and beernuts at a desert Hilton. External visions and madness whirl around, while all about reel indignant drunken poetasters. In 66 Ginsberg heard soldiers say: Better fight em over there than here. Iron Horse troopers drinking beer, gnawing beernuts, believing: Were in too deep to pull out; if we lose, theres no stopping the Chinese communists. In 2006 looney White House Mouseketeers rerun Vietnam cartoon logic: Better fight camel jockeys in Iraq sandbox than Las Vegas casino blackjack pit. General Curtis Lemay wannabes threaten Pistol-Packin Pakis with Danang magic carpet ride: Support bin Laden Easter egg hunt or get bombed back to Rolling Stone Jurassic Sirloin Age. I am leading a quiet life in Tokyo, every day watching hollow-eyed blue suits drag tired asses through salaryman streets. I was a Calgary boy. I was raised in the basement without picking up good vibrations. I had dirty thoughts on Wednesday, went to confession on Friday. Saturday I mowed the lawn, went to Mass on Sunday. I waited for life to begin and I still am. I am watching the world mess get messier by the minute. I am hoping for the collective consciousness to make a u-turn and not get a ticket. I want to watch tv news and believe what I see. To hit a fly ball and not get caught. Yes. I grew up downstairs with eternal torment. Without poetry and Rimbaud. I failed to see smoke rise to heaven or wealth explode like a billion thunderbolts. I saw ten thousand cowboy hats riding across dried-up prairie. I heard beady- eyed funny-money preachers thumping arid Bibles. I listened to Vince Scully as Kerouac went On The Road To Bali with Bob Hope and Bob Dylan crooning Blue Suede Revolutionary Blues. I survived Kraft Dinner, Catholic boys school and the Calgary Herald. No Absinthe, Sartre or sidewalk cafes. Severely lacking jazz, chop suey, mystical insight. And so I left The Friendly City. Slouched out of Cowtown, determined to find The Real Thing. Spent fruitless years circling the academic rubber chicken circuit Constantly risking absurdity. Asking about lawnmowers, the Bomb, the price of center-cut porkchops. Around and around. Up and down. Until I came to the holy city of Tokyo. Yes. I am leading a quiet life in Tokyo. Drinking sake and nibbling beernuts. Not watching Kabuki or sitting Zen meditation. Riding crowded trains but not seeking Satori. Because I have seen the light. Crossed the mysterious waters. I met the Buddha on a Harajuku street. Very enlightening. I offered the Great One a tv dinner. Turkey. Right. It was a turkey dinner. Because His Excellency loves turkey. With cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes and garden peas. No. Not much left to do in this lifetime. Because Im already more blissed out than the Dalai Lama. More natural than Gary Snyder. As NOW as Ekhart Tolle. I have been to Crackpot City and met the Holy Goof. Climbed Chocolate Mountain and chanted the Whipcream Sutra. I am large. I contain multitudes. Oprah asks my advice. Dr. Phil seeks my assistance. I tell Martha Stewart which stocks to unload. The poll numbers drop again; but now I know that fifteen minutes of beernuts and chop suey were vexed to supernatural darkness by Pentagon cowboys burning money in paint hotels. The eagle tries to fly, rough beasts thunder across the airways, a drowsy Emperor blames the booze and enters rehab. Tokyo, Wednesday, 10/04/06