(part 2) A Bridge Over Troubled Water

all images and writing is (c) pete kennedy 2014 except the Sogyal Rinpoche quote which is flagged up.

I had already written part 2 before I bloggod part 1 and it began, ‘They say it’s not the winning that counts, it’s the way you play the game. And what you gain from the experience.’ Then Dancer at heart sent me this after I blarted part 1:

“Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens.” ~ Khalil Gibran Very apt after last Saturday. Thank you Dancer. I have a lovely one from the Bagadish Vida :”the secret of human freedom is to act well, without attachment to the results.”

Therefore I am happy now, that’s a fact. I had looked back on my old visitor’s books and one lady said to my Chelmsford 2004 show, “One of the most interesting exhibitions I’ve ever seen!” It takes a lot to write that about a stranger. Anyway, that helps me realise, I do not need to hanker for any good remark/mark/accolade etc. Just continue to ‘live’ and do what I am able to do.

Now I shall continue with my planned part 2 in which I began with a mention of my 1975 buk, ‘Apul-One’, that mention was because I think ‘Apul-One’ was my 1973-74 subliminal reaction to being snubbed by the system tween 1961-73. I ‘knew’ there was something not right, amiss, out of kilter etc. Where I perceive an unfairness I tend(ed) to fight, harder. So I spent 40 years fighting with my art/writing. To no avail? No! because those with eyes to see have seen the avail in my travail. I believe to my soul (like Van) that what I did/do is good quality. I love what I do. I may still be in the 2ndXI but I score some beautiful goals.

That’s where am at pretty baby (Van agen) say it loud am happy and am proud (James Brown, almost)


and if Prince, with his mega fame, can choose to play to tiny audiences, who am I to disagree.

Thank you two shooting stars, you know who you are and thanks for taking some great photos of me as I ‘performed’ in them silly billy hats. When I sit there reading my trying poems I don’t feel so silly at all, that is my art, Now. It’s to do with connecting and we certainly did that. And what was your reward? Two of my silly old badges from the 70’s, badgeart. Thanks for being my bridges. On Saturday 15th am going to get up and do it again Amen (Jackson Brown)

Way back in 1965, wenni wer about 15, I did weights wid me dad who were a weight trainer bloke. I was doing very well. He took me to Manchester and introduced me to the then Mr Universe, Earl Maynard, a bit before Arnie, and Earl shook my hand (very gently).


 (not PK copyrite)

Earl Maynard played the baddie in a few Hollywood movies but he had the gentlest handshake imaginable

My dad had me show him my six pack and Earl said keep it up, which of course being a 15 year old I didn’t and a bloke called Schwartzennegori or somting took my place on the podium.I gave up too soon. In 1981 I gave up playing football in teams cos I thought I wer too old. Twenty years later I started again as a ‘veteran’ and scrolled lots of goals. It’s a bit like riding a bike. I obviously hadn’t scored my fill so ‘they’ made me score a few more. In both 65 and 81 I hadn’t cottoned on to the Dalai Lama’s mantra, ‘Never give up’. I have cottoned on now so am not for giving up in a hurry.

Even so, my ‘art’ is about to take a volcanic shift, away from all this spirit stuff and back into my surreelroots, my Squidgerats. The Tibetans are masters of the strange world. Their images of demons and past buddhas etc are phenomenal.


a Tashi Lunpo ‘black hat’ dancer

In a way their ancient art, especially their costumes are what I aspire to.

I been tinkin about what it is that drives me to make ‘art’etc, why bother, why try at all in the face of a world so preoccupied with its own survival , the weather, the economy, the government’s incompetence on socially sensitive issues.to cut to the quick, I cannot afford to be an artist writer any more, or at all, or ever really. I’ve made vainglorious effort in the past 40 odd years now and I feel like Wm. Blake and Dhona must have felt, fairly disappointed.

Blake must have known for obvious reasons, his work was better than the likes of Reynolds and Gaysbrovva and he died in abject poverty. Altho he was greatly appreciated by some and was to have a massive influence from Samuel Palmer to Patti Smith, he was forgotten for a long time after his death. Dhona would have been gobsmacked when he met Buddha with the latter’s ideas being counter a lifetime of dedication to the life of a Brahmin who did not believe in any Enlightenment (the ‘no-need to return’) with its potential to step off the wheel of Samsara. Buddha’s idea humans can leave the eternal cycle of re-birth was revolutionary. When he said to Dhona, I am a Buddha now he was revealing a way to get off Samsara’s wheel. In the ‘poem’ below which I shall attempt to read on Saturday I am talking about that meeting:

Destination Dust

Dhona the Brahmin was a mendicant monk

Who asked Shakyamuni-Siddhartha-Gautama,

“Are you human or one from Gandharva

Or are you a god or maybe a Yaksa?”

“Brahmin everything that’s created passes,” he replied,

“Go peacefully to your destination,

Strive diligently Dhona, t’ward your transition,

Which is escape from Samsara’s wheel of Suffering*

In the dispute after Guatama’s passing away

Dhona did, intervening, say,

“The message of the Blessed Buddha is

Still peace and forbearance today.”

Thereby the leaders of Mallas’ Land

On whose soil Shakyamuni had died

Reluctantly released the relics

To be divided into eight different domains

Each claimant then built a monument

Which each in time turned to rust

Vindicating Buddha’s declaration that

Everything passes to ashes and dust

Up on the road near Montagnola

A Wandering Writer named Hesse heard the tale from a mendicant monk

Then he recounted the story to me and to you

In a book which he had named  ‘Siddhartha’

End/Chorus:  Shakyamuni saw the Light and

How we can escape Samsara ’s spinning wheel

Shakyamuni said, “The Light glows within each and all of us.

I Am a Buddha Brahmin, I Am a Buddha Now.”

Strangely, for us, he added that you can choose to step back on the wheel (merrygoround) in order to help other beings to get off it. Who in their right mind would want to do that? Personally I see Earth as some form of punishment for something, I know not what but this planet and our mortality seem so isolated. There’s planets out there we cannot reach or even hear beings on them. Unless the likes of Swedenborg and Paul Brunton are right in saying we can make contact thru spirit? In my dream of existence I hanker, I hanker for contact with the billions of planets out there. Gnostics may tell us that they are (the planets) ‘material’ and therefore created by the Demi-God and as such are secondary to spirit anyway. That’s a hard mouthful to swallow. Let’s try. I believe we are spirit and if we are and that spirit can ‘travel’, there must be places far beyond Earth to see. Now, we cannot see everything this Earth has to offer so why bother about the billions of other planets and their beings? I got enough to cope with here.

I withdraw my challenge, I retire, I am not playing any more. I shall do my ‘talk’ then that’s the lot tot. I want to be a mendicant monk but I would reclude. (Can we do that? Is it a word?). I do not need to go to any more galleries nor shows. I have accumulated enough stuff which I shall spend the rest of my days sifting and sorting. I was not hankering for fame and fortune but my 40 odd years has not impacted on the bigger picture. You won’t find reference to my work in any books, except my own publications. The galleries perpetually ignore me, everywhere laughs when I ask them to take my work on board. They have catatonic fits when I suggest they buy my works, or even stock them in their retail outlets. However, my apparent injustices pale into oblivion against those inflicted on Tibet, the Chinese yoke crushing them for 60 years and the Chinese leaders say we cannot talk about that!

All of the following words are adapted from Sogyal Rinpoche’s wonderful book The Tibetan Book Of Living And Dying with slight alterations.

65 years after the Chinese invasion of Tibet the world is ignorant of what happened:

The terror, destruction, and systematic genocide the Tibetan people have endured. One sixth of its 6 million population have been murdered by the Chinese. Vast forest has been cut down, its wildlife massacred, rivers polluted by nuclear waste, 6500 monasteries lie gutted and destroyed. Tibet’s people face extinction and the glory of their culture in their homeland has been entirely obliterated. From the 1950’s on atrocities  have been committed with spiritual masters and nuns as prime targets. In Kham province the Chinese said they were going to ‘punish’ (torture & kill) an old khenpo(abbot) and sent a detachment of soldiers to his hermitage to arrest him. They began to bring him down on a mangy old horse. As they descended he began to sing. Shortly before arriving at the army camp he stopped singing, closed his eyes and the party continued in silence. In fact he had quietly passed away. What gave him his fearlessness and the joy to sing? Maybe his song was like this, written as a last testament by a 14th century monk:

The Immaculate radiance

…my compassionate lord Padma-samba-hava

Draws me on to join him

My delight in death is far greater than

That of traders making vast fortunes

Or those who vaunt their victories in battle

Or sages who have entered their rapturous absorption

As a traveller who sets out when it is time to go

I shall not remain in this world any longer

But go to dwell in the deathless bliss

The Grand Luminosity is dawning

This life’s show is finished

My karma is exhausted

All worldly things are done with

I am an aimless beggar

Who is going to die as he likes

In an instant I shall recognise the Essence of Being

Sorry, to hear the rest of this poem you will need to come on Saturday. I am going to be talking about that in my talk along with approaching ideas on how to cope with our own mortality. (Do you still wish to come?) Actually you are going to laugh when I tell you there will be lots of laughter at my talk!

And to end this preparation for my talk. I asked myself today, Why? Why bovva Pete, why do you want to perform? You could blame or thank the Tashi Lunpo ‘black hat’ dancers! I was so inspired by their work I wanted to do performances with masks more. Oh yes, I shall utilise masks on Saturday, not necessarily wear them, but they’ll be about. And I have used masks previously, in some quite successful ‘performances’ here’s some pics.


mask from the First Apulhed Mask-In 1973


Squidgerat mask from The First Squidgerat Show, Brentwood Theatre in the 1990’s


Gurdzhiev mask from the Six mystics and One Self show Colchester 2013

One thought on “(part 2) A Bridge Over Troubled Water”

  1. Pete,

    You mentioned the Dalai Lamas mantra of never give up, well it was also part of one of mine when I used to run. I loved long distance running around the 7 1/2 miles around Richmond Park perimeter, up to 3 times a week at the peak, achieving the run in a best time of 48mins. In July 2012, after a few years of no running, I wanted to experience it again and on 19/7/2012, I did it in 1 hour 35 mins. I had a mantra when doing these runs of Never stop – Never give up, which I chanted quietly to the rhythm of my running body when I hit bad stretches and it always worked, it got me into a blissful state of pure peace and quiet where my mind had released control over to my body and just sat back and marvelled at it!

    Youve got the right and strongest attitude now, ditch the bitterness, revel in your art and just Be the many faces of Pete Kennedy. Just do it.

    Im afraid I cant be with you again tomorrow, my efforts are at home at the moment with Olivia, but I am always with you in spirit and action.

    Heres a sign for you, of photos taken this week from my balcony, of a rainbow arching over the Thames and dropping into Kew Gardens. I followed it to a tree that was bathed in the rainbow colours, its winter branches stretching like arms up towards it. You can see the trees body glow with an inner life.



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