The tree outside of Allenwood.
Defined by paradoxes and anomalies, the trickster is clever and foolish at once, the deceiver and the deceived, breaker of rules, and inventor of culture. He is both cruel and kind, intelligent and obtuse. He is a shapeshifter who crosses not only physical boundaries but social ones. The trickster elicits intelligence from hunger. The Devil derives awakening from overindulgence. The importance of the trickster in this world is not only to break boundaries but also create them. He is necessary to cultural development.
When I asked weev to be in my tarot deck, I knew there was only one card he could be, The divine trickster, the Devil himself. He agreed.
Yesterday Tor Ekeland and I took a road trip over to FCC Allenwood to visit weev. He’s been in solitary confinement for over a month now and new prison policy has excluded books from reading materials that can be sent to inmates in the Special Housing Unit (SHU). In solitary he is confined to a 6 x 11’ concrete box where he spends his time reading, working out, and writing with little to no human contact and a shower three times a week for approx 15 mins. When getting visitors he must do it by phone behind a thick panel of glass. On Friday he was given notice that he was under restricted mail which meant no mail except from immediate family and his legal team. This news was not surprising as the prison has on many occasions withheld his mail, which led to many sending him certified letters and packages. He said he was told in the upcoming weeks all mail would be returned to the senders. If you are on his visitors list it’s important to visit.
The thing about weev is that he is extremely intelligent and incredibly strong. As he walked into the segregated room he looked healthy, he had been working out, eating fairly healthy or as healthy as you can in prison. “Should we break the glass?” He asked. “Yes. This is the best, most logical idea.” I reply and we laugh. I gave him the well wishes of others and passed along any messages and then he and Tor talked for a bit, updating him on his case and other happenings. So what does one talk about with weev for two hours? Well, the conversation went from the mail he has received. He has a few magazines and periodicals left, perhaps five including a New Yorker magazine and a few others. He spoke about how the prison threw out some of his personal belongings including all the photographs I had sent over the year. We spoke of classical music, Wagner’s Der Ring des Nibelungen and how it changed the way opera was viewed. The saga is a “Bühnenfestspiel” (stage festival play), structured in three days preceded by a Vorabend (“ante-evening”).
Other topics of conversation were the Poetic Edda, Baldr’s death and Loki’s punishment (mythology explaining earthquakes), lesser known symbols in Norse mythology. (I traced the glass with lásabrjótur, the breaker of locks and releaser of bindings and a few other runes), dictatorships, back to runes, how to function in a noisy prison when you are in solitary, boll weevils, (There is a song by Brook Benton. How did I not know this?) rhino horned beetles, much trolling, how America is dumbing itself down, Elizabeth Bathory, abandoned buildings, Roosevelt Island’s history, mental institutes and the psychological effect of solitary which they used to use in mental institutes in early 1900’s, why whistle blowing will land you in prison, how much he hates pedophiles, and ending on Romani culture and language in which is rich with allegory and metaphor. I speak a little of the language to him.
Weev’s brain is a plethora of information. He can recite from a book he’s read only once, create a poem on demand, it never stops, in constant motion and this is why the government sees him as dangerous. If we look at mythology the trickster is the inventor and a liar, they lie, to create chaos, eventually ending in knowledge benefiting mankind. Loki created the first fishing net while exiled from the other gods. Coyote brought fire to the Native American’s. Raven taught humans how to fish. Eleggua lead humans to temptation, misery, and warfare in the hope that the experience would lead ultimately to their maturation. In one of his patakis he says, “Bringing strife is my greatest joy”.
Tricksters are driven by hunger. In every tale the trickster is hungry, some for food, some for attention, revolution, sex, destruction, or rebirth. The trickster always invents the trap. In some mythology the trickster is asked to outwit some larger devouring force saving human kind. With his wit, intelligence, and knack for observation and lies he can quickly trap and defeat a larger problem. The etymology of the word trickster from Vulgar Latin *triccare, from Latin tricari “be evasive, shuffle,” and variant of Old French trichier “to cheat, deceive, or bait.”
For all that has happened to weev, we must be reminded that he chose go to prison rather than fight before the sentencing. Like other tricksters he understands how systems work. He understands there is a bigger message at hand, a larger all encompassing body, and with each troll that becomes more clear. His acts are intentional. Whether it’s the CFAA’s ambiguous outdated form, the flaws in the justice system, or the way prisoners are treated he opens the door for discussion, outrage, and change.
The trickster is unbreakable, infuriating, essential, and always hungry.
Here is a poem he wrote on demand which he told me to write on a scroll. I didn’t.
And yes he’s still trolling.
Imagine a lifeboat about to capsize
And drowning men reaching for the skies
A ship of fools will pull them in
the boat will soon sink, none will swim
A wizened marine guided by Aegir
Will fearlessly render with his spear
We must preserve this lifeboat called earth
And its peoples future mirth
So you ask, why Thor?
Because there is a need for something more
For us to march forward without fear
There are six million too many people here.