Monday, December 29, 2014

My Tormentor, My Friend

In my twelfth summer, I was yet again coerced into attending summer school. I endured the classes as well as I could, and when freed for the day, relished my emergence into the sunshine and fresh air.  It was my habit to head over to a nearby bakery, where I would reward myself with a chocolate eclair. 

My schooling was a bit of a charade. Being hearing impaired, I missed much, if not all of what went on in class. Usually the teachers became aware of this, or semi-aware. They were busy people with jobs to do, and many other students to consider. One of the classes that summer was in creative writing,  and in that class,  I was more motivated to seek out the teacher's assistance.  At least, I was able to find out our assignments.   I remember putting together a folder of poems with some pictures I cut out of magazines, and his scribbled comment: "You have a nice creative sense." 

But there was a problem. Right behind me, sat a boy who would frequently and annoyingly  kick the back of my chair. I didn't know what to do about it. I was the proverbial deer frozen in the headlights.  I didn't feel able to confront him, speak to the teacher about it, or even move to a different desk. I felt I was under the thumb of a malevolent boy out to get me, and all I could do was hunch in my seat and wish he would stop. It didn't help that he was black - I'd had little personal contact with any blacks in my life up to that point, for the simple reason that our area was overwhelmingly WASP, but I was certainly aware of the history of racism.  

Kick, kick, kick. I wondered if he considered me the enemy because I was white. I retreated even more within my shell.  Perhaps I thought if I made myself small and hid out well enough, he'd stop. There were lulls, but then it would start up again. Kick, kick, kick.
I finally got up the nerve to turn around in my chair and ask him to stop. To my surprise, he was not unfriendly, and he did stop. Well, mostly. Once in a while it seemed he would forget and the atavistic urge would kick in, until I again turned around and requested that he stop. I think I shared my poems with him — I would show my poems to anyone who would look at them.

Near the close of summer session, we actually conversed.   His big brown eyes were soft as he asked:  “How did you lose your hearing?" 

I was surprised at the urgency of his manner, and  there was a vulnerability and a depth of questioning in his face and eyes that told me this wasn't just idle curiosity.  Perhaps he had been wondering about this the whole summer session. 

 "We're not sure why. Maybe because I hit my head, or had a high fever." This was true. The onset of my deafness at age seven was shrouded in mystery. And I now understood that this boy had been a mystery to me, too. He was not at all the tormentor that I thought he was. He was someone who cared. 

And perhaps this was why he kicked my chair. He was interested in knowing me and this was the only way he could think of to get me to turn around and speak to him.

When class was over for the last time, we went our separate ways, but I was changed by the encounter. His sad, yearning eyes and question stayed with me, and as I ate my eclair that last day of summer school, I mused on the surprises and sweetness of life. 

Sunday, December 28, 2014


that was then
and will be then
and also now.
(Reality is multi-D.)
Now and then,
this and that,
when and where,
and why and how

is Zen

There is no "where"
There is no "when"
With love and squalor

Sunday, December 21, 2014

Alice Encounters of the Nameless Kind

"Alone again!" Tears trembled in Alice's lovely hazel eyes as she watched the Fawn running for cover back into the Wood Where Things Have No Name. There, they had strolled together with her arms around his neck, before they emerged from the wood into the open field, and remembered who they were.

She tried out her name.  "Alice...Alice...I wonder what it means?" This was a new idea; she'd never thought to ask that before.  After some pondering, she exclaimed, "I know! Alice...All...Is...I Am All Is...and All me!  What a clever name."

This cheered her momentarily, but in the next moment she became downcast again. "It's not quite enough comfort," she mused, "just to know my name...and even to realize it can mean 'All Is'...right after meeting that darling Fawn, and walking together as friends, before we came out of the Wood and he realized he was a Fawn and I'm a human child~someone he's supposed to be afraid of."

She remembered his soft voice and sweetly questioning face when he had asked her, back in the Wood: “What do you call yourself?” She hadn’t been able to tell him, of course, and now...”Perhaps I never will get the chance to tell him what I call myself, or to share with him what it means!

Or who knows~maybe someday we'll meet as friends again..or I'll meet another lovely...what?"  For as she spoke, she had unconsciously retraced her steps back into the Wood, and yet again the names of things were lost to her.  "Uh-oh!" she cried as she strained to remember her own name.   "I, I, I know it begins with I!" But she couldn't be sure, and after some fruitless pondering, she gave up and went on her way through the Wood.  She wasn't even sure why she didn't just turn around and make her way out again into the named world. It felt like something was pulling her back in there.

It was a hot, sleepy afternoon in the Wood, and her feet dragged for a while, until she was distracted by a tiny boy whizzing past her as fast as his very little legs could carry him,  his eyes wide with purpose and passion, his curls streaming behind him, yelling "Chocklit!" And there, close on his heels, ran a girl a little bigger then he, but with the same curly brown hair and eyes,  yelling "No! No! No!"  It flashed upon Alice that she had never seen such little people before, nor what seemed like such a desperate situation.  Determined to discover what was going on, she ran after them at full speed.  But they were too quick for her, and they soon disappeared into the distance, as Alice panted in pursuit.

When she reached a cool, shady grove of trees,  she decided to stop and rest for a while.  She settled herself in the grass, leaning her head back against a tree trunk,  feeling grateful for its solidity and shade. She was about to close her eyes for a bit, when she spied something that brought her wide awake: the limp figure of the tiny girl, curled up in the grass at her feet.  Lying absolutely still, she seemed to be in a state of exhaustion, and her shallow, barely perceptible breathing gave the only sign that she was still alive.

Alice was so overcome, all she could do was stare at this magical apparition, this girl who was no bigger than her hand.  After a while, as if feeling the intensity of Alice's gaze, the Fairy (for that is what she was) opened her eyes and gazed back in surprise.  Her lovely little face, framed by thick dark curls, was set off perfectly by a white daisy tucked behind one ear.  "Goodness gracious!"  she said.  "Who are you?"

"I'm...Someone," faltered Alice.  "That's the best I can do for now...and I expect the same is true for you."

The Fairy nodded.  "That's right. I'm Someone...and I'm looking for One.  Have you seen...?"

Alice nodded.  "Yes, a little while ago, with you running close behind him. " They gazed at each other with wonder and hope~the wonder of Alice in talking with a real live Fairy, and the hope of the Fairy for finding the One. "Would you like to sit on my shoulder?" asked Alice.  "I could help you look."

"Oh yes, thank you1" Alice reached down to lift her, but the Fairy, who had no wings, was already clambering up like a tiny monkey.  She perched on Alice's shoulder, and as they made their way through the Wood,  she kept looking around, biting her lip in her anxiety.  After a bit, she began a song with a slow cadence, in a voice like the whisper of birdsong:

I seek you here, there, everywhere,
can you doubt how much I care?
Til I find you I won't rest,
til you're back and in the nest.
Who are you?
Where are you?
Are you there?

Sbe sang the song over and over as they traversed the mysterious Wood, but did not find the One.  The Fairy's song became ever more mournful, until she trailed off altogether.  They both drooped, from the heat and their disappointment.  Then they came upon a cool, gurgling brook, and they remembered enough about this 'wet stuff' as they called it, that they gratefully splashed it on their faces and quenched their thirst.  They debated about what to call it.   "It's very wet," said the Fairy, "and it helps us get wetter, inside and out. Let's call it "wetter."

"Yes, let's!" said Alice. After they had thoroughly refreshed themselves, they set out again on their search.  "What was the name we gave that stuff again?" asked the Fairy.

"I don't remember," replied Alice. But she noted that the Fairy looked even more charming with her damp ringlets.

They came to an open, grassy glade marked with a large circle, and to their amazement, twelve fairies, the same size as Alice's Fairy, leapt onto the ring from out of the trees and bushes, singing and dancing. It was as though they timed it for the moment of their arrival, and as they danced, the very air seemed to brighten around them.  "Have you ever seen a gathering like this,"  Alice asked her new friend, "of Someones so much like you?"  The Fairy, bemused, shook her head. Both were riveted as they observed the dance.  Never had they seen such grace and joyfulness, as the fairies sang, spun, and twirled to the music of the lyres, flutes and drums.  And this is what they sang:

All names are my name,
I am that I am,
infinite variety,
infinite identity,
The Ever-Possible Me

No names are my name,
I am that I am,
beyond a name, beyond a body,
beyond the mind,
I cannot be contained,
I cannot be confined

You are that you are
let go, let the flow
carry you far,
to all that waits
when you allow,
and follow what is true for you
in each eternal moment,
the ever-possible Now!

The Fairy, wide-eyed, moving as though impelled by a powerful inner force, jumped in the ring and was welcomed into the fold, singing and dancing right along with them.  She seemed born to this. "I guess that's what it means to be a fairy,"  thought Alice. "Singing and dancing isn't something you learn, it's just part of you.  Or maybe it's part of all of us, and if you're a fairy, it's easier, because you don't take up so much room in the world."  Alice felt a little envious, and part of her wished she could make herself small again, as she had when she had obeyed the instructions on the bottle labeled "Drink Me." With fondness, she recalled its mixed flavor of cherry-tart, custard, pineapple, roast turkey, toffy, and hot buttered toast.  "They ought to sell it in the stores," she mused.  "It would be a handy thing to have when you find yourself among the fairies.  They could call it 'Smaller-Size Me.’ I do wish I could join in here, but I'd be like an elephant in a ballroom!"

The Fairy was the picture of joy.  Her face flushed with excitement, her hair whirling, she moved in perfect rhythm, and Alice thought she had never seen anything so beautiful.  But then, quite abruptly, the Fairy seemed to remember the lost One. She burst into tears as she broke away from the fairy ring, and ran to Alice.

A pall fell over the rest of the fairies, who also left off dancing and gathered around them, puzzled and worried. They had never before seen anyone so upset.  "What's the matter?" they asked, in chorus.   "Please tell us, and we'll do what we can to help."

Alice comforted the sobbing Fairy as best she could, and replied, "She's crying because of the lost One."

The fairies considered this for a moment, and asked,  "What does this One look like?"

"Like...this Someone, probably,"  Alice said, indicating the Fairy, as she thought:  "Goodness, they all think and speak the same thing at the same time!"  The Fairies nodded solemnly as they realized the One looked like them, too.  They screwed up their faces, and tried to think of where he might be found.
In the silence, Alice started as a stray memory floated up into consciousness.  "Chocklit!"  she exclaimed. "That's what the One said~yelled, actually~as he ran back in here."

"Chock...lit," they repeated, furrowing their brows even more as they strained to remember what that was. The Fairy blew her nose with a hanky someone had offered her, making a tiny honking sound. She dried her tears, and gazed at Alice with hope in her eyes.  More memories stirred in Alice: "It's brown, and sweet.  It's like a taste of...a very nice taste."

The fairies nodded again.  Alice's Fairy reached for her crimson locket that hung down her neck, stroking it in a circular motion, slowly and deliberately. After a few moments, magic happened. Exclamations and a collective gasp went up as a ray of red light shone from the locket, but it almost seemed the Fairy expected this. "It's showing us the way," she said.  And indeed, after swinging back and forth a few times, the ray settled on a direction, pulsing with a certain urgency that seemed to say, "Follow me." And so they did ~ Alice, the Fairy, and all the assemblage.

As they walked, Alice stole glances at the Fairy riding on her shoulder as before, looking more tranquil than she had all that long afternoon.  It seemed she took courage from the crimson ray and the renewed hope of finding the One.  Alice, too, was looking forward to meeting him.  "What if he's grown far bigger, from eating all that chocklit?" she mused to herself.  For she seemed to remember that eating too much of it could do that.  "Maybe he'll be as big as me, even!"  (Actually, she was about the normal size for seven and a half.)

"Oh, look!"  exclaimed the Fairy.  The crimson ray was shining on a small, black and white, furry creature munching an acorn as he hung by its tail from a tree branch.  He had a narrow face with a pointed nose, and bright brown, slanting eyes.  As they passed him by, the ray wheeled around and remained fixed on the animal, who calmly finished eating and, still hanging upside down, said: "Hello, friends.  May I ask where you are going?"

"We're going to find the lost One,” the Fairy replied, “with the help of this." She pointed to her locket and the crimson ray, which played about his face.  He blinked a bit as it shone into his eyes.  "How very interesting," the upside-down creature said.  "I do believe it likes me!"

"We're going to find Chocklit,"  piped up one of the fairies.

"Chocklit," the creature repeated dreamily.  The ray beckoned him. He jumped down from the branch, and as if in a trance, he joined in their pilgrimage.   Indeed, they all seemed to be in a peaceful, altered state as they walked on together.  Perhaps it was the magic of the crimson ray, as it guided their path. Perhaps it was their united purpose in finding the One, and chocklit. Perhaps it was the song that rose spontaneously from the Fairy's throat as he rode on Alice's shoulder,  her eyes alight with new hope and faith:

I know you're there,
I follow the ray,
I don't know where,
it shows me the way,
I'll see you,
I'll hug you,
 soon, this day!

"Soon, this day," echoed the little folk.  The ray shone through the dim light in the shade of the Wood, and almost before they knew it, they emerged into a clearing.  In the midst of it, there was a well.  "The chocklit well!" they cried as they rushed to the edge, where, looking down at the bottom, they indeed saw the One.  He was sitting in a bucket floating in the dark liquid chocklit, dipping and licking his fingers as he gazed up at them.  "He doesn't seem at all surprised to see us," thought Alice. “Or even interested!"

The Fairy, on the other hand, could hardly contain herself.   "It's you!" she cried as she knelt at the well's edge, stretching out her arms to him as he continued dipping and licking.  Alice noted that the rope attached to the bucket was broken. "I wonder how he got down there?" she mused aloud.

"I lowered him," replied a man who was a little bigger and seemed older than most of the fairies. "I owns that there well. That boy begged me to let him go down in the bucket. Said he'd help me work the well, and bring up the chocklit.  But once he was down there, he chewed the rope until it broke.  Sharp teeth, he has! When I ast him why, he says he don't ever want to come back up.  Wants to stay down there and get all the chocklit he wants for hisself!"  The One nodded at these words as he continued his tasting. Alice couldn't help marveling at his indifference to them and his absorption in chocklit, even as they all crowded around the well's edge.  "Please come up," cried the Fairy, and a chorus of fairy voices chimed in:  "Yes, please do!"

The One shook his head, shaking his curls as well, and Alice marveled at how much he and the Fairy looked alike. "No!  Nebber! I'm staying right here where I am, with chocklit."  And as if for emphasis, using just his tongue, he took a big lick off the side of the well.  The Fairy literally drooped from disappointment.  "She's like a flower that needs watering," thought Alice.  "All that searching and hoping, and the One didn't even want to be found!"

Then a wondrous thing happened. Their new animal friend came forward, and tipping his head over the edge of the well, fixed his large, dark, slanting eyes on the One. The company ceased their pleadings, and the Fairy perked up a bit. The creature's eyes bored into the One, whose eyes in turn moved upward, almost in spite of himself.  Alice noted that the pupils of the One's eyes seemed to enlarge, and he even left off eating chocklit. They remained like that for some moments, and the well-keeper, sensing an advantage, shook the broken rope that still hung down beside the bucket.  The One, still staring up at the animal, tied the other end of the rope to the bucket’s handle, and was lifted up by the well-keeper.

A cheer went up from the fairies as he stepped out of the bucket.  The Fairy flew to him and broke down sobbing in his arms.  He held her gingerly, and after a while he kissed her cheek, extricated himself from her embrace,  and gazed into the creature's eyes a few moments more before shaking its paw.  "I'm berry glad to meet you," he said.  "And I you," the animal replied. "I trust we will become fast friends."  Then his friendliness gave way to a frown.  "And now, what do you say to our good man here?"  Upon which, the well-keeper drew himself up to his full height of 6 1/2 inches, his mustache quivering as he remembered the One's trickery.

"I'se sorry," he said One in a very small voice, hanging his head. "But your chocklit is so good, I just wanted to eat it forebber.  Nuttin else seemed to matter."

"Well then," replied the well-keeper, "does that mean you'll make well on your agreement to work for me, drawing up the chocklit?"

The One hesitated, and the Fairy intervened:  "Oh, I'm sorry, but we really have to be getting back.  People are waiting for us, and we can't stay here, though it's been just lovely."

The man shrugged.  "It's just as well, I'm sure. I need someone well able to handle the responsibility of working the well."

There was a chorus of volunteers from the little folk crowding around the well-keeper.  "That's all very well, and I appreciate your interest," he said.  "I'll be interviewing candidates here tomorrow, to make sure whoever I choose is well-qualified. For now, it's chocklit for well ~ I mean all!"

"I wonder if he knows how often he uses the word 'well,' " thought Alice.  "He's the well-keeper in more ways than one!"

A cheer went up, and one of the volunteers was put to work bringing up pails of chocklit, which was then passed around in cups to everyone.  Alice had several herself, and though they were very small, it was so dark, rich and sweet, she could almost understand why the One had wished to stay down there forever. It had the consistency of soft pudding, and there was a hint of toffee flavor.  The One partook of it also ("you'd think he would have had enough by now!" thought Alice), savoring it down to the last bit, with a dreamy, regretful expression.  All the while, the Fairy was eyeing him with a mixture of affection and exasperation. "What am I going to do with you?" she asked.  He wiped his mouth and said, "Whatebber you like."

The Fairy sighed.  "It's 'whatever.' You really must learn correct speech if you want to be accepted in polite society."

The One shrugged.  "Whatever."

It occurred to Alice that the Fairy's attitude toward the One had changed, and rather quickly at that. "She was so longing to find him, and now that she has, she's acting like a schoolmarm, bossing and correcting him," she thought.  "But maybe that's what this little One needs."

"And what I would like," the Fairy went on, "is for us to be on our way now, before night falls. We've made promises to important people, whose names I shall probably remember once we are out of the wood."   She turned to Alice.  "You will come with us, won't you?"  Alice readily agreed. The One tugged at his new furry friend, who said, "I'll come also.  It will be interesting to find out my name, and see what lies beyond this place, where I've lived all my life."

They bid goodbye to the little folk, who were sorry to see them go. "Remember us,"  they said.  "Remember our song."

"We will indeed," said the Fairy, and Alice nodded.

"What song?" said the One.

"We'll tell you later," said the Fairy, as she clambered up onto Alice's shoulder, gesturing for the One to take his place on the other one  They set off with the creature strolling beside them, and the crimson ray lighting their way.

Alice was surprised to see that the One, who had been so cool and self-contained up til now, seemed upset about something.  He made a valiant attempt to hold back the tears, but his sniffles gave him away, and finally the tears flowed in earnest. In spite of her concern, Alice couldn't help being fascinated as she observed him pouting and whimpering just inches from her face. He was such a pretty sight, even in his distress, and Alice thought: “I wish I could hold him close ~ comfort and kiss him!” But she could only caress him with her gaze.

The Fairy shook her finger at him: “You mustn't cry!” But this only brought forth louder sobs. "Come, what's the matter, dear?" said Alice.

"Don't encourage him," said the Fairy.  "He's cried quite enough for today. If he keeps it up, he won't have any of that wet stuff left.  And then the next time he feels like crying, what will he do?"

"My goodness," said Alice.  "I'm sure I've never heard of such a thing!"

"Yes, indeed," went on the Fairy. "Once I knew a girl who wold cry at the drop of a hat, and since she was very clumsy and kept dropping her hat, and a number of other things besides, she ended up all cried out. Then, when a very important Someone died (here she meant the girl's mother), it was really very awkward. She was the only one who wasn't able to cry at the..."

The Fairy's remarks only seemed to upset the One even more, and through his tears, he said: "I can’t--remember--my name! Or his name (pointing at the creature plodding along with them), or her name," (pointing at the Fairy), "or yourth!"

"Yours, you mean," said the Fairy.

"I awready said that. I can't remember it!" he replied.

"Already!" she corrected him.

"Yes! I did!"

"And you never did know their names,” said the Fairy. “You never met them before.”

"That's right," said Alice. "You'll remember your own, and hers, and learn ours soon enough, when we're finally out of the woods.  And anyway, we don't need names.  All names are your name, and no names are your name."  Alice felt a little self-conscious repeating the words of the fairies' song, but at the same time, it helped her feel into their meaning.

"Those who are born and grow up here don't have names," said the Fairy, "and yet they seem very happy. They even sing of their nameless state, and celebrate it."

"Beyond a name, beyond a body, beyond a mind," sang Alice.  "I cannot be contained, I cannot be confined..."

"What's tontained and tonfined?" asked the One, through his sniffles.

"Contained and confined,"  corrected the Fairy.

"Yes," said the One. "What is it?"

Alice thought hard for a minute.  "It's can't go outside and play, because you've got to stay indoors and do lessons."

The One was clearly struck by this.  "Can’t be tontained and tonfined? No name, no school?  Play alla time?"

"Which would not be a good thing," said the Fairy. "All play and no work makes what's-his-name a stupid One!"

Alice pondered a bit before answering him. "Without a name, you wouldn't be on the list at school for roll call. If you're not on the list, you can't be a pupil, and so there would be no lessons. But it's true ~ without them, you’d become very ignorant. Unless you could study and read on your own ~  and that's hard to do if you haven't learned to read well in the first place."

The One became very quiet, and his face of a was a study in itself as he inwardly debated the advantages of freedom versus the disadvantages of ignorance.  Then he shook himself and shrugged, as if dismissing the question.  He jumped off Alice's shoulder onto the ground,  putting his arm around the furry animal as they walked together. "Just a little further on," the animal remarked, "and then we'll know our names. The second time for you, but the first for me. Almost there!"  The One was caught up in his friend's excitement and anticipation, and they fell to talking and laughing.

As Alice observed them thus, the ghost of a memory stirred in her -- a feeling-sense of loss, of closeness too abruptly cut off. For a moment, she felt overcome by this feeling, and she must have looked very sad, for the Fairy asked, "What's the matter?"  Alice was touched by the concern and caring in the Fairy's open gaze, and the mysterious mood was banished. "Oh, nothing really," she answered.  "It's been amazing meeting you, and then the others like you, the singing and dancing, the magic ray (here the ray seemed to appreciate the mention, as it danced a little jig in front of them), finding (Alice pointed to the animal),  the chocklit well, and then the One.  It's all so wonderful.  It's like I'm living in a dream!"

"Ah yes," said the Fairy.  "Life, what is it but a dream?"

"What a lovely thought!" said Alice.  "Is it your own?"

"Indeed, it's my own invention,"  replied the Fairy.  "But anyone is welcome to claim it as theirs, if they wish."

"Can thoughts ever belong to anyone,  I wonder?"  mused Alice. "It's like that song -- we can't be contained or confined ~ and our thoughts are part of all of us, you know.!"  she exclaimed. For as she spoke, they had come to an open field, and all at once, they remembered who they were. "THYLVIE! Dear sister!" cried the boy, and even as they rushed into one another's arms, the Fairy corrected him yet again:  "It's Sylvie.  BRUNO, dear brother!"

But the animal gasped, his eyes wide with fear.  "Oh, my! I'm an opossum! And, oh dear ~ two fairies, and a human child!"  But, instead of running away as the Fawn had done, he simply collapsed then and there. With his still body, unseeing eyes, and gaping mouth, it seemed death had taken him, and Alice wondered if he'd had a heart attack.  Their joy at rediscovering their names turned to grief momentarily, until a closer examination showed that he was still breathing, if ever so slightly. "He must be thick,"  declared Bruno. "We'll take him home with us, and nurth him back to health."

"That might not be such a good idea,"  said Alice, remembering the Fawn's flight when they emerged out of the wood and remembered their names. It occurred to her that the opossum was fleeing too, in a different way.

"But I wanta nurth it back to health!" repeated Bruno. "We can't juth leave him here!"

"Now, Bruno," cooed Sylvie, "how would you like it if you were sick, and you woke up and found that without your permission, strangers had taken you away from your friends and family?"

Bruno seemed very struck by this.  He shook his head. "I wouldn't like that at all!  That would be orful!"

"Awful,"  Sylvie corrected him.


"Then come along now. Let's go home. I'm tired, aren't you? It's been such a long~" But before she could finish what she was saying, Bruno had caught his friend's limp body up in his arms and went running back into the wood, crying:  "I'm taking him back to his friends and fambly!"

"Bruno, no!" cried the Fairy, as she set off in pursuit of him yet again, leaving Alice looking after them. "Oh, dear," she said. "All that trouble we took to find him and get out of the woods, and now it's starting all over again, it seems.  My goodness, look at them go!"  (They were running so fast, their feet barely touched the ground.) "It reminds me of something someone said--that here, it takes all the running one can do, just to stay in the same place. I wonder if I ought to go and help them again?"  But even as she spoke, the figures had disappeared into the distance, though the Fairy's cries of "No!" could still be heard, echoing faintly through the Wood.

"She remembers the last half of his name, at any rate," mused Alice. "I declare, it's like that song: No names are my name. And now Bruno has the "No" name...but I'm glad to have mine back.  Alice...Alice...I won't forget again. Goodness, what a day it's been! Yet I'm not tired at all.  And for some reason, I'm not lonely anymore."   And so she walked on through the field toward the new adventures that awaited her. She swung her arms with a new sense of freedom, and was refreshed by the breeze that caressed her face as she sang the song that had stayed in her heart:

Let go, let the flow
carry you far,
to all that waits when you allow
and follow what is true for you
in each eternal moment,
the Ever-Possible Now!

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Happy Mirth Day Balloon

Walking down the street,
I find a Happy Birthday balloon
on a magenta ribbon
tied to a a hedge,
silver, purple, yellow, pink,
orange, blue, green
stars and circles,
shining, twirling, dancing
in the breeze,
in a surfeit of ecstasy.
The balloon knows,
the balloon shows
it's the birthday,
the mirth day
of the free me!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014


Primary Facilitator of Bashar's world:  "In particular, pay attention to the glyph, the circuit called 'flow,' for when you arrive in pondering the circuit called 'flow,' you will be specifically accelerating the energy of all that flows through you, and all that flows from you, and as you align with this flow, you will more readily receive, and you will more readily give that vibration that is translated in your reality as unconditional love, and as you are more willing to stand in the pass, in the tunnel, in the conduit, in the pipeline of that flow, you will find yourselves becoming expanded in very specific ways that may allow you to catch glimpses of other realities that are concurrent with your own, that have relevance and meaning synchronistically for you, and may illuminate more readily and more

clearly your particular choices for this life, and may assist you in remembering, re-membering, re-calling, re-awakening the choices you made for this physical reality so as to more clearly illuminate the paths you have chosen, and to more clearly grant you understanding, true fundamental understanding of why it is obvious to act on your joy every moment that you have been granted existence and life, and allow your experience to be undifferentiated from what and who you are, for you ARE the experience you are having itself. You are the experience of All That Is is having of iself. Have a grand experience with this gift."
Sirian Sacred Symbols meditation:

Tuesday, July 1, 2014


A bomb exploded
upon my inner landscape
when you bombed your life

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Mystics in the Wild State


"I am Rimbaud in a leather jacket," proclaimed Jim Morrison, who once signed an autograph request, "Love, Arthur Rimbaud." (Rimbaud himself has been described as "a 19th century Jim Morrison.") Jim carried a copy of Wallace Fowlie's translations of Rimbaud with him on his travels with the legendary Doors band, and even took it upon himself to write Fowlie, who at the time didn't even know who he was, a thank-you note:  
"Dear Wallace Fowlie,

Just wanted to say thanks for doing the Rimbaud translation. I needed it because I don't read French that easily...I am a rock star and your book travels around with me." He closed with: "That Picasso drawing of Rimbaud on the cover is great."

It has been conjectured that Jim's song "Wild Child" is about Rimbaud:

Wild child
Full of grace
Savior of the human race
your cool face

Natural child
Terrible child
Not your mother's or your
Father's child
You're our child
Screamin' wild

(You remember when we were
in Africa?)

The parenthetical last line is another clue that the song was indeed about Rimbaud, who spent the last period of his life in Africa, and suggests that Morrison felt he had been there with Rimbaud in another incarnation.

Yes, they both sought and opened themselves to wildness, valuing it far above comfort and security. As Rimbaud wrote in the famous Lettre du Voyant ("voyant" translates to "seer"):

"The Poet makes himself a Seer by a long, immense and rational derangement of all the senses...All the forms of love, suffering, and madness. He searches himself. He exhausts all poisons in himself and keeps only their quintessences." 

This echoes William Blake's "The road of excess leads to the palace of wisdom," one of the Proverbs of Hell in The Marriage of Heaven and Hell, which has been recognized as a great alchemical text. Similarly, Anais Nin said: "Something is always born of excess: great art is born of great terrors, great loneliness, great inhibition, instabilities and it always balances them." Drugs and alcohol are, of course, one "road" of excess. The deep green siren song of absinthe was Rimbaud's intoxicant of choice, especially in the company of the poet Verlaine. "Knowing pilgrims, seek repose/By the emerald pillars of Absinthe," wrote Rimbaud in "Comedy of Thirst." Jim's pursuit of altered states was similarly intense, and his first songs were born, prior to the formation of the Doors band, when he was living on a rooftop in Venice Beach, subsisting on a diet of LSD and not much else; his pursuit of altered states through drugs and alcohol continued unabated up to his passing at age 27.

Rimbaud writes in the Lettre that the goal of the Seer's journey is to arrive at the unknown; to become as a god, responsible for humanity, "even the animals." Jim was often called "the Dionysus of Rock." Dionysus, the Greek god of ecstasy, has been pictured both as a beautiful youth and as an older, bearded man; Jim appeared in both guises in his brief life. In the philosophy of Nietzsche, the Dionysian principle is of creative-intuitive power as opposed to the Apollonian principle of critical-rational power. Thus, Dionysus is the god of intoxication, celebration, creativity, ecstasy, catharsis, release.

Jim/Dionysus: "Music is so erotic. One of its functions is a purgation of emotion, which we see every night when we play. To call our music 'orgasmic' means we can move people to a kind of emotional orgasm through music and words...Think of it as a seance in an environment which has become hostile to life, cold, restrictive. People feel like they're dying in a bad landscape. So they gather together in a seance to invoke, palliate, and drive away the dead spirits through chanting, singing, dancing, music. They [the shamans] try to cure an illness, to restore harmony to the world."
- from Jim Morrison: Life, Death, Legend by Stephen Davis

Rimbaud further says in the Lettre that the Seer is to invent a new "universal language of the soul": "...he must see to it that his inventions can be smelt, felt, heard...this new language would be of the soul, for the soul, containing everything, smells, sounds, colors, thought latching on to thought and pulling..." This seems apropos, from an article by the rock critic Paul Williams in
Crawdaddy!: "Rock, because of the number of senses it can get to (on a dance floor, eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and tactile) and the extent to which it can pervade these senses, is really the most advanced art form we have."

Rimbaud, a century before rock came on the scene, saw that this "universal language of the soul" would be conveyed through new forms of poetry,  somehow tied up with magic and alchemy. From his poem "Alchemy of the Word":

I invented the colour of vowels! - A black, E white, I red, O blue, U green. - I regulated the form and movement of each consonant, and, with instinctive rhythms, I flattered myself by inventing a poetic speech accessible, some day or other, to all the senses. I reserved translation rights.

More from the Lettre:

"For I is another."

It has been said that this is "one of those phrases that has launched a thousand doctoral dissertations." As I see it, there are several possible interpretations. One is that the intellect or the conscious mind is the observer rather than the instigator or decision-maker. Decisions are made before the conscious mind becomes aware of them. This has been borne out by the research of Benjamin Libet on subjective referral in time, and has been summed up as "the reaction is faster than the perception," in Fred Alan Wolf's book The Yoga of Time Travel. 

Another interpretation is that since we are constantly changing, one's identity--the "I"--cannot be pinned down. When we say "This is who I am," we are already another person--another "I."

Yet another interpretation speaks to our oneness. It has been said that the Creator is not only self but other-self as self, and as we are all creators, this is true of us also, and it is the message of the Mayan greeting, "In La'kech," which means "I am another yourself," or "I am you and you are me."

"If brass wakes up a bugle, it is not its own doing."

Brass is what the bugle is made of, and we are made of the eternal thrust for growth and change. Our waking up is foreordained; the seeds of transformation are within us, and their growth is a natural, organic process.

"This is clear to me: I'm a witness at the flowering of my own thought. I watch it, I listen to it."

Again, the conscious mind is the observer, the watcher.

"I draw a stroke of the bow, and the symphony makes its stir in the depths, or comes upon the stage in a leap."

Was Jim the flowering of Rimbaud's vision, coming upon the stage in a leap? Rimbaud renounced poetry at age twenty, concluding he had failed in  his stated goal of becoming as a god and transforming the world through the creation of a universal language. Subsequently, he regarded the whole of his ouevre with contempt. But what if he had set forces in motion that would be fulfilled at a later historical period, through "another I"? What if, in fact, Morrison and Rimbaud were reincarnational counterparts, and Jim the inheritor of those "translation rights" of "a poetic speech accessible to all the senses, in a universal language of the soul, for the soul"?

Of course, an openness to this theory requires openness to the idea of reincarnation. Actually, the very term 'reincarnation' is incorrect, since time is an illusion and everything is happening now, as put forth in J.W. Dunne's influential essay, An Experiment In Time. It has been said that our counterpart incarnations are extensions of the Oversoul into different timelines, which nonetheless exist simultaneously, like different fingers on the same hand. In Jane Roberts' book Aspect Psychology, each of those incarnations are called aspects, except the focus personality, the one that is known to itself (and of course each aspect is the focus personality, from their own perspective). Thus, assuming my theory about the Rimbaud/Morrison connection is correct, they were interconnected aspects of one another, while each was focused in their own respective reality and experience. In any case, bear with me as I continue connecting the dots of this "wild" theory about these wild child-men.

In Eric Mader-Lin's essay The Crux of Rimbaud's Poetics, which is based on Rimbaud's long poem The Drunken Boat, the journey of the boat is seen as a metaphor of the poet/seer's journey:

In the form of a boat, the poet figures his own movement toward the status of voyant. The boat of the poem is simultaneously a metaphor of the poet and the personification of a boat...Ostensibly set adrift, does the boat suffer the sea as a vast and sublime force, or does it orchestrate the sea through its own powers? Are the glorious visions it undergoes impressed upon it by the forces of otherness, or are they rather created out of bits of flotsam and jetsam?

This is what Mader-Lin considers the "crux of Rimbaud's poetics": "Rimbaud couldn't decide if the quintessences of the universal language were to be received by him as the gift of some Other or if, rather, they were to be created by him." He concludes that Rimbaud wanted "to found a new religious dispensation wherein the very being of the Deity was shared by the Voyant."

I would say the truth of this 'crux' is somewhere in between; that the quintessences of the universal language were to be both received and self-created. In the Morrison/Rimbaud connection, I see this as the seemingly magical unfoldment of Morrison's gifts as a singer/songwriter. In an interview with Jerry Hopkins in Rolling Stone, Jim said:

"I didn't think about it. It was just there. I never did any singing. I never even conceived it. I thought I was going to be a writer or a sociologist, maybe write plays. I never went to concerts–one or two at most. I saw a few things on TV, but I'd never been a part of it all. But I heard in my head a whole concert situation, singing with a band, and an audience–a large audience. Those first five or six songs I wrote, I was just taking notes at a fantastic rock concert that was going on inside my head. And once I had written the songs, I had to sing them."

In linear time, this dispensation and actualization of Rimbaud's vision took a century, but again, time is an illusion, a creation of human consciousness. As Rimbaud wrote in his poem Eternity:

It has been found again.
What?- Eternity.
It is the sea fled away
with the sun.

We are eternal beings swimming in the sun and the sea of Eternity, but in our individual and collective experience, things manifest when the "time" is right. In Rimbaud's historical period, the world was not ready for the "universal language" of the Doors' music.

In singing, body and soul become one, and Jim's singing, at its best, truly was "of the soul, for the soul." To the logical, orderly mind (the "left brain"), the lyrics of The Crystal Ship may seem nonsensical as they leap from one disparate image to another, but if we can take that ride, the Ship of the song, borne along by Jim's sonorous voice and the instrumentals of his band mates, can carry us into the realm of intuition and instinct, dreams and imagination––the soul's province.

The mass of humanity identifies primarily with their personality, the surface ego-self; the soul is, by and large, still an unknown realm, a vast unexplored territory. The Doors, true to their band's name and its Blakean inspiration ("When the doors of perception are cleansed, man will see things as they truly are, infinite"), opened the doors to such explorations through their music, thus fulfilling Rimbaud's vision of the poet/seer as one who would "make known the unknown." Jim often stated: "There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors." This has been variously attributed to Jim, Aldous Huxley, and William Blake, but it seems Ray Manzarek is the one who first said it: Jim would add, "And that's what I want to be. I wanna be the dooooooor..."

There are many "doors in between" in the song lyrics. For example, in The End: "Can you picture what will be, so limitless and free," and in When The Music's Over: "I want to hear, I want to hear/The scream of the butterfly." This has been interpreted as a sexual image; I read it as a metaphor of rebirth, of transformation and renewal--emergence from the cocoon of sleeping consciousness. "WAKE UP!" Jim would roar to the crowds at the Doors concerts--a rallying cry and call to awareness.

In the journey of the Drunken Boat's awakening, the boat's crew are "taken as targets" by "yelping Redskins." The boat is set adrift, glorying in its liberation:

Into the furious lashing of the tides,
More heedless than children's brains,
I ran! And loosened peninsulas
Have not undergone a more triumphant hubbub.

On it plunges in its exhilarating but chaotic journey, encountering an exotic procession of images and visions, including a rotting Leviathan (a Biblical reference). All of this can be seen as the "derangement of the senses" that Rimbaud specifies as essential in the poet's journey to becoming a seer. However, after a litany of such visions, the intoxicated, freewheeling tone falters and becomes plaintive:

I should have liked to show children those sunfish
Of the blue wave, the fish of gold,
The singing fish.


Is it in these bottomless nights that you sleep and exile yourself,
Million golden birds, O future Vigor?

Was Jim Morrison the divinely vigorous, singing gold fish of the future–"Rimbaud in a leather jacket"? Was he the rebirth and the fulfillment–literally, figuratively and alchemically–of Rimbaud and Rimbaud's vision? Were the Doors' songs the "million golden birds" that flew across the collective consciousness of humanity in the mid to late 60's? Rimbaud writes in the Lettre that the poet/seer "is really the thief of fire." This recalls the myth of Prometheus, who defied Zeus, stealing fire from his thunderbolt and delivering it to humans. Thus, the term "Promethean" has come to mean one who is bold, original, and world-changing--in Rimbaud's words, a "multiplier of progress."

It is interesting that the "philosophic gold" of the alchemists is synonymous with fire, symbolizing awareness or consciousness. Fire is also connected with the phoenix, the mythical bird and fire spirit, who like Dionysus, is a symbol of immortality and renewal. Jim was also known as The Lizard King, and reptiles are yet another symbol of transformation and rebirth, through the shedding of their skin.

The alchemical fire figures prominently in Doors songs such as Light My Fire, their biggest hit, wherein the word "fire" is repeated fifteen times, along with "our love becomes a funeral pyre." On one level it is a love/sex song, but in the alchemical sense, "light my fire" translates to "light my consciousness," and the "funeral pyre" is the consuming fire that makes way for new forms of life and love. There is a similar message in the refrain of When The Music's Over:

Music is your only friend
Dance on fire as it intends
Music is your only friend
Until the end...

Fire has been used as a transformational metaphor in many religions and wisdom teachings. One of the meanings of "INRI," the inscription below the figure of Christ on the cross, is the alchemical aphorism, "Igne Natura Renovata Integra": "By fire nature is renewed whole." Jesus was another Prometheus, firing our consciousness with higher-level knowledge and understandings. This is the "savior" aspect Jim invoked in When The Music's Over: "JESUS! SAVE US! JEEEEESUUUUS!"

As another example, in Ezekiel 1:26-28, the Lord appears as a gloriously fiery being (metaphysically, "Lord" can be understood as the creative force of the universe):

..high above on the throne was a figure like that of a man. I saw that from what appeared to be his waist up he looked like glowing metal, as if full of fire, and that from there down he looked like fire; and brilliant light surrounded him. Like the appearance of a rainbow in the clouds on a rainy day, so was the radiance around him. This was the appearance of the likeness of the glory of the LORD.

In our time, Ram Dass has said he uses this mantra given to him by his teacher Hilda Charlton: I am a point of sacrificial fire held within the fiery will of God. He calls it "a fierce mantra to work with."

And in the 1944 prophecy of Peter Deunov, a master in the White Brotherhood Society who took the spiritual name of Beinsa Douno, he described the coming of an alchemical fire that would transform life and consciousness:

We find ourselves today at the frontier between two epochs...A gradual improvement is already occurring in the thoughts, sentiments and acts of humans, but everybody will soon be subjugated to divine Fire, that will purify and prepare them in regards to the New Era...Some decades will pass before this Fire will come, that will transform the world by bringing it a new moral. This immense wave comes from cosmic space and will inundate the entire earth...The Fire of which I speak, that accompanies the new conditions offered to our planet, will rejuvenate, purify, reconstruct everything: the matter will be refined, your hearts will be liberated from anguish, troubles, incertitude, and they will become luminous; everything will be improved, elevated; the thoughts, sentiments and negative acts will be consumed and destroyed.

Was the "very gentle sound" referred to in When The Music's Over a harbinger of that immense wave?

We're getting tired of hanging around
Waiting around
With our heads to the ground

I hear a very gentle sound
Very near
Yet very far
Very soft
Yet very clear
Come today
Come today

Yes, Jim sensed that wave, but it was hard to be patient:

"We want the world and we want it, now
Now? NOW!"

Patience was not Rimbaud's strong suit, either. As Oliver Bernard wrote in his introduction to Rimbaud's Collected Poems: "For if you begin, as a poet, by trying to become as a god, what will you do when your efforts fail? I think that Rimbaud realized that the magique etude had failed, and I think his reaction was to reject everything he had done while pursuing it. If all he had wanted to do had been to write poems--a mad enough ambition in itself--he would have had no reason either to stop trying to write them or to despise his whole work in later life." The truth is, poetry, in and of itself, could not accomplish what he asked of it in his multi-sensory, all-encompassing, Promethean vision.

Jim had his own unrealized ambitions; he never received the critical recognition he dreamed of for his published poetry. Although he stated that music was a great release and enjoyment to him, he said: "Eventually I'd like to write something of great importance. That's my ambition--to write something worthwhile." It is interesting that neither he nor Rimbaud fully validated the worth of their creations, although they reached peaks that few have scaled since. It is also ironic that while Jim felt he had failed in his ambition to become a respected poet, Arthur felt he had failed in his ambition to become as a god. Each wanted what they other had. Yet in the bigger picture, both succeeded in their ambitions.

At the time of Jim's more outrageous onstage antics, such as taunting the audience in the infamous Miami meltdown, the critic Albert Goldman wrote of the breakdown of their breakthrough:

"The initial vision was one of breakthrough. That was the spirit of their first album. That's what got us all excited. That's what raised all the sunken continents in everybody's mind. They evangelically converted everyone. Then comes the moment of truth. You've got the world on your side, but where are you at, baby? What are you going to do about it? You made the girl love you. Now, do you love the girl?"

This may be apropos, from what may be Jim's most tender love song, "Moonlight Drive": "You reach a hand to hold me but I can't be your guide."

In Miami, Jim, drunk as he was, clearly saw that the audience members were vicariously experiencing his rock star power in lieu of their own potential power, and that the messages of such songs as "Break On Through To The Other Side" were, by and large, not being heard. He wanted to "be the door," but as he said in an interview with Lizzie James: "We can only open the doors, we can't drag people through. I can't free them unless they want to be free, more than anything else...A person has to be willing to give up everything--not just wealth. All the bullshit he's been taught--all society brainwashing. You have to let go of all that to get to the other side. Most people don't want to do that."

And, in another interview with Bob Chorush in the Los Angeles Free Press:
"I like any reaction I can get with my music. Just anything to get people to think.
I mean if you can get a whole room or a whole club full of drunk, stoned people to actually wake up and think, you're doing something. That's not what they came there for. They came to lose themselves."

While Jim venerated and identified with Rimbaud, it seems he did not fully comprehend how he was living out Rimbaud's vision of the poet/seer; of how he himself, in his Dionysian godhood, singing songs "of the soul, for the soul," his performances "containing everything, smells, sounds, colors, thought latching on to thought and pulling," was the alchemical Great Work and (in Rimbaud's phrase) a "multiplier of progress," even though the Doors' audiences were not yet ready to embrace that call to living with full consciousness.

Both of them personified what Henry Miller called the "Rimbaud type":

Rimbaud restored literature to life; I have endeavored to restore life to literature. In both of us the confessional quality is strong, the moral  and spiritual preoccupation uppermost. The flair for language, for music rather than literature, is another trait in common. With him I have  felt an underlying primitive nature which manifests itself in strange ways. Claudel styled Rimbaud "a mystic in the wild state." Nothing could describe him better. He did not "belong" - not anywhere.

'A mystic in the wild state' well describes Jim also, and alienation was a theme of a number of his songs, in particular The EndStrange Days, and People Are Strange.

Note that Miller speaks of Rimbaud's "flair for music rather than literature." Perhaps he was able to "hear" the first reverberations of the Doors' music in Rimbaud's poetry. In fact, twelve of Rimbaud's poems were turned into songs in a well received 'art rock' album, Sahara Blue.

Miller goes on to say:

Until the old world dies out utterly, the "abnormal" individual will tend more and more to become the norm. The new man will find himself only when the warfare between the collectivity and the individual ceases. Then we shall see the human type in its fullness and splendor.–from Miller's The Time of the Assassins, a Study of Rimbaud

I am reminded of this, from Rimbaud's poem 'War':

I dream of a War of right and of might, of unlooked-for logic.

It is as simple as a musical phrase.

Both Jim and Rimbaud died young–Jim at 27 and Rimbaud at 37–burned out from their brief, blazing Roman candle careers. But as Rimbaud wrote in the Lettre, of the voyant/seer: "He reaches the unknown, and even if, crazed, he ends up by losing the understanding of his visions, at least he has seen them!"

Freedom was the overarching theme of their lives and their work. Rimbaud's Drunken Boat, racing uncontrolled and unfettered into "the furious lashing of the tides," is the quintessential image of freedom. And as Jim sang in The Crystal Ship:

Oh tell me where your freedom lies,
The streets are fields that never die,
Deliver me from reasons why,
You'd rather cry, I'd rather fly.

I'll close this with a poem from Jim that was purportedly channeled from the other side:

Soft waves crashed over me, I couldn't see the shore.
Where is my beacon of light, where is my siren to guide me home?
I awoke on the sand, and found the beacon of light flooding out of me
And the siren..........was my voice.

See my light; hear my voice, when the waves crash over you.

Jim's and Arthur's light and voice live on, and it was their highest and dearest hope that their work would open the doors to this guiding light and voice living within each of us. They were, as Henry Miller put it, "abnormal individuals": evolutionary markers and renegades. In their defiance of the old world and their vision of the new, they prepared the way for that new world and for the integration of humanity, both within the self and the collective.
When we awaken from the dream of separation, in tune with and manifesting our soul as well as our physical beingness, we will all be seer/gods and shamans, freely response-able to everyone and everything, understanding our oneness with all, and that "I" is truly "another."

We just have to be willing to cleanse the doors of our perception, walk through them into those infinite, unknown fields of the psyche, and find out for ourselves where our freedom lies. Only then will we be ready to spread our wings and fly.