Here is the beginning of the book: Chapter I We wake up, and we realize we are on a voyage. That we are traveling in this ship of human form... a rare opportunity. Gradually we learn that the Kiss is the only treasure worth the rigors of this journey. We stand our watch. We tend the rudder of our mind whether it is sun or cold. We sail toward the constant Kiss of unchanging Love where there will be relief from suffering. For us. For many. In this life. In any others that might follow. Sunday, May 1, 2005, 10:20 AM On The Road from Takrit to Kirkuk The hard wooden seats of the M-35, in which I ride, bump, bump, bump against my coccyx. You would think, with all the fat surrounding my tailbone, that it would be cushioned from such pain. If you believe that, you are unfamiliar with Iraqi roads and the suspension in an old Deuce and a Half. (i dream of the susquehanna night after night the cold water as sharp as steel snow with the gift of forgetfulness the summer celebration of the trees rain) There are soldiers on my right. Soldiers on my left. Soldiers in front of me. Once I thought they were the good guys. They are not. Many in the world say they are the bad guys. They are not. As my story will certainly demonstrate (it’s the same tha ‘ole world over), good and bad cling to one another in an embrace of such passion, it is impossible to tell the lover from the loved. Cut open the good guys, you discover a bed full of evil. Shake the bad guys, and good runs laughing into the street. Offer either of them the right price, and he will strangle the good as she sleeps. Never have I seen an exception to that rule. As the truck bumps, I tap, tap, tap this thin black box, and I supplicate the gods of wire and electron to bless me with the words to build a fire in your mind, so you might be able to see that you stand, every second, on the edge of an abyss. Look! Look at it. You are surrounded by shouts and tears and anger. 1
Here is the beginning of the book   Chapter I We wake up, and we realize we are on a voyage. That we are traveling in this...
See. See in the glare of the firelight. That stranded creature is you. See the fake claws and plastic fangs. That is your true self. This life is perfectly constructed to fill our pockets with promise. Then rob us of hope, steal our faith and break our spirit. It is a joke. More about that in a minute. I type more slowly than you read. Since only my two index fingers possess the skill to tap my thoughts into words, all the heft of trowel and hod descends on these two, thin and delicate digits. (to be able to hit the right keys in the pitch and yaw of this smelly truck is a salute to the skill of these very fingers) I am told I have beautiful hands. Women have called them lovely. Men call them queer. They are a draftsman’s hands. I draw very precisely and very accurately. I can draw a woman so lifelike you believe you could pull off her panties and find her smell. But do not call me an artist. My drawings deliver meaning to your reason. They do not fire your heart or excite your soul. I remember how, as a child, I phantasized myself as one of the good guys. I wanted to be the savior of mankind. I was the Lone Ranger. I was Superman. I was an Old Testament Prophet. I trailed the bad guys through canyons and rivers. I grabbed airplanes just before they plunged into the ocean, and I returned them safely to land amid the grateful cheers of the passengers. I stood, in my imagination, as a Sentinel to warn people away from evil. Direct them to the good. Now I stand as a lonely Observer beside the turbulent river at the entrance to the land of death. I am not Superman. I am not the Lone Ranger. I am not Jeremiah. I do not lecture you on Truth, Honesty and the American Way. And never, never would I say, Forgive, and you will find the universe as bright as a Jewel. When I was a child, I spoke with the foolishness of a child. In captivity I put away childish things, and now I can whisper to you 2
See. See in the glare of the    relight. That stranded creature is you. See the fake claws and plastic fangs. That is your...
this warning: Soon. Very soon. You too will come to realize that your view of the world is partial, small and obscured. It is true that you see through a glass darkly. There is a reason for that. The gods love a good joke. They want you to indulge the natural optimism that seems to infect mankind. They are planning an event, and they do not want to spoil the surprise: When you come to your final moment, all the gods will gather round you on your death-bed and laugh, uproariously, as you slip away. They live to see the look of shock and surprise on your face when you realize the utter emptiness and futility of your life. Welcome to my Diary. Chapter II Attached to my loved ones, I am stirred like an ocean in storm. Hating my enemies, I burn like fire. Darkness and confusion rush in. I forget what to keep and what to discard. If I unlock my grip on my loved ones and my enemies, we are all drawn into the embrace of the constant Kiss of unchanging Love. Monday, August 15, 2005 4:33 PM Hudson, New York It is raining. To the West, the Catskills shake and flash. I sit on this vinyl seat. My computer and my recorder set on a formica and chrome table top in this deserted diner as I transcribe the tape from this morning’s interview with Touches-Lightly-Like-the-Breeze. I want to drink. My throat is closed. I want to dine on rich cuisine. My stomach refuses. I need to get laid. My secret friend will not cooperate. I have had no sex since before my imprisonment. Something within me has gone to sleep. I seek only the nakedness that populates my memory and my longing. A woman of real flesh frightens me. I am angry. I wake up angry. I wake up afraid. This interview with Touches made me angry. The salt has lost its flavor. My life is tasteless. Will it be thrown out? What else do you do with tasteless salt? 3
this warning  Soon. Very soon. You too will come to realize that your view of the world is partial, small and obscured. It...
Enough of my regurgitation. That cannot be pretty on the page. I have seen and smelled enough of it. And you? Alright, let me tell you what I have been doing these last three months. Nothing. The needle of my compass continues to spin like the spokes on the wheels of a fast car. Yet, somehow, as I tumble down the range of life, I keep working on this diary. There are spectators in the bleachers of my mind who find that enterprise absurd. There is so much I do not understand about El-Al-Shem and what occurred there. What really happened? Someone knows. No one is talking. Or the journalists are tickled with their latest endeavor to curry favor with the Pentagon: they are telling stories that are patent lies intended to create the illusion that, although it smells and looks like the rear end of a pig, it really is a silk purse. I completed this interview with Touches about two hours ago. I have an interview scheduled with Bobby Montana in October. I am attempting to arrange an interview with Jane. (come oh wind plover fly to me) I am looking for leads as to the whereabouts of the terrorists who survived. I am even considering interviewing Ryan’s mother. Do I have unspoken motives for these interviews? Of course I do. I want you to like my work... so zealously that your approval creates a tidal tribute of money, women, prestige and prizes. I will employ these interviews or any device I might discover or fabricate in order to add value to my endeavor. The way creative and unscrupulous miners chose a gold mine that was played out and worthless and salted it with $10 worth of gold to give it a million dollar appearance. Maybe interviewing the souls who suffered the price of attendance at El-Al-Shem last May is my way of picking up a shotgun and blasting a few gold flecks of suffering into these words in order to deceive you into believing there is value here. I hope it works. 4
Enough of my regurgitation. That cannot be pretty on the page. I have seen and smelled enough of it. And you  Alright, let...
Piece of Interview with Touches-Lightly-like-the-Breeze, the 83 year old Mohawk Indian in the story: How’s yer patriotism, Sam, huh? (again i feel as small as a mouse on on the paw of a lion i do not like this man i did not like him in iraq i do not like him in albany whenever he speaks to me i see myself shrink water boils in the iron of my bowels i do not like this feeling i squeak i do not talk i squeak when my mouth opens squeak squeak i should eat porridge and cry for my tit throw toys and wail i will not be treated this way) My name is not Sam. Oughta be. You do not remember my name, my feathered friend. It is what I expected. That your tobacco burning and herb gathering would have accelerated the inevitable tyranny of senility. I look forward to seeing you drool and stare vacantly into the air. I think yer Uncle Sam. (laughs felt he stared into my naked brain he looks like a big sack of squirming cats laughs cat heads bang against the burlap) Yer big an’ mean like ‘im. You steal land too? You him. Uncle Sam. Fer sher. (sat opposite him i am a piano lowered by crane onto this cane chair creaked its loud protest i feel compassion for the chair dragged from the forest to be crushed by my disgusting mass of protoplasm the screws and the wood clutched each other in terror in kansas city blues joint a chair cried out broke threw me to the floor in protest sawdust in my cuffs sawdust in my drink his face like a broken moon more ancient than the earth i hate him i hate the mouse cringing before the lion i ignored him started my tape recorder why to interview this ancient moon? what does he know? specks of gold to enrich my story? maybe i explore this planet because i need a chunk of hate to bite like a bullet to bear the surgery of this existence) 5
Piece of Interview with Touches-Lightly-like-the-Breeze, the 83 year old Mohawk Indian in the story  How   s yer patriotis...
You gonna capture my voice, Uncle Sam? Put it ‘n prison? Do you mind? (he shook his head grinned) You sher do go ta a lot a wars. You like wars, Uncle Sam? I hear you like wars. You hear I like wars? I am a war correspondent. I know the realities of war. It is but one of the unfortunate and necessary evils we must pursue in order to keep the barbarians from scaling the walls to steal our money and ravage our women. Someone sher must like war. Wars doin’ a lota business, an’ it aint slowin’ down none. (laughter from the sack) Yeah, well, tell me ‘bout yerself, Uncle Sam. Ya like war, right? Ya aint a patriot if ya don’ like war. Right? An’ hey, yer Uncle Sam. (pago pago pago) You fight and you fight well, or you lose all your goodies. That lesson, surely, is not lost on you and your people. (i pause to let my arrow sink in) Besides, the problem these days emanates from the actions of terrorists, fanatics, and Islamists. That entire pack of murderers, bombers, and crazies. We kill them first, or they kill us. (squeak squeak wail wail i engage to win i must deepen my voice pago pago my hat into my hand rub the edge of the advancing rash his sack of cats jumps and bumps they run the sack from toe to tip laughs round and round they go his face turns red is he sick? will he explode? i hate him) Part of the interview with Bobby Montana, the Special Forces soldier (with terrible PTSD) who had an affair in Iraq with Jane Nightengale, the Jewish healer who practices Tibetan Buddhism. (he jerked as if i had slapped him in the face with a wet rag but then nodded his head he would talk he would guy-talk too many years of conditioning) 6
You gonna capture my voice, Uncle Sam  Put it    n prison   Do you mind   he shook his head grinned  You sher do go ta a l...
Yea, great tits. God, I loved ‘em. I loved ‘em. (his face burrowed down into his hands like a small furry animal his shoulders shook he repaired to the house of his suffering moved back and forth across the river of sanity looked up tears bubbled from the cave where his eyes slept and ate) I guess what I remember a lot these days is her skin. Yeah, her skin. (pound my crampon into the ice smack smack against the impenetrable glaze make it bite the ancient rime) What about her skin...sexy, right? (i turned away from him touched my cock squeezed to encourage it it lay like a rubber eel on the bottom of the sea dead or sleeping) I loved her skin, man. (the eel did not move lifeless) I dunno... I guess her skin was... I dunno... like a big rose petal. My mom had some real pretty roses. I used to love to feel ‘em, all soft, ya know? Like the tips a your fingers were fallin’ into a soft bed. Her skin was like that. Before I sleep. When I wake up. I think about it a lot. (water trickled from the caves) So, you fucked her once, and there she is in the bed beside you... (he looked up eyes red he wore his clown makeup the sad face mouth turned down red tear drops painted on his cheek) Yeah, man. Yeah, weird the stuff I remember. Like... after that first time, she started kissing me, and I really went after her and she told me to slow down... to be in the Nature of Mind. Then she took my hands off her breasts. Not so sexual.... what tha fuck? I was so fucking confused. I dunno McPhedridge. See, it’s not about cummin’. Fuck I’m starting to sound like her. Just explain it to me, Bobby. What did she say after you came the second time? I dunno man. There was all that Buddhist shit about not losing my energy, but I didn’t pay much attention to that. The shit that got me was when she started talking about how my feelings needed to be open to the benefit of all beings 7
Yea, great tits. God, I loved    em. I loved    em.  his face burrowed down into his hands like a small furry animal his s...
when I was with her. All beings? Shit man!, I was just focused on her, an’ then...I dunno how the fuck this happens, but suddenly just focusing on her seemed kinda small. I didn’t understand what she meant. I just knew what I was doing was small, and what she wanted from me was big. Anyway, I moved behind her. Spooned her. I loved that. My body up against her. Head to toe. My cock pressing into her crack. Her beautiful butt. (i need the ascent of sex i set my will to climb this wall to the place of my worship the pitons slip from the cracks something in the webbing is rotten the rope frays i slip i swing my axe into the ice it cries as it slips down falling down) We lay there for like five minutes. She spoke. I could hear a knife sheathed in the tone of her voice, I’m not used to a man lying in my bed without an erection. I told you not to cum. My heart... went blind. Like she threw a jar of black ink on me. I didn’t say anything. His ruminations after his interview with Bobby. It’s about half way through the book and, in spite of himself, he continues to change: Monday, April 23, 2007 11:34 PM There. As you see, I have finished transcribing Bobby’s interview. And, as you can also see, it was a marvelous day ruined. I so wanted to simmer in the juices of stories about their sex. Why can I not do what I wish to do? Sex is the mountain at which I worship; yet no matter my volition, no matter the exertions of my will, I could not, during Bobby’s interview, assume my wonted place on that mountain. (the eel lay lifeless) 8
when I was with her. All beings  Shit man , I was just focused on her, an    then...I dunno how the fuck this happens, but...
I have spent hours contemplating the implications of my failures during that interview. I want my life back. Or a life. Any life! Something. I sat on the deck for hours. I showered and steamed. Walked down the milelong driveway. Thinking. Thinking. Here is my conclusion: Chaos. End of statement. Full stop. We think we are in control of our life. At least a little. I do not mean the outer circumstance. I have always understood the arbitrariness of fate. A meteor or a bolt of lightning could be waiting around any corner. But...I believe what I believe because I have chosen the most cogent and appetizing of available beliefs. Right! Wrong? My politics, my religious beliefs, my morality... my World View is a result of careful consideration and choice from my interaction with my DNA and my environment. Right? Wrong! We are all only Parliamentarians in the Congress of Insanity. We, in our adopted robes of propriety, try to impose order. We pound the gavel. but the members of this congress are insane. They hang from the light fixtures. They shoot at each other. We cite law and pragmatism. They piss on their food, steal the pennies and the pickles. They cut the throat of the blind lady of justice. They hide behind the curtains. They fuck the visiting dignitaries. Keep donuts in the cash drawer and dirty socks in the refrigerator. That is what is going on inside of your mind every second. It is what is going on inside of mine. We pretend such sobriety while, just behind the curtain of consciousness, epic brawls proceed unabated. 9
I have spent hours contemplating the implications of my failures during that interview. I want my life back. Or a life. An...
For me, the curtain is parting. I am beginning, slowly, to discern the insanity transpiring in the Congress of my mind, and it frightens me. Since my interview with Touches, someone has sneaked into my chamber and stolen my pistol. They point to the ballroom and say, Dance. I do not know how to dance. I only know how to hang from the chandeliers and to shoot. What do I do? How can I live? I am starving and my only way to a greener land is across that floor. I am trapped here between starvation and Chaos. (i hear the creaking of the chandeliers justice crying out in her blood the dignitaries moaning behind the curtain) Finally. Finally. I possess a clear view of the pitiful little grotto in which I am trapped. The place from which there is no escape. *************************** This is one of the action scene on the ground in Iraq. There are several: Chapter XVII We may consider the famous more important than us. We may consider a beggar less important. When either treats us with contempt, and we are angry, we embrace chaos. See what they teach us: how we are able to love chaos more than the peace. When we accept that teaching and accept them as teacher, we invite the embrace of the constant Kiss of unchanging Love. Thursday, May 5, 2005 11:57PM I needed another break. I walked outside. Looked up into the stars. They said nothing. They did not look back at me. I looked out across the star-touched landscape. It too was mute. Wounded and mute. I walked back inside. Lit another cigar. Began again to write. The unruly child bangs the tin wall of my heart. 10
For me, the curtain is parting. I am beginning, slowly, to discern the insanity transpiring in the Congress of my mind, an...
I continue: As Jane walked away Ed yelled, Lady, I don’t want any fuckin’ distractions. (then his mind seemed to turn in midair like a wind plover over the evening river) I’m gonna get that boy out of there. Please, I don’t want any interference. (ed please please? what has this boy done to you?) Jane turned back to face Ed. Tears now fell softly from her eyes. Turned again and walked down the hill, through the wadi, and back among the women. As she walked away, a different voice called from her body: the way she held her hands, her shoulders. A quieter voice. A kinder voice. She reached out and touched a woman’s arm. The woman touched Jane’s cheek. Then I saw Jane point. She shouted. I could not understand her words. She walked up to a woman and jerked off her veil. It was another man. He raised his hand to hit her, but she kicked him in the groin and twenty women fell upon him like the Saracen upon his prey. I heard her shout. Asshole. Get that asshole. I do not think it was being translated. The insurgent fell. The women were stamping on him. Jane walked quickly through the crowd of women and spoke very intently to two women walking on each side of her. They seemed to be translating. Another ruckus broke out. Another man went down. Then there was a shot. One shot. An AK-47. I saw the man who fired. He was in the village. I believe he was the man Ed had wounded. One shot and the fires of hell itself flamed out from Ed’s troops. Everyone fired. Everyone. I could hear David’s M-82 rattle off the names of women and children destined for the gates of death. Across the wadi, women fell. Children exploded. Women screamed. Children screamed. Blood, body parts, tissue could be seen spinning through the air. Sticking to the women and children. Sticking to walls. Pooling on the ground. 11
I continue  As Jane walked away Ed yelled, Lady, I don   t want any fuckin    distractions.  then his mind seemed to turn ...
Ed walked calmly among his troops. Cease fire. Cease fire. I waddled down the hill, through the ravine, and up into the carnage. I fell. Tore my pants. Saw a shadow of blood under the fabric. Screaming. Everyone was screaming. Blood and tears on a woman’s face. A boy lying on his side. It was the boy who had been arguing with his mother. A puddle of blood and tissue leaked from the front of his torn shirt. I turned him over. (his days of arguing with his mother resenting his mother were over oh that fortune so might smile on me) He looked at me with bright eyes. Bright black eyes. They sparkled. I die? I did not know what to say. I felt I was looking at someone at the far end of a tunnel. His image seemed to recede. Second by second to fade further into the distance. I held his head. The sun hammered on my brain and tears fell into his black, curly hair. This is not me. I do not cry. I looked away. I screamed, Medic! Medic! His voice, very faint: Is OK. Is up to Allah. He did not exactly smile. His face broadened. He acquiesced. You tell my mother... bye. The sparkle left his eyes. He let out a large breath. He evacuated his bowels. Medic! (are there no medics in gilead?) Who will remember that boy? Who will remember me? We will be mourned for a week. Talked about for a month. Funny stories about our mishaps and blunders will be told for a year. Then silence. A stone thrown into the water. A splash. Ripples. Then, again, the persistent calm of the lake. As if we had never existed. 12
Ed walked calmly among his troops. Cease    re. Cease    re. I waddled down the hill, through the ravine, and up into the ...
If anything ever remains in the memory of the mind of the world, it is the egregious mistakes, the crude silliness and the myths needed to feed our appetite for the superficial. The finer points. The suffering of our childhood. The deep passions. Our highest aspirations. No one will remember that. The nectar of what we are will vanish like cigar smoke in the wind. A nostalgic smell in the air for a few minutes. Then... Nothing. I smell the Dog. He is in the room. He devours us. He devours all of us. Then he devours all memory of us. I rose. I weighed a hundred tons. Heavily I walked up the hill. A woman blocked my way. She waved a blood-soaked child’s shoe in my face. Is this right size, ‘merican man? Huh? I held out my arms in bewilderment. This size terrorists wear? Huh? This fit terrorist foot? I walked away. We are spending a great deal of money to piss off a great many people. Most of the soldiers had crossed the wadi to help the wounded and to search for shooters. A few soldiers remained on the hillside. They looked dazed. David was sitting beside his weapon weeping violently. Chet stood over him. You shoot inta them wimin an' kids? Yes. Oh, God, yes! Why you do that, white boy? Whatta you mean! It was an order! We were ordered ta shoot. Didn’t you shoot? How it feel? 13
If anything ever remains in the memory of the mind of the world, it is the egregious mistakes, the crude silliness and the...
Fuck you. It was awful. Fucked up awful. I'll never forgit. Never. The M-82... These big shells. He held up a .50 caliber shell. Very large. They exploded. The kids exploded. He put his head down and wept. Tha kids fuckin’ exploded. Yeah, so now you fucked fer good. What? You fucked. Ferever. That how Tha Man get you. That why you cain't listen to 'im. That what black people done learn a long time ago. Don' never listen to what Tha Man tell ya ta do. I saw the brothers shootin'. They shot. Yeah, man, dey shoot. Da enemy, we kill. Da kids, we miss. Mos shoot over da heads. Don’ want da Colonel up ‘r ass. They learned. Now you learn, but it too late. You fucked. You fucked good. Too good. Chet walked away. Two soldiers dragged Jane up the hill toward Ed. She kicked. She screamed. Bobby walked behind her. He held both hands in front of him. The motion of his face, the movements of his body. He seemed to be placing supplications before the Virgin Mary. Ed walked hastily down the hill. Stopped in front of the group. Ed looked like a cake of explosives. He stood for five seconds staring at Jane. She kicked at him. She screamed, You mother fucker. You mother fuckin’ murderer. Then she spit on him. Ed was as still as a cobra before striking. His voice was level, not a bump of emotion: Montana, get yer cunt under control. 14
Fuck you. It was awful. Fucked up awful. I ll never forgit. Never. The M-82... These big shells. He held up a .50 caliber ...
Jane cried beyond the boundaries of tears or grief. Asshole. You chauvinistic asshole. Bobby touched her on the shoulder. Jane, please. Calm down. Don’t touch me, you asshole. You fuckin’ ball-less coward, and she tried to turn and kick him. Two nurses walked up the hill to us. One was Lois Bartells. She did not look at me. Ed addressed the two soldiers holding Jane. Take this wild bitch and lock her in the room next to my office. You two nurses get back to the wounded. Later check in and make sure this bitch is settled down. Stick her with a sedative. Whatever you have ta do. I want her quiet. Jane spit on him again. You didn’t have to shoot! We had it under control! You killed those women and children. You slaughtered those people. You slaughtered them! She shook with sobs. The soldiers dragged her away. My mind was blank. Absolutely blank. ****************************** Here’s a piece from the last chapter... it’s 8 years and 600 pages since El-Alshem; Saturday, July 13, 2013 4:14 PM Don Perico’s Restaurant, Grapevine, California, 15
Jane cried beyond the boundaries of tears or grief. Asshole. You chauvinistic asshole.  Bobby touched her on the shoulder....
We dropped the goods for shipping at the UPS in Bakersfield, crossed the treeless, sun-beaten flats and began the climb up, up toward Los Angeles. Tatianna and Sonji are out on a walk. Sonji can’t stop crying. We’re at 1,500 feet. The merciless sun, habitual patron of the great San Joaquin, commands less influence at this altitude. From where I sit, I can see a corner of the valley... toward Tehachapi, Arvin, Lamont. A dirty yellow haze lays its heavy hand on all the land I can see. I once thought this valley so beautiful... so dramatic in its size and wealth. It’s as if the rivers, the Kings, the Merced, the Kern and the great San Joaquin running, running, for millions of years laid bare the breast of the Mother. Here we may come to suck our live force from the soil. She gives us full and overflowing breasts of berries and nuts, vegetables and cotton, grapes and corn, milk and wheat. But I weep that her bounty is being eroded by the insensitivity of the farmer, the oil producer, the merchant and the politician. She is a living, sensitive woman. She must be treated with care. Nurtured. She suffocates under the weight of the yellow haze. Her veins run with chemicals and poisons. She is sick. Our greed has poisoned her. She could die. I weep for our injured Mother. I weep for what we have become. The stones hurled from the hands of our ambition have wounded and confused our affections. We can no longer recognize the voice of the sage, the guardian of our ancient visceral knowledge... the one who, from the high chambers of our heart, commands our generosity. The women returned for ten minutes, then Sonji began crying again and they went back outside. Before they left Sonji said: They have lots of Dahlias here. I love Dahlias. And another piece from the last chapter after he has found the work he is meant to do. 16
We dropped the goods for shipping at the UPS in Bakers   eld, crossed the treeless, sun-beaten    ats and began the climb ...
I am back into the groove of my painting, accompanied by all the self-doubt and ego endemic to my transit through the jungle of the art world. Every morning by 7:30 I mount my scaffolding, place my tea cup in the holder, and press the button to motor up and down my long fields of color. Then I stop. The necessity to pray eventually overpowers the incessant flow of trivia entering and exiting my mind. If the painting looks good to me, I am immediately phantasizing about my upcoming fame. Crowds cheer the opening of my exhibit in Soho. Appearances on television. If the oil paints do not dance with significance and life, I am depressed. Why do I even bother? I have no gift for this. Who am I fooling? I dismount the scaffolding, sit in my rocking chair and place my tea on a table. I set the timer on my iPhone for fifteen minutes. Inside, I wrap my cloak around me, walk to the edge of the cliff and look out over the sea. Quiet. No thoughts. Watching, watching from the tiny clearing in the midst of the immense and unknown forest of my mind. As I go very still in my mind, all the energies overlooked by the infection of blindness transmitted by my daily preoccupation with the mundanity of life, like little children of the gods of fire, rush into the clearing. There are so many, yet I did not know they were there till I stopped. I do not know their names. I do not know their origin or family. I simply go quiet in my mind. I watch them dance into view and run through my village, torch in hand, singing and setting fire to the debris my unconsciousness has hoarded. Something moves within me. I relax. I allow. My voice speaks forth. Chant and song. Happy and somber. Deep. Loud. Soft. The children dance to my inchoate tune. It’s the only music they understand. It inspires them to burn all the dross of mindless mundanity I have accumulated. I become restless to return to painting. I resist. I wait for my phone to release me. And what happens? How? Why am I different after only fifteen minutes? Mostly I cannot explain how the work goes on beneath the surface of the sea. 17
I am back into the groove of my painting, accompanied by all the self-doubt and ego endemic to my transit through the jung...
By the end of the appointed time my hand is trembling to again take up the brush. I look at a section of my canvass where I had previously tried to bring cobalt blue, vermillion and burnt sienna together to engage in a sweet dance of peaceful beauty, but all they did was hit and accuse. Now I brush them on the canvass while they sing the note I knew was hiding in the jungles of my inspiration I don’t see the process that spawned such a clarity. I only know that now, as I pick up my brush, dip it into the paint, I know what color, what juxtaposition, will sing the missing note, and from beneath the sea, golden towers break forth, brilliant in the morning sun. 18
By the end of the appointed time my hand is trembling to again take up the brush. I look at a section of my canvass where ...