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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 O er 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 re 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 relight That stranded creature is you See the fake claws and plastic fangs That is your true self This life is perfectly constructed to ll 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 ngers 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 ngers 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 o her panties and nd her smell But do not call me an artist My drawings deliver meaning to your reason They do not re 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 nd 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 nal 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 ash 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 esh 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 avor 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 nd 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 y 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 su ered the price of attendance at El Al Shem last May is my way of picking up a shotgun and blasting a few gold ecks of su ering 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 oor in protest sawdust in my cu s 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 ght and you ght 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 rst 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 su ering 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 ngers 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 rst 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 bene t 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 ve 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 nished 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 xtures 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 oor 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 di erent 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 o 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 red He was in the village I believe he was the man Ed had wounded One shot and the res of hell itself amed out from Ed s troops Everyone red Everyone I could hear David s M 82 rattle o 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 re Cease re 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 super cial The ner points The su ering 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 t terrorist foot I walked away We are spending a great deal of money to piss o 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 ve 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 of ce 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 Bakers eld crossed the treeless sun beaten ats 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 in uence 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 over owing 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 su ocates 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 a ections 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 sca olding place my tea cup in the holder and press the button to motor up and down my long elds of color Then I stop The necessity to pray eventually overpowers the incessant ow 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 signi cance and life I am depressed Why do I even bother I have no gift for this Who am I fooling I dismount the sca olding sit in my rocking chair and place my tea on a table I set the timer on my iPhone for fteen minutes Inside I wrap my cloak around me walk to the edge of the cli 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 re 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 re 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 di erent after only fteen 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 ...