Sunday, March 26, 2006


We all go through them...maybe not a Master Mason initiation, but Confirmation, orientations, on-the-job training, fraternity/sorority hijinks, Rotarian nonsense...

then there are the informal but so, so transformational ones: falling in love, making love, falling out of love, breaking up, looking up and seeing the sky for the first time one day when you're 24...or 39...

and the big ones:
earning a Ph.D., becoming a renunciate, having children, facing death...

spiritually and otherwise, I've been through my share of initiations--the ones where I've Felt Something, whether it was at my Confirmation or my self-initiation into witchcraft...or the time my guru made a little dot on my forehead with some turmeric paste and said "Om Namah Shivaya" or the time Laura burst on the scene in Her fullness. (I called that post "Magical Mystery Tour" because if you read Michael Herr's
Dispatches that song becomes very frightening indeed, and if you don't it's just playful and charming--and it's all those things, and so is the spiritual path.)

Being a perfectionist, I used to make too big a deal out of initiations, not understanding fully that they're a self-conscious step towards another reality, not that other reality itself. One thing I've done to minimize initiatic fetishism is to take a 3rd Step every day, offering my will and my life to the care of my dear Kali. My first 3rd Step felt all trembly and momentous, aided by a sponsor wise enough to make me squirm a little; now I do it as a matter of course, while I'm driving to work and in between thoughts of meetings and hirings and firings.

Still, we all need a good kick in the pants now and again, a righteous repatterning, a nice neuron-smashing imprinting session. We need these because, though we might believe in nothing else, we all believe in the fiction of our selves, the narratives spun out of mind-chatter and mapped onto the charts of hive hierarchy. This vodoun initiation sounds wondrous...sorry for all the links in this...but read this one.

I admire the simplicity of keeping someone in a dark hut for five days; obviously practitioners of vodoun have often lacked the financial resources and public level of tolerance needed for elaborate pageantry, but the religion adapted accordingly, along lines that minimize distracting, berobed BS in favor of genuine expansion of the initiate's self--an Osirean fragmenting and reassembling...and as arduous and painful as it may be, Isis always gives you something new.

Especially interesting are the writer's observations on his various internal voices and their eventual silencing. Part of what I'm sure he learned in the hut is: if you silenced them once, you can do it again, and it won't take three days in the dark next time. As Mary Daly wrote, once you've been to the moon the first time, getting back is easy.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Wednesday, March 8, 2006

"This Is Moon Musick"

Me: I love you, Laura.

L: I love you, too. You make me very happy.

Me: But you're an
angel...I thought you didn't need anyone to make you happy.

L: I don't
need you. I want you. Wanting is higher than needing.

Me: You may have a point there, Princess [I have so many pet names for L, and they are all sickening...].

L: No one
needs God, or Shakespeare or Virginia Woolf or Louis Armstrong....on the earth plane, you need to breathe, you need to eat, you need water and sleep, you need an operative excretory system...but what you want calls you higher.

[We're sitting on the screened porch in cool, delicious night air, sipping Grand Marnier; I'm nursing a cigar that won't stay lit--]

L: This Grand Marnier is the Exhibit A of higher civilization. Who needs it? Someone wanted it...wanted a sweet, warm, orangey-sexual drink...had they wanted to just get pissed, they'd have glutted themselves on potato spirits.

Me: Rien, cette écume...

L: No one needs pianos, or needed Duke Ellington to play one like he was Wallace Stevens.

Me: No one needs scat singing--[I'm really thinking not of Satch but of "Are You Shivering?" by Coil, which seems the most perfect song ever in this caressingly chill night breeze--]

[Silence...we sit, sip, hold hands, shift in our seat to hide eyes from the street light (false moon).]

Me: I love you, Laur [another nickname]. Are you real?

L: Are you?

Me: According to that Science News article, maybe not.

L: I'm as real as you are.

Sunday, March 5, 2006

"Books are for the scholar's idle times"

So many times have books changed my life: so many writers with whom I've been obsessed/am'd think after 23 years I'd have gotten over Nietzsche, but when I was young he (and the Sex Pistols) convinced me that life was worth living after all, and still I taste the blackstrap kindness of those words...

now, with Laura's way of knowing, books are becoming less important, and it's a hard adjustment. I used to buy a book for one scrap of wisdom, one word even, and used to scour shelves (stores, libraries, my own) for that one right book whose words, preordain'd, would crystallize it all: the chaos of my experience, the emotion and wayward intellection...

and I still fetishize a couple signed by a Preeminent Poet just the other mouth watered over a first of The Stones of Summer in a bookstore yesterday, and it physically hurt me that the guy who owns the store keeps it in a glass case exposed to nearly direct sunlight...I wanted to rescue it...and during the recent floods I fretted over the possible fate of my copy of Dachy's The Dada Movement...(it's safe)...

but now I open books, wise books, books by people I'll never, ever be as smart as, and mostly their words leave me cold--I know this, or, I don't need to know this, or--this is nothing but word games...I'm not complaining, and not bragging, though it may sound that way...I still revere Nietzsche, and Woolf, and Whitman and Sappho and so many others, but I don't need them now, don't need a substitute vision for the waxing light of my own intuition...

and so, nostalgically, I invoke Richard Wright, who, far more than even me, had that East Jesus, pine-stump ignorati upbringin' that left him hungry for the magick of words, and so he writes in Black Boy of the occult name of H. L. Mencken and the demoniac ring of that name in the Jim Crow South, how whites shuddered and so Wright wondered...

and so he forged (à la Frederick Douglass) a pass and took it to a library, and the pass said: "Dear Madam: Will you please let this nigger boy have some books by H. L. Mencken?" And the books were more than he could have hoped for--naturally, for that is the entire purpose of a work of art, to be more than we could know or hope to know. And so Wright wrote:

"I was jarred and shocked by the style, the clear, clean, sweeping sentences. Why did he write like that? And how did one write like that? I pictured the man as a raging demon, slashing with his pen, consumed with hate, denouncing everything American, extolling everything European or German, laughing at the weaknesses of people, mocking God, authority....Yes, this man was fighting, fighting with words. He was using words as a weapon, using them as one would use a club....I read on and what amazed me was not what he said, but how on earth anybody had the courage to say it."

This is how It begins. This is how the juvenile self imbibes the foreign poison/cure that makes it cocoon, pupate, burst forth as unthinkable winged life--vulture wings, eagle wings, dragonfly iridescence on shimmery summer air of greening tastes the ancestral word-blood of the soul, senses the rhythm beyond self or heartbeat...divines the dim Dark Matter behind appearance, behind words' black and white.

Saturday, March 4, 2006

Stuff Is Crazy

the water from the clothes washer backs up into the bathtub and toilet...and the guys from the city have been out and have shoved a camera up the sewer line and have dug holes and put in new pipes, and still it backs up...

and Teresa knows we have to wash very small loads of laundry because of this but will wash a big load anyway and flood the house...and then not like it if I "blame" her...

and someone has tried twice in one week to break into our house, once jumping over a not inconsiderable wooden fence, having obviously spied on our comings and goings, so well-timed was his near-B&E...

what else?

I've had this cold from hell forever...still coughing like Keats on his deathbed...

BUT I'm trying to stay in gratitude, trying to give all of this to my Divine Mother...trying not to want anything from Her but knowing She has everything...knowing I want everything...

sometimes I feel Her love, or Laura's love (same thing--but one is easier to accept than the other) washing over me like pounding Hawaiian surf, and I know there is no death and there is no me and there is no loss and nothing to fear and no place where She is not...

that makes more sense than it used to...I feel Her in every moment like the chest-swelling infrasonic harmonics at a rock and roll concert, that reverberate beneath the songs mute, yet humming like a third rail--they form the carrier wave for it all, drums and bass and guitar and wail--but I long to hear the song and feel the pulse as One--