The Divine Ms. A - the Dark Tattooed Goddess of Heaven is an all American girl brought to my attention by the Anti-Pope James I of Boston/Connecticut. She’s a very talented writer who inspires the character of Ms. Rena Oblong in James Mark Emmerling’s ongoing fact/fiction saga about his family, but she’s been going through some tribulations of late.
Since the A-P JME is in the midst of his own environmental and spiritual transition until he can settle into his new digs in May, as his ever faithful servant and Consigliere, it falls upon me to address his concerns about this very talented and troubled young woman which can be a daunting task because after my first humble and eloquent attempt to communicate with the Dark Tattooed Goddess of Heaven she replied with this message: “Who the fuck are you? i'm gonna bash your brains in with a Christmas tree.”
Since then she has expressed a certain adoration for me which, since I am of the same age as her father, must be of a purely Platonic nature. Last night I spent the better part of two hours researching and composing an eloquent PM on Open Salon to address those very concerns; but, when I hit the send button, Open Salon asked me to sign in!!!!!!!!! It was after midnight and apparently the gods were bored and decided to use Open Salon to fuck with my head. They do that sometimes just to get a chuckle or two from my reactions.
If I could have, I would have reached through this LCD screen, grabbed Jacob Sugarman by the hair, pulled his funky little NYC metro chic hipster ass out of bed, dragged him across the continent and beat him with a dead Christmas tree while he recreated my message... but I am supposed to be above that sort of thing. I am supposed to be mature enough and experienced enough to have gained enough perspective so that I don't fly off into a rage, destroy property and inflict bodily harm upon innocent, if inept, dweebs who still haven’t done their fucking jobs!!!!!
As I re-read this, I thought that it was probably a better PM than what I’d just pissed away into cyberspace in that it is a twisty little ontological riddle about what really matters. So I had one more cigarette, finished my beer, sent that cosmic joke instead and went to bed.
Now after five hours of sleep and a second cup of coffee I will attempt to recreate my missive to the divine MS. A:
"Glimpses of Nirvana or Life is like a bean stalk": In the darkness of the night, only occasionally relieved by glimpses of nirvana as seen through other people's windows, wallowing in a morass of self-despair made only more painful by the knowledge that all I am is of my own making. When everything around me, even the kitchen ceiling, has collapsed and crumbled without warning. And I am left, standing in the eye of a well looking up and wondering why and wherefore. At a time like this, which exists maybe only for me, but is nonetheless real, if I could communicate, and in the telling and the bearing of my soul anything is gained, even though the words which I use are pretentious and make you cringe with embarrassment, let me remind you of the pilgrim who asked for an audience with the Dalai Lama.
He was told he must first spend five years (in) contemplation. After the five years, he was ushered into the Dalai Lama's presence, who said, "Well, my son, what do you wish to know?"
So the pilgrim said, "I wish to know the meaning of life, father." And so the Dalai Lama smiled and said, "Well my son, life is like a beanstalk, isn't it?"
Ms. A, this bit of pretentious doggerel is but a small part of what may be the most pretentious neo-classical rock anthem that spawned an era of pretentious neo-classical rock anthems. It comes from “In Held Twas in I – Part I” by the now obscure English Progressive Acid Rock group, Procol Harum on their epic second album Shine on Brightly. From its release in 1968 I spent hours of my “wasted” youth listening to the full 17 minutes of this silliness in various states of altered consciousness. Time wasted in delusions of grandeur, perhaps, but there’s something about that minor epic that still plays around inside my head. First of all the current Dalai Lama is a bit of a jokester and is perfectly capable of that kind of self denigrating irony, but further into that 17 minutes in Part II of this seemingly disconnected ostentatious musical non-sequitur comes this bit:
"The Autumn of My Madness":
In the autumn of my madness
When my hair is turning grey
For the milk has finally curdled
And I've nothing left to say
When all my thoughts are spoken
(Save my last departing verse)
Bring all my friends unto me
And I'll strangle them with words…
In the autumn of my madness
Which in coming won't be long
For the nights are now much darker
And the daylight's not so strong
And the things which I believed in
Are no longer quite enough
For the knowing is much harder
And the going's getting rough…
Followed by this bit:
"Look to Your Soul":
I know if I'd been wiser
This would never have occurred
But I wallowed in my blindness
So it's plain that I deserve…
For the sin of self-indulgence
When the truth was read quite clear
I must spend my life amongst the dead
Who spend their lives in fear
Of a death that they're not sure of
Of a life they can't control
It's all so simple really,
If you just look to your soul…
Some say that I'm a wise man
Some think that I'm a fool
It doesn't matter either way
I'll be a wise man’s fool
For the lesson lies in learning
And by teaching, I'll be taught
For there's nothing hidden anywhere
It's all there to be sought…
And so if you know anything
Look closely at the time
For others who remain untrue
And don't commit that crime, yeah...
It's all so simple, really,
If you'll just look to your soul.
It would be some years later that I began to suspect that beyond their irony and heavy handed crescendos; rather than trying to grind out a new way to make the rock and roll buck, those poor addled lads from the UK were really attempting to be honest about what they’d gleaned from the The Gospel of St. Thomas.
“Doubting Thomas” was literally a pain in the side of Jesus and his apocryphal Gospel of Thomas has been a thorn in the side of establishment Christianity since “it was discovered near Nag Hammadi, Egypt, in December 1945, in one of a group of books known as the Nag Hammadi library. The Gospel of Thomas was found among a collection of fifty-two writings that included, in addition to an excerpt from Plato's Republic, gospels claiming to have been written by Jesus's disciple Philip.”
Fragmented and open to a variety of translations, the Gospel of Thomas is over 100 ‘sayings’ that are purported to have come from the mouth of Jesus Christ. Some are presented in the canonical gospels of the New Testament, but others strike some different chords:
2)… "Let him who seeks not cease until he finds, and when he finds he shall wonder; wondering he shall reign, and reigning shall rest."
5)… "Recognize what is before your face and that which is hidden from the you will be revealed to you.
For there is nothing hidden which shall not be made manifest, nor buried which shall not be raised."
6)… "Do not lie, and do not do what you hate, for all things are disclosed before truth.
For there is nothing hidden which shall not be shown forth."
37)… "When you strip naked without being ashamed, and take your garments and put them under
your feet like little children and tread upon them, then you will see the child of the Living,
and you will not be afraid."
70)… "If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth
what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you."
91)… "You read the face of the sky and of the earth, but you have not recognized the one who is before
you, and you do not know how to read this moment."
92)… "Seek and you will find. Yet, what you asked Me about in former times and which I did not tell you
then, now I do desire to tell, but you do not enquire after it."
108)… "He who will drink from my mouth will become like Me. I myself shall become he, and the things
that are hidden will become revealed to him."
113)… "It [the Kingdom of Heaven] will not come by waiting for it. It will not be a matter of saying
'Here it is' or 'There it is.' Rather, the Kingdom of the Father is spread out upon the earth,
and men do not see it."
So Ms. A, if you’ve managed to wade through all this BS, you might be asking, “What the hell has this crap got to do with me?"
JME has written that recently you have been forced to return to the home of your father and that more recently you’ve run afoul of the law in some minor scuffle. I could waste your time by writing about my multiple and sometimes violent conflicts with my father or the number of times that I was arrested and bailed out of jail, and those uncertain months of waiting to go to trial, the humiliating realities of dealing with attorneys and courtrooms and even court ordered therapy. I could write about how my heart was broken by an enchanted gypsy virgin and the madness that ensued when some months later I snapped and literally destroyed the place where I worked – but those are tales for another time.
Suffice it to say that in the Autumn of my Madness, I’ve managed to survive and even benefit from all that conflict, those temporary moments of pain and insanity and even my court ordered therapy. My survival, particularly over these last three years, has allowed me to discover that for the first time in over five decades, that I am actually glad to be alive. Believe it or not, that state of Grace has been my desire for most of my chaotic existence and it may be the purpose of all those years of struggle.
I cannot say that I have ever found any kind of belief, especially any kind of religious Faith; but it seems that I’ve managed to stumble out of the darkness of my personal labyrinth and my weakened eyes are slowly becoming accustomed to the light of the world.
I’m not sure if these meandering tales may provide you with any kind of useful perspective; but it’s all that I can offer. How you may choose to use it or understand it is entirely up to you. Just know that thirty-five years ago I was surprised to discover that I was still alive; and I’m hoping that, thirty-five years from now, you too may come to find some modicum of grace and purpose to your life.
For any of you who have the patience, this is the Complete “In Held ‘Twas in I”:
Except for attributed photos and text, all content is copyrighted © 2013 JKM (an apparently ineffectual boilerplate joke?)