“In Held ‘Twas in I Parts I & II,” an Epistle to the Divine Ms. A - the Dark Tattooed Goddess of Heaven

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?)

Views: 777

Comment by Jonathan Wolfman on April 22, 2013 at 2:30am

I do, on occasion, wonder why I've never been able to be a person of belief.

Comment by koshersalaami on April 22, 2013 at 12:05pm

Maybe you've never asked a question and had it answered in real time. Or maybe you've never found something unexpectedly moral about how the world works. Or maybe you've never had a critical prayer answered, by which I don't mean one simple enough to look like chance.

But the answer, the real answer as to what the real use of belief is, at least if you're Jewish, is that belief yields results, not in external answers, but in you. It focuses you on certain questions, and those answers can make you more moral. I'm not saying that those answers can't be arrived at without faith; I'm saying that this belief system has a track record of producing certain behaviors, behaviors which you happen to exhibit. It is originally faith that led to our literacy, faith that led to our habit of questioning (which is why I said "at least if you're Jewish" because questioning isn't as built into most faiths as it is ours), faith that led to our conclusions about what we owe which other people. We spill the wine for the plagues at the Seder because we are reminded by our faith that suffering is suffering, even if it is the evil who suffer, and there is no joy in it. We are taught that we owe those who do not have. We are taught that we owe those who are in need of help. We are taught that we owe our parents. We are taught that our conduct demands reflection and thought, that it is our obligation to wrestle with God. We are taught that it is our religious obligation to repair the world, both from the standpoint of what we are commanded and from the standpoint of, well, dayenu, of not being ingrates, of showing love to He who has shown us love. And so our faith produces activist humanists with, I think, more numerical efficiency, more per capita, than any other system I know about. And that has value.

I'm not saying that God did this. I am saying that belief in God did this. That's different.

I am not saying that you need to believe in God to get here, but I am saying that that which you value, that which you think is right, that which you think is just, came to you ultimately from people who did have faith, and so it is a good idea to understand that there are respects in which faith can be important, in which faith, if approached honestly, can lead you to more compassion; if not you, then those who taught you.

This is the point that I could never get our mutual acquaintance Jan Sand to acknowledge. This is a point that Karl Marx was loath to acknowledge but, when you come up with the ultimate system to counter selfishness and adopt universal responsibility and when both your grandfathers were rabbis and when you think that the moral perspective that led you to view the development of this system as important had zero to do with the faith in your recent ancestry that doubtless influenced your upbringing, you are in denial. "You" meaning Marx, not JW.

My sentences here are tortured. I am sorry for that, but my guess is that you understand them anyway.

If you want to be a person of belief, my advice to you is to avoid overburdening your faith. Don't worry about the details; they aren't important. It doesn't matter if there was a God-led exodus from Egypt; it matters if we learn critical lessons about compassion from following the commandment of recounting the story every year.

Probably not what anyone expected to find in the comment stream of this post but sometimes you get surprises.

Comment by Scylla the Rock on April 22, 2013 at 12:39pm

Great post.  I always pray that Ms. A finds peace and better times.

Comment by koshersalaami on April 22, 2013 at 12:54pm
My answer was to JW. In terms of the post itself, I know very little about the lady in question and I think Procol Harum is overblown of course. I wish her well, whoever she is.
Comment by I wooden DoDat on April 22, 2013 at 2:29pm


might as well post the same comment here as I did at Other Site-

Time Less Dreams-

It is interesting to come to the point in your life where you remember more than you do-
But you can do and redo in your mind
in your dreams

And Heaven is Timeless Dreams
And Hell is Time, less Dreams

And wisdom is often in knowing when NOT to pause
But plunge on in the daily experience of eternity

It's kind of an Amen to Kosher's comment-

and kind of  a mark of no longer having to pay so much time paying attention to concerns about bodies-

and return to the Art of the Soul/Self

Odd timing on having your post inspire my poetry which inspired me to post here which inspired me to read your post here which caused me to find Kosher's comment which completes a long, drawn out "Dream"

From which you awaken at Home.

Which you find by your belief in its existance

But which in reality you bring into your existence by your belief in it;s reality.

Comment by I wooden DoDat on April 22, 2013 at 2:29pm



Comment by Romantic Poetess on April 22, 2013 at 10:51pm

I am so glad you stumbled out of that labyrinth. What a fun read.

Comment by koshersalaami on April 23, 2013 at 6:29am

Steel Breeze,
Your views on religion might actually prove to be quite popular, possibly more popular here than mine. Also, I should draw a distinction here between religion in general and my own religion, not because I think that my own religion is more valid than that of others (though that assumption comes with the territory - one has to believe that everyone else has it wrong to the degree that they disagree with you or you wouldn't believe what you believe) but because so much of what people commonly knock about religion doesn't really describe mine. I won't go into detail here unless asks because, first, I've already said this stuff elsewhere and posted about it and, second, I've hijacked this post way enough as it is.

Comment by Lyle Elmgren on April 23, 2013 at 7:31am

I enjoyed this read.

Comment by James Mark Emmerling on April 23, 2013 at 8:47am

@ JMAC, consigliere….a fine post, very much appreciated by this mysterious mz a.


 I live in a mystical world, where synchronicity is always hounding my ass.

I think a word, and I hear it on tv.

I write a word, and I hear it on the Radio.

To me the world is magical.

But..when I think of God, I say, I dunno. Why would he give a damn about me, unless he was deep inside me, and needed me…yes..needed me…to bring His Creation to fruition?


In this I am a Whitehead-ian.

Alfred North whitehead, the last great Western Metaphysician. The creator of Process Theology.

  • Thus the universe is to be conceived as attaining the active self-expression of its own variety of opposites of its own freedom and its own necessity, of its own multiplicity and its own unity, of its own imperfection and its own perfection. All the opposites are elements in the nature of things, and are incorrigibly there. The concept of God is the way in which we understand this incredible fact that what cannot be, yet is.
  • Error is the price we pay for progress.




 “ the real answer as to what the real use of belief is,   that belief yields results, not in external answers, but in you. It focuses you on certain questions, and those answers can make you more moral. “ 


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