Ears perk up, as on a hound. I do this whenever others wish to converse with me about “traps.” We’ve all lost time to sinkholes and vortices, haven’t we? As I drive along a parkway, an old woman walks past, head tipped back, pouring sunflower seeds down her gullet with the palm of her hand. Would it be fair to liken the invention of a cognitive map to the invention of a superior mythos — one suited to one’s historical moment? Those who call themselves scientists still walk in a mucky world, don’t they? A grizzled oldtimer, sucking on a pipe, lowers his eyes and grumbles ominously out the corner of his mouth, “Ain’t that the truth.” Imagine me speaking to you through a medley of voice actors. Plants today feel prickly, causing me to flinch upon contact. Colored-pencil illustration of fingers, their nails polished, rolling up a thing and lighting it. The buzz of an air unit conspires with the ring of insects out back to wake me like an alarm. Hot damn, where am I? I justify my actions with as loose a code of ethics as possible: just go with it. Become one with the democracy of the self. Contain multitudes comfortably and without apology. So many bugs, though — one must refrain from scratching and striking out at them. For peace, the Lord hath provided us with places indoors. Inner spaces. Learn to stress inwardness as well as presence. No need to crave others’ possessions. The Master of the Self — a master in reach of everyone — redoubles that wealth of joyful intensity within. And that doesn’t require renunciation of the world. Just the opposite: take it, it’s yours and everyone else’s. A small lizard scampers off my stoop. A little black one, with stripes like a skunk. The world in that moment is flush with novelty. These minor revolutions console us in the big one’s absence. These are our share of what was promised: our inheritance. Drug laws are flouted en masse because the people know what works best. A perfect litmus test for detection of the authoritarian personality: do you or don’t you allow yourself entry into the Kingdom of God? As soundtrack, by the way, for today’s entry, allow me to suggest The Isley Brothers’ great cover medley spoken on behalf of and from the standpoint of the meek, “Ohio / Machine Gun.”
A breeze kicks up in the hour or so after noon. It offers a sound that sucks me into the depths of my lawn chair, which, in its recliner position, allows me to float at near parallel to the horizontal plane. I picture an animated diagram of air masses circulating, their representations occupying different positions in space from one moment to the next. The world advances and retracts as a visual surface along an x-axis. I set loose my lugubrious retention circuit and begin to melt. Moving from a beginning, which is a “becoming,” we arrive at being. We are. But we also hold it. We put it away for safekeeping. Can I imagine saying “no” to writing, so as to just be? Let thought off its echo-chambered leash. Can you do that for me, reader? Plants are little alien lifeforms, stretching their many arms toward the sun. I can turn these arms to make them reach toward absorption of me, but only temporarily, against the plant’s own tendencies. I guess I feel both loved and unloved simultaneously. Like I’ve neglected the full use of my body. Go out, I tell myself. Consort with wizards and witches, slay dragons, journey. Or am I more of a static, long-take kind of guy? Frame the shot and then study it as life unfolds. Obviously the latter, no? As for the country and mode of production in which I reside, I regard these as sinking ships. I genuinely can’t picture any fix for the mess we’re in — at least, not within the relevant span, which is the lifetime of this guy right here (points downward), Mr. #1. Personal salvation, or at least the fantasy thereof, through the Zig Zag Zen of potsmoking and spiritual writing, is all I’ve got. I confess to suffering full-blown Left melancholia, and I feel guilty about it. I fear a cyberleft superego will come bullying me the moment I go public. Bathing me in insults. I’m embarrassed with myself, but it’s who I am — and so, on a deeper and more lasting level, I have to embrace it and perhaps even find a way to love it. A person’s chance at happiness is found here or not at all. I close my eyes and see Pepe the Frog and the spinning hand of a clock in the pulsing black-and-white face of a Hypno Disk. The enemy’s hypno-propaganda arrives like junkmail each day in my subliminal sense-perceptual inbox. My hatred of the Right, in all its manifestations, makes my blood boil. I’ll never reconcile with those fuckers. I’ll never come in from the cold. Yet even on the Left, I have no true friends obsessed enough with me, attracted enough, to want to read me like a book. I wanna feel as if, through my writing, I’m turning others on. In that sense, I “identify” with what I’m doing. I wish to share that which to me is of value, in the hope that others will find value in it as well. Speaking of which, I find value, too, in following the trail of clues that reality brings my way, like Inter-Dimensional Music by a New Age artist named Iasos.
I feel compelled to write my work this way, however crooked or stoned — for it needs to be written, and I cannot write it otherwise. A real act of hypnosis occurs. Hypnos is the god of sleep, whose abode is Erebus, eternal darkness. He carries his inverted torch when I lower my lighter-flame to my pipe. The circle within the triangle is the symbol that supplies a perfect field for scrying. But receptivity is not the same as submission. I suggest that you investigate the website of Ordo Astri: The Order of the Star. The central experience of the Initiate to the order is “the Knowledge and Conversation of the Holy Guardian Angel.” The aim of this group is “Gnosis or Illumination, not belief.” Alongside my work as an instructor at a nearby university, I must also enroll in an Invisible Collegium. The faculty of this Collegium are Illuminated Souls who communicate through symbols. Ordo Astri itself is one such means. Their website tells me, for instance, to picture Horus as my Holy Guardian Angel, polymorphic and thus passing through many layers of form, these latter occasionally viewed out of the bottom of my eye all at once on a single plane. I’m disappointed, though, when the magical system introduces the need for adversaries, dwelling at the threshold between stages of Illumination’s unfolding. Of these stages, there are three: the Invisible Order of the Silver Star, the Inner Order of the Rosy Cross, and the Outer Order of the Golden Dawn. At that point, I lose contact: these man-made systems have too many rules. But what if, on second thought, I were to click on the link to their book, The Enterer of the Threshold? Nothing, as it so happens — as one has to pay to read it. Robert Pirsig’s book, meanwhile, is oddly precise in evoking a scenario similar to the one I’ve arrived at with my courses on “Hip” — for the latter is a type of Quality, like the kind Phaedrus asked his students to write about when he was teaching up in Bozeman. This is just me checking in with myself about my emotions. Scanning into the silent interruption time of a streamed performance. The webcammer as stoned author of automatic speech. One who scans one’s contacts and selects inner voices at will. Perception’ll get blurry, you’ll start slurring “where was I?” Early onset Alzheimer’s. And the world feels like children playing games, some of them terrible and cruel. The sense Kurt Cobain captured with such economy in Nirvana’s “School.”