Author’s Cautionary Note: This Blogbook entry is not intended for everyone. Being quite frank, this particular entry isn’t even for every person who regularly reads and ordinarily enjoys what we have to say. Today's post is an altogether fictionalized short story that is considerably longer, decidedly more far-flung, and, admittedly, more allegorical than any other one of our entries have been to date. This Raven-styled flight of fancy is not your classic narrative, not by any stretch of the imagination. It's a Mind’s Eye song and dance, a fool’s paradise, the grand illusion. Everyday rules of storytelling do not apply here.
So other than its interminable endlessness, borderline inscrutability, and dissimilar wall-to-wall randomness, what else is different about today's Blogbook entry? Well, for starters, it is poles apart from any other style of writing we have previously attempted. The concepts, as conceived and as abstracted, and the overall feel of the piece are beyond even the outer bounds of daydreams and nightmares. By intention, and by design, this story should hopefully read very intuitively and uniquely for each one of you as a strangely woolgathered hallucination. This entry, for the most part, is completely unhinged from my usual day-to-day writing style, but being untethered is precisely what this piece requires, after all, we are acknowledging and celebrating the groundbreaking works of David Lynch.
In many ways, through his enigmatic and diverse body of work, I see David Lynch as the most clear-sighted and observant auteur and artistic visionary of modern times. Today’s ravings, which do the opposite of telling a straight story, are respectfully dedicated to Mr. Lynch as a thank you for the profound impact he has had on our world.
My primary goals in writing, constructing, and developing this short story (now unbearably prodigious in its length) have always been for no two people to be affected by it in the same way, or to interpret it, experience it, relate to it, or recall it in the same manner. In other words, what follows, is brought about by our desire to mimic many of the thematic elements found in David Lynch's work by exploring the ascendant nature of the absurd, the false, the fake, the obscured, the misunderstood, and the imagined, and by our belief that reader subjectivity and freedom of interpretation should take precedence over the need for any form of apparent objectivity. I compiled this work as if I was composing a free-form bass clarinet solo for someone like Eric Dolphy who would always give us his one-of-a-kind reading of a convoluted piece of music by wrestling every last Dolphy-esque nuance out of it. Encouragingly, please let personal abstractions and absurdity be your guide while you process these mostly incoherent ravings.
Premonitory Content Warnings: If you are easily offended – STOP, read no further, this entry is not for you. If you are easily distracted – STOP. If you prefer light reading – STOP. If your soul is barren – STOP. If you are pressed for time – STOP. If you cannot tolerate sarcasm or satire – STOP. If you are easily frightened – STOP. If you do not appreciate the work of David Lynch – STOP. If you have no interest in being exposed to the work of David Lynch – STOP. If you are below the age of majority in your state of residence – STOP. If you are currently under the influence of any mind-altering substances – STOP. If you are a lawyer representing the My Little Pony franchise – STOP. If you do not have a sense of humor – STOP. If you are rigidly puritanical – STOP. If you have no belief whatsoever in God – STOP. If you have no sense of imagination – STOP. If you no longer wonder – STOP. If you are no longer capable of reasoning – STOP. If you are no longer capable of feeling or loving – STOP. If you do not have a bottle of Holy Water within arm's reach as you are reading this - STOP. Get my drift? If so, then carry on.
Final Note: I am assuming that you are reading these words because you did not have any grounds to STOP for any of the reasons mentioned above. If you enjoy either a quickening pulse, pipe-dreaming, or a sense of dark adventure and can tolerate the grandiose and a measure of tongue-in-cheek pomposity, or good-natured irreverence, please read on, please read on, the spectacle is about to start, sure to blow your mind apart. Even though reader discretion is advisable from this point on, we hope you'll decide to wander through the muck and mire along with us and your fellow Lynch aficionados. Good fortune, and may your God, or any extramundane being of your choice, be with you and escort you unscathed through this ungodly and wretched odyssey. And to those of us who cheerfully embrace the notion of a world without God, or who comfortably deny the existence of an afterlife, you too are invited to join in the fun, and in our vision of life without end, amen.
Today’s Blogbook entry reads like an extended post-postscript of sorts to our Blogbook entry dated January 21, 2018, as it was initially conceived and written in this new year of our Lord. Your cognition of today’s entry wholly depends on your familiarity with the entirety of our entry on the 21st. In many ways, today’s ravings will attempt to mimic this Country’s postmodern fascination with travels along the vast and open road. I will do my best to loosely adhere to the type of free-form narratives, fragmented plot devices, and surrealistic imagery often found in road film structure ever since the 1960s. We are talking travel in search of self and soul, of self-conquest, self-determination, self-condemnation, self-preservation, disconnectedness, psychological intimacy, getting to know the dangerous from the good, demented, deranged, and false gods, malcontents, subnormals, the grotesque, the prophetic, the incredulous at heart, or the just plain weird.
To prepare yourself for today’s potentially perilous road journey, let’s first embark upon the inward road of deep-rooted self by taking a moment to visualize three delusional things. This exercise, if repeated daily, will help you to live life on the edge of reality; at least it should, in theory anyway. Either that, or it is a sure recipe for an out-of-body experience steeped in enigmas, absurdity, and vice. Case in point, mine. Delusional things imagined? Now close your eyes, and breathe deep the gathering sense of paranoia that surrounds you. One final request before you read on; please do not stand in judgment of us until you spend some clear-minded time contemplating the meaning of the Moral Lesson of This Road Journey that awaits you at the finish line of today's Blogbook ravings. Come, gather ‘round. Get ready. Set. Wait for it, and now you're off.
SOUNDTRACK - I suggest listening to this piece of music in the background while you are reading today's ravings; consider it the accompanying soundtrack. An Alternative Soundtrack is available below.
SOUNDTRACK ALTERNATIVE - Instead of the Soundtrack proposed above, we offer you this Soundtrack Alternative, King Crimson's Cirkus, off of their third studio album titled Lizard, released in 1970, which plays a little bit darker and more carnivalesque. Each Soundtrack casts a uniquely distinctive mood over your reading experience. As you read along, there will be additional musical interludes for you to plug into the time-traveling, three-ring circus sideshow that awaits you. Happy trails to you.
In my mad dash to hand-carry the amulet under cover of night to the flesh-eating Banana King, I rode the King's Highway west, Baby. Don’t make the mistake, like I once did, of confusing this never-ending villainous highway with the far more civilized but insipid one located about 1700 klicks to the north; the one christened according to its Hindu-Arabic Code numbers 2 and 0. Out of nowhere, I am fatefully assailed by detour and yellow diamond-shaped road signs warning me of hazardous conditions and approaching dangers ahead in this uncharted wilderness of vulgarity. Circumnavigating a haphazardly marked roundabout, I finally find myself traveling warily along the even more dangerous, unmarked, labyrinthine Road of Yellow Bricks, a treacherous, crime-infested, dimly lit, forking and broken, two-lane path of desolation leading nowhere ostensibly linking the Eastern and Western Lands.
In the near dawn hours, in the vicinity of where this damnable stretch of Road winds its way through White Sands, New Mexico, just outside White Sands National Monument, I decide to settle my soul, while taking refuge from the rapidly approaching haboob and its mile-high wall of sand and dust, by stopping in at the Michelin-rated roadside fish-market called Ground Zero Sushi for a bowl of fugu fish chirinabe and a few too many Black Yukon Sucker Punches (lousy ideas both), which catapulted me into a euphoric tetrodotoxin-induced psychoactive stupor.
Riding the storm out in the company of other wayfaring strangers and surfeit misfits, I find myself spaced-out and satisfyingly enraptured before going out like a light and slowly fading into darkness while deeply meditating on the transience of all existence. This leading to unproductive time spent running around inside my head, a scary place to be sure, but leaving no stone unturned in my frenetic pursuit of asylum for my susceptible and obfuscated mind. Prayers unanswered, malediction exposed, those seducing, ever-present, thou-shall-not visions are coming for me once again and tormenting me to take decisive and preemptive action. I am miles from nowhere, with no place to hide. Inwardly pleading that nobody gets hurt this time around.
For a precious moment, I have been cast adrift in a dimension where sinners are either heralded or born-again as saints. Where moralists, pragmatists, and realists alike, negotiate with hairpin-trigger fingers hovering over metaphoric red buttons. Where dark and evil-deed-doers, each cloaked befittingly in an aura of menace and depravity, perpetrate loathsome acts of barbarity before an appreciative assemblage of dubious drunkards, vagrants, swindlers, desperadoes, and streetwalkers. Where great thinkers always fall, hook, line, and sinker; where innocent dreamers turn cannibalistic schemers; where both the meek and the weak viciously punish the wicked while the wicked inherit the earth; and where the dead enthusiastically bury the living in unending penance to a manifestly unforgiving god.
Flying high back in this realm, the condition my condition is in causes me to curiously gaze outside the open windows of Ground Zero Sushi looking immediately to the east in the direction of its more infamous and heralded next-door neighbor, the Brothel of Thirty Two Red Doors, an artistically inclined, house of assignation that has been expertly servicing these Western Lands longer than McDonald’s Golden Arches. What was it that someone of great importance once said, something about curiosity killing the cat? Not to mention the often castrating-effects of one’s religious upbringing; being raised in the Christian faith, I was led to believe from the get-go that this self-ordained outcome of dead cats would be doubly severe in the case of offending tomcats. Morality drifting sideways, a passion play of greed and lust awaits, now is not the time for remorse, the time for that’s long since passed, all bridges of redemption burn behind me, merrily retracing my mistaken steps, I am off into the night air, I am in motion, I am on the loose.
I awaken at dawn with my boots on, my body contorted and sprawled awkwardly and face down upon a large mound of dampened dirt, my knees badly bruised, the air redolent of petrichor, and my clothing disturbingly disheveled and still moistened from the early morning rain. Held tightly in my outstretched left hand is a field guide to psychoactive cacti, now open to the page on San Pedro propagation and extractions. My consciousness-expanding psychosis is all-embracing and fully realized. Cloud Nine has nothing on me. I am still thoroughly blitzed and suffer from delusional thinking. Not to mention, a formidably overblown sense of self-importance entangled with an alien feeling of puerile wonderment, a useless erection, and an angry demeanor. The time on my illuminated watch face reads 5:29 AM, but unaccountably, the date now reads July 16, 1945, instead of February 4, 2018.
A deathly stillness surrounds me. In the near distance, a body, wrapped in plastic - she's dead! A murder obscene, a terminal dream? Oh my God! What have I done? My eyes have seen you. Still, I don’t know who you are. Overwhelmed by hysteria and misgiving, I pray out loud that I had nothing to do with this. All I wanted was a little fun, now, sure enough, its time to cut and run. Overhead, a dark antagonizing energy surges along the electric power lines hissing do it again, do it again, do it again!
Although Ground Zero Sushi and the neighboring Brothel are nowhere in sight, I can plainly see that the white sand dunes of the Chihuahuan Desert are still all around me. But, where did they go? And what the hell happened to that motley assortment of freaks, beer drinkers, hell-raisers, seekers, and merrymakers inside them? And, most importantly, who is this woman bathed in blood? And why is she naked, and why is she dead? All tightly wrapped in plastic no less. Shudder to mention; those telltale ligature strangulation marks so prominently encircling her neck. My freewheeling mind briefly spins out of control, but then I am positively overcome by a calmness, a steely sedateness, and a clear thinking resolve, almost as if I am experiencing a monolithic déjà vu of a different sort.
Take the veil from your eyes, speak the truth. Consequences, repercussions, deservedly so. In an awkward instant, my fate feels sealed over and my clemency expunged. Paradisiacal invisible, cynical veridical, guilt indivisible, unthinkable indictable, culpable criminal, punishment biblical unconditional. Very strange, very strange indeed. Confusion, surprise, is she trying to rise? I have an amaranthine sense of history repeating itself, but at the same time, I deny its very existence. History, especially the revisionist kind, usually lands me in such an inconsolable and forbidding place. Always resulting in an anything-goes voyeuristic reshuffling of what must, at least by now anyway, be a perpetually enduring anchor in my memory.
What should be a halcyon morning, feels instead like daybreak forlorn. I sense danger on the edge of Town. A driver-less blue bus passes straight by me but momentarily stops just a little way down this less traveled Road to open its doors for a sweet hitchhiker, a storm rider, a chemical brother, and an ex-Buffalo Soldier still fighting for survival. To my right, a noble Bolson tortoise with a personality crawls determinedly in search of its next meal. Could this possibly be the cosmic tortoise of Hindu mythology? Or, am I confusing my reptiles? Might this instead be the thirteen moons turtle? The peacefulness of this reptilian creature belies the absolute destruction about to be unleashed upon a solitary fly hovering in muted reticence in the middle of the Road as it fearlessly awaits its destiny to be unmercifully splattered upon the windshield of the blue bus as it speeds off to the next town in search of tricksters, beggars, and thieves.
Circling in the thermals high above, dozens of carrion-eating raptors keeping an eye on the lifeless body below. Conspicuous among them, what I am sure is a Harpy Eagle, a frightful aerial predator with talons as large as bear claws, although its habitat is not known to stretch this far north. Skipping nary a beat, the Harpy plummets to earth with talons wide spread; I can’t bear to watch the inevitable carnage below.
Out of earshot, I behold an ancient lake, a colossal elephant, its diminutive rider, and a precarious path snaking its way through somber shadows of whispering graves and obsidian black tombs, what measure of self-annihilating craziness deludes me now? Unexpectedly, the dense morning air is pierced by the haunting wailing caterwaul of Banshees grieving. Is this the weird scene inside the gold mine of which Jim spoke? How does someone in my condition make sense of the utterly senseless?
Shockingly, the sky to the northeast of me, in the direction of Alamogordo, burns golden yellow, then reddish, then purple and violet, before finally erupting into the most hellacious ball of fire imaginable. Following this evanescent bolt out of the blue, an unprecedented cataclysmic upheaval of the troposphere and lower stratosphere - instantaneously an ominous and blazingly luminous seven-mile high billowing plume of black, gunmetal gray, and white, a violently intense, sustained wave of atmospheric turbulence and pressure, and a prolonged cacophonous and reverberating roar.
The light, heat, and shock wave from this sunburst are indescribably blinding, searing, and deafening; leaving my vision distorted, my skin blistered and wholly blackened by ashfall and soot, my ears bleeding, and my body without its shadow. According to the teachings of the original and rightful inhabitants of this area, the Chiricahua Apache, there is nothing more dangerous than a man who has lost his shadow. Peculiarly, I can now also take steps without creating footprints. I am in a wilderness of pain and confusion. Is this the end, or just the beginning of the end? I must look about for the Apache Crown Dancers and persuade them to consult the wisdom of White Painted Woman; surely, she can provide guidance and heal my body and spirit.
Although I am growing weaker by the minute and now teeter on the verge of eternal rest, I take comfort in one of Brooke’s many pearls of spiritual wisdom; the physics of death prove that the essence of one’s natural energy will persist in perpetuity beyond one’s final quietus to living breath. Trustingly keeping my fingers crossed that she wasn’t just bullshitting me in a timorous Unicorns dancing on rainbows effusion of sentimentality.
Glancing back at my watch, in an ephemeral moment of crystal clarity, it finally hits me, I just witnessed the cursed Trinity Gadget detonation and its havoc-wreaking mushroom cloud and the firestorm it sparked. Western man’s altogether barbaric and blindly hubristic offense to God; in other words, the singularly unthinkable moment in time that changed everything and the world forever! And, at the center of it all, the wellsprings of disillusionment, folly, fanaticism, madness, and chaos. But how could this be? Am I radioactive? How can I not be? Is any of this real? And to think, there were actually fools in this Country that literally described it as cosmic and heavenly in its brilliance. My mind is racing, answers I'm chasing.
The cause and effect of historical events are a wild jumble in my mind. How did we arrive at this point of mutually assured destruction? Uncertainty inflames temperament and clouds judgment. What have we bargained, and what have we lost? Can we ever resolve the past? Can we learn from it? My thoughts continue to race; a wild goose chase ensues, seeking solutions to questions that are ensnared in Delphian obscurity. Unquestionably, all of this must somehow be the result of humankind's continuing inability to assuage the antagonistic entanglements between the secular, the scientific, and the sacred. All of humanity, but mainly the not fully evolved male of the species, bears responsibility for this world-wide mess we have created. For many millennia now, we have lived life balancing on a knife-edge in a world interminably torn apart by the extremism, hatred, betrayals, and wars of men.
Needing clarification and advice, I pray to Mr. Mojo Risin', hoping he can provide me with answers. Cabalistic revelations accost me; a baffling vision of an electrified Manhattan stationed in the middle of the desert, and Yellowmen, at dawn, scattered all over the King's Highway, bleeding. Atomic warfare vaporizers pummel the momentousness of E=mc². Science and theology forever at odds. Evidence-based scientific conjecture improvidently lays waste to faith-based theological conviction to the dismay of a disputatious Revelator named John. Yet, it is science that proves the existence of a giant 4800-year-old floating ark sitting thirteen-thousand feet above sea level, high atop a mount named Ararat.
Seek out those with expanded awareness, I think to myself. A spontaneous angst-riddled apparition of Hypatia of Alexandria being hacked to death by a mob of Christian monks brings me back to face the unflinching reality of the world's appointed zero hour. Still searching for answers, but now panicking and numbingly distraught; it is finally time to consult the wisdom found within the Nag Hammadi manuscripts, and their Gnostic scriptures which are overflowing with information that is much feared by those holding power in Rome. Get control of yourself! First assume, then consider, determine, and understand. Think! The answer is close at hand. Assuredly not, whispers that frantic little voice inside my head.
Unannounced, and certainly not planned for, another bolt out of the blue - a bearded man named Leonardo and a majestic winged white horse, marked with the sign of a helix in the form of a large, protruding spiraling horn in the center of its forehead, both now standing before me reciting articulate, but disquieting, pronouncements. The clock to doomsday is ticking. The Sheltering Sky is cracking asunder. The Tribunal of Penance assembles. Be especially aware of psychopaths known to have had happy childhoods. Relationships between those detached things in the conscious, subconscious, and unconscious minds extend to matters or questions of relational significance which lie between or beyond considerations of reality. These detachments must be brought into sharp focus and resolved. Subject-object relationship philosophy. Understanding that the very act of observing and studying something changes or transforms the intrinsic nature, character, and attributes of the thing undergoing observation and study. Although I knew not what they were so eloquently speaking of, I, no doubt, was expected to know somehow, apparently by intuition, of those things of which they spoke. All I need now to convince myself that I too am through the looking-glass is a whimsical visit from Hatta and Haigha. Either that or a lecture in charlatan sophistical philosophizing from a hookah smoking caterpillar.
O ye, of little faith and short attention span, shut up and pay attention! Stop being contrariwise, now listen to this, Leonardo and the horned horse shout in unison - your history books dissemble your incipient eggshell minds; you have all been hornswoggled. There is a disturbing aura of incompleteness surrounding your knowledge of incontrovertible facts germane to matters of extreme importance. Under the pretense of providing you with an impartial education and uncorrupt knowledge, your government and educational institutions have been spoon-feeding you blue-penciled and flawed information of the wrong sort to perpetuate your blissful ignorance. They do not want you to know the truth. The answers you seek are far more complex and obscured than you have ever been taught. You must reexamine and radically rethink all that you know. You must return to heuristic methods of analysis if you are to have any hope of learning the unvarnished truth. Wipe the slate clean, disavow all you have learned previously, lend a new ear, listen, comprehend, assimilate, differentiate, and commit to memory.
Westward expansion, dreams of transcontinental travel, a system of transcontinental railroads publicly financed by land grant railroad lands, the need for cheap labor, waves of Chinese immigrants perform backbreaking work, Chinese exclusion policies follow, replacement by Japanese contract laborers, backroom gentlemen's agreements, and Yellow peril racism. Reluctant participation in a Great War, after that, refusal to partake in an intergovernmental organization of free nations, leading to policies of non-entanglement as an unaligned Nation, all while Marxist theory, socialism, fascism, and communism become well-rooted throughout Eurasia precipitating the call for closed-door immigration here. Japan attacks Nanjing, China, resulting in unspeakable horrors and untold deaths and destruction. Meanwhile, back at home, men like Dies and Starnes raise up a house to censure and rebuke Un-American Activities (whatever those might be), and in the process denounce Kit Marlowe as a communist.
Abroad, German scientists produce a neutron-induced fission reaction in unseparated uranium to the delight of Otto, Fritz, and Lise and the dismay of Leo from Budapest; shortly after, a secret pact of non-belligerence and forbearance between Hitler and Stalin and the invasion of Poland from both the east and the west. Albert and Leo conjoin in a clarion call forewarning Roosevelt of a potent bomb of a new type bringing with it the threat of unimaginable devastation. Hitler reneges on his promise and turns belligerent against Stalin with an invasion along the unusually quiet eastern front from the Baltic to the Black Seas. Isolationism polices now strained in the States; Lend-Lease escalates into massive amounts of government spending that curtails, perhaps ending, The Great Depression, and leads into full-on, actual battle after a surprise Sunday morning social call from Hirohito and Yamamoto in Oahu on December 7, 1941.
A mass confusion of tongues in the desert, a city, and a tower imagined and re-imagined - military complex mindset now fully entrenched and chomping at the bit, all leading to the erection of a secret city buried and fortified within a mountain plateau located in this desert to pursue foolishness like burning bombs and fiery crosses rather than the sanctity of something more akin to Exodus-like blazing bushes. Norwegian saboteurs and Allied bombers disrupt the flow of Wehrmacht heavy water at a place called Norsk. Italy's surrender, followed by the establishment of an Alsos mission in Algiers, and operations code-named Gunnerside, Overlord, and Neptune, lead to Hitler's eventual submission, leaving Europe literally in shambles. Without its Axis partners, the Islands of Japan are doomed. Truman vows a rain of ruin from the skies, while obliquely worded leaflets dropped from the air presage the prompt and utter destruction of Japanese cities. With thoughts of Yellow peril decimation in mind, two cities, Hiroshima, then Nagasaki, veritable tinderboxes, are leveled beyond comprehension in an irreplicable and incendiary maelstrom of brutality by bombings that are not entirely militarily justified.
Following this, and when all is said and done, Germany is drawn and quartered, and Berlin is divided into two; Japan is reduced to an economic footnote; and with a denouement every bit as Pyrrhic as that involving Cadmus and his sown men, World War II ends in a fifty-year Cold war, political ideologies running amok. Political hegemony an end in itself. Atomic hegemony, sometimes an end in itself, more often a means to an end, and always a means to an end of the former. First strike capability, second strike capability posturing, Nash Equilibrium hard at work, and the World will never be as it was, igniting the arms race to Armageddon.
I look up in quiet desperation to Leonardo and the strange looking white horse, asking whether there is anything that humankind can do to prevent our World from becoming a funeral pyre. Shaking their heads no, they explain how there is little to no distinction between necessary evils and actual evils, such that the idea of World peace will never be any more than just that, especially if we define World peace by the complete absence of war. They also add that warring between nations will never be eliminated or contained because we will never be able to entirely eliminate civil warring within the nations themselves.
They admonish further that humankind must come to realize that when these kinds of fires start burning, they are near impossible to ever extinguish. And how, in the transition from the starry-eyed post-WWII ordering of things to our harum-scarum world of today now roiled by a spasmodic frenzy of nationalistic tumult and a return to grievous superpower politics, the idealistic notion of everlasting and comprehensive, multilateral cooperation among nations of different lands will forever evaporate in a resurgent eruption of disharmony between globalists, flag-waving nationalists, and weak-kneed sentimentalists. The unfaltering downward trajectory of man eternally plagues your world; he cannot possibly be detoured or saved from the inevitability of his own foolhardy devices. Your only hope is to place your middle finger squarely on the ejection button and push it repeatedly in the hopes of jettisoning yourself to some other more phantasmagorical time and place.
With foundational alignments in thinking now seemingly disrupted forevermore, leaving my hopes and dreams undoubtedly scattered, if not dashed entirely and shattered, I wonder in misbegotten silence whether humanity can salvage peaceable accord by returning to the long forgotten ritual of listening? My head is now spinning out of control, I long for peaceful sleep, and the opportunity to dream of sheep. Please just let there be dark!
As my eyelids grew heavy and my sight became dim, the woman under wraps, until now consigned to oblivion in my mind’s eye, inconspicuous movements sub-rosa, wordless lamentations, the crinkling sound of loosening plastic, I’m alive, she cried. Sorry, I’m late for my resurrection. Who would ever know that you need an up-to-date subscription and a punched ticket to partake of the afterlife? For God’s sake, Laura, where the hell have you been? I was retrospectively pondering my place in the universe while being attended to by the biblical whore of Revelation 17, she was overflowing with abominations of the cultic variety. Thus, putting me in unappeasable enmity with God. I was impolitely rejected at the Gates and cast out, thence becoming locked in the throes of deathly repose skirmishing with the Angel of Death, perhaps the ghastliest fornicator of all-time. He sure does stink of death, that one.
As I begin to fade to nothingness, I hear Leonardo's final words, do not succumb to the seductions of the blasphemous, and something having to do with tender boughs of innocence burning first, along with compassion, understanding, and forgiveness. Not to be outdone in the half-baked messages department, the idiosyncratic horse chimes in with totally random nonsensical horse sense of her own, set your sights on a far off exotic land. Once there, you must decide for yourself, is the rising ground of crosses uncounted a forbidden place or is it a sacred place or is it simply a matter of perception? The scene fades out to the blackest of nights and shifts to another time and place. Thank the Lord.
Still mightily shaken by whatever it was I just experienced, be it a vision, a dream, an NDE, or some warped post-traumatic reality, thankfully, I am now in a different place, although my precise whereabouts are unknown. I am much disturbed by this new place. Shadowy things, troubling things. Seeking shelter from the darkening skies, I enter Number 142 rue de Montmartre, an artists' subterranean retreat called The Seventh Heaven but feeling unshakably like the belly of the beast. Stepping up to the dimly lit bar, I order a WhistlePig Black Prince Rye neat and a damn fine cup of Yemeni Port of Mokha Hayma micro-lot coffee. Over my left shoulder, I observe a brewing schism dividing twelve angry men, of all ages, colors, and creeds, brandishing loaded pistols, throwing loaded dice, drinking cheap bourbon, and arguing amongst themselves about whether dying in a manner that is attached to some higher purpose is of any metaphysical consequence.
After way too many Black Princes, and countless cups of coffee, a towering male figure appears before me uttering random, peculiar, and doom-laden prophecies. He speaks of many things in arbitrary fashion - a daring and imaginative filmmaker that examines the human psyche by combining art, industrial landscapes and soundscapes, music, film, sound and atmosphere; a militarized squadron of Da Vinci's flying machines hovering over the Earth; the inner, outer, and nether worlds teetering on the verge of chaos; the significance of a misjudged cutlery-impaled cow sculpture; the second coming of a Natural Law political candidate; the sudden appearance of seemingly indifferent doves, ravens, and owls; and the impurity of my subconscious awareness.
After what seems like the passage of many hours, he questions my innocence and asks whether I am finally prepared to fulfill the conditions of my absolution? He then spins a cautionary tale predicting Nietzsche's formulation of Schadenfreude in the guise of a wicked, yet sanctified feminine divine. He drones on and on, imploring me to accept an invitation from an ethereal Ballerina to participate in a jitterbug contest happening in Philadelphia at Pop's Diner, near 13th and Wood, a neighborhood of filth, fear, decay, and chalk-outlines of death, but always so magical on the darkest of nights. He brusquely foretells of my near-death experience in the Holy Land of Water and of my encounter with the murderer of calm in an infernal pit.
With my bullshit meter clocking way past its redline, I close my eyes and shout, Psychobabbler begone from here. This giant of a man now enraged, I immediately turn and flee, making a break for it, staggering outside into the night air and into the middle of a blinding snowstorm; unseasonable weather I think to myself. What's this? Another mushroom cloud on the horizon, a floating orb of gold, an eerie passageway, and an owl, encircled by a ring of fire, sitting alone in a barren tree. Alright Dave, you're freaking me out - enough already. Heh, what's with the scissors? Fade to black.
Bewildered, I awake in an exotic new place. Bouncing back and forth between varying states and degrees of lunacy and lucidity, I blindly wander for hours across the existential no-man's-land that is affectionately referred to by the Locals as the urban oil derrick forests of the Los Angeles Basin. Sleep-deprived and spiritually unnerved, I come upon a mazelike tented-city where a makeshift billboard ominously warns that I have arrived at the last remaining vestige of the Azusa Holiness Church of Latter Day Miracles. There is something about this place that is at once innocent, unspoiled, and childlike, but yet at the same time unspeakably malicious and unforgiving.
While roaming these supposedly consecrated grounds, I happened upon a mysterious, Bible-carrying Holy Man named Bill who had been living a life of deep harmony and joy. Bill was preaching to his flock about implementing his New Urban Agenda; a newfangled moral code of sorts, designed by Bill to cleanse Tinseltown of its self-serving, hypocritical, double-dealing, backstabbing, and misogynistic ways. Bill called me to draw near and join his flock. He preached to all of us, explaining how this Agenda of his was, in fact, his God-ordained mission. Bill invites us to join him in a feast of man-made chickens and beer. While in France, I picked up a mournful taste for liquor which made me disagreeable to deal with, ill-mannered, and churlish. Perhaps this preacher can help put some distance between me and the bottle and the horrifying things I saw over there that changed me.
For several hours, while digesting a mouth-watering six-course traditional backyard Southern barbecue, and as birds sang a pretty song, Bill evangelized to all in attendance of the urgent need to sanitize Los Angeles in a sweeping punishment of hellfire. Bill earnestly pontificated of the need to permanently rid the idolatrous City of Cast Out Angels (or, as Bill was also fond of saying, the City of Devils Disguised as Angels) of its open call auditions involving filthy and deplorable criminal practices forced upon women by misguided men, sex-addled bigots, and subhuman rapists. Bill promised to rid the Celluloid Cesspool of its guns, drugs, prostitution, and disease. Bill also sermonized of the need for strict gun control, yet, as he leaned forward, I observed a Glock 30 automatic handgun, at the ready, tucked inside his overcoat and stashed inside a well-worn Raven concealment carry VanGuard 2 holster. And who's being the hypocrite now, Bill, I thought to myself?
Later that evening, after most of Bill's flock had retired to their sleeping quarters, out of the blue, Bill insisted I be Spirit-baptized before continuing my celestial sabbatical. Huh? WTF? Fade to black. Waking in befuddlement to Bill holding his big massive gun to my head, and a monkey in white standing over me, with Bill speaking in tongues and handing me a love letter straight from his heart and my papers of divine mission.
The monkey in white interprets as Bill chastises me – I can tell that you have been to many places and have done bad things every step of the way perpetrating a string of unspeakable acts in a vicious dialectic of death and decay. You are craving spiritual purification of mind, body, and character. As Bill nearly drowns me by ceremonial immersion in consecrated waters, he exhorts me to deliver his message (and what message would that be, Bill?), of death never-lasting and to bring comfort to the feeble-minded. He then instructs me to take leave and head in the direction of the hills in search of Mount Lee and the iconic neon-lit sign reading The Land of Smart-Alecs, Dumbasses, and Nincompoops. Sure thing Bill, whatever you say. Let's rock, Backwoods Preacher Man!
More wandering ensues. Passing in the shadow of the sign of which Bill spoke, I finally arrived at the 4th Street Bridge (BTW, once and for all, is it a goddam bridge or a viaduct?) and headed straight down to the tunnel. I thought to myself – sometimes if you look at this place just right, it can be so beautiful rather than hideous. Something strange is happening. Bizarrely, a pop-up refinery city, industrial noises, bright lights, clanking, whirring, and buzzing sounds, undulating blasts of steam, and flames shooting out of the ground; oh no, I am entering an interstellar rainbow-veiled vortex of whirling cosmic matter passing through a multidimensional gateway to the other side. I am no longer in the Lost City of Angels, but where in God's name am I?
Once I gathered my bearings, I sat upon a luminous grassy knoll seeking salvation among other seemingly brain-damaged loonies remembering days of daisy chains and smiles. In our midst, an orange-haired woman, calling herself Lil, beckons me to join her. Apparently, me, being the one true fool on the hill, obliges her. Lil begins to prattle on and on. She must be speaking to me because I am now the only one here.
Taking a page out of Bill's book, sermonizing from her soapbox, Lil harangues, the imaginary, the symbolic, and the real are corresponding and coequal aspects of perception. Each element interacts with the others to influence and determine the condition or essence of both actuality and being. Negative theology cannot be counted on to reveal the true nature of the Divine. Alchemy, magic, religion, hagiology, and spirituality need not be at odds with the mathematical, natural, or physical sciences, quantum physics, loop quantum gravity, natural philosophy, education, or empirical study. The differences between all of these things are not unbridgeable; intersubjective examination is the answer. Everything is made to coalesce.
Lil, now soliloquizing in full-tilt diatribe mode, patriarchal culture and its archaic and primitive methods of phallic discourse have proven to be self-destructive to the point of inescapable calamity, leading once more to the rightful dawning of a new matriarchy and the humbling and conquering of all men. She must be speaking of the Wisdom Keepers comprising the Council of Thirteen who first gathered more than a decade ago in the lands once tended to by the mighty Iroquois. You go, Girls! Armed with the knowledge of the necessary truth – Women have mastered the fine arts of building, crossing, and gapping bridges, whereas men have grasped only one, the useless art of burning bridges.
Mysteriously and unceremoniously, I now find myself in the dim half-light of a darkening moon, Lil no longer in sight, encircled by twelve haloed sacred prostitutes offering me their divine blessings. Without warning, a dam bursts open prematurely and consciousness eludes me. Fade to black.
Following this madcap diversion, I find myself on the far side of the hill, but now all alone and straitjacketed inside a beautiful, pure white, padded cell surrounded by closed circuit television cameras; there was something oddly consoling about my apparent dilemma. Is it day, or is it night? Eva Green is that you? Then, my head inexplicably explodes into shards of brilliant rainbow colors (or did my mind merely expand?) while contemplating an incomprehensible and dark Lynchian premonition forewarning that evil had profoundly consumed all that is good in this world. Oddly, my omen of evildoing did not reveal the identity of the evildoers. Although my premonition was not logically sound, it was not entirely fallacious either. I sense the presence of a compassionate grandmotherly figure all around me. Is she my spirit guide, I wonder?
Scene shifts, but same general locale. Waking inside a darkened womb again, to the sound of breaking glass in my room again, raving and drooling well before noon again, rolled-up newspaper landing upon my tomb again. Damned paperboy, that's the third time this week. As a silent radio starts playing different tunes, the newspaper's oddly reminiscent headline reads - She blew her mind out in a bar, smoking G13 with a friendly Czar, seems he knew Barney from the Farm, and kept a ready stash in Kadar. Someone please explain to me where all of this gibberish is headed. Stampeding elephants are knocking at my door, someone please open the door and let 'em in.
I find myself drifting off again into disorienting slumbers. I'm a wonderful person, but I've got problems. I need a fix 'cause I'm going down, I need a fix 'cause I'm about to drown, I need a fix, so I'm heading downtown. As I arrive at the creepy simulacrum of the Seven Secrets of the Acrimonious Mistress, I am waylaid by one of the lecherous and ill-tempered Black Monks, long presumed dead, cautioning me to let go of the past. Father-inferior pumped his gun; Father-inferior pumped his gun; Father-inferior pumped his gun, now I've nowhere else to run. Bang, Bang, Romeo, you're now dead somewhere over the rainbow. What have you done with my child things? Childhood existence cut down, childhood remembrances scattered, childhood laughter erased. Inhale, exhale, breathe, endure, focus; don't blame yourself, it surely wasn’t your fault. Where did he go? Look around. Take extraordinary precautions and exercise vigilance unsurpassed; men like this would rather accost or pounce upon their prey by lying in wait, much preferring to do their dirty work in hidden recesses and darkened corners.
Startled introspection, closemouthed monologue condemnation, fragments of memory out of time, forward-looking guidance, logic eclipsed, a seasoned witch smiling, twilight images at dusk, a candle it burns, demons' wings spreading, a cross of Calvary neon flashing, reprobates and martyrs, time-marked thieves stealing precious moments, birds of prey flying backwards, psychopathic preachers, paranoid teachers, knowledge transcends, soulmarked movers ascending to redeem, movement regained, emotions revealed, distant tranquil land, nous sommes du Soleil. Too much passion spent on one cross? Awakening memories disjointed in time; past, present, future, no one knows. Second thoughts, afterthoughts, hindsight, reappraisal, change of heart, about-face, stay of execution, atonement, does it even matter?
Impromptu translocation, permanent rearrangement of my mental space. Hotel room dreaming, an auspicious chat with Carel Struyken, abstract amnesiac, Pornographic Priestess, one and the same, solitary candle, Sheryl dead, in more ways than one, analgesic aphrodisiac, a Lodger from the Black, the diabolical wanderer from station to station. A mystical frenzy of rage by the Lodger, followed by my furthering descent into a state of excitable delirium, and an all too brief glimpse of life inside The Sacred Orchard of the Jade Pool.
Meanwhile, in a polar-opposite place, gnostical premonitions abound; I'm a reluctant eyewitness to an eidetic psychodrama of an entirely different and contradictory sort. One that continues to play itself out, generation after generation, in a never-ending loop of fourteen time-lapse images of a messianic son's travails along a sorrowful path to his predestined martyrdom upon that other mount of sacrifice, the one shaped like a skull. Too much to comprehend. Too much to piece together. How do the pieces all fit? Time shifting duality, convolutional extremes, fanatical imperatives, differential equations, and the unwitting conjugation of opposites. The Black Monk is omniscient; his will cannot be undone. To confess, or not to confess; on this I must sleep. A welcome, and long overdue, fade to oblivion overcomes me as I dutifully attempt to let go of the past.
Scene shifts to a thousand and one nights in a folkloric land. Observations of others levitating in deep transcendental meditation with a great Seer. Scene shifts again, this time to a more familiar place. I appear to be floating high above Saint John's Wood, zebra stripe crossing, four lads walking single-file, one lad becomes disenchanted while making music for two virgins, the music never finished, one virgin becomes the Madonna giving birth to a savior, and the second virgin, already a leading purveyor of Fluxus, supposedly turns streetwalker while breaking up the band. It is this second virgin, the one who was unjustly accused and forever tainted as the repentant whore to the purity of the first virgin, who comes to console me in my hour of need. She teaches me all about the importance of the infinite universe, the unveiling of truth, Cheshire Cats crying, motorik travels on a mind train, the death of Samantha, moonlight on a hard bed, and about some dreadfully dark forebodings of future events taking place in the Land of Hell. As she leaves me, she whispers into my ear, yes, I too am a witch. Fade to black.
Unexpectedly flashing-back in time to where all this wretchedness indeed began, my seemingly imagined and indecently erotic adventures at the bordello in the desert, the one with all the red painted doors (not the black ones, you see), a dream only half-remembered, and revealed to me today to be mostly incoherent braggadocio. As I learned the hard way, this bordello, long demonized as a house of prostitution, unjustifiably, so it seems, was not that at all. It is a house of worship and of refuge servicing the most marginalized of people, earthbound misfits, the piously bereft, the exiled, and the most recalcitrant of penance doers. When and why it acquired this unsavory reputation remains a mystery to me, but it surely has nothing to do with any immoral deeds performed within that I observed, at least none that were perpetrated upon me.
So, it seems, what we really have here, is a convent, where those within have taken a vow of silence; a loose congregation of touched female spiritualists who communicate through wordless incantations and who live a consecrated life in devotion to Mary Magdalene. She being the paradoxical paragon of virtue and vice – was she saint, sinner, apostle, or atoning whore, no one seems to know for sure, not even the Bible tells me so. While in this place of immaculate wonder and grace, I discover, strangely enough, that I have the innate ability to read lips and to use and understand sign language. Could these new abilities be the byproduct of some leftover voodooism from my time spent under the spell of Bill’s white primate?
While this heaven-like place may be no den of harlotry, it is not entirely without its titillations, vexations, manipulations, and agitations. Once inside, I was forced, against my will, to engage in masturbatory acts of silent penitential prayer, following which I was compelled to succumb to varying erotically-charged states of being and existence that were altogether without beginning or end, but which were calculated to drive the war out of me pleasurably. In this somewhat carnally charged condition, I was forcibly escorted to a doorless anteroom deep within the Brothel of Thirty Two Red Doors by the one deferentially referred to by her compeers as the two-tongued Virgin. Here, I was asked to wait patiently in the company of others already sitting in pin-drop quietude waiting, now like myself, for metaphysical validation. While contemplating the alpha-numeric equivalence of words, an impossible task when one is as non compos mentis as me, I lose consciousness, but for exactly how long remains an unsolvable mystery. Drifting off once more…..
Spiraling winds, an interplanetary voyage, and more wandering. Out of the corner of my third eye, I witness a blinding multicolored flash; Rainbow Dash is that you? Rarity? Pinkie Pie? Twilight Sparkle? Momentary fade to black! Oh my goodness, it’s Sunset Shimmer-Doodle riding bareback atop Princess Celestial-Body and riding alongside PopPistol Berrytwizzler in search of the now abducted and held for ransom Countess Concerto Cadenza (Triple CCC to her friends). Another fade to black! WTF? Another fade to black! Really? And the mysteries of Triple CCC's kidnapping and the identities of her hostage takers are made known to me. It seems that Mombi of Gillikin Country (yes, that Mombi) and the sadistic Baron Harkonnen (yes, that Baron) initially conspired with the hut-dweller of Rainfree Forest, Zecoramundi, a Zulu enchantress, to capture Triple CCC in the hopes of overthrowing the Empire of the Crystalline Skull. SMFH.
Another fade to black, Brooke, is that you? Brooke, where are you? I need you! Another fade to black, then awakening inside a nightmarish red room with a chevron-patterned floor. Laura? Another Monica Bellucci dream? Gordon is that you? A young woman hands me a plate saying the huckleberries are particularly delicious today. She's my cousin; she's filled with secrets. The room I am in begins to spin wildly and I drift off into huckleberry-induced psychedelic slumbers. Someone, or something, whispers to me quite softly that I am to be given safe passage among the stoned and the immaculate. Drifting off again.
Reminiscences of my time in the desert, I awake under her eye, praise be! The bashful, tongue-tied and twisted Virgin has at long last come for me. Although the ever-scolding, tongue-lashing Virgin had been the actual object of my desire, I came to find out that she no longer occupied this red-doored haven, having taken a sabbatical to a cloistered nunnery hidden atop Siberia’s Belukha Mountain. Intending to make the acquaintance of my second choice, the prevaricating, fork-tongued Virgin, however, apparently, she was already preoccupied in the west wing, practicing the dark art of twittering with a man who gets off on naming towers after himself. Thus, leaving me to the dizzying companionship of the tongue-tied and twisted Virgin. She calmly leads me to her velvet-walled inner chamber where we are joined by the frolicsome slip-of-the-tongue Virgin at which time we engage in the ceremonial drawing of straws, the results of which cause me to lose consciousness rapidly.
In order for you to properly experience this next section, affectionately titled Electrik Alice, Hellhounds, Black Horses, and Goats, please start playing Al Bowlly's Blue Moon now and continue to listen to the music as you read.
MUSICAL INTERLUDE #1
Another fade to black! Jump cut to a desolate and forbidding patch of moor-like hinterlands concealed deep within the English countryside, washed in the light of the crescent moon, and buried underneath a monstrous thicket of brambles, ivy, and bracken that is many acres wide. Here, I find myself standing defenseless, dazed, confused, and with pounding heart before a godforsaken, dilapidated ancient stone building, long abandoned, covered with animal skulls. Beside me, barely out of reach, is an enormous inverted cross made of wood that is charred black and still smoldering. Off in the remote distance, I hear the faint, but melodious sounds of tolling church bells made of iron obsequiously cutting their way through the apprehensiveness of the night air. Just to my west is a malodorous peat-filled bog that borders an age's old makeshift graveyard, filled with the bodies of the outcast dead, that appears to be lit by hundreds of burning candles as a trio of resurrection men toil and pilfer away in obscurity. I am overcome by a feeling of unshakeable dread.
Through the wide-open windows of this unholy place come the strains of Al Bowlly crooning Blue Moon, followed by Midnight the Stars and You. If this alone wasn't enough to make the bravest among us tuck tail and run, my next observation is surely guaranteed to do just that. An impenetrable grove of twisting Wych Elms stands guard over these unhallowed grounds and hanging from nooses at the tops of the trees are dozens of large, decaying Frozen Charlotte Dolls made of porcelain that are now starting to twist in the swirling and howling wind. A fierce otherworldly presence and the smell of death permeate the air. I despise the English countryside this time of year. I am despondent; I am forlorn. Someone, anyone, please send me a formidable Guardian Angel, save me! Can you not hear me? Or, do you choose not to? SGMTFOOH!
Then, a bewitching female voice, I direct my gaze skyward, and in the glow of the pale light of the sickle moon, a wordless shadow moves seductively. Are you my Guardian Angel, I cry out? Skulking within the lee of a massive, but deteriorating, chimney, high atop the collapsing roof trusses of this malevolent structure, I see a glorious female shape wreathed in shadow and darkness. This striking silhouette gracefully scampers to a higher perch nearer to the very peak of the roof. There, she finally unveils herself to me by ever so slowly emerging from the shadows fully erect, standing majestically above me while basking in the radiance of the eerily colored moonlight.
Now, with the moon at her back, she manifests the illusion of standing barefoot upon the crescent moon itself. Penumbrous apocalyptic vision begone. I cannot turn and run; my feet are firmly rooted to the ground, I am spellbound. Is she a Seraph? A hallucination? A dream? An epiphany, she is none of these things! Lamentably, I know this place. This is her demesne. Crazy evil bitch, I know who you are, God forbid. As if she is shouting down to me from the highest of mountaintops, this resplendent, yet hell-born, paragon of damnation and demon conjurer of the worst sort disparages me for believing - Christ may have died for your sins, but not for mine, he may be your God, but he’s not mine, I don’t believe in Testaments, I don’t believe in kings, I don’t believe in anything.
She tells me that I am trespassing, and unwelcome, in the Third Place, and that mankind is disinherited; she speaks of unrightable wrongs and vicious circles. She promises me the purity and salvation of death everlasting. She orders me to bow down and give penance. She indignantly threatens that by her will alone, all of mankind will be forced to endure the rite of purification by emasculation for its steadfast and ignorant refusal to willingly acknowledge that humankind is, in fact, a bilateral unity, a moiety of coequal and corresponding parts, comprised of both womankind and mankind. The ruin of mankind comes down to this she says; man is a disgusting beast, and without fail, men and their meager intellects never allow a little thing like a conscience to stand between them and their arrogance or their cutthroat and barbarous business.
I mutter to myself; oh, Saint John of the Cross, I fear that the reckoning of the Dark Night of the Soul is nigh at hand. Please spare me the lamentations of physical death and the soul-deadening effects of hellfire. John of the Cross, please protect me from the powers of hell, let your divinity shine upon me, and return me to the abyss of delights.
Intuitively, I knew at once this was the all-watching, all-knowing, tattooed and Devil-marked, night rider, Electrik Alice. She is the erstwhile raven-haired, dream-dwelling, heathen-child of my youth. No demure ingenue this one, she, by mere dalliance alone, also the nemesis and destroyer of Humbert, but then in the guise of a hazy girl named Dolores. Now unmasked, she is full grown Shamanka, succubus, and descendant of Diana. She, now transformed, is the cynosure of all men, with one hand tightly holding the reins, and the other hand triumphantly lavishing the sting of the whip. Nicholas Edward Cave what have you done? Vladimir Nabokov can you hear me? Electrik Alice is the embodiment of wickedness, and she is unequaled in the Magick arts of enslavement and concealment. She alone is the evil one, and she alone is the one true source of all adolescent nightmares.
For these reasons, Alice also became the lifelong fixation of Aleister Crowley. For the pubescent Crowley, what began as an innocent curiosity, a mere childlike inquisitiveness, transformed into teenage idealization before mutating into an all-encompassing malignant form of prurient preoccupation and obsession during adulthood. Eventually leading him to blindly squander the better part of his life attempting to parse and translate heretofore indecipherable Satanic texts, which, by the end of his days, found him clinging insidiously to paranoia, zealotry, and menacing madness.
Angels, please punish the wicked and reward the righteous; save me. Electrik Alice has arisen; she walks among us! Coming from the Great Beyond, the unmistakable sounds of Angelic wailing; this, the long-prophesized first warning sign that Heaven is coming undone! Off in the distance, Valkyrie Maidens cry! The staccato blasts of the shofars have been sounded. Battle begins! Another mushroom cloud appears on the horizon. The time of bloodshed and carnage at Tel Megiddo has begun.
MUSICAL INTERLUDE #2
MUSICAL INTERLUDE #3
Outside this crumbling structure, while King Crimson's Cirkus now soundtracks in the background, in the presence of Electrik Alice and a large gathering of woodland animals, a trinity of Melange-stoked Nymphets, the retinue of Electrik Alice, preside over a band of maniacal revelers partaking of a laudanum spiked bathtub-brewed pagan moonshine as they shout incantations in an orgy of call-and-answer bacchanalia. Something more sinister is afoot. The Nymphets entice the gamboling revelers to celebrate in the form of a ritualized Joan of Arc-styled stake burning. Send me an Angel, save me! I pray desperately for another fade to black. I am SOL. No one is coming to save me.
A sickening tumult fills the air. An eerie skeletonlike figure dressed in a turquoise waistcoat and blue velvet trousers frolics among a myriad of blood-lusting night shapes, including Cousin Dell, Fairies wearing boots, the coal-stained boilerman who feeds hell’s furnaces, and a Yellowman, all circumambulating in a counter-clockwise direction while shouting guilty, guilty, guilty, and swaying in unison to the towering eruption of flames encircling the acrid-smelling human-fueled bonfire. From within the soaring inferno, anguished cries rise up to the heavens. I am in fugu hell with no end in sight. I am forsaken, I am shunned, I am trampled underfoot. Electrik Alice begone! Heathens begone! Christian Devil begone! Is anyone listening to me? Don’t leave me alone out here!! Send me an Angel, save me! Our Father who art in heaven........................Someone, please sanctify my heart and douse me with Holy Water! Will someone please read to me from the Sefer Raziel? I am disgraced; I am stained; I will never be clean again. I am beside myself. Heaven has been turned upside down! I am mute; I am blind; I am without hope everlasting.
A long fade to black in the manner of German Expressionism while floating through Robert Weine’s The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari. I’ll take this over the Electrik Alice freakshow any day of the week. I lose consciousness again, a tiny lady in a radiator comforts me, and dances and sings for me. Hallelujah, rejoice! Is she my deliverer? This lady speaks to me of an attempted scorched-earth assault upon the Empire of the Crystalline Skull by a swarm of politically-motivated seditionists seeking revenge for unspeakable acts of niceness taking place in a land of ponies and unicorns. Oki Doki Loki I respond, not understanding any of this.
Temporarily shaking the mind-altering effects of my bewildering and abominable tribulations, I eventually bear witness to the last cryptic pieces of Triple CCC's quixotic imprisonment as the truth is divulged. Mombi, the Baron, and Zecoramundi bewitched Princess Lunatic by using an enchanter’s nightshade to transform her into the beguiling, demon-branded, dominatrix known as Nahyt-Mair Domme Moon, alias, Mistress Moon. After a disorienting fade to black sequence involving aberrant, heretical, and scandalous images that would have made the Marquis de Sade blush pink, I am aroused from my slumber to find that Mistress Freaky-deeky has trapped the now leather-clad, ball-gagged, and slave-hooded Prince Peculiar Shady-Ahrmer in her dungeon of unearthly delights. Enough said. No topping from the bottom allowed in this oubliette. Oh, happy chance! Oh, happy chance! Purify! Purify! Look away!
In a bizarre Stockholm Syndrome-ish fade to black, that I am sure was brought about by intense IC and OOC roleplay, I was transported to the outskirts of a medieval forest. Here, I was confronted with a theater-sized FBI Poster, affixed to the granite outer walls of Ponhenge, containing a Tania-like image of Comrade CCC brandishing weapons, standing outside the Hibernia Bank of Ponyville at Sugarcube Corner, and now beauty-marked with the sign of the Seven-Headed Cobra (reminiscent of a seven-headed Nāga). This undoubtedly to be followed by grainy CCTV images, tape-recorded messages broadcast over the airwaves of Equestria, grueling interrogations by Agents Cooper and Rosenfield, and Sheriff Harry S. Truman, a lengthy sensational, media-stoked trial in Canterlot, and an extended stay in Tartarus.
This unexplainable series of seemingly haphazard events was immediately followed by a freaky logic-defying encounter with a queenly woman, bejeweled and dressed all in red from head to foot perpetually running, apparently in place, and hand in hand with a brown-haired damsel in distress named Pleasance, all the while yammering faster, faster (all of this unfolding under the watchful eye of Wendy Hiller). However, the most curious part of this momentary convergence was not the fact that I was now unexpectedly wearing a boldly colored Russian ushanka (not to mention also being dressed like Vaslav Nijinsky in The Rite of Spring, or the saving graces of Wendy Hiller). Instead, the most curious award goes to the lady in red’s ominous warning to me that if I was looking to get somewhere else, I needed to run more than twice as fast. What a peculiar thing to say I thought to myself. Despite being relatively indifferent to this magisterial woman’s royal utterance, I unaccountably found myself lamenting an overpowering realization that I had failed to carry out Brooke’s entreaty to speedily deliver the amulet to the ever impatient Yellow (banana-producing) Monarch. As I slowly fade to black, the red woman forewarns me, don’t touch the red button man. And they're gone.
Suddenly, and without warning of any kind, I was standing in the midst of the shadowy Silva Nigra betwixt a macabre geisha-painted Mystery Man and the terrifying sight of awakening Umus, Yomyoms, and Millipedes all while a mashup of Link Wray’s Rumble and Barry Adamson’s Something Wicked This Way Comes soundtracks in the background. Synchronously and not entirely out of focus, David Lynch stands together with a speechless man who is wholly cloaked in cleric-black with a mirror for a face (Maya Deren is that you?)(Father-inferior is that you?); Lynch appears to be holding a man-made chicken on a silver serving tray and mumbling disjointed invocations about quantum particles and the ocean of pure consciousness.
MUSICAL INTERLUDE #4
MUSICAL INTERLUDE #5
MUSICAL INTERLUDE #6
All at once, the Mystery Man is unrelenting in his persistence that we have met before as he shoves a phone into my hand asking me to phone home. E.T. is that you? Without hesitation, I dial my number, but I am not there. Instead, my call is redirected by some otherworldly operator to Black Mountain College and then redirected once more, but this time accompanied by the strangest of ringtones, a man with a foghorn of a voice repeating over and over, I like to kill deer. My call is finally answered by an imploring Albert Einstein who reminds me that before my premonition it was to me imperceptible that good could ever succumb wholly to evil.
Einstein earnestly preaches to me about the importance of creative problem-solving and the need to develop a new type of thinking if humankind is to survive the roiling tsunami of evil that is about to come crashing down upon us all. He asked me - do you doubt the validity of my presupposition concerning spooky action at a distance? Have you yourself opened the lid of the photon-filled box? Do you comprehend how the box and photons are entangled? Einstein explained the error of his ways while jousting with Bohr, admitting his failure to precisely clarify that the photon escaping from the box was inextricably entangled with the box itself. My confusion intensifies as he deliberates the contingencies associated with sacrificing freedoms to loopholes. Finally getting to his point, Einstein asks whether I am prepared to shed my separate identity and assume a shared existence of entanglements with other beings? Before Einstein ended the call, he asked me – how many rocks does Pete have? Pete who, I wondered aloud?
Apparently, my sleep-terror and nightmare-freakout disorders were in hookah-begotten overdrive. I speculated to me, myself, and I about making my escape from this puzzling haze of fictional constructs and highly overwrought and foreboding manifestations of evil. Coming into focus the corpse-like figure of a young girl lying in bed intoning the alphabet while Johnnie Farragut prays at her bedside and David Lynch, now holding a donut, commands over and over, “keep eye on donut, not on hole!” Doppelgangers? Laura Palmer is that you? Hyaenas ripping flesh, laughter, a woman painted in cherry red lipstick. Whatever? No need for disambiguation because these manifestations pale in comparison to Electrik Alice’s scrapbook of horror, pestilence, and chaos. I may have spoken too soon, tenebrous shapes burst out of the dark wielding crowbars looking for a man named Alvin and his grabber. Fade out, dissolve, fade in; General Grant surrenders to General Lee in one of the most incredibly twisted and surrealistic Civil War reenactments I have ever seen.
During the short-lived transcendental meditation fade to black that follows, I am visited by a menacing Michael Gira look-alike Cowboy who threatens to drive my buggy and visit me two more times if I don’t adjust my attitude. Huh? None of this makes sense to me. Atmospheric dread and poetic-terror fueled imagery begone I prayed aloud. Bearded woodsmen are asking me for a light, while a weeping and rusting tin woodsman invokes God's name in search of a heart. Mike, can you hear me?
A sudden sense of heightened reality finds me at One-Eyed Jack's locked in a tearful embrace with Deputy Andy and a Man named Hawk. Andy and Hawk spark a flash of memory and a new realization; the answer to my quandary will not be found anywhere within the Bagadag fracture zone. If you seek the castrated high priests of Pluto's Gate, you will not find them or Kerberos in Hierapolis. Dig into the past, consult the Voynich Manuscript. A flashback, the brown acid is bad, the brown acid is bad. Instead, what they should have said was that the brown acid was dangerous and should not be consumed under any circumstances whatsoever. Never, ever! Lessons learned the hard way. Yasgur's Farm is the gateway to Hell. Here Kerberos, here Kerberos, here Boy.
As though not to be outdone by the constituent parts of my still fresh-in-mind found-footage kaleidoscopic mindfuck, I was now vexed by a newfangled predicament. I am haunted by an apparition that slowly comes into focus seemingly intent on disemboweling my already knotted viscera. This one comes creeping into my subconscious manifesting itself as a multitude of malevolent demons. These harbingers of evil included the likes of Frank Booth, Bobby Peru, the Winkie’s Diner Hobo, that diminutive and cheeky, but wicked little bastard, known only as the Man From Another Place, and some other creep nicknamed Bob.
I am jolted headlong into pure conscious awareness of my plight, wanting just to distance myself from this hellish throng of sociopaths and psychopaths. Hastily taking leave only to come face-to-face with the spectral likeness of Dean Stockwell’s strobe light imbued lipsynching of Roy Orbison’s spookily lilting hit song from 1963, In Dreams. Candy Colored Clown begone I beseech you. We could discuss my irrational fear of clowns, but why bother? Especially in light of everything else I have borne witness to while trapped in this repugnant nightmare.
MUSICAL INTERLUDE #7
Replacing this luridly terrifying image of the seductively sashaying Stockwell is a quick, but eye-opening trip through the virtual reality pleasure room (more to be revealed on this freaky bit of news in the months to come). This one-of-a-kind room is brimming with vagabonds and minstrels chanting hymns glorifying the wickedness of the devil and taking part in all manner of hall-of-mirrors-reflected Clockwork Orange style debauchery beneath the warm, seductive glow of phallic-shaped chandeliers. My all too brief moments of respite and revelry inside this iconic Civil War-era pleasure palace enshrined by stone made of lithified sediment abruptly ends with me falling through a multi-dimensional rabbit hole where beyond-life voyages through the Red Room, Black Lodge, and White Lodge await me. Heh, what’s up with all these Sycamore Trees, not to mention that dreck-tasting garmonbozia?
I inexplicably find myself in the company of a Blue Lady on the west bank of Shanghai’s Huangpu River where I am transfixed by a nighttime view of the magnificent Pearl Tower standing proudly on the River’s east bank. The air is filled with the delicate sounds of pearls as they slowly cascade onto waiting plates made of jade. The Blue Lady asks me to touch the red button. Again, with the fucking red button? The Pearl Tower mystifyingly begins to glow crimson as music and bolts of electricity are emitted from its powerful transmitting antennae. The music is reminiscent of Grinderman’s ode to Electrik Alice. Warren Ellis is that you? Off in the distance, a scream, a beheaded rubber duck, and a figure dressed in black repeatedly striking the ground with a hammer. Will this journey never end? A barren field, an abandoned factory building, and a quickly approaching androgynous-looking dwarf. Fade to Black.
I am apparently now inside the deserted factory building. A man with a vintage 8mm camera and, what appears to be an original Léon Guillaume Bouly Cinématographe, passes by quietly; David Lynch is that you? A gender-neutral child dressed as Peter Pan skips blissfully through the shadowy structure, an unseen baby screams in the distance, and a bedraggled woman wanders alone, seemingly without purpose, while an evil deed doer holding a grabber lurks in a darkened staircase (Alvin, is that you?). To my left, an empty restraint chair, looking like something out of the Middle Ages (Yves Fedou is that you?) is arranged in front of an oversized projection screen. To my right, men dressed all in white hurriedly move ominously closer, calling me Alex. WTF; this can’t be good. Fade to Black.
I now find myself strapped to the chair of torture, suddenly realizing that this one looks almost identical to the one I observed earlier in Mistress Moon’s dungeon of unearthly delights. Whispers of aversion therapy and the Ludovico Technique are bandied about by the men in white. For the first time, I see standing among them, a towering, fierce-looking figure dressed mostly in black, but also wearing a luxurious Victorian double-breasted purple paisley waistcoat covered in shiny objects, that appear to be medals of some kind. This wild looking thing cannot possibly be human; it has a bulbous head, long white ears, and phalanges that look more like claws, perhaps talons, than hands. Whatever this creature might be, it has a disquieting quirk of continually glancing at its pocket watch.
Not that I have ever seen a Sugar Plum Fairy, at least not the dancing kind (Lou Reed is that you? And are Holly, Candy, and Jackie with you?), but something or someone looking quite like a Nutcracker Ballerina just delivered to the Bulbous-headed one a silver platter that contains crumpets, blackberry jam, orange marmalade, what surely smells like black oolong tea, and a bowl full of slightly macerated crickets paired with rye toast points, chopped onions, egg yolks and whites, and crème fraiche. Yes, I said F@#%ing crickets. GTFO!! Did I mention my irrational fear of crickets?
I am currently referred to as Mr. De Large by the ostensible leader of this congregation of western medicine practitioners. Strange looking creature and henchmen begone. Henchwomen, you can stay. Someone, anyone, send me an Angel, save me. The Tea Party is that you? A nurse, looking exactly like a rubber-gloved Louise Fletcher, now clamps my eyes wide open with a pair of crude-looking lid locks. Wait, I have seen these before; why me? What have I done? I’ve never been to the Korova Milk Bar, nor had the pleasure of a Moloko Plus, and I assure you that I have never laid eyes on the Alexanders.
Inhuman laughing ensues as unsettling images begin to flicker upon the projection screen before me. What this nonhuman creature is forcing me to bear witness to grows viler and more revolting with each passing second and surpasses every definition of obscenity ever formulated by humankind; demonic and perverse images like nothing a human being could ever in their wildest imagination imagine, ravage my soul. The gigantic mutant, the one resembling a freakish European hare, declares that now I too have been touched by the devilish one. From out of nowhere, a sickly sourness fills the air as a creeping, thickening fog, a sentient miasma, seems to close in all around me from the darkened corners of the room where I am held captive. Almost as if on cue, dozens of mercury vapor lights lining the overhead ceiling start crackling loudly and burning more brightly before exploding in a shower of sparks all around us. Seemingly in response, my captors begin urgently cantillating and intoning in what sounds to me like Aramaic, or perhaps Armenian. What next, I cry? Heh, what's that? Are you kidding me? Is that thing coming in here? Through that?
Impossibly, a black hooded female figure carrying a scythe, an hourglass, and shrouded in a silvery mist, gradually emerges right out of the center of the illuminated images cast on the projection screen, almost as if she is moving in a series of highly choreographed, herky-jerky stop-motion sequences, all happening while I look on weeping in abject terror. It can't be her I mutter to myself. Sadako Yamamura is that you? Why did I ever watch that video? Damn you Koji Suzuki and that godforsaken well. Who is this harbinger of doom? Abruptly, now behaving as nothing more than an ill-minded and obsequious brood of fawning sycophants, the long-eared creature and its accomplices genuflect reverently before this black hooded enigma as she approaches me and places the hourglass on the table to my left.
I cannot endure this nightmare a moment longer. Her tattoos are unmistakable; it is her. My heart is about to explode out of my chest. She bends over me and whispers softly into my ear - know this imbecile, your resistance is futile. Don't look away; let your fear wash over you. Your kind is pathetic; my very existence beleaguers your undeveloped and backward masculine brain. Because I exist in your eyes, I am your deliverer. You fear me, you worship me, you mythologize me. You are mine; I possess you. I am agony, I am ecstasy, I am divine, I am merciless, I am the Antichrist. I aim to unshackle your feeble mind and disenthrall you from your morbid existence by granting you the blessed panacea of death. I will put you out of your misery and purge you by crucifying you upon a tall tree. In the absence of hope, despair abounds; in the absence of love, hatred overflows; and, in the absence of courage, fear is eternal; confess to me, child! Kate Bush is that you? I dare not disobey her a moment longer. Subjugated and crestfallen, at long last, I bow my head to her in reverence and acquiescence. Noticing that the upper chamber of the hourglass is now empty, Alice slowly raises the scythe high over her head, and in one sweeping motion............Fade to coffin black inside a death bag.
Waking in a fiery new place, I am forced to watch a continuous loop of Crazy Clown Time, Good Day Today, and Came Back Haunted. The music that accompanies is a nasty and lewd shambolic jumble of sinister blues. Electrik Alice is that you? Out of the corners of my still lid-locked eyes, I see a naked female in a state of suspended animation submerged inside a massive glass tube filled with a semi-translucent, gelatinous liquid. Horror, of horrors! Fade to black. Can one possibly fade to black when one’s eyes are forcibly held wide open? It is a curious thing the nature of metaphysics and ultimate metaphysical reality. Worship me, cried the Cirkus Clown!
MUSICAL INTERLUDE #8
MUSICAL INTERLUDE #9
MUSICAL INTERLUDE #10
I must skedaddle from this place because the Umus, Yomyoms, and freak-me-out flying winged-monkeys have arrived, as have the owls, salmon, deer, and quite a few demons. Bill did tell me that all of the answers lie within the woods. I think not, Bill. Thankfully, I turned down his invitation to go camping in the deepest of woods affectionately known as the Shade of Sorrows. As I continue to blaze a path through the densely overgrown Sycamore Forest, a feeling of mounting trepidation enshrouds me, and this deepening sense of perilous claustrophobia sends chills racing up and down my spine. Thoughts of taking evasive maneuvers, and serpentine, serpentine, serpentine, as Peter Falk taught, race through my fever-addled mind. I pray that escape awaits me following this harrowing journey through idealized memories and the depths of my disgrace. Prayers answered in the form of Glinda the Good as she lifts her outstretched arms to space revealing all that is good about the human race. Jon, Chris, Steve, Bill, and Rick is that you?
I've now stepped into some photo negative world, or alternate reality, of actual and virtual, conscious and subconscious, vibrant and impotent, and of the dead and the living. I find myself sitting at the right hand of the Heavenly Dream Maiden while she reads to me from Pythagoras' leather-bound book. I gonna tell it to you straight she says; only encouraging and discouraging words from here on out.
Welcome to the machinery, my Son, you are now an integral part of it. The tides of time are an illusion. Electricity is the King of Kings, the universal life force, and the one you seek. Contemplation of the absolute truth begets its realization. Don't ever lose sight of it. Never deny it. Realize. Realize. Realize. An image of a Being simultaneously shouldering many crosses at once. Nighttime fades away to dawn, meadowlarks singing, a campfire, flapjacks, a fashionable suitcase. Silence. Robert Blake, masquerading as Bengt Ekerot, films the proceedings for all posterity. A game of chance. An impending crucifixion, or, perhaps electrocution in a chair, followed by a climactic resurrection. Ravens and doves deliver the message. Owls repeat the message, but speak it with new tongues. Oh no, not this again. Fading to black, to white, and back again. But wait, ....what's this?
Glory be to God, I am redeemed; instead of being delivered straight to hell by Electrik Alice and her oxygen mask huffing minion, Frank Booth, I find myself climaxing in a moment of blinding white light transcendence as I awaken from a peaceful Jacob-like head trip realizing there is indeed a ladder of salvation waiting for me to ascend that reaches up to the Heavens from Earth. Evil be damned. Fade to white. It is happening again!!! GTFO! Iggy the Eskimo is that you? Is that talisman for me? A moment of cathartic serendipity as I realize I never did deliver the amulet to the Banana King. And according to the date now displayed on my watch face, a fortnight has passed since I first started out on the King’s Highway after being directed by Brooke to make a pilgrimage to the Yellow Emperor. Another realization, Brooke doesn’t pay me nearly enough to suffer through another experience like this one. I quit.
Moral Lesson of This Road Journey: We Are All Together in this Thing Called Life
Every woman, child, adolescent, and man among us, has her or his cross or crosses to bear. No person is exempt. Not you, not me, not them, no one; there are no exceptions to this general truth, it is undeniable.
No two crosses are the same. No two crosses can be compared, nor are they comparable. No two or more crosses joined together and shouldered by oneself are guaranteed to be more burdensome than a single cross standing and carried alone. No two crosses are interchangeable. All things being taken into consideration, no two crosses can be undifferentiated.
Crosses cannot be conflated. Do not confuse one type of cross for another. Do not consume yourself trying to decide between one cross or another; crosses are indistinguishable. Kill your desire to prefer one kind of cross to the next.
Like so many things in life, you do not get to choose your cross. When the time finally comes to bear your cross, do so with dignity and courage, not consumed by hopelessness, anger, or resentment, and do so armed with the knowledge that you are not the only one facing adversity, or having a mountain to climb. And, by all means, whenever possible, help your fellow cross-bearers to lighten their loads, without being asked to do so in the first place.
As most of you may have figured out, the preceding bit of insanity is Raven Vanguard’s second-rate attempt to pay proper homage that is befitting the life’s work of our Cultural Vanguardist of the Month, David Lynch. Lynch’s body of work is beyond apt comparison. I must confess that I have written this piece while remaining entirely in the dark (well mostly) about Twin Peaks, The Return, also known as the Third Season, which aired recently on Showtime. I waited purposely for December’s Blu-ray release so that I could binge watch the entire series whenever time permitted. When that time comes, hopefully soon, I will return with a Blogbook entry solely dedicated to my viewing experience and further meditations on Mr. Lynch’s body of work.
Also, coming sometime later this month, as promised, a Blogbook entry highlighting the impressive work being done by our friends at the Benjaman Gallery http://www.thebenjamangallery.com
As David himself might say, Peace and Happiness! Goodnight.