Sunday, June 30, 2013

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Tuesday, April 15, 2008

PROLOGUE, A Big Book of My Own
A Big Book of My Own

These are the facts, nothing here but the facts. I was on the road to Damascus via a street in the West Village in New York City, when, in an instant, barometric pressure had dropped 100 MB. Darkness enveloped an eleven-o’clock-morning sun. It may have been a trick of the mind, or some kind of serious panic disorder. I was blind. Yet, although I could no longer physically see, I pictured myself a child on a visit to my great grandmother's house in La Salle, Illinois. In my head I felt as though a tornado was approaching. By the time I had reached the storm cellar doors and stepped beneath to center of a crawl space, sirens were screaming! Fear and humidity had had me soaked to the bone.


I always was the kind of guy who sought white-light experience. In church I closed my eyes and reverently prayed that the statuary might move for me. I wanted a sign. I played a lot in my own and other people's basements. By the time I was ten years old I would take a couple aspirins and drink a coca cola, then enclosed myself in large cardboard box hoping to be by vision transported back to ages of the dinosaurs. At the same ten years of age, me and Carl, a friend from neighborhood, would take turns attaching ourselves to one of the contact points of a Ford Model "T" spark coil, using a regular car battery to power the apparatus. We took care not to ground ourselves by standing on wooden chairs. Then, while a buzzing arch of mega voltage, created by the collapse of some electromagnetic field, lept across the contact points, we took pictures of ourselves. Our snapshots caught the round fluorescent tubes, turned on, held one handed directly over our heads, halo-like, their gases charged, ignited by all the direct current roaring through our bodies. Ha!

I had always sought white-light experience. I was Narcissistic to the core. During my Hippie days I loved it when the room's walls became transparent, when all the furniture in the house became clear structures, seemingly composed of a see-through, glass-like substance. On the beach I loved to stand before the waves and watch the ebb and flow. Before my own eyes I might witness these waves cleave into vertices, faces and edges. The sea would open up down to the floor revealing assorted canyon-like structures, the sides of which seemed composed in a truly splendid way of basic, solid geometrical figures, one solid sometimes fitted into the other. Others were arranged side by side, or one upon the other. I saw the geometrical basis of the universe, the five, regular Platonic solids: the octahedra, icosahedra, dodecahedra, tetrahedra, and cubes. These solids were everywhere in the sea. Their arrangement invited me to explore, to step farther into the waters. I was like the scientist of yore, but now high-powered. I was excited, like some watcher of the sky when a new planet fell into his view. Once I looked down the beach and saw women in long black dresses. They were holding open black parasols over their heads. I ran after these women, but before I reached them they had disappeared.

But here against the fence on Sheridan Square in New York City I had been dropped. I had enough sense, barely enough sense to realize that the entire vision quest had come to an end. The general had been knocked off his horse. I recognized that I had been introduced to New World of consciousness. I was on the verge of psychosis. I would no longer be able to kick against the pricks, that in my blindness, I had found sight. And in that moment of pitch-blackness, I had found light. The havoc of that storm had brought me peace. I slowly came about, and began to walk straight across Eighth Street toward the East Village, and there on St. Mark's Place between the Bowery and Second Avenue, I entered my friend Mark's hair cutting establishment, and told him I needed help. I always liked Mark. He had been a boxer and a dancer, and he was a fellow Midwesterner. He was from Detroit, Michigan. There, while in junior high school, I believe, he dated Madonna. He told me he would help me. I had to wait for the end of his workday at 6:30 PM. He accompanied me to the Basilica, and once inside that church's basement I surrendered.

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Tuesday, February 27, 2007



The pen rules me,
And many are the hours when it compels me to verse.

Tonight the subject is your hair.
God Herself must envy it.
You are one gorgeous brunet!

One thing for sure,
Were you competing with immortal beauties
In contest for "woman's richest ornament",
World-Title would perforce be yours.

Yet to describe your crowning glory,
No easy matter, it requires a new vocabulary,
A ready command of grammar and idiomatic expression.

Really! Think on it a moment!
All the right words have been used
Countless times before! Tell me,
What hope have I sufficiently to praise
Tresses whose luster utterly captivates my gaze?
What phrase may convey the special
Weight and texture of keratin length,
Which now known to my hand?
Is it enough?
May I sum your majesty, simply say?
I love to curl your hair
Round my fingers when we sleep!

I wish to say, oh girl.
Your hair, it has that electric feel.

Darling, were you to leave me,
Would I ever survive without you?
World too cruel a place,
Neither day nor night could I face without you!

Yet understand I have no wish to suffocate.
I picture no two-bit romance,
Needy lovers joined at the hip. I want
Your freedom and seek only to sleep,
Whatever length of time Destiny grants,
Your body next to mine,
My fingers wrapped in splendor of you, brunet.

Thursday, December 01, 2005

Eagle Arisen


I sit here at a desk right off the kitchen. It is late night, or rather early morning; I am tired and my mind draws blank. As has had happened at other times before I am ready to write about not being able to write.

Now I call upon a force greater than myself to accomplish what I am utterly unable to accomplish. I say ‘God help me to do what I am incapable of doing by myself.’ I ask that God make me a channel of the Word, to be as a pen in the hand of an Author Omniscient, Who knows the text entirely at once, the beginning and the end simultaneously. I bid to be endowed with a flow of right language so unencumbered that it strikes even the skeptical reader as inspired.

I trust a Providence Who rules the workings of a universe of gigantic proportion, folded unto itself, warped and strung, within a matter both visible and black, and animated by a black energy, which, so far at least, proves mysterious, impenetrable to human ken. It is a universe on the one hand, long thought more or less intelligible in terms of an equation involving space and time, and a force called gravity. On the other hand, our comfortable understanding of the universe through the work of Newton and Einstein at this juncture has been profoundly shaken. It seems we know nothing of the mystery, the immensity, the utter vastness around us remains inexplicable. Notions of a plurality of worlds, long posited, has now been extended to plurality of universes; our notion of four dimensions has been now replaced with ideas of multiple, umpteen dimensions. Now, too, astronomers feel that our universe is expanding according to rules of propulsion not yet faintly understood. Even the best minds now seem baffled. Our idea of the universe has very little consensus in science, in the scientific community today.

Here I postulate, actually I am not set in these beliefs, not in the least. Please understand, what is at work here is a will to believe, not a particular set of beliefs, or a doctrine to which I insist we, or I wholly subscribe. On any given day of the week I may choose unbelief, but the agnostic creed I find difficult to sustain. Allow me to continue in the supposition that the universe itself, at least as we bear witness to it, bespeaks at least hint of a ultimate creator.
But make no mistake I insist on no compliance rather an open mind enough to entertain this argument.

Should we allow some Intelligence to be Creator of the universe, this self-same Sovereign, also, reigns over the little things, reckoning the countless phenomena which mark each mortal’s progress through individual life. I feel it requires no large stretch of imagination to say, if Intelligence created the vastness, the inexplicably large universe, it would be no difficult task for this same Creator to mange and control even the everyday events in life, though His ways and the outcome He determines might be forever beyond human understanding.

Today we may easily forget that our forebears believed in a God who knows the number of hair upon our heads. Because of the great progress in the science of astronomy our attention has become increasingly diverted. Modern telescopes reveal the sheer immensity of space-time, the monstrous architecture cradling the lights of heaven, the puzzle of possible universes folded unto them selves existing in other dimensionality. We may fail to remember that the God of our fathers not only authored Genesis but also knew the precise moment a sparrow’s fall. It is to this God both grand and particular to whom I pray. In fulfillment of His will -- that His will be done, that I convert the blank page before me to chronicle American life and thought during this last half century, and this first part of the twenty-first century.

And tonight, though both mind and body be tired and worn, I am vehicle to the good story, reveling in triumph, happiness and energy, now sufficient to recognize and carry out a will beyond selfish aim. Volition has new power, taking it immeasurably pass purely human aspiration and design to wildly abundant, unexpected narrative whose insight and denouement bespeaks the divine. The dark, empty late night now gives way to bright light and fertility. All weakness turns to strength. The despair gnawing at the wheel of our diurnal rounds vanishes. Freely and utterly without discernible merit a fantastic, spiritual grace allows glory, a brand new sense of mission out of those things and events which remain behind.

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Thursday, October 27, 2005



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