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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