Having my way with Ulysses

A hesitating soul taking arms against a sea of troubles, torn by conflicting doubts, as one sees in real life.

And it so happened that it fell to the soul of Odysseus to choose last of all. The memory of his former sufferings had cured him of all ambition and he looked round for a long time to find the uneventful life of an ordinary man; at last he found it lying neglected by the others, and when he saw it he chose it with joy and said that had his lot fallen first he would have made the same choice.2:00 pm

Quick.  My heart quops softly and my breath, breath! the flutter of my breath is coming forth in short sighs.  Just act real.  Stay in the shadows.  Keep back from the lamp.  Pretend to be writing something.  My heart!  Be still my beating eyes!  I smell as if I’ve made a trumpet of my ass.  Stay back.  Try not to waft close.  Maybe they won’t notice.  Get my bearings.  Listen to the kid.  Listen.  Seven is dear indeed to the mystic mind.  Threw that one out for me to catch.  Ho ho!  Good.  That sounded like a real laugh.  I can make sound!  Indulge the kid; wait to speak.  Let my particles and molecules complete their formation around me.  Wait.  Oh no.  Look at me.  Look at me!  Look at my typing hands!  I don’t know how to say this but I think I’m soft.  I’m soft.  I’m out of focus.  I don’t know why.  Is there anything I can do?  I can’t adjust for this.  I need to sharpen up.  Well, I expect the world will adjust to the distortion I’ve become.  Now focus on the kid.  Hamlet.  Ok, talking Hamlet.  Lyster speaks the obvious, Hamlet unfit for the job.  Eglinton:  today’s youth not up to creating another Hamlet.  My turn.  O I have much to say!  The mysteries I can reveal.  But how, how?  Must be careful.

Whether Hamlet is Shakespeare, or James I, or Essex, or the historical Jesus or any other mortal shade softens in focus when we think of the true purpose of art, which is to reveal to us spiritual realities, formless spiritual essences which are the truth of eternal existence.  Art is art when it comes from a soul who Knows eternal wisdom, who has visited eternality and has returned filled with truth, who has eaten from ideal forms of tables, and has communed with Plato’s world of ideas.  Mortal, I mean to say, academic speculation is the pastime of schoolboys.

There, that should hold them.  Pretty good I’d say for my first appearance after reincarnating.  Plant a seed.  Now, if I could just sharpen up.

React to David Young Cancel

Space: what you damn well have to see.

Then Eno a daughter of Beulah took a Moment of Time And drew it out to Seven thousand years with much care & affliction And many tears & in Every year made windows into Eden. She also took an atom of space & opend its center Into Infinitude & ornamented it with wondrous art. 2:06 pm

Forming.  Forming.  And I thought the afterlife was for fulfilling.  Try resurrection some time!  I died.  I came back.  Who does that?  I must be, yes, I am a God.  Yes. Yes.  Feel it.  I was the formless spiritual and now I am the Allfather, Adam Kadmon, the heavenly man.  Jesus Christ I’m a magician now, the magician of the beautiful!  Oh yes, I am back.  I was never an ordinary person.  I lived the life esoteric, and look at me now!  Get a glimpse of my elemental!  Not so blurry today.  This is the virgin birth, right here.  In this space.  At this time.  Soul reinserted into body.  I am God!

Krishna:  Stop!

Wait, what just happened.  Who are you?  Why did everything just freeze in place?  Why are you blue?

Krishna:  I have stopped time.  Listen to me, I will tell you the secret of life.

I already know the secret of life.  I am the secret of life!  Look at me.  I’m back, baby.  I’m here.  I’m in a library talking Hamlet with a kid and an old new critic.  And I am the only one here who knows the truth of the afterlife that the kid dances around.

Krishna:  Those who are without faith in my teaching cannot attain me; they endlessly return to this world shuttling from death to death.

Ah, but that’s where you are wrong blue man, I haven’t been reincarnated.  This is not your ordinary metempsychosis.  You are looking at resurrection!  This is altogether a different kettle of fish.

The Ondt:  [Clipping the end of a cigar.  Havana.  A fine Romeo y Julieta]  You smell like a kettle of fish, Æ, your Auric egg’s gone bad.

Krishna:  That rotten egg smell is your sulfuric breath, Ondt.  What are you doing here?  How did you get into this moment?  I stopped time, this is our now.  Out, Ondt!

The Ondt:  [making faces at himself in the window] Honey, this is my space.  I can crawl into your now through spaces smaller than red globules of man’s blood and back out through Blake’s buttocks into eternity if I like.  You hold to the now all you like, but it is the here, through which all future plunges to the past.

Krishna:  Fine.  Æ, we shall proceed regardless.  You have not become deathless; you have merely become manifest without a rebirth.  You are most certainly not God or even a god.  I am God!  I am known by everyone as the many, the One; behind the faces of a million gods, they can see my face.  I am the ritual and the worship, the medicine and the mantra, the butter burnt in the fire, and I am the flames that consume it.

The Ondt: [Taking the form of the Lord of Loaves]  Got a light?  And hey, don’t burn up all that butter.

You both need to cool it.  Look, I used to think that the world’s revolutions were born out of the dreams and visions in a peasant’s heart on a hillside, from the people for whom the earth is a living mother.  But I don’t think so anymore.  The world’s revolutions are born from those of us who say this verily is that.  I took my own fate by the balls.  The point is I am the point.  I have free will!  I used to think that God is a stage manager in the theatre of the eternal, but I am beyond that now.  I am God if I say I am God.  What of it?  You can be God too if you like.  And look there, you see that person breathing all over us?  That one who clicks instead of talks?  And stares and stares, eyeballs moving here and now here and then over to here.  There is God.  God is a click in the street.

The Ondt:  [Blowing smoke rings] The peatsmoke is going to his head.

Krishna: [Crossing his arms defensively.  He is caught between the devil and the ocean of Theosophy]  I know all beings who have passed, and all who live now, Æ, and all who are yet to be.  In the face of the one who can see all temporalities, how can you be so distressingly shortsighted?  How can you believe your will is free?

You guys can blow smoke up my ass all day if you like, I don’t care.  I know what I know.  Talk until you are blue in the face.  I’m making plans.

React to David Young Cancel

One who has faded into impalpability through death, through absence, through change of manners.

What is love? 'tis not hereafter; Present mirth hath present laughter; What's to come is still unsure: In delay there lies no plenty; Then come kiss me, sweet and twenty, Youth's a stuff will not endure. 2:10 pm

I married a ghost.  And I died before I was born.  Liliata rutilantium.  Well, I died sixty-seven years after I was born, but what is it to you how we lived or died?  Forget me.  He did.  He left me and he gained a world of pretty theatre boys in the cast off armor of court ladies.  The world believes William made a mistake marrying me.  And got out of it as best he could and quickly too.  Stephen thinks a man of genius makes no mistakes, that his errors are volitional, to be used as portals of discovery.  Well William’s genius discovered my portal sure enough.  Made use of me.  And don’t think that because I was twenty-six and he a full eight years younger than me that I drew him in, trapped him into bed and then ruthlessly wed.  Listen to greenroom gossip if you like, but consider:  what would I want with a boy pauper for a husband?  Call me a whore before and a shrew after, what do I care, but the truth is he came after me.  The mistake was mine and he knew it.  He made it Ophelia’s mistake too.  But instead of drowning myself in the Avon, I told my family and they fixed it.  Took care of business.  Five months after our wedding I gave birth to our daughter, my sweet light-of-love.  But did he care?  No.  Gone he was to London and no agenbite of inwit to it.  And for me what was he, a ghost by his absence to haunt me.  And my status?  Not widow.  Hardly a wife.  A stationary target for his debt collectors.  As he rose I became conspicuous.  Like a bad smell in the room, worse than that stench hovering around Æ.  The smell of him!  I may not have a nose left to my face but wow!  That reek will raise the dead.  But the point odoriferous Æ makes is valid.  What use is it to pry into my husband’s life, the bastard.  Good for nothing.  Lousy father.  It was no use to me, that I can assure you, I wept alone.  Leaving us to starve on our own in Stratford.  His drinking, his debts.  Stephen owes AE almost $100, did you know that?  But did he catch AE’s hint?  Bringing up my worthless husband’s financial incontinence.  He caught it.  Then he rationalized his way out of it.  Stephen five months ago was a different set of molecules went his logic.  It wasn’t me.  It was those molecules of Stephen that borrowed the money, the Stephen now is composed of entirely new stuff and cannot be blamed for what any prior Stephen has done.  Free and clear.  No agenbite of inwit, eh Stephen?  Nice try kid.  Good use of physics.  That handy second law of thermodynamics, those molecules from five months ago will decay as plainly as did the nose on my face.  But don’t you forget that first law.  There are still constants to deal with and your memory persists.  It changes things, does a little rearranging here and there, always a bit of phenomenal fluxing within grey matter, but memory persists.  And don’t forget your form of forms.  That soul rattling around within those nice new molecules of yours persists too.  Just look at me if you need a bit of proof.  Or get a whiff of AE  if you prefer your proof to be more on the measurable side of things.  You owe what you owe.  Pay your own damn way.

React to David Young Cancel

Peter Piper pecked a peck of pick of peck of pickled pepper.

Bloody certainly have we got to see to it ere smellful demise surprends us on this concrete that down the gullies of the eras we may catch ourselves looking forward to what will in no time be staring you larrikins on the postface in that multimirror megaron of returningties, whirled without end to end.2:13 pm

I recommend resurrection wholeheartedly to those who are whole of heart and whose hearts fill most wholly the whirling holes ringing roundabout us between the astral levels engulfing souls, hesouls, shesouls, shoals of souls, she sells shesouls by the sheshole.  Trips off the tongue.  Yes. This will be how I will preface the collection of the most promising young poets.  I have them all.  The important ones.  Nobody overlooked.  I remember it now, my work I left when I died.  But I am back and it is through logos I shall become important.  My story, my return from death, embroidered with poetry, will become our missing national epic.  I’ll gather my followers.  Malachi Mulligan of course and he will bring in Haines, who else?  Who else?  I will overlook nobody.  My head is whirling, my thoughts are simply swirling! Oh yes and I mustn’t forget the letter the kid gave me to publish.  Foot and mouth?  Well if it is important it will go in.  Now, I must take care of my smell before I gather genius and talent to my service.  My astral body was much more  pleasant than my physical.  But I exist!  I exist!  Why do I feel so nauseous?

React to David Young Cancel

That which I was is that which I am and that which in possibility I may come to be.

Within my memory is fixed -- and now moves me -- your dear, you kind paternal image when, in the world above, from time to time you taught me how man makes himself eternal; and while I live, my gratitude for that must always be apparent in my words. 2:16 pm

Scene: [Around the ideal form of a table sit Cassandra, Caesar, Thoth, Lizzie Twigg, Brunetto Latini, Mother Dana, and Little John.  The theatre is darkened and an appropriate number of candles are burning with an inward light alongside several vestals’ lamps.  Peatsmoke rises from the trapdoor along with wafts of incense made from opoponax and violets.  Rest suddenly possesses the discrete vaulted cell, rest of warm and brooding air.]

Lizzie Twigg:  Right.  Thank you all for coming.

Little John:  [Drunk, a little dumb] When are we getting paid?

Cassandra:  Why is he here?  His breath is harming the vibrations.  And are those birthday candles?

Lizzie Twigg:  Yes, they seemed appropriate.  Don’t mind Little John, I found him vomiting in the greenroom and we needed one more body.  Seven is the perfect number for a séance and I am determined to get it right this time.  So let’s get started.  Æ is loose among the living, he’s only just managed to go undetected, though just barely.  So far he has appeared in Scylla and Charybdis, but there is no telling where he’ll turn up next so we have to get him back.  Thoth, am I speaking too quickly?

Thoth:  No, I’m recording it all perfectly, thanks.  Learned from Chitragupta.

Cassandra:  We won’t get him back.

Lizzie Twigg:  He’s coming back.  Now, be prepared for paradoxes.  He is alive but he is also dead.  His body has regenerated and though he appears normal, he is greatly decayed.  But from looking he is what he was; his moles still appear in their usual places, but he is a bit soft.  Also, his molecules are shuttling to and fro much too rapidly.  Mother Dana, we will need your help to repair him when we get him back.

Cassandra:  We won’t get him back.

Caesar:  You said that already.

Mother Dana: I can weave and unweave bodies and reconcile him to himself, but I’m not sure what to do about sharpening him up.

Lizzie Twigg:  Well, we’ll cross that Rubicon when we come to it.  First, there can be no reconciliation if there has not been a sundering.  Should be simple after that.

Caesar:  [Simply] You think it’s so easy.

Cassandra: [Easily]  Down, boy.  Life was hard for us all.  No need to get worked up about it now you’re dead.

Caesar: [Deadly] Vixen.  Whore.  Who listens to you?  Your kind sickens me.

Little John: [vomits under the table] Shagart! Shagart!

Lizzie Twigg:  Bear with me people.  When Æ resurrected he took my heart with him.

Thoth:  What did it weigh?

Lizzie Twigg: And I want him back.  Besides, I may see myself as I sit here now, but by reflection from that which then I shall be.  And that future which casts its shadow before includes Æ.

Cassandra:  But this is eternity, honey, there is no future.  The future is the conjoined twin sister of the past.  That which was, is.  That which may come to be, is.  It’s an all-at-onceness, sweet girl, nothing more.

Lizzie Twigg:  Exactly.  And he’s not here.  My is, is missing an aeon.

Cassandra:  I warn you, Lizzie, bring him back and he will crave the world of the living.  But you won’t bring him back.

Brunetto Latini:  Dear Twigg, when he returns you must reassure him that he will live on in his work.  Glory gives the wise man a second life; that is to say, after his death the reputation which remains of his good work makes it seem as if he were still alive.

Cassandra:  It won’t be enough.

Lizzie Twigg:  [Tossing off a glass of brandy neat] Please, let’s get started.  Where there is reconciliation, there must have been first a sundering.

Caesar:  You said that already.

React to David Young Cancel

A maid of honour with a scandalous girlhood.

Do you know what you are talking about? Love, yes. Word known to all men. Amor vero aliquid alicui bonum vult unde et ea quae concupiscimus ...2:20 pm

Scene: [Hallway.  On the way to gym class just after second period.]

Miranda:  What a bitch!  I hope she get preeclampsia.

Marina:  And stretch marks!  Well it’s her fault.  Now she can’t party anymore; has to sit at home waiting for her baby.  Stupid.  Dumb.  I was untied yet still my virgin knot I kept.

Miranda:  Yeah right.

Perdita:  Flash!  That which was lost can’t be given back.  Just sayin.  Where did you have it done?

Marina:  Planned Parenthood.  I saw Ophelia there too!  Crying her head off over Hamlet.  It was so awkward and weird.

Perdita:  No way, did she say anything to you?

Marina:  Naw.  She was so trippin’, singing to herself about let in a maid then out a maid never departed more.  Craazee!

Miranda:  So anyway, Imogen knows we’ve been talking about her.  I heard her say to Ophelia she heard we called her a strumpet.

Marina:  That’s so random.  I didn’t think they were friends.  Don’t they hate each other?

Miranda:  Frenemies.

Perdita:  Well, we’ll be living the high life and Imogen won’t be able to fit into her prom dress.  Ha!

Miranda: All the more she seeks to hide herself the bigger bulk she shows!

Marina:  Epic fail!

Perdita: Totally.  So here’s the note I’m giving to Florizel.  I need to know what he thinks about the word known to all men.  When should I give it to him?

React to David Young Cancel

No later undoing will undo the first undoing.

"When I use a word," Humpty Dumpty said, in rather a scornful tone, "it means just what I choose it to mean -- neither more nor less." "The question is," said Alice, "whether you can make words mean so many different things." "The question is," said Humpty Dumpty, "which is to be the master -- that's all." 2:23 pm

I returned to Stratford.  Yes, done.  I had written speeches backwards turning (did I write them?) and filled them with wisdom, with laws revealed, and I spoke at length of the word known to all men.  All but me.  I returned weary, untaught by my own (was it mine?) wisdom.  List.  In the porches of your ears I’ll pour.  Beware of what you wish for in youth because you will get it in the middle of the path of life.  I wished for a tumble in a cornfield, excuse me, ryefield (they are both correct) with a shrew armed to the teeth with women’s weapons.  And her boar tusk wounded me where love lies ableeding.  I gained her but she took me.  My belief in myself was untimely killed.  I loved, but never without a wounding.  Goaded by the dark shadow of my youthful passion I sent my love in my place to woo a dark lady, he could play more victoriously the game of laugh and lie down, but that attempted dongiovannism by proxy did not save me.  She disguised herself as a man to escape her mistress the queen and undid us all.  She was ruined and exiled.  He was ruined and exiled.  I returned to Stratford a shadow.  A ghost.  My soul had been stricken mortally once before, here again poison seeped into my sleeping ear and murdered, I buried myself in my second best bed.  Those killed in sleep know the manner of their death.  Of course they know it.  Once dead, the creator endows the murdered soul with that knowledge to carry forward into the life to come.  I am alone.  I am the substance of my shadow.  I am the son consubstantial with the father of my own (my own?) making.  And the prize of my life’s efforts?  An auk’s egg for my head.  Watch me hatch.  Oh leave me be.

React to David Young Cancel

Entr’acte

 I saw it growing in magnitude significantly, though always maintaining its circular shape. Approaching maximum elongation it began to lose its circular shape on the other side from the Sun and within a few days had acquired a semicircular shape. This shape it maintained for a number of days. More precisely, it maintained until it began to move towards the Sun, slowly abandoning the tangent. It now begins to assume a notable corniculate shape. 2:26 pm

Hast thou found me, O mine enemy?  You disturb my peace.  They all do.  Just now I had one come close, bending down with a stare to rival Galileo’s!  Now that was a mister honey, queer and sick.  Not content to view from afar at my morning or evening loveliness, his nightly intrusions gazed upon my most intimate surfaces.  And his conclusion, that I am losing my shape!  Honestly.  I ask you.  Have you ever?  But this other dark figure, bowing, pale eyes upon my mesial groove, had a purpose I didn’t fully understand.  Looking for something.  Well, I am young.  I am only now entering into my full ripeness.  Didn’t you know?  I was born quite recently from some rather potent seafoam.  Kronos and his cronies cut off their father’s, well, ripeness, spilling more than his prepuce and adjacent parts for the collector, much more.  His fertile seed foamed into the ocean, mother of us all.  How were they to know she’d be so ripe for it?  What a brood of mockers those boys turned out to be.  Well, what you laugh at you nevertheless serve, and now like all men gone limp with leching, they belong to me.  Me!  They worship the very image of the one they despised.  Every day they must do homage to me.  Sentimental fools.  Well, the sentimentalist is he who would enjoy without incurring the immense debtorship for a thing done.  Let’s just see how that works out for them.

React to David Young Cancel

Leftherhis Secondbest Leftherhis Bestabed Secabest Leftabed. Woa!

To die: to sleep; No more; and by a sleep to say we end The heart-ache and the thousand natural shocks That flesh is heir to, 'tis a consummation Devoutly to be wish'd. To die, to sleep; To sleep: perchance to dream: ay, there's the rub; For in that sleep of death what dreams may come When we have shuffled off this mortal coil, Must give us pause.2:30 pm

Ok.  I need to rewrite this thing.  I make, let’s see, yes, and income from lands, hmm.  Maybe about $450,000 a year.  Debts.  Well, what are debts?  I’ll be dead.  Come and get me.  So. 

I William Shakespeare being of sound mind.  Why do they always start this way.  If I were not of sound mind I’d be unable to write this.  Most likely.  Or I would think myself immortal so what use is a Will?  Well in the name of god amen I have to include everybody, especially her, so they tell me.  Posterity to consider.  Mustn’t seem ungenerous or mean.  Fine.  So in perfect health and memory god be praised yada yada.  I commend my soul into the hands of etcetera.  Stick my body in the ground and cover it well.  Feed me to the worms and the rats.  Eat up boys, here’s a fat one.  Get them drunk on the spirits in my belly, my spirit will be drinking in life everlasting. 

Right. 

Daughter Judith, money.  Susanna, oldest.  Property, money.  Neice Elizabeth money, not as much as Judith.  Nice amount.  Carve it up girls.  Sisters.  Toss some money at them and let them squabble over it themselves.  Divide it fairly, but take into account grudges, grievances, arguments long past, childhood woundings.  Balance that ledger ladies; nice to give them something to do.  More reasons to hate.  Give one of them my clothing.  A bit for the nephews.  Small but not too small amount of money for the poor of Stratford.  Lawyer said I should do that.  Friends now. 

Friends. 

My sword to Mr. Thomas Combe so he may have something with which to stab himself.  Hamlet Sadler, William Reynolds, William Walker, Anthony Nashe, John Nashe, John Hemings, Richard Burbage, Henry Cundell: money to buy rings. 

What’s left. 

All of my household goods to Judith.  Jewels, she can have them.  Susanna gets the property, let Judith have the jewels. 

And my wife.  She can have what she already has.  Have them insert that near the end.  Enough.  I give her no more of me.  And how do I.  Oh yes, can’t forget, I do revoke all former wills and publish this to be my last will and testament in witness whereof I have hereunto put my hand the day and year first above written by me William Shakespeare.  Good.  Centuries of people will hover over that second best bed and wonder why.  That should piss her off for all eternity.

React to David Young Cancel

What the hell are you driving at? I know. Shut up. Blast you. I have reasons.

Life, he himself said once, (his biografiend, in fact, kills him verysoon, if yet not, after) is a wake, livit or krikit, and on the bunk of our breadwinning lies the cropse of our seedfather, a phrase which the establisher of the world by law might pretinately write across the chestfront of all manorwombanborn.2:36 pm

A father is a necessary evil.  Listen to me, I know.  Who’s your daddy?  Do you really know?  You have a woman’s word for it.  Ok yes, she is your mother and amor matris from whichever direction you approach it may be the only true thing in life.  So why then, come on tell me, do the Roman Catholics and their spin offs base everything upon fatherhood’s rock hardness, when we are all born from the eye of the whirlpool?  Why?  Listen to me, I see you.  Straying in your thoughts.  Get back here.  Come back to my theolologicophilological (I ought to be stopped) theory. Now. Where were we. Father religion. This god is all their daddies. Yes. I’m fine. The church like the world (both micro and macro cosmos) is founded upon the void, the uncertainty of which (even the unlikelihood of which) fatherhood represents.  Or perhaps it happens the other way around.  Yes. Pay attention. The fear of daddy we feel as children while simultaneously feeling secure in his protection from danger we ascribe by apostolic succession to God the father.  Yes.  Feel it.  Furthermore, heretofore, once again, hereafter (are you condemned to do this?) old Nobodaddy will tell you himself that his role was a brief spurt of inspiration (expiration more like) and off he goes.  And agenbite of inwit?  What’s that?  Oh shake it off Nobodaddy.  Mingo minxi micxtum mingler. World without end amen. Oh I will be condemned. (Am I a father?  If I were?)  Look, this enthroned one, this everybody’s daddy, says Sabellius, was son of his own son.  The man felt himself with child foetus that was himself.  How’s that?  Come again?  One coming is sufficient;  Here.  Have an example.  An example.  Well, look at Shakespeare.  Or whatever his name was. Breathe. Breathing. Rutlandbaconsouthhamptonshakespearemarlowe wrote Hamlet.  He was not the father of his own son,  he was the father of all his race.  He was everybody’s daddy.  Am I battling against hopelessness?  Fight with me.  Our worst enemies are in our own house and family.  Stand!  Fight!  Kid, your growth is my decline.  Your youth is my envy.  Your friend is my enemy!  You brought me pain.  Her too and you ruined her body.  You divided her from me.  Get down from there!  Be careful!  You increase my cares.  I worry sick about you.  Slow down!  Look both ways!  Don’t talk to that perve with the candy.  Don’t impregnate before you can pay.  Dont do anything stupid.  Good Christ, listen to me!

React to David Young Cancel

A star, a daystar, a firedrake, rose at his birth.

O, there be players that I have seen play -- and heard others praise, and that highly -- not to speak it profanely, that neither having th' accent of Christians, nor the gait of Christian, pagan, nor man, have so strutted and bellowed that I have thought some of Nature's journeymen had made man, and not made them well, they imitated humanity so abominably. 2:40 pm

[Scene:  Empty theatre.  The stage manager is sitting in the house seats next to the director, who is eating seeds from a broad silver and gilt bowl.]

God:  List.  You hear that?  Must be seventy people out there.  Jesus!  Jesus Christ!  Where the hell is he?  [on the god mic] Jesus!

Jesus: [Materializes suddenly behind God, startling the director who flies up into the grid, landing on a downstage line set.] God damn it, it’s a mess out there.  Actors are showing up before their check in times, and without their sides.  We ran out of extras and I’m

God:  Can’t you just make more?

Jesus:  I’m not a miracle worker!

God:  Well, how did you do that water into wine thing?

Jesus:  Never mind that.  What’s going on in here?  Whose bright idea was it to hire a bird to be the director?

God: Oh please let’s not get into that.  The whole Arian thing and the meetings in Nicaea and Constantinople, the Nestorian business.  It’s in our contract.  We’re stuck with him, and he likes to be a dove so what can we do?  Anyway, I’m not entirely sure, but I think he’s ready to see the Bella Cohens.  Anybody promising?

Jesus:  Let’s see.  A  bunch of girls who had decent to middling parts in The Tempest, Pericles, Winter’s Tale.

God:  Too young.

Jesus:  Well, Cleopatra is out there.

God: Who?

Jesus:  Fleshpot of Egypt.  Also Cressida and Venus.

God:  Venus might work, but she’s a big star.  Can we afford her?  And is she willing to do drag?

Jesus:  Probably not.  Will do nudity though, she’s naked now.  And she’s not really a star.  She’s flaming out.  Also, we have a crowd of people out there claiming to be Shakespeare’s relations. Brothers, mother.

God:  Mother?  Mary Arden?  Can she act?  Would she be a good Bella?

[Bird droppings fall from above.]

God:  Fine, we’ll tell Mary we’re going another way.  Jesus, send in Venus.  And warn her she might want to put some clothes on, the director is in a temper.

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A star by night. A pillar of the cloud by day. What more’s to speak?

2:43 pm

My cousin.  I attended his funeral.  He drowned, you know.  Did you know?  His father, Nuncle Dedalus murdered him as sure as he did me.  But it wasn’t Icarus who flew too close to the sun for Nuncle D’s comfort.  No.  It was I who burned too brightly, who flew too well.  My growth revealed his decline.  My talent became his enemy.  He didn’t want a rival, plain and simple.  He drew me, hawklike man, predator.  Drew me away from the ground to the top of the Acropolis (and I am the one called lapwing!) my shell still crowning my stephanos. Jealous. He pushed me, his sister’s child, and called it an accident.  Then the artificer wept false tears.  And I thirty-two feet per second per second fell into Athena’s grace.  She enfeathered me.  Now I disguise his agenbite of inwit.  His secret.  Hold me in abomination if you will.  I’ll come to your funeral.  I went to my cousin’s grave after they fished him out, drowned man, seabedabbled.  Weltering in the whirlpools of his father’s agenbite of inwit with no help or care.  Well, I’ll take care of him now.  I’ll lead the hawk away from his grave.  I’ll lead you too.  Yes, you.  Follow my compass.  I’ll be your star by night and your pillar of cloud by day.  We shall stay low to the ground.  I have lost my faith.  Now this is how I disguise my secret.  You disapprove?  You think me too false?  Well, I’ll hide mine, what do you care how,  you hide yours any way you like.

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The voice of Esau.

At that very instant: Oh, what I would not give for the joy of being at your side in Iceland inside the great unmoving daytime and of sharing this now the way one shares music or the taste of fruit. At that very instant the man was at her side in Iceland.2:46 pm

A brother is as easily forgotten as an umbrella, and in my case the reality of my existence has become reason for footnotes here or there.  And that’s it. A theory published in a lesser journal then even more delicious, a theory refuted in a much more promising journal.  Where am I going with this?  I forget.  Oh, I hate it when.  Completely gone from my head.  Wait.  Let me walk back to where I was when.  Positional memory, you understand, it will come back.  Can’t walk away though, busy borrowing a pair of typing hands.  I’ll wander with my mind.  Are those your shoes?  You walk around in those things?  Deplorable.  At least clean them up or something.  Rub the dirt off.  Here give them to me.  I’m a shoemaker;  I’ll fix them up for you.  Oh I forgot.  I’m here, you’re there.  Well, do it yourself then.  Oh yes!  That’s right.  I existed.  I exist.  I’ll keep existing if you’ll invoke me, but unfortunately I was the first of five surviving brothers and stories work so much better with three, so a couple of us had to go.  Banishment from heart and home.  And memory.  Most people even deny I was a relative!  As if there could just happen to be two unrelated John Shakespeares in Stratford.  So, exiled I went to the land of lost umbrellas.  People prefer to think of brothers in threes, you see that don’t you.  We crave things in threes.  Three is the magic number, yes it is, it’s the magic number.  No more, no less.  In comedy, three beats to a laugh.  In fairy tales, two bad examples then one good.  One two three, two two three, three two three five.  I was the first of five brothers, named for our father.  Then, forgetting our sisters if you’ll allow it, came my famous brother you know the one.  The others, Gilbert, Richard, and Edmund, were a haberdasher, a dimwit, and an actor, respectively.  Edmund, following Will’s footsteps, treaded the boards in my shoes.  But it was Will’s boots that changed the shape of Edmund’s feet.  Until he died too early, that is, carried out of the theatre feet first and put into the ground with a forenoon knell of the great bell.  We all felt the loss, though Will paid the bill.  Maybe he felt that inner gnawing bite of conscience.  William, the false, usurping, adulterous brother.  I was the eldest.  And I sold my birthright for so little.  But I did have what I had.  And I still have, thanks to eternity.  Whatever anywhere wherever was, is and is and is three and five times over and then some.  What else is there to want?  We all want what we already have.

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We walk through ourselves, meeting robbers, ghosts, giants, old men, young men, wives, widows, brothers-in-love, but always meeting ourselves.

God (I've begun to think) implants a promise in all that insubstantial architecture that makes light out of the impervious surface of glass, and makes the shadow out of dreams. God has created nights well-populated with dreams, crowded with mirror images, so that man may feel that he is nothing more than vain reflection. That's what frightens us. 2:50 pm

Look in the mirror.  See that person there?  You think that is just one person looking back?  Look into those eyes looking into your eyes.  Stare hard.  Wait for the melting away of edges, loss of borders, wait for all to fade but eyes then BAM! that’s you.  That’s who you are.  And that feeling?  Felt it, did you?  You found another you in there.  A you you don’t often see.  More than one.  Multiple, really, you are simultaneously you and you and also you sharing one body that is itself an illusion of singularity.  You co-exist with yourself, and without full integration.  I don’t mean public and private parts of yourself.  Look in the mirror again.  Or look into other eyes; use them as mirrors.  Every one you see (I say one, but they are all multiplicities too) reflects back a version of yourself.  All those strangers are familiar parts of yourself.  And look at your beloved.  Go ahead, look into those eyes until all else is gone.  See that?  That’s you, looking back.  You are surrounded by yourself, isolated into a temporality of your own experience.  And who are you?  Go ahead tell me.  Tell us all.  We’ll only hear versions of you which reflect versions of ourselves.  What does this mean?  Well, you tell me.  It is the self alone who can make meaning, and only for the self.  And what might be insensible to me might be meaningful to you.  Who are you?  You are me.  Who am I?  I am you.  Who am I?  I am God. Who are you?  Well.  Well, well.  You go look in your mirror honey.

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I believe, O Lord, help my unbelief.

God (I've begun to think) implants a promise in all that insubstantial architecture that makes light out of the impervious surface of glass, and makes the shadow out of dreams. God has created nights well-populated with dreams, crowded with mirror images, so that man may feel that he is nothing more than vain reflection. That's what frightens us. 2:52 pm

Eureka!  Come in my darling, the water’s fine.  The tub is small, but we’ll get comfortable.  Watch that displacement!  Oh well, what’s a little water on the floor.  Is that your foot?  Shove over baby, make some empty space.  We must have space independent of things.  Get that matter out of the void!  Can we do that?  Create from void?  Creatio ex nihilo?  The Greeks believed not.  Most of their creations come from water, although Heraclitus prefered creation from fire.  Imagine a tub of that!  No, this is much nicer. And cosy too, eh baby?  Come, let’s fingerponder the materia prima a little. Honey, you are filthy!  Look at that sheen forming on the water.  All those layers of belief you carry around.  Here, have some soap, nice citronlemon.  Get behind those ears.  Wash every nook and cranny.  Especially your cranny.  Want me to get that for you?  Not yet?  Now, where does everything begin?  Well of course, it begins with me.  I am God.  Yes.  Yes.  Wait, you don’t believe me?  Well you should.  And don’t worry, you can be God too.  You are God, ok?  God.  Oh I see.  You believe in a different God.  Well you show me yours and I’ll show you mine.  Go ahead.  He’s a he.  Ok.  White guy.  Yup.  Seated, gotcha.  A throne?  A king of some kind?  When was the last time you listened to a king?  Ok, ok, it is your belief.  Keep going, rinse it out of there.  Facial hair.  Old.  A light.  A heart.  An eye in the sky.  Well now, you’re just riffing.  Tell me, have you ever seen God?  Ok, I get it.  Faith needs no proof; you do not need to see to believe.  But what about unbelief?  That is so much harder to accomplish, you know.  What will it take for you to unbelieve?  What do I have to do to wipe away that God stain marring your vision?  You’re putting a sticky film on the surface of everything.  Ick.  Smells too.  Wait, what did you say?  What about my stains?  My sheen on the water?  Do I believe my own theory?  No, of course not.  I neither believe nor disbelieve.  I need help too, a nice push one way or the other.  Want to take care of it for me?  Tell me, do you push both ways?  Now relax a little baby, roll over and let me get to that cranny.

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A Honeymoon in the Hand

Now, it is clear from what we have said that it is impossible for human felicity to consist in bodily pleasures, the chief of which are those of food and sex.2:54 pm

I called upon the bard Kinch at his summer residence and found him deep in the study of the Summa contra Gentiles in the company of two gonorrheal ladies, Fresh Nelly and Rosalie, the coalquay whore.  The house itself boasts an excellent prospect well situated adjacent to several acres of bountiful woods and rolling hillsides.  Wandering the gardens with Fresh Nelly and Rosalie in a blueribboned hat one cannot help but fancy himself a pleased Bottom stroked by beautiful Titania, or even a mischievous Puck a laugh tripping over his lips as he frolics with the delightful nymphs and fairies of the forest.  To my great delight our party grew in number very shortly after my arrival to include the distinguished man of letters Cashel Boyle O’Connor Fitzmaurice Tisdall Farrell, who spent much of his time in Kinch’s well-appointed library.  However, the most diverting of the company proved to be a company of players including Toby Tostoff (a ruined Pole), Crab (a bushranger), Mother Grogan, and two young medical students Dick and Davy sporting newbarbered, wellkempt heads.  That evening we danced within the ballroom’s pillared Moorish hall, shadows entwined, to the dulcet tones of the ladies’ song who entertained into the night with sweetly varying voices, mopping and chanting with waving graceful arms.  The evenings entertainments so inspired Cashel Boyle O’Connor Fitzmaurice Tisdall Farrell that he favored us with a parable which I quote inexactly from memory:

Fresh Nelly was eating grapes in the park when, Medical Dick, an extremely well-endowed young man, introduced himself to her.  He invited her to go for a ride in a taxi-cab on the floor of which they did something Fresh Nelly had never done before.  After they had done it several times in different ways, Medical Dick suggested that Fresh Nelly tidy up at the home of his aunt, Lady Rosalie, who welcomed them with great cordiality.  Lady Rosalie led Fresh Nelly to her boudoir where she requested the girl to perform a rather surprising service.  Downstairs the three of them played a most amusing game of Medical Dick’s own invention called “Thumbfumble.”  They then sat down to a sumptuous tea.  After he had finished the washing-up, Toby Tostoff, the butler, an unusually well-informed man of middle age, joined them for another frolic.  Medical Dick and Lady Rosalie had little difficulty in persuading Fresh Nelly to spend a few days with them.  In the interval before dinner she perused an album of instructive chromolithographs entitled, ‘Die Sieben und Dreibig Wollufte’ which Lady Rosalie had thoughtfully set out.  Colonel Crab and his wife Mother Grogan came in after dinner; both of them had wooden legs, with which they could do all sorts of entertaining tricks.  The evening was a huge success, in spite of someone fainting from time to time.  Fresh Nelly, quite exhausted, was helped to bed by Lady Rosalie’s French maid, Titania, whom she found delightfully sympathetic.  The next morning she was wakened in a novel fashion by Lady Rosalie in time for elevenses.  Looking out the window she saw Medical Dick, Toby Tostoff, and Bottom, the gardener, an exceptionally well-made youth, disporting themselves on the lawn.  They were soon joined by Medical Davy, Medical Dick’s singularly well-favoured sheepdog, and many were the giggles and barks that came from the shrubbery.  They called up to Fresh Nelly, who, having put on an ingeniously constructed bathing slip, met them in the pool.

Indeed as I relate this first part of Cashel Boyle O’Connor Fitzmaurice Tisdall Farrell’s most inspirational tale I find myself growing extremely flushed and ardently fear I must stop lest I shall be overcome and my memory fail me in ways ruinous to the spirit of the tale.  I believe the story ended with this charming couplet which reminds us rather delightfully of the apt advice professed by the great oracle of Delphi to know thyself:

Being afraid to marry on earth
They masturbated for all they were worth. 
 

 

 

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That lies in space which I in time must come to, ineluctably.

Finally, the curious fact makes itself felt that in general people experience their present naïvely, as it were, without being able to form an estimate of its contents; they have first to put themselves at a distance from it -- the present, that is to say, must have become the past -- before it can yield points of vantage from which to judge the future. 2:57 pm

Afterwit.  I remember my dream.  I dreamed somebody dreaming me and in that dream I flew.  It was a wonder.  I was a wonder.  I flew through the augur’s templum passing from behind and curved to the right.  An evil sign for business warned Michael Scotus, but for the bird?  What of his business?  I was an augur once.  I looked to the temple of air and saw past the image of my mother’s face to read the inhuman clamour of the birds.  Thirteen swallows.  If Judus go forth tonight, he will find reason to betray.  He will go forth and meet himself.  Why?  I looked for reason to leave and found symbols both of departure and of loneliness.  It was both.  Nother dying come home Father.   Now what? No birds.  I was the bird.  Bearing the name of a hawklike man I flew through space to come to time.  Remember.  I am almosting it.  A man, an offer of melon, a creamfruit smell, and a future.  Who?  You will see who.  The present must become the past so we may see the future.

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My will: his will that fronts me. Seas between.

Seen in this manner, all our acts are just, but they are also indifferent. There are no moral or intellectual merits. Homer composed the Odyssey; if we postulate an infinite period of time, with infinite circumstances and changes, the impossible thing is not to compose the Odyssey, at least once. No one is anyone, one single immortal man is all men. Like Cornelius Agrippa, I am god, I am hero, I am philosopher, I am demon and I am world, which is a tedious way of saying that I do not exist. 2:58 pm

I feel somebody behind me.  Who?  You?  Breathing on me.  Neck prickilish.  The moment is now.  Where?  Why?  Why.  Cease to strive, that’s why.  Peace of druid priests I want.  Hierophantic like descent, search, ascent.  I’ll stand over the omphalos and perform the unrepeatable rites.  I’ll drink the kykeon and walk the earth with the step of a pard.  Descend, then search.  I’ll wander in exile with the eternal Jew.  We shall perform the auguries described by Scotus and practiced by Cornelius Agrippa.  Together we will descend, then search.  We shall sail with the ancient mariner, eternal Odysseus, yes, beyond the bounds of will and time.  Ascend.  Yes, part.  The moment is now.

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