Annunciation, Circle Center Circumference, George Bernard Shaw, George Bernard Shaw Letter to Sylvia Beach, Holy Mother Public Relations Inc., James Joyce, Jesus, Martha, Mary, Mayan Calendar, Mirror, Saints, Sister Mary Peter, St. Francis DeSales, Tranquilla Convent, Ulysses
Gala Event at Holy Mother Public Relations had us Praying for the End of Time.
by St. Francis DeSales
To mark the end of the thirteenth Ba’k’tun Holy Mother Public Relations Inc. hosted their first annual End of Existence Gala in the circular Star and Garter Ballroom: the dazzling center found everywhere in the Holy Mother PR Empyrean building whose circumference appears to be nowhere and why am I telling you about the room? I hate duplicity as I hate death, so I’m talking about crap nobody cares about because frankly I want to bury my real feelings about this shitshow of an event somewhere after the first couple of lines to ensure that our Holy Blessed and Most Exalted Mother Mary will have passed out before she gets to the sentence where I call her the booze soaked love child of Courtney Love and a pile of vomit. There, I said it. As I have prior experience covering the various
travesties parties Holy Mother PR has thrown in the past to provide Mary with fresh drinking companions celebrate Mary’s glory I knew to race past the red carpet and find Her Shitfacedness our Holy Lush before she passes out in the men’s urinals. A pity too as I had only a glance at Jesus gingerly exiting his limo with his babyclothes up to one side. I was dying to find out was he circumcised but I had bigger fish to fry as apparently did the “ladies” of the Tranquila Convent who catered this stinker of a party with what can only be an ironically inspired all seafood menu. Ghastly. Everything fried in butter: they love buttering themselves in and out, though to their credit they served a potent egg nog which Sister Mary Peter described as eggs beaten up with marsala. One taste of that and I knew why I was far too late to interview Mary. Though, with all the optimism of a rookie I pressed on, seeking her out in all her usual puking places: closets and behind statues, but I could not find Her Drunkenness anywhere and I stopped looking when I saw the out of order sign on the men’s lavatory door. Alas, Mary was already face down in a pool of her own vomit and piss. I’d say they ought to dedicate the urinals in Her Holy Name but in that case they’d probably throw another one of these disastrous events to mark the occasion and I’d have to cover it. I was late for Mary but I found myself just in time and unfortunately perfectly placed for the unveiling of Negative Destiny by new sculptor Martha. While some might try to make a cat cleanly by rubbing its nose in its own filth, Martha has tried the same treatment on The Annunciation, and Negative Destiny comes off as a rather fleshy cross between The Annunciation and The Incarnation. But with more slime. This mixed media piece is curious the way it’s made and I asked Martha what are all those veins and things but I won’t reveal her answer. Trust me, it is better not to know. Martha’s sculpture managed to renew my faith in the end of the world, and indeed to wish it had come before Martha had ever been born. I don’t want to say that it is bad, not at all. It succeeds gloriously in finding new ways to suck. O lord I wanted to shout out all sorts of things fuck or shit or anything at all just to distract myself and indeed to save some of the others: anything to tear my ruined eyes from that ugly quivering disgusting thing placed up there like any other statue in a museum, and the crap sculpture she had just unveiled. Martha ought to take a good look at herself but a mirror never gives you the expression. My advice to you Martha: check herself into the Tranquilla convent, they’ll take anybody.
I’d rather die than sleep with you Echo, if you really want the truth. It’s not going to happen so please, come on, enough already.
But. Narcissus, you can’t hold out forever. I know what you’re doing. You have this image of yourself you are so in love with, but that’s not really you. Saying all the time you won’t have sex you won’t have sex, do you think that makes you so much more pure than everybody else? You have youth and you have beauty. And you’re a rock star. I’m just saying give it up already. You owe it if not to me, to yourself. You are missing out and here I am. Right here. Telling you and telling you. I could disappear tomorrow you know, and then who will you have to love you? I mean more than I love you.
I have myself. I have my integrity and I know my worth, and I am more valuable to me than I am to anybody else.
You are so transparent. You can love yourself all you want Narcissus, but yourself won’t love you back. God it’s like I’m empty air here, can’t you hear me? I’m telling you!
I’ve learned something, Echo, I can see myself as others see me. But more importantly I see my self as I see myself. I look into my own eyes looking into mine and there is nothing between us. No fears, no doubts. Nothing. The everythingness of nothing. Together we feel very simply, but strongly, the purity of a oneness made from the two of us. We feel it like radiance, projecting outwardly from our center in concentric circles. It feels like waves, Echo. When we connect together within that moment, we are the meaning and even the source of the two in the one and the one in the two. And we feel together, I and I, I feel that this truth has been and always will be true since time immemorial and forever more. Desde siempre y para siempre.
You’re killing me! Narcissus, I love you like you’ve never seen before. I beg you to listen to me.
I can’t even look at you.
Look at the stars if you can see them. I see clouds and darkness but I know the stars are there. No. I don’t know that. I know that they were there. The little lights which I do not see in the sky but possibly you do, come from a past which possibly had ceased to exist as a present before its probable spectators (excluding myself) had entered actual present existence. That which I do not see might not be there now, most certainly is not there now, as by now they will have red-shifted position. All those stars running off, taking their planets with them. Ours too. Such a fearsome isolation, all this expanding outwardly from each other, temporality stretching between us. So lonely, having no contact with each other. Yet if we did, our loneliness would compound. We could look up at the stars (I at starless clouds) into distances numbering nine to the ninth power to the ninth power and find our double, as if in a mirror shining back to us: we are here too. The joy of recognition; the first sighting of a lover! And then, and then. And then we will understand in advance the impostvidibility of the past. We will know as if we have already harkened back in a kind of retrospective arrangement that we are already and always have been ever alone. There is our lover, shimmering through lakes of dreams, seas of rains, gulfs of dews, oceans of fecundity, simultaneously loving us back yet already gone. Infinity rendered finite. We would be as the new moon with the old moon in our arms, but our state of solitude is one where there can be no entry. They are gone. The world is gone.
[Scene: Atop Mount Pisgah in Madaba, Jordan, Moses greets two more Moseses who have come to play a little chess, grill up some lamb, and argue, always argue. Always the same fight about the same damn thing. Move on already.]
Moses: Welcome gentlemen, Moses, your face. Not this again.
Moses Maimonides: [His badly scarred face sports wounds in varying stages of freshness. Some of them weep a yellow pus. Stinks. Moses, put a bandage on or something. A mask. Nobody wants to see that.] Nothing. A mirror. Nothing.
Moses Mendelssohn: [Back bent double but nicely dressed] Oh I’ve done that. Hurts.
Moses: You have to stop. This ridiculous pursuit. It must end. Let it go.
Moses Maimonides: I just wonder, if I could just, if I could just hear it from him once and for all.
Moses Mendelssohn: He was not Jewish. Aristotle was not a Jew. Don’t waste his time asking him that, please, man, have some dignity. Remember who you are. From Moses to me there was none like you. You talked Aristotle into the void! Why does his faith mean so much to you? My closest friend is a, well, not a Christian per se, certainly not a Spinozist or some sort of athiest, more of a pantheist. He’s not Jewish anyway and you don’t see me trying to make him into a Jew.
Moses: It is Plato who is Jewish, not Aristotle. Or Socrates rather.
Moses Mendelssohn: Nonsense. Must anyone be anything? Aristotle. He dealt in reason: his philosophy conjures the purity of truth found only in mathematics. If this equals that then that equals this. Mathematics, not superstition. Most of humanity embark on the journey of life with delusion of superstitions and with the firm resolve to complete that journey with them. You think a man who rejected the infinite and the void with an even greater resolve was a Jew?
Moses: Stop. Superstitions! I did not lead my people, God’s chosen people, all the way to the holy land for superstitions! With kids too! Are we there yet? Are we there yet? And feeding everybody, and everybody all cooped up together bickering and sick to death of each other already, and can we stop here, and can we stop there every five minutes. I can’t tell you how many times I threatened to pull the whole thing over and turn around.
Moses Maimonides: And you did it for what? You died here!
Moses Mendelssohn: But the view, Moses, it’s soultransfiguring. The light in the morning hours must be magnificent.
Moses: It’s a nice place to end up, I’ve got to say.
Moses Maimonides: Your barbeque pit is phenomenal, you could roast just about anything in there. How do you keep such a good smolder going?
Moses: Eternal fire. Really, it comes down to how you shape your burning bush. I like a nice pyramid with a pan of water next to it.
Moses Maimonides: Get that from the Egyptians?
Moses: Yup. You know, Moses, I’m going to ask Plato if he was Jewish. I just have to ask.
Moses Maimonides: I know, right?
Moses Mendelssohn: I can’t listen to these words.
Moses: It’s too late Moses, we are deep into the quicksand now. Our world without end is a different kind of world without end, so don’t give us your mathematical rationality. Parallel lines meet at infinity now.A = A + B. Mathematics has been entangled in strings of its own making for infinities beyond infinities now.
Moses Maimonides: And all that bound into a finite space too.
Moses: Exactly. Everything is made from infinity and void as you well know. And was Aristotle a Jew? It was Socrates I’m sure of it, or Plato rather. Was Aristotle Jewish? Let Moses ask him. See what he can do.
Moses Mendelssohn: Fine. Go ahead Moses, it’s your face.
Moses: Good. Now how do you like your lamb?
Now, the best answer to any problem, not to be too woo woo about it, is to let the universe decide, or rather, leave it up to the universe to tell you the best path. The choice is yours, you have free will as far as I can see. You do. You have lots of it. But it can help, or at least it can’t possible hurt to gain a little advice from a power greater than ourselves. So come on, do you have cold feet about the cosmos or are you with me? Now. Hold the hand mirror in the proper position and imagine any problem you might be having. A matter of the heart maybe, or a financial problem. Perhaps another person is sleeping with your beloved. Or maybe you can’t decide how much cream to put into your cocoa. It can be anything, just hold your question in your mind with clear intent and allow me to practice sortes Shakespearianae on your behalf. I am using a leatherbound Shakespeare complete, 1926, kept carefully upright and once owned by Guare Swofr Jr. from what I can make out of his or her appallingly illegible signature. Ready? We ask the blessed universal oneness to grant us clarity and insight and guide our hand to the correct place for enlightenment. The answer to your problem is:
Shame and confusion! all is on the rout; Fear frames disorder, and disorder wounds where it should guard.
That’s from the second part of King Henry VI, act 5, scene 2, spoken by Young Clifford. Tell you anything? Tells me you should maybe avoid the cocoa and stick with water. And somebody is definitely sleeping with your beloved. Oh dear. You look terrible. Do over! Let’s do it again. This time we’ll try sortes Biblicae. I have a nicely dogeared copy of the bible inscribed To Mike. From: Robbie Nelson. The copyright page has been torn out. Ready? We ask the universe with full hearts and clear heads for the answer to our questions and your solution is:
Nebuchadnezzar the king made an image of gold, whose height was threescore cubits, and the breadth thereof six cubits.
Pretty! Book of Daniel 3:1, so I’d say pour the cream! Not sure what this says about your other problems though. Perhaps you should find a nice golden idol to worship? Or craft one of your own? Maybe we should try again. The universe is never wrong, you understand, it does sometimes want clarification. How about sortes Cortazarae? In times of confusion I often turn to, yes, where is it now? Where? Green book, paperback, yellow piece of paper with chapter numbers and checkmarks marking chapter 110. Here! Ready? Now, we ask the universe and so on and so forth:
If the volume or the tone of the work can lead one to believe that the author is attempting a sum, hasten to point out to him that he is face to face with the opposite attempt, that of an implacable subtraction.
So you see! So use mathematics and start subtracting: lay off cocoa and dump your lover. Can’t get a clearer answer than that.
Hello and good morning ladies, gentlemen. Welcome newcomers, I see we have quite a few newbies with us today. If you are here for the cynophobia group your room is across the hall, and as I see some of you are here for the vestiphobia group, I am so sorry, the schedule has changed and you’ll find that you now meet on the third Sunday of each month. Check your email. Ok. Spread out please, there is no reason anybody must sit uncomfortably close to anybody else. If you feel secure in proximity to the aqueous substance of glass please take a seat near the windows so we can free up space next to the wall for those who need those seats. Also, feel free to open windows to let in some fresh, yes, the window sticks just give it a good, there you go. That’s better. Right. So. Please be aware that there is a gym with showers on the third floor of the building, but we will have no reason to go up there or even to leave this room. There is a drinking fountain in the hallway, about fifteen feet to the right of our door near the main exit, but it is quite possible to exit the building by turning left and going down the back stairs. Outside that door you will find no running water of any kind, no stream, no swimming pool, and the downspout from the roof gutter has been relocated to around the south corner of the building and away from any sight lines. Just be sure to turn north and then walk around the building clockwise to get to the south parking garage. Now, there is a water feature in the park across the street, but we have planted shrubs which block your view of it, but you still might want to know it is there. I don’t think you will be able to hear too much splashing or trickling but if you do just remember that the absence of the sight of the fountain will disturb you less than the presence of noise. Ok? Yes, you have your hand up? No. No no, we do not allow liquids of any kind in this room. This is a safe space. If you do feel thirsty, we can have a member of staff give you a lidded beverage with a straw you can drink in the hallway, or you can have somebody accompany you to the drinking fountain. Oh! I almost forgot. We have had the sinks removed in the lavatories on this floor. Ok? So. Last time we all made such great progress imagining water’s universality: its democratic equality and constancy to its nature in seeking its own level. Today I thought we’d consider water’s ubiquity as constituting 90% of the human body, so if you’ll look under your chairs you’ll find a hand mirror. Everybody ready?
All right ladies, hold the mirror just so, can everybody see me? Just like this. Adjust your positioning so you can get a good angle yet still feel perfectly comfortable and supported. If anybody needs an extra rolled up blanket go ahead and get one. I’m sorry, I forgot your name, purple mat? Yes, you. Try switching hands. There you go. Good? Everybody ready? Now take a deep breath in through the nose, and feel your breath flowing through every part of your body, moving warmly down your spine, and exiting your body toward the mirror as you breathe out. Good. And breathe in through the nose like an inward voice two, three, four purple mat, you are sitting too tight. If you have a possible need to satisfy by moving a motion, no? Then you’ll need to get into position from standing again. Ok, feet shoulder width apart, there you go, mirror in the other hand, yup, breathe in through the nose and on the exhale bend down as if you let something drop, nice, then let your body fell down, 32 feet, per second, per second. There you go and breathe in, two, three, down the spine, and out toward the mirror. Good. Everybody still breathing? Keep breathing and follow my voice. As you look into your mirror I want you to focus your awareness on the opening just a short distance under where the back changes name. This is your when point; think of it as an omphalos if it helps you. Focus your breath towards your when point and allow this to be your breath’s one great goal. Now I want you to keep feeling the rhythm of your breathing and on your next inhale allow your breath to encircle all the calcifications of history within your body. Now imagine your breath melting history away. Breathe history down your spine and push it out toward the mirror. Good. And inhale, really feeling those mineral accretions of history melting into tailings. Keep breathing. Down the spine. And out. Now breathe in and feel the tailings shifting, melting, like ice into water two, three, four and out, and on the next cycle we’ll push the last of history toward our one great goal. Ready and in, two, three, four, good, really focus, down your spine, and out, two, three, purple mat, there are buckets and rags in the utility closet. That’s ok. There’s one in every class.
Prepare the funeral pyre, he’s nearing death. Well, not death exactly. But he is wasting invisible. It will be a small fire. Just a match. You see it? Of course you don’t. What you do not see is a man slowly shrinking into irrelevancy. No? Too, something? How about gradually gaining in irrelevancy. Better? Good. I don’t mean to, you know. I’m merely holding the mirror, can I help that it is pointing toward nature? But while we’re here, let us gaze and see just how lapses are condoned, and what might not have flown as an ugly duckling is now spreading swan wings and beating the air. This is how one goes from respectability to a bloody awful farce. You want to change it, do you? Then get in on the joke.
Let me see your hand. Come on then, hand it over. You worried I’ll see something you don’t want me to know? Oh sweetheart, we all wear our interiors on our surfaces. Honey it’s the same damn thing. Just look at what you show with your eyes. I see your fate there. You’ll meet with a, well, I’d better not say. Would do more harm than good perhaps. But I see it in your eye; I see it in the corner of your eye. Go look in the mirror honey, you’ll see it too. Don’t you want to? Go look. Look at your eyes like you are seeing somebody else. Stare hard. Look until all you see is eyes and the rest slips away. You’ll see what you are. You’ll see what I see, baby, you worried? You should be. Now go.
Coactus Volui, Dante Alighieri, Divided Self, Eight, Gossamer, Hermes Trismegistus, I. M. Pei, Inferno, James Joyce, Mathematical Esoterica, Mirror, Nothing, Octave, Pyramide du Louvre, Refract, Ulysses
Everything’s a temporary dream. Look at the great pyramid, my creation of longest duration. A fat triangle in the desert, eh? You think they call me thrice great for nothing? I’m still dripping with the music of mathematics from since I played at dividing flowers and sweeties. I mean listen to it and work it out like a good young idiot. You people couldn’t do the half. Are you divided from your own organs? Listen to the harmonies of proportion and ratio; what composer tell me ever moved number so well. All is lost. You think I left it looking like that fat heap it is now, squat and spreading. But do you do anything about it, no. Nothing. Renovate it. Go ahead, it needs it. You have my permission, if not my help. Put some people on the job. Choose your most, your beautiful, your delicious, and your delightfuls, force them to say coactus volui and give them my pyramid so it might sing again. Paint upon it a diabolic rictus of black luminosity. Give it phosphorescent scorpion tongues. Paint its shafts like coal black throats and shine lights through them so out of itself it would make itself a lamp. Let the shafts open their windpipes to the outside all bloodred and sing. Add a few octaves. Here and or there. I’d hum along to that. Cover it. Take the original and jazz it up. What did I do when it was mine? I divided myself with the potentiality of it. Then I made a choice and left the rest unchosen. I covered it with white limestone and polished it to a mirror. And the sides: they were two in one and one in two. You think you see a triangle there? Look again. There are eight sides and though they sink yet they sing when the sun hits dead on. On the solstice the mirrors’ split face would absorb refract no reflect a divided sun like what do you call it gossamer. Is it a dream to think there’s nothing new under the sun?
Absinthe, AE (George W. Russell), Alchemy, Artephius, Azazel, Cassandra, Death, Goat, Gossamer, Holocaust, Lilith, Lizzie Twigg, Mirror, Nothing, Owl, Resurrection, Saints, St. Agatha, The Secret Book of Artephius, Theatre
Scene: [In an alchemists laboratory, an exhausted owl and a disheveled goat move in opposing arcs around a stork-shaped alembic suspended over an enormous fire. A nebulous obscurity that looks like what do you call it gossamer occupying space within the alembic is communicating with the assembled company, which includes Cassandra, Lizzie Twigg, and St. Agatha.]
Lilith: [Obviously missing some feathers] But what you don’t understand, AE, is that you have not reincarnated and you are most certainly not deathless. Just look at yourself!
Cassandra: Or smell yourself for that matter, isn’t that thing supposed to be hermetically sealed?
Azazel: [Mascera running down his face, lipstick on his teeth, dead roses slipping off of his horns, in obvious need of a mirror] AE, can you hear me? AE, pay attention! You are manifest without rebirth, that’s it. You are nothing. You accomplished your nothingness badly too and for what?
AE: [with a voice of waves] I’m not leaving here until I deliver my message to the world. Death is the highest form of life. And the highest form of life is me. I am death!
Cassandra: What a narcisist. He’s going to talk about himself until he’s black in the face. Lilith, can we get on with the re-death without AE’s cooperation? We have fire, the bicycle pump for air, and what is that thing?
Lizzie Twig: A lobster?
Lilith: A crayfish. We couldn’t source a real lobster. [Scowls at Azazel].
Cassandra: A crayfish then, for water. We need something earthy.
Lilith: Something sexually titilating for him, perhaps a pair of breasts? Agatha?
St. Agatha: I left them at the convent.
Lilith: Lizzie, tell us about your first time with AE.
St. Agatha: She’s a bride of Christ! She can’t be confessing her every little past indiscretion. What will he think?
Lizzie Twigg: No that’s ok, Agatha. I want to do this; I need closure. I remember I had just answered an ad to aid AE in literary work, but typing skills weren’t required. In a weak moment I let him larrup it into me for the fun of it. I had been drinking Bass, and absinthe, or was it burgundy and absinthe. I remember the absinthe, but what else was it?
Lilith: Doesn’t matter. He’s listening. Look.
Azazel: AE, seek thou the light!
AE: I won’t have my leg pulled!
Cassandra: Good idea. Lilith, reach in there and let’s fish him out.
Lilith: Yes. Azazel, stoke that fire. We’ll need the cream to rise to the top so we can reach him.
Lizzie: Fire? Is he a holocaust? Oh don’t hurt him!
Lilith: Honey, you can’t make butter without a lot of flogging. Do you want him back or don’t you?
Lizzie: I don’t know. In the beginning for us was the word. I suppose it makes sense for us to end it in the world without end. Bring him back, but I think I really fit in with the guys at the convent, it’s my home now, so I’m going back there with Agatha. AE is nothing to me.
Lilith: Oh honey, he’s nothing to us too. Trust me.
Azazel: Nothing, pray for us.
Scene: [An owl and a heavily made up goat argue while tending an enormous fire. Over the flames hangs a stork vessel containing a phoenix. They have begun their reversal of the great work.]
Azazel: [Circling the fire] I have sinned.
Lilith: [Circling the fire the opposite direction] I have suffered.
Together: Putrefaction, pray for us. Dissolution, pray for us. Coagulation, pray for us. Mortifacation, pray for us. Stench of graves, pray for us. Black of the blackest black, pray for us.
Azazel: See that?
Lilith: You scorched your eyelashes.
Azazel: Not that, that!
Lilith: White feathers! Not much of a swan. Just once I’d like to get to peacock.
Azazel: Focus, Lilith, just concentrate on returning it to crow. Carbonation, pray for us. Calcification, pray for us.
Lilith: Nothing. It is always much easier to illumination than to obscure. Why is that? Is nothing so difficult?
Azazel: [Pawing the ground] Nothing is not nothing, Lilith, focus. There can be no corruption without regeneration, ok, so can we concentrate please? If you see Kay, pray for us. See you in tea, pray for us.
Lilith: What did you say?
Azazel: See you in tea pray for us?
Lilith: No. The other thing you said. You can’t have corruption without regeneration. Do you realize what you were saying?
Azazel: What was I saying? I don’t know. I was just saying stuff to get your head back in it. I meant nothing. Come on.
Lilith: Nothing. Exactly. I think we’re missing something.
Azazel: We’re missing something? I’m missing something.
Lilith: We’re missing nothing. We need nothing. We need something better than a phoenix if we want to achieve purity of absence. We keep getting the invisible trace of something not there but we want what do you call it void. D’ye see? We don’t want just ordinary death. We want the quintessence of death.
Azazel: Oh Christ Lilith, the problem’s not in our materials, it is in us. The phoenix is fine. You know how hard it is to source a phoenix? We need to focus. You need to focus. We already got to swan and.
Lilith: Looks more like a tailor’s goose.
Azazel: It’s a swan and look, it’s turning a bit blue around the edges already. We’ll get to crow if we concentrate.
Lilith: I say we get a reincarnated human.
Azazel: Jesus Christ.
Azazel: A what?
Lilith: [Reversing her direction around the fire] AE. We’ll use him. Trust me, this is the direction we should go. Can I use your mirror?
Azazel: Lilith wants me to trust her. Fine, use it. There’s no talking you out of this. Weep for me O daughters of Erin.