by David Allen
“I am just a stranger here
I come from down the road
And I did come to ask you all
To help me with this load
But I came to sing this song for you
And tell you where I’ve been
And maybe share a glass of wine
Before I’m gone again.”
It’s happening all around you. Listen to the strange and you’re sure to bear witness to the truth. I have been wrong all along. All along I’ve been wrong. There are no many truths. The Buddhists are confused. Baba Rum Dum sure does drone out a nice neat message, packages it beautifully. It goes well with our American cultured minds, so tired of our parents’ Protestantism. We need something simple. We need to find some excuse to protect us from the dark. We believe religion will protect us from the shadows. But our parents are being murdered in our sleep while Christ laughs and dances a nifty cha-cha with his brother Satan. And so we turn to the East and bow to the truths of the enlightened ones. Yet, we still die messy little deaths in the mire of man’s hate and chanting doesn’t chase away the dark.
What are we going to do? Can’t you see how much easier it is to accept the dark, to no longer be afraid? Turn off your mystic night lite and walk boldly into the shadows. There is more than one world. We are all worlds unto ourselves. I am the only world I know. There is only one world. There is only one truth I can accept. There is no truth. There are only extensions of myself. See what I am getting at? Force yourself to try to understand. Put down that comic book. There is no law of the universe. We are all reflections of the universe.
The universe is flawed and the flaw is beautiful. I look into her eyes and chant hymns to the beauty mark on her thigh. Beauty marks are flaws. Understand? My god challenges your god to a duel. Loaded theologies at dawn. Their seconds are shrouded in black cheesecloth. In the cemetery they mark their steps and turn to fire. The bullets pass right through them, killing a small lamb, scarring a proud tree. I take her hand in mine, she guides it to her breast. My other hand stabs deep within the fountain of her life. The knife blade finds no milk. I stifle her moans with a holy candle and try to crawl into her womb. The earth opens and in her primeval cave I find solitude at last as the laughing astrologer falls from his pyramid of air.
All that matters is that love is the key to understanding. I love you. All of you. But I have failed. I can’t love those I don’t know. I hate them for their distance. I see the blood on their hands. I smell the pestilence that feeds on their souls. I love the boulder in the woods where I go to think. I love the stream that soothes my mind. They are real, always here for me. I am not confused, you know. Just worried. There has to be someone who can help me unravel these thoughts, help me find meaning in this madness. Someone who can ease my mind and explain this terrible longing. Why do I have to wrestle alone with these tireless demons?
Ever so gently I wrapped her body in a long silk sheet, carefully pinning the ends. She looked so pure until the blood soaked through.
Changes, we all go through them. Right now I am pissed that my “Pearls Before Swine” album is scratched. It seems to mock my life. Changes, we are always changing. You think you know something, then find it’s a lie. She is really not dead. Not that way. My only murder is in my head. At times I am so pure I am invisible. My only sins are in my mind. Don't believe me, it’s still true. Ask those who did not see me. I was there. I’ll point them out to you. “God is seeing.” Kenneth Patchen said that and I believe it. I can clearly see you. Man, am I glad you are there to listen and know how to laugh. Too few people really know how to laugh these days.
I lifted her gently over my shoulder, careful not to let the blood drip to the ground. She was much heavier than on nights of love. Dead weight. I carried her down to the cemetery where the gods were feasting on barbecued lamb over a wood fire. They could not see me. I was invisible. Their seconds plotted murder behind a rich man’s mausoleum. They wanted to be gods. Her body strained my back and I stopped to rest beside a shady tree. It was a weeping willow and cried huge tears.
“Why do you cry, friend?” I asked
“I always cry for the dead,” the tree answered.
“But that’s wrong,” I said. “Your tears should be for the living.”
The tree did not answer, but allowed the tears to fall unchecked into a little stream. The water was warm, salty and harbored no life.
“See what I mean?” I asked. “If you cried for the living, I’d have a cool stream in which to wash off this blood.”
“But how can I cry for the living, when the living have not learned how to cry?” the tree wondered.
“I don’t have all the answers,” I said, fording the stream and climbing to the top of a nearby hill.
I dug her grave. She who refused me life had died by my hand. It was my duty, my penance. She who had been my mother, sister, lover, friend, enemy and just another face in the crowd. The grave was as shallow as her life. She never did understand her murder, or why I am so influenced by authors and poets of questionable literary talents.
Before I lowered her into the grave, I unwrapped her head and held her shattered face in my hands.
I wiped the blood from her lips and chin with the torn tail of my shirt. I undid her bun and allowed her hair to fall straight down her back and over her pale shoulders and breasts. I kissed her and felt my tongue bitten by the broken remains of expensive teeth. Blood trickled from my mouth as she sucked the life from me. There was no struggle as I undressed us both and joined our bodies. As one we were always strong. As the air was sucked from my lungs, she possessed enough life to talk.
“Why did you kill me?” she rasped.
“Don’t you like being dead?” I asked.
“It’s not fair to answer a question with a question,” she said.
“It’s not fair to question my motives. Besides, I gave you no answer.”
“But, I loved you.”
“I loved you, too. That’s why you are dead.”
“So you would learn to enjoy life.”
There was no more breath to talk. She slept and I, who could not die, wrapped her again and gently nudged her body into the grave with the toe of my boot. A dog did the honors of covering her bones.
On my way back through the cemetery, I noticed that the gods had finished their feast and had fallen asleep. Their seconds had stolen their clothing, leaving them naked upon the grass. Not a pretty sight. I guess the seconds preferred freedom to the enslaving weight of godhood.
I am secure in the insecurity of my beliefs. Don’t think for a moment I write just because I like the sound of my words, even though I do like to hear myself think. I am not trying to be cute.
Don’t worry, she will not bother you. She is my own ghost. Personal ghosts are strange people. She never forgave me for not going to her wake. I never forgave her for going to sleep. She really doesn’t bother me much. The only thing that annoys me is she takes great delight in making me whimper her name when I hold some strange woman in my arms.
I walked back to the top of the hill to dig on a Walt Disney sunset. They drive me to wilder and wilder thoughts. It’s getting more difficult to haul one down. They run into each other, bleeding into incoherency. What do they mean. What do we mean?
This is long enough for anyone. I mean, there has to be a time when we can embrace nothingness as our own private truth and admit that mankind was some kind of fluke. He is the one that doesn’t make any sense.
Peace and love, brother,
“Well your roads in life are many
So be careful how you choose
Be sure that what you’re gaining
Will be worth what you will lose
“Cause you’ll only come to find
That every man must stand alone
And that every hand will have to reap
Exactly what he’s sown.”Rabbit McKay