Swallow Me

If you could only hum me
when my voice is like a swallow,
I would follow you
in every flight
and even folly

You please me;
you see me, and
we are ecstasy, darling

I swallow daring
to awake, and
take to wing
my praises:

I love you, and hover
on every phrase you sing

I can sing
for every day
I know that you are with me

Kiss me like you miss me
and I know I will always follow

I know you,
you show me, I
can be our song

Swallow me forever, so
I will be your lover

I love you,

Please be
in my song, ’cause

I have always hummed you
even in my every daydream.

I love you,

a rainbow symphony.
—- Douglas Gilbert
(Henry Le Châtelier)

Poetry Books By Douglas Gilbert


The Sting of Love

I heard the fly cry,
coaxed it away from the spider.
It bit me.

I cajoled you
away from the wolf, and
you kissed me; I
am grateful
to howl
no more
—- Douglas Gilbert
(Henry Le Châtelier)

Poetry Books By Douglas Gilbert

Cherry Pie … Dark Poetry

I remember
a cup of sugar
half a lemon
dark red cherries in
a crust of pain
crumbly falling into a
hellish oven fired
like she told me, 375

In search of peace, I
pray to forget the pain
remember a fragment
a recognizable fondness
without stains baked in

Because in blood
she’s gone, I’ve
dreamt of her
flying through the windshield
unsheathed grief a steel shard
poking in the night, bladed
blame stabbing me, I’ve

fallen asleep too much,
letting her wiggle back
into my bed with
screams driven
around the maple
red syrup on pancaked body
splayed from brave speeding guts
driving death too slowly for agony,
her nerves still alive
for howling pain
mourning for morning
in heaven, but

she waits in dreams
she’s gone
not far

I still look for her
charming me like
all the times we
drank together just
fooling around

Steer me to insomnia
and don’t tell me
I shou’n’t ‘ve been
driving around
fallen leaves of
growing blame

I am innocent though
I hear her cries as
I pull green leaves,
rake others,
a chore I take to stay awake, yet
mangled words I hear from
green veins turned red rustlers
stealing steel hearts to rust

I can’t drive this hell
away from the tree,
she was
in a pulp
novel dream
all real

Lord, I’ve
dreamt of her
she’s gone

Don’t let me listen to her songs
booming my soul sorry ways

Down the road to regrets remembered:
my friends who died in battle
like period clumps the size of Seattle,
because of these
I must eat pie and beer suds,
cherry filling that looks like blood,
the sting cherries like sudsy guts

I must rest
in a restaurant
slicing beef filet
like dicing shrapnel
from hell that beats
down fox hole hearts
in cherry rivers heat. These
pie marks stain the brain
though gaining ghosts
have no beef with me,
as I was brave then
to try to save them and me,
but I will desert dessert

Too sweet
a lie
that life
is like a pie
thrown out of a disco
by me
gin high on despair,
falling in snow, cutting my hands
on ice crystals, watching the Angel of Death
seized by her anti-muses
dancing her mocking prelude
to my own booming grief
death amused
by lean harvests of thought and
lost jobs

I dream of her in song
because she’s gone

Because I will not sell
my boom box for food, away
from boom times
I’ll dance into sadness. Fresh batteries
will let me live. I will

dance north past the winter wheat
into the cold, to the arctic. If

not stolen in silence
my music soul will dance
me, murky joy forward
pumping bends thrusted
stamping, panting moans
spin tapping down the up
beating soul bursts
desperate to express a
tone of noise splashing. I will
not die laughing wet
when batteries are gone. I will
die dancing
an old Eskimo
parading on ice flows,
horns of mortality played
strings strummed, no
chords encore
chafing from chaff
—- Douglas Gilbert
(Henry Le Châtelier)

Poetry Books By Douglas Gilbert

Slashing Edits … Dark Poetry

I do hear you

If I could say
your singing vague words
are too flat, I’d offer
my edits in chorus
but no

From your silence
I can see
you’d prefer
token praise
pathway to hell
for all us untalented

I could do that delusion
for you, as has been done
for me, except that
for the truth of now,
I hate everything foolish
(roses in a vase are dying)

What makes you think
I can’t be chic:
I can do hara-kiri —
I’ve known hunger
and indigestion

A heroic twisting
of the knife
could be poetic
if done
in some colorful venue
for a cause

Bleeding to death
wouldn’t seem so bad
if my
painting in red
had a publicist
a patron
and an honest woman
who would cry
as if
my last
with her
were a gift
from the
whisper of desperation

Failing that
there are many wars to join

whichever ending is
as scream
—- Douglas Gilbert
(Henry Le Châtelier)

Poetry Books By Douglas Gilbert

Skull by “Diane”*

Once you romanced me
with false wine
whined with your demands
that I ended forever
cursed you as I still do, now

I’m gonna dance on your grave,
the swamp where I buried half a body,
my ballet halfhearted
like that whooping crane there
where no insects but you, Fred
remain in the water dead

Turned into a bird
by a witch
I think the crane
is an enchanted prince
who twitched at me
like it’s odd that
I dance with an evil man’s skull
in my hand-maiden’s hand, but
I can rock a cranium
empty of soul

I am swamped with a rhythm
rolling over my head
haunted by your headless corpse

Charming whooping crane,
shall we dance
or shall I kiss a frog.
Where is your witch
for us three
to whoop it up
in a death splash
across the swamp
padding the lilies
in guilt
so I can tear up every leaf
that has grown from
Fred’s foul stalking detritus

I can get off on
this dance, but
just get off and
get out of my soul
get off the earth;
how could’ve you
fouled my will with
your savage stalk
grown from evil flush

We curse you Fred
forever, evil too big
a mystery to forgive, and
death deserves you where
there is no end to revenge
pain lingering so, even
as I try to dance away
a memory with no end
—- *”Diane”: Words of a female narrator written by Douglas Gilbert (fiction)
(Henry Le Châtelier)

Poetry Books By Douglas Gilbert

“About” Chapter 4: Moving Out

(Chapter 4, “The Blog Of The Caveman”)

     I had made lasagna. I finally got it right. It was perfect and Zawmb’yee loved it, but now she’s gone back to the cave, to the sacred quarters. I’ve eaten a little. I still have plenty of my five cheese masterpiece, but though I am hungry, I cannot eat another bite.
     In my messy sadness, tomato sauce drips from my lips, and I miss her already — could have fed her more. With her touch, this has been an intimate place, a sacred place. And now with her gone, my palace is a pumpkin I cannot decorate.
     Because I can not let sighs become sobs, hiccups overtake me. All these perturbations make me laugh at myself. I think my cold is worse because my eyes are leaking over the silence of my tomato lips. She chose the napkins. Maybe I’ll have another bite. I am so hungry.
     I’ll need all my strength, I suppose, when I go back to the cave. Utcoozhoo wants me to meet him at the Nipeiskwari. We’re going to swim to the Tzvaleubhoi.
     I think I do feel better gorging on what I do have for the moment. I was right to remember it being delicious, this lasagna, Zawmb’yee, and me in this place setting with sauces, a candle, and a napkin.

     Arriving early at the Nipeiskwari, swamped by uncertainty, by fear, excited for adventure and discovery, for success, and weighted down with anxiety and the scuba literature in a waterproof container, I waited for Utcoozhoo, eager to begin. To see the Tzvaleubhoi at last could only be entry into a Shangri-La or a disillusionment, though the task was to find the voters against Zusoiti. I stared at the blue waters.
     At the appointed time, Utcoozhoo leaped out of the water like a hairy gray dolphin. He said, “Doug, do you have the scuba brochures?”
     “OK, then, I want you to do some deep breathing, but be careful: only hyperventilate slightly, because if you faint underwater it would be tragic. When I raise my hand, we will both take our final breaths. Then, I will dive into the water, and you will follow me to the Akwangtqua and into the Tzvaleubhoi.”
     “What do you mean don’t hyperventilate?”
     “Well, I mean, you should be able to hold you breath in a natural way. Umm, OK, let’s do a practice run. Do some deep breathing and hold.”
     I breathed in and out as deep as I could for several minutes, and held my breath.
     Utcoozhoo said, “Now flap your arms like you’re swimming … ”
     I was feeling sick. I had to sit down.
     “Now breathe. How did you feel?”
     “I felt dizzy. I thought I was going to faint.”
     “That’s not good. You over did it. Next time, a little less. You’re going to have to depend on your natural lung capacity. OK, you’ll just do a few preparatory breaths and then one deep breath. OK, start and I’ll give you the signal when to dive.”
     When Utcoozhoo gave the signal, I followed him underwater. He dove to the bottom of the K’ut’mbletaw’i, swam along some corals, by some odd blue and orange stones in a mosaic, and for a long time in an unknown direction with few markers, an expanse of empty blue water, until we reached a tunnel opening. I already felt like I was running out of air. We entered the tunnel and I knew that I did not have enough air to turn around and go back.
     Several feet into the tunnel there were several branches. Utcoozhoo swam into the rightmost tunnel. I followed close behind until we reached another fork; he went left. Then right. Then right again. The urge to breathe was strong.
     He went left, then right, then right, then left. I was totally lost in this maze of tunnels, desperate to breathe, claustrophobic, praying, picturing my grand leap into the air. I couldn’t hold my breath much longer and couldn’t speak to Utcoozhoo. I just followed behind him as he swam rapidly. It did me no good to know that the order for the scuba gear was subject to 4-6 weeks delivery time with the notice that they were not responsible for unforeseen circumstances beyond their control that could delay fulfillment of the complete order. And yet, Utcoozhoo has done this for years without equipment.
     Utcoozhoo picked up speed and headed straight for a wall. When he got there, he stopped swimming, floated upward and disappeared.
     I swam as hard as I could into the wall, stopped and waited. I floated up and with a final push, burst out of the water into an enormous chamber, gasping for breath on a ledge with not even the energy of a flopping fish, exhausted.

     I crawled from the ledge onto what looked like a meadow. At the edge of the ledge and the grass, I saw an ant hill. Turning onto my back, I looked up to see a blue sky, a bright sun, a drifting cloud, and Utcoozhoo. I said, “Are we outside?”
     “No,” said Utcoozhoo, “this is the Tzvaleubhoi, the ‘Cave of the Third Sun’. ”
     “That’s a Sun?”
     “In a sense it is, but much cooler. It is much, much, cooler than the sun. It would have to be 93 million miles away if it were as hot as the sun, but this sun is very close to us.”
     Still recovering from the swim, I thought I must be dizzy and disoriented, because I felt like I was on a roller coaster, like a wave just passed under me. I said, “I feel like I’m floating on the ocean, and a wave just passed under me … I must be getting sick or something.”
     “No. I felt that too. That’s a small earthquake … ” Utcoozhoo was distracted, looked into the distance. Dodging a butterfly, a plump but frail man in a blue robe limped around a tree, sun-coated with enjoyment, lynx-eyed. Utcoozhoo ran the last few feet to embrace him. “Naztko, how are you? I want you to meet Doug.”
     I struggled to get up. I think I had a leg cramp.
     He said, “No need to get up. Just rest. Nice to meet you Doug, and now you see why we can’t swim out of here. I’m afraid I’ve become too fat and lazy to swim out of the tunnels.”
     “It’s an honor to meet you, Sir,” I said.
     Utcoozhoo said to Naztko, “I just felt an earthquake.”
     “Yes. We’ve been feeling quite a few tremors, and something is very odd.”
     “What’s that?”
     “The far outer wall is very hot. We think someone has activated the pfayohiqusi of the third kind without permission.”
     “There is heat venting?”
     “Yes, I suspect a magma reservoir is forming. I could be mistaken — it may just be some natural process, but … ”
     “Some of the quakes seem consistent with unauthorized drilling.”
     “Give me all the reports you have, and I’ll look into it. You see, like I’ve been telling you (actually, Doug got me started on this), here’s an example of where modern technology can help us analyze a situation. The traditional ways are not always sufficient.”
     “I’ve been worried enough to think you might have a point. Something doesn’t feel right to me. I’ve a very bad feeling about Zusoiti. I don’t know how to explain this insight, but I think the way I could put it is that, somehow, Zusoiti is creating what perhaps I should call an interface between pfayohiqusi and modern technologies. I don’t know how to describe my vision because I’m not familiar with modern technology… Do you know what this might be?”
     “Well, if she could build a modern device that would simulate the steps that a person would apply to operate the pfayohiqusi, and then connected that modern device to the Internet, she could have a remote station anywhere … Does this make sense to you?”
     “Yes, I think I see where you’re going. That’s scary … ”
     “Well, anyway, that’s just speculation. In the meantime, we’re going to need your vote.”
     “This scuba gear that you want to order will let us swim out?”
     “Let me read about it … I’m not sure if I like this up-top technology.”
     We felt another earthquake, this one much stronger. Part of the ledge cracked off and fell into the entrance tunnel.
     I said, “Uncle Utcoozhoo, is this serious?”
     “I don’t know. If the tunnels become blocked, there will be a dilemma.”
     Naztko said, “What dilemma? If the entrance tunnel collapses, you’ll just stay here forever. What’s the problem? We’re self-sufficient.”
     “You miss the point,” shouted Utcoozhoo, “a tyrant may seize absolute power, and even you will not be safe from her reach.”
     There was another small tremor. Utcoozhoo ran to the ledge, looked into the water. “That does it, I must go to the Forbidden Zone immediately.”
     I got up and peered into the entrance tunnel. It was still clear, but a few large boulders had fallen into it. “Maybe we should go now and get help,” I said.
     “Not yet,” said Utcoozhoo, “I must reactivate the dormant pfayohiqusi that serve the Tzvaleubhoi exclusively. Each of the pfayohoqwaahujpi must be brought on-line in sequence … ”
     Naztko said, “No, you must not. You cannot enter the Forbidden Zone until the gods return.”
     “I must. It is pcapdyntpa. As a member of the Grand Council, I hereby declare an emergency.”
     Naztko was stunned. He straightened his back, stood as tall as he could, said, “Do you swear by the sacred oath, by the Gydm, that this, in holy purpose, is pcapdyntpa?”
     Utcoozhoo said, “I do.”
     I said, “Wha…”
     “Doug, wait here,” said Utcoozhoo.
     Utcoozhoo ran across the meadow, past a willow tree, over a hill, around a steep cliff, and disappeared.
     Naztko said, “Doug, I’m sorry we have to meet under such strange circumstances, but I’ve heard some good things about you. How is Zawmb’yee?”
     “She’s fine.”
     We were both uncomfortable, but made a lot of small talk. We walked a short distance across the meadow where Naztko showed me his orchard.
     I said, “I can’t get over how it seems like I am outside. Is this a complete ecosystem?”
     “Well, mostly. It’s just that the gods have provided the energy source here to sustain all life, whereas, up-top the Sun is the source of life-sustaining energy. Well, I guess you could say that the main problem is expelling the heat that is generated by the pfayohiqusi. Up until now, it has seemed like the volcanos have done a good job managing the heat flow … ”

     The Tzvaleubhoi at first appearance did seem a complete paradise. Gazing upon the grass, green with chlorophyll, the energy sponge, upon all the green oxygen makers, the leaves of the peach tree, Naztko watched a cow approach, a leaf fall, as he ruminated something in the air. “Well,” he said, “it’s an ecology of convenience, a necessary delusion. I suppose it’s an unnatural environment, because we have no predators.”
     “Do you need them?”
     “I don’t know. Maybe imbalance is good.”
     “Predators kill the weak, and keep the gene pool strong?”
     “Well, we already have the perfect pedigree I think.” The cow mooed. “This one almost talks,” he said, shooing it away. Walking into the shade, reaching up with aplomb to a low hanging peach, he plucked the rosy one, ripe, and gave it to me. “Eat this for your trip back, a sample of paradise.”
     But before Naztko could digest his own thoughts, Utcoozhoo galloped into our sight, shouting from a distance, “Odd revelations.”
     “Whoa,” said Naztko, “come closer, catch your breath. We can’t hear the news if the messenger dies. Whatever the crisis, we can spare a few minutes.”
     Utcoozhoo sat down under the tree, sweating profusely. Naztko tried not to look worried. I didn’t try.
     Naztko said, “I imagine reactivating such ancient pfayohiqusi would bring some enigmas. We’ll deal with it.” Naztko reached into a pocket in his robe, and pulled out a thermos bottle. Removing the cup from the top, he poured Utcoozhoo some ice coffee with cream and sugar. “See,” said Naztko, “I got to use this bottle you gave me last year. How is it?”
     Utcoozhoo drank half. He said, “It’s good. I’m glad you’ve been using your gift … Um, I want you to call an emergency meeting, and bring as many elders as you can to the Forbidden Zone — preferably, everyone. I need help interpreting some ancient language I’m uncertain about. ”
     “We can’t … ”
     “Yes, yes, yes. Do I have to be so official? OK, it’s pcapdyntpa, I swear.”
     Naztko asked, “What’s it about?”
     “As best as I can figure out, it has something to do with Earth Wobble, eccentricity, and the blockage of equatorial ocean currents, but you have to see it for yourself. It’s better if you get the complete picture. I don’t think I can describe it properly here.”

     “Utcoozhoo,” I said, “does the revelation have something to do with Zusoiti?”
     “Yes, I think she’s tapping into the grzepepa looking for information.”
     Naztko asked, “Can she learn to control the pfayohoqwaahujpi?”
     “That’s,” said Utcoozhoo, “what worries me. She is trying … ”
     Naztko said, “you’re right — we had better call a meeting. We’d better go now.”
     Utcoozhoo said to me, “Doug, listen carefully. Do you know hexadecimal to binary conversion?”
     “Um, well, yes.”
     “Then what would nine be?”
     “You mean, 1001?”
     “Yes, and two?”
     “That would be 0010.”
     “OK. Now I want you to change each ‘one’ to an R, and each zero to an L. So now say, nine is R, L, L, R.”
     “Nine is R, L, L, R. ”
     “Now say two is L, L, R, L.”
     “Two is L, L, R, L. But what is this for?”
     “R means take a right turn in the tunnel. L means turn left. These are the directions you will need to leave through the tunnel maze. Naztko and I have to go to the Forbidden Zone and you have to go back to the Nipeiskwari by yourself. You’re going to have to hold your breath and swim out. If you get lost in the tunnel, you won’t have enough breath to get back home.”
     “Uh, oh, um, what is that again?”
     “Nine: go right, left, left, right. Two: go left, left, right, left. Just remember 92. OK?”
     “Uh, well, I … ”
     “We have no more time. Take care.”
     “Bye Doug,” said Naztko over his shoulder as Utcoozhoo and he broke into a run across the meadow, past the willow, and over the hill. Even Naztko with his frailties was able to put on a burst of speed, and they both vanished.
     I walked slowly to the ledge thinking 92, 92. Well, at least, this would be the beginning of my journey instead of the end as it was when I came here and was out of breath in an unknown place. This time I would be desperate for breath at the end of my journey in a familiar place — I think I’d rather die at home than here in a tunnel like I had thought I might when I came here. OK, I had to focus on 92.
     I dove into the water, thinking, OK, nine is: right, left, left, right. When I touched bottom from the force of my dive, I could feel a tremor. I swam forward towards the intersection as the shaking increased. Rocks started falling from the ceiling and I wondered if I should go back.
     A bright gnolum lit the first intersection and I could easily see the right and left branches ahead. OK, first is right.
     Before I could reach the right tunnel, I heard a rumble. An avalanche of rock and crushed gnolums filled the right tunnel, totally blocking it.

     What now? Well, I thought, I should at least see where the left tunnel goes and then I could always go back, rest, and then maybe think of a new strategy.
     I entered the left tunnel. It went leftward for a short while and than started into a clockwise curve. Maybe it was curving back toward the direction of the blocked pathways. In fear, the journey seemed endless, but eventually I came to a passage that seemed strangely familiar. There was a sharp jagged rock by a gnolum that reminded me of something that I had totally forgotten, because it was such a minor injury: coming in, I scraped myself on the rock, swimming swiftly in a panic behind Utcoozhoo. Yes, this was the rock. Now I had to think, how many more turns were there when I scraped myself? I had to try to bring the memory back in detail. There I was, annoyed by the scrape, ignoring the pain, focussing on where Utcoozhoo was swimming, and then we did, turn, turn, turn, turn — dum, da, dum, dum, or something. I thought, it doesn’t matter; it’s just that there were four turns, so I must be at the place for the last four turns. Yes, that has to be it: left, left, right, left. Was I right or did I have to go back?
     I couldn’t waste anymore air thinking about it. I turned left, then left, then right, then left.
     Hurray, I was out of the tunnels. I swam past the orange-blue mosaic and didn’t think I could make it.
     I floated upward, and gave one last kick. I burst out of the water like a flounder, falling onto the rock of the Nipeiskwari where Zawmb’yee was waiting for me.
     She was going to give me mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, but I put up my hand to stop her because I was gasping so hard I thought I would suck her lungs out. While I was breathing in and out, in and out, I pointed at my cheek and she kissed my cheek.
     She said, “Utcoozhoo is in the Forbidden Zone, and reactivated its pfayohiqusi. He used the grp’nl to send me a message in the sacred quarters. He said the tunnel collapsed, and I didn’t think you were going to make it.”
     “It was,” I said, “a close call and … ”
     Zawmb’yee burst into tears, and my tear suppression self was too overwhelmed by her love to stop my eyes from flooding. I couldn’t deserve all this when I had done little, and I hated to see her suffer. “I’m alright,” I said, but I felt so sad to be in a world of gloom.

     I stood up, and was surprised to see a crowd of people milling around in the cave. The cave had always been relatively empty which is what I liked about it. I said to Zawmb’yee, “Who are all these people?”
     “A lot of up-top people have returned to the cave to help during this crisis,” she said.
     Utcoozhoo’s assistant, Otuux, a tall man, square-jaw efficient but jocular, stumbled onto us out of the chaos. “Doug,” he said, “how are you? I heard you were the last person to make it out of the tunnel, and how is Naztko?”
     “I’m OK. I last saw him running to the Forbidden Zone with Utcoozhoo.”
     “He was running?”
     “Yes, he seemed rejuvenated by the emergency, but I really didn’t get a chance to talk to him much.”
     “Yes, well, he is a fine gentleman, and very wise. I think he and Utcoozhoo will find out what’s happening … I’ve got to go. Zawmb’yee, tell Doug everything. Be well, and don’t worry — we’ll find Zusoiti.” Otuux dashed off in a dignified trot.
     “What happened to Zusoiti?” I asked Zawmb’yee.
     “She left the cave for the up-top world. No one seems to know where she went, but she seems to have established herself, and set up a remote access station. She’s tapped into the grzepepa, the gods’ data base, looking for the protocols to launch the gst’fibiches.”
     “The what?”
     “The ‘arrows that reach the stars’. She wants to call back the gods. We think there may be a whole constellation of procedures and sequences that if wrongly applied by the pfayohoqwaahujpi might trigger an Ice Age which is what she wants.”
     “So you’re telling me Zusoiti is using her new found wealth to destroy us and trap Utcoozhoo? Are the tremors I felt the beginning?”
     “We don’t know yet about that, but there are indications of changes in the ocean currents, and we’re concerned about Earth Wobble … ”
     I was in a bit of a foul mood, and began to think time had run out. “Doesn’t it look like,” I moaned, “the ancient prophesy is true that the world will end in a frozen agony of death and suffering? I’ve accomplished nothing, and now the world ends. Isn’t this charming?”
     Zawmb’yee said, “Doug, don’t be so down. Let me tell you the story of Tpiqlat’ng that Utcoozhoo always tells me.”
     “I thought you told me that already.”
     “No, no, this is a different story,” she said.
     “Well, I’m sure it’s a charming story, but isn’t Tpiqlat’ng an ancient hero? If he’s a prototypical hero from mythology he would have greater courage and insight than any of us mere mortals could ever hope to have.”
     “I suppose that would be if he were a Myth, but he’s not, except to the extent that primitive people had trouble describing miraculous things they didn’t understand. So the description is a little ambiguous. But, anyway, I just want to tell you an inspirational story. Pretend it’s a bedtime story … And, anyway, you’re a contradiction, you know, because you choose to believe the worst — you’re willing to believe the ancient prophesy of doom. Right? So you want to believe the worst and I want to believe the best.”
     “Well, some of these ancient tales are very unlikely to have happened.”
     “Yes, that’s what Tpiqlat’ng said to the god Kragzluk … What?”
     I guess I must have looked exasperated, because Zawmb’yee paused in annoyance. I smiled. “Oh never mind. I’m tired enough for a bedtime story. What did Tpiqlat’ng say?”
     “Kragzluk told him he would bring all the deer to an inner garden. Tpiqlat’ng thought that was highly unlikely. Kragzluk told him he would create a Sun to place in the cave. Tpiqlat’ng broke into laughter, saying, ‘That’s as improbable as all the deer coming to be slaughtered’
     “ Kragzluk replied, ‘Intelligence applied can focus harmony into a certainty. Detail comes from focus.
     ‘The heavy-essence of the Sun can be brought to focussed resonance. When this is done, it tunnels into a crystal heart, fusing the heavy-essences with certainty.’ ”
     “What is ‘heavy-essense’ ? ”
     “Otuux thinks it means Deuterium or Hydrogen, you know, what makes the Sun shine.”
     “And what did Tpiqlat’ng say?”
     “He said, ‘Huh, what?’ ”
     “A sensible fellow, this Tpiqlat’ng.”
     “Yes, well, but he did memorize the words even though he didn’t understand it. So too, as Utcoozhoo says, we must hold all these mysteries in our minds without judgment until they coalesce into an understandable form, when the tiger only leaves his roar behind … ”
     “Huh, what?”
     “Ha, very Tpiqlat-ian of you.”

     Zawmb’yee is always such a supportive, encouraging person that I so much wanted to embrace her optimism, but this time I feared that events had overtaken any reasonable expectation of success. However, the blossoming of her enthusiasm is such an exuberant seeding of joy, even in desert sands, that I would endure a scorpion bite just to see her tickle the cactus into yielding water to drink.
     It was an odd mix of people in the cave: some were frantic, others seemed out for a picnic. I imagined those with the most information were frantic, and the others were there for a reunion atmosphere. There was our best sprinter, Ayomkst, across from the bacon-ribbon speleothems, who could zigzag around any cluster of stalagmites in record time like a slalom skier in a snow storm, graceful like a horse that all the women wanted to ride — I bet he has a stable up-top. He was unpacking a picnic basket with Efilioe, the beauty queen of the Neanderthals, a tastefully hairy situation, and they were oblivious to anything that was going on around them, each with a leg of lamb and a leg of each other.
     I think I knew too much to not be morose. “Disaster seems inevitable,” I said.
     “Yes, but even if everything were perfect all the time, all of us will eventually die.”
     “Now who’s being morbid?”
     “I’m just following your logic, playing ‘Devil’s Advocate’. Is this world the only existence? Didn’t you hint at this question in you poetry?”
     “I guess, but that’s just crappy poetry — it doesn’t really mean anything, does it?”
     Zawmb’yee fumbled through her bag and pulled out my poetry book. She said, “And oh, would you autograph this damn thing already for me — I think I’m a friend of the author, you know.”
     “Yeah, OK, but no one is ever going to see it.” She gave me her lucky pen and I signed it.
     “Well, I don’t know about that, but you know what Utcoozhoo always says … ”
     “When a grasshopper has made a book from the leaves of a fallen tree, and no one has heard the tree fall, is the grasshopper literate, even if no one hears it sing?”
     “That doesn’t sound like something Utcoozhoo would say … ”
     “Yeah, OK, I say it.”
     “Um, I don’t think you’ve ever heard me sing.”
     “Yes I have, Sweet Lips. OK, I’ll indulge your dark mood with one of your ‘crappy’ poems. So, let’s see, here is ‘Dark Sun’:
     ‘Millions of years festering
     our Sun did die
     a ding in my
     youthful illusion
     of invulnerability
     just when
     we were to be married. I’d
     been born to a frozen death,
     missing you in an abyss:
     exploded gases tore us apart

     In my death,
     without body
     I searched for you
     alone in darkness
     oblivion foreplay.

     I thought you were a super nova
     an obscene sunrise. It seemed that

     only I, a dot, remained
     alone looking for the key
     to find the opening door
     to restless imaginary things
     dancing teasing lights that
     would swing open to a dream
     of glistening dots ordered
     in shooting streams of golden water
     like bubbles up the nose gently,
     dream bump ode to

     pretending again
     to sleep after playing
     that the afterplay was foreplay
     but thought dots seemed
     like black holes
     staying crushed,
     for I was a singularity
     waiting for grief
     to explode, but

     why am I looking to
     haunt an old house long gone
     and every material star

     Yes, I of soul, not flesh
     will look in the dark
     for the true light of heaven
     if you will only signal me

     If you would gather my love like kindle
     and light a campfire in heaven
     I know I could come with marshmallows’ ”

     “Egads, I’m darker than I thought … I’m sorry. You’re right: give me your beauty to gaze upon and I will conquer the world … ”
     “See that: you can sing, Sweet Lips.”
     “And as Utcoozhoo always says, ‘Zawmb’yee is so beautiful, so exquisite … ’ ”
     “Now that doesn’t sound like something Utcoozhoo would say … ”
     “Yeah, OK, I say it.”

     With Zawmb’yee stroking my face until I smiled, I briefly closed my eyes, and sighed, as Zawmb’yee took my hand. She guided me around the bend in the K’ut’mbletaw’i to the blue-tinged curtain formation, the Wejpob, a grand speleothem that many an artist has stained with rare mineral drippings, a now rarely performed technique, abandoned by the child who has become too mature to do drip castles in the sand, though here there are no ocean waves to wash a child-artist onto the dry sand of adulthood.
     Zawmb’yee slid a large boulder aside to reveal a staircase. She said, “Come to the sacred quarters. You can dry off.”
     We reached the bottom of the stairs, and the boulder slid back into place. I said, “OK, now, how can we help? I have no idea what’s going on.” We walked down a long corridor decorated with framed drawings by children — I thought, maybe, one of them might even be one of my childhood drawings (but mine I don’t think were this charming, just crude as I remember it). Zawmb’yee had mounted them herself below the gnolums, as carefully as a professional curator, making them seem as elegant as any museum display.
     Zawmb’yee said, “Utcoozhoo wants us to leave the cave again, mingle around in the up-top milieu, perhaps by the Blue Attic Club, but see if we can sniff out a trail that leads to Zusoiti.”
     “Well, I’m not exactly an expert on high society, you know, ” I said.
     “Yeah, but neither is Zusoiti.”
     “That may be, but she is quite clever, charismatic, and I wouldn’t be surprised if she’s found some supporters and sycophants to help her out even if she’s new to the up-top world — I’ll bet they find her oddness attractive and her obscure philosophies profound by default, when they are intrigued but puzzled, and of course, she is a champion at bluffing that she has an army behind her before she has assembled it. ” We turned a corner to Zawmb’yee’s apartment entrance hall.
     Her demeanor sagged in agreement as we approached her place. She turned to the upbeat, “Utcoozhoo says to just go with the flow — see what you see. He says we should leave the cave again, go to your place, just relax, and hang out, because serendipity belongs to us, and this is our role … ”
     “Geez, I’m glad Utcoozhoo has such confidence in us … to be cool — hang out. I think I could do that.”
     “Yes, let’s celebrate vagueness, and I have venison and buffalo fried in duck fat with truffles, just like you like it, and a little caponata, blue cheese, wine, and me … ”
     “Yes, I feel better already (and we don’t need to know what Utcoozhoo really means).” She led me to her quarters and I felt that in service to serendipity and duty to the clan, even lust was sacred if my serene mood and pleasure would massage my mind into solutions that I would find tomorrow, postscript to consummation.

     From the journey of a dream, I awoke happy, enveloped in warm morning confidence. The voice of Zawmb’yee was in my ears. She was singing, “Better Than A Dream”:
     “Enraptured in the blankets of home with you, of you,” she whispered. “Our embrace is the brightness of us, with us.” In glowing soprano, she sang, “We are the morning together, together: an awakening is here to be for real, at home — peaceful passion, satisfaction day — not dreaming, but being in the lightness of us, with us. We are warm, being the morning sun, better than a dream.”
     “You do that so well,” I said, “and you kept to the original without one of those arrangements that ruins a song. You are an embellishment, more beautiful than a song … beautiful voice … ”
     “Thanks — I knew you’d like it.”
     “Sometimes I’m in the mood and for a minute I improvise a song, but then somehow I drift off-key. It’s frustrating. I feel like I should be a singer, but my voice has run away from a roar to a snarl when it should be humming.”
     “I always love to hear your voice,” she said. “By the roar of your hum, I think you could learn to focus your sorrow, your joy, if you’d let the inner music carry you beyond a thought.”
     “That’s a thought — um, I mean, maybe I could … Where are we going today?”
     “Why don’t we go to the village near the cave exit for breakfast today. It’s quiet and peaceful and the café has good service I’ve heard.”
     “Yeah, good idea. I remember that place. Excellent food.”
     “OK. Join me in the shower and I’ll get you singing in a clean clear voice.”
     “Off to the suds then, m’Lady … Zawmbee, Warmbee is okey dokey soapy. Shall we dance to the shower?”
     “I will tune you up,” she said and did a little trill.
     It was a foamy morning. We were so clean when we dressed and left the sacred quarters.
     Zawmb’yee showed me the stairs to the Qukwerpfm. This was a new passageway for me, and I said, “How come you’ve never shown me this before?”
     “Well, you’ve always been an ‘official’ visitor to the sacred quarters, you know, like an ambassador to the White House, honored but not trusted, but now you can sneak in and out as the honorable lover with tacit approval, if not by the gods then by me.”
     We climbed the stairs. The walls were covered with Zawmb’yee’s art work. I said, “These are great. I remember seeing them when you were still angry at the paint for not being the perfect color, but you’ve made every shadow complement the bursting-out joy. Magnificent colors. Don’t you think someone should see these?”
     “Well, you’re someone.”
     “You know what I mean … you’re a great artist.”
     “Maybe. Maybe we could do that joint project you wanted to do.”
     “Oh yeah. I forgot about that. I like acrylic because it’s fast drying and you can correct mistakes quickly and keep going, but you seem to like oils … ”
     “Well, I could try acrylic … ”
     We reached the top of the stairs by the Qukwerpfm, made our way past the Cathedral formation, past the golden stalagmite with the purple pothole base, and down the final tunnel to the exit.

Moving Days (Blog of the Caveman Chap. 3)

(from “ABOUT — CHAPTER 3”

     I was all excited — Zawmb’yee was going to hang-out with me in my apartment. I thought we could do a project together. I had some canvases and paint and I thought that Zawmb’yee, who is great at sketching, could do a pencil sketch and then I could paint over it. I like taking realistic sketches of photos and turning them into surrealistic pictures in intense colors with complementary vibrations on the edges of bright colors. But before I could suggest all this, Zawmb’yee says, you need a dust ruffle and bed spread, dishes, a better lamp, a decent writing table and curtains, and, and, and … I asked her where I was going to get all this stuff. She said not to worry — I’m going shopping with Chloë. When she saw that I was exasperated, she took a short pause from her extensive inventory, and asked, incidentally, if while she was doing the important things, if there was anything I wanted. I was trying to be flippant, and just tossed out a non sequitur: well, I’ve always wanted an ice cream maker. She gleefully said OK, and rushed out the door.
     So much for my fantasy. It was a chaotic moving day.

     Well, Zawmb’yee tidied up the bed spread, and got me to hang up the curtains. She plopped the ice cream maker on the kitchen counter. I asked Zawmb’yee what she wanted for dinner. She said, let’s just have the usual venison and buffalo fried in duck fat with truffles.
     I thought sure. But then I realized, being out of the cave, we didn’t have access to the glacier anymore. “I don’t know where we would buy that. But now that we’re stranded here outside of the cave, I’m wondering how exactly is it that there is a limitless supply of frozen game in the cave? I’ve always just taken it for granted.”
Zawmb’yee said, “Well, legend has it that the gods … ”
     “Uh, could we stop with the ‘gods’ already — who in particular. I mean, I know that Zusoiti said that only she can speak the names of the gods, but this is getting to be ridiculous … ”
     “Alright. In the legend, Kragzluk, the god of preservation and death, struck down many deer with lightning. He called forth his brothers from the sky and they built a moving river of skins that transported the deer into the Cave of Stillness. It is said that the cave was filled with a great mist … ”
     “Where did you read this? I don’t think I’ve ever heard of this before.”
     “Oh, it’s not in a book. Utcoozhoo has been showing me the visions of history and … ”
     “Wait … You’re giving me a narrative interpretation, but you’ve seen this as a movie in your mind?”
     “Well, yeah, sort of. I’m learning a vision and a narrative. I mean, I can’t present the vision that easily to anyone, so I have to start somewhere. This is like a summary in narrative form. OK? Can I just continue with the story form — it’s a lot easier?”
     “Uh, yeah, OK”
     “The hidden fire was drawn out from the mist, to the back of the cave, melting rock. A great glacier was formed around the deer. In a fury, the deer were engulfed in a snow storm while lava flowed deeply into the earth and under the ocean. With all heat gone from the deer, they became rocks.”
     “Is this like a super-duper refrigerator?”
     “I guess so … and so what Do we have?”
     “Uh, well. We have strawberries, sugar, honey, cream, bananas, potato chips, and wine … ”
     “Well, OK, then, we’re having banana ice cream, potato chips, and wine for dinner … ”

     Zawmb’yee is hardly ever around. She’s been going to art galleries and museums with Chloë. Apparently, they’ve gotten over their jealousies, and are now like sisters. Zawmb’yee has been teasing me by asking if I know if Chloë really has natural red hair. Zawmb’yee says, y’know, Chloë misses you and she thinks your quirkiness is cute. Zawmb’yee is getting to be a very warm person, but I don’t think I want her to start thinking about me like a brother — I mean, I don’t want to be best friends, unless, during a tête-à-tête, I can suddenly see those hungry eyes, the devouring look, the pull of the moon lust, the tides on finger ripples, stroking waves, gorgeous tumescence.
     I don’t know — I watch her greet everyone with such kindness, and when I see her go, I am so proud of her like a Father who sees his daughter go into the world, more magnificent than any princess he thought he could raise, he, being mere serf, wishing his daughter an education in the palace of fulfillment. Oh daughter of my humble teachings, go beyond me to play in the boomerangs of your innocent love that swoons on every lonely creature redeemed with a smile, a sparkle.
     Such beauty I must share with everyone — you are so happy when you laugh in the public square. Can you see me clapping in the crowd that I love you in tears I’ve been hiding. No, no, you are not of family. No, you are of family. Please tell me: where shall I kiss you?


     Zawmb’yee is sleeping over at Chloë’s house so she can go with Chloë in the morning to a Yoga class. Chloë’s been taking Zawmb’yee everywhere. She’s going to be totally immersed in the très chic cultural things and I suppose Utcoozhoo will be pleased that she’s learning the skills of assimilation.
     Chloë’s been telling Zawmb’yee all about the Blue Attic Club. I had thought that it was closed down by the city building department years ago. As I remember it, it was quite controversial because their gimmicky building design violated all the safety codes. The avant-garde owners buried a house except for the attic in a mound of concrete. To enter, you had to walk up a hill and climb through a window in the attic. There were no doors. The whole site was condemned but forgotten. In winter, at the first snow storm, kids would scale a fence, climb up the hill with their sleds and slide down. I guess someone bribed the right official to get the building permit and certificate of occupancy, because from what I’m hearing, it’s thriving.
     Zawmb’yee says that by day it’s an art gallery, and at night they have disco and lectures. She wants me to come with her and Chloë to a lecture called “Introduction to Mystical Quirks.” I guess I should go — it’ll be great to see Chloë strut her stuff, giggling and dancing, flinging her red hair in a freckled frenzy and … oh, yeah, it’s just a lecture. Well, anyway, it could be fun — they’ll have wine and cheese and whatever.


     OK, I think I see why Zawmb’yee is so excited. Chloë got the main contract to do the interior decoration of the Blue Attic Club, and she’s letting Zawmb’yee be a subcontractor, so to speak — I don’t know what the official terminology is. But anyway, this is great: Zawmb’yee is really taking off in business — she’s got her public relations projects too. She’s really learning how to be a multidisciplinary entrepreneur. I’m so proud of her.
     I’ve gotten a little bit more organized. I’ve stocked the refrigerator with some decent food, gotten my cooking equipment in order. Next time, I’m going to make a decent diner for us. I was embarrassed that we had potato chips and ice cream for dinner the last time. I do know how to make lasagna and that’ll be easy enough, or the garlic bottle has a recipe for “garlic lime chicken” that I could try — I put a little cilantro on my tongue and it seems like it’ll be OK.
     Yes, I’ve got to see the Blue Attic Club. Chloë really gets around. I have to hear more. This will be a challenge: I really want to hear about her design work, but when she speaks I watch her lips, and the way she moves her hair off her forehead, the way she interjects little colloquialisms into her formal speech like “that’ll be cool”. It’s so hard to listen when she says “oh wow” and her breasts are smiling at me.

     I came early and waited at the bottom of the hill, surprised to see a crowd milling around, looking at posters for the Blue Attic Club. Only a few people, not shy to be officially early, walked up the hill, and climbed in the attic window. Some who had difficulty were helped by the security guard to sit on the sill and be guided in by hands in the interior. One guy, wanting to be a bigshot, vaulted in, probably gracefully, but I liked to imagine that he flew in with too much speed and fell on his face, although, I couldn’t actually see that.
     I was feeling a bit out of place when I heard a voice behind me.
     “Doug!” said Chloë, and she pressed her lips on mine so hard that my toes urged my arms into an overdrive of exploration until she laughed, “Not here.”
     Damn, I thought, that is natural red hair, and the legs of a gazelle, the grace of a dancer, an actress in the play of ecstasy, a leap in my elevation …
     “Oh hi,” I said to Zawmb’yee who had arrived behind me. She kissed me with a quick tongue brush.
     Zawmb’yee said, “You’re really going to like this place. I have our tickets — let’s go in.”
     We began up the hill. I said, “Zawmbee Warmbee, you’ll never guess…”
     “Guess what?” she said.
     “I’m making us garlic lime chicken for dinner tonight.”
     “Hmm, that sounds good. It’s like marinated or something?”
     “Yeah, you’re really going to like it. Marinating things seems to soften and entice the hunger, don’t you think?
     Chloë said, “Cumin in the cilantro with red pepper?”
     “Um, yes,” I said.
     Zawmb’yee started singing the folk song, “She’ll be comin’ around the mountains/when she comes/when she comes…”
     We joined in, dancing up the hill, singing, “She’ll be cumin around the cilantro when she comes, when she comes. She’ll be drivin’ around the hilly when she comes, when she comes.”

     We continued singing at the top of the hill:
     “ ‘She’ll be driving six red buffalo
     When she comes
     (When she comes)

     She’ll be driving six red buffalo
     When she comes
     (When she comes)

     She’ll be driving six red buffalo
     Driving six red buffalo
     She’ll be driving six red buffalo
     When she comes
     (When she comes)’ ”

     Chloë’s friend, Susan, who was a helper at the window and the doorman/windowman began singing,
     “ ‘She’ll be climbing in the window
     When she comes
     When she comes,’ ” then Chloë —
     “‘Chloë’s climbing in the window as I come, as I come.’ ”
     “ ‘Zawmb’yee’s sailing through the window, sailing through the window and … ’ ”
     “ ‘Doug is climbing in the window, as I come, as I come.’ ”
     The grand entrance made us all laugh. I think, we three made for the best arrival performance of any attendee. It was certainly an odd venue for a club. In the middle of the floor was a trap door with a folded wooden ladder mounted on top of it. In one corner was a round cutout in the floor with a fireman’s pole in the center.
     Chloë said, “Isn’t this great? Geez, it was such a challenge to balance out the ladder in the middle of the floor. It serves now as a kind of central sculpture until its utility is demonstrated. But Zawmb’yee is the one who made the perfect placement for the couches and added her spectacular ironwork, ‘Spiral Staircase to the Stars’. It reaches up like a tree that never quite touches the moon, though the birds are quite happy to rest on a branch that is somewhat lower than heaven.”
     “Um, Chloë,” said Zawmb’yee, “does anyone really believe this drivel. I mean, it is just a hunk of metal.”
     “Yeah, I know, but you have to let the nouveau riche enjoy their elitist status. How else can you keep the price of abstract junk up high. Remember the slogan of design: ‘Abstraction above meaning will analyze emptiness into a feeling of fulfillment. Let a dolt be happy and the universe is yours.’ ”
     Zawmb’yee said, “You’re so cynical Chloë. Y’know, even if I do say so myself, I think my sculpture in a weird way is kind of beautiful … ”
     “Well, yeah,” said Chloë, “you’re an exception to every rule — you do add a je ne sais quoi to everything you do. ”
     “Thanks, you’re quite skillful hiding in French phrases, but I guess ‘I don’t know what’ does it, huh.”
     “Gads,” I said, “you two are both grand sculptures of joy, however you want to define it. I think you both did a great job with a difficult space!”


     Susan unlatched the trap door and pushed it down. Someone from below reached up to pull down and unfold the ladder. Climbing up the ladder, a line of people marched straight for the window, and ran down the hill.
     “What happened to them,” I asked.
     “Oh, the early advanced lecture,” said Susan, “creates that reaction. They’re purging their emotions and releasing some energy … but, anyway, don’t worry about that — you’ll enjoy the introductory experiential. When the crowd clears, you can go down.”
     Zawmb’yee said, “You really ought to fix that so you don’t have to keep the door latched up. I mean, it only happened once that someone walking around the floor up here accidentally stepped on the folded-up ladder and fell through … ”
     “We’re working on a plan for a regular staircase, Zawmb’yee.” Susan shouted down, “Is everyone out?”
     A voice shouted up, “We’re ready for the next group.”
     Susan said, “OK, Chloë, lead the way.”
     Chloë took off her high-healed shoes and threw them down to the floor below. She faced the ladder barefoot and reaching up with her hand said, “Doug … ”
     I thought it was some sort of ‘temple’ ritual, so I removed my shoes and threw them down the stairs.
     “No, no, no,” said Chloë, “you don’t have to remove your shoes — I just did that because heels are hard on ladders.”
     Zawmb’yee laughed so hard that she crashed into me, and fell to the floor. She took off her sneakers, and threw them down the opening.
     Somebody down below said, “What are you people doing? Just come down.”
     We all came barefoot down the ladder.
     “Welcome,” said Carl, the group leader. “Please sit anywhere in the circle of chairs.”
     We sat together in three chairs. Poor Carl stayed at the bottom of the ladder while people threw shoes at him. He finally had to climb up the ladder and tell Susan to please tell everyone that they don’t have to take off their shoes.
     An odd bunch of people filled up the chairs. It was an even mix of men and women. Some of the women were really hot and … oh, never mind, Chloë and Zawmb’yee were plenty hot for me. But a few strangers were quite peculiar as Chloë and Zawmb’ye pointed out. A little too much everything: height, weight, jaw shape, and various things busting out.


     Carl, a tall thin man with a gray beard, strolled into the circle of chairs, a center of the wheel, gazing on the spokes that emanated from the seated. “Welcome to ‘Introduction to Mystical Quirks’. I will demonstrate to you today that thoughts penetrate into surprising places. We will learn a little bit of ‘psychometry’. From the Greek ‘psyche’ this means we will endeavor to measure and interpret the ‘soul of objects.’ The theory of operation is unknown, but thoughts and emotions seem to embed themselves at some level into material objects. Is it at some Quantum level ? — I don’t know. By what principle of action does it occur — I don’t know. Psychics get into a lot of trouble by proposing speculative and flawed theories about what they do which are easily shot down and ridiculed by physicists. However, psychometry works, and has been demonstrated to work, although the mode of operation is unknown.
     Before we begin, let me emphasize that the reception of information comes through the subconscious. We will do a meditation to quiet the ego.
     Yes, a question?”
     A man of great stature who threw out his chest like a pregnant woman trying to get her stomach into a comfortable position, who would knock over anyone who would disagree with him, stood and said, “Don’t we have to think rationally at all times to overcome the meanderings of our emotions which wander into unsubstantiated feelings about what is true? There has to be a rational explanation for everything. Doesn’t there?”
     Carl said, “Sir, may I borrow your ring for a minute. I’m just going to hold it in my hand, and then I’ll give it right back to you.”
     “Well, if you like.” He pulled it off his ring finger, and brought it to Carl.
     “Let’s see … give me a minute. You and your wife are still arguing about a divorce. She wants to know why you first even considered having an affair with Emily. She thinks you never cared about the children, and you’ve destroyed Thomas at a vulnerable age and … ”
     “Stop, stop,” the ringless man shouted. “I get it, I get it, but it’s a lucky guess … Can I have my ring back, please?”
     Carl returned the ring. He said, “OK, we’ll just proceed without any further explanation. Just relax and have fun — believe whatever you want … ”

     Carl pushed a button on a remote control. Baroque music began to play. There was a throbbing bass, the sound of an undulating whale, and an overhead strobe light flashed slowly like a slow-motion disco.
     Carl said, “Everyone stand and hold hands. Let go of your ego chatter, and meld into the relaxing music. Some of you are thinking, ‘what the hell is this crazy person doing, and why did I come here, because he’s nuts, and I feel silly — I wonder if I should leave now…’. Please put this ego chatter aside, have an open mind, think about nothing. Just allow the music to flow over you like a wave of bliss, warmth on the beach of paradise, the vacation you’ve always imagined, lying in the sun, knowing you have everything you’ve always wanted. The warmth of the sun relaxes you. You are one with the universe, and feel the kind essence of every human being. You are at one … Open to the all — the matrix of knowledge. Be a visitor to every atom. Extend yourself into the flow of energy … listen, see … ”
     Someone said, “I’m spinning … ”
     Carl said, “Don’t worry. Just focus on a star that is still. Rest there and enjoy.
     “You are now receptive to the ineffables of connectedness. Let the music be mystery, a tide of being.
     “We will continue, but hold onto your receptivity. Those of you who need to, please open your eyes. I am going to pass around a hat. I want you to remove something that you wear often — a watch, a ring, or something else and place it in the hat. Alright, pass the hat along and put something in it.”


     The hat was passed around. I took off my watch, and put it in. The hat completed the circle, and reached Carl’s hand again.
     Carl said, “I’m going to mix this up and pass this around again. I want you to select an item at random, take it in your hand, and infuse yourself into every atom of its being.”
     The hat was passed around again. I pulled out a ring. I didn’t see what Zawmb’yee took. Chloë took out a purple bracelet.
     When everyone had taken something, Carl continued, “Hold the object in your hand, close your eyes, and allow an image or a dream to appear … at this moment, don’t try to interpret it — just observe. OK, let’s take a few moments for this …”
     After what seemed like a long while, Carl said, “Would anyone like to describe what they’ve seen?”
     I raised my hand.
     “OK, you can be first. What is your first name?”
     “OK, Doug, tell us about your vision, or experience.”
     I said, “I saw a dining room table that was not being used for its intended purpose. There was a draw in the table, and in the draw were needles, sewing equipment, scissors, leather — some sort of arts and crafts materials — but nothing that would be used for eating or dining. I saw a wrecking ball come through the wall and destroy the dining room…”
     “Can anybody,” said Carl, “relate to this?”
     A woman in pink said, “Well, I’ve been trying to run an arts and crafts business out of the dining room. I do all my work in the dining room, all my tools are in the draw, and we never get to eat in there anymore. I want to open up a shop and we’ve been thinking of moving … ”
     “Interesting,” said Carl. “Yes, you’ll definitely be moving. Good. Doug hold up the object.” I took the ring out of my palm and held it up.
     “Is this your ring?”
     “Yes,” she said.
     Carl said, “Good. You can give the ring back, Doug.”
     I brought the ring over to her. Hmm, I’m thinking, I didn’t pick up much, but maybe it worked a little.
     “OK,” said Carl, “anybody else?”
     There was silence. Carl said, “Are we having a problem? I see a hand — yes, and you are?”
     “Chloë. I’m holding this purple bracelet in my palm, but no images seemed to form. There was just blackness. ”
     “OK. Try putting it on. Close your eyes and try again … Everyone quiet — let’s give Chloë a few moments to meditate.”
     About fifteen minutes went by and then Chloë spoke up. “I see great sheets of ice coming down from the North, covering all the major cities. There is great suffering and chaos. There are spontaneous rebellions all across the world and all the major powers collapse. In the midst of a famine, a great Queen appears who brings endless supplies of food. Seeming to be wise and benevolent, she is not challenged as she seizes all the reins of power. Slowly the people are enslaved and her secret police become apparent to everyone … and um … ”
     “I can’t continue … I”m overwhelmed with her hatred and seething anger and … ”
     “Well, take a rest for a moment.” said Carl. “This sounds fascinating … Whose bracelet is this?”
     A large woman in a purple and green dress raised her hand. An armful of bracelets clanged as she signaled. She was wearing big gold earrings and a purple choker.
     Zawmb’yee stood up immediately, glanced at Chloë, and said, “Excuse me, I’m feeling sick. I have to use the Ladies’ room.” Chloë stood and they both left the room quickly.
     Carl said, “Well, OK, this might be a good time for an intermission. We’ll come back to this.”
     After twenty minutes Zawmb’yee tapped me on the shoulder. “We have to go now,” she said.
     It seemed urgent. Chloë was upset. Zawmb’yee ran to the corner of the room to pick up a broom. She used the broom handle to tap on the ceiling. The trapdoor came down, and she pulled the ladder out. Chloë stumbled up the ladder in her heels. I followed Zawmb’yee up.
     Chloë called to Susan, “Call us a cab. We have to go right away.” She followed Susan to the phone.
     I asked Zawmb’yee, “What’s the matter?”
     She said, “That lady was Ngheufel in drag. Chloë is sick — she’s sorry she ever dated him, but there’s more to it. I saw something too, but I can’t tell you now … Um, do you have enough chicken for Chloë?”
     “Sure,” I said.
     “OK, we’ll go to your place.”
     Chloë came back. “The cab is on its way,” she said. “Let’s go down the hill now.”
We scrambled out the window. The summer air seemed much too warm for snow.

     We arrived at my apartment, a trio of evangelists without a cause, nude of belief, looking for shelter and the loincloth of minimalist humility or an orgy. Zawmb’yee unlocked the door, and Chloë charged in.
     Chloë, picking up a chair and throwing it across the room, screamed, “I run the council!”
     Zawmb’yee whispered in my ear to put on some music. “Chloë,” said Zawmb’yee, “you’re still wearing the purple bracelet … ”
     Chloë said, “It’s mine now. I’m keeping it … ”
     “Chloë, you’re such a great dancer. Go ahead. Get into it … Doug, you know this one — sing it … ”
     Chloë picked up a lamp and smashed it on the floor.
     “Ok, ok,” I said, “I’ll try — uh, well, let me rewind to the beginning … ”
     Zawmb’yee said, “Rock ‘n Roll! Shake it Chloë. Dance, dance, dance … ”
     I sang, trying to let the music drown me out,

“Up Chloë
get on up

Thunder in your true light
Raise that thunder white

Hey flash me
dance me
be just right

Stamp, stamp, stamp, stamp

Gone are
false friends
when dancing feet
are up

Your lover calls you
up the hill
to squeeze you
like a grape

to ferment you some
palpable love

I call you sunshine
my rainbow love;
you make my rain, darling
tears of glory

Cry me happy
Cry me true —
Can you love me
like a raindrop
’cause I will be your downpour
flooding you with love. ”

     When I stopped mangling the lyrics and was silent for a moment, the rhythm got to me and I got up and danced with Chloë’s gyrating cheeks and soulful thrusts, voluptuous spins, syncopated with bends of sorrow and leaps of ecstasy, the anguish and the hope.
     Zawmb’yee joined us. They are such great dancers. Never stop, never stop. I don’t want to die in my sleep. I want to die dancing. Move me into heaven.

     Zawmb’yee clapped for Chloë and I joined her. “Chloë,” I said, “you are the hip of curvaceous beats. You lifted me into jumping so high I thought I could dance like a plane down a runway and take off. I am surprised I did not hit the ceiling.”
     Chloë said, “You are not a bird, and cannot fly. I am a bird.”
     “Yes, you are a pretty bird. We love you pretty bird. Awaken into us.”
     Zawmb’yee said, “Wake up Chloë. You are with friends.”
     “I think,” said Chloë, “I’m done with Ngheufel. Let’s have some garlic lime chicken.” She took off the purple bracelet. “You can have this Zawmb’yee.”
     Zawmb’yee said, “Thanks Chloë. Doug, let’s eat.”
     Zawmb’yee finally got to set the elegant table that she bought for special guests. She was in her glory, bringing out the good dishes, and the silverware. The candle that she lit made the blue of her eyes sparkle, and she smiled like a duchess in a time of peace, no enemies at the castle gate.
     Somehow, I managed not to burn the chicken, and the sugar snap peas, broccoli, red peppers, and cauliflower combo from the supermarket with olive oil and balsamic vinegar wasn’t bad. Zawmb’yee loved the colors of the fruit cup too; I threw slices of everything in there: kiwi, strawberry, white grapes, blueberries, cherries, plums, peaches, a little lemon and orange juices.
     I loved watching them enjoy their meal. When they savored a morsel with the contemplation of the tongue, the pause in the chew to purr in satiation, I could gaze upon them to taste their beauty with my eyes. Gusto was mine, theirs, and ours. My sugar passes me the salt and I am spiced.

     I was so turned on to lust by the dance of Chloë and Zawmb’yee that I struggled to remember the cliché, ‘look up here, and love me for my mind — not every breast has milk’. But Chloë was sick over Ngheufel. Zawmb’yee decided to get us a bottle of champagne.
     My cork screw had a gentle lift, and nothing was spilled. I’m glad I bought the deluxe version that lifts the cork gracefully, allowing celebrants to do their own popping, and own bubbling.
     Zawmb’yee said, “My Mother said that wine made her sleepy, but she was a liar: she got silly; she got high; she denied she had inhibitions (she denied she had ambitions). I toast in praise of intoxication when a shy one can say, ‘I love you’, without a blush or a stutter, and the foolishness is harmless poetic exuberance. Gee, I always wanted to use ‘exuberance’ in a sentence — I think I’ve done it.”
     “Oh Zawmb’yee,” said Chloë, raising her glass, “you can be so elegant, and um, I’ll drink to that.”
     We clinked our glasses together, and we all sparkled. I almost said it, but I didn’t know how to express the nuance of it — I knew I felt to say, ‘I love you both,’ and yearned to know them completely, but how could such an aroused creature as I admit that I wanted them to love me for my mind as dessert or is it as main course — I don’t know: metaphors confuse me. I must rise to the occasion (ha).
     Zawmb’yee said, “Well, we don’t have a drawing room, so for dessert, Doug, why don’t you read us a poem.”
     “Um,” I said, “I was hoping for ice cream.”
     “Yeah,” said Chloë, “go get your book and pick something.”
     I walked slowly to the book shelf trying to compose myself. Maybe I could do a handstand instead — they might like that.
     Zawmb’yee yelled, “Anything. Come on.”
     “OK,” I said, “here’s one called ‘Blubber’:

The psychic woman
had showed her
rough seas ahead,
said beware the tides
and flowing kisses,
but that seemed like
shallow waters to her

She had a fifth
her thick handkerchief
mopping up her eyes
highly high on her trumpeted mope
slipped on her poor spilled
cocktail of his love kisses
lost crawling
across the stage
where she was to sing beige
before a sea of mahogany tables
over drunks and hecklers
sticky stinky beckoning
bass strings plucking her heart
woe tale wagging about him
the bragging whale
who blew his spout
and left her high and dry.

Seeing her collapsing,
I could not bear her despair,
rose to say,
“I have always loved you,”
and we all stood,
hecklers and all,
to beg the last song

She knew me at last–
kissed me, the little one

Turning from beige to blue
caressing the mike,
she rasped in weeping harmonies
     ‘Stand for me
     the stood-up one;
     harpoon my love and
     sail me to the Port,
     wine me down mellow,
     me, a cello solo
     singing this tale of prophecy:
     the big ones get away, and
     the little ones stay.’ ”

     Chloë said, “Yeah, Ngheufel is big enough to be a whale.”
     We all laughed.
     Zawmb’yee said, “About intoxication and the toast … Did you want to say something, Doug?”
     I said, “Well, um … Are we all shy?”
     “I am,” said Chloë and Zawmb’yee in unison.
     I took a breath in and out. I said, “I love you too.”

     Zawmb’yee said to Chloë, “You should crash here. I’ve got a baby doll nightgown you can wear. I’ll show you.”
     “Yeah,” said Chloë, “good idea. I’m exhausted.”
     “Doug,” said Zawmb’yee, “can you clear the table. Thanks, and can you find us some cheese and crackers and some wine on a tray?”
     “Sure,” I said. I piled everything up and dumped it in the kitchen sink. Tray, tray, tray — where was the tray? I found it. I put some crackers on a dish, smeared a cheese spread over them with something that looked like a palette knife. Can opener? I found it. I opened a can of anchovies, and put a few on some of the crackers. What else? Olives looked nice and … I took all the cheeses we had, dumped them into a corner of the tray, plopped down the box of crackers, threw down a bunch of napkins and utensils, put a bottle of wine under my arm, and grabbed onto the tray. “I’m coming,” I yelled out.
     I carried everything into the bedroom. Chloë and Zawmb’yee were sitting on the bed in some frilly things.
     Zawmb’yee said, “Put the tray down over here, and take off your shirt and jeans. I think it’s bedtime and you don’t need any pajamas.”
     I put my jeans on a chair and sat between them. They did something with the crackers, and I drank some wine.
     Chloë said, “You have the anchovies, Doug — I know you like them.”
     “Pass the wine,” said Zawmb’yee. “I think I’ll wait until tomorrow to tell you what I think I saw, and … ”
     “Let’s not,” said Chloë, “think about all that right now. Let’s just relax. Sweet dreams, and … ” Chloë yawned.
     Zawmb’yee yawned. “I’m so tired.”
     I thought I would say something clever, but my eyes were drooping. I blinked, and my eyes closed. I forced them open, and went to the bathroom where I splashed water on my face. I wanted to stay awake a little longer. Coming back into bed, the fatigue was overtaking me, and I yawned again. Chloë’s eyes were closed. Zawmb’yee kissed me and turned the light off. My thoughts were fading into nothingness, a gentle buzz hushed me, and my body felt heavy. I fell asleep.

     Oh the joy and hazard of falling asleep with Chloë and Zawmb’yee in the bed with me. I dreamed I was on the railroad in a center seat. Chloë was sitting to my left, and Zawmb’yee was sitting to my right. Unbuttoning her blouse, Chloë took my left hand, guided it under her bra onto her left breast. Zawmb’yee took my right hand and guided it over her right breast. The rising of the nipples and me was exquisite as Chloë reached into my pants with her right hand to raise my monument even higher, and Zawmb’yee with her left hand cupped my base of swimming ecstasy.
     As Chloë and Zawmb’yee held my hands to their breasts, a female conductor with purple hair came down the aisle. She said, “Tickets please, all tickets please.”
     I said, “I can’t reach my ticket … ”
     She bent down and kissed me on the lips. “You don’t need a ticket,” she said.
     Chloë and Zawmb’yee held my hands while the conductor sat on my lap. Stroking my face and head, and reaching into her pocket, she pulled out an electric razor. Quickly she shaved my head. I realized it was Zusoiti. She said, “The land will be nude like your head, and the ice will descend.”
     An announcement came over the public address system: “Please be advised that passengers are subject to random searches. Also, please take note: if you see a suspicious package, report it to a transit worker or the police — ‘if you see something, say something’ — and have a nice day.”
     Zusoiti said, “I must inspect this suspicious package,” and she pulled down my pants. “Aha,” she said, and touched my tip.
     Zawmb’yee and Chloë chanted, “Banana cream pie, banana cream pie.”
     Zusoiti caught my cream in a cup. She whipped it up with a whisk into a meringue.
     I pulled my hands back as Zawmb’yee and Chloë stood up, took cans of whipped cream out of their bags and sprayed it into my mouth.
     Another conductor came by and said, “Tickets please, all tickets please.”
     I woke up. I’ve always liked real whipped cream. But now they only have the artificial stuff — no, no, no. I used to make it with heavy cream, but I don’t even think they sell that anymore.
     Waking up from such a dream is hard to do, but Zawmb’yee was kissing me, and she said, “I’m making breakfast.” Before I could say something, she was out of the room. I lay hungry, and laid my dream aside.
     After staring at my erection, Chloë got up and went to the bathroom. When she came out, I went in. I had to wait a long time before I could urinate. Finally I was soft enough to go.

     Chloë was asleep again. All of us were so tired we could have lain in bed all day. I touched down onto the bed, landing my behind in the slump of the mattress, sighing.
     An awakening. Caressing my face, sliding a leg over, and another, Chloë used her hands strategically to ready me for launch, and she lowered herself on my rocket. I fondled her
globes, and we rolled over. Massaging her legs with my feet, my fingers strolled along her pathways.
     Zawmb’yee came back into the room. She touched me on the behind. I said, “Oh, ah, oh, ah, oh ah, mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm, mmm.” I can be so articulate sometimes. Chloë hugged me, and Zawmb’yee stroked my legs. I made some noises.
     The phone rang. Zawmb’yee left to answer it. Chloë rolled us over again and with her cave she squeezed my overgrown soda-straw stalactite, nursing it with her inner lips.
     Zawmb’yee came back in the room. Chloë and I moaned. Zawmb’yee said, “Chloë, you have a phone call.”
     Chloë got up. The doorbell rang. Chloë and Zawmb’yee left the room. I could have lain in bed all day. But I rested for just a short while. I think I might have fallen asleep again.
     But I heard Chloë calling me from the living room. She’s been into satires of Shakespeare lately and had me read some.
     Chloë shouted, “Wherefore art thou Romeo?”
     I called back, “Because here I am an arrow in your bow that you fling like a beau in a sling, I am here, outrageous to think of joy, Juliet, when you are of class and I am pupil enlarged to see thee.”
     Zawmb’yee yelled, “Am I not the feathers on your arrow that makes your flight run true to rise as the Sun when I am the Moon?”
     The visitor, who was in the living room with them, spoke up. Utcoozhoo said, “Whoa young lovers; doth thou not trample on lines the planets forbid?”
     Cackles and guffaws galore, gorgeous was the laughter. I got dressed.

     I came into the living room. “Uncle Utcoozhoo,” I said, “this is a pleasant surprise. Would you like something to drink or a piece of garlic lime chicken?”
     “No thanks.”
     Chloë said, “Y’know, I think that ‘doth’ is third person, but ‘thou’ is second person.”
     “Argh,” said Utcoozhoo, “modern English is hard enough, and ancient English appears to be only for thee, Chloë, if you would be the objective case, but you are strong like a nominative, and as I understand it, ‘wherefore’ means ‘why’ not ‘where’. So thou art not an object, but the subject of admiration by some Romeo (oh, that makes it an object?), fixated on red hair and the art of the hunt. Feed him love and his growling will turn into ferocious purrs in basso profundo, the roar of gratitude when the bosom of welcome is safely calm, romantic but real, and fun.”
     Zawmb’yee said, “Oh yeah, and don’t blondes have more fun?”
     “Well,” said Utcoozhoo, “you are already a ferocious spirit who has learned every lullaby that calms every hurt. Who could resist your song and gentle touch?”
     “Huh, what?” said Zawmb’yee.
     Utcoozhoo said, “Could you just let me be diplomatic and vague, please. You both are so intense. Cool it … I have good news … ”
     “Yes,” I said, “good news?”
     “Zawmb’yee, I’ve gotten you and Doug a full pardon, so it’s safe for you to come back into the cave … ”
     “How,” said Zawmb’yee, “did you do that?”
     “Well, it’s a little complicated: I have agreed to give a substantial number of ingot bars of gold, platinum, and palladium to Zusoiti from the Tzalbihuki on condition that she, personally, come out of the cave and open up a bank account in her own name. She has agreed to sell the metals herself … ”
     I said, “Isn’t that worth a fortune, and won’t it make her more powerful?”
     “Well,” said Utcoozhoo, “it’s a gamble, but I’m counting on the fact that she knows nothing about the tax laws, and will be raising a lot of red flags — the more ostentatious she is in her spending the better. I’m pretty certain that the temptations of the up-top world will seduce her, considering how isolated she’s been as a dedicated hermit and cave person.”
     “Gold bars?” asked Chloë.
     “The gods left a stockpile of supplies — an endowment, you might say. As Varishynahuki, guardian of the endowment, I can distribute it as I see fit, but it is a tricky business. We’ve spent years setting up sham mining companies and businesses to hide our true source of income. One must not tell the IRS that one has obtained gold from the gods.”
     Chloë said, “You can use any amount? … How much is there and … ”
     “It’s vast, but there are quite a few restrictions. For example, we are forbidden to drink or touch the waktalbup … ”
     “It means, ‘water with a heavy heart’.”
     “What’s that?”
     “Well … ”
     Zawmb’yee and I chanted a familiar tune, “Secrets are sacred.”
     Utcoozhoo laughed. “Chloë, Zusoiti is a dangerous person. I don’t think you want to know too much. It is she whose thoughts and feelings you picked up at the Blue Attic Club. Just her imprints nearly overwhelmed you … oh, and by the way, Zusoiti agreed to keep her friend Ngheufel out of the club.”
     I said, “Is this really going to work?”
     “Probably not,” said Utcoozhoo, “but I have a Plan B … ”
     “Well, first I want to say, Zawmb’yee and Doug, that you must vote in the coming elections for the Parliament and for the Grand Council. I’ve brought you some political literature, and I’ve written out my opinions for you to consider … ”
     “OK, but,” I said, “what’s Plan B?”
     “We’ll vote her out of power if you can find a reliable source of scuba diving equipment. We’re going to need a lot of it, because a lot of the voters can’t hold their breath anymore.”
     “Doug, I think you can figure it out. You know, the Tzvaleubhoi. There are a lot of elders there on our side, but they must appear in person to vote.”
     Chloë said, “I’m not following this … ”
     Zawmb’yee and I chanted, “Secrets are sacred.”

     Utcoozhoo said, “Well, it’s been charming to meet you Chloë … Doug, I have to get going. Just get me some scuba catalogs, and some books on how to scuba dive. OK?”
     “Yes, ” I said, “I will … um, Uncle Utcoozhoo, did you know that Chloë is my favorite interior decorator?”
     “Oh?” said Utcoozhoo. He gazed over at Chloë. “Have I seen your work, Chloë?”
     Chloë hesitated a moment. “Uh, well, I did the Blue Attic Club with Zawmb’yee.”
     “Hmm, I might have some work for you in the future. I’m going your way — can I give you a lift home?”
     “Sure, and tell me all about the caves. From what Zawmb’yee has been telling me, it sounds intriguing.”
     Utcoozhoo looked at his watch. He opened the door for Chloë. “Well, then, we’ll be going … Thanks Doug. Zawmb’yee, you look beautiful today … see ya in the cave. Bye.” They left.
     Zawmb’yee and I plopped down on the couch. She said, “All of this has been exhausting and I guess Utcoozhoo can handle everything, but …”
     “But? Don’t worry. It’ll all work out. I’ll find the equipment supplier and we’ll vote … ”
     “No, I don’t mean that. I think that Zusoiti really intends to trigger a new Ice Age.”
     “Can she do that?”
     “I think so. Utcoozhoo has told me a little about the pfayohiqusi. I’m not sure exactly how, but I think it’s powerful enough to trigger catastrophic climate change.”
     “Are you sure about that, or is it one of those exaggerated myths?”
     “No. I think it’s real. I’ve seen the pfayohiqusi do spectacular things, but special permission is needed to use it.”
     “What is pfayohiqusi?”
     “Oh, pfayohiqusi just means ‘apparatus of the gods’. It’s just another one of those vague words that doesn’t really tell you anything. Utcoozhoo throws these words at me, but I haven’t yet comprehended what it really means.”
—- Douglas Gilbert
(Henry Le Châtelier)
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