About Chap. 1B


    The city woman wants me to embrace the modern age. She’s telling me to be more civilized like the neo-sapien upper-class snobs who we, before the language change, called the hunter class — our artists and priests were never allowed to be leaders. I call you all the time, she says, you’re never home, you don’t answer e-mails don’t pick up the phone. Yeah, I know — mostly, I’m not in my apartment. I’m in the cave. I can’t lay cable in the cave to connect to the Internet —
can I ?

Entry 4

beseeches me e-mail
be phone touching
encore calling,
would lend me
a cellphone
an earful

But I
haven’t told her
the cave is too deep
for signal

Let the gods
lay me a cable
I say

Might I
lay aside
the ancient
with a toast to modernity
if the Lady
needs a cable
in the cave

“Secrets are sacred.
Don’t approach the Sun Fire
nor the growling spears
of the sacred spider
’til gods return to sear
the rock with silk”

Hey maybe
I’ll just flip a switch
or something,
drill through rock
e-mail, cell phone reception
end of tension

    Utcoozhoo has been cranky lately. You’d think he’d be happy, because he finally got an apprentice to pass on the oral history – they do a lot of chanting and humming. I said to Utcoozhoo, wouldn’t it be easier to just write it all down. He said, the language of the gods can’t be written – only seen. The only thing that interests me is that odd saying, “The wearer of the hat can stab through rock with an endless spear.” Oh hell, I think I’m just going to explore the chambers beyond the dome of the endless light. I can’t see what these superstitious curmudgeons are afraid of. They’re waiting for the gods to return. I can’t wait for that – it could be a thousand years from now or never. If there is some kind of drilling machine, I could use it to finally hook up my computer in the cave.

    I finally got Zawmb’yee, Utcoozhoo’s apprentice, to open up a little. She says she finds the exercises exciting but tedious. Utcoozhoo doesn’t think she’s ready for any ancient secrets. She’s been practicing the “seeing of knowledge”.
    “Huh?” I said. “Exactly what are you doing?”
    “We walk past the glass wall, around the sword of the silver-red stalagmite. I turn my back while Utcoozhoo opens the ngtqua entrance…”
    “He has a key?”
    “I don’t know. I don’t look. Sometimes it takes too long. He tells me to be quiet so he can concentrate. It’s so boring — I sit down with my back to him, put on my headphones and listen to music. That annoys him sometimes — says how can you get into a mystical mood listening to rock music. I laugh — he says no pun with “rock”. But anyway, when he’s finished yelling at me, I sit down with my back to him again and he does whatever…”
    “Yeah, yeah, yeah, and then what?”
    “We go down the golden steps into the darkness to the floating bed…then there’s meditation…”
    “I can’t tell you anymore. You know, ‘secrets are sacred’ and all that. Bring me a gift and maybe I’ll tell you.”
She’s a tease.

    Hmm, Zawmb’yee, wants a gift. I don’t know, I don’t have any money right now. I spent all my money on Chloë, the lady at the Antelope Hotel(I know I said I’d keep her name anonymous because she’d be the goat of a joke if it were known she goes out with the Caveman, but I don’t think just a first name will do any harm.). I could write a poem for Zawmb’yee. I don’t know if she’d accept that as a gift, I think it depends on whether when she says, “gift” she means gift or bribe. There’s good news and bad news, I think. If she wants a bribe, then I can easily find out stuff, but then she’s really not trustworthy to receive the wisdom of the ages. On the other hand, if she really wants, umm, me as gift then… oh, God, she is beautiful… I must compose a poem for her, but she is too spiritual for my crude verse. I mean, Chloë, I think, is easily impressed by my poems of green pastures, but I don’t think Zawmb’yee will fall for me that easily.

I could hear my phone ringing all the way down the hall as I came in this morning. By the time I got in the door it must have been ringing more than 10 times. Chloë was mad. She says you’re never home. Well, actually, I would say (but never tell her) that the cave is more like my home than is my apartment.
    Yeah, I know I promised to install a cable in the cave so I’d have an Internet link there, but I think it’s probably much too complicated and expensive.
    I had a dream about Zawmb’yee. She was teaching me meditation, but it was weird like a loss of identity — some sort of blending process. She opened the ngtqua by herself and we floated in. I’ve been thinking about that gift for her. I did write a poem about “gifts.” Maybe it’ll do:


She stared at her childhood tree
with the missing swing
where her sister once played in life

Behind the branch cracked window
of the house inherited from her mother,
she meditated on her husband’s gift
conjuring up a spectacular notion
though she starved but for love
with money from his carvings

Someday the perfect wood
he would carve with love

For now, an odd job here
and there could be no
saving his carving tools

He sold them to buy a swing of memories,
so she could finish grieving

She cut down the tree she knew
was the perfect block of wood

    Maybe this might be “spiritual” enough for Zawmb’yee. I don’t think Chloë would like it. They are so different, but I don’t know who’s more exciting…

    Zawmb’yee is more of a tease than I thought. I wrote the poem out for her with a brush on a canvas. She sat by the underground-river Zhushcratylm, gently rested the tips of her fingers on the canvas with her eyes closed. “Yes, ” she said, “it demonstrates the devotional stage, but there is no sharing of thoughts.” She took my hands, made a gentle humming sound like a ferocious purr, said: thank you and next week I’ll show you a vision in the fifth passage. Then she said, your phone is ringing — don’t you think you should leave the cave. A quick kiss and I found myself leaving…

    I find myself thinking about Zawmb’yee everywhere I go. I wonder how she is able to navigate in the mainstream world above ground. I know she lives in the sacred quarters in the cave but is also expected to mingle in the city and across the world. It’s hard for me to imagine such a spiritual person riding on a common bus to meet me for lunch or come to my lonely apartment, see me type a poem into my computer, pull me away for more embraceable things:


I imagine you drifting
in thoughts on the bus
by the window with
a mystery package

Hear me honk
see me as the bird
that flaps a clap
applauding your reverie

On your way, squealing
with the wheeling of the bus
I am the squeaky brakes
squawking to see you; I am
the roar of the engine

Wake up. Don’t
miss your stop
don’t drop your
precious package

Arrive soon, because
I can’t wait to
open you up
to ride with me

    I imagine her everywhere, doing her “learn the culture” exercises for Utcoozhoo — smiling on strangers at every museum, chatting at every Opera, commiserating at every bar, a discreet angel with casual compassion. But I am infused with the perfume of her joy:

You In Me

I woke up to my
longing for you; coffee
bit my dream
I stirred your cream

If I dress to seek you
will I know where
passion gallivants

You haunt me with
your many haunts. I
feel a phantom kiss
and miss the bliss from
flesh and ardor, belief bones
troubles massaged in a love whisper,
soothing music
melodic compassion

I am out to find you
driven like the mating birds;
walking, I hear the coos
but let them fly unknowing
for I have a gift for us:
wait ’til you
see me smile
everywhere I know you

But then Chloë is to call and my body is at attention…

    I was thinking the other day, sitting under the Dome of the Endless Light by the K’ut’mbletaw’i River, that Utcoozhoo promises many spectacular things to Zawmb’yee, but it’s always in the future. When she wonders if anything he says is true, he always tells her the story of Tpiqlat’ng who was everywhere, nearby, and beneath all things at the same time. Nobody believed Tpiqlat’ng either. The day Tpiqlat’ng returned with great treasures for everyone, rather than be grateful, they demanded to know where he got it. He was nearly beaten to death when he told what they thought was a grandiose lie:
    “I rode the river to the place of the gods where I was given the honor to ride with them on a flying mole in a fire tube under a great ocean to the Rocky Mountains.”
    He begged for one last chance to prove it to them. He said, “Whoever is as brave as they are angry, come meet the gods.” The few volunteers he took to the K’ut’mbletaw’i (means, “They say it speaks to wash away false beliefs”). All but the meanest one came back with great wonders. The gods left him behind — they say by his choice.
    And then after all that babble, Utcoozhoo won’t even tell her what treasures and who was left behind for what purpose. Now doesn’t that just become another spectacular story promised for the future?
    She says she wants to talk to me about one of her homework assignments. Gee, I don’t know that I can be of any help….

    Zawmb’yee always seems to come out of nowhere when I’m writing by the K’ut’mbletaw’i. Poor Zawmb’yee — another disappointment, or delay. She broke into my musing with “I saw the pfambuuwisen, the blue dream-stars shining on glistening water like crystal and all that, but now Utcoozhoo gives me a puzzle: ‘How are we like blue sheep?’ He says you know.”
    “I know? How do I know…?”
I’m working on it. Ok, I see I’m not really doing this diary thing very well, because some days I don’t write very much. I’m just not that talkative, and I never did this before. Some people kept diaries since they were kids. I never did that sort of thing. I didn’t even like reading much, though strangely I wanted to write a novel(I guess everyone does). Quite a contradiction: to want to do something I have no skill or talent to do. Zawmb’yee seems more like the type who could do it quite easily… ah, phooey, I’m getting tired now and I haven’t really said anything. I’m supposed to write down all my thoughts, I suppose, but they fly by too quickly(most of the significant ones, even the ones not ineffable–{hmm, double negative — is there “effable”}. What was I going to say — I forgot….

    I can see why Zawmb’yee is in turmoil. Everything is a contradiction. Utcoozhoo wants her to learn the dominant culture to blend in. If she does that, isn’t she assimilating into the mainstream, and adopting their ways. I would think she’ll just become another sap (as Utcoozhoo calls them). But yet he wants to teach her the traditional ways. He’s trying to get her to see the pfambuuisen, yet Zawmb’yee just seems to have the blues nowadays. Another contradiction: blue in a vision — a spiritual light, brimstone burning blue — a devilish thing. (The devil is in the details.)
    Exposure to the modern world could destroy the ancient culture. Hmm, I was reading about the last Buddhist Kingdom of Bhutan. They just introduced satellite TV because they believe the young people must know about the outside world. But some elders worry that their culture will be corrupted and lost.
Bhutan’s an interesting place with diverse climates and habitats. Aha, I think I have it — blue things in Bhutan. They have the same dilemma as we do: to assimilate, accommodate, or stay isolated.
    Zawmb’yee needs 12 ways to answer the question, “why are we blue.” Well, I think I have one:

Blue Sheep In Bhutan

Have I sinned
to love snow leopards

I have heard
and blues too

Scampering up cliffs
blue sheep make me cry
freezing to hide

Snow leopards
must eat —
I will not look

Kayaking down the Mochhu
I see only splash
only sky

Blue is clean
red I deny

Prayer flags on the mountain
let me be of slate color
hiding my friends

Can I sing the blues
in the sorrow of the lamb
with only wool to give
in cold comfort, or

must I be the tiger
to growl at my hunger
to dominate

    The dominate culture is like a tiger. We are blue sheep hiding? No, that doesn’t sound right. Aaah, well, that’s the best I can do for now… I mean, it’s her homework. Why do I have to do it. Yeah, I’ll just say I’m giving you a clue, and pretend like it’s some deep profound strategy to get her to think, even though it’s just hogwash, ’cause I don’t know. I’m not wise — I’m just confused… maybe she won’t notice the difference…

    Lately I’ve just been staring at the rippling waters of the K’ut’mbletaw’i. It is said that the gods left behind many pfayohoqwaahujpi (lightning boxes for guardian spirits to dwell in) that power the Endless Light and purify the river. The river is always pure even after many reckless picnickers have frolicked with abandon.
I look into the beautiful blue ripples hoping for a splash of inspiration to lift my writer’s block.
    Zawmb’yee says I should look over my old poems to see if there is one in my trash heap that could be revised and purified. But I don’t have the power of even the smallest pfayohoqwaahujpi. I found an old poem, but it’s too weird to use I think, and I don’t think it is worth reading again:


In warmth
you’ve already read this
but I made you forget it
many spells ago
down the path
you’re on now falling
down the mountainside
to lush green sleepy
pleasant grass under
picnics’ bliss wine
soothing solitude like
a bath, bubbles a
swarming essence
perfumed with
perfect memories cherished
in sleepy fantasy
that counts to five
you’ve read
in many spells
down steeped tea
paths pleasing

is quintessential
to awaken you again;
are you dressed for the day
or is it night–
but you’ve already read this
in warmth cherished,
and now
forget it,
forget what you’ve done
in warmth unknowing, for
you need not know why
everyone looks at you
again, and sleep
will overtake you eventually
to do what you must forget.
You’ve done it. Thanks.

    Yesterday, I don’t know when (I forgot my watch again, and in the endless light of the cave, there’s no way to know the day or time), I was startled by a surprise visitor.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen Utcoozhoo swim. Somehow I couldn’t picture the scene of a wise old Guru, who might sit by a jagged rock face like his own face, impenetrable, not likely to float, swimming, but it is true that this wise one could chuckle like the water splashes.
Thus, sitting at the Nipeiskwari (Place of Meandering Thought), by the granite intrusion where the K’ut’mbletaw’i twists, I was surprised to look up from my notes to see Utcoozhoo leap out of the water like a dolphin with gray hair.
    “You look surprised,” he said. “Anyone who can hold his breath for a couple of minutes can reach the Akwangtqua, enter the Tzvaleubhoi, cave of the third sun, rest by the Tree of Many Fruits and … but, of course, if you don’t know where the entrance is, you won’t have enough breath to return.”
    Actually, I was more scared than surprised to see anything leap out of the water, and nearly dropped my notes in the water. I thought to ask, “Well, then can you show me the entrance?”
    “I’ll think about it … but I wanted to thank you for helping Zawmb’yee — she’s a bit young for the Utd’mbts. I had thought to teach you, Doug, but you were too cynical at the time of the Maghuogke. Sorry.”
    “That’s alright. I was in a crisis and would have thought the idea ridiculous back then…”
    “Yes, I know. You hold your breath too much without going anywhere … always seeming to drown in sorrow.”
I was embarrassed to have too much dust in my eyes to answer…I changed the subject. “So, are you revealing the oral history of our people to Zawmb’yee? I don’t know what’s so secret. It doesn’t seem like such a big deal. I mean, if I want to know American History or Ancient Roman or Greek History, I just go to the library and get myself some text books.”
    “The key here is you say ‘many books’. Each is a distortion of a different kind, a glorified hearsay — the gossip of the conquerors, the elites, the propagandists, ravings of madmen with charisma and minor magic. It is the written word of major and minor egomaniacs, words from scribes of the dominate class driven mad by their self-importance; words from scribes of minorities driven mad by their oppression waiting for their revenge and reversal of role when they will rule and write with a new kind of madness. All of these are the scribbles that blot the world with cycles of boom and bust of ever larger magnitude, notation for melodies symphonic and chaotic, with a tone of hope in overture, an interlude of cacophony, percussion like tornados. History of clash. Not enlightening…”
    Utcoozhoo was making it clear to me that the oral history was much more than oral. “When will you tell her?”
    “It’s not a telling as much as a transference. But I have to be careful how I say this to you. Skeptics can be blinded by their anger when it comes to mysticism. There is such a flood of pretenders that usually it is justified to call most crackpots, charlatans, or superstitious fools, but not all. I must tell you to be very careful with ‘Enchantments’…. I’ve heard that Ngheufel has been stumbling into some dangerous states-of-mind without knowing what he’s doing. He’s a very stubborn fellow who I fear is on the edge of mischief. ”
    With that, Utcoozhoo did some odd breathing exercises and dived into the water, swimming underwater to the Cave of the Third Sun.

***      NEXT PAGE


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