[W r i t e r' s N o t e b o o k]
Sketches of Those We Have Known: We have been with them.
They were all gathered now for the show. The wonderful show. It seemed to never end. So much had passed through the show yet they still showed up in their weird clothes and hats. Some were smoking pipes. There were many young people, too, wanting to catch the magic of the show, hoping that they too would be part of it. It's only reasonable to accept this and say to the young, "you are hypnotized by the smoke and mirrors, the hint of sex, the ludicrous depiction of violence, the nihilistic greed that wants to devour time and make everything through itself. You will have it young people! It will devour time and everything in its path!"
So now they enter, every last one of them, in all their guises. They are here to make presentations for now. They want to, in the words of the marketers, brand themselves so that the crowds remember them. And why not? What is there to lose in such a thing?
So the Master arrives and announces in a voice calculated to carry above the stand of trees that sway near the ocean,
BEFORE YOUR EYES- BODIES- LADIES AND GENTLEMEN WE PRESENT THE TROUPE OF MYSTICO, AND A SCENE TO SHAKE THE NERVES OF ANY LIVING SENTIENT BEING!
There are men in the crowd who have fashioned a kind of whistle from the free grass that grows between the stone pathways. Without a signal they all blow through their whistles at once, "blaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaanp" among the intermittent laughter among those who want the performers to suffer for their audacious habits.
A shaky old blanket is suddenly thrown apart and there appears a naked, fulsome woman with a white scar running from her navel down into her thigh. Shouts are raised. Clapping. She waits for a bit of silence and smiles out to the audience.
I AM FLESH.
"Yah, yah- you tellin' me" and such sarcasm arches down to the stage.
I AM NEUTRAL- I STEP THIS WAY (she moves appropriately) ALL THE UNIVERSE IS TRANSFIXED. I STEP THIS WAY (here again she moves back to the right) ANNIHILATION!
"Step this way honey and empty a little gold on a poor man." Followed by admonitions from some. Old, poor man, let them say their piece, let them be....
The woman suddenly flourishes her arms upward.
I AM HEALTH AND SUN; WOUNDS AND PERDITION.
Other members of the troupe are looking all around for the men of law who can come swooping down on fierce horses.
I AM WOMAN AND MOON. I CLEAVE (she spreads her legs a bit) TO EMPTY BEINGS INTO A SHRIVELED WORLD.
The Man Who Eats Bee's sits high above the stage on the greensward thinking of Vermont. He slowly rubs his hands up and down on a can of beer while popping a bag of dead bees into his mouth. Vermont was famous for maple and socialists. Every jack and jill the same with lost teeth, oiled hair and disease. No one will sit with him. His clothes are wet with oil or kerosene. His eyes are dead. He loves the show and wants the woman to come back to Vermont and help on the farm. But before he does this he must eat bees to inoculate himself from their poison. His odd, superstitious belief comes with a great dose of practicality learned out of an old world upbringing in the depths of the forests of Vermont.
The woman leaves, revealing a purple anchor emblazoned on her left buttocks. Enter a man with a haughty lip protruding out to the audience.
YOU WANT FAME? IMMORTALITY? DO YOU KNOW MY NAME? MY CLAIM? WE ARE THE SAME! A STAR! WE ARE NOVAS! And the man gets down on his knees and does something strange. A camera caught his action not revealed to the live audience and it was apparent the man was extremely frustrated in one aspect of his life. The camera also caught an expression of total disbelief that he had wound up here, on this stage, in front of these people on a warm summer day, in a city he could not afford to live in.
And over the. hill, from the furthest corner of the park, the sound of an elephant brays up like a muted trumpet.
The man whirls around and around on the stage while someone hands him an object through the curtain. He turns once more and faces the crowd. He's holding a mirror to his face, distorting his features, making his nose and mouth swirl and bend into each other. His eye blinks like some insect behind the shield of glass. Even his voice is distorted by-the plate of glass.
I HAVE BECOME MEMORY, PURE, UNDILUTED BY THE GRAND DESIRES. MEMORY PRISTINE OF THE FURTHEST REACHES OF HUMAN TIME.
(He hunches over and growls through the breath thickened glass.)
AW-WA TUTUMOPHOTI- FA-SACOTATI.
Suddenly the cloth sheet is rent back and more numbers of the cast lumber onto the stage, their faces covered with primitive masks, ape masks, some have papier-mâché loins dangling from their fingers, others are covered with a green oil. They all crowd together after stumbling around the stage till they lock fingers groping away, running into the stretched hands, feeling their way into a circle of human form.
(Silence, except for a flock of birds who bend over the meadow and head out to the clump of trees below the sloping meadow to the left of Old George who is watching intently though he can't see much but the monument of buildings, like bushes growing dark along the horizon.)
In the Park was a Play and a Lover's Quarrel bee eaters, enormous fat women, balloon men, Hare Krishna Celebrations, Congo Drummers along the fringe, the Zoo.
Sarah was watching with unusual intensity. She was an enormous woman who'd been to parties with strange friends; occultists, warlocks, beings from other galaxies who would dance around her rolled flesh on full moons when everyone was stoned trying to raise her off the ground and to the the Mother Planet; they claimed to be situated in the Pleiades. They were all crazy, the bunch of 'em, but so were all the rest. Perhaps that's what it was all about anyway; to get as insane as a great mushroom and live in the movies.
Sarah spooned out a curl of yogurt and put it between her enormous lips, her bellowing yellow speckled dress raising and falling in the wind. She watched the stage intently. A man was on the platform pasted with strands of spaghetti as if he were a primal creature from the depths of the swamp.
BRAIN CIRCULATES BACK TO BRAIN, AGAIN AND AGAIN.
Slowly he sinks to his knees, letting the strands of spaghetti flutter about his body and head. From behind the curtain comes a WOLF with blood dripping from its fangs, standing on human legs looking up into the sun and baying with the effects of an amplifier behind the stage somewhere blasting out the sensuous, lonely, longing wails of the animal. He bends his head down to the slumped man and opens his mouth but then another leaps on stage dressed in metallic clothing, his head bald, tears plastered to the side. He pulls out a plastic pistol and shoots the WOLF grabbing the immersed man on his knees and pulling him up.
Well, they say to themselves, this must be art. And if not art it is a pleasant excuse to lay out in the sun. Yes, we are what we perform. It glides before us like drunken reindeer along the ice caves of Lapland. It makes it mark. There is the mark. Woe to those who miss the mark! Things will fly from us at an oblique angle and catch the sun at the moment it disappears. The Earth will be covered by an Emerald light. Every depiction will be made on the backlots of long bankrupt studios. The people, themselves, will lay supine, disbelieving the moon in their eyes.