This album is dedicated with fondest remembrance to Mac Weisman, Kenneth Fisher, Joey Sror, Gilbert Purvis, Louise Livings, Anna Caluzzi, Caroll Mc----, Wilma Lee and Stoney Cooper, Greg Eldridge, Jim Hensen, Tim Wright, Sylvia Scott, Carl Storey, George Kerrick and Fr's Don Seaton, Dick Gary, and Don Shaw.|
Call me V-. It's probably true this time of year. When I was a youth I did my ontology prior to my epistemology, and so you see, I have always seen things, "differently." Not much I can do about it.
Some years ago - never mind how long precisely - having little or no money in my purse (purse?) and nothing particular to interest me in the interminable 12 bar West coast triplets. I thought I would go back home to find some answers to questions I had been formulating for some time. Nothing new really, for me to make such trips. I have to do it every once and a while to drive off the electronic transposition and decontrol the decontrollers. There's an enemy in that machine.
Landing on I-495, I decided to drive in the back way through Virginia and D.C. I passed in the dark through the muddy streets of the suburbs of Copraemia, Kantonligeist, the towns of Zoophilia and as I approached Coprophagy. Stopping by the holy river to make my oblation. I had to kick several pi dogs aside as I commenced to disrobe on one of the Ashram's steps and entered the swirling waters of the Sacred River, thus cleansing myself from any karmic impurities before entering the holy city.
Crossing the 10th st. bridge I entered the forbidden city and stopped at the George Unheimlische monument for a few moments of silent prayer and meditation before this imposing oedipus. I thought about the pilgrims who had landed near by at Potomac rock. The Puritans, the African slaves and the dravidians, who had founded out theocracy. All those names from history, Ben Franklin, Cromwell, Miles Standish, the early Swami missionaries. Nearby George Washington had been born and Abe Lincoln, Martin Luther and so many other of our founding fathers. Above all I thought of Squanto. "Om Shree, Jai Shree Washington aya Namah." I chanted with the throngs of orthodox worshippers there in the Haupstadt of the Free world.
In tears I followed these pilgrims and worshipped with them at the World Trade Center, the Champs Elyesees, Hershey Park, The John Hancock Tower. O'Hare International Airport and the Henry Ford Astrodome. Ultimately I found myself at the White House where I hoped to catch a view of the present Shankaracharya.
But secretly, beneath my orthodox exterior I was and had been since the age of 12 a believer and pracicer of the illegal Takoma Park seperatist Rite. WE wanted no truck with Swamis, or Pujas, or 55 speedlimits; nothing to do with organized state materialistic Hinduism, born again or not.
The problem was, about all I could remember of our Rite was what we were opposed to - not why. Nor could I remember what it was we stood for or believed in.
As I passed on down Xenophobia street a curious figure approached me with a sadistic grin. "John, John, remember me?"
"No, I can't say I do," said I searching his face.
"Oh," I said, "how unfortunate," as I observed the signs of incipient Ozmatroidism.
"Wie Geht's, " inquired this sceptre.
The small talk continued for a while and then he took me into the new building where he was curator, of The-National-Institute-of-Restorative-Memory-in-the-Present. Here, he told m, we could see, unseen, what out olf friends were doing.
First we saw Kenneth fisher, going about his rounds squeezing pennies from poor Finno-Ugric slum dwellers.
"He's been transposed," Katudell told me. The wrong key and lam cracks and label discoloration.
"Yeah," I said, "and he's Dolby encoded too. Too orthodox to buy a DBX.
"Squelch Box, eh"? I asked.
"And how's his Eschatology"?
"13 gauge," replied the Catudell.
"Ah, well, what can you do, said I.
"But Kenny's very smart." He said.
"I know, I know."
"Werks and all."
"Right," I said. He'll be OK.
Walking further down the corridor we espied Timmy Wright, grandson of Frank Lloyd.
"He's split off his reality from his shadow," Katudell told me.
Ah. And I'll bet he uses extra lights too! said I.
"Yeah," and he hasn't even done his Epistemology yet!
"Ah," I sighed.
Then I saw Louise Livings. I immediately passed out. I hadn't changed, much - neither had she. Katudall, revived me with some brandy, and we went on.
"There's Marry Hostettlerascope," he continued.
"Yeah, her father invented the Florascope," I recalled.
"Floristan too!" katudall elaborated.
Joe Hotleosphere, always a spontaneous demonstration.
"Yeah, his father invented the Ionisphere."
"And the Biosphere, I added.
Billy Unkundbar, generally speaking a guy who was never where he was.
"Was his father ever where he was?" I asked.
"Np, he was different. He was always where he wasn't."
"Oh," I said.
"his old man invented the principle of reality."
"Let's kill him," I said. "Things really have been getting entirely too consistant lately."
"Yeah, and not only that but public, stratified codified. Nothing but categories. Terribly borring."
"It's all his fault. Kill him."
"No," said Katudell, "I'll just shift him over into the squelch chamber."
"Hup" he ejaculated as he pressed a red button.
"That'll fix him," I said admiringly. "He only had one trick anyway. Never be the same."" - and what did you do for my
There was Sylvia Scott. But she was my friend. I was happy to see her. Very happy. Only she couldn't see me. I passed out again.
After revivation, we saw Beety Fatliosphere.
"Her father invented the human being. Katudall intoned."
But I couldn't see Dorothy Gooch.
After an exhausting sojurn I took my leave of Donald Katudall, a poor ozmatroid like myself, a guy who had never learned to spell his own name correctly.
Approaching doomtown in the shower of the McSpank monument I saw Blind Willie Dung, a pseudonymn for Eddie Lang on the OK duets with Lonnie Johnson (see Dixon Godrich, p. 370, 71) "No time now" I thought but in the rescent future I'll go down and check him out.
Driving further, I saw Elder Lightfoot Samon Micheaux's* famous church near the old 7th st. ballpark which still stood, its neon lit sky sign blinking.
"Keep your Lamps Trimmed and Burning" to uncomprehending passerby
A cop stopped me as I sped past Galludet hospital which was no longer there.
"Let's see your chronology kid."
I pulled out my papers. My chronology, I knew, was about to expire, in fact I was beginning to lose it. Of course he noted this.
"What's your eschatdogy kid?"
"Oh well that's pretty orthodox. Got anything to prove it?"
"Yeah, here," I showed him my mantras and business liscences."
"Well, looks ok kid but better get that chronology fixed soon."
"I will sir. I will."
"You from around here kid. You talk like it."
"Yeah, Takoma Park."
"Oh, that's in the past."
"I know - all too well."
"All gone," he went on.
"Please don't rub it in sir."
"OK, OK sorry, he apologized, and let me go."
I threw in the throttle and started up the long grade towards the next top at Catholic University. Passing by the shrine of the Immaculate Conception I swung onto New Hampshire Ave., and turned left at Eastern Ave., skillfully avoiding the no left turn sign.
From the land of Death into the land of Ambiguity I drove directly into "Hell's Bottom" as it was called when I was a youth. It was dsk and the sun cast a pall on the Electric works and the electric cranes, the trunks and the jaws erected into the Batheosphere snapping and cursing at the creation and casting lurid lascivious glances at the high tension wires which ran North and South from the electric werks as they wound down for the evening - waiting - always waiting for the nightly charge.
At this time of day I always hit desolation - all my life. Indeed, I litterally did just that every day of my life. Hitting ARIDITY I quickly drove up to Elmer William's house on Sligo Mill Road to ask for some food. Food helped when the void came around but - -
Living on the crest of the Sligo Mill Road, between two worlds with a good view of each, Williams was a man of great wisdom, humility and fortitude living all his life right there in the middle of the Edge. It was he who had founded the Takoma Park seperatists in 1932 and he who had taught me to play guitar and about religion - which I had forgotten. Stop Now it gets serious.
"It looks different," I said. "Is it in the past?"
"No, it's the same," Elmer said.
"You mean it's still real?" I asked.
"Well, I don't know if it ever was real around here. As I'm sure you know 'reality' in this vicinity is a very problematic concept - as are all concepts here in the edge."
"Well look," I continued, "if I'm on one side of the Edge - say Silver Spring - where I can't see far enough to see the other side of the edge - I still know it's there. And it's the same if I'm over in Paradise (local name for Hyattesville and Bladenburg and many other places to the East of the Edge). It won't stop. It just won't stop.
"No, it won't," Elmer went on, "But you know there's an edge even over there in, or near Paradise. Once I went over there on a job to the Riverdale cemetary near the reform school. I saw an Edge there too, similiar, but my references points aren't established there. I never had another chance to investigate it. It's similiar in that the Edge roughly approximates the D.C. line over there too. But of course that isn't what started it. The edge was there first. Like the Underground railroad that follows all those old Indian trails. Most people think that the Indians made the path. But they're wrong. The path, I think, is somewhat eternal; the Indians and later the railroad were purely passive developments, although everyone thinks they were active developments.
"Is it God?"
"I don't know. It all seems, rather, a bit infernal.
"Well is the Edge really eternal?" I asked.
"I don't know that either. How could I when I live right in the middle of it. No perspective here. Only the outside-the-edge on both sides, and that's just as confusing because if you look outside pf the edge, or go outside, like you said, the outsides of the edge - no matter which side you're on, they merely refer back to the Edge. It won't stop. There's nothing you can do about it."
"Do you think," I went on, "that it might have something to do with the electricity? The trains and cranes and the werks over there?"
"Well yes," he went on, "they are all related somehow to the edge in a very special manner but I think the edge was there all the time anyway and the Edge just attracted all these other abominations. And if that is the way it is, which I think it is, the other, obvious abmoniations simply make the Edge more obvious, more explicit.
"And there are other edges! What about that?" he asked.
"I just can't understand it," I said.
"Yeah, I know. Boy do I know."
"What about in the up-North? Is it the same?" I asked.
"I think it's about the same up there. The locations are different and you don't know the surrounding - the "Encompassing" as Jaspers calls it - if that is what he is talking about - but i've seen Edges up there too. In all probability the entire earth is criss-crossed with edges, death zones. Ambiguity places, limbos, Abomination zones and paradises. But if you're not brought up there, you can't feel where they all are and where they go. And never, never will you know why God made them, if he made them."
"Do they move?"
"No. Only you move. Or me. What's it like out west?"
"Just like you described the up-North," I said, "Sometimes I know I'm seeing part of an edge, or I'm approaching one but I can't tell. I don't know the lay of the land. So, I think you're right. You have to be born in a place and grow up there - to know.
"But still" he continued "even if we know where they are and what's on each side - we still don't know what they are or why they are or what they mean. I don't think we'll ever know.
"Yes," I said, "but maybe God -."
"But we know God and He doesn't tell us. Even people like you and I who know that we know God."
"Yeah," I said. "But maybe He doesn't see them or know about them -"
"No," Elmer went on. "You see He knows us." We know that."
"I wonder why He doesn't explain these things," I queried.
"I assure you, you're not alone in that wondering." Elmer said. "Maybe when the Alltogether happens - maybe then we'll know."
"Or maybe these things will go away. God, I sure hope so. They still scare me," I said.
"Me too," said Williams.
That night I had a dream. I took a train west from Takoma Park, past the Gueen's Chapel Abomination area and therupon into Hyattesville. I got off at the Pennsylvania RR station which was no longer there and went down to look at the canal looking for turtles. My mother came and helped me but we couldn't find any. The canal was too muddy, and we couldn't see through the murky water. And then nightfall began to come on anyway. It was too late. Fortunately we were in the past so I din't hit desolation, not even aridity.
In the semi-darkness and thick humidity my mother and I walked down the carefully terraced levies by the clean white housing structures, the beautiful oak trees, the gardens and the terraces of new moan grass - where neither of us, unfortunately, could ever live.
"It's paradise," I said.
"Yes, Johnny, it is paradise," she said in wonderment.
"It's good to know there is some place like this, even tho--.
"Yes, I know," she replied to my half spoken thoughts. She knew what I meant.
Then we walked back through the business section and window-shopped. I was happy. Very happy. Paradise. But then we saw something we didn't expect. Right there in the middle of Paradise someone had built another Transamerica pyramid.
"Oh God," I said, "they've done it again."
"Here?" she murmured, her voice trembeling "Even here?"
It was terrible.
"I guess they can do it anywhere. Nobody can stop them."
"Here?" she seemed stunned.
Suddenly I hit desolation and just as suddenly my mother was gone., and I found myself on another kind of train headed West. And there was my wife. We were together again and headed home. Desolation was gone. You don't feel so bad when you're headed home. Desolation was gone. You don't feel so bad when you're headed towards a place that was ruined a long time ago - as when your headed towards a good place where they are just beginning the abomination and you know it won't stop until it's all gone. I didn't want to see the process. But we were escaping, so I felt better. WE could never live in Paradise, Md., but it wouldn't be there very long anyway. Nobody could stay.
My friends, have we considered during this short time, that the salvation of every one of us may depend upon whether Tommy Flynn forgives all of us - or doesn't. Have we considered that we are, all of us, responsible for his "death."
Tommy was "different" as we say. "there was something wrong with him." He wanted friends and we denied him friendship. He was very lonely but none of us wanted to be associated with him in any manner. To be seen with Tommy Flynn would threaten anyone's social standing.
So we shunned him and denied his very existence. We made him into a cipher. Perhaps, we did not ourselves know very much love, but that which we did know we refused him. We killed him.
I have not heard anyone - anyone at all - mention his name since he "died." I learned about it in the newspaper. And now it is as though he never existed. He and his "death" an unpleasant, completely avoided, nonesixtant topic of conversation, so unpleasant (Do any of us feel the least bit of remorse - guilt?) that his connection with us is, as if, it never were, and is not now.
But i have come to avenge him, and to tell you that his connection with us is not now, never was and never will be severed. I have come to recall his name to this polite assembly that we may reflect upon our responsibility in this, unspoken, hopefully forgotten matter. I thought of him the same way we all did. I claim no exemption from my own accusation. And I cannot and will not leave this so very cival occasion without calling to mind his existence.
Because Tommy Flynn won't graduate tonight. He's not here. Only his blood. And there's a much more important graduation somming to each of us someday. It may seem far off. It may be far off. Then again, for some of us, it might not be so very far away. And when that time comes, each of us by himself - completely alone - is going to have to answer to Tommy Flynn and for Tommy Flynn. We won't all be together at that time comforting one another, striving against one another, loving and hating one another. Keeping busy so we don't remember.
No, each of us shall be utterly alone, and everything will suddenly be absolutely transparent, when we are asked:
son, Tommy Flynn?"
But I tell you he who, at this point, remembers Tommy and cares - that is a great thing. And he who reflects on his own responsibility in the "matter" - admits his own culpability and repents - that is an even greater thing. And he who prays for him, that is still greater. But he who can hope and pray that Tommy Flynn will forgive and love him - He who can learn to love Tommy Flynn and hope to see him again - that is the greatest thing.
And I say great things still happen.
Suddenly the gymnasium disappeared - Northwestern High School disappeared Hyattesville, Prince Georges County disappeared, and I saw Miss. Hardy way up in the sky. She was smiling down on me, on us, my friends, and we were all together again - I say ALL of us and we were dancing in a ring around her all smiling and happy.
You know, I think Miss. Hardy loved us all very much, and we never knew it. She loves us now and I believe she always will. I saw her in the sky!
Shall we not then, chillun, rejoice and love one another?
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