Enter Temples

I was in a strange place today and thought I’d write something a bit more off beat….

For Love Knows Not You

I walk into this place, alone and morbid, saddened in heart, and perhaps desperate in attention. The path goes on and stretches wide, but never wide enough, just long and whining down to other corridors, to other places, to stores and counters, to displays and makeup mirrors. Teenage girls giggle and converse their lives and events. Children cry and fingerprint the glass windows, their mothers tired faces try to smile and every now and then an impatient father looks at his watch. This place smells of nothing. It is clean and disinfected daily, the air conditioning is on, but it is never cold, perhaps too warm at times, filled with such masses, but it always feels close to adequate, like it is artificial. I look up into the ceiling and see only more glass, no real sun, but there is a light that comes through and I know that this place is a temple. It grows high and there is space, yet nonetheless it suffocates me. I feel the endless procession of people back and forth, a constant flow of images, everything new, shiny, and cool. Paranoid women and lost men, bored children misbehaving, a petri dish that has gone unattended. We build prisons for ourselves and call them temples.

The Death Of A Thousand Gods

One of the most bizzare plays I’ve read was Peter Shaffer’s Equus. It is a remarkable work and one of my favorite plays. There is a film version, which does manage to do it some justice, but still leaves some things out. I recently watched the film and one phrase stuck with me and I wrote this to expand on it a little. Note that Equus is about a boy who is mentally damaged and the doctor who must cure him, even as he himself questions his own sanity.

The Death of a Thousand Gods:

Listen. I know who you are. You look upon me, wanting to know me, to touch me. The feeling is in your head, you want to reach for me, but you are afraid, of the finger tips touching, making it feel too real. Instead you tie yourself up, naked and staring you want me more now than before. Your god is dead and and darkened in the beyond, he feels no passion, does not hear the urgency in your prayers. He has abandoned you to me. We are alone here in the forest of your dreams. You are young and only you can hear me in this world. The sounds and ecstasy of a thousand gods all feeling you at once, showing you truth and holding you both as child and lover.

But from the outer reaches, you hear the other’s voice, telling you that you are in pain and that you need to be cured. He tells you he will save you from this torment, from my embrace. You look upon my eyes, innocent you know them, this is love, this is the passion of the gods. They will not betray you. Do not feel ashamed of me or where we have been.

You cry, and in your mumblings I know that you have begun to pull away to the other. And as you do, I see you already on the alter, another soul to be sacrificed to the logic and reasoning of a dead god. The other will take you upon the stone and carve you open, leaving you hollow and bleeding, without my love you will live and grow old in both storm and clear. But your soul will be blind and desolate. Deaf! Do you know you will be killing a thousand gods as you pull yourself away! The cross is burning in the distance, the other awaits you there, crying behind his mask. If I can’t have you, I will take him. For as he draws you out of this meadow, he will stumble and in his fragile nature, I will know him and he will hear me, the dark pathetic old man that he is. He will save you and cure your pain, but you will never be a boy again, nor know the voices of a thousand gods.

American Hipster

This was a piece I wrote back in college. It’s heavily influenced by the great Beat writer Jack Kerouac, and one of my best friends from high school. Most of all though it is a good portrait of the moment.

I saw him with his torn and faded jeans coming upon me with the brightness of a sneaky smile and his radiant charm already traversing upon me like warmness in the breeze, I was doomed to loose it from that very day. Since then we’ve become, changed, loved, and ran all the dreams we spoke that day on the railroad rails of South Chicago. He’s been writing me, telling me about a million girls and strange books about strange thoughts, all a guiding light I thought. I received a picture of him once, all daring and young in black with chains and beads on his chest, newly reborn into the angel running once again. I thought of stopping him once, but now he speaks so wildly and flying that even I can’t compete.

He use to think he was me and told me how to go about changing it back and forth to produce a better thing, but I was too lazy and I only wanted sex and the thought of being cared for, and he longed freedom from it all with dreams to spin and throw him around, so that he could be for all time the stranger who is freedom and forever. He told me once, he had been out walking down to South Deering and had begun to loose his head and imagined beasts out from the trees and things around; he said that they would never leave him alone, for once he was with Amy and he saw them again staring to touch him and he ran cold and frightened and stumbled. I told him it was all cool and believable, but he was crying their on the bed with his feelings all closing him up and he wanted to jump from the tower and scream the word, but he knew he wasn’t the messiah so he stayed there as long as the darkness staked his eyes and he dreamed colors again. I didn’t know what to say to him.

Three afterwards and he was in Iowa with his girl and thinking he’d changed and was all better now, but he was still carrying the music thing and he wasn’t much more than lonely I thought. He was praying in a room with a cross on his neck and silence to help him believe the word again. The room must’ve frightened him after a few days, turned the monsters in his head into dreams and passion was turning back into the wave of sadness washing over him and drowning him with bleakness. But maybe he was stronger and the drugs a little better I thought, since he only walked now and played the guitar.

It wasn’t until August that he returned, wearing black and carrying on about Neal Cassady like a young Jack Kerouac, all writing and beliefs. He wanted to talk forever about how it all was and where it was going and using all these words to make it there, dreaming and running to find it was what it was for him. And the loneliness dug into him like love does to us all. All the while I thought: my friend, the American Hipster strolling the night in search of blues songs, what a life, what a story, maybe the greatest novel ever! And then he said, “Fuck” maybe I was thinking the wrong story, I wonder if he’ll really write about his girl now?