“Marc, what in God’s name are you doing?” said Lady, who wasn’t here and yet was, and since she had created the Poet’s Passage…well, is she ever not here?
“Be quiet,” I told her. “I’m busy, and besides, you’re not here.”
“I certainly am!”
“Prove it,” I told her. “If you were here, you’d order me a cup of coffee, which I gravely and desperately want. But there is at this moment a young man wiping tables with the same energy as Amir, a man sent from lands far from here—OK, Aguas Buenas, but it’s still up there in the mountains, from which all wise men stem—to lead the Poet’s Passage into it’s culmination of poetic voice and economic profit, and I swear that he who does wipe is Amir’s brother, which would make sense since the tribe of Amir has been introduced to the Passage to lead it into…”
“Marc?” says Lady, who wisely knows when to interrupt when I am taking that verbal leap off the ledge of reality, or when I just don’t know how to end the sentence. “Marc, are you quite all right?”
“Just a moment,” I tell her, since the young man wiping the tables, this young seer of the Tribe of Amir, is now approaching me.
“Yes, I am,” he tells me. “I’m Alejandro. How did you know? Do we resemble each other.”
They do and they don’t. Or rather, I had divined their relationship simply by the manic way he was wiping the tables, since Amir has the same habit, though horizontally, since his preferred medium of wipe is Windex on glass. And so this young scion of the House of Santana—he being the progenitor of the Tribe of Amir, who even now stands above the sacred oils from which rise the mighty empanadas (and believe me, there’s nothing nada about a good empanada)—greets me, extending the hand that toils mightily in the battle of poetic truth and lovely lucre. Or maybe he just wipes tables, I don’t know.
“Marc, are you quite all right?” Lady asks again, or maybe she doesn’t since she is here, and not here, as is Alejandro, whom I may or may not have met. Nor is it important, since David and I have just had a funny conversation, because a guy who has to be 6 foot seven has just ordered coffee.
“And thus have the giants entered into the Passage, eager to sip poetic truth, or perhaps to lead us into the new land, the land where coffee will flourish and be given to the poet unasked, with or without the presence of Lady, the goddess dressed as poetess, who may or may not be here, but most certainly is.”
“Wow, he is pretty tall,” said Lady. “But it doesn’t answer the question, even if I’m here or not, which I certainly am, though just at the moment I’m not. You don’t appear to be drunk, and you’re not high, either. But what gives?”
“Ah, divine and diving presence,” I tell her, “it’s simple. I’m broke. On the skids. Nothing but the shirt on my back.”
“Actually, that’s a nice shirt,” says Lady, “finally, you’re looking like George Bernard Shaw.”
“It is the shirt of a dead man, wrenched from his widow’s ancient claws, and bestowed upon me the Crone of the Toledos.”
That would be Raf’s mother, whose brother-in-law died recently.
“And so I have been reduced to being clad in the raiment of the dead.”
“Dark green, checkered pattern—nice! But you still haven’t told me what you are doing.”
Can she be trusted? Is the world yet ready for that spark of light that will vanquish the long night that looms ahead us? I decide to tell her, all the better that she, as Goddess / Poetess, can fling the light into the gloomiest corners of the world.
“I’m starting a religion,” I tell her.
She spits out her imaginary coffee, very nearly besoiling (forget it, computer, in religious writing “bespoiling” certainly exists, and what about “besmirching?”) the cloth of the dead in which I am shrouded, and tells me I can’t, since aren’t I an atheist?
“Of course I’m an atheist,” I tell her. “Whoever needed to believe in God to invent a religion? Anyway, I can certainly invent a perfectly good religion. Just look at Joe Smith, and those wonderful gold slabs that he dug up but nobody has ever seen, and which revealed the glorious truths that became Mormonism, the religion of them who made the desert bloom!”
“You know, you might just be onto something,” she tells me. “This is kind of an unusual place, and it would be fun to have someone making a religion at the table under the mirror, at the back by the shrine to Clara Lair.”
“I am not making a religion,” I tell her, stung. What does she think I am, a charlatan?
“I am revealing the religion, under the mirror that reveals what is and yet what is not, because isn’t a mirror some piece of glass that has been tricked into thinking that it’s you, when you gaze in it? But I, sitting under the mirror, am seeing the world as indeed it is, as indeed it is not.”
I tell her that the Truth will be revealed, and that seekers shall flock to the Poet’s Passage with their tongues dry for coffee and freshened with the lushest of poetry. Oh, and their pockets full of cash.
“Well, that’ll be nice,” says Lady, the pragmatic poet who knows that the road is rocky and filled with missteps, even if guided by the Ancient Santana and his Tribe of Amir.
“Get to it.”
And so I did.
The Gospel According to Johann
In the beginning…but no, there was no beginning, as there will be no end, since the unfolding of the genius that is the love of God neither started nor shall end, but has remained constant and replenishing for all time.
It was first felt as a whisper, the gentlest stirring of two winds encountering each other in the vastness of time and space. For trillions of years, they had searched for each other, they had approached each other and passed each other and grown near and then far, and even in the enormity of the void they had not stopped seeking, stopped waiting for each other, stopped searching endlessly, constantly, restlessly.
Upon encountering each other, the winds grew slowly, gently, over eons and eons until at last, sparked by a gleam from the right eye of God, an enormous explosion of light and heat and love and joy boomed forth. An explosion so vast and overpowering that still today and for generations to come it is still exploding, still expanding, still surging forth. And this explosion was the manifestation of the love of God.
For every force, there is a counter force, and so even at the moment of explosion, of expansion, of furious and fulminating quest outwards, there was the terrified and horrific contraction. Light battled darkness, heat attempted to vanquish cold, all elements of the world that we know of were in vehement opposition. All sought to annihilate its opposite; the galaxies were reeling like a drunken man seeking his gutter, discord was rife.
For really, was any one force better than its opposite? Light—so loved, so prized, that sun that shines down and grows the plants that nourish us! But don’t we, at some point after we have done our daily toil, come home to our simple bread and good beer, and after we have felt the fatigue of the day, the tug of the beer’s weight in our body—don’t we crave the dark? Ah, the dark, where the dreams lurks, and the nightmares as well, and where all that is straight and ordinary become twisted and fantastic. The judge becomes the murderer; the assassin succors the weak.
So it is with everything: the parched land craves water; then comes the deluge. The thinking man understands all, but cannot feel. The old die, only to be born again.
All was reaching out, all was contracting: the constant collisions of each thing with its opposite were creating cacophony, chaos. There was no day for the man to toil in, or for the plant to grow in, but rather there were tremendous explosions of light, followed by the blackest night ever known: a night when there could be no stars, no moon. When there was sound, it was the most raucous explosion ever known: it shattered the eardrums and men reeled backwards several decades at least. When silence came, an iota of a second later, the ears had healed, and were craving sound again.
All was in disarray, chaos reigned, since every great and beautiful thing—each the fruit of the two winds who had finally met each other, mated with each other, fought with each other, and reconciled with each other—was locked in the deadliest of contact with its opposite. Stars flashed and were darkened, universes appeared and were vanquished, the seas became the deserts, and the deserts drowned the nomads, who a moment before had been seamen.
It was thus for eons upon eons, and also in the most infinite fraction of a nanosecond, since time too was at war with itself, and the infinite and the finite raged greatly. At one moment great sages ruled the earth, disease had been vanquished, laws ruled over the just and merciful people, and all sank into the gentlest beds at the end of their virtuous days. Then there was nothing, only a molecule insanely attracted to another molecule, with no thought that one day, something as enormous as a ion might be formed.
The worlds were spinning, freezing, roaring and deathly quiet. The universe, so vastly empty when it contained only the two winds, was now impossibly full, raging, dense, nearly at the breaking point.
And then it happened. It was God’s will, or it wasn’t; it was the fulfillment of God’s love, or it was an army of demons unleashed upon us all. What can we say? What can we know? Only that it happened, and that once it had happened, it could never not happen, or rather, be happening. Yes, the infinite masses of galaxies, now horribly crowded and dense, exploded.
Yes, it was the downfall.
Yes, God had at last stirred; he who had noticed us by paying no attention, loved us by scorning anything to do with us, caressed us as he had flailed us, at last had God stirred.
Yes, it was the fulfillment.
For two elements had at last found each other, two opposites who not only did not clash, but who gloriously complemented each. Indeed, there could not be one without the other, so deeply enmeshed and in love were they.
Yes, it was mere coincidence, that chance meeting that finally, finally had happened.
Yes, it was God’s will.
Who knows? But at last, one thing could endure without immediately being cancelled by its opposite. It grew and grew, until finally all the water could find the sea, and all the dry land the desert. Man could fight wars and hunt, women could garden and nourish their children. At last, the sun was given its time of day, and the night even allowed for the moon to shine, and for the stars to come out, to lure wishes out of little children gazing upon them from their beds. The world had at last ceded to its perfection and imperfection. The winds had borne fruit, after some much devastation and triumph, and all was in order, and whether God had sent the fruit, or God had sent the winds, or God had done nothing at all but watch or doze or contemplate or lie in a drunken stupor, it mattered not. God had reigned, mighty and nothing is the power of God!
At last, the two elements of the otherwise clashing world of things and their opposites had found each other. They were…
And its mate…
And thus came to be the music of the spheres.