A Lane To The Land of The Dead, Series I

A Lane To The Land of the Dead, Series I:  Jaguar's Lethargy

Hammerhead, Jaguar, and Wrench Boy form a Loop


A loop
is a strange
coil --
that it loops back
on itself after 
however many turnings,
confounds the mole
but gouges out a pathway
so that the subtle spine
's made free.

The spine is its own cup.

If one trudges through mysterious gorges,
the coiling loop
the mole must define
amuses Hammerhead.  Liberated
from the somber exigencies
of previous habitude, he knows
very well
why a spine
is like a cup.

Lightly he passes  through gorges,
makes of his habit  a gorge loop
and happily inherits


Strange women
wander in the opal,
then fade
when Jaguar
gazes. Why
is he so lacking in
his wonted vibrancy? Has he
far too assiduously observed
invisible Mole
traveling through the gorge?


New habits
loop slow.

Hammerhead gorges himself
on "license"! -- gorges himself on ever-expanding subjects
for delectation and reflection,
his mind a melee 
of vibrancy,
while Jaguar
for nothing at all,
head down
between his forepaws,
not wanting to bother Wrench Boy with his lethargy.

He wanders
toward the edge
of the gorge
thinking about the
character and mood
of the mole--
a dangerous
subtractive attitude,
as if he were sucking for ghosts,
for a zoo full of jaguars,
not even avid for the hookah
he sits down to suck on,
not even curious enough
to gaze into the opal
closed in his golden pouch,
dull yellow, now.

The crystal diadem on Jaguar's brow
might as well have been some stuck-on ornament.

What sort of loop does he prowl in?

Around a quick bend in the smoke
a mole-like, ghost-like  
something or other seemed
to beckon him
to pass through a tunnel-like
confinement--as if
no hope
to liberate himself
were liberation

Wax wads
plugged his ears;
the mouth of Jaguar
has become a funnel for ghosts.

who can switch on her ubiquity 
at a moment's whim
was instantly all around him.

"What's with you?" she said,
not without kindness,
but she did have a sense of the dissonance 
between her cheerful spottiness
appearing all over everything
and that there should be this
atmosphere of ghastliness
while she hersef were in view,
"I see you haven't ahem
been neglecting your meds. . ."
she continued.

"I'll chizzel you out of the loop, my fine feline friend,
Wrench Boy needs to be summoned.
Meanwhile we'll put some
sassafras on your forepaws
and something tasty in your mouth
and tie an interesting magical loop
for a talisman and ornament,
and I myself will become a beautiful garden.
See this grand clay pot?"  
(It was big enough to hold a dozen jaguars.)
"Jaguar! Walk on this carpet."
She had rolled out a spectacular rug 
through the garden's archway . . . 


The Loop with three links was in danger of tearing--
Wrench boy, Hammerhead, Jaguar--
while Jaguar sank into a dark morphosis--
deep psychic slumber.

Wrench Boy worried:

"Is an avatar
an offspring?
For Jaguar is the author
of innumerable avatar clones--
they spring into apparency on his whim
as occasion suggests
and just as spontaneously
spring out of it;
but he has no mate,
he has never generated jaguars
in any material jungles
and therefore his ancestors
hang from reeds
upside down
in a cave
and moles
chew at the grass reed strings
and when they fall--
when jaguar ancients fall--
to the murky bottom of the cave,
their lineage is extinct.

Jaguar dreams of this nightly
and when the dream is done
no memory of it remains,
but the import of it
weighs him down."

So thinks Wrench Boy. 
He goes on:

"Jaguar has avatars 
but no syzygy.
We must require him to scry
in Black Lake or opal
and surely his double will manifest
for every terrestrial entity
in forest or settlement or plain
has a celestial counterpart
and only through the appearance of such a syzygy can he recognize
a mate in the material world."

Hammerhead jumped all about
recumbent Jaguar
and tapped him delicately
with the stump of his cerebral hammer,
tap tap tap on his cranium 
tap tap tap on the yellow mump beneath his tail--
"Let's get at that dream," laughed Hammerhead,
for though I've ruled banks and nations,
governed taxonomical inquiries
and managed zoos,
though I have marshaled 10,000 hammerheads
in grim hostilities,
I have neither ancestors nor progeny--
I am not that I am--
a codification among cloudy bureaucracies,
an accident in quest of a nail.

My initiation came to this:
to cease my striving to attain
that which I am
in that which I am not,
and cease to abjure 
that which I am not
in that which I am.

But is this Jaguar's difficulty?
Does he delineate his ancestors or not?
Does this thing I really cannot credit or understand,
his celestial paredros, twin or doublet,
await on a bench 
in his private eternity?
Or is this question of ancestry
a capital error in arithmetical geometry,
for the lines of causation which 
converge upon one's nature,
might as well be infinite in magnitude
and do not terminate at all
in the nexus of one's 
peculiar entity--
am I right or not?"

Wrench Boy only heard part
of Hammerhead's exegesis
of Jaguar's state,
for he was concerned 
to heal the breach 
in the loop.

A Lane to the Land of the Dead, Series I


He was sinking, seemingly
deeper into a somnolent confinement--
a confinement Violet was unwilling to sustain.
The carpet--he now slept on it--
blackened as he slumbered on.

Hammerhead watched, more puzzled than impatient.
He had no truck with opals,
though the spirit of intolerance
was no longer in him.

Mole withdrew and became a part of his dream.

The opal in his pocket was significant,
and passionately so, to Wrench Boy.

Hammerhead circulated.

Violet breathed light
to break open the confinement.

The carpet began to ripple
and ghost-like wisps
flurried up in the shape of a mole,
and they all could discern in the shape
a misty gorge.

They were not gazing quizzically into the opal,
but it was, just the same,
a sort of collegial scrying,
Wrench Boy and even Hammerhead
seeing the murky gorge,
Hammerhead wishing to confine the ghost.
He fingered his ornament
and decisively grabbed for a large clay pot
and put it on the carpet.
He pulled out a chizzel from his pocket
and started to scratch
spontaneous sigils
into the walls of the pot, inside and out,
and the carpet stopped rippling.
Such wizzardry with him was habitual.


The presence of the gorge and its menace remained,
though violet stems
put everyone in mind of their spines
which had to be straight like a beam;
for if they proved too malleable like wax,
or the pot turned into wax,
the work of Hammerhead
to cause the ghost to fade,
though his spine exhibited perfect rectitude,
would have to be repeated again and again,
scratching laborious sigilization
onto the surfaces of the pot.

Now a tunnel appeared to tunnel through the mist
on the other side of which
mules trudged in a ring
confining violet,
and violet called out to Melee:

"What have you done to our jaguar?
You know the verticality of his spine was only a mask!
And how have you exteriorized the opal
so we all can see the murkiness of his dream?"


The loop was almost broken.

Hammerhead hardly noticed.

The confinement of the complex coil,
is being overseen by Crystal,
whose confinement itself is like a garden,
ornamental in appearance only,
but truly set to liberate
whatever Violet
put on her carpet.


Hammerhead put his mouth
against the wall of the clay pot
and the murky mole
swooshed back into it.

Violet was loosed.

Hammerhead looked into the opal.

A Lane To The Land of the Dead, Series I


There was a tunnel through the mist. 
No need for hammer and chizzel to penetrate it.
The tunnel had the shape of a complex coil.
The ghosts conformed their whispy substance to it as they flowed.

An ornamental carpet ornamented
certain paths across the Broken Mountain.

Ghosts are what we inherit when we demur
from chizzeling out or tunneling through
the intricate coils of suppositious histories. 

Here we scry
a pack of mules,
the honorific carpet turned black--
a  certain person spared by incapacity:
now that his instrumental protuberances are transformed
to beneficent ornaments,
his utter lack of heritage
allows him to laugh at ghosts
and liberate his eerie, viridescent pack mules.

What is a ghost to a being without an embryo?
Oh yes, he has acquired one,
unique to himself, but in an exemplary manner,
exempt from explicit futurity.

He has no need at all for a tunnel to nowhere
or to knock himself out behaving
as was once his wont
like a stubborn mule.


What can he do for Jaguar?
Wind the coil, or break it,
spread a carpet, or roll it up?
At all events 
he is tasked to heal the Loop
and employ what arts he has
for the resuscitation of this Jaguar.


Ghosts for the others were real enough.
Crystal could feel them
pass through her facets, just like light.
A ghost to Violet
shared in her subtle
color and scent.
For Moles, they were his antitype:
where he was a chizzel and could tunnel 
with essential capacity and industry
through terrestrial substance,
they would flit and fade or pass without resistance
wherever substance dwelled. 

To all of them they materialized
hovering at twilight in the Garden.


One might inherit a carpet.
This does nothing at all to straighten one's spine
or cause one's revenants to fade,
or help one mount 
in the bottom
of a ceremonial cup
a proper Gazing Opal
by no means a wax-work bauble
to serve as ostentatious table ornament.
But something that when one is lost
in a phenomenological tunnel
or just "out of the loop,"
one just might be liberated
by such an opal.


Wrench Boy does not fade before his ghosts:
he develops well-tended mules and rides the loop.
The inheritance of Wrench Boy follows from
his liaison with wild, red-haired Melee.
Melee is his tunnel and his chizzel.
His adversarial position vis-a-vis Hammerhead
at times is strengthened, at other times mollified  
by this.
But now they are 
looking together
down a dark and narrow tunnel
working to save The Loop.
And if ghost or ornament can assist in this,
together they wax enthusiastic
to scry with wax or opal.


Spontaneously together they determine to confine
a ball of wax 
into the shape
of a certain heraldic ornament,
combining tunnel, loop, and coil
to summon back
the vibrant ghost;
in his image
one forepaw holds a chizzel
(chizzel to bang through a tunnel), while he rides 
bare-back on his mule across the gorge,
his habit, a carpet
that waxes in their thought
far more than ornamental.

A Lane to The Land of The Dead, Series I


They all thought Melee reigned in Jaguar's mind.
In particular, Melee agitated Violet.
But deep below the surface of his somnolence,
mules worked dark coils--
worked the gorge--
mules in Jaguar's depths.

Melee and Violet were out of the Loop.

The coils hosted ghost-work.

The gorge was dark but full
of earnest mules--
a great activity, industry--
constructive, having
nothing to do with ancestry or progeny.

The Great Loop of the Three Confederates
was the object.

It was a mystery:
who were these mules?
How could Melee
serve The Loop?


Black Lake, in its simplicity;
the coil, in its complexity;
the gorge, so vast and strange,
a placeless habitation
where appearances might fade quite away
with unchallenged impunity.


Scry the Opal, O Confederates;
research Melee;
observe what needs to fade,
what needs more work.


The Mole dug down to find him.
He knew this incubation was no superficial ornament,
no trivially antithetical adornment
of an otherwise extroverted habitude.
He could hear the mules' involvement and this intrigued him.


Wrench boy took a breath 
and said to Melee and Hammerhead:

"No, these doldrums ill-ornament our sentinel;
but, Melee, neither are they 
symptoms of any
ordinary malady.
He himself is in quest of his own liberation,
though truly none of us knew that he required this.
Conside the force he must have had to awaken in his being
for him to abandon the Loop, 
if abandon he did indeed,
and to follow his mules,
whatever their properties,
roll up on the backs of his mules
all his emblematic carpetry.
He set off for Black Lake across the gorge,
dropped his habitual forms of self-address
and entered an untoward garden--
a garden for mules!--maybe.
Surely we want to know how
one so solicitous and savvy,
well-tried in civic concern and circumspection--
how could our sentinel abandon his watch?
How could a Jaguar
turn into a bear?
But this is no bear-like
                        absence from an inconvenient season.
It is a peculiar tunnel
our Jaguar struggles in,
to cause a separation to occur
from his most formidable faculty of reason--
not by means of mental Melee only,
but to find his Throne
by the stillness of Black Lake
and drink its waters
from a quiet Cup.
When he should accomplish this,
he will at once be here again among us."


A ghostly melee
possessed The Loop.
A mulish melee.
A melee with no spine.
A melee maximally distant from radiant Crystal.

Chizzel through the dense 
material as you may
to settle Melee--
mouth expostulations, animadversions, horrified cries--
don willful or wonted habit--
chizzel away at the circumstance of melee--
O Jaguar, Jaguar--
bring back The Crystal.

A Lane to The Land of The Dead, Series I


In the Garden
there is a Cup.

In the Garden
an ornamental Chizzel.

The Loop, though unbroken,
had begun to fade--

violets scattered, disconsolate,
fading on the noon.

Hammerhead wanted to hammer together
the disconsolate matter of the Loop.

He could not see the substance
collecting in the Cup
nor imagine distinctly
the vicissitudes of Garden,
though he knew about the ornamental chizzel.

Black Lake was held in reserve.

Violets regrouped
to decorate a mule.

When summer fades, O Hammerhead,
the Loop diminishes,
contracts to a point.

Black Lake, though invisible, is All.

The Loop is the Garden
whose closure and settled order
masks Black Lake.


What does it take
to liberate the Work?

Surely not Melee only. 

Liberation fades to a garden.

If we chizzel a tunnel
we complicate the Loop.


There's a ghost in the Garden.

There's a mole to get at Black Lake.


Does the only way to save the Loop
require penetration by a chizzel?


The Mole
ran in a loop
to unweave the carpet.

It was grim work
conducted at the bottom of the gorge.

Image: A mole
running, running,
to liberate a loop.


"To the Tunnel!"
cried Hammerhead
and leapt into the gorge.

The image of a crystal
governed his descent;
but at the bottom
the crystal grew invisible.

The Loop
was a leap.

Moments later
it became a cup

at the lip of which
Opal poised herself
to be addressed by Violet.
Mole stopped and stood by Wrench Boy.
Scene set.
For what?


The coil to become undone.
Violet to decorate the gorge.
Everyone to sharpen their chizzels.
All sense of exigent urgency 
in spite of all energy
to grow confused,
then fade out utterly.


Would the two remaining confederates dissolve the Loop?
The limit of Contraction,
after all, required a leap,
and the confederates had to consider their own spines.
And should the gorge fill up with ghost loops
or chests full of iron chizzels
the sense of grim futurity would fade,
Violet forget about chizzels,
no thought at all of the Cup,
my hand go over my mouth.

Soteriological Log Jam!

Return to wonted habit.

But what were that with no garden?
No intercourse with Jaguar?


The eagle
a snake.

It hovered above
the gorge.

How to follow this.

Hammerhead leapt.

Violet sat at the lip.

The cup contained Black Lake.

The snake-eagle coiled and hovered.

Its eye flashed into the minds of all confederates.

Even Jaguar felt this.

Its luminous astringency stung 
like the blade of a broken crystal.


The snake eagle hung in the sky above Black Lake in Jaguar's dream.

Jaguar gazed
into black water.

Behind the eagle, in the sky,
the tapestry of world event
in schematic outline

Jaguar's eyes

Events impressed on his spirit,
mind enlarged and energized
by the Elders' Serpent Eagle's astringent beams,
his body beneath his feathers and his wings was serpentine--
eye and wings, of an eagle.

The sound of the Elders' perpetual drone noise
rumbled as the tonality of his substance.

There was an outside.


Jaguar saw the surface of the earth, its shifting patchwork,
projected on the sky,
reflected in Black Lake,
emergent in the tonality of his substance.

"History has a history," he uttered, very quietly,
"It is but one
of Being's cloaks."