A Lane To The Land of the Dead, Series I: Jaguar's Lethargy Hammerhead, Jaguar, and Wrench Boy form a Loop 1 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 himself.  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 prowls 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, yearning 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 only. Wax wads plugged his ears; the mouth of Jaguar has become a funnel for ghosts. Violet, 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 . . . Interval 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 2 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 3 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 4 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 5 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 repeatedly 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? Interval The eagle was 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 reflected. Jaguar's eyes opened. 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."