Across The Perilous Line, Series II

Across The Perilous Line, Series II

                  The Lecture of Professor Tong


The Glob
the fixed forms 
Hammerhead tries
to drive 
through the Loop.

The Gorge
from below--the Gorge
as an ominous habit.

African Rattles
manifest as growths 
from irregular ledges--
it is work
for mules, work
for the avatars of Hammerhead.

My mouth is a melee.

The Loop, for Wrench Boy,
opens windows
on the Great Gorge--
a melee of pertinent / impertinent appeals 
to transcendental crystal--
trips to Black Lake--
work entirely of that kind.
One can be excused if one . . .


The Old Hotel is a mouth the chizzel opens.
Workmen recover
the fading old resort,
forcing a loop
through it.


Hammerhead organizes his minions
to break open a hundred tunnels
beneath the Gorge.

What is it like down there?

There are jaguars,
invisible though genuine,
a bit loopy
because of the impenetrable darkness.

Gold glows between their spots,
but the lights do not illuminate
anything beyond themselves.

Hammerhead is drawn to this, but distracted,
confused, and cannot use what he sees
to find The Garden.


Moles is busy
in his own loop,
elaborating the coils of it. 

He sees
only as far
as his next move.


Normal historical epochs are abnormal.
In these, Liberation sleeps
to the drone-like white susurrus 
of an African Rattle
and the ambient inconsequence
of the rumble of drums.

Mouths gobble and chatter.

Violets and jacinths
ornament pleasantly.

Violet herself
submits to the modest work
of keeping Melee at bay
by merely appearing decorous and lending
an orderly ambience 
to hamlets and households.


Admit it, 
little is like this.

Crystalline epiphanies 
spark across the globe
with the ubiquity of striking lightning--
innumerable violent storms
liberated from the otherwise
electro-magnetic stability
of terrestrial atmosphere 
on a daily basis.
It was not always like this.

Mouths not only gobble and chatter
but utter authoritarian edicts,
obviating the transcendental severity of Black Lake
or subverting norm-driven habits,
deploying African Rattles
farmed in the Gorge
for disturbing purposes.

One mouth swallows an entire Black Lake
under pretense of liberating The Loop
from Black Lake's putative subservience
to The Great Gorge. 

The confusion that ensues causes ghosts
to shake loose
from rocky declivities
and aggravate  the disturbance of Wrench Boy.
Now he must work 
to bring to Black Lake
a merely adventitious liberation.
Work of this sort is everywhere.


Gaze in your opal if you can while the mountains tremble;
circulate somatic energies through your loop.

Do what you will with epidemic moles.
Moles himself, in support of his brood,
sports melee. 
Thus--work for everyone. 


The three confederates of the Common Loop
are occupied with private business
just like Moles.

The witch's pot
of common prophecy
lies idle.

No one thinks to consult it
save miscreants and simpletons,
and serious souls
but in their private capacity,
or wishing to reanimate
some common truth,
but at the wrong time. 

Whatever bubbles forth from its open mouth
flows into a virtual, diffident, and deep-
ly broken ocean.

Glob grows
and shuts his mouth. 

Black Lake stays appropriately still and bides its opal. 

First Interval

No more stories.

What then?

Part-systems of imagery and broken narratives.
Concepts and myths and their edgy contradictories.
What is a concept anyway?

Shifting relations among the shadows--
orderly mind
behind the verbiage--well,
orderly, disorderly, loopy, or quiescent, whatever.
The transparitions of Syzygy
in an ontological register
and shifting cosmological domain.
"See one Syzygy, see them all," quips Moles.

Truth is, 
there is but one, intelligential
etheric doublet.
The very principle that the Person
is the consort
of everyone 
reflected through a hierarchy of theophanies,
actually heterarchical, 
because of that personal singularity. Trans-gendered,
according to the genderized appetancy
pertaining to each. 
For some She is a Flower,
for some It is a Stone, 
for some the Figure of Language, 
Amaterasu, the female principle, the Sun.

There, above the horizon, with eyes
pure water of crystal, celestial female;
there on the hill slope,
dream city, heroic male;
masked as troll or ogress,
one saw Her once,
one sees Him now,
the tincture of the woman one might find,
if a male, splintered into
the lovers of a life time,
or as the only soul mate,
birds on a wire
or singing 
in The Great Bush.
Not only biologically engendered,
gender affinitants might appear
in any ontic category,
gemstone and floweret,
giant and mountain,
water and rock,
Being and Apparency
earth or sea and sky.


Existence itself is a syzygetical phantom,
though one's own 

for a moment or a lifetime
seem real enough.

Can you really divide existence
from its narrative, wake or dream?
Do you have some text for it?

How easily one's mind
is given over 
to an alien world.

In the blink of an eyelid
one is there
on the other side 
of the curtain that protects
or the curtain that divides.

Wrench Boy knows all this but keeps his silence
even among the toil of alertness,
even in the divergence of slumber.

Is there a sign
discovered in Black Lake or Opal
that it will ever end?


Across The Perilous Line II


Professor Tong was first to deliver
a course of lectures 
in the academic lounge
of the newly restored and decked out  Grand Hotel.

The room was festooned with violets.

The chairs were filled with studious moles
in every kind of garb,
fashionable and un.

Even ghosts were welcomed.

The subject of Lecture One was the question:
"What is Black Lake the Cover For?"

The topic was of some political moment
and served to introduce
the more general concern of the course:
"Being and its Apparencies."

Hammerhead vowed to himself
to attend every lecture.

His initiation had
touched upon such matters.
It was why he had found 
rapport with Wrench Boy, who,
it should be mentioned, intended to attend
as many of the lectures as
other commitments would allow.

On a desk, front-left of the podium,
was a large, magnificent opal
that seemed as though its luster'd never fade.

There was a sense that what might transpire
in these talks and demonstrations
would be of some concern to the Loop as a whole,
its members, its institutions, its manner of functioning;
indeed, of concern to all whose energies
tend to oscillate or fade--even,
or in particular, the ghosts--
do they exist or not?
The perennial question.
Or are they in a special sense
appearance only?
Likewise The Garden: its archetype and its instances.
Is there an ideal sense of "Being," say,
such that it is that garden? 

The first lecture was well-attended,
for everyone had a stake in Black Lake,
even those for whom its coming-to-appearance was but a rumor.
What lay hidden in its waters?
What were the images 
strangely reflected therein?
What did it mean     
when dark breezes would agitate its surface,
or with  energetic perturbations?
What did it mean when it's still and what did it cover.  
It was this last that was most troublesomely
bruited about on the winds of ontological rumor.
Its beneficence or ominous portentousness depended,
it was thought, quite upon that.

Everyone brought to the lectures
their own habits
in hopes of overcoming, affirming, or enhancing
the performance of them.

There were those who had questions about Hammerhead
and the other archetypes.
Just what was the nature of the strange
authority they seemed to exert
over the whole complexus?
How did they generate and absorb
the indefinite multiplicity of their avatars?
Indeed what were these avatars?

Outside the Lounge was a garden
at the center of which there stood, like a small tree,
an African Rattle.

And a tunnel-like causeway 
that passed to and from
a trapdoor
in front of the tree
to the hallway
that passed the lounge.

As Professor Tong
began to speak
all sense of where it was and how and why
the Lounge was occupied
began to flicker and fade . . .


A transparent globe.
And now they were all 
figures of light 
introjected there.

The sound of an African Rattle filled their ear space
and trembling things like ghosts--
liberated-- since their substance
was like the light
all the others actually were composed of.

Hammerhead spoke to himself,
"O Hammerhead," he said, but really had nothing to say.

A chizzel lay on the table,
a copper coil and a chizzel.

Then Hammerhead himself began to fade,
and a black gorge opened
visibly out of the African Rattle sound.

The moles were fingering violets
and the set was the garden, the garden
where the African Rattle tree,
dropped from its gnarly surface
crystal nuts
and as they accumulated 
into little mountains
the ground began to disappear
and there was a black pot.
These things continued to change to other things
but the sound of the African Rattle remained the same.
Hammerhead in a kind of ecstasy appeared again
and faded again. Then came Jaguar,
all in the sound of the rattle out of Africa,
then Hammerhead again,
then the sense, neither vision nor sound,
of the space of the Great Gorge,

and it became the academic lounge, a normal scene again,
and Professor Tong was there behind the podium.

He spoke. 

"I hope I need no introduction to most of you.
No time has passed at all
since last I spoke here.  Though in that instance
none of you were mules, your habit was mostly 
humanoid, the fading character of the things within the ambient
had not yet manifested. Hammerhead
was prone to raise objections, and the Gorge
was imperceptible, not even felt, let alone seen.
I pick my African Rattle
from a jungle of such,
and from what I can hear,
I shall discourse 
about Black Lake."

The volume of the white susurrus increased
and the textures and voices 
discernible within it 
diversified markedly. 
There were tunnels through the sound
down which it was possible to pass
with one's attention
at the end of each of which
there was a kind of mouth.
In the midst of the tunnel
one shed what habitude 
one was ready to shed. 
It appeared as though Hammerhead were the guide to this,
that is, one of his avatars.
His soul was like a gorge.
And that to be an avatar
was to be a ghost.
When he had no persons to speak to, 
his form fell into Black Lake.
What was Black Lake?
You could see this.
When your nature, defined by your function,
ceases to function under that function, 
that is what the form of yourself
that you self-apprehend
passes back into.
There was a middle stage
whose sense was Melee.

The Professor did not say all this.
His work was but to orchestrate 
a kind of demonstration. 

You became the avatar that guided you,
and grew and then released within your being
the thing

Each of us was a ghost
that rose and then fell back
into Black Lake.  "But what of the Lake itself?"
everyone wondered. "Was there a tunnel
under its substance 
to The Gorge? Or was the Gorge
the roiling space it managed--
the Pit that held the Lake?"


Violet sat next to Wrench Boy.
Violets filled the Gorge.
Suddenly there appeared
in everyone's hand
a fist full of violets.
They all were standing--
ten thousand avatars and their archetypes--
around the Gorge.

Second Interval 

"Things are getting serious, " thought Wrench Boy.
"I am professor Tong."

He journeyed to Black Lake.
He allowed the waters to churn.
The churning waters 
drew up from within themselves
a Black Box.

Wrench Boy removed Black Box and placed it on the shore.
It grew big enough for a man-sized door to appear on its forward side.
Wrench Boy opened and entered it.

There were two rooms 
separated by a wall.

Wrench Boy sat down in one of them.

Time was like a crystal.
Jaguar and Hammerhead observed
that when Wrench Boy approached Black Lake
it seemed that he had diminished to a point and vanished into it. 
It was time itself 
that had entered the center of the Crystal.

When Wrench Boy came out of Black Box
time resumed.

He had something to say.
The others gathered in assembly.
Things were simpler now. 
No Gorge,
no avatars.
Only the persons themselves: 
Hammerhead, Jaguar, 
Violet, Crystal, 
Melee, Moles--
collected in their natures and ready to listen.

Third Interval 

Professor Tong
that was Wrench Boy

"Being is not built like a brick house.
It has innumerable coverings.
Strip them all
and nothing remains to be seen.
Yet Being is not its coverings,
singly or in aggregate.
It is the principle that allows
the appearance of things.
It is innocent and simple,
the deepest lure in the heart,
the spring for every act,
the source of every motion and its consequent.
It supports the truest wish 
to release oneself from the complexities, the toils,
the opacities, 
the thoughts and systems of thoughts,
the myths and their narratologies,
the sciences, hypotheses and theories,
speculations, observations, technologies--
now or ever,
in this world or any other--
the wish to release all things
that cover Being. 
But supports these things as well.
Its truth is the lure, the bait, the miraculous elixir,
its apparancies and their forms, 
compounded in our senses, or any other senses--
the eyes of insects, the olfactories of bloodhounds, 
the unimaginable modalities 
belonging to the sensoria of beings
anywhere, at any time, in any world;
or the nature and structures of intellect,
or any other means of apprehension;
indeed whatever is discovered to be so
is but a revelation of Being; 
whatever is uncovered as illusory, or left illusory
and uncovered not, is Being's form. 

But this is what I learned
when I called Black Box from Black Lake
and entered the black door of it
and sat in one of its chambers with my inquiries.
On the other side of the wall there is a being and its work
is to alter the machinery 
by which we configure the world:
as we approach some 
great complexity 
of proved veracity 
by means of our most diligent
effort, collective or alone,
earnest and obedient
to the best of methodologies,
this being shifts the subtle ground of it.
Our thoughts respond
as if to the revelation
of another world. 
And it is another world,
another schema of apparencies,
another Cover of Being.
And this is what Black Lake covers:
the inapparency of Being itself,
and that everything that seems must seem to Be."

Everyone was respectful and attentive,
everyone understood something,
none  got it all, and in the end
it was quite as if
there was not a being among them 5	
that believed a word of it.