Across The Perilous Line, Series II The Lecture of Professor Tong 1 The Glob liberates the fixed forms Hammerhead tries to drive through the Loop. The Gorge looms from below--the Gorge appears 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, appearing 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 2 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, subtly 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 shown. 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 itself-- 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 opined: "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.