Ploughing The Clouds 11 The African Rattles decided on quietude while Hammerhead circled the field. The melee had grown silent. Stillness fell on the gorge. All afternoon, the guests in The Old Hotel tamped down their jaguars. Violets fluttered in the apprehensive breezes. Time passing had no shape, no interval, no melody. Even waiting stopped. Even the gorge was a ghost of itself--nothing falling into it, nothing crumbling from it, nothing being devoured. Could The Old Hotel have become Long River, finally-- bifurcation passed to the limit--an infinite Fork? Hammerhead circled the field. Instant after instant time began again as if to exact Being itself as a kind of tariff from the jowls of light wider than Melee's primordial insurrection--flash flood flash through the silence. Nobody adverted to Deep Storage. Black Lake commuted with Opal. In the silence, up rose Jaguar and gazed along Long River. Would he see the ghost whose silence was essential to itself or was it but a cold breath from Deep Storage? Long River appeared suddenly to him like essentially interrupted speech--speech that ever took itself up again but never resolved to a garden--things said and to be said, surely-- but Jaguar mumbled without ceasing; Long River bumbled along broken, almost dried up, among large boulders.  Hammerhead kept to his circle and had no regard for Deep Storage. The Gorge had no enthusiasm for Melee. If this be a state of misdirection-- but under whose direction? Violet was by herself --- deep without reference to that which is down in the gorge. Long River is long enough to pass through whatever obliquity with which Melee might divert its path; meld silence through enthusiasm without scotching it utterly.  I'm trying to work out, work through, what I don't see or understand. Is Deep Storage stocked only with previous storage or -- pot, cup, cat's bowl, chalice, caldron-- does its melee-- with or without misdirection-- under whom-so-ever's direction-- stock up The New? And is The Now the form of The New? And are these my questions? Hammerhead walks in a circle obsessed by the forms of these questions but does he ask them? When time is denuded of interval, incapable of song-- does timeless Black Lake rise up from its bottom as it? But here there is release, Long River is never impeded, and somehow, without interval or time-shape, still there is song. I think the gorge has something to do with it. That, and the matter of Right Focus. And remember how Violet kissed Crystal and how Long River so quietly floated old Hammerhead that his protuberance without having to alter its nature performed its business so elegantly that it positively glowed? I am perfectly cognizant of all of that and of the multiple instrumentalities of Melee, but what of this matter about Deep Storage? People are constantly splitting in my dream and unexceptionably returning to their persons upon my awakening. Then splitting again. Neither psychic scatter nor its negative answer to the query. And I dare not bring this up before the Collective though the matter is truly pertinent to the general emprise. Neither partial release nor enthusiasm in the ordinary sense of avidity can substitute for attendance upon Long River's intimate actuality. Long River accommodates loss without compensation. Long River is the fluent obverse to Black Lake's appearance of stasis. Release Great Hammerhead, the archetype, not the avatars, but the avatars in all of us, too-- from this abusive focus. I need Wrench Boy and his capacity to integrate Long River and Happenstance. He is the Master of Right Focus -- and everything else! His Forks show compassion for ghosts . . . Ploughing The Clouds 12 Melee loves Wrench Boy. "Why?" Wondered Violet. "It must have something to do with the ghost they saw together in the garden, though we all did, we all sort of saw it, that night when the gorge was fuming and The Old Hotel had shut up its special crystal in a wooden box and hidden it under a lamp which it seemed to us possessed, ahem, 'problematical' properties. Its wick had been dipped in Black Lake. And that isn't possible." I remember the box had been found at the bottom of the gorge perfectly fashioned and undamaged by what must have been a violent and precipitous spill. Some of us thought it extracted directly from Deep Storage and never to have fallen at all. But when the box received its glittering crystals and was positioned beneath the lamp, fumes mixed with smoky lamp light and something was released as if from the stone in the box right through the delicate wood work. A subtle turbulence took hold of the ambience itself, both the quality of the atmosphere and, more particularly, the activity of our minds. Not everyone felt it in a way they could articulate but everyone felt it nonetheless. A subtle tendency toward distraction, certainly; but each thought seemed drawn to some other with which no connection presented itself, or else stayed right where it happened without sequel or indication of pertinence. The disturbance grew across the Collective, but Wrench Boy remained on an even keel and genuinely enjoyed the slightly queer and zainy attitudes it produced in his friends. There was something perfectly admirable in his demeanor, yes; but really in the entire deportment of his whole being. Violet saw that and thought her sister would have admired it too. Suddenly the whole thing jumped a notch, and there was an entity-- one might call it a ghost -- a wisp of a breeze and a pillar of light -- the whole conventional show, truly-- but it held in what functioned as a hand a tall fork, like a rake with five tines. A wave of enthusiasm, not fright, passed over the Collective. We followed the Pillar.  It was a time of great obliquity. The spirits of Violet and Crystal were split apart like a fork in their essence out of deep Storage in a manner not manifest before. And all the opals floating up from Deep Storage also showed forks--bifurcation like intricate crazing in a white glaze on a bright ceramic cup-dish. The silence through The Old Hotel and its environs was of an absolute kind-- nothingness inhabited by jaguars.  The Great Debt of Manifest Apparency-- its negative inversion-- subtraction compensates proliferation. Wrench Boy in fact understood this, was this out of Deep Storage-- anti-particle and particle-- negative gravity-- everything in debt to its own prior inversion. Only Black Lake-- pure Being itself and its mythology-- "floated" as if down Long River-- Apparency itself the Great Ghost . . .  Hammerhead--the Archetype-- himself the avatar of the nothingness that, other than pure Being, intimately haunts all Apparency that like an infinite crystal proliferates a rational garden.  "Stop all this! Take focus!" cried Violet. "Misdirection cannot be the Law! Will release not come through the Opal? Is Happenstance itself in cahoots with this truly maniacal enthusiasm?"  Black Lake is the Mother of Loss, Wrench Boy the Master of Enthusiasm. Why? Because he understands his Jaguar. He turns his wrench and the Great Ghost confuses Hammerhead. Melee observes it and's amazed. Primordial Eros floats up from Deep Storage and bifurcates at once into Scatter and the possibility of the appearance of Loss.  Interval In the kitchens of The Old Hotel, the chamber crones were brooding over a certain cup-dish at the bottom of which, covering its glaze with delicate crazing, brown particles of cinnamon adhered to almond milk residues and taking the shapes of elegant wedges and scythe blades, they twinkled in the intermittent noon light when the rain broke and the pumps in the cellars fell silent footsteps in the upper chambers faucet drops in the sink the significance of the figure was evident-- no need to read this . . .  Hammerhead enlarged his head until it loomed over the hill equivalent in verticality and breadth to the dimensions of that small mountain crowned with a forest of mixed forks, hammers, and rattles even his own avatars were terrified by him.  But the White Shirts were invisible still-- they weren't even hiding in heir own sleeves invented by the laws that permitted them, they were insubstantial, equivalent to their functions only-- the people returned to their cauldron while Hammerhead breathed on the city improbable anathemas. The War was taking new forms: intelligence retreated to sleeves and virtual cauldrons that no longer had the forms of themselves-- no forms at all-- but data banks and number crunching furnaces, dissolution evolved among data points, schematcs, like wedges and scythe blades that were not like wedges and scythe blades-- even death retreated from embodiment-- mind simply ceased to generate forms and fell into irretrievable silences. Black Lake was All. (End of Interval) And The Old Hotel is also The Bank and its inordinate extravagance, its bloating at the expense of us all-- its hallucination of an ever-growing crystal-- Faustian humanity to feed on happenstance forever without a glance at Long River, without a legend of compensatory black violets, without a gaze at the crazing of our opal . . . There still is a use for an African Rattle-- not public, not proved for conjuring the ghost of social efficacy out of Deep Storage but a cleansing brush of sonority to clear the crazing from the opal. Interval Dragon Semen fills the cauldron. In the ocean of fire underneath it salamanders seethe in the flames. Adders and sea eels-- white tigers heads turning, this way and that, flash in the mind fields down the boulevards and the bullets can't stop them-- they block up the barrels in the guns of the sheriff's men. The tigers take care of the children but head for the banks. The druids of Newburgh and Poughkeepsie (I'll chance it--there'll be druids in Poughkeepsie) beseech their magical hand stones thin, flat, and solid, to uncash the data stream red water snakes coil round the mind fields where currencies are sprouted and traded and the minds cease to generate the forms through which money is molded-- no one knows what it is and the druids convene an intelligence to circumvent its being molded anew. A castle of titanium and platinum, a rampart of white silver and gold struck by moonlight -- one half of it nightwise -- the other half, by sunlight at noon starlight in the ether rains coinage . . . What's wrong with that? An elegant image of ancient abundance but today dropped contra naturam from Nothingness-- the sky is black where the celestial bodies evolve on borrowed forces-- the payback is ourselves and all our woe to balance the ontic leger. No redress but Wisdom. Yes, Wisdom. Only Pure Being can heal the broken world. But Money Has an Enemy . . . Ploughing The Clouds 13 In general, Violet's vocabulary has become considerably enriched since the early days of The Confederacy now renamed "The Collective." Consequently, her views on several subjects have expanded correspondingly. Regarding erotic relations in the conventional sense she had, for a time, a low opinion, for instance. On the other hand, her regard for The People's Cauldron, the magical efficacy of judiciously "putting" crystals; for the mysteries of Black Lake and Long River, well, the very proliferation of her avatars, her many gardens, were testimony to a generous approbation. She even grew copiously in the gorge and twined petal and stem round selective avatars of Hammerhead. For Long River, with a few reservations, she often effused enthusiasm. She was not happy, however when it flowed away her seeds and attenuated the flourishing of her garden. Vocabulary or not, she had yet to develop a working understanding of The Fork. Why must our focus divide? Why must it salt the curious brews of the cauldron with contrary medicines? Why must Crystal break light into so many paths contradictory and with such potential for disharmony, envy, confusion, that only Black Lake itself absorbing matters altogether might spell release? And why are there crazes in the Opal? The amity she enjoys with some of the ghosts is due to a certain propinquity of nature rather than vocabulary and her being with Crystal, the latter, her sister and teacher. Focus is necessary for growth, Scatter for seeding, Loss, that perennial renewal express the infinite fecundity Black Lake effects through The Cauldron. When her mind experiences the unpropitious variety of scatter-- the African Rattles that stand in the fertile regions nearby her, gather in through their white susurrus the debits of Misdirection so that no Loss in the unpropitious sense foster a fork in her focus.  Crystal has been listening to this silent discourse on the intellectual development of her sister and pupil. She thinks, in my mind, Enough of this. I am concerned, as always, about the character of Hammerhead and how he is working to integrate his opal. He has no difficulty in principle with bifurcation, and even the melee it frequently leads to, he being so frequently the cause of it, is just fine with him. But as to Black Lake, though he has by this time experienced more than a glimpse of it, its true ontological provenience is inaccessible to a mind so stabbed by forks. Hammerhead is capable of enthusiasm for cauldrons, but, of The Chalice, he is suspicious that Misdirection has flashed up a "vision." Its relation to his opal and its transparitional co-inherence with Black Lake are still lost upon him. He takes a break and rings the bell in The Old Hotel's staid foyer. He takes hold of his five-tined fork, assumes, to recharge his focus, an attitude of jovial enthusiasm and familiarity with that happy bauble, his opal, unwitting of its bifurcation and obliquity, signified by its crazing. In this he is far behind Violet, in danger of recidivism and scatter.  Hammerhead's release, considered as history, is provisional. There's a fork in his looseness: One path is a zig-zag that runs through Deep Storage, alright, but right to a series of cabinets and abstract addresses in Deep Storage that are situated far from Black Lake. Another path, if he'd take it, leads straight to The Universal Opal. But the fork has too many tines, too many choices, so that though he is released to take whatever path he would, well, Choice or Chance are unlikely methodologies to do anything at all but help him lose his way. In truth he must deepen his attitude and quest for The Chalice, scatter his focus a modicum, until Jaguar manifests as a sluggard of a sentinel in the Garden of Crystals. Suddenly, dead silence. I can hear it. A Fork without Bifurcation: a Stunning of Ghosts. A fork at the end of an African Rattle. A perfectly focused African Rattle at that. Call back your focus, for Hammerhead has come round to The Rigid Fork-- an ahistorical prognostication whose Rumor is Opal. Ploughing The Clouds 14 Crystal said: "Let the planting be on the widest possible ground."  "Where have I been?" asked Jaguar. Laughter echoed across The Collective. Hammerhead said: "You returned to the province of 'That Man'." "If you mean me," I said, "I vanish from myself in that direction as readily as he, and with as great or as little enthusiasm. One might as well imagine we drift or drop or repair back into Deep Storage."  Rumble, mumble, grumble echoes across The Collective, a sound that merges into the bubbling susurrus of Long River. "That Man," I said, might just as well be That Chalice and its ever-bubbling fountain. Do you see it standing in our Vision at the center of The Garden? But we ourselves--each one of us-- vanish from the vision of the others when we do see it. If it's there we are gone to the place that is not 'whither' -- Deep Storage does not contain it in its corridors and cabinets, its data files and informational arrays. Only the miasma of light beyond all databanks and fantastical inventions alike, beyond the impossible and the possible, beyond, in fact, Beyond--" Rumble, mumble, grumble echoed across The Collective. For everyone had something to say about The Ineffable.  Opal was listening to gatherings all along Long River. "Release, release all of us from grievous Loss." "Let Jaguar's concordat with Hammerhead be renewed." "Let Enthusiasm master Focus." "Let us all shake our African Rattles."  And we did. The problem wasn't Scatter or the failure to engineer Release. Obliquity functioned perfectly on its own terms. But Hammerhead himself was compelled to activate a panoply of avatars, each with another role in The Great Awakening, some facilitators, some covertly or overtly, mounting the opposition. The problem was how to elude them all, presenting no position to attack-- montagnards, guerrillas, really-- but since their numbers were ever-growing, how might this be achieved? Wrench Boy fissioned differently, avatar-wise. There were imps and calculators, cadres of operatives; workers, certainly--every one a master at her post; warriors, but no soldiers, no pawns, no functionaries. Busy bees, in one respect, but no Queens; no drones. The point was to delay the point of focus -- keep the cauldron roiling, allow Obliquity to discommode Centrality, while the sound of African Rattles kept rising over the horizon, and we were mighty jaguars against the inevitable fork, the schism twixt African Rattle and smoky Opal.  The avatars of Hammerhead threatened to foment unruly melee merely or else to prevent one with hammer blows commandeering Happenstance, calling upon Deep Storage, co-opting the principle of Release. Hammerhead himself vacillated between enthusiasm and abject confusion. He had developed no conception of how to comport himself vis a vis self-arising melee. The African Rattles moved closer. Should he join them or take them down? And was there an alternative, not an alternative at all, but a genuine release into the space of the jaguars, and is that what they mean by Black Lake? He wanted to retreat to his embryo, inaugurate a new zygote of himself, come out of the womb of being, released from the terrible army of African Rattles, the overwhelming miasma of luminous ghosts. "Damn that Long River and its titillating garden, always almost in being, ever being taken away, so that existence itself were a long tribulation of longing with opals to gaze in but never to belong to-- Long River! Long River! release me, or at least bring equilibration. What shall I do with this Melee? Shall I force her into the gorge? Shall I fling myself upon Happenstance, let Deep Storage reclaim whatever enthusiasm compels me? Is there a Higher Happenstance to rectify Melee or use her, and I myself nothing at all but a grim miasma of ghosts?"  While the Hammerheads were tormenting themselves in this manner concerning their thought about Melee that would not resolve into a simple view, The Old Hotel was at work expanding its venue. It had an inexhaustible mandate to release space and accommodate whatever Melee herself should send its way. A twenty volume Encyclopedia of Misdirection catalogued how many Algorithms of Obliquity! Even Deep Storage can't count them. Hammerhead feared them; Opal resolved them, providing universally applicable procedures for the release from them. You pass your palm over its warm face and an eye plants itself in the center of your hand. This should take care of them. You know you're released when you sense an aroma of violets, the return of organized enthusiasm. Oh, let's plant a garden, keep tame jaguars in a garden, leave our scatter-brained states to whatever world wants them. Melee--just a matter of happenstance. What has that to do with our garden? Hammerhead can busy himself building little white fences to segregate the plots, in the front of each of which we'll establish a gnome in the form of a little bronze statue of Wrench Boy . . .
Interval . . . like a Fomorion's tea bag! The gorgeous ogress . . . the gorge itself inverted . . . the orgies of her beauty -- I mean the palpable effluence came in shock waves across the meadows where she'd galavant -- how could a thing so massive heave itself so deftly over the huts and hillocks, the megaliths and mountains? There must have been ameliatory plantetoids countermanding gravity in that celestial season. But the little males fainted with an overplus of passion-- the feeling was unintegrable, unanswerable-- the female unaware of the effect of her own steam.  The Old Hotel (at all events) got steeped in Black Lake (as the males were steeped in the orgonic effluvia of the ogress) and that was how it acquired its protean propensities. It had traded away all constancy of material identity-- cashed it out entirely-- for a nature that ever after could morph prolifically-- its chambers multiplied, its decor and period grew multiple and variable-- it was ever another thing-- as episode or circumstance demanded. Even the sense that it was owned or managed was labile--Wrench Boy, Hammerhead, Violet, Crystal, Hammerhead or Melee, sat in the office, if there was one, filled the halls and lounges with lavender and violet. Interval The Pooka appeared in a field of women-- What pleasure! What wisdom! What glory! The strato-cumuli billowed uncannily. The cumulo-nimbi glowed. Out to the mountainside! Into the trees! Engines rumbled in the underground. The Pooka took off his head for each of the celebrants. He gyred and gimbled and wound all afternoon. Then he changed and the night howled. Owl eyes on the shop-shelves. Owl eyes on the branch. The Pooka vanished when the moon set. The women returned to their shells.
Ploughing The Clouds 9 Enthusiasm erupted through the petals of ten-thousand violets. All the opals were amazed on their bezels. Misdirection was quiescent. Jaguars snaked about the little flowering stems. All caldrons bubbled promiscuously, if somewhat peremptorily-- is now the time? Wrench Boy activated "the People's Mike Check for the Human Microphone." He shook his African Rattle and delivered: "I think that Jaguar [I think that Jaguar] should come back from obliquity [should come back from obliquity] and lend his energy [and lend his energy] to the People's Caldron. [to the People's Caldron.] It's cold in the gorge. [It's cold in the gorge.] I've just been down in there. [I've just been down in there.] And I'm here to report [And I'm here to report] Long River has been diverted. [Long River has been diverted.] All violets will wither, [All violets will wither,] all opals blacken. [all opals blacken.] Too long have we succumbed [Too long have we succumbed] to dishonorable misdirection. [to dishonorable misdirection.] Existence waxes intolerable. [Existence waxes intolerable.] No slugs or weeds or happiness at all [No slugs or weeds or happiness at all] in the oligarchs' garden.  Silence across the Collective. A fork of innumerable pointy tines threatened to proliferate. Let it? Great melee. Restrain the bifurcation at the root? An end to true release. Listen to the Gorge. Existence must proffer its own garden from Deep Storage. Too articulate, what wisdom can be loosed from the gorge or from wherever into it? Invert the gorge, get a mountain. Too many violets or too few, what violence! Practice silence? Will Black Lake come to us? Impossible. We must find our way to it. Instruction? Misdirection. "Wrench Boy, Wrench Boy come out of your Old Hotel. I sit in the midst of the Collective attempting Silence. Long River runs through the gorge, I know it. I grasp my African Rattle to summon appropriate obliquity. What wisdom can be loosed to us? I am Hammerhead. My protuberance has turned into a fork. Jaguar jabbers at my archaic garb, my white chiton. I am jabbed by misdirection. Is the time not yet, not yet to manifest the Collective? A fork in existence, not only in ourselves. Forge unity? The counter-force is terrified and violent. They summon ten-thousand ghosts armed with unintelligible gabble to blot out both energy and silence. But silence is the secret in the sound of African Rattle. We must suffer our own bifurcation. Hold Crystal over the Gorge."  I said in my heart, "Never tire of the road. Subject the oligarchs' garden to irremediable ware and scatter. Take money out of the banks. We are the ghosts out of the gorge. We shake our African Rattles. We redirect Long River. It runs from our cats' bowl, our caldron, as from Deep Storage.  I said:"Mic Check" [Mic Check] "The opal's focus [The opal's focus] tolerates [tolerates] our own bifurcation. [our own bifurcation.] We are The New Old Hotel. [We are The New Old Hotel.] We find quiet chambers [We find quiet chambers] for all the ghosts [for all the ghosts] and avatars [and avatars] of Wrench Boy. [of Wrench Boy.]  Will Long River speak? Will Bifurcation? Will African Rattle manifest essential quietude? Will the oligarchs and their garden purchase the gorge and poison us with spurious violets? Will Wrench Boy manifest as Happenstance? Gorge-ghost, gorge-garden. There is a phase of mind's scatter-- infinite bifurcation is no loss but a time to gorge on silence. Interval They were nobody's avatars. They were lone gray wolves and wounded elephants, fluttering lepidopterae, mountain caribou and long-horned cows, salmon that leap in Long River running against the edicts of The Counselors, whose laws propel the skies. They were clouds of golden dawn light, massive galactic clusters riven by the gazes of gamma ray telescopes. They were little dogs and feral tabbies. They had gathered in the oligarchs' garden to assert the truth of Being. A nameless Glob rose up on eleven tentacles. Her thirteen mouths required no megaphone. She used the human microphone with mic-check. "We are the General assembly. [We are the General assembly.] We count, but we are numberless. [We count, but we are numberless.] We take on every appearance [We take on every appearance] the transparency of local happenstance allows. [the transparency of local happenstance allows.] No percentage identifies us [No percentage identifies us] because no totality tallies. [because no totality tallies.] We belong to every species [We belong to every species] living and non. [living and non.] Matter is our bailiwick. [Matter is our bailiwick.] Space is our abode. [Space is our abode.] Wrench Girl and her Syzygy belong with us. [Wrench Girl and her Syzygy belong with us. ] Melee rides our fire. [Melee rides our fire.] Hammerhead, Hammerhead, where are you headed? [Hammerhead, Hammerhead, where are you headed?] Will you be with us [Will you be with us] when we open our tongues in the Dream Time [when we open our tongues in the Dream Time] and occupy The House of Being and its Banks? [and occupy The House of Being and its Banks?]  Hammerhead raised two fingers and the nameless Glob recognized him. "Here are some posters I made [Here are some posters I made] while sitting on my bed with red sheets. [while sitting on my bed with red sheets.] Their utterances came to me in a dream cloud [Their utterances came to me in a dream cloud] irradiated by a glittering crystal. [irradiated by a glittering crystal.] They say: [They say:] BEING IS LICIT [BEING IS LICIT] ONLY PURE BEING CAN HEAL THE BROKEN WORLD [ONLY PURE BEING CAN HEAL THE BROKEN WORLD] EACH SINGULAR ENTITY IS BEING ENTIRE [EACH SINGULAR ENTITY IS BEING ENTIRE] EVERYTHING THAT APPEARS APPEARS TO BE [EVERYTHING THAT APPEARS APPEARS TO BE] BUT MONEY HAS AN ENEMY [BUT MONEY HAS AN ENEMY]  The Assembly broke up into small groups to discuss these matters. Some took the posters and circumambulate the oligarchs' garden even today. This happened inside the People's Caldron under the Sign of The Fork.