The truth has no path.
I stared into the rectangle of light. It was too bright, and I shut my eyes.
The Yogi was gone, but I could hear his voice. He spoke quietly in my head.
“Falling of this kind,” he said, “is a miraculous phenomenon, a physical sensation that occurs within the body. There are people who call upon redemption to explain it…although this is the result of misperception. When you’re ready to clear your heart…you’ll want to fall forward. There will be no obstacle. It will feel good to you to fall forward into space, and you’ll want to fall forward, as if your sternum could open, like a sail. This feeling will come over you like a wave. Surrender is one of the names for it. And if you want it, if you say, ‘I surrender’, it will never be. It will happen to you. It will surprise you. But don’t begin believing things because of it. Only remember it is true.”
Still the bright light of the street yielded no detail. I only knew of the time when I had been in Sailor’s kitchen, and knelt down on her floor, and felt a fool.
(Back Door: Enter “Reflection” into the search bar.)
I kissed you
Before you died
Five pointed star
Gate to the other
Man to man eye
Didn’t even cry
Staring at my tattoo
Like it was a spy
Made you so punk
Is the law,
Room like a green room
End in sight
Stage your infinity
Enter into light.
(A Footnote: The doggerel form of these verses was inspired by Kurt Cobain’s writing for Incesticide and In Utero. I began writing punk verses in this form in 2010, and recorded them in notebooks dating 2010-2011. Now I am adding to this collection of verses, and posting the new work here. The work is dedicated to Thom Hunt.)
Then the things came through so fast they were ragged, without clear beginnings or endings… and I sat opposite her, and the things just ripped through me, the memories…
…sounds, smells, sensations, without time or place, without face or image… And as they tore through me, I could hear the sound of Sailor’s voice in my open ears…over the tiny trembling and shaking that became me…
She lowered her eyes, and sipped her tea.
“Love is a lie,” she said slowly, checking my reaction, her eyes large.
I sat stock still.
Her fingers went unconsciously to the slender chain she wore around her neck, and then her hand dropped lightly away. She sighed. Her chest rose and fell softly inside her T-shirt. The faint blond hairs on her forearms stood out a little…tiny goosebumps.
I felt a sudden, yearning rush between my legs. No, not this… I wanted her.
She reached across the table, and touched my forearm, intending to calm me. The effect was opposite. A thrill went up my spine.
“Narc, it’s about love,” she said, “It’s the feeling that makes you want to hold me… But it’s not what it claims to be…”
She broke off for a moment, but then went on.
“Narc, I have to say it to you…I don’t think this feeling comes from grace…”
I could not help myself; I stared.
A cloud must have passed away from the sun; I could see that Sailor was lit from the side window. By that light, I could see that she was thinking.
“This feeling is not true…it’s not like hard work, not like sweat,” she said, “not in the good, sweet, generous sense…” Her brow wrinkled. “It claims to give shelter, to protect… But I’ve felt it before. It’s hypocrisy, Narc…because it is not what it claims to be. It does not seek to give shelter; it seeks to take it: it seeks to be sheltered, and to be rocked, and held, and comforted. It seeks to take, and take, until there is no more…as if you could drink, and drink, until there is nothing left of the pleasure of my heart.”
She took me in with her eyes. Then she finished her tea, and placed the cup back down on the table.
The sound of the china against the warm wood was like a note of music.
Now there was a simplicity, and a sensuality, and a frankness to her face which I had never seen before. She spoke simply, and clearly.
“I know this love, Narc…it seeks to be secreted away…until all the world is oblivion, until all pain is absorbed into hiding, and comfort, and ecstasy… It’s the most pleasurable destruction: it is the heart’s addiction to the heart. And that is why the heart panics, and the body becomes turbulent: because it knows that it cries out for the destruction of a heart. And what your friend speaks about…the turn to hate… There is no turn. It is only the love becoming true to its own dark power. Because hate is authentic: it does none other than what it claims to be. It is desire for the destruction of another. Hate knows itself, and is austere…for it does not make from joy a mask for its desire to drink…”
I waited for her to continue.
“Narc, I’m saying this to you only because I believe…that if we don’t reckon with the truth, love will kill us slowly… We have to recover, and to fly…so that our falling bodies take flight…like waking from a dream.”
I became conscious of myself. I was on the floor of Sailor’s kitchen. Sobs shook my body. This was it; this was the thing that had to come through. It washed over me like a flood. I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m so so sorry.
What the hell was this? Like someone who’d been converted by the power of Jesus Christ… I couldn’t believe it. This couldn’t fucking be me. No! Stop! What was going on?
I was bewildered, confused, embarrassed, but letting it happen, right there on the floor in her kitchen in front of her. Crying. Just crying. Tears were rolling down my face, dropping onto my jeans. A couple tears fell on my stomach, and I realized how hot they were. I was coming the fuck apart. What was this? I was a man! I was a fucking atheist, God damn it! There was no God, no divine, no….
But whatever it was that did not exist, it was in my heart…ice, and dirt, and slag, and crap, from my life, in the chambers of my heart. People I had hit with my fists, people I had screamed at. It was getting scraped out.
And then words started pouring out of me again…
“Oh Jesus Christ, Sailor, Fuck me…I’m sorry…”
I didn’t even know what I was sorry about. I’d never done anything to Sailor. And then I was just crying, sitting on one hip with my hand down on the floor, like a girl, crying. Wiping my wet hand across my shaved, stubbly head, and making it cold, and wet…and so sorry that she had to see it…and wanting to apologize for everything, all my flaws, which were all my actions…
Nothing was clear, and yet everything was fluid. Everything about me seemed ridiculous, even my body, with its stupid muscles and its good grooming. Narc you vain, vain fuck. You fucking prince. What is the fucking point? Your heart is a fucking shambles.
(A Footnote: Thank You osho.)
My mind flashed forward to a time I had not yet lived.
I sat with the Yogi at the Black and Green.
I did not recognize him…although he wore what he wore; his head was shaved; his garments were rough and simple… But his face was of an aspect that was unpleasant, foreign, possessed by some archetypal force which he now had channeled and allowed to pass. His brows arched at strange angles, and I could see his lower row of teeth when he spoke. His eyes became tunnels. I did not look away from him, and as I engaged him, and looked into his face, I felt weak, as if I had not eaten in days.
Upi, the Buddha, waited behind the counter. I could not see him, but felt that he watching.
“You cannot forget!” The Yogi shouted, rising up out of his metal chair. “You cannot forget!”
The metal garage door was up, and passersby quickened their pace.
From behind me, Upi said, “Please…for business.”
The Yogi shouted at Upi, “Upi! I’m very sorry, but he must know! Now is the moment.” The Yogi turned his eyes to me, and exhorted, “Remember you life. Hide nothing from yourself. You have been cruel… You must remember everything.” He was nearly singing now. I felt that the plates and utensils behind Upi’s coffee counter would rattle off their shelves. The Yogi’s voice vibrated so the metal chairs and tables seemed to sing with him, “You must reflect on your life!”
He brought his tea things to the counter, walked quickly back to his chair, put on his scarf, pulled up his hood, and quickly went out, protecting his space, allowing room neither for eye contact nor return comment. He was gone.
Moments later, or hours later, there was a brilliant sun break, and light reflected off the upper part of the metal garage door, so that I had to shut my eyes to avoid the glare. When I opened them again, the room seemed so dark, and the street so light, that I could see nothing but a large bright rectangle in the darkness. The Yogi’s words resounded in my head, and I felt terrible shame.
And then it was all gone, The Yogi was gone in an instant, and I was with Sailor, years before…
I remembered what I’d thought so fleetingly the first time I’d seen Sailor, in that club… I’d thought she was a hooker. And I’d never shared it; I never would. But here was this woman, who at first blush had struck me hard, so hard, as someone who swung low on the street, and she was telling me that love was a hypocrisy. I wanted to knock everything off the table. I wanted to tear the room apart, to abuse her physically.
The nausea grew stronger. The room seemed out of proportion somehow. Sailor’s head looked tiny and distant. I felt panicked. I wanted to grab her and take her into the bedroom, and resolve things a different way. I wanted to babble without stopping.
I did nothing. I sat still and waited. This was my problem, not hers. This had to come out.
(A Back Door: Enter “Motionless” or “Dark as an Illusion” into the search bar.)
“You’re lying,” Sailor said.
I remembered another conversation I’d had with Malakian, almost a year later.
“So, you’re with this girl?”
“Yeah,” I said, “we’ve been together about a year…maybe a little bit more than that.”
“You’re still enjoying it?”
“Good,” he said.
“…of course you have to take care. It’s okay to be with one woman for a long time. It can be beautiful. When she loves you, cares for you. When she needs you…takes shelter in you…and you care for her a little, too, protect her a little… This is the greatest thing in the world. But take care. If you reach the moment when you start to feel you hate her, you have to stop. You have break it up. There is no good that will come of this.”
Strange sensations churned inside me. Things were toxic, and I knew it. Toxic and at the same time magical: what was I to do? I looked at Malakian.
At that moment, he had no pride in it. He looked out across Amsterdam, to a restaurant across the street, where a dinner party was just letting out onto into the night.
Malakian was utterly in his senses, enjoying the cold air, enjoying the smoking. He was well dressed in a wool overcoat, and bundled well enough that he was not suffering the weather, so that is was a pleasure for him to breathe in the cold night air, and the hot smoke. He lit a second cigarette and smoked it as if he had just told me the simplest, most ordinary thing in the world. In fact, he’d probably already forgotten what he’d said.
Together we knew what only a few people knew, that the color of cigarette smoke and the color of one’s breath on air were indeed two different colors. Two shades…and the devil was white.
The memory rocketed through me, in a microsecond, and it was gone. Malakian was gone.
I was there, in the apartment, with Sailor.
She said to me, “Love is a lie, Narc, a hypocrisy. You know it.”