America T Adam Hill
(My First NOVEL, Novella)
My La Vita Nuova
My Portrait of an Artist
Often, being lost in wonder,
or confused and deeply depressed,
a pure and simple vitality flows
through me like a wind.
This pureness of life awakens all my thoughts
and actions and produces a longing,
a longing both painful and tender,
a longing which reaches toward all
that is vague, unknown and incomprehensible,
and a longing I follow like a blind man
tapping the red tip of his white cane,
until I begin to contemplate the woman
whose physical beauty and whose philosophy of life
constitute the most perfect harmony I have ever known.
She is the summation of my knowledge
and the consummation of my desires,
and  I cannot think beyond her,
for beyond her lies what never can be known to man,
though I imagine it too, has been infiltrated
by her pervasive beauty.
She is the cause of my sadness,
she is the cause of my joy.
My daily life, my view of people
and the world, and I believe,
even the blood which circulates through my heart,
have been influenced by her.
Even though I have not seen her in seven years,
still she changes my life each day.
I now know the mind can never comprehend
the completeness of the universe.
However, many things were revealed to me
when I was in her presence, listening
to her sweet profound words, and it is my hope
that you who place love before all things,
may find in this small book,
some of the love she has given
and the insight she provides.
I now know the mind can never comprehend
the completeness of the universe.
However, many things would still be unknown to me
had I never been in her presence
and listened to her sweet profound words.
It is my hope to convey to you,
to you who place love before all things,
some of the love she has given
and the insight she provides.
All I have to say here concerns her.
or opening...
Often being lifted in extreme wonder,
or lost in deep despair, I sit in my room
with head bowed toward the floor,
or watch white clouds drifting outside my window
until a pure and simple feeling flows through me like a wind.
It is the pureness of life which awakens
all my thoughts and actions and produces a longing in me,
a longing for all that is vague, unknown and incomprehensible,
and I follow this longing like a blind man tapping the red tip of his white cane,
until I begin to contemplate the woman whose physical beauty
and whose philosophy of life form the most perfect harmony I have ever known.
... and then continue with "she is the summation" etc
Often, being lifted in extreme wonder,
or lost in deep despair, I sit head bowed in my room,
or watch white clouds passing outside my window,
until a simple but mysterious feeling flows through me like a wind,
awakening all of my thoughts and actions and producing in me
a single longing which seems to reach toward all
that is vague, unknown and incomprehensible,
until I begin to contemplate the woman whose
physical appearance and whose philosophy of life
form the most perfect harmony I have ever known.
I cannot think beyond her, for beyond her lies
all that can never be known to man.
She alone is constant in my life, all else changes.
She is the cause of my sadness.
She is the cause of my joy.
She changes my life each day.
As my thoughts of her have grown and these meditative states
have continued, I have come to realize that the mind can never
comprehend the completeness of the universe. However,
many things would still be unknown to me had I never
been in her presence and not heard the sweet profound words
issuing from her compassionate lips. It is my hope that you
who place Love before all things, many find in this small book,
written in simple English, a reflection of the Love she gives
and the insight she provides. All I have to say here concerns her.
I was walking in the southeast section
of the city and had either made a wrong
turn or had been misdirected, for I did
not recognize any of my surroundings.
Warehouses, whose bright paint had long
since begun to fade, line the winding streets.
In the shadow of one of the buildings,
black men and white men were sitting
and leaning with sweat streaming
down their chiseled faces and
around their yellow-stained eyes.
Loose wet shirts stuck to their backs.
Their muscular arms glistened.
One was an old man with white hair,
a white beard and eyes twinkling with insight.
He sat with his forearms resting
on his knees. As he looked at me
he wore an amused smile, as if to say
"Young man, you've got a lot to learn."
Possessing the wisdom of the ages,
 he seemed content to sit on the ground.
The second was a middle aged man
who had wide innocent eyes.
In a gesture of good natured inferiority,
he waved feverishly at me
with a broad sweep of his hand.
A third man, a younger man,
leaning arrogantly against the wall,
glared at me with anger, hatred and contempt.
As they waited for temporary labor jobs
outside the dark unpromising Manpower office,
a pack of Kool cigarettes circulated among them,
but none of them, including myself,
could escape the summer's
oppressive heat and breed of flies
that sucked their salty flesh.
After passing them, I crossed the street
and walked into the blazing sunlight.
I felt lost, unable to remember how or even why
I had come to this section of the city.
My journey began to seem like a dream.
(My trip had taken on the qualities of a dream.)
I continued along Trinity Street
which ran high above the expressway.
I leaned over the thick aluminum railing.
Cars were speeding between wide white lines
slashed on the road surface, speeding
as though the drivers were in a race
in which each contestant had his or her
own reasons for and conception of victory.
They roared off into the carbon monoxide haze
which sprawled southward as far as I could see.
The bridge and I shook from their thunderous passing.
In the east to my left, rose the capitol
with its proud resplendent golden dome.
or... painted with pure gold.
Representatives where entering its chambers
for another day of legislation.
A white cloudy vapor trail
curved around the shape of the dome
and led high in the omnipresence of sky
to a jet which seemed like a needle piercing the air.
To the right of the jet, the atmosphere
was cloudless, robin eggshell blue,
and limitless deep space.   ...or...
A jet, leaving a white cloudy vapor trail
which simulated the curve of the dome,
seemed like a tiny shiny needle piercing the sky.
The air was fresh and robin eggshell blue,
and limitless deep space.
or ... To the right of the jet,
the nimbus rondure of the azure was cloudless
and fresh and blue and limitless deep space.
To my right, with its bridges and carbon monoxide haze,
the labyrinthine network of the Interstate Highway
sprawled like veins of the human city as far as I could see.
In the east, to my left, rose the capitol with its proud
resplendent dome of gold gleaming from the huge
yellow sphere of the sun. A jet, leaving a white cloudy
vapor trail of smoke which , at its greatest arc, simulated
the curve of the dome, the jet seemed like a tiny shiny needle
piercing the blue ceiling of sky. To the right of the jet trail
the air was deep fresh infinite light blue space.
As I lowered my eyes once more to the earth's surface,
I noticed a woman crossing one of the seven bridges in the distance.
(continued... see typed draft.)
In the distance, I saw a woman crossing
one of the seven bridges.
The bright sun dazzled my vision,
 and only slowly could I determine her appearance.
or... as she came closer, I could see that...
She was a warm and contemplative young woman
whose full and shapely body was clothed
in a light blue blouse and a pale yellow skirt.
Behind her was the cool gray granite
of the windowless rectangular Archives building.
As she approached, her flowing hair
seemed to collect and radiate the glowing
brightness of the sun. Her presence permeated
and was indistinguishable from the atmosphere
around her so that I could not tell exactly where
her being ended and the luminous air began.
I shielded the bright light from my eyes with my hand.  
I gazed into her large hazel eyes.
 or... Dazzling warmth and kindness exuded
          from her soothing hazel eyes.
Suddenly a sensation blossomed as
a realization in my conscious mind.
or... Suddenly a sensation burst from my instincts
         and blossomed in my conscious mind.
Like one who wakes up, and sits up,
and still heavy with dreams, gazes outside
at the huge yellow sphere of the sun
burning away the morning haze,
I realized she was America,
the young woman who had often been
the subject of my thoughts even though
I had not seen her in seven years.
Dazzling warmth and kindness
exuded from her soothing hazel eyes.
She had a long straight nose,
soft lilac lips and a bold chin.
I could not tell where the ebullient
fluid motion of her body ended
and where the luminous atmosphere began.
When she walked, her body emitted exhibited
discharged spilled poured shed  secreted ramified
deployed exuded circular movement in all directions,
a gelatin like lactating field of energy, a celestial body
at once ethereal but earthy too.
Coming toward me, her body emitted and discharged
round circular gelatin like and lactescent movements
in all directions.
or... Her body radiated round circular
         movements in all directions.
She had a smooth fair coloring.
"I had a feeling we would meet again," she said calmly.
Thoughts and feelings flooded to my lips with such force
that I could not speak, but she seemed to be amused
by our chance meeting. She smiled an all knowing smile.
"Where are you going?" she asked, her eyebrows
pulling together sincerely and her eyes squinting
curiously as though to draw the answer out of me.
"To tell you the truth, I'm lost," confusedly I replied
and mentioned what I was looking for.
"Come with me. I'll show you the way,"
America immediately responded.
The traffic light changed from red to green,
the walk light flashed white, and we crossed
the street and walked up Capitol Avenue.
There were no other pedestrians around,
and we were quite alone, enveloped in
the bright metallic flash and atonal noise
of the traffic swirling all around us.
Mindless of our direction,
my entire concentration was focused on her.
I was completely absorbed.
She explained briefly what had happened
to her in the last seven years,
adding that she now lived close by
and was on her way to the capitol where she worked.
Abruptly she changed the conversation.
"Well I have to go now,
but it was nice talking to you.
Let's see, I believe what you are looking for
is over there," she said as she stopped
and pointed with her finger to the west.
"I'm sure we'll meet again," she added,
and with those final words she turned
and ascended the wide steps of the capitol.
I watched until she disappeared in the entrance.
I was so engrossed in listening to her,
I had no idea we were in front of the capitol.
I truly believed I was dreaming. In a state of astonishment,
I turned as she indicated, in the opposite direction.
Later that same day, a strange incident
occurred which has intrigued me to this day.
On my way home,  I walked down a light concrete road.
On the hill above the road stood wooden houses
built very close to one another. The had gone
unpainted through generations of people who
had inhabited them, and would remain in austere grayness,
the inhabitants apparently having been engaged in heartier,
more gratifying past times such as talking and weddings
and births, funerals, drinking, laughing, fornicating and gambling,
apparently preferring these abominations and perversities
to the task of painting a house. Thus the wise grayness
of these houses remained and the living in them would continue
until a member of a law firm, a business contractor or person
speculating in real estate would, for a fixed insubstantial sum,
buy the land as though it was a whore, and one day would arrive,
crawling up in his shiny silver Cadillac  Seville, merciless and resolute
and without even looking at the small gardens that grandmothers
and mothers and children and their children had tried to grow
in the relentless, cold, red, implacable clay earth, not even glancing
at the knarled trees and t he mistletoe and the wisteria and muscadine vines,
vines of the promised land, which clung desperately and opulently
to the oaks, not even looking over two steps in front of him as he would
climb to the houses and send a gun shot knock through the soiled
and tired and ageless rooms of darkness and coolness and people
who would soon read the eviction notice nailed to their doors,
a notice not even expressed with a clause containing the conviction
of improving conditions, not even embellished with a muted ineffectual honk
of the car horn or much less served with the slightest  remorse or hesitancy.
The hammering of the nails would sound with irrevocable finality
and hold the white paper to blow out in the wind, a final paper tombstone
on a neighborhood and its people. But that inevitable action would
take place much later.
As  I walked down this hill, I heard the deep notes of a guitar
 pouring from the dark secluded spaces of one of these houses.
It was accompanied by the pure sonorous voice of a man who sang the blues.
I often walked this road, and stopped here to visit Lucy,
the old gray haired black woman who had raised me,
who was as much my mother as my own biological mother.
I would climb the old rickety steps up the hill,
bare red clay earth on either side, until I'd reach the bare porch
of the unpainted house, where a bomb complete with fins
hung as a planter and normally it had flowers growing in it.
But Lucy was always distant, and my Mother was distant,
and I grew up with a sense of great spacial loneliness,
a loneliness that is generally warm and friendly.
One old house at the bottom of the hill
had been converted into a store, and I decided
to buy something without actually wanting anything.
I hung around for one sole reason.
I was completely preoccupied with this song.
The singer voiced so clearly the feelings
which had begun to rise in my heart mind soul that morning.
It is the nature of love to make one feel weary
and burdened with sadness when actually
one has perhaps the greatest reason to rejoice.
She had scarcely glanced in my direction
during our conversation and yet I had seen and felt,
as though there had been waves of electrical energy transmitted,
the ardor and trembling passion in her eyes and in her mouth.
But what plagued and grieved me most of all
was the certainty that what I saw shining in her eyes
was not a special interest in me, but rather her natural state
and lively desire to discover the mysteries
and infinite possibilities of life.
I felt it was only an accident, a random incident
which had brought me before her.
I felt like an armadillo crossing the road
and suddenly hypnotized, dazed by  the bright lights of her car.
Her whole body was glowing with the pureness of love,
completely independent of my presence, but in foolhardy moods,
I secretly believed her eyes flashed and she smiled out of love for me.
I do not know how she felt, I only know of the love
which she instilled in my heart, my soul, and in my mind.
It is a love so deep that often I have disregarded those things
which are necessary to continue a normal healthy life.
I stood in the doorway of the store
like a traveller stands and studies road maps,
listening to that voice so deep yet mellifluous.
I assumed it was the voice of a husky black man.
My reverie over  the beauty of this song
interwoven with the love I carried for her
went unbroken until the owner of the store
asked me if I wanted anything.
Only then did I notice the men who had gathered
in the shady coolness of the store.
They were sitting around an old table,
 worn and defaced and scarred
from countless years of use and abuse,
chipped from being overturned in the arguments
which followed their drunken games of cards
or as they were playing now, checkers.
My emotions where like the checker pieces
on the red and black squares of the board,
and she, like the two players, moved them around at will.
I considered the anxiety, the despair, the relief,
 the happiness, the vast spectrum of emotions
displayed during the chance and randomness
of cards being dealt in a card game.
Similarly,  I discovered my sadness and my hopes
were placed entirely on the vicissitudes of love.
And the probability of the occurrence of Love
is far more discouraging that the perfect hand of cards.
If I appeared at all like a vagrant to those men,
they would certainly have regarded me as a heroin addict
a few weeks later, for in appearance, I was to become
much more haggard, thin, pale and wane, passing long hours
in contemplation of the young woman I loved.
Several weeks passed during which I spent
most of my days and nights in rapture of her.
In my apartment, I attempted to exhaust
all of the possible ways our feelings could develop.
Foremost among these, were the ones
 in which I was rejected or treated coldly.
In some we spent the rest of our days together
while in others, although I did not enjoy her physical presence,
nevertheless I felt an undying closeness between us
which would continue regardless of how long
we happened to go without seeing each other.
In all, these ponderings only made me view life uncaringly.
I did not care what happened from one day to the next.
Rarely did I eat. Later, I heard it was rumored that I had become
addicted to heroin which was draining the life from me.
I did very little during this time,
even stopped initiating activities with my friends.
It was my sole pleasure, and the sole source of my agony,
when I was forced to go places or in my room, to dream idly of her.
It is true, I could easily have obtained her phone number,
however, I was always afraid of the outcome, and it was this fear
and nothing else which prevented me from calling her.
                THE UNDERGROUND
One evening some friends came by
and persuaded me to attend a concert with them.
It was impossible to show any enthusiasm,
but more impossible to resist their arduous taunts
and excited attempts to force me to go.
I was in a catatonic state, bewildered and disoriented
by my love for America, and so without questioning I followed along.
As we drove through the night, I could only think of her.
In the back seat,  I sank into my reverie.
On Black Street  I looked out of the car window.
Alongside us in the distance sprawled the downtown area
of the city with its modern architecture.
The Polaris Lounge looked like a blue spaceship
on top of the Hyatt Hotel, the glassy prismatic Omni,
the towering cylindrical mirrors of Peachtree Towers,
and the intricate network of other structures
as well as the silvery smooth line of the MARTA
rapid transit missiles moving slowly and sleekly
in and out of the stations on the skyline.
It seemed we were on another planet
where a harnessed gyroscopic force
was controlling my activities and my direction.
we were automatically cruising, keyed in,
programmed to go to The Underground.
The Underground was one area of the city
where people of all ages would go on weekend nights
for entertainment. The Underground was a area
left over from the era of railroads, and the train yards
were literally under the streets, and the trains pulled up
and unloaded their cargo into the "basements" of the buildings.
The streets were still cobblestone, a subterranean mecca of entertainment.
Here, there was something to satisfy anyone's idea of pleasure.
On  the streets of The Underground, there were many brightly lit
neon signs and men and women who called from the doorways
of night clubs, theaters, playhouses, shops and restaurants
promising period atmosphere. Tampa Red tinkled and planked
away with gaiety at the ivories of his piano place in the front window
of a bar designed to attract people who still believed in the 1890s.
Strippers on stages or go go girls in cages could be seen from the street.
Magicians, fortune tellers, and gypsies provided a cheap thrill, $1.00.
A crazed enraged Preacher, who had assembled his followers and small choir,
a dozen saved souls in all, on one of the corners, and with a small microphone
condemned the wickedness and the abomination of the drunken wayward
multitude swaying and stumbling with their hurricane glasses, and competed
with the serious but paradoxically exhilarating calypso dancers with their tight
black suits and frilly shirts, their cummerbunds and tiny malevolent dark hard
eyes which threw a sharp piercing glance beneath their black hats at the
voluptuous women with exotic eyes and wide smiles, who laughed and
abandoned themselves to dance, hot palpitating cleavage and bright blue
and white and lavender and red dresses and shaking undulating hips
swirling and swirling around the composed courage of the male dancers,
and the crowd who shouted and waved their grenadine red hurricane glasses
with drunken inattentiveness.
There were clubs for Rock, clubs for the latest Rhythm and Blues and Soul Acts,
Light Opera, Big Band, Jazz, and Blues. Any music you wanted was in
The Underground. And Cuisine too! French, Italian, Soul, Cajun, Southern,
Chinese, Japanese, Indian, Arabic, and American too. You name it, it was there.  
There were arcades where those who indulged in games... pool, bowling, pinball,
the new wave of electronic games... stood and tried to conquer the chicanery
and the uncertain odds of the machines. There were  buildings which housed
the most recent scientific discoveries and technological advances,
new destructive weapons and chemicals, a nuclear bomb that could be carried
in the pocket, the solar system recreated with all known details of each planet
graphically displayed, and countless other inventions all designed to titillate,
excite, amuse, and more than anything, assert and strengthen in the minds
of Americans the power and dominance of their country, and soothe any
insecurities and dispel  and assuage any doubts of the magnitude of their
significance in global and universal affairs.
There was of course one feature which never changed, the annual races
at the Capitol Speedway. Below the colorfully crowded grandstands,
pulling up to the Christmas tree like starting lights with tremors
caused by their powerful motors, were the drag racers, sleek
streamlined speed machines with huge massive black racing slicks
in the rear and long streamlined bodies in bright colors, metallic tangerine,
electric turquoise, snowflake white, candied apple red, bodies smooth
as a baby made for better aerodynamics, and at the long pointed front end,
equipped with the added incongruity of tiny bicycle like spoked tires...
sleek vehicles of speed which looked like queens strolling, promenading
until the drivers revved their engines and exploded and all hellfire
and damnation and the devil screaming broke loose as they slingshot
down the 1/4 mile strip of asphalt paving, all in a matter of 3 seconds
before the white parachutes mushroomed behind to slow them down.
For those whose interests ran in a somewhat more intimate direction,
there were street corners close by where women and hotels were available
and massage parlors with dimly lit rooms occupied by women
of all ethnicity who promised and gave complete and total satisfaction.
There was a store owned by a famous restauranteur and politician
whose specialty was the sale and distribution of ax and pick handles,
wooden instruments designed to preserve the buyer's right to ignorance
and segregation and to keep any black person even attempting
to enjoy himself in his proper place.
But there was one place among this plethora,
this assemblage of the populations hopes and desires
and choices and needs and the undiluted bacchanalian excess,
one place which constantly brought myself and my friends
to these streets of continual activity. The place was named
after the proprietor, Antonio. Mystery surrounded his past.
People only knew he had come from Italy where he had grown up
and studied the violin. In  the United States, prior to opening
Antonio's in The Underground, he conducted the Music Program '
of the Methodist Children's Home in Atlanta for years, and whose
choir of lovely young voices had almost always turned out to be all girls,
since year and year most of the boys caught a recurring epidemic
which affected the vocal cords and baffled some of the city's
most prominent doctors for one full week during the fall of each year,
the same week in which the auditions for the school choir were held
and in which the boys who had the courage and strength to get
out of bed and try to sing, always emitted the most awkward and
uncontrollable sounds. After fifteen years of struggling with the choir,
which appeared every year at Christmas at The Rich's Department Store
Lighting of the Tree. Tier upon tier, deck upon deck, floor upon floor,
on top of the bridge connecting two tall buildings, were choirs in red
and choirs in blue, and choirs in white  and choirs in gold and choirs in purple
and choir in burgundy robes singing as though they had attained
heaven on earth, nirvana. It was an impressive sight and an Atlanta tradition
to see and hear the choirs seemingly suspended above the city streets
in heaven, and the great tree above them higher still.
Antonio's choir was quite remarkable to hear. O Holy Night!
With their angelic faces and white robes to see as well,
people who heard them would always say the the choir
was truly ethereal and heavenly, little knowing how few
of the orphans had led lily white lives.
After fifteen years as Choral Director, Antonio decided to leave
the children's home and open a Concert Hall where all forms
of music, art, theater, performance art, art films, and dance
could be heard seen and enjoyed.
During a typical week ti was not unusual to hear
chamber musicians play Vivaldi pieces on Wednesday,
Jamaican Reggae music on Thursday, Big Band Jazz on Friday,
Aries from Mozart and Verdi on Sunday, Rock Bands on Saturday,
and Bluegrass,  Soul, Folk and Blues on any given day.
Exhibits of paintings and photographs hung on the walls,
there were poetry readings, and a small independent bookstore
in the gift shop. Art and Foreign Films were shown regularly.
Discussions and Debates, Civic and Political leaders, were there
in the afternoon at a forum called Lunch Rap.
Thus the Concert Hall appealed to young and old, the revolutionaries
and the conservatives, the secular, the atheistic, the undecided
and the religious as well. Still once a year the choir of  the Methodist
Children's Home sang at Antonio's.
A sign hung outside the old building,
a sign which could never compete with the pretentious
obnoxious neon signs which appeared on the block,
a white sign in the shape of a violin
on which had been painted in red Italic letters... Antonio's,
spelled vertically, and Music Hall horizontally across the bottom,
a sign though not ostentatious, indicating a certain flare
for the aesthetic which had caused thousands of people
in the seven years Antonio's had bee opened to emerge from the hall
having been throughly satisfied with the evenings entertainment.
We entered and walked down a corridor which had opened
which had opened onto the concert room. I still could not
stop thinking of the woman I had seen 14 days before,
and who, since that moment on the steps of the capitol,
had continually in my mind been a ruby which diffused
diaphanous pristine light of night and day, through which
I could trace only the outline, the shape of her body,
the border within the limits of her being.
She walked through the evening ruby
with honey clung steps, or so it seemed in my mind.
Still possessed by these thoughts of her,
I followed my friends who had immediately recognized
other companions at a table in the right corner of the room.
Mindlessly, I followed along. But before I greeted these acquaintances,
I saw a splendor I will never forget.
In this age in which scientific observation and reasoning
seem to dominate our perspective of the world,
miracles, if they are regarded at all,
are considered historical visions or even
misinterpreted and vivid pictures of the brain
or useful metaphors or methods of representation,
and yet I know no other way to describe this
most improbable and unexpected appearance
of the woman I cherished before and beyond
and above all things. Suddenly she had come
down a stairway directly behind our comrades' table.
Her eyes gazed down in what seemed
the most imaginative silent personal intimate thoughts,
until she reached the last step, and looked up.
Her pause as she saw me seemed to last an eternity,
and at least with continue in my thoughts as long as I live.
The heaven's opened up, heavenly choirs sang, time stood still.
The liquid pearl smooth shells of her eyes
and her smooth large lips smeared with passion
like a sunrise seemed to pull me towards her
like the attraction of a magnetic force.
She was dazzling. A vital passion radiated from her.
Her body radiated a vital passion beneath her white cotton dress.
I was to learn this vital passion in her drank and discovered
the secret hidden truths behind all things in the world.
There was no doubt in my mind that she recognized me,
for even the most insignificant things are readily apprehended,
transformed, imbued with meaning and remembered
by one so keenly thoughtful, instinctual, and imaginative as she.
She smiled slightly and nodded at me.
Finally after this slight acknowledgment,
she crossed the room, and as I turned,
in a state of astonishment to greet my friends,
she joined a group of people at another table.
I was literally trembling from the sight of her,
and could do little more than unconsciously shake
the hands of my jovial friends.
I engaged very little in the conversation at the table,
and when my friends constantly prodded me
and wanted to know how I was feeling,
I replied with only a few confused words.
Their laughter around the table seemed distant,
and though I had only momentarily glanced
in the direction of the group in which America sat,
because my thoughts were continually of her ,
it seemed as though I saw nothing except the movement
of her mouth as she spoke to those with whom she was gathered.
There must have been an introduction given for the man
who was singing that night, but to be honest,
 when one is floating in the wonderful spaces of love,
the most obvious occurrences go unnoticed,
while barely discernible movements assume a vital significance,
and as though a new world is discovered,
one is quick to assign a false importance to events
which can be misleading,
as Columbus busily set out to describe the people
and life and customs of the Orient, not knowing
he had landed on a new and virgin continent,
a world undescribed by the great travelers
such as Marco Polo who had passed beyond the Golden Horde.
It is true that I also do not remember
when the musician began to play his songs.
I can only say that I found myself listening
to the gruff gulf of a husky black man's voice.
He sat on a slightly raised platform,
wrapped in the gauzy haze of the white spotlight,
quite distinct from the dark shadowy area
where the people who came to hear him were seated
at tables around the room. The muscles
of his forearms glistened taut like strings
as he play his old guitar. He sang
with his mouth wide open, his trembling voice
echoing in the harsh furrowed lines of his face,
and his words seemed to resound from the dimensionless
and indefinable part of the human being known as the soul,
the place the bottle of the unknown.
He performed in the long drawn out
rambling oratorical style characteristic of the blues,
constantly interweaving life and songs.
"Just trying to reach Waycross, Atlanta, Richmond,
and eventually, if life continued that long,
Harlem was the home Moses hoped and dreamed of,
but at the time he was just trying to reach Waycross,
well-knowing that nobody would offer a ride
along the unmarked road. Even if he got
on his knees and whimpered like a dog,
he'd be shot like a stray wild animal, or at best,
if the driver happened to be a man with a weakness,
he'd be fortunate to be locked up in jail.
He thought things like this everytime he left his people
just trying to reach Waycross alive,
where some white man would need those trucks loaded
with granite from  the quarries, granite to be hauled
for the courthouses and the cemeteries of the big cities.
Don't think these men were kind or following the words
of some preacher who said we are all brothers
in giving these jobs to Moses' kind. No there just
weren't many people around who wanted to do that work,
or even if they did want to, they couldn't afford it,
they didn't pay you anything, just gave you something to eat
and a ride out of town, squeezed in between those big slaps of stone.
"You might as well try to hold a bolt of lightning
before you'd hop a train. There were brakeman
on every train who enjoyed torturing free riders
more than the Devil himself.
"So he was walking on the right hand side of the road.
About a quarter mile away, he saw a man up on one
of the telephone poles, repairing the power lines.
The telephone man looked down at Moses
with the deepest fear and hate possible.
He stopped working the moment he caught sight
of the stranger and just hung there with his spikes
dug into the pole and a mean scornful scowl on his face.
 The sun was so bright and hot that even the wind
didn't cool his anger, and the sweat dripped
down steaming from his eyebrows.
"Hey nigger! You better get on the other side
of the road," he shouted.
But Moses kept on walking , not saying a word,
not even looking up at him.
Nigger you might be electrocuted if you don't
get on the other side of the road."
On the left the swamp with its mosquitoes
and quicksand and snakes came right up to the pavement.
"I'll take my chances," Moses said, as he
walked beneath the power lines draped across the sky.
He heard the shifting of tools and the thump of spikes
as the repair man climbed down and ran at full stride.
Moses felt the sharp pain as the repair man
tackled him straight in the back. They wrestled
until the screwdriver fell to the ground.
Suddenly, blood gushed like water
when the repair man's head hit that rock."
No sooner had he finished this song
than my perception of him began to fade,
and again I began to dwell on the coincidence
which had brought me to the same room
with the woman of my thoughts and dreams.
As I became more and more absorbed
in this idle contemplation of her,
one of my friends turned and whispered
that the owner, Tony, was listening to the singer
from the table closest to the door.
As I looked in the direction of my friend's eyes,
I knew this would be the place where the woman
who appeared so completely innocent  
and yet utterly profound had chosen
in order to watch and to hear the concert.
As I looked toward the door,
I saw she was looking at me with a look
that was at once passionate and curious
and lively but distant. Calmly, she turned
to listen to someone who was speaking to her.
After gazing raptly at her for some time,
again I heard the man with the guitar.
"Up the road apiece, Moses spotted a house.
Outside a woman was hanging the clothes. Woo Wee!
Prettiest thing you every did see. She was a cool
black river flowing across the desert.
You and shining in the heat.
She was dark and ripe as a dark plum.
Moses knew she had seen him coming
for she stopped and looked and looked for a long time.
So he sang this song as he walked along.
"To Moses she was beautiful in two ways.
She was beautiful to look at, AND, she had a house.
He had just killed a man, a white man,
and even though he was innocent,
he needed some place to disappear,
and he knew that if anyone had the magic potion,
it was her.
He went inside and sat in the kitchen.
She gave him some cornbread and pancakes
except in those days they were called flapjacks instead.
Moses was glad to have something to eat,
and as she moved away, he began to sing.
                                                        THE HEAVEN
                                            THE HEAVEN
"With the way you sing you must not have
had anything to eat for days. Moses I hope
you don't go eating me out of house and home.
With the way you act over flapjacks, no telling
what you'd do if I gave you some ribs and collard greens."
"It's not just the flapjacks and cornbread
I'm singing about," Moses answered,
"It's the gal who gave them to me.
I can't decide whether to eat
or just sit here and look at you."
Everyone in the concert hall applauded as he finished
his and story and his songs, and as I considered this man
who had grown wise in life, I felt a joy in having heard him.
His voice reached into the depths of my spirit,
and buoyed my spirits like a ship carries its passengers over seas.
My friends lingered for a while that night,
laughing and drinking, and at the first opportunity
that I noticed she was alone, I ventured over,
my heart pounding like a drum, to talk to America.
"Are you following me?" she joked, smiling.
"No. But I'm glad I came here tonight."
"It's a strange night."
"There's a full moon,  I said,
sounding like a cross between a fool and a madman.
We talked for a few minutes
and then she said she had to go,
having promised Tony she would drive Moses
to the house where he was staying.
I knew she had grown up in an orphanage,
and as she spoke I made the connection
that it must have been the same one
where Tony had been Choral Director.
"It was good to see you. Keep in touch."
Outside, I jumped with joy.
I threw my arms up at the huge pearl moon in the sky.
Oh, she made the sapphire night so beautiful!
                        A Friend's Advice
It has always been warming to be with her,
and this night was especially soothing,
for she seemed genuinely excited and pleased.
However, at the time, it was impossible to determine
whether I was in any way responsible
for her light playful mood that night.
After the concert, and once again alone in my room,
despite how I was glowing with the excitement
of having seen her, I inwardly sank into agonizing torment
for I believe and have since found it to be true
that she always sees, discovers and uncovers
the most insightful, appealing and revealing aspects
of a particular person or occasion or place or thing,
and that she is always fascinated with all people
and the mysteries of life.
Another week passed during which, refreshed
by this additional change meeting with America,
unconsciously I devoted my time exclusively
to my meditation of her.
Finally  I decided to seek help and went over to Vincent's house.
Vincent, my best friend, sensed that something was troubling me,
and asked how I was feeling.
Though it was impossible for me to explain
all of the conflicting sensations I had,
when I told him of the joy I felt from being with her,
the desire I had for her, and the distressing doubt
that she would probably never care as much for me,
and how disheartened I felt,
Vince seemed to understand the cause
of my disillusioning confusion
that had me suspended in indecision.
"Don't just sit and wonder, do something and find out.
Discover the truth. Is she compassionate to everyone,
or does she have a special sensitivity to you?
Right now, you don't know. Your thoughts
are mere illusions, conjecture.
You can't think and dream and worry about love,
you also have to act on love.
What if you are crushed by her lack of interest in you.
So what. You'll eventually get over it.
At least you won't go around believing
in something that is false.
At least you will have discovered something.
What have you got to loose, other than
your dreams and idle thoughts of what might be.
My friend's harsh words were good advice,
and immediately I felt somewhat relieved.
After a few minutes, I had resolved to do
more that sit and wonder.
I felt I was not good enough for her,
so I decided I must first try to improve myself
in order to become more worthy
of her consideration and her love.
In short, I needed to slay some dragons.
                            A Beginning (Conviction)
Though I can find few scientists who will support
my far-flung thought, although admittedly occasionally
I receive a sincere answer though more often expressed
in a combined tone of sympathy and condescension,
"It is possible", I blindly believe even though I haven't
seen or touched her in seven years, my longing still
has an influence on her being, however miniscule its effect may be.
I know she changes my life each day.
But it is not  the probability of augmenting her pleasure,
increasing her annoyance, or altering her life
through my unwilled uncontrolled and rampant attraction
for her which alone nourishes my desire for this incarnation
of life and love, but it is simple and irrevocably toward her
that the substances both immaterial and material,
both the matter and energy of my life flow.
In the depths of sleep one night, something occurred
which further joined me to the one I love.
In this dream I awoke in a dark, unknown land
and saw among the rolling darkened hills
a woman dressed in dark green approaching
the place where I lay. She was only a few steps away.
Her hair was so dark that in the wind
it was almost indistinguishable from the movement
of the black clouds across the unearthly sky.
(or Her hair was light and blowing in the wind
in the same direction as the black clouds across the unearthly sky.)
Her eyes too shone with liquid, vital darkness
and were it not for the calm beauty and radiance
of her face and the deep tranquil redness of her mouth,
I would have been too afraid to remember the importance
of her enrapturous voice. What she spoke,
though even now I can only partially ascertain
her meaning, were the following cryptic words.
"To probe the unknown,
Life is a cycle
of continual search and discovery,
anguish and joy,
death and birth,
seasons, night and day,
allotted only by Love."
There were many other dreams in which she appeared,
too numerous to reveal here. Suffice it is to say
that I resolved to actively pursue this woman
who had become the focal point of my entire life.
I was determined to discover the truth of her feelings for me.
Like the strong arms of a carpenter, darkened from the sun,
contract as he drives the 16 penny nails into the 2x4 studs,
and a house begins to take shape, I began to summon
enough courage inside myself to act upon the love I felt for her.
                    THE OBSERVATORY
Several of my closest friends had certain exploratory inclinations,
leanings which had led them  to indulge in the study of philosophy
or science or in one case at least, politics, one of them being
the most amusing and indiscriminate world reformer, whose forum
and enthralled audience happened to be whatever acquaintances
he made in whatever bar he inhabited on a given night or afternoon.
But at the time of which I am speaking,
when those feelings and thoughts directed
toward America had so recently burst within me,
and formed a new galaxy in which I lived,
these friends were avidly following new scientific theories,
just as many of us follow the events of a particular sport,
or the latest crime in the daily newspapers,
or the scandalous sensational lives of stars and celebrities.
Consequently it was not unusual for my friends to visit
the various research institutes, laboratories, and science
conferences in the city, and on one particular night,
the observatory at the Martin Luther King Science Center.
The most recent and controversial entry in the astronomical stadium
was the Comet Kohotek which in its orbit around the sun,
was passing close enough to the earth so that any curious person
with the naked eye, could see its stream of gases, flowing
like reddish-brown, autumnal colored hair in the evening sky.
However, a closer look could be obtained from the vantage point
of an observatory.
Following my friend's advice , after a great deal of deliberation  
and hesitation, I called America and invited her to come with us.
She said she had already made arrangements for the night,
but that she would try to meet us there.
We climbed in a car and drove to the observatory.
The narrow cement road which was the only means
of approach and departure, wound up one of the low rolling hills
and disappeared in the green arboreal darkness.
The sky, the space of the universe was black as uranium
but milky and resplendent with a lucid profundity
of distant celestial bodies and stars.
At the top of the hill the dome of the observatory shone
and seemed by contrast with the profusion of stars
to be an insignificant pearl washed up on the shore
of a dark phosphorus ocean, the primordial waters
of which lay hidden beyond our vision.
Simple, logical and scientific reasoning
led one friend to conclude that tonight,
with such a clear sky, we would be able
to peer deeply into the universe.
The base of the observatory was granite
and rectangular and modern in shape and design.
After climbing one flight of stairs, we walked
around the observation deck which culminated
in four corners and surrounded the pearl shaped
dome on all sides. The sky above us seemed awesome,
its secrets seemed close, thunderous,
and yet remained hidden, inconceivable and useless.
The were opaque, impenetrable. It seemed
the only light on earth was the red glow
inside the  telescope room. As we moved
toward an invisible doorway, I noticed the figure of a woman.
She greeted me by saying, "We came on a good night."
The red glow converged and seemed to radiate from her .
Her splendor stunned me. Wild thoughts rushed through my mind,
but I could only nod with wonder. Our conversation continued
in a whisper. We were both awed by the magnificent universe above us.
"What's been viewed tonight?" I asked.
"Jupiter is prominent, so the telescope is focused on it."
I peered into the telescope. Gargantuan orange globe
planet orb with red and yellow stripes suspended in space!
Truly a wonder to see!
"The current theory being investigated is that Jupiter is liquid.
The colored bands you see are believed to be clouds,
rising and falling hot and cold waves of condensation
so thick that Jupiter, according to the theory,
would have to be a spinning body of water."
"What about the Comet Kohotek?"
"The astronomers calculations were wrong
and it isn't passing as close to the earth as expected.
But even in the so called black holes of space,
where to us there appears to  be nothing,
now theories exist that there is substance
which does not qualify as matter, something
which has no particles, no weight, but still is known,
maybe even observed, and something
which may have a significant effect on us.
Another theory is that space is not infinite,
but instead curves back into itself."
I was drawn into this peculiar conversation.
"Then our current scientific beliefs are subject to change,
are they not?"
"Certainly our scientific beliefs change.
Constantly we perform activities and motions
without knowing the full extent of our actions.
We are like children playing with matches every day.
"Consider how people still believe the heart to be
the center of the human emotions. It has rarely
been disputed that the heart is a vital central organ
of the body. As we understand cellular growth
and muscular contraction in a more detailed way,
our conception of the heart may change, but its basic principle
in the functioning of the human body, despite our ever growing
scientific explanation of it, its principal movement remains unchanged.
If the heart is the center of the emotions,
we might expect anyone having open heart surgery
to have different likes and dislikes,
possibly love for some other person,
a person they d o not even know.
But if one doubts the heart's principal movement,
or even the necessity of its function in the circulatory system,
one is considering something other than human life.
"You feel your heart pump with crude beauty.
Suppose a gyroscopic field evolves in the body
or is invented which replaces the heart.
Such an evolution is neither inhuman or impossible,
a gyroscopic means of blood circulation would certainly be
a much more constant and reliable and even method
of distributing blood. But such developments would not prove
the principle of the heart to be false, but only show that love
and feeling, the emotions under the present conditions
are permanent and continue with us even if the heart is removed.
"However, it is my opinion that millions of molecular changes are occurring
to us each second, and essentially we are changing constantly, and all
that we are influences how we feel and how we feel about people, places
and things. The mind seems to be the center of our thoughts, our emotions,
or nerve interpretation center, etcetera. But in each minute, each second,
every particle of our being as a whole determines how we feel.
"Truth, and our knowledge, when not erroneous,
will chart or correspond with our feelings,
and elucidate and enable us to predict our emotions.
In fact some day we may be able to plot on graphs
when trouble will occur in our lives, when tragedy will strike,
when happiness will occur... givens... regardless of what
we try to do to avert it.
"Just think of the massive impact of computers on our lives.
Technology has completely changed the way we live.
"Slavery and the oppression of Blacks in the South
is a fact everyone knows now and a subject much discussed,
but thousands of years from now, it may be less than a footnote
in molecular capsules of ancient manuscripts
found in the archives of civilization."
I had expected an unusual conversation, but still
 I was astonished. She looked at me with eyes
full of all the ardor and curiosity of a girl,
but her comprehension of human life
far exceeded whatever considerations
I had previously made, and opened my thoughts
to new horizons, to dawn. She continued.
"But we have considered theories which apply
to the future only. Our intellects preserve
our ability to live each day not through exploration
but through acceptance of what we currently can prove
scientifically. Often it is sufficient to know
only the barest portion of our technological
and scientific findings, of our language,
and of our bodies to live a productive life.
Consequently, while discovery of knowledge
should never be discouraged, we must learn
to appreciate its limited worth, its beneficial qualities
more than its grandeur. Our knowledge is limited
by the instruments through which we perceive truth.
When the cell, the molecule, the atom were first discovered,
scientists believed they were the basis, the essence of life.
Already they are working on subatomic particles and DNA,
thinking they have finally grasped the essence of Life.
Undoubtedly they will find something incrementally even smaller.
However they are only exploring another layer of the surface of Life.
We must not place to much emphasis on knowledge alone."
"If knowledge does not serve as the foundation
of our being, what resource in us or in the universe
can we rely on without doubt?" I asked.
"There is little which is certain and undeniable.
However ancient and contemporary evidence
concerning motion and life indicate a vitality
which can never be fully understood by man,
although it is believed to be inviable, mysterious
and incapable of annulment, impervious to complete annihilation.
Our instincts and feelings as well as our knowledge
have been shaped by this source. A balance
between our instincts, our feelings and our knowledge
seem to be most conducive to the nature of this strange vitality.
As a result, this phenomenon propitiates a good and productive life.
Kant has already provided a lucid explanation of a good and productive life,
Consequently I don't feel it is necessary to do so now.
This vitality might be called the now, and our being in the now,
and we have to constantly reset our minds and our thinking
and not to get hung up on anything or any thought,
 but to flow on with "it" and accept what is right now.
Scientific knowledge is concerned with observable
and repeatable phenomenon. Truth is far more
illusive than that. Essential Truth evades us,
it is impossible to possess, though it is there for all of us
to see to feel and to know. If it seems to be in the sunlight
and we reach there, it will go to the shade, and if we reach
into the shade, it will be in the sunlight. But it is this illusive
and profound and absolute Truth which we are always
searching for that leads us to all our findings,
philosophically, scientifically, in our belief systems
and in the habits of our daily lives."
But doesn't science end where observation stops?"
"It's true the scientific beliefs of the 20 century
or any other century for that matter are based
on witnessed events. However, while experiments
are being conducted on current scientific facts,  
and our daily lives are becoming saturated
with products of the laws of combustion,
electricity, electronics, electron transference,
gravitational antidotes, alleviates, inertia, friction,
lazar surgery, orthoscopic surgery, radiation,
solar and nuclear power, scientific investigation is
exploring theoretical and philosophical areas of space,
launching pads, test sites you might say, on which
the generations that follow us will formulate their beliefs
and produce a suitable technology."
"What would you consider to be crucial scientific advances?"
"One day we may communicate more coherently with animals,
and just as today  scientists and economists and politicians
of various nationalities have shared their knowledge
through language translations, it will be possible that we can
"converse" on scientific and vital issues with all forms of life,
with plant life too as well as animal life.
The United Life Forms could exist. All animals have
developed their senses and their ability to perceive
things in ways that are different from our own.
The bird, the dove, throughout its evolution
has contemplated flying and may be able to tell us
or give us an innate comprehension of the laws
of aerodynamics. The eagle may teach us how
to perfect eyesight. The camel, by its internal structure
developed through the ages, has adapted to life in the desert,
and can store large amounts of water in its bodily tissues.
Similarly the panther, with its claws for climbing trees
and its sleek body which can leap to catch its prey,
is an animal who has either chosen or who has been shaped
by  its environment into developing certain instincts
to a greater extent than homo sapiens. How primitive
our belief that homo sapiens are the only species
of the animal kingdom endowed with the facility to reason.
"Not only ways to absorb oxygen from water
by sea creatures such as fish and dolphin,
but breathing and the ability to obtain oxygen
in places where none can be found in the atmosphere
can perhaps be understood through communication with them."
"So you don't believe man is a superior creature?"
"Oh my, don't make me laugh!  For so long we have interpreted animals
as our inferiors in intellectual capacity, and yet we must soon realize
we are limited and subject to our own definitions. Possibly certain forms
of animal life have thought and calculated the mathematical equations
of nuclear power and rejected it on the basis of its harmful effects.
We cannot even attempt to answer the question: What animal has altered
and then out of necessity has been forced to adjust the environment
of this planet so noticeably as humans? We think we are the most powerful
things that have walked the face of the earth. But who knows
who really governs, who calls the shots? Who is to say we are the superior
creatures on earth? I say we are all equal and just as important and must learn
to live in harmony with all things... all animals, all plants, all things.
"And why end our investigation of the supremacy theory with animals.
Are not plants living organisms as well? Consider philosophy if you will.
Philosophers are known as people who sit around contemplating
the nature of things. I ask you who is more sensitive, who is more attuned
in touch with changes in the environment, and who has maintained
the stillness, the serenity, and the sheer utter contemplation and
arrived at the pure philosophy and simplicity of life as a plant?
The tranquility and serene contemplation of a plant. Think of it.
Plants must be seen as our equals if we are to survive on this planet.
"It sounds reasonable to assume that man has more influence
on the atmosphere and living conditions and life itself on earth,
and yet this is not an abstract question which demands our steadfast
prodding rationality, it is a fundamental and universal one, therefore
it requires our entire concentration, mental and physical and spiritual
and the unrevealed features of our being."
"How would you evaluate our current scientific beliefs?"
"Science is still in a primitive stage.
But scientists has begun to point to the effects
which different things have on us. Milk, wheat
and countless foods as well as alcohol and cigarettes
and pharmaceuticals effect our bodily tissues in a specific way.
In some cases their influence is regarded as beneficial or just
as often, adverse. Cigarettes, milk, aspirin, and countless
other products have been shown to cause cancer, even sex,
the male sperm can cause uterine cancer according  to some studies.
"Today, researchers can observe certain previously unknown particles,
such as radiation from the sun and determine its effect,
at least to some extent, on the atmosphere and our health.
The sun can cause skin cancer. Einstein's theory of energy
has already been questioned by observations of quasars.
"Most of our current energy resources in use today,
over a period of time are detrimental to the environment.
Coal, natural gas, and oil strip the earth of its natural resources.
Nuclear energy contains the extremely dangerous threat
of harmful radiation. Studies are cropping up
which expose the harmful effects of massive
quantities of electrical energy on the atmosphere.
Solar energy is the only known energy source
for which there are no known hazardous side effects.
Of course research on solar energy is in its infancy,
and someday it too may be proven to alter our planet,
but until then, we must invest and the government must support
and we must plunge ahead in the discovery
and in the exploration and development
of this seemingly pure and natural source of energy.
The possible filtering of solar particles
and more efficient ways of storing it, I should think,
would be the immediate goals of solar researchers.
"But it would be save to assume that there are
other sources of energy which are as yet unknown.
Perhaps there are Aspects which have no substance
and are far less crude in disposition and appearance
than radio waves, immaterial forces which influence
and make profound though unobserved changes
in the environment and in us each second."
"How drastic can these influences be if we can't see them?"
"Take for instance a small farmer, or an Appalachian Family.
Suppose for a moment there was a momentous revolution
in the government. The life of the farmer or the poor
self sustaining Appalachian family would continue as always,
even under the influence of an entirely different governing system,
even though the society as a whole has become
a military dictatorship or a communist regime.
Our ignorance like the farmer's, is not stupidity,
but rather shaped by the distance from which we
are removed from such unknown things or influences."
She paused as I pondered her statements.
"What do you think should be the goal of Science?"
"Ultimately, all science should serve to understand
and explain and come to a further definition
of the complete Truth of Love.
The closer they investigate this phenomenon
and discover the unseen "particles"
by which our lives are influenced by Love,
then the closer we will be to a life
which is harmonious with the essential
homeostasis of the planet earth.
"But again science can only go so far.
It doesn't fully answer the big questions...
"Where am I going?"  "What is reality?"
What's Life all about?" "If we have
a set of ideas and beliefs and answers,
if we have a mental construct, a model
of how things are, we can erroneously
be paying attention to them, our thoughts
and all, instead of what is really happening,
what is really going on in this very moment.
Egotistic desires, fears, and mental posturings
can get in the way of just seeing things in the now.
To be like a stone laying in a field, the stone,
strong silent still, true nature, encouraging
no particular belief or thought, just being.
What disturbs and frightens us
is what we form in our minds.
Someone who is wise or enlightened
sees the same thing or things that all of us do.
However to be enlightened is to see the thing
for what it is, not what our mind thinks of it.
So we must constantly reset our mind
in order to keep up with the moment.
Science is analytical, and has a certain good,
logical, rational... and our senses are great samplers
bringing certain information and sensation to us,
but to be truly connected with it all, not separate,
as in "I am in here, and the world is out there,"
but to truly be in the flow, in the mix of it all
total emerson in the moment, with no prefabricated thoughts.
Science is material knowledge, the senses respond
to stimuli in the real world, but wisdom or truly seeing
is a oneness with and recognition and acceptance of what is
going on in this very moment. Over and over again,
 we need to bring ourselves back to what we are doing,
now, in this very moment."
"You're amazing," I said.
"It's an interest of mine," she said nonchalantly,
"In fact, I come here to the observatory often."
We both laughed. I thought I had invited her
to accompany me on an esoteric, romantic adventure
only to discover her passion for this adventure
was fully developed and far exceeded mine.
                                                           SANS SOUCI
At midnight, we all decided to go dancing at the Sans Souci.
A nightclub in downtown Atlanta, the Sans Souci was always
the best place for dancing . Live bands, or with a DJ spinning discs,
it was the only club in town which consistently had a good congenial
mixture of white people and black people and a large enough
dance floor to accommodate all of them. America loved to dance
and she bobbed and weaved to the latest sounds, her eyes
peering out alluringly from under her tousled hair, and she moved
with a lot of rhythm and sensuality too, until we were both
too tired to do anything except sit down at a table.
"Woooooo!" she exclaimed, as we collapsed in our chairs.
Oh, it sure feels good to dance, doesn't it?"
She put a tired arm around my shoulders,
and pulled me close to her, leaning her head
against my neck. I leaned back, snuggling my forehead
against hers and looking into her eyes.
"I don't know which I like more, dancing or touching
or just being with you." Then I started tickling her.
"You know," she said as our laughing started to fade,
"I like this place. It's so good to see people,
both black and white enjoying themselves together.
It makes me think of Moses.
He and Antony have been friends for a long time.
Sometimes he stays at our house when he's in town.
He's a tough man, a rough man, but he has great love for people,
both black and white. But he's suffered a lot from the hatred
and the injustice of the white man and white society,
 and I suppose that's what makes him seem cruel and harsh to some."
She was like the Sun to me, bright and present
in all areas of my life and my thinking.
(omnipresent and permeating the entire
atmosphere of my life.)
I felt like the earth, completely subject
to her gravitational pull and her warmth.
Moses was like the huge orange Jupiter
with its bands of color we had seen in the telescope,
 a bold, domineering and powerful planet.
As we sat at our table at the Sans Souci,
I was simply happy to be with her.
When the Sans Souci closed, I walked her
to her car, and we went our separate ways.
I did not even  attempt to tell her
how much I enjoyed being with her that night.
With my friends, I drove away,
dizzy and wild and ecstatic with love.
I must confess to my ignorance concerning the origins of my affection,
desire and attractions for America. I had known her in high school
and yet we had never become close friends. Truly, love leads
down a lonely unexpected road, and even the slightest turn
brings blinding astonishment or disappointment. Sometimes
I would sense such an effulgence of feeling and light, or sometimes
taste the salty bitterness of a rational world, saddened by an age
in which science is worshipped and can not accommodate
the uncertainty of love, even though truly love must have its own laws,
and perhaps the final achievement of all our sciences will be
the investigation and discovery of some, since "all" would be impossible,
of these laws which must involve measurable, physical qualities,
since it evolves from the inexplicable attraction of one person
for another, and yet whose enduring capacities lie in a sphere
which cannot be explored by our present day scientists.
It is certain, love does not correspond to our sense of time,
or place, or to amounts of activity or inactivity
and because it has only its own special signs and billboards
which defy astronomical and microscopic inquiries,
it is possible for many events to occur without our conscious
comprehension or even cognizance of them...
It is true the woman, who lives in my dreams, my thoughts, in the life
and in the world around me, seemed infinitely more perceptive
concerning the changes made by Love, which were so drastic
and severe at times as the wind and flashing flooding
and erosion caused by a hurricane. She was far more
in touch with her feelings and emotions than I was.
She was calmer, quieter, and in her speechlessness,
more profound, possessing a depth of understanding
far greater than mine.
Consequently, I hope you will excuse me, though it is perhaps no wonder,
if I can relay to you very little of what occurred between the meeting
I had with America at the Science Center and the day we talked
intimately in her house.
Many aspects of love will be missed, unless it is taken slowly and with care,
savoring every moment and feeling and desire and spellbinding awe.
I rushed through all my work, and sometimes I didn't even know
what state I was literally in, all in order to arrive
in the emotional profundity of Love devoid of time
and space and social and economic and even genetic considerations.
I had known her all of our childhood
and yet had rarely talked with her.
My earlier memories of her were of a shy girl
whose daily life I unconsciously suspected
to be a quiet one. She seemed disinterested
in the activities which were the primary concern
of most high school students, rarely would
she be seen at a dance or any gatherings
of young people, and I always imagined her days
to consistently include a walk home, occasionally
accompanied by a friend, and stopping
in a small grocery store to buy an apple or some peaches,
or clothing stores, or record stores or book stores or drug stores,
any  of the stores which delight young girls.
She always seemed more mature than most of us as teenagers,
as though she was on her own wave length
far beyond our petty teen ways and dramas.
She seemed to be plugged into the cosmos,
a conduit, a vessel, a gateway through which it passed,
while we were just lost in generic teenage angst.
She had  a direct line to truth, universal knowledge,
while laughing all the while, some hookup we did not possess.
Wow, to be on her pipeline, to ride her dragon,
that would be a celestial and pristine trip through the cosmos,
multi colored and multi faceted all the way.
                        AT HER HOUSE
Isn't it odd how as soon as we acquire something we really wanted
we lose interest in it. Our desires, our cravings, and wanting of things
and relationships are all hollow, empty, they create all of our suffering,
because the desire is a mental abstract which is quite different and distinct
from the actual thing. If we can free ourselves of our desires and be content
to just exist and to live, then we can control if not eliminate our suffering.
Truly most of our suffering is in our mind. By living right and subduing the mind
and sensing our existence and its sharing of space and time with the world,
our existence as part of the world, we are more connected to life
and more attuned to what is actually going on right now.
Free from our self absorbed and egotistical desires
we can see life for what is truly is, and be at peace
and tranquil and in love with life, instead of some self made
concept of something that we could "possess" that would make us happy.
"To flow, to be one like the water, to be low,
to be here now and gone flowing on down
like the waters of the rivers, to be like nature,
to be natural, to let nature take its course...
Come here, kiss me..."
She said, throwing her arms and head back
onto the surface of the water like it was a bed.
After several long talks and conversations on the phone,
I stood at the door which was opened by the young woman
who has greatly influenced and still changes my life today.
Her long brown hair was loosely woven in a single thick braid
which hung halfway down her back. Her big brown eyes
were calmly reserved and warmly youthfully passionate
as she greeted me with a smile.
She was wearing a simple red blouse
and old sand white sailor pants
which were comfortably tight around her hips
and loosely fitting down to her ankles.
She was barefoot.
As I looked at her it was difficult to speak
and finally after what seemed years of wonder and amazement,
I heard her clear and close and comforting words,
and yet mysterious words as though coming from the voice
of a distant child, appearing and disappearing,
while playing in timeless woods.
She turned and I followed her through the darkness
which prevailed in the simply furnished rooms,
giving them the appearance of possessing large,
looming space and a quality of the permanent
intrinsic presence of coolness, earthliness and hospitality,
the unpretentious even subdued quality of the chairs and sofas,
the plain simple furniture of grandparents' homes everywhere,
the furniture of sanctimonious agelessness, as though
beyond all possibility of dancing and hearty revelry
and celebration, there existed a desire to endure,
and in order to prevail in the diminutive defiance
against the omniscient impending dying light and color
and withering flesh, a radio was placed there
with its sibilant cracking music, which in the homes of elders
or in senior citizens' homes, gives that slightly comical tilt
to the old men's hats and women's disheveled dresses,
and the surreal smiles curling up in the wry emaciated faces.
From room to room we passed
 and whenever we approached the diffuse light
 from a window she would turn to see if I was still following.
In one room I could see down a small dark hallway
whose glowering shaded dullness of old wooden floor boards
ran to the doorway of a sparse, parsimonious room,
into which light filtered from windows behind
and in which a number of people sat around
an old table which occupied most of the room.
Faintly, mysteriously audible,  one of the men
was telling a story to the delight and amusement
of the awed children, and the snorted chuckles
of the adults who smoked and drank coffee,
all dressed in bright red and white and green clothing
and whose animated faces and caricature smiles
and wide eyes signified an intriguingly adventurous
and finally humorous moment in one of their lives.
"So i ran for miles and miles through the peach orchard
looking for the white horse my grandfather said
roamed the Piedmont Plateau..."
We crossed through another room and entered
the rear portion of the house which was oddly
 though not obviously congruous with the rest of the house.
As she opened the door to her room,
I was surprised at what I saw.
She turned to face me momentarily
with the same calm expression
I had seen earlier as we walked through the house,
and the sunlight which entered through the windows
lit up her yellow painted room and the brightness
seemed to be some heavenly aura of hers.
There was a mystery in her eyes and protruding lips
and the fullness of her body seemed charged
with solar energy, electric excitement and passion.
The daylight seemed to enter and be transformed
in her being, making the living tissue of her face
and her long smooth arms seem to exude a light
and life of her own, a glowing radiating from within.
The excessive brightness of her room confused my senses,
and I was still wondering who those people were.
Outside her windows, the ground was mostly bare and sandy
and contained small pebbles and bits of colored glass.
One piece of glass threw a ruby colored light into the room.
She poured two glasses of red wine.
She moved around quietly, as one who is comfortable in their home.
"I suppose you are wondering who those people are?"
she said as she disappeared behind a dressing screen.
I sat on the red leather couch in the center of the room.
"This is Tony's house and he likes to have a lot of people,
 from children to older people stay here."
"It sounds like a pretty good arrangement.
How did you get to know him?"
"Well, that's a long story." She refilled the glasses of red wine,
and as she approached the couch and extended her arm,
our fingers brushed each other as the glass exchanged hands.
She continued.
"I grew up in an orphanage, The Methodist Children's Home,
and went to school there until I attended high school where we met.
But before high school, my whole life centered around the Home.
Tony was the musical director and a teacher there, and he was
especially kind to me.
"When I graduated from high school, which was the time
I was permitted to leave the home and live elsewhere,
Tony told me that he was planning to pursue another career
and start a business of his own, a music hall arts center
where all forms of music could be heard.
We were very close and he asked me if I wanted
to come and live at his house, and possibly work for him
and help him in his new venture. He was like a Father
to me, and I was a daughter to him. Once, since my birth,
my family and my heritage were a complete mystery to me,
I even asked him if he was my Father. "If you want to
consider me your Father, then I am." That was all he said
and I've never asked him anything more about it."
So you see, that's how I know Tony and that's why I live here."
She ended her explanation with a very casual
but reverent and sad tone, as she looked toward the floor,
and sipped her wine slowly and quietly.
She was now even more of  a mystery to me.
She could not be defined as a person
coming from a working class background,
a middle class background, or from the upper class.
Possessing the good qualities inherent in each
strata of society, thus, as a person, she went
beyond the limitations imposed by any given class.
My appreciation for her broadened,
and my fascination swelled.
"But I believe a closeness can be established
between people which is deeper and stronger
than the closeness of blood, don't you?"
"I'm not sure I know what you mean."
"To be a blood relative, to be the son or daughter,
the brother or sister of someone produces
an extreme closeness, an attachment, a bond.
But the attraction and closeness between two people
based on purely unrecordable emotion rather than
on the similarities of blood cells is the truest and highest
form of Love."
"Yes, I see," I mused, and added slowly and sincerely,
"You've expressed so clearly my feelings for you."
She smiled.
"Do you play chess?"
I told her I wasn't very good, but that I enjoyed it.
She disappeared behind the flowered screen.
Though her words and her thoughts were always clear,
it was difficult to determine how I should respond.
When she spoke she evoked deep inexpressible emotions
and abundant thoughts and sensations.
Lying on the floor, we played chess
until she reached checkmate on a move with her queen.
We gazed out of the windows and talked for hours.
She was clear but illusive and abstract in our conversation,
and it became increasingly more complex and difficult
to determine how I should respond personally to her comments.
We used our imaginations and discussed the nature of people
but we did not talk about our personal lives. She had a way
of stripping away the superficial appearance of life and things
and her evaluations always seemed to unravel the complexity
of life and reveal underneath the true shining qualities
which lay hidden underneath. Somehow the long hot day
of feelings convinced me that my concern for her
transcended physical considerations and my observations
of her undeniable and innate beauty, and I soon believed
my lack of knowledge of her life was neither a reason for
my attraction to her or a hindrance, but allowed
the true communication, and released the unmitigated flow
of honest expressions which can only occur
when former existences are forgotten
and the present experience is truly appreciated.
We began to talk about the end of Christianity.
"People have always believed in something,
many have had faith in a god or gods,
in death, in art, in the sacred spirit of animals,
in pleasure, in enjoyment, in their own inner strength,
in science and knowledge, in their country,
in evil or in good, in nature.
Others have worshipped the instincts,
another man or woman or the unknown,
or the here and now of this moment.
The instinct to believe, to hold something sacred,
is essential in order for man to endure and prevail.
Even a belief in nothing is to believe.
A belief in something rejuvenates us.
This and nothing else restores in us
the innocence of a child."
She leaned backward slightly unsuspecting, slightly willing,
comfortably receptive and even urgent on the sofa,
as the sunlight streamed through her long hair
and her large shell like brown eyes were tranquil,
revealing only incomprehensible ambiguity as I looked at them.
Her tender ripe body lying sinuously behind me,
unmoving except for her breathing, her receptive body
rising and falling with each breath.
As I sprawled on the floor with my head leaning
against the seat of the sofa,  the air was fragrant
with her own wondrously woman smell.
"This day with you will constantly remind me
of the worthiness of Life," I said sincerely and humbly.
"This may sound ridiculous but I believe in you America.
Will you promise me something? Will you promise me
that no matter what happens to us in life we will remain close friends?
I want to trust you and for you to trust me.
It may have no importance to you, but can I trust you
to be kind if ever I am in need of kindness?"
"You can trust me, as long as I live," she said.
"I feel so close to you," she whispered.
I rose up over her body and we kissed deeply but softly.
Her round eyes remained closed under smooth almond lids.
She was silent, her plump bottom lip remained in the position
produced by our kiss, as though savoring the taste of our passion.
She smiled faintly, her eyes still closed,
completely relaxed and enjoying our closeness.
I pulled up her blouse and gently kissed her navel.
The soft smooth marble roundness of her belly
was pleasing to the touch of my cheeks and lips.
Slowly I unbuttoned her white sailor pants
until the top of her red underpants was visible.
We had created a profound mood
and any abrupt movement would destroy it.
She was a natural woman.
Any minute I expected her to prevent me
from going any further or to suggest
we move over to the bed. She did neither,
so naturally, so calmly did she respond
to the passion between us and remained
enamored with the love budding between us
and the mood evoked by us.
One by one, our clothes landed on the floor
or draped beside us over the back of the couch.
She opened her eyes slightly,  radiating diamond gleams.
Her breasts were perfect, her thighs and hips
were large and firm and tantalizing,
and slowly, naturally, we began to make love.
The universe involves more than the flux of the emotions,
 more than the dimension of time by which we measure life
and death and the living dimension regulated by the air
and the course of blood through our bodies is insignificant.
You who have passed through the doors of Love
have felt this other dimension of the universe,
a dimension as purifying as water in the morning
of your eyes and as damaging as a fixed gaze at the bright sun.
Some of our predecessors have explored this dimension,
and all of us know of it to some extent, and have visited
here from time to time. The suspension of messages
from our senses and reason and thought make this realm
distinct from the conscious world of man.
But who has the final explanation of love?
I did not know how long we had remained
entwined in this speechless astonishment of Love.
If there were sounds, I did not hear them.
I could taste and feel and smell and see nothing,
and if there was not that portion of us which exists
and continues unconsciously, I could not tell
of this occurrence today.
Unconsciously we lived through Arabian Nights...
as Indians on calico horses we galloped across plains...
we lived Bocaccio's stories, exchanging kisses and caresses
on stuccoed Mediterranean rooftops...
in bamboo houses, and in the Taj Mahal.
( or on the steps of the Taj Mahal.)
Three days and nights we spent together.
We made love, stopping only to eat
or drink occasionally, or to fall asleep briefly.
When I finally left I felt this woman was still
a complete mystery to me and yet I felt closer
to her than to any relative or friend.
As I walked home I felt a freshness and newness to Life.
I felt revived. Like a man who raises white pigeons
and permits them to fly, who allows them to spread
their wings that they might live, and who knows
his uncompromising affinity and his food provide
the basis of their return, just so I freely released
my feelings to her, and pledged to devote my life to her.
I felt pure, physically, spiritually and mentally.
She was different from anyone I had met before.
I resolved: She would be the only woman in my life,
or she would become the ideal of my dreams.
Never did I consider what would soon transpire.
My body and my mind felt pure (and satisfied.)
American Indians, aborigines of this land,
are said to be so attached to their environment,
the sky,  the desert, the plains, the mountains,
and the wide waters of the rivers, the trees and the fields,
that they define their own selves based on the elements
in the world around them. In their mind they are intrinsically
bound up in the actual physical world around them.
Psychically they are their environment. They are inseparable.
Consequently, anthropologists and sociologists say,
the cannot adapt to modern society. The society
is far too mobile for them. There is no attachment to the land.
A very Northern European, Western Technology driven existence.
Like an Indian, I found it difficult to function in my everyday life.
Like the land for the Indian, I could never remove or distance
myself from the feelings I had for America.
I tried to concentrate on other things,
but my mind always drifted to thoughts of her.
It was as though I spent my days in a perpetual Sun Dance,
 honoring and giving thanks for her presence in my life.
                            STONE MOUNTAIN
                            (The Ten Commandments)
                                (Mt. Sinai)
In subsequent meetings, I discovered
the depth and richness of America.
At times she was sincere, whimsical,
extremely humorous and playful,
but always she was physically warm
and mentally compassionate.
We lived and enjoyed our days together
and rarely discussed our future lives.
The days and nights passed and I was in ecstasy
as though  our moments together were rendered
more precious by the day steadily and imminently
approaching when our lives would lead in different directions.
Soon she would be leaving for Washington, DC.
My life was drawing me in the opposite direction, to California.
It is true I would have forfeited any future plans for her,
but I did not dare mention that fact. It seemed to imply
compromise in my life and in hers. If we decided to stay
in our home city, Atlanta, and marry, neither of our lives
would have been fulfilled. If she permitted it and I followed her
to Washington DC, in so doing I felt I would have destroyed her life.
At the time, I had the overwhelming sensation of being unworthy
and undeserving of her attention and affections, and truly
there were many aspects of my life that needed to be improved.
Later I would realize I had always had self esteem issues,
but at the time I sought to better myself by my plans.
Consequently, I chose to continue my plan to move
to California in order to develop the fullness of my potential.
Inner strength is necessary for a powerful love to continue.
Such thoughts consoled me. However, this unspoken
and inevitable separation, which hung over us like death,
emanated from all of our actions, and brought us closer.
However during one conversation, she revealed
her political philosophy, and spoke of
her departure for Washington DC.
Stone Mountain is a huge rounded granite mound
rising up like an elephant's back in the woods of Georgia.
Most of the mountain is too steep to climb
without mountain climbing gear, but one side permits
passage to the top for people in average physical condition.
Though the mountain is entirely of solid gray granite,
there are small fissures in the rock face and curiously
enough small pine trees have taken root in the cracks
and crevices of the stone, and provide shade for the weary climber.
We had decided to go the mountain for a picnic,
and as we climbed the slope, America was playful
and frivolous, running ahead at times and stopping
to catch her breath as I caught up with her , jumping
on my back and laughing and prompting me to carry her piggyback.
The wine we were drinking undoubtedly made the slope
longer than was necessary, for we were weaving,
her arm around my shoulders, back and forth
across the slope as we made our ascent.
Finally, though, we reached the top,
and sat down to enjoy the food we had brought.
The white light of the sun reflected white and hot
on the smooth rounded gray granite.
"The Indians believed this mountain was sacred.
they believed spirits lived inside. Both good and evil spirits."
We were alone, sitting on the bald rounded stone,
alone with the sky and the green woods far below
and in the distance we could see the skyline
of the city in the distance, the prismatic city,
OZ... or so it seemed so hazy and unreal.
I mentioned something about the land
being taken from the Indians, and thus
began the revelation of her political beliefs.
"Government must balance the interest
of the individual with the interest of all people.
Essentially we must take every measure to insure
maximum freedom for the individual. But when
one person's freedom starts to impose on another
person's freedom, we have a problem. One person's
freedom ends where another person's freedom begins.  
 If the government allows each person enough freedom
 to choose what is best for himself or herself,
and all measures are taken to insure this right,
 then we are still faced with the common interest.
"In the origins of this country's government,
great emphasis was placed on the rights of the individual.
However a time progressed, certain individuals
have emerged with greater wealth, allowing them
and their families a guarantee of greater freedom.
As a result unfair and unequal opportunities
are available to these select people, opportunities
which are not accessible to those who have not acquired
as much wealth. To be born into an extremely wealthy family,
to be born into the middle class, and to be born into the working class
all present three distinct sets of possibilities, limitations, and advantages,
each varying in the amount of individual freedom they permit.
""Neither going ahead, or falling behind,
each step I take, I take with you."
That is a famous saying made
by an Indian Chief to his people.
"Equal opportunity has been cast to the wind.
I believe an effective government must insure
an economic balance among individuals,
so that people as a whole, without any individual
or groups exempted, must prosper,
or endure unfulfilled needs.
"I have a belief in a government which does not exist
in the world today, a government which balances
the interests of each individual with the interests of all people.
A country whose laws insure equal freedom for each person
and equal opportunities available to every member of society."
"It sounds wonderful. But how can this society be achieved?"
"By a government whose laws concentrate on economic equality.
By equal pay to people regardless of the type of work they do."
"Won't the elimination of financial rewards breed mediocrity?"
"On the contrary. People will then gravitate to professions
or fields of endeavor which best suit their natures,
as opposed to positions which offer the possibility
of greater wealth or respect in the eyes of society.
People will always have a desire to probe the unknown
and make discoveries, they will still make breakthroughs
in science, medicine, engineering, etc.
"Inherent in the concept of profit is the base
human instinct to cheat. Pay someone as little
as possible to produce the cheapest product
out of the most inexpensive materials, and sell it
for the highest possible price is the fundamental principle
behind the success of a profit based market or system.
His pride lies in and his satisfaction derives
from his margin of profit, not in the quality of the product.
In fact quality is only used as a marketing tool as needed
again to maximize profit. Furthermore,  the particular product
is of little importance, the emphasis being on the amount of money made."
"To remove the reward of greater individual wealth
opens the doors for people to produce
for far more virtuous reasons, for self fulfillment
and pride in the quality of work or craftsmanship,
for the higher satisfaction gained from producing
beneficial to society, for love or compassion
for one's fellow man. In this way, each individual
will be responsible not only for himself or herself,
but will be induced to be responsible for the common good.
Captains of industry have convinced us to produce more.
More! More!... is the cry. It certainly is in their best interest.
But if we slow down and produce better quality, we won't
have to produce as much, and won't waste our resources as much,
we need to learn to be content with less on an individual basis,
and have shared benefits and programs for people as a whole.
This would be a healthier society. Canada, most Northern European
Countries, and Japan, all have nationalized health care.
America, the richest of all counties, should have this.
A society is only as good and rich and healthy
as its poorest and weakest members.
All societies have had the rich elite.
And all civilizations have perished.
We need to make as our priority
the health of every man woman and child.
"Currently, economic disadvantages breed hatred
and contempt in those who have been denied wealth,
and those with wealth must support their privileged position
and even the middle class enjoys privileges inaccessible
to the lower class) and they continue to engage
in greater freedom by denying wealth and freedom
to those who are so called "beneath" them.
Virtually all crime as it is now manifested
can be eliminated by economic equality,
free education and medical services
and by an equal chance given to all  people
to enter a particular profession.
The laws which morally indicate
what criminal behavior is will then be true.
"It is a complicated issue and we could speak
for years on the subject, but if you are interested,
there happens to be an excellent book available.
I would suggest you read it, if you are interested.
It may prove insightful.
"But anyway, that's why I'm going to Washington,
and in my own way as a journalist, I hope in some small way
to change the government so that it will more closely resemble
these concepts and values."
She spoke of these things with the ease and casualness
of a woman standing on the tile floor of a supermarket,
choosing fruit. Never did she seem fanatical
or insist that I agree with her views.
She spoke as someone whose calm opinion
is formed by looking out over the thousands
of years of life in the past and with insight
into the thousands of years of life in the future.
The scope of her vision, the warmth of her personality
and the compassion emanating from her voice
and the voluptuousness of her body
excited and overwhelmed me.  
"Our current situation of awe and respect and almost worship
for wealthy people, idolizing and exalting to celebrity status
even the children of the wealthy, is very unhealthy.
There is a smug attitude of sophistication that is flaunted,
yeah, I've got it and you don't, which is rather ugly to behold.
The media has deadened our sensibilities. Karl Marx said
Religion is the opiate of the people, now the media, currently
cable TV is the opiate of the people.
"We need to stop thinking of ourselves
as the rulers of the earth,
and more as very fortunate guests
of this phenomenal planet,
this milky white and blue and  lucid planet earth,
and visitors of this solar system.
We need to admit to ourselves
that we are messing up this great place,
and that we are capable of scarring this planet
more than anything else, possibly annihilating
all life forms on this vital living planet.
We need to listen to this glorious place."
she shouted energetically as she took off,
running and shouting down the mountain.
She was so simple and yet so complex.
I still live in complete astonishment night and day.
Will my astonishment every end?
Will my love for her ever diminish?
True love may change, but it can never end.
                    "We are ready to start our way
                        down the great unknown."
                        John Wesley Powell
We left Stone Mountain.
The night began as a sapphire light
and slowly faded into a deep blue hot night,
so we decided to go swimming.
We drove through the woods on a winding road
which led to the Estate Home of the President of Emory University.
"Quietly drive down by the lake," she said.
Iridescent and white were the ducks and swans
sleeping on the banks of Dogwood Lake that night.
We parked the car and quietly we moved
on the soft silent pine needles covering the ground
beneath the stately pine trees which towered
above us into the night sky. We came to a terrace
a hundred yards from the house. One end of the patio
was bound by a stone wall which ended on either side
at two stone turrets. She signaled me to follow her.
We entered one turret and climbed down a dark winding stairway.
We emerged on another terrace below. In front of us
lay a shimmering crystal blue pool. I was surprised.
This pool was perfectly hidden in the woods,
as though it had been lowered from the heavens
solely for our enjoyment that night. No one was around,
and I'm not altogether sure that the pool
would still be there if we returned today.
We stripped off our clothes and put on our bathing suits,
and quietly lowered ourselves into the cool refreshing water.
The moon was bright above us and the whites of her eyes
and her teeth shone with a lunar luster, while all around us
was darkness and the whispering of the pines.
As we swam quietly around the pool,
the moon danced in the ripples of the water.
"Here, have a drink of some moon water,"
she said as she scooped up some water with her hands.
I was completely enchanted by her.
"Isn't it odd how as soon as we acquire something we really wanted
we lose interest in it. Our desires, our cravings, and wanting of things
and relationships are all hollow, empty, they create all of our suffering,
because the desire is a mental abstract which is quite different and distinct
from the actual thing. If we can free ourselves of our desires and be content
to just exist and to live, then we can control if not eliminate our suffering.
Truly most of our suffering is in our mind. By living right and subduing the mind
and sensing our existence and its sharing of space and time with the world,
our existence as part of the world, we are more connected to life
and more attuned to what is actually going on right now.
Free from our self absorbed and egotistical desires
we can see life for what is truly is, and be at peace
and tranquil and in love with life, instead of some self made
concept of something that we could "possess" that would make us happy.
"To flow, to be one like the water, to be low,
to be here now and gone flowing on down
like the waters of the rivers, to be like nature,
to be natural, to let nature take its course...
Come here, kiss me..."
She said, throwing her arms and head back
onto the surface of the water like it was a bed.
Powerfully I swam through the water
and held her between my arms which rested
on the side of the pool. Her hair was wet
and smoothed back and her eyelashes
were matted together and sparkling.
The water was cool but our mouths were warm
with the breath of human passion and our bodies
yearned for each other. I pulled the straps
of her one piece white bathing suit over her shoulders
and peeled like fruit the suit down from her beautiful
white wide body undulating in the cool blue water.
Our bodies could not contain all the love and passion we felt.
Never will I feel such passion for anyone other than her.
                            INNER DARKNESS
                              (CRUDE OIL INSIDE)
Our intellect has evolved today to the extent
that many of us show thin omniscient, sardonic smiles,
the smile of Mona Lisa spreads like a virus sunset
over our faces, the chisel marks of our thin lips
composed of conceit and superiority when a close friend
reveals those things in which he rests with humility
the hopes of his innermost dimension and gains the calmness
through which he can endure the love seething within him.
Generally people do not peer too long at the inner confines
of another, that deep and utter blackness, for the fluid
like emptiness which all living things cannot dispossess
and upon which all the cognitive facilities are based,
cannot remain distinct from us, it alone being
the only aspect all life has in common, and soon flows
like crude oil and bursts the translucent tissue,
the membrane of our eyes, and quickly, completely
floods the body, the breath of the last living creature,
and pours subtly and ultimately even into the last
inexplicable indefinable dimension of our being.
In Life, the longing is so great, the travel so sprawling
and endless, and what do we attain of worth?
The knowledge which was formed to stand defiantly
like a policeman in order to control our instincts
soon is reconciled and learned above all else to become
harmonious and balanced with our instinctual drives,
and either our knowledge or our primordial promptings
are frequently destroyed, and one has to begin again.
Consequently daily I exposed myself the looks of friends,
who so readily could see what disturbed me.
Few people exist who can look at someone's deep seated
weakness and vulnerability and not destroy that person.
I would not count myself among the ones who can show
such compassion, how often I have rejected those in need
and been startled in my own requests for help,
like a disheveled salesman when a door is slammed
in answer to his good natured greeting. All things
which man has tried to worship decay and slowly deteriorate,
or you may choose to say they all live on,  the dark relics
of the superstitious past, the barbarous grotesque cathedrals
and totem poles carved in the black foggy woods
and the vengeance and anger of the cold sky,
and the attempt to redeem human warmth and passion
in order to sever as an acceptable ideal,
the Shakespearean emotions, the imperfectly conceived order,
the triumphant ceremony, the deluded longing to understand
ourselves,  the propriety and the restraint and the attempt
to synthesize and condense large portions of the world,
all this leaves one to worship as primitively or civilized as one desires.
Worship and reverence only mold wonder.
Deep love demands one to inflict and to feel pain...
and agony... and joy... and in indescribable moments
of calmness... to be enraptured.
I would not say I worshiped this woman,
though often it was impossible to do anything
but to daydream of her. Somehow having known her
gives me strength, without which I feel as frail as one
who has cancer, and only feebly can walk from room to room,
without bitterness in remembering when the world
was as close as the rain on the window pane,
just trying to survive, traversing the room with slow steps,
and with strained excitement, as though the doorway
opened onto a spectacular view of the Grand Canyon,
or an earthly paradise, or promised land,
or a mysterious alien landscape, dulled and drugged
into ecstasy with morphine, thinking only of these wondrous things,
so too was I enraptured by her, distilled  
into Egyptian paintings and hieroglyphs
in tombs of pharaohs and queens
 while violins were wailing and crying of love.
                        MOSES' CAPTURE
                      or  MOSES' IMPRISONED
Late one Sunday afternoon, the phone rang. It was a friend.
He invited me to a car race. His confused, hurried voice on the phone
had not produced any exceptional excitement or aroused
any curiosity in me and I endured the frustrating wait until the time
arranged to meet him not with anticipation of enjoying the event,
but merely submitted to go because I had nothing else to do.
Even the comraderie of friends had become integrated
into the unproductive scope of my life, making it
of little importance whether I visited a friend
or sat in my present surroundings at home.
Therefore, I was preparing to leave not out of boredom
outrage, humiliation, not even with the excited conviction
of going out to have a good time or the conviction
of accomplishing a goal, but rather I chose to leave
my apartment through some primordial instinct for movement.
I was neither surprised nor excited when,
before I reached the door, it opened.
It is true I had to prevent my forward steps
and momentum consciously but I did not feel arrogance
or elation, in fact I was emotionless as America
entered the room. She had opened the door
as one does when entering a  place in which the surroundings
are familiar, as unabashedly and automatically as one turns
on a light at night, too preoccupied with other thoughts
to notice the change of atmosphere from darkness
to electrical glow. She brought with her a colorful
psychological array, a mixture of paint and fireworks
and fruit orchards and oceans and spectacular canyons
which made her seem distant, almost in California,
the paradise of thoughts, and all  this was veiled
in the dark brooding sadness and the sapphire tear
in the corner of her big brown eyes.
She quietly and affectionately smiled.
Without having spoken a word, she turned
to familiarize herself with the space,
readily accepting everything in the room,
and while accepting it, displaying
a certain warmth and fondness and trust.
Her hair was slightly disordered in appearance
and her eyes were shining like dark warm and wet jewels.
Her high round cheeks accentuated the shape of face.
Her complexion was dark and yellow. Her lips were large.
But again her eyes seemed round and puffy from crying.
Her full shapely body possessed the transitoriness of a cloud.
With a smooth awkwardness, she carried her shoulder bag
by its long strap and set it on the floor in the center of the room,
while saying a pouty sultry hello at the same time.
She seemed neither overtly friendly or consciously removed,
but simply walked into my apartment and acted as one
who is accustomed to meeting people, yet without  the haughtiness
which attends those who use skill and strategy in order to
manipulate those with whom they come in contact.
"I like your place," she said politely.
We talked casually for a few minutes during which
I wondered what really was on her mind.
"I have some bad news," she spoke calmly.
"They arrested  Moses. He was picked up near
his hometown in South Georgia and charged with murder.
Antony is trying to find a good lawyer for him,
but there is no justice for a black man in those counties,
especially one charged with killing a white man. Only vengeance.
They won't even listen to his side of the story.
If he's lucky, he'll be sentenced to life in prison."
She burst into tears. I held her in my arms,
my hands running through her hair tenderly
and soothingly, her crying face buried in my chest
and her trembling body clinging to mine.
(Like an Asian dancer in a golden costume,
she moves across my mind to this day.)
Finally her hysterical distress subsided into sobs,
and I suggested we take a  walk for some coffee.
We walked for blocks and blocks,
and all the while she spoke softly,
telling me the story of what had happened to Moses.
The darkness in the room allowed only certain movements
to be observed, though the loud husky men's voices
burst forth suddenly and sharply in the dark,
the primordial darkness of barrooms everywhere,
a void which does not even contain, let alone convey
disreputable activity, a place without the slightest pretension
of righteousness and least of all sobriety and restraint,
nor in there any attempt to abnegate morals in favor of
human gaiety or perversely criminal plans, just darkness,
the absence of light, as though the darkness was
merely the embodiment of the lives which had traversed
into the quiet, mute, emotionless atmosphere
with neither the impulse of the living or the absolute
rigidity of the dead, just suspended beings
whose existence depends on nothing, not even
the alcohol in front of them, whose lives and hopes
and disappointments and jubilation and separation
and camaraderie and love and hate could be summarized
simply as having entered this darkness at one time
or another and there remained.
Into  this darkness Moses came not so much with the purpose
of forgetting as to temporarily alleviate the assault
of the hot sultry night by the small room with its disheveled chairs
and sequestered dim atmosphere devoid of all light except
advertisements from  beer and whiskey companies, Busch Bavarian
with the added illusion of the snow covered Alps,
and Mabel! Black Label!, my goodness, who could find fault with her.
There was also the glow from the juke box which was hidden
and slowly with the passage of time, received more  and more
brilliance, until it was visible and distinguishable to the eyes
of thirsty Moses as he sat adjusting to the unreal change
of light enough to detect the slow mysterious appearance
of three men who slumped in their chairs.
This was the way Moses could afford to travel from place to place,
for soon one by one men and a few women would trickle in to drink
and gamble and inevitably Moses would start to sing as he played cards
and the people would demand that he play his guitar
and eventually as the night proceeded they would buy drinks for him.
These were his people, people plunged by the white society
into the dark void into which Moses would come
with his heartiness, his life and his songs, and his people
would laugh and dance and fall in love, temporarily
lifted and relieved from the struggle and suffering
by spreading laughter and dancing and love,
and casting a momentary luminescence into the darkness
of the void, and providing temporary relief and forgetfulness
of the struggle and suffering as they staggered
happily and drunkenly homeward.
This particular night, Moses won enough money at gambling
to call Shyneca, the woman who was pregnant with his child.
Outside, he stood in the phone booth
in the middle of the hot humid night, thinking:
"I have extended myself further for this woman
than for any being alive. She will soon give birth to a child,
our child, and she has shown no anger or unkindness
towards me, even though I have only seen her three times
since she told me about the baby. Yet there is a longing
in me for a home, a yearning for calmness which she
seems to possess. I've been running long enough.
I just want to settle down and be with her and raise a family."
After a short conversation filled with long silences,
Moses hung up the phone and began walking
in the direction of the bar. He disappeared inside,
but momentarily reappeared and briskly headed
across the inviolable ground which patiently waits
to reclaim its risen children, which a trail of cigarette smoke
dispersed behind him into the sapphire air
luminously above the trees' dark immobility
into the pervasive nocturnal sky.
When he reached the store which constituted the center
of town for the sole reason that it, the bar, and a small church
which remained unseen by Moses and hidden in the woods'
thick primitive darkness several hundred yards away,
were the only edifices in town, the store also serving
as the post office, the city hall, and a modified version
of a police station as well as a gas station for cars...
and a bus station. When he reached the store,
Moses stood impatiently under the columned breezeway.
As anxiety ridden as a criminal awaits the jurors' verdict
and the judge's sentence, Moses randomly read some signs
posted and plastered around the screen door.
ENIGMA,  a strange name for a town, he thought.
He thumbed through the FBI's most wanted list
tacked beside the door, the pages smudged with
greasy fingerprints, until he came to his picture.
Hearing the creaking of a swivel chair inside the store,
he turned and notice a man in a uniform looking at him
through the window.
"You want something?" blurted the white man threateningly.
"Nah. I'm waiting on the bus," Moses answered.
Fifteen minutes passed  during which Moses
shifted from foot to foot in the sandy soil
as he waited nervously under a tree,
while the white man's glare stayed riveted to him.
At last, a Greyhound bus crawled up out of the night
and stopped in front of the store.
Moses felt relieved as he climbed on board.
The driver unloaded a few packages and talked to the man
in the store for a few minutes during which they would turn
and look Moses through the windows, before returning to the bus.
Moses settled into his seat and relaxed, glad to have
caught the last bus. Leaving toxic diesel fumes behind,
the midnight local pulled off. As the liquid sapphire night
flowed by his window, Moses fell asleep.
(Moses watched miles and miles of night flow by
like liquid lapis lazuli, and the rushing of the dark immobility
and firmness of trees. He fell asleep.)
Suddenly in the silence of his dream,
a loose white cow appeared on the side of the highway,
and as it reared away from the bus, the headlights
illuminated it eye, a huge sacred eye of a white cow
just outside his window, and as the bus rushed on,
the sacred eye disappeared into the darkness.
Moses instinctively woke up. He lurched to the front
of the bus and bent his head down and looked
out of the front window over the highway.
"Mister, I need to get off at this next intersection."
Moses glanced toward him. Without a word, the driver
turned to look at him. In the glow of the instrument panel lights,
the driver's face and hands, were pale, lifeless, deathlike.
His eyes were hollowed out black holes of hell,
the driver was a skeleton is a gray uniform. In the middle
of nowhere, the bus wheezed to a stop, the silver door
opened and Moses stepped down, once again glad
to have his feet on the ground. The side road ended
at the highway and led off only in one direction, to the right.
Moses sang as he walked along the night road.
He was feeling good and excited to be returning
to the woman and the only house he ever considered home.
Three miles down the road, he looked back over his shoulder
and noticed headlights approaching. At first, it occurred
to him that he might get a ride, but as the car came closer
he realized he had never seen a car on this road at this time of night.
As it approached and crunched to a stop in the sandy gravel,
he saw it was a black and white car with a blue light on top,
and wouldn't you know it, another skeleton in a uniform and hat
behind the wheel.
The headlights drew upon his quickly,
and with little time to react, they headed
straight toward him. At the last second
he dove into the grass. The red taillights
became a swirling blurry trail as the police car
screeched and skidded to a stop.
The driver jumped out quickly with a flashlight.
Moses ducked. He heard the blast of the gun
and felt the warm dark blood oozing from his shoulder.
The man's boots appeared in front of his eyes.
Moses looked up into the flashlight's glare.
The white man looked like a ghost, a skeleton.
A sudden movement. He kicked Moses in the head.
"Get up, or I'll kill you now." he ordered.
After she finished her story of Moses' arrest, we walked on
for several blocks in silence.
Slowly, America emerged from retelling
the nightmare and seemed somewhat relieved.
Our conversation drifted to our future lives.
Tomorrow, she would be leaving for Washington DC,
and I would go to California shortly thereafter.
"I'm sorry. I hate to see us end on this note.
But I suppose there is no good way to leave each other.
I've enjoyed being with you so much."
"I can't express what I feel for you.
Maybe someday I'll  be able to.
I know I will miss you."
She added in a comforting almost maternal tone:
"I'm going to miss you too,
but we'll be together again."
... And I believed her.
We held each other for a long time and kissed.
Then we parted just as we had met seven weeks before,
on the street, as she crossed the bridge and disappeared.
How a person would react to an event which involves
an emotional reaction when the question is asked,
and how one responds when the actual circumstances arise,
are always astonishingly incongruous. It is a difference
as striking as that between a fingerprint and the person
to which it belongs, or a blueprint and the actual house.
I had developed a deeper affinity for Moses than I knew.
Imprisonment, like death, is an occurrence we accept
without hesitation intellectually, and we even expect,
unconsciously at least, to find some mention of it accompanied
by a photograph of the victim or criminal on the front page
of the daily newspapers. But the anguish caused
by the apprehension or death of a person we love
cannot be understood until it happens. Often even now,
tears fall down my downturned cheeks when I consider
the inexorable ardor in which he sang. It was not
the circumstances of his capture which distressed me,
but the closeness which I had felt for him.
He seemed to live and embody my boldest aspirations
toward love. Whenever he sang, I would be mindless
and inattentive of my own existence. He seemed
to represent the man I would have chosen to be,
provided such a choice was possible. Moses was,
and is, a real flesh and blood man, but his very being
is a symbol of my love for America, and my capacity
for love in general, my love of all people and all things.
Neither America or I tampered with the feelings
which had passed between us, or with the events
which had transpired. Such a state of perfection
had been attained that any further meetings
or the simplest, barest words, like the slightest touch
can ignite the nucleus of an atom, or turn an old
wooden sculpture to dust.  We had reached and felt
the pinnacle, the ideal balance and harmony of love.
At the pinnacle of love, there is only endless gazing.
There is nothing in life beyond or better or higher than this.
At that moment, Life is complete, it puts everything
in perspective and everything makes sense.
Once one has reached the pinnacle of love,
there is no longer desires or longings or frustrations or pain.
There is the heightened awareness of the present.
And in the last seven years, the sadness caused
by her absence is always counterbalanced
 by the supreme perfection of the love we had attained.
Like a criminal receives the shock charged
in the glowing eyes of the judge with the blue robe,
I have been sentenced to live and relive
the torment and joy of loving. The Time of Love
sounds just as the sentence pounds in my Heart and Mind.
Life Lover that I am,
I am driven into the Night,
past ancestral homes, and people
with faces too scarred by Love to give encouragement,
driven out to suffer slowly from the cancerous infection
while my Love like Blood flows for one whose name
I will repeat again and again and for which I will rejoice:
America!... America!... America!... down through the ages,
flowing down through eternity, flowing in the now
past windows and doors leading off into infinity
and black holes of space possibly curving back
like dead end cul de sacs into eternal reoccurrence
of the rush,  the flush, the excitation and grandeur of Love.
Like wine, after being enclosed in the darkness of a barrel,
rushes from its long and dusky fermentation, an enlivened
contagion of the frenzied fever, the dance, the sweat,
the inebriated laughter and joy of a celebration,
like wine are the memories of those days I enjoyed with her,
when she revealed the mysteries of her instincts and universal love,
when the darkness of her shadow poured like milk and honey
into the inimical and resolute inner silence induced by Love.
I can truly say that the seven weeks with her
was the only time in my life when I was truly happy,
seven weeks on a tropical island paradise
with seven years of ocean travel on either side.
                        BAJA EXILE
One of the first things I did upon reaching California,
was to go to  the City Lights Bookstore in San Francisco
and purchase the book On Economic Equality.
Several passages left an impression on me.
One was the song, America.
"Oh beautiful for spacious skies for amber waves of grain,
for purple mountains' majesty above the fruited plain,
America, America, God shed his grace on thee,
and crown thy good with brotherhood, from sea to shining sea."
The other excerpt was a poem composed by the authors.
Men, women and children of America,
Cry out to be heard, and sing
With crimson and pure voices
For freedom in America, the true freedom
Economic Equality can bring to America,
For she is waiting, longing to be carried
By you and your song to places only whispered of.
How strange that America would also be the name
of the woman of my dreams, the woman I love.
Through her I saw the  earth as the lucid vivid
and fresh blue and milky cloudy white planet it is.
Though I try, the depths of my love I can never accurately describe.
In a sense, she is the world I adore, and to be removed from her,
has caused the deepest sadness I have ever felt in my life.
But hope springs eternal within me. But when one is truly
in the moment, there is no need for hope, just trust and acceptance
of being and existence as it is, no value judgments upon it,
no good or bad spin, just an unconscious acceptance of being.
While living in California, I have developed
confidence in myself, and my inner strength
has become a source of peace in my life,
but hopeful possibilities still burn within me.
or While living in the Baja, in self imposed exile,
Just like from a carpenter with some 8 foot 2x4s
and an apron full of 16 penny nails, a house rises,
so too my life has begun to develop.
Seven years have passed since the blossoming
of my love for America. During these years
she has been living in Washington DC.
I have not seen her once during this time
and communication between us has been
virtually non existent.  Nevertheless,
my feelings thrive on the invisible particles
which determine the movements of the sensory realm
and which constantly rejuvenate my adoration of her.
Currently Science knows nothing of this unobservable
complexity and highly influential network which governs
our lives, but in the future,  they will interpret it for us.
Also, I have received word that Moses is still in jail,
but soon he will be free. Even now, I can hear
the deep throated ruby notes of his voice,
the Voice of Love, and the deep resonate sound
of his guitar, as his strong fingers forcefully pluck
the strings, vibrating and dispersing the potent energy
of life through the air, and I live with the possibility,
that one day soon, in Atlanta, the city of the phoenix rising,
I will be reunited with the woman I love.
                            THE END