Tag Archives: stream of consciousness

The Secret Undertown Ministry

“FROM THE DARKNESS, A VOICE SINGS OUT: I disagree, I disagree – I cannot understand at all; Which doesn’t mean I cannot understand it if I tried to understand it but I cannot stand to stand and understand it when it hurts to stand beneath it, when it falls and cannot stand under its power.”

So here’s a holiday offering for those who are interested in such things. In 1994, when I was 29 years old, I wrote a semi-autobiographical, cut-up, stream of consciousness novel called “The Secret Undertown Ministry” – much of it made up of pieces written for or around the Thursday night open poetry readings at Java Cabana Coffeehouse in Memphis. I originally distributed it to a number of close friends, but otherwise serialized portions of it to various blogs and other websites. It’s never been assembled in its complete form – UNTIL NOW. Anyway, for those who ARE interested, here’s a link to the novel in PDF form: http://www.radicaldruid.com/PDFs/TheSecretUndertownMinistry.pdf. Good luck!

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Listening to Acid While Dropping Bob Dylan

The clocks were running, so no one could catch them
I saw tennis games canceled because of no love
There were clowns on the corner who couldn’t stop laughing
And birds who were dying because of their singing

The lights were all flashing, no one was offended
I saw trees who were leaving because of the summer
There were runners on First Avenue getting loaded
And bombs that were crying out to be exploded

The street was a madhouse, but no one committed
I saw signs that could speak but their spotlights were broken
There were children in diapers who cleaned their machine guns
And sitters who sat with their minds in the gutter

The trains were on time, but time wasn’t complaining
I saw computers dying from bad information
There were traders who traded and traitors who tumbled
And weakness exhalted and chastity humbled

The people felt lazy, lazy felt molested
I saw elephants’ memories and predators’ patience
There foxes that talked and a donkey that listened
And 10,000 crows that were speaking of slavery

The cattle were lowing, and someone was singing
I saw miracles cast out and devils invited
I saw water that walked and some ice that was melting
And half of a dozen that wanted its other

The cupboards were bare, and their nakedness covered
I saw Cain and young Abel embrace one another
There was beef on the altar and bread on the table
And Adam and Eve were locked up in the basement

The guns were ablazing, and no one was cooking
I saw mothers and daughters in graveyards and churches
There was room at the inn, but no bright star was shining
And the prophets were raising their cash in the city.

1991

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And Now a Word from Our Sponsors

Speaking hypothetically [which might mean communicating virtually by forcing directed bursts of recently inhaled oxygen-nitrogen-miscellaneous ethereal non-visible compounds to rise from within the air sac viscera through the windpipe and past a discerning set of vocal chords (say, a G-major-minor-7 flat 5) under the epiglottis and over the taste buds the river and somewhere behind grandmother’s house oh what big teeth you have and then out into the void where someone is waiting patiently — and here’s the first occurrence of doctor-patient confidentiality, isn’t it? Doesn’t it seem like being someone’s patient shouldn’t mean waiting for 45 minutes for an 80 second consultation? — and fortunately, you’ve got an attention span of more than 4/1000ths of a second or you never would remember what you wanted to say before you launched into it per the preceding description], which might be to orally transmit similitudes or other such drivel (and as Isaiah once said, “I have used the little suckers!”), please turn and spit. Thank you.

The Twenty Percentists represented (do they sign their correspondence “Periodontically Yours”?), the proverbial four out of five — and using the word proverbial here does not refer to the fact that Solomon, although long in the tooth towards the end of his reign, was probably not working with a full set of choppers — would like you to rinse, please? Incidentally, if you’ll pardon the tongue-in-cheek (a little drill-side humor) do four out of five of the leading figures on the Caspian Sea and the Crimea — where Tartar control was at one time a little on the drastic side — feel that the ever-loving Constantinatives went a little overboard (and of course, that’s where they got the fish that had the taste that prompted the sauce that the Tartars built!). And on that same wavelength (a little fisherman’s’ humor, and as Charlie Mingus said, the shoes of the fisherman’s wife are some jive ass slippers) why eat fish that doesn’t taste fishy? Isn’t that like saying you want a tomato that tastes like an apple, or “Let’s have a misteak and Vidalia not-onion?” That’s all fine and dandy if you’re one of those that thinks that whiting tastes like haddock tastes like code tastes like scrod tastes like talapia and it’s all so much better drowned in a cream sauce, but why eat fish at all? Why not put a little salt and a few bones in some tofu? Anyway…

My relatives, with little regard for the medicinal benefits of scotch, get gin-give-itis around the holidays. Here all this time I thought they were talking about Tartan Control – and that suits me fine, because there are just too many Scotsmen and not enough single malt for my liking. Throw the Highlanders (including Sean Connery and Christopher Lambert) overboard and pour me a shot of Laphroaig or Glenfiddich. Four out of five Gaelic practitioners of the orthodontic arts recommend Tartan Control Plaid Remover. And while we’re talking about dentists, please remember that the Listerine will never get into your mouth if you’re sitting in front of your mirror like the Quiet Man and that little bottle is swinging across the treetops yodeling like Johnny Weismuller. Oh, those crazy Scotsmen. Our Father, who art intoxicated, hollow J & B thy brand. Perhaps the fifth (not of scotch, this time, but of those irrepressible dentists) doesn’t work with patients who chew gum — then again, if all the world were bread and cheese and all the sea were ink and they told their friends and so on and so on how would we ever find time for sweet chewy nasty unwholesome foods that without which there might be little need for the man in white smock who sounds like a golfer (“You’ve got a hole in one on the back nine there, my friend,” or “Nurse, I’d like the putter, please,” or whatever it is they say). Is there a little stamp that goes on the Doctor of Dental Science certificate that indicates membership in the Four Out of Five Club? Do associate members get discount rates on green fees, or just on those neat sharp pointy instruments the use of which inevitably brings the remark, “That didn’t hurt a bit, did it?”

Speaking hypothetically (which in addition to being next to impossible with all this stuff in my mouth), turn and spit (I almost forgot, that’s better). It’s the next best thing to being there and take it or leave it, it’s all we’ve got, because my dentist (who happens to be one of the four looking for a fifth on the isle of Islay where they make Laphroaig in copper kettle and age it for ten years and that’s why it tastes like heather and peat moss and shag tobacco and has a little quaint mist about it but still doesn’t explain why it has to cost at least thirty-five dollars a bottle) is out of town fishing. I hope he’s got a bottle of Tartar sauce with him, because I tripped on the Col Gate and have Crest fallen and I can’t get upper bicuspid. Somebody left their Trident on the lawn and I’ve got a lump on my jawbone that feels like a sermon from the Molar Majority. Feels like I’ve just Neptuned in and caught the end of Poseidon’s Misadventures (edited for television).

Gives a whole new meaning to brushing up your MacBeth.

1995

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Beat Cops (the Pilot)

Introduction to a Poem Requested by a Dear Friend. Please note: dear friend is somewhat of an ambiguous phrase, which should not be misconstrued to mean that I have anything against any deer, elk, moose, springbok, or other non-horse, leaping, running, jumping herbivore – which is like a vegetarian except more boring in conversation – because I like woodland and veldt-dwelling creatures of that sort because they never try to talk to you when you’re on the phone with someone else).

Anyway, here goes: It’s a never-ending story, a pit without a toppus or a bottomus, a continuous saga, or at least a tale that seems to be sagging ever closer and closer to the ground: it’s the ending of the end-all, the creme de la creme of something that was once was soft and pliable and oh so very pleasant to the touch, smell and sight but now has hardened into a plastispasmodic dessert tray offering that shows signs of oxidation, sugar viscosity breakdown and overall loss of morphologicality and appeal. What is it? Or rather, what was it, what could it have possible been, from whence did it come and will it return at end of day to close our eyes and minds to deprive us of the burden of imaginative recompense? I don’t know.

I’m milking this one for all it’s worth: I feel it’s my udder responsibility. What I have attempted to attempt here is an introduction, a prologue, a pre-initialization segue, an opening monologue, to set the stage, give you the background, or sort of give you the “in last week’s episode” synopsis of what you might have missed if you had been out having some sort of a mid-life crisis experiment consciousness awakening mind-bending good old fashioned get up and go something going on last week and between the sound bite politics and other mindless trivia that have been sandwiched in between your neurons and synapses in the intervening time period instead of paying strict attention to the events, actions, and their separating moments of extreme boredom (don’t you just love those peaks and valleys?).

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Moving Rocky to Balboa

About 10 years ago, I was fascinated with both stream-of-consciousness and cut-up, randomized writing. In that fertile stream bed, fueled by endless coffee cups and unfiltered cigarettes, I lay for a period of about two straight years. There was something in me that wanted to cross William S. Burroughs and Henry Miller, and somehow end up with a statement about modern culture. Did I succeed? Who knows. Looking back on that time, it was a frenetic time of perapetitic cavailing. Talking loud, and much, filling in the spaces between words with more words, wild gestures and constant barrages of noise that passed for Music.

Boxing the compass like Muhammad Ali we’re all made from the same Cassius Clay, you know and all along the watchtower once you let them in the door you’ve got to listen to their churchbell’s spieling and somewhere a voice in the darkness cries out: “Quiet on the settle down comforter while I get my thoughts together we stand divided by five gives the solution pi in the sky!” and meanwhile clouds are forming and we’ve got to get inside under the canopy beneath the umbrella situated below the awning. Somewhere along the river in a club where no one goes except to pick fights or china patterns or their noses, Old Blue Eyes is singing a James Van Heusen tune and no one hears him, no one knows the words, but it goes like this: “It’s a quarter to three, there’s no one in the place but me, listen, Joe, I’ve got no place to go, but make it one for me, one for my baby, and one for the road.”

Happily we leave this scene of unrequited, unreturned, unmitigated, and unforgivable love and move along Union Avenue through the desolate streets where traffic lights are holding their breath in remembrance of Hendrix and the wind still cries, I suppose, but its tears are from laughter and as it passes the hospital it seems to say wake up wake up you’re not dead yet but sleeping only sleeping in the thousand years of sleep.

“A mastodon once shit where you are standing!” Homespun cries.

There’s a history of the spot you’re in, the fix you’ve created, the world you’ve denied, that even James Michener wouldn’t have the guts to capitalize on. Visions of sugar plums dried and disgusted turned to weary ancient prunes in the scathing light of summer’s hatred fade to black like those bananas waiting to make bread like all the rest of us who punch the clock and keep hoping the bell will ring and the round will be over.
“Cut me, Mick,” shouts Gravity, “I gotta see. You gotta cut me or I won’t know where I’m standing.”

And so we let ourselves be wounded in battles that have lost their significance and even their ritual charm. It’s been so long since my last confession I can’t remember how much I miss the flail, the rack, the Chinese water torture, the hail storm Mary fighting traffic down the Angelus highway looking for a friendly face in a well-lit truck stop who’ll hand me the key on a cement block and the rain can fall down like water in the porcelain altar where I have prostrated myself in service to an alcoholic kingdom. You cannot serve two masters, it is said, but they never said anything about tequila and whiskey. The piano’s out of tune but it plays on anyway, you just keep your feet moving and eventually the keys will dance and maybe you’ll pick up the beat and find the words scrolling by your right hand me going down for the last time I don’t know return to sender my love is the seventh wave goodbye and tell me that you love me tender is the night prowler and the lights just keep on passing by like stars in the sky or big rigs on the interstate and wish I may wish I might I wish I’d fall asleep tonight and I’ve tried counting blessings instead of sheep – it cuts down on the shit lying around in dreamland, but like Ben Franklin said about fish and houseguests starting to smell after about three days, the bountiful cornucopia that seems to have erupted into my mind at my birth is going like gangbusters or a busted sewer line and where it all ends, nobody knows but they act like they do and you don’t and that, my friend, is where it all begins.

1994

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Pseudographic Xenophoria …

Perhaps this is continuing more of my mental somnambulism (see my previous entry for an exploration of thought-reducing politics), but I am perplexed with a number of things today:

First, why is it that after an election, if you vote Democrat, that you are immediately inundated with solicitous mail from any number of “liberal” organizations – Greenpeace, Sierra Club, ACLU, People for the American Way, Amnesty International, etc…all looking for money? Do they have some in with the exit poll people that gives them insight into which voters are “dirty pinko commie fag junkies” and therefore are susceptible to their particular brand of propaganda? Perhaps it’s just that as of late, I’ve become more and more sensitive to propaganda, but to use an older expression, this sticks in my craw. I know these organizations do things that I approve of, as a whole, but I also realize that programs won’t solve the problem. The problem is a societal bias against intelligent and inter-connected existence. The problem is that our culture believes that such a thing as “prehistory” exists. We all labor under the delusion that while Darwin was right about oh so many things, suddenly and miraculously with the appearance of homo erectus erectus the two million year chain of “moving towards” and modification and growth suddenly ended. Lo and behold, humans were created and it was finished. For all you anti-Christianity mavens out there, your story is starting to sound a bit familiar. End of the food chain, eh? Immune to the laws of selective, natural competition, are we? Sounds a bit like man was created to rule the earth, to have dominion over all its creations. Hmmm…

Second, with respect to the election, again, I suppose…

If I were to run for public office (which I guarantee you will NEVER EVER happen, despite of the Sufi proverb that says ‘Never name the well from which you will not drink’), the only way that I could ethically, morally and spiritually do such a thing is to state, upfront – my agenda is not Republican, Democrat, Green or Reform. I do not represent, nor do I wish to be constrained by, the limited vision of a national agenda which cannot by its very nature take into consideration the local, individual, personal and unique people that I represent. Neither am I an Independent – rather, I am an Interdependent. I hereby state that I am forming a party that is not a party, with an agenda that is not an agenda. Political action committees – I know your nature. Nothing was ever created, solved, invented, improved or mitigated by committee. I cherish the individual, but that does not make me a Objectivist, Libertarian or any other joiner. I represent the individual people in my jurisdiction, those who have trusted me to represent THEM, and the community they represent. Now, this may not always be easy – for change is the only constant, and this is a world in which what yesterday was secure and steadfast is tomorrow tattered and rusted. We MUST grow as a people, as communities, we must accept personal responsibility for the lives that we are living. And we must accept personal responsibility for our actions. Those that heal, and those that harm. Those that build, and those that destroy. Those that we are willing to parade in public, wrapped in flags, and those that we hide beneath sheets, behind closed doors, in our closets and under our breath. We cannot survive without each other – that is a great risk to have to make, to TRUST. And it is a great responsibility. It is NOT a national agenda, it is a personal agenda.

Oh, how I ramble … somebody, give me a melatonin and put me to bed….

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