Chapter 27: Andre’s High
At least once in every life, a day dawns with a realization that despite your up-bringing, despite your foibles, you stumble onto the nature of the heavenly realm. You know it from the little things. Your morning orange juice bursts with the intensity of the tropical grove from which it sprang. The sun slanting through the lingering mist surely leapt off Seurat’s brush only moments ago. And who is this god looking back at you from the mirror?
Andre is on fire, but not with that ruthless blaze that brings forth the light hidden within the soul, ultimately to consume it along with any shred of guarded self worth. “This is the real deal,” he says out loud, emerging from the tunnel and getting that first breathtaking glimpse of the towers of the Golden Gate. He draws a breath and the superstructure of the bridge, the cars in front, the tree-studded far shore—all of it moves into and through him.
The phone call from Sheryl was not the product of his imagination. It really happened. Okay. It’s not happening right now, so…so what! “Give it up you tight-ass!” He actually yells at himself! Wow! In that instant, Andre has to admit that he is tired of his own rhetoric. “Why not just simply be—and stop this incessant analysis. Last time you looked, you were an architect, not a shrink, for Chrissakes.”
They were on the phone for over an hour, making plans, rejecting them. Neither of them cared. They were in love and in touch. The loose ends of Kostas and company seemed insignificant. They considered everything. Sheryl quitting the Embassy and jetting to him—tomorrow. Andre sneaking off to the Bahamas in a private boat for a beach-time reunion. Or both of them, waiting out the capture and confessions of the Greek fugitives—finally clearing Andre of the ridiculous suspicions Frank continues to entertain—and a reunion in Santorini.
They decided to give it twenty days and then take action. They talked honestly about the pitfalls of long-distance relationships. They vowed this one would be short and that they would check in every other day. It sounded perfect. Solid. At least Andre, given his in-depth experience with construction delays, should know that nothing in this world is solid until it’s actually happening.
But right now pulling into the parking garage below his office, all Andre sees is Sheryl swimming in the stunning sea off Santorini, not the man in the dark sedan who’s pulled in behind him, parking a few spaces away.
Raw Florida Return Transmission After Forty-Two California Years
“O you who seek out the cracks, the niches, the odd pathways. You who not only subsist, not only maintain, not only eek out escape. Yea you who not only slip toward thriving but revel in your lurches, dance within your stumbles, you must submerge and strangle that whiny inner imp who pleads: ‘Comfort!’ ”
I say unto you: “Outlast that underlying drone which disturbs your prayer. Outshout that terrible critic who would devour your dream. Define your brand of triumph and so give birth to jubilation and thus enter that realm where you have become so intangible that this ‘you’ who used to be found in the mirror, in the sunburst, even in the clear lake, is but now a figment, a memento, a fleck from a grain of sand on that galactic island you must have craved because no one can now know from where—let alone how—you have come, scraping ankles and knees, belly and thighs, rubbing your very groin and guts on earth’s undercarriage to become this simply, alarmingly, brilliantly—invisible.”
In My Cave
In my cave I saw an oracle study the rocks and send a morning out to play atop the shingles of a gold city. I found myself at the market place looking into the eyes of a flower seller.
I leaned in too far and fell into a moss tabernacle where the queen was a green lily and the king a violet rose. Then kneeling to kiss their soil, I spilled through my lips and followed a bronzing brook toward a great hammering.
Just then a royal trout fell into step beside me. My voice said, "Sir fish I am beginning to parch. Perhaps a drip of your insight would unthirst me."
"Your parchment shall be your mirage andyour oasis," he silenced.
In time we heard the mist from a singing fountain and were expected to strum the spectrum we found effervescing at the center of each bit of mist. We noticed that of all the colors, not one was able to sound the same.
"Watch closely!" said the fish. To my amazement, he gathered the fountain into a feather pen and placed it in my hand. Then he knelt beneath a great parchment tree where I bundled him with the bark--to bring him here--though, when I open the bundle, only the wrappings remain.
Yet that place is not unreachable. I am there whenever the pen decides to sing.
SWEAT WITHOUT END
Several men coil into the hut. Its floor is earth, the odor holy.
Fiery rocks are brought on a metal shovel until the bit blisters.
The sun has singed my skin though Iam noticeably white beneath.
“For those of you who've never sweated
this is about all our people have left.
Almost everything else has been taken.”
Our fireman closes the flap and I, knifed to nothing by the quick dark,
expire into a greater mind to recognize that light of Red Nation that ignites
my insides is more alive than thought itself.
And there are details I cannot give. Meanings unsealed by the steam
I must not refine. Words I find myself singing I did not know before.
This is a place for pray-ers and I re-embrace the power of that medium.
This is sweat too intense too remember--except
the end of Red Cloud's confession:
“And sometimes i struggle grandfather
for I have been taught an Indian is first
an individual yet one who receives strength
from his nation people grandfather.
One who owes strength to his nation people.”
This is sweat—too intense to remember—except the edge of Mohawk's lament:
“And grandfather I pray for the whites
I hear they once had tribes grandfather.
They are now confused grandfather.”
Point Conception, 1978
we were once detained
like a formless puff
in god’s belly
if that’s true
we were as bored
as a one-syllable rhyme
if that’s true
surely our voice revolted
as one almost angry
almost ecstatic scream
if that’s true
somewhere in the fury we forgot
we are mother and midwife of matter:
its fetus its parasite its host
so let us wear the moment
like a baby’s skin
let us love like thunderstorms
in a cage
let us treat each tree
like an original cezanne
and for god’s sake
let us gaze out as god’s eyes
at this wounded world
made of one puff one note
one blessed flesh