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New Age "Asiatic" thought ... is establishing itself as the
hegemonic ideology of global capitalism. (Zizek)

Saturday, April 4

liar liar

well no one told me about her
the way she lied...

zombies ~ she's not there

"Paradoxically, the reluctance to come to grips with
deception can stem from an exalted and
all-absorbing preoccupation with truth."

Sissela Bok ~ Lying: Moral Choice in Public and Private Life

I once knew a woman, or thought I did, who told me the following story. We were in bed together at the time, which is to say, it was an intimate moment, not an oh-by-the-way sort of thing. The story was meant to convey something deeply meaningful, and she told it that way.

Once, she said, she was walking home at night, and a car pulled up alongside her. The driver offered her a ride, and naively, she got in. As soon as she did, all the locks clicked shut and she instantly knew he was planning to rape and quite possibly kill her. Panic washed over her. But then, just as suddenly, she was enveloped by a feeling of deep calm. Not knowing why she did it, she reached over and touched the man's arm. "Don't worry," she said. "I won't hurt you."

As soon as she said this the doors unlocked and the man roughly shoved her out. Then, without a single word, he drove away.

I was stunned by this story, deeply moved. What incredible insight, intuition. What courage. My amazing lover, what a woman! In a couple of my books, I wrote: "I'm a motherfucker, baby, your mind my sky, your eyes my fire." Click the link. Read between the lines. It wasn't a casual relationship.

But as George Harrison warned us, while his guitar gently wept, all things must pass. Yes, yes, how true. Yet, not being George Harrison, nor of his Hindoo-cum-faux-Boodist persuasion about The Impermanence and such as, things didn't pass all that smoothly.

Sometimes you look back on your life and wish you'd made different choices. For me, the road not taken entailed a sawed-off and a life stretch in Florence. Ah well, maybe George was right. What good is it now to cry over might-have-beens?

OK, so I passed on my one real opportunity for interpersonal mayhem. But that didn't mean I, you know, moved on. I am morally and philosophically opposed to moving on. This blog is living proof. This blog is all about asking what happened? What went wrong? This blog is about answering the sort of questions most people never think to pose, opting instead for a wistful and comforting sense of remorse and personal guilt. To quote from the final movement of Repo Man...

  • Girlfriend: "Don't just go! What about our relationship?"
  • Otto: "Huh?"
  • Girlfriend: "What about our relationship?"
  • Otto: "Fuck that!"
  • Girlfriend: "You shit!"

That movie helped me a great deal at a difficult time.

Then time moved on of course, even if I did not, and one day in a local used bookstore I found an old paperback copy of Magical Child by Joseph Chilton Pearce. The first edition was published in 1977, three or four years before I first met the woman who told me the story recounted above. Keep in mind that she told me that story during our second go-round circa 2000-2002, and that I knew this was a book she'd read before our first tour, you might say, in 1981. Not only read, but studied carefully. And talked about. I have a good memory for lovers and books.

So I bought Magical Child and brought it back to my lair. During the worst months of the worst depression I've ever lived through (and there was some non-trivial question pending at the time as to whether I would), it sat unread in a stack on my coffee table, which was already spilling over with books like Severe Personality Disorders and the complete series of Essential Papers in Psychoanalysis. They say that, when you break up, you learn so much about yourself. Well fuckin-A, they got that right! Here's a picture of me during those dark days, doing my best to look sane and harmless...

One day, maybe six months later, I picked up that battered copy of Magical Child. Hmmm, I thought idly, I wonder. Now, I don't read in the usual linear way, and there was no way in hell I was going to slog through all of Joseph Chilton Pearce's honeyed prose, so soon, I was nearly done with the damn thing.

Then I hit the passage that begins on page 225. What with The Healing and all, it has taken me something like six years to get around to copying it out as Exhibit A in a case that was never tried. I hope you enjoy it even a fraction as much as I did at the time. Picture me sitting there for an hour afterwards with my mouth hanging open and a dumbstruck look on my face.

A remarkable woman in her early thirties, formerly an actress, now working for a doctorate in psychology, related the following incident at a seminar.

As she was approaching her apartment in New York City late one evening, a car suddenly pulled up, and she was yanked into the front seat between two young men, a knife point immediately jabbing at her throat, all in the wink of an eye. The two young men immediately began babbling at her, their speech sporadic and half incoherent, that they were taking her out to New Jersey and were going to rape and kill her. They demanded that she tell them how it felt to be getting ready to die. It dawned on her that they meant it, that they were in a state of high agitation and had all the earmarks of intense fear and anger. They shook physically, the knife point at her throat jogging little stabs.

After an initial panic, realization of the futility of her position and a calm acceptance of her death swept over her. She replied to their frenzied questions calmly and earnestly. Now that she had accepted her death, her focus clarified and shifted. She became increasingly intrigued over the young men's fear and almost total lack of physical control. An odd maternal concern over them began to dominate her thoughts. She asked them about themselves, although they only insisted, like broken records, that she tell them what it felt like to be getting ready to die. She told them that she was sorry she had to die because she was young but that she understood perfectly well what the rape-kidnap laws were and realized why they would have to kill her. But what, she asked them, were they so afraid of? Why were they shaking so?

It was a strange conversation as they drove the thirty-odd miles out into a desolate, deserted part of the Jersey tidewater region. The men grew exasperated, confused. and more belligerent, all but pleading that she tell them how it felt to be getting ready to die. She prodded them with gentle, spontaneous, and utterly sincere questions about themselves and about why, knowing they had to do as they must do, they were so afraid. She assured them that all was well, that they did not have to be concerned on her account.

They arrived at a place that seemed familiar to them and in the dim light pointed out to her several mounds they claimed to be previous victims. Demanding that she tell them how it felt to be the next, they stripped her and threw her to the ground, both now whimpering and making strange noises. Looking up at the boy mounted over her, she dimly sensed a contorted and broken face. Compassion filled her anew, and she put her hands up, cradled his cheeks in her palms, and said quietly, "It's all right. You don't have to be afraid."

At this, the young man collapsed into a heap, overcome with great, wracking sobs, shaking uncontrollably in the spasm of wild grief. The other man sat pounding the ground and shouting, "What is it? What is it? What's gone wrong?" Then he, too, burst into the same strange, grief-stricken sobs.

It was some time before they quieted enough that she could speak to them and say quietly, "Boys, we may as well go home." Without a word, only their continued sobbing, they drove her back to the city. At the first subway, she suggested they let her out, which they did. She told us she had $300 in her purse, but they had given no thought to money. On impulse, she asked them would they lend her the money for the subway, which they did. She turned her back to them, started down the steps, heard them drive away, put her money in the turnstile, walked through, and fainted dead away. When she was questioned by the policeman who revived her, she replied, "If I told you, you'd never believe me."

well let me tell you about the way she looked
the way she acted and the color of her hair
her voice was soft and cool
her eyes were clear and bright
but she's not there



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