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Reflections at night when the dark is good and we see further. A short meditation.
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Meditations on the 60th Anniversary of Hiroshima What would the end of the world entail? Do we boast that we can imagine such a thing?


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In the apprenticeship period hopes are high.
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THE POET OF MY DREAMS

She was crazy girl, that's what we called her and she didn't mind. "I've been in the hootch...have you?" "I'm a nut-case...are you?" She would look at me with these iron blue eyes and willed herself to a kind of homeliness not exceptional in the town of Berkeley. She had danced one night whirling around and around until she found some node, some innocuous guy sitting there in the party among the music and smoke, and stuck her hand down his shirt and started squeezing him. Rumor had it that, as a teen-ager, she had hid aboard a luxury liner from San Francisco to Hawaii until found out mid-cruise. It was a rumor until she brought out a fading yellow clipping showing her and the smiling captain with the caption, "Local Teen Is A Stow-Away," and how she had been given the captains berth and dined in fine style across the Pacific Ocean.

She would go down to the Finnish Hall and help cook meals for homeless people. Everyone knew her by name. At a wedding up in the Hills she nodded, greeted, and said hi to half the people and threw her cigarettes in the small pool along side the house of the bride's uncle. She had been arrested trying to steal moon rocks up at the Hall of Science and, later, mimeo-graphed what she thought were bomb secrets from the Rad Lab where she worked and was secretary to the chess club, and drove over to San Francisco offering them to the Russian Consulate on Green Street. The Russians refused and told her not to keep showing up there or they'd call the cops.

A woman so out in the open and free was to be admired and guys clustered around her; physicists from the rad lab and communist artists who drew elaborate skeletons dancing in a variety of poses came to her. We were together until she went nuts on me. It happened this way: we were going to go our seperate ways and were very amicable about it. I lost touch with her for several days and when I returned to the apartment she was there with a someone I had never met. She was disheveled and jerking around with nervous energy. The apartment had been tied off in a series of corridors made with string that she had elaborately strung from one corner of the apartment to the next so to get anywhere you had to discover the right path. "Oh does my darling want something to drink?" She asked me. She took a flower pot and poured the dirt into a glass and handed it to me. The guy was making expressions of both contrition and embarrassement. He finally just said, "she's been like this. Just ignore her."

The night was one of the strangest I had to that point. I went back to get my mattress and a few boxes and she met me at the door with that crazy look that you weren't sure was a put on or not. The mental illness had destroyed her life she claimed. "I can't rest anywhere!" I was sympathetic to her plight but in no shape myself to help her any.

After sitting down I asked her how she was doing. That started it I suppose. In the next few hours she performed two or three different characters I had never seen her do. She was this aggressive persona that ordered me to do this, do that, say it this way, not that way, how dare you talk to me that way, don't you know who I am? And so forth. AFter awhile I found myself getting up off the chair and sitting back down per her instructions conscious of what I was doing but strangely frightened of this immense power that seemed to possess her. Then she was paranoid and in a high-pitched voice accused me of wanting to steal her purse. And then she accused me of raping her. "He's raping me! He's raping me!" She was yelling it so loud I was certain the neighbors would hear and tried to make my way out of the apartment. She blocked every exit and trapped me with this fierce expression of her face was like some ancient statue I had seen in books. This went on for hours. The whole time I was mesmerized by the possession. And I thought back to readings in the Bible and other ancient texts and how I understood, now, what they meant when an ancient "was possessed," and running around wild. The defenses I experienced that night were complex and foreign to me as she acted out her craziness.

Then I was out of there. While standing by my car I heard the upper window slide open and she was there like Moses before the pagans and threw two huge tomes down at me yelling, "you were going to steal these anyway!" They bounced in front of me and I went to pick them up. One of them was Tolstoy's War and Peace, the other was an American Heritage Dictionary. This was a significant book because in it were all kinds of marginalia she had written depicting conversations with a "space being" she had named Zocar.

Go to the From the Start: The Poet of My Dreams

Go to the More Serializations