Wednesday, December 10, 2014

THE LESLIE GEDDES VARIATIONS - VOLUME 1






























THE LESLIE GEDDES VARIATIONS
-fiction, soon to be a major graphic novel

*(all events and names are fictional and any similarity is coincidental)


"I don't believe in reincarnation; I know in reincarnation."
-As quoted by the first Durga Lama aka The Pink Lama


________________________________________________________________________

PREFACE

My whole life I wanted to be liked.

And, now that it's over, I wonder why?

Why didn't I just accept myself as I am?

My theory is that people aren't hard to figure out if you know where to look.

And neither am I.

Remember your first love?

Oh sure, it ends.

Tragically sometimes.

But you haven't forgotten it because that first drink of emotion was the strongest.

So you want to know yourself?

You want to know me?

Easy.

What is the earliest emotion you felt in your life?

Wait, it's not that easy.

Are you blocking it out?

Well, it may be a mother's love or nanna fingering you.

And, I guarantee the world has plenty of sick mother fuckers, so the second is as likely as the first.

And, either way, the rest of your life you'll be reacting to that emotion.

Sure other things will come, maybe horrible traumas and such.

But everything will be seen through that first emotional prism you created.

And what was my first emotion?

Hell, what difference does it make to you?

It will either make you feel goddamned superior or patronizing.

See, another thing I know: no one cares.

So, I'm not telling this for you.

It's for me and for art and for visions of Saint Leslie Ann of Geddes; a fiction I always knew.

It's for the Duke Ellington Bridge blues.

________________________________________________________________________

INTRODUCTION



When I was a preteen, I was the victim of a violent, day-long sexual assault.  

Numerous recent abuse scandals in the news have caused me to reflect on how sex abuse has impacted my life.

My parents were going through a divorce, and in this chaotic atmosphere I was sent to live away from home.

Instantly, I became the perfect target for sexual predators: an emotionally deprived and needy child with no parental supervision. 

Adults at the institution were given free reign with the children in their care. 

In what was a classic case of grooming by a sexual predator, an adult took specific interest in me, calling me his favorite and taking me out on numerous trips.

One day, as autumn approached, the adult asked me to join him for a ride in the country. 

As we walked through a deserted field, surrounded by trees and electric power towers, he asked me: “why do you spend time with me when I could easily kill you?” 

With that, he began to strangle me. I know that I momentarily blacked out and went into a state of shock. 

He began to undo my pants and sexually assaulted me.

My next memory is being back in his apartment where over a number of hours he sexually molested me. 

At the time he did this, he kept repeating to me: “I love you, I love you.” 

The only emotion I recall is being frozen with fear. 

When he asked me to masturbate him and take a shower with him, I refused and told him I wanted to leave. 

He kept trying to convince me to stay but eventually relented.

I still recall in slow motion his unlocking the multiple locks on his door, my long walk down his hallway and across the street. 

It was dinnertime and I headed to the cafeteria. 

However, feeling sick I excused myself and went to the infirmary instead.

That evening, while I was at the infirmary word (possibly through the nurse) got to the heads of the institution of what has happened to me. 

They told me it was my fault and threatened against revealing what happened. 

My parents were never informed.

Terrorized, I felt I had a secret to be ashamed of and lived in shock and in silence. 

Although I had been a very social and chatty kid, I became increasingly quiet and reserved. 

No person ever asked me what was wrong.

I’ve since learned that it is common for abuse and trauma victims look to for ways to numb their pain and emotions. 

Having seen the destructive effects of drugs and alcohol on my father, I had no appetite for those. 

Instead, I threw myself into school work and suppressed my emotions (I had them but didn't allow myself to express and to acknowledge them).

Years went by and I developed a career. 

The impact of the abuse on my life continued, however, on a personal level. 

I never felt comfortable developing friendships with men because I unconsciously distrusted their motives. 

If I emotionally became close to a woman who declared her love for me, I also became consumed with distrust and would end the relationship.

Throughout most of my twenties and thirties I worked full time and pursued graduate work in the evenings. 

Being a workaholic provided a narcotic effect which allowed me to continue to suppress my feelings about the abuse.

Decades after the abuse I fell in love with a woman, Leslie, who told me that she also was very much in love with me. 

After a year-and-a-half, the same pattern repeated itself where I began to emotionally pull away from her, questioning how I could believe that she loved me and ultimately breaking up in a very thoughtless way.

In distress at having sabotaged a deeply meaningful relationship, I knew that I finally had to confront my past abuse and its impact on my life. I could not spend the rest of my life overwhelmed and reacting to the past. 

I called the police to report the crime, called the institution to report the crime and hired a lawyer who specializes in sex abuse cases.

The process of coming to terms with the past was not easy. 

The police detective I spoke to was very kind but informed me that the statute of limitations for criminal prosecution had long passed. 

I learned that the perpetrator had continued to work with boys for decades after my experience and he died just a month prior to my call. 

After my initial call to the police, I was flooded with grief and allowed myself for the first time in thirty years to cry. 

Unfortunately, in this emotional state I decided to reach out to Leslie for support. 

I naively reached out to her because she had repeatedly told me how deeply she loved me; I craved support, empathy and compassion. 

I believed in her.

That was the biggest mistake of my life.
When I called Leslie and explained what had happened in my childhood, she laughed and hung up on me. 




I thought there must be a misunderstanding and sought to write the most thoughtful letters I could, opening my heart and trusting another person for the first time in my life. 



She emailed back one sentence: "never contact me again."


I fell into a cycle of despair. 

Thinking there must be a misunderstanding, remembering that she had told me in hundreds of letters that she loved me, and remembering the good times, I made the profoundly misguided decision to trust her and write explaining the situation. 

It was out of an overwhelming need for empathy and validation that I trusted the hundreds of times she told me that she loved me as opposed to the one time she wrote via email, "never contact me again."
I wrote every few weeks the most insightful and sincere letter I could, believing in my ability to open my heart and that that was what Leslie wanted, because she had said she loved me.

It was a huge mistake, the biggest error of my life, my need to believe in her capacity for empathy. 

I also naively considered her friends my friends. 
Kirsten was my neighbor who I had spent a lot of time with. 
I knocked on her door and asked for her help and guidance. 
She angrily yelled, "why do you keep bothering everybody?" before slamming her door in my face.

Later, I saw Kirsten again and she lunged towards me screaming, her face distorted with rage.  
I ran.
Another day as I entered my building I ran into Leslie's other friend, Maggie. 
As I entered the large glass door entrance to my building she saw me and smashed the door in my face.
She snorted with laughter and walked off. 
Her friend Autumn practically spit on me the times I passed her on the street.
It was very difficult to understand this onslaught of hostility from these people I had felt so close to. 
Of course now I know that my attempts to communicate with them were naive: I didn't understand the dynamics of relationships, that I was a commodity to Leslie and when the relationship was over her professed love was too.

More importantly, because I hadn't loved myself I chose a relationship with a person who I now see as alienated from their own emotional life.  

She was the last person who could offer empathy since she lacks it for herself. 

The common denominator among Leslie and her friends is that all of them have very difficult relationships with their fathers and in their romantic relationships.  

I theorize that once Leslie had no more use for me, she and her friends projected their unresolved anger towards their fathers onto me.

It was some sort of primal assertion of power.  

The same abuse as experienced from my childhood abusers.  

To me it felt familiar in a perverse way.

Just as the man strangling me and abusing me seemed to take great pleasure in doing so, I've found that what creates the lasting pain of abuse isn't the physical act but the memory of the joy reflected in the abuser's eyes at the moment of total control.  

This is what is the survivor remembers: the emotional pain.

I remember seeing it in the eyes Ilse Kronthaler, my father's mistress, when I was locked in her apartment as a child desperately trying to get out. 

My father would leave me with her in some warped effort to get me to know her. 

Ilse would sit on the couch smoking, icily staring at me. 

Finally, the ritual would be I would freak out and want to leave, clawing at the locked door. 

She would laugh hysterically and refuse to unlock the door unless I kissed her, at which moment her eyes reflected triumph. 

This was my first taste of emotional and sexual abuse. 

I saw it in the eyes of Peter Barnett, my fourth grade teacher at the International School of Geneva who would hit my everyday and tell me I was stupid. 

Just at the moment of impact of his hand on my head a self-satisfied smirk would appear. 

And I saw it in the eyes of the teacher, John Fogarty, as he strangled me in a distant field. 

And in Bruce Harlow, the headmaster of the school, who realized my parents were incapable of protecting me, and so he was safe. 

And in the students at The Peddie School, enabled by a dysfunctional administration, who would ostracize and bully me because I was kind and thoughtful and wouldn't take drugs or drink.

And then I saw that same look of hatred in the eyes of Leslie and her friends. 


As I expanded the search for support from "friends", the responses ranged from "why do you care about something that happened long ago?" to "too bad" to "accept the things you can't change." 

I see now that it was misguided to believe that friends would have the insights, skills or motivation to respond with empathy.

The fact that most were liberal progressives meant nothing in terms of giving personal empathy. 

At the time, however, it was devastating.



This is the reality however for survivors of sex abuse: it is so abhorrent that educated and relatively enlightened people shut down or react without compassion. 



Also, I've since learned that they more often than not have their own unresolved issues of abuse and to confront the abuse of another would mean they would have to confront their own past. 



Furthermore, I see that as I was emotionally suppressed I had often chosen friends who were controlling and lacking in compassion, perpetuating a dysfunctional dynamic of human relations which felt normal to me.

Luckily, just as I was at my lowest point, a friend who had just returned from the Peace Corps, and who had experience with therapy, encouraged me to find a competent therapist. 

She also suggested that a female therapist would be preferable given my deep unconscious distrust of men.

After meeting with various therapists, I finally settled on one. 

She was the first person in all these years who said “I’m sorry for what happened to you. It wasn’t your fault.”

This simple act of validation and empathy, which had been denied for so long, was when the path to recovery began. 

I learned that through talk therapy the trauma becomes normalized - it doesn't define me and I don't live in a reactive state anymore. 

I practice positive cognitive therapy and meditation as a means of reclaiming my sense of self. 

I later began attending a support group for male abuse survivors coordinated by the local Rape Crisis Center.

Hearing the other men’s stories was when I knew for certain that I could face my pain and move forward.
I forgive those who turned their backs on me when I needed them most; I learned that my experience of emotional trauma was not only predictable but completely normal and similarly the ignorance of my ex-girlfriend and others I reached out to is normal.  

I also empowered myself by pursuing legal remedies.  

And, I am now a volunteer with the DC Rape Crisis Center.

It was the DC Rape Crisis Center that ultimately helped me to heal. 

I now understand that having grown up with abuse I learned to devalue myself and consequently chose friends who were controlling and manipulative to reinforce my lack of confidence and to perpetuate my emotional scars. 

But, I've also learned that for me, compassion towards those who were hurtful is the final stage of my healing. 

For years I found myself plagued with the despair of "why?": Why would a teacher tell me he loved me and take me to an isolated field to violently sexually assault me? 

Why did the headmaster cover up the assault when I reported it? 

Why did my father choose alcohol, drugs and a sociopathic mistress who would hurt his children over treating his family with love and compassion? 

Why did Leslie Geddes, who told me she deeply loved me over two years, turn her back on me at my most desperate moment, when for once I believed in trust and in emotional intimacy? 

Why did her friends respond with abuse to my reaching out in friendship?

I nearly drove myself crazy with this "why" until I realized that the "why" is ultimately unanswerable.

At a basic level abusers have unfathomable emotional immaturity and lack the capacity for empathy.

But, explanations and theories are mere speculation, as meaningless as parlor games. 

What saved my sanity from the need to constantly ask "why" is insight I received through attending the lectures of the Dalai Lama: the only goal I have to work for is a peaceful mind.  

A means of doing this is to extend compassion to others - and to myself - with the belief that this engages the power of my mind and creates a virtuous cycle of karma. 

This is what works for me and what gives me sanity when Leslie Geddes, my father, and those others I loved and trusted acted insane. 

For me, the answer to "why?" doesn't matter anymore.

They either chose a role to play or it is their karma to play it.  

I choose mine.

I choose to believe in a power - a peaceful mind - found within.  

That is where I focus my mediation practice.  

That is my answer. 

From a practical perspective, through the DC Rape Crisis Center I found friends who are empathetic.  

They gave me strength and I learned practical coping strategies, such as somatic therapy.

I also empowered myself by taking legal action against a childhood abuser.  

It was not easy and took years of persistence.  

I won. 

Most importantly, I learned that the only person who needs to love me is myself.
Finally, I also forgave my former friends who turned their backs on me at my lowest moment. 


I sat down and placed a chair opposite me and asked each of them (in spirit) to forgive me for having given them pain and distress by imposing on them my expectation that they were greater than who they are. 


A therapist characterized them as people of staggering and unfathomable emotional immaturity, incapable of intimacy or compassion.  

Perhaps.  

But, I know now that Leslie, Maggie, Kirsten, Autumn, Andrea, Alice and most everyone, are simply Ordinary People.


Like most people, in my opinion they are detached from their emotions and cope through neuroses.


My belief in them was my delusion.


I have compassion for them.


I also forgave, in spirit, all my childhood abusers because it allows me to reclaim power from them.


I learned to draw and to write to explore ideas, thoughts and emotions.

I can do that because I now value my self, the best gift I've given myself.


The hands of that teacher, John Fogarty, around my neck are released.

Despite all the aggression from all of them, I have learned that the purpose of my life is a peaceful mind.

I breath again.


If asked, based on my experience I would give a survivor of sex abuse three simple pieces of advice.


If a person tells you they are a survivor of child sex abuse, the response doesn't have to be hard.



First, contact the local rape crisis center. The centers provide counseling, which is critical, or can help the victim find an experienced counselor.



Second, contact the local law enforcement authorities. Even if the abuse happened years earlier and the statute of limitations has long passed, there may be (and likely are) other victims out there.



Third, contact a lawyer to pursue a civil action. In terms of finding a lawyer, I suggest googling the topic "sex abuse" and other relevant terms along with your state (or country). Look for news articles about recent sex abuse cases and they will invariably cite the names of attorneys who are representing plaintiffs. It is critical to find an attorney who specializes in the area of sex abuse crimes because the case law is complex.



I meditate.



_________________________________________________________________________________


IF I DIED TODAY WHAT WOULD LESLIE SAY?


If I were to die today, 

three days from today 



my receptionist would ask:

"Where is that guy anyway, today?"



The police would arrive and say,
"Looks like another body today."

The EMS would say, 
"He stinks his rotting away."

The morgue would ask,
"Who's his next of kin, by-the-way?"

My Mom would say,
"I'd hoped to sleep in today."

My Dad would say,
"I'll greet him at the Pearly Gates today."

His mistress would say,
"Sweet revenge came my way."

My Grandad would say,
"I never much liked him, okay?"

My GrandPops would say,
"Let's do an accounting before we pray."

My sister would say,
"This really isn't convenient today."

My other one would say,
"He was an okay guy, anyway."

Leslie Geddes would say,
"Break out the Champagne, today."

Alice Riener would say,
"Hip Hip Hooray!"

Kirsten Feyling would say,
"Let's party today."

Autumn Francois would say,
"Let's grab some swag today."

My boss would say,
"Who's next for a window office, today?"

My colleague would say,
"I'd like his chair, anyway."

My broker would say,
"Someone's got a nice payday, today."

My HR would say,
"He's saved Uncle Sam money, anyway."

My abuser would say,
"Lucifer set him up that day."

Jodorowsky would say,
"Life is just emptiness, anyway."

My God would say,
"Now justify how you lost your way, today."

But...

I haven't died yet.....

So, 

I've got another day, today.


_________________________________________________________________________________



HAPPY PASSOVER< SAINT LESLIE ANN OF GEDDES

The fog was rolling into San Francisco Bay.
I looked into her brown eyes.
"I want to live life without illusions," I told Leslie.
"Without hope, there's heartbreak," she said.
"All my friends are getting divorced," I said.
"The women wised up," she said.
"What are you feeling?" I asked.
Her mouth moved but I heard seagulls mocking me
as the lighthouse on Alcatraz Island winked.

..........

After she left me two years ago I started sleeping on the couch in my living room, leaving the television on.
She had told me that she was going to teach art history at Stanford.

But, I heard that instead she was in a short-lived punk band called the Stool Pigeons.
They had one big hit in Japan.
Every so often, the phone rings and the number reads "restricted" or "unknown". I never answer to maintain the illusion that its her calling.
She hasn't left a message yet.

..........

Her art books are still in a plastic container in my closet. 

Her low brow Pinky Violence nuzzels her high brow Katherine Hepburn box set 
collection. 

I've held off on selling her oversize monograph on Windsor Castle Water Drawings 
by Leonardo Da Vinci and her Japanese collection of first edition Araki photo books. 

Her signed Richard Wilbur poetry collection is stuffed under my winter clothes.

Since she's left I've gone back to eating ravioli out of a can.
I left her photo up in my kitchen, but behind the cereal boxes.
I wonder if someday she'll knock on my door. 

I imagine that I'd casually say, "hey, how's it going?" 

I know it will never happen; when her girlfriends now pass me on the street they glare daggers.

I see the Leonardo monograph sells for upward of $1,978 on Amazon. 
I could use the cash, but I still keep it packed away. 

Maybe one day she'll knock.
And still, her smile is worth more.





_________________________________________________________________________ 



READING LESLIE GEDDES

To distract my mind….
from my lost love….
I went to Idle Time Books….
to have some looks….

Poetry is relaxing….
let’s see, looking….
browsing….
soothing….

Oh, Richard Wilbur….
Things of This World….
my sweetie’s favorite….
she could quote it and ….

Hmmm...Louise Erdrich….
Baptism of Desire….
until, Michael Dorris, a bag over his head….
she crushed his heart until he was dead.... no I'll pass...

Marianne Moore….
Tell Me, Tell Me….
Poems of New York….
oh, my Sweetie loves New York too…. well, maybe, then...

Barbra Guest….
Moscow Mansions….
wait, isn't she of the New York School?….
New York times two...pass….

I’ll switch to art….
let’s see, Picasso, Cocteau, Marsh….
Leslie is an art scholar….
baroque maps and such, she was too smart...pass….

Er, ah, psychology?...
there’s the ticket… I might learn a thing or two….
Freud on Eros…. Adler on love and power...hmmm...
no, pass on them memories, damn it, and excuse me, let me through...

Head for the exit…. give a pass on Blink….
pass Homer (classics, her favorite) and his Iliad, I think....
pass Dumas (I'm The Count of Monte Cristo) and 'cause she loved Hugo too....
pass them all and run though the thicket 
of memories and glue....

And, forget….
forget….forget….I wonder what she’s reading now?
Pour another double…. blur the vision….
blur the past….blur the pain….
And write, to remember not to forget.

_________________________________________________________________________

HAPPY EASTER, SAINT LESLIE ANN OF GEDDES



"The feast of Saint Leslie Ann of Geddes is celebrated in her birthplace in Geddes, Scotland, each year on December 10 because on December 10, 1478, Philotheus of Pskov, a monk in Saint Petersberg, Russia, wrote a letter of prophecy to Ivan III. 


Among other things, he predicted that Russia would become "a Third Rome" when Saint Leslie Ann (of Geddes, Scotland) is restored to her "rightful" place in the Canon of Saints (more on this complicated tale later). The Knights of Saint Leslie Ann devoted their lives and fortunes to this mystical pursuit." 

Excerpted with permission from: "The Legend of Saint Leslie Ann of Geddes and the Reality of the Muse Within the Hermeneutics of Roman Maps, and What it Means for International Relations Today in the Context of Russian-American Relations." (PhD. Thesis: -1962- Alex Jodorowsky, Princeton University.)


I had been told that Jodorowsky was crazy and to avoid him.

I tried.  

But before I could, he handed me a brittle copy of his Master’s thesis on Saint Leslie Ann of Geddes.

He devoted his life to it, and destroyed it for it, so it's Jodorowsky's story too.  

Jodorowsky told me that finding the key of Saint Leslie Ann of Geddes would save the world.  

He was obsessed with this seeming nonsense.  

So, you can see why he was considered crazy by the rest of the Company: persecution complex, paranoia, delusions of grandeur, psychosis, or schizophrenia?  

But, I was also considered a liability to the Company, too hot for the field, too hot to let go, so we were both placed in the Company’s rubber room: Records Management.

We had desks next to each other in the basement of Langley and were supposed to be making lists of files to send to The National Archives.

But, apparently not even trusting us to do that, we simply sat passing time, counting days to retirement.

Twenty-five more years for me, and it seemed that at age 76 Jodorowsky had no plans to ever leave.

So, I listened to him talk.

The first thing Jodorowsky told me is that her name was Leslie Geddes and she moved to Washington, D.C. from a little town named Geddes in Scotland.

The town itself is supposed to be cold and grey and grim, but it's claim to fame is a huge feast that takes place each December.

This is the feast of Saint Leslie Ann of Geddes.

It is celebrated in Geddes, Scotland each year on December 10 because on that date in 1478, Philotheus of Pskov, a monk in Saint Petersberg, Russia, wrote a letter of prophecy to Ivan III.

Among other things, he predicted that Russia would become "a Third Rome" when Saint Leslie Ann of Geddes is restored to her "rightful" place in the Canon of Saints.

It's apparently a complicated and mystical tale full of contradictions and not much sense, but legend has it that a huge treasure was buried there in the 1400's by the Knights of Saint Leslie Ann, who devoted their lives and fortunes to her.

So, the legend lives on and each year thousands gather on December 10 to pay homage to the Saint Leslie Ann of Geddes before getting rip-roaring drunk and going out into the bogs on a treasure hunt.

So far, not a candlestick has been found. But the treasure hunters keep coming back for the ale, the fellowship and the dream of easy riches.

According to Jodorowsky, the so-called Gospel of Saint Leslie Ann of Geddes is in the Art and Archaeology stacks of the Art Museum of Princeton University Library in Princeton, NJ, in a box of the collected papers of Richard Halliburton.  

Attached to it is a note indicating that Halliburton discovered it in Nepal.  I says he traced the gospel to a sect descended from the Apostle Thomas.

The note by Halliburton reads:

“As narrated to me by a senior Abbott at the Potola Monastery, the two dahkini Les-lie and Fey-ling were witnessed by Saint Thomas on his voyage to Tibet after the crucifixion of Our Lord.  

According to Vatican archives, Thomas declared them saints after they appeared to befriend him and demonstrate good works. 

After gaining his trust, however, according to local lore, the two dahkini promptly murdered Saint Thomas and fed his corpse to vultures.

When wandering through the peasant fields I heard an enchanting song and asked my guide, Abu, what it was. He told me it is a nursery rhyme unique to the village where Saint Thomas met two of the dhakini, and is sung to warn children to beware proselytizers of foreign faiths. The song, sung in a soft lilting hum, goes: 

'Ha ha! ha ha! Thomas is dead, Thomas is dead, we chopped his head, now Thomas is dead, ha ha! ha ha! He came in peace, he left in pieces, Saint Thomas is dead, the vultures are fed, ha ha! ha ha!'" 

I found myself humming the tune for days afterwards and was bewitched by the beauty of the descendants of the dahkini as they tended to their children during the harvest, although I was likewise glad to have not been butchered by them, as myth has it the dahkini still roam the northern district mountain range in search of food and friends.  They are known as The Pink Lamas."

According to Jodorowsky, this Gospel was to be the basis of Halliburton's next adventure, tentatively titled, “Magical Saints, Magical Tibet.”  He planned to voyage by yak Tibet to track down the so-called Pink Lamas sect.  However that was prior to Halliburton's untimely death.

When Jodorowsky was assigned by the Company to Tibet to train the resistance he took the opportunity to further his undergraduate research into Halliburton's found gospel and the Pink Lamas.  It was in the Mustang valley of the Himalayas that he told me he found a guru from the Pink Lama sect.

Through many tantras he learned from his guru that the universe exists as single cycle through 1001 reincarnations of Lama Les-Lie of Geddes in all her permutations (Saint Leslie Ann of Geddes, Lady Geddes etc.) at the end of which will be both destruction and the total enlightenment of humankind.  

Somehow along the way Jodorowsky included the thesis that the Vatican has twelve shadow saints, of who one is Saint Leslie Ann of Geddes, who reincarnates as the chief Lama of the Pink Lama Sect and whose Gospel completes The Book of Revelation. 

According to his research at the Vatican archives, (when he was assigned to the Vatican by the Company) each shadow saint held a key, which opens the door to prophecy.  Whoever holds all the keys will rule the world. 

Or, so said Jodorowsky.


THE GOSPEL ACCORDING TO 
SAINT LESLIE ANN OF GEDDES
(Translated from the Tibetan manuscript by 
Richard Halliburton)

1:1
After the crucifixion and resurrection, which has already been told of by my brothers and sisters, Jesus appeared to the Apostles which included Mary, who replaced Judas the Martyr.  And we disrobed to be as were Adam and Eve and we levitated.  And Jesus said: “Be not afraid for I shall provide each of you with the key to heaven and to great miracles on this earth.”


1:2
And Jesus said, “I have taught you to pray, ‘God’s will be done.’ But know this; God’s will can only be done through people while Beelzebub lives in this world and cries havoc through her disciples.  Therefore, to teach God’s will is to counter Beelzebub on this earth.”


1:3
And Jesus said, “Beelzebub has many disciples who will shadow each of you on your journeys, their seeking to bring evil in your path.”  Jesus then told each of the twelve the names of the twelve devil’s disciples that would seek to bring evil to the twelve apostles, so that they could recite mantras of protection against them. 


1:4
And Jesus told Thomas that the name of Mara’s disciple who would seek to destroy him was Ilse of Kronthaler-Peirce, from the country of Siemens and that the mantra to use against Ilse of Kronthaler-Peirce, from the country of Siemens is: ‘om hrih ha ha hum hum phat.”


1:5
And Jesus said, “You have heard it said that in the beginning was the word.  That is true.  But who here can truly understand the word?  And if you can’t, who can?  When I said the only way to salvation is through me, dunderheads and the dimwitted would say that means that believing in me is salvation.  But do you think the pious Jew who doesn’t know me is not saved?  Do you think the pious man and woman who have never heard of the Torah shall be cast into hell?  Who could believe such a thing but a dunderhead?  This is not what I have said, but words fall short for many.”


1:6
“Similarly, there will be those who will be consumed with anger at those men who cleave to men and those women who cleave to women.  Have I not said that it is better to cleave to no person?  But if one acts piously and faithfully and out of love then only a dunderhead would be consumed with anger over the actions of those from Lesbos and Greece as a means to distract from their own evil nature, which is in alliance with Mara.”


1:7
“Similarly, I have said ‘Love God with all your heart.’  The dimwitted and dunderheads would say then, ‘do not love yourself’ and that, ‘to love yourself is not righteous’.  But I say, ‘fools!’  If you do not love yourself you can’t love God.”  Understand this then, that God is within you, the light is within you, and the church is within you.  Love yourself and you love God.”


1:8
“But the wise person will ask, ‘Lord, how should I love myself?’ And, this is the most important question of all.  Love is an art, not a feeling.  Let me thus tell you how to love yourself, by which I mean, value your self.”


1:9
“What matters most is not how you feel or what others think but what you believe about your own value.  Therefore, show yourself respect in what you eat, in what you spend, in what you wear and in what you say and do.  Take these actions even when you don’t wish to, as a sign of confidence, which is the same as faith in God.”


1:10
“But the wise person says, ‘Lord I have tried but I take actions that do not respect my self.  And I say, all lack of respect for self results from power against you.  A power imbalance triggers actions that show a lack of respect.  And, there are three types of power imbalances." 


1:11
"The first is external, such as the power of money.  All power is trade, and all trade is money.  Even Caesar is subject to this external force, the power of money.  When a trader cheats a merchant in a country far away do you think this won’t affect Caesar?  And if it affects Caesar that it won’t affect you?  All is cause and effect.  Money is limited and so it is craved.  The limitation of money causes the craving.  The craving causes external imbalance in the world system.  The external imbalance causes sickness."


1:12
"The second imbalance is internal.  This is the pain you carry from a childhood injustice.  All have sufferings too painful to acknowledge.  Many are greater than others but to each they cause an internal imbalance so do not judge another’s internal suffering; a prophet in the future will ask you: ‘how can you know the grief’s that are inside of me and how can I know yours?' and this is the question you should ask one another.  This is the cause of internal, emotional imbalance."


1:13
"The third imbalance is caused by Mara who is looking to place temptation and misfortune in your thoughts and actions and who will create misfortune to harm you."


1:14
“Therefore know this: those that permit power imbalances are doing the work of Mara.  And any person who harms a child is in alliance with Mara.  And any person who is not with me – by which I mean the pious - is with Mara."


1:15
“But the wise person says, ‘Lord, I understand the power imbalances but still I take actions that show a lack of respect of self, and therefore a lack of faith in God.  Help me.’  And, I say, it is not wrong that you don’t understand because in the beginning was the word, but the word can’t be understood by all people and even if it is understood in the head it is not understood in the heart.  This is why there is the method and the method shall lead to the Awakening.”


1:16
And Jesus then taught the 144 meditations, twelve sets named for each Apostle.


1:17
And the twelve meditations of Thomas that Jesus taught were these forms of meditation:

1.      Breath
2.      Mindfulness
3.      Respect of Self
4.      Mind – physical
5.      Posture
6.      Walking
7.      Drawing
8.      Imagination
9.      Breaking of Concepts
10.    Mantra
11.    Dahkini Tantra
12.    Compassion


1:18
And Jesus transmitted the 144 meditations to each of the Apostles.  And to Thomas he transmitted the first form of the twelve meditations of Thomas, which is the meditation on breath.  And Jesus said: “Breath is life".


1:19



_________________________________________________________________________________



JEREMY BLAKE & THERESA DUNCAN

Theresa and Jeremy
Forty and thirty-five
You left before
I met you
But I know I knew
Your spies

In Venice you felt
Them
Watching you
Cruise and
Beck and
The CIA
But in truth
It was
The Nation of Ulysses
That sunk you, Jeremy
And took sweet Theresa
Away

Jeremy
I read your vanity
I also felt your distress
Since I too
Thought she was
My love
My life
But
She was so much
Less

Theresa
I knew your pain
Since my Leslie
Had it too
A life spent
Swimming upstream
Cramped with loneliness
Leaving too much
Left to do

I thought we’d be
John and Abigail
And Jeremy, I know
You thought so too
But
A negative force
Defeated us
When they both left
Without a clue

Saint Mark gave Theresa
Final communion
Diphenhydromine, as wafer
Rum, the blood of Christ
And after you, Jeremy
Alone
Found her clammy corpse
Comrade Svenonius whispered
conspiracy!

To the Nation of Ulysses' delight

Beelzebub’s dischord
A minor threat
A false positive belief
In desperation, Jeremy
You swam away
Away from them all
Alone
Away
From Rockaway Beach

Life’s a moving picture
We’re all Mrs. Winchester
Deep down inside
Waiting for our
Closest friends to betray us
And
Swimming upstream
Alone
Without a guide



________________________________________________________________________________


HAPPY VALENTINE'S DAY, SAINT LESLIE ANN OF GEDDES



The National Gallery of Art. 

That's where Jodorowsky sent me.

I was getting a PhD in political economy (or at least was in the program) and worked during the day down by the National Mall.

Most lunch hours I'd walk across the street to the National Gallery and wander aimlessly; I loved art but knew nothing about it and had no way to put into context what I was seeing.

Anyway, one lunchhour I was standing in front of Leonardo Da Vinci's "Ginevra de'Benci" having no clue about what I was looking at when I saw her - my Saint Leslie Ann of Geddes. 

She had brown hair sternly pulled back, pointy-rimmed glasses, wide hips and a wider smile.

She exuded freshness and innocence and a need to be loved. 

But, a maturity beyond her years also reflected from her eyes.

I'm in my thirties, balding and gangly, not ugly but not cute.

We both turned and looked at each other in front to Leonardo's Ginevra, and she smiled. 

I knew from her eyes that she recognized me from class. 

I was surprised at how friendly she was. "Ciao," she said. 

"This is better than class, no?" She was making more of a statement than a question.

I agreed and asked her what she thought of Ginevra.

"I see myself in her," she sighed.

I knew she was right - a wistfulness, a longing, a radiance was in both of them. 

She abruptly turned and I found myself following her as we wandered through the galleries. 

I asked her about herself.

She had gotten her undergraduate degree in art history at Princeton University and it turned out was just auditing classes in Washington DC to pass time (until what I was never sure).

She gave me a tour of the entire gallery and spoke at length about both the history of many artists and their particular techniques. 

She especially loved showing me Dali's The Last Supper, which used to hang in the stair well of the entrance that connected the East and West wings.

She had written her dissertation on Baroque maps and also shared her lengthy thesis on why Pollack's drip paintings were derivative of them.

After that initial encounter, we ended up spending almost everyday together for the next year-and-a-half, or at least when she was in town.

As I got to know her she told me that her mother had been a model from Scotland (so that's where she got the cheekbones) and her father was a diplomat from Brazil. 

At first I was never sure if her stories were true, but then she gave enough glimpses of her life that I never questioned her.

She needed someone to talk to and I've always been good at listening (even if not trusting).

For instance, she told me that her father ran Brazil's intelligence operations in the U.S.

That sounded completely far-fetched (why would she even tell me that?) until one day she said she needed to go by the embassy to see her father and that I could come along.

We took a taxi there and were let in through a back entrance; the security guards all obviously knew her and let her right in. 

They photocopied my ID but otherwise eerily already seemed to know me and my background.

She told me to wait in a reception area while she went to see her father.

After about one-half hour he came out and said hello, that he liked to meet his daughter's friends. He asked me what I was interested in, and of course I said "art."

It turned out that his wife - her mother - had died when my Saint Leslie Ann was quite young. 

Her mother had been an avid art collector. 

"Let me show you my favorite drawing, then," he said, and pointed to a framed drawing of a line hanging on the wall over his secretary's desk.

He shared the story of how he and his wife met Oscar Niemeyer(a famous Brazilian artist) at a party and his wife had asked if he would make a drawing specifically for her.

Later Niemeyer presented her with that framed drawing of a line. 

"But its just a line," she said. 

"Ah, but its taken me a lifetime to know how to draw it," Niemeyer answered.

At the time I didn't understand the story, but later it became clear.

From time to time my Saint Leslie Ann would disappear for a week or two. 

I knew that she was extremely wealthy and hated living in Washington DC, but her father wanted her close-by.

When she could take it no longer she would leave for a week at a time, usually to London, sometimes Florence, where her father owned flats.

She confided that she was having an affair with some aging pop-star, but the name meant nothing to me at the time as I consciously avoided mainstream pop music and celebrity news.

I only followed punk groups at that time, so when she talked about him I was relatively ignorant of what it signified - that she travelled in elite circles and I was the exception to her letting me into her life.

The singer kept telling her that he was deeply in love with her, but he was in a "committed" relationship.

I only figured it out in bits and pieces, as she would start talking then abruptly change the subject, until one day she showed me a photo of them together in London.

They had started dating when she was fifteen and he was twenty-one.

I objected but she insisted that it was pure love and, using a phrase that had become her mantra, said she longed to live in "an ordinary world."

Much, much later I heard a song on the radio and then I knew where it came from.

After thirteen months and about the thirteenth time of meeting her at Reagan National Airport to greet her, I had it all planned out.

She saw me as she exited the arrival gate and was beaming.

"Darling!" she exclaimed in her typically exaggerated manner.  

Her arms opened up and she strode right into my embrace, kissing me on the cheek and holding me.

"I missed you so much," she said.

I began to let go but she held on to me for a full thirty seconds before letting go.

And, that's when I made the biggest mistake of my life.

"I love you," I said.

A confused look came across her face, but then turned to laughter, as if I had made a joke that took her by surprise.

"I love you," I said again.

And, then, I knew; she scowled and fell into silence.

I drove her bak to her apartment.

We both sat in silence.

I was terrified of saying the wrong thing.

But, when we arrived at her apartment and I parked, I looked at her.

She was crying.

"Why did you have to ruin everything?" she asked, through tears.

When she got out of the car I hesitantly got out too but had the legs of a man marching to his execution.

Our ritual had been that after each trip we would sit on the couch of her apartment overlooking the National Mall and she would entertain me with stories of her adventures.

I handed her her bag and moved to hug her.

"No," she said.

She turned and walked away.

I called and emailed afterwards, but she never responded.

Then I received a letter in the mail.

In it was a photocopy of a sheet on which she had written:

"Tom, I love you more than you know."

Up to that point I had never drank (my father was an alcoholic so I religiously avoided alcohol) but for the week after getting that letter I went out and became plastered.

When I woke up in the gutter in Dupont Circle, and avoided jail for pubic intoxication thanks only to the kindness of one of the MPDC's finest ("Sir, I have two choices to book you or to kick your ass, and today is your lucky day") I accepted that destroying myself with alcohol wouldn't bring her back.

I withdrew from people and into my drawing and spent weekends on sixteen hour binge meditation and fasting sessions in Malcolm X Park.


What I didn't understand at the time was that she was having a breakdown.

Her life was such a mix of secrecy and the mundane with glamour that reality lost all context.

But apparently it ran in her family too.

Almost a year passed of not hearing from her. 

I called again to find her number disconnected and I never saw her around school.

It somehow wasn't surprising to me, given the nature of our relationship. 

It hurt and I mourned.

I went for marathon walks in the District, but always managed to avoid the National Gallery.

And then out of nowhere I received a call from the Washington DC police.

An officer Feyling told me that Leslie had been found wandering in Anacostia with just a bathrobe on, totally incoherent.

But bizarrely she had a piece of paper with my phone number and name on it, so the police  called me.

I don't flatter myself that Leslie had my number; one late night I had stayed at her apartment over the Newseum - on the couch - but I had just gotten a new phone number so I wrote it down for her.

I remembered her sticking that scrap of paper into her bathrobe pocket.

"She's being held at St. Elizabeth's," officer Feyling said.  "Can you come down and identify her?"

It was 2 AM but I immediately called a cab to pick me up in Adam's Morgan to take me to Saint Elizabeth's in South East.

When I arrived, officer Feyling was waiting for me at the intake counter.  

"Is she your girlfriend?" officer Feyling asked.  

She scowled suspiciously.  

"No, just my best friend."

That seemed to loosen officer Feyling up.

She showed me a photo.

"What happened?" I asked.

"I'm told it was a psychotic break, but you'll have to talk to the doctor.  Can you tell us who her family is?"

I identified her and of course called the embassy to reach her father.

Getting in contact was a total nightmare. 

Because of his work he was on travel in Asia.

The embassy called me back.

Yes, he would be there in a week, and meanwhile they'd send an attache over to manage her care.

I collapsed on the couch and sunk into a comatose sleep, waiting until I could see her at 8 AM.

"You can see her now," an orderly said, poking at me.

I had rolled onto my glasses breaking off an ear piece and rose unsteadily.

Then I saw her looking through the glass door.

Leslie stood in a medical gown, starring vacantly.

She appeared to be a shell of her former self.

But when she saw me she managed a smile.

I opened the glass door and hugged her.

"I love you more than you know," I whispered.

"I know," she said.

I stood there hugging her until the orderly poked me.

"You'll have to come back tomorrow, she still is under observation."

As I walked out I asked if I could speak to her doctor.

"Are you family?" the orderly asked.

"No."

"Patient confidentiality, we can't release any information."

As I left I turned to look at her, and thought I saw her give me a crooked smile.

But, I'm not sure.

I couldn't come back until the weekend, three days later.

"I'm here to see a Ms. Leslie Geddes."

"Yes, I recognize you.  She's no longer her, she's been transferred to a private facility.  No we can't tell you where.  Patient confidentiality."

I called the embassy and left messages but no one called back for two weeks.

I went by her apartment at the Newseum and was told it had been cleared out.

Then, just as I was getting ready to go to the Brazilian embassy, this time it was her father who called me.

"Tomas," I could hear him crying.  "Tomas..." his voice trailed off.

Suicide in London from the roof of the London National Gallery.

He flew me over by private jet to attend her funeral.

We were the only two people there besides the Deputy Minister, the chauffeur and two people I assumed were bodyguards.

As it turned out, Leslie's brother had also killed himself when he was a teenager.

Her father told me that over dinner as he reminisced.

Leslie had never even told me that she had a brother.

The secrets we keep is the pain that needs most to be released.

I flew home, promising to stay in touch with him, but somehow never brought myself to write or call.

Nor did he.

Time passed.

The whole experience was so painful that I kept all the photos of Leslie in a box pushed under my bookcase.

Then, today, Valentine's Day, I learned that Leslie's father died.

It was reported in an obscure news-report that I saw by chance when glancing through the foreign news magazines in the news shop off of the K Street, Farragut North Metro Station.

According to the article, his wealth was based on illicit arms dealing and a massive ponzi scheme.

The politics of Brazil turned against him.

He died mentally and financially broken.

With his death, I finally pulled out the photos of my Saint Leslie Ann of Geddes.

As I meditated on them, she became simply, my Leslie Geddes, and I remembered that I had loved, once.


_________________________________________________________________________________


THE DUKE ELLINGTON BRIDGE BLUES


The woods
A man took interest in
Youth
Killed my soul, and
His pleasure killed the truth

I reached out to the Master
Who assaulted and threatened
Me
Silence then conspired
That a pawnbroker I would be

I always thought then that
Silence was violence
And someday I vowed to
Share the truth
But what I didn't know then I know now
Which is that truth is a form of abuse

Years had gone by
Where I had pushed people away
Fearful of what they would say
Deliverance?
It seemed too fargone
When silence was the order of the day

In desperation and breaking down
Having pushed a sweetheart away
I began to reach out
Reach out to those I trusted
Entrenched fear and distrust of emotions
Reaching out, hoping they wouldn't be disgusted

How is it possible
For there to be such
Cruelty and evil in the world?
I asked
I pleaded
I repeated

I pleaded with Flora, Lala and Wilson
And even the Norwegian too
But they enjoined me and put me on trial:
Oh Please!
TaTaTaTa!
You're obviously obsessed!
When are you going to move on?
Don’t talk to me!
Agree to silence, Tom!

And I was happy for them
That they didn't understand pain
That they could live
Without asking these questions
But I was crushed by the pain I felt of why?
The pain of not knowing
The pain of having been made to die

So I kept asking them
Clueless to their dismay and rising anger
How is it possible
For there to be such
Cruelty and evil in the world?

Arvada
Colorado Springs
Omaha
Virginia Tech
Columbine
The Dakota

Evil people and cruel people
Who kill:
Happiness
Joy
Innocence
Trust
Hope
Love
I read, searching
Steinberg
Thich Naht Hanh
Samenow
Peck
Kushner
Hendrix
Knauer
But, I was still in pain
So I kept asking:
How is it possible
For there to be such
Cruelty and evil in the world?

Leslie sought art and beauty,
And gave a scorching look
Alice lived for social justice,
But only in theory and book
Riener loved the classics,
And had his head in the sky
Kirsten didn't answer,
Simply not caring to surmise

In desperation and despair
There seemed no hope to go on living
Knowing that I was
Shunned by people who I thought cared
And finding the world unforgiving

So I stopped asking
How is it possible
For there to be such
Cruelty and evil in the world?
Giving into silence
Its triumph over violence

Then Anne told me
As I was making my way to Duke Elington bridge
I passed her by
She’s black, I’m white, she's inner city, I'm suburbs, she’s retired, I commute
We never salute
But for some reason, just then, she thought twice
To give me some unsolicited advice

Tom, she said
You don't know people
People are mean
I’m telling you
People are just mean
And then I knew
And allowed myself, finally
To cry

_________________________________________________________________________________





HAPPY NEW YEAR'S, SAINT LESLIE ANN OF GEDDES



CHAPTER 1

Lola, Flora and Leslie are pixils one and the same, Katherin Hepburn, Leslie Parrish and baby-maker Ann are our illusions unmapped and sought in vain; my patron saint, Leslie Geddes, was the best of us, illusions that I did know, and the others were the rest of us, tria juncta in uno;
Her name was Leslie Geddes and she moved to Washington, D.C. from a little town called Geddes in Scotland. 
The town itself is supposed to be cold and grey and grim, but its claim to fame is a huge feast that takes place each December.
This is the feast of Saint Leslie Ann of Geddes. 
It is celebrated in Geddes, Scotland each year on December 10 because on that date in 1478, Philotheus of Pskov, a monk in Saint Petersberg, Russia, wrote a letter of prophecy to Ivan III.
Among other things, he predicted that Russia would become "a Third Rome" when Saint Leslie Ann of Geddes is restored to her "rightful" place in the Canon of Saints.
It's apparently a complicated and mystical tale full of contradictions and not much sense, but legend has it that the Knights of Saint Leslie Ann, who devoted their lives and fortunes to her, buried a huge treasure there in the 1400’s.
The legend lives on and each year thousands gather on December 10 to pay homage to the Saint Leslie Ann of Geddes before getting rip-roaring drunk and going out into the bogs on a treasure hunt.
So far, not a candlestick has been found. But the treasure hunters keep coming back for the ale, the fellowship and the dream of easy riches.
But I digress. 
My Leslie Ann Geddes arrived from Scotland (she said) to study art at Columbia University. 
I felt it indiscreet to ask more and she never offered details. 
I found that when I asked anything of a personal nature she would change the subject. 
If I persisted her face scrunched up and I got the feeling she was considering how to exit - not the room but the relationship. 
I was drawn to her and didn't want to risk it. 
She said she loved baroque maps. 
She said she was finding herself. 
She was my mystery, and maybe, I thought, she'd have to find herself before I could find her? 
Or so I rationalized.
We first met on Valentine's Day in the National Gallery of Art in Washington, D.C. in front of Ginevra de Benci by Leonardo Da Vinci. 
The painting is about three feet by two feet. 
It is the only Leonardo in the Americas. 
Ginevra lacks the aura of her cousin, the better known Mona Lisa. 
But her face is nonetheless moody and distant and mysterious. 
We were the only ones standing in front of it on a rainy Sunday afternoon. 
We both stared intently. 
I was just about to move on when she said, "The water."
You'd think I'd respond "what?" or just grunt, because after-all, what do I know about anything? 
But I knew exactly what she meant. 
"I know," I answered. 
To sound clever I added, "virtue is beauty."
I cheated on that last bit - that is what Leonardo wrote on the back of the portrait. 
For some reason I wanted to show off. 
But she knew more than me. 
She smiled, and said:
"It is in Leonardo's understanding of water that Leonardo shows his understanding of human nature.
More than any saint or Buddha or writer or artist or psychologist, Leonardo gets it, and shows it though his wondrous depiction of water.
There is an obsession there, a revelation of a unifying, vital force in the face of man's impotence." 
Well, those are the words that Leslie Geddes used in describing Leonardo DaVinci's use of water in his painting. 
I couldn't have chosen those words, but they mirrored the university of my virgin thought and I knew. 
What I knew was that when I looked into her eyes I saw the universe. 
And, I was in love.
Leslie Ann had brown hair tightly pulled back, brown eyes, wide hips and a wider smile. 
She reminded me of a Renaissance portrait wearing pointy-rimed glasses and a corduroy skirt. 
After that first encounter we spent the day wandering the gallery. 
We met up every day afterwards at the same spot and then she would give me a tour of a new section of the gallery, lecturing with a profound sense of earnestness. 
A week later, in front of the Jackson Pollack in the East Wing, she told me she loved me more than I knew. 
It came out just like that. 
I leaned in to kiss her and we made out until a guard politely asked us to "find a room." 
I was completely average; balding, aging, boring.  
I wanted to believe the illusion despite my rational sense, so when she asked that afternoon to move in with me, I agreed. 
She had been staying with a friend and we went to gather her things. 
We walked arm in arm to my apartment in Adams Morgan and made love nonstop for a week. 
We shared movies. 
Her favorite was The Goonies. 
We cooked. 
Her favorite was eggplant. 
She rubbed my back while I washed the dishes until she got tired.
I loved her.
One day she met me after work (she spent her days reading about art and writing about Leonardo as part of her PhD thesis in progress from Columbia University) and as we were walking home we passed a strip club and I said in a serious way (I was always too serious), "Stripping is a form of feminist empowerment."
I was well-read in feminist theory, from Virginia Woolf to Kathleen Hanna.
She wrinkled her nose and laughed. 
"Have you been there?" she asked. 
"No," I answered truthfully. "Only my married male friends go. They're miserable." 
She laughed again and I pulled her close. 
She radiated contentment in her Steve McQueen dress, Milan black leather jacket and Fratelli Rossetti shoes. 
I noticed since she moved in that my wallet had been getting lighter but I couldn't bring it up. 
Once I tried to say something ("That $1,700 could have been a trip to Paris") and got the death stare indicating that she would be happy to leave if I had a problem. 
I wanted her to stay. 
I said, "It's okay, really."
She seemed to meet people easily (unlike me). 
Six months after moving in together, she took me to a cocktail hour at some snazzy Georgetown spot called Harvard House.
I sat in a corner, never very social. 
But I loved to watch her play the crowd. 
I carried my sketch pad and would make drawings of her and enjoy her "oooing and ahhhing" over them afterwards. 
But this time was different. 
As I watched her I saw her best friend, a loud, well-endowed, ditzy blond named Andrea Higginbotham, from Hanssenfjeldtsten-Feyling, Norway, come up veritably bursting with excitement. 
Andrea looked like she could hardly contain herself: 
"I met the perfect guy for you...do you want to be set up with someone cute, funny and rich?"
The word "rich" seemed drawn out and exaggerated. 
Without missing a beat my Leslie Geddes screamed in response, "Okay!" 
It all seemed then to play in slow motion. 
My soul died.
Surely she knew I could hear her. 
But I loved her and so I sat quietly. 
I was glad Leslie Ann had a friend. 
Andrea Higginbotham was my neighbor but they had met at the Social Safeway caressing the melons. 
Before the party I often saw them laughing together and derived happiness each time. 
To them America was something shiny and new and green.
I envied their faith. 
My faith was in Saint Ignatius: death, guilt and loss. 
When we left the bar that evening I never brought the conversation up with Leslie Ann. 
Because, then it would be real.
A few months later Leslie Geddes left me. 
She sent me an email at work: "I don't know why, but it's over." 
I called her and sobbed into her voice mail that I loved her. 
I was sincere.  I was deeply in love. 
"Why?" I wept.
She never answered.
She moved out before I got home. 
I became an emotional zombie.
For a year I wrote her love letters (well, emails) every week, some self-pitying, some self-blaming.
Then her lawyer, a silverback Butch named "Jim Gallagher Harris Reed" called, threatening me.
I saw on her MySpace Page on that Leslie moved in with a blue-blood named Joe Riener. 
He majored in the art of bullshit at Princeton University and Georgetown in Washington DC. 
Now he runs a hedge fund called The Woodrow Wilson Fund out of Boston. 
I saw an article in a magazine; Joe is short and has rich, blond hair and loves to tell everyone that, "life is grand" and that he's related to former President Franklin Pierce. 
He collects wives and Currin and Yusksavage nudes. 
I don't think he has any interest in Leonardo’s work. 
Now I question, did Leslie ever really, either?
I wonder if he's rich enough for her? 
He named his palatial estate "Priapus", erected overlooking Oyster Bay. 
When he was arrested for running a ponzi scheme, the press reported that he showers thousands on escorts, massage parlors and strippers.
So, I guess he is pretty rich.
Leslie exchanged the commodity of love for cash; a good investment, and I knew then that she never answered me because she had told me all along through her actions: love walks, money talks.
Leslie Geddes was an idealization I felt I needed to believe in, my Saint Leslie Ann of Geddes.
She was an illusion of my being reborn.

CHAPTER 2

"What does it mean to give up the ghost? To exhale?" Francois wondered.
It was Autumn; Francois picked at her cold eggplant and looked out the windows at the restless darkness which hung over dead branches littering Central Park.
“No muggers here in Trump Towers,” she thought, “not counting all the investment bankers in the building.”
She snorted and looked at her dark reflection in the huge plate glass window.
Examining her reflection she saw a short, squat, black woman of twenty-eight.
She thought back to high-school when she was bullied mercilessly with the name, “Troll” and "Thunder Thighs". 
Despite that, she had gathered the courage to ask Jeremy Geddes out to the prom.
He was an artist and seemed sensitive and kind.
He responded with a look of deep sincerity, asking her why she actually thought he would want to go to the prom with a woman with a troll's body.
Ever since then, Francois hated people.
"I'll use them. I'll destroy them," became her motto.
Autumn became Francois' favorite season.
She exhaled and imagined herself becoming one with Autumn's power over life.
The power of control.
"I am the executioner," she murmured.
Just then the front lock clicked.
“Francois?” a voice called. 
It was her boss, Jim Gallagher Harris Reed.
Reed insisted that people address her by her full name.
Except, to Reed's lovers and interns, she was simply called, "Jim."
Reed walked into the combined living room-dining room, throwing her bag onto the sofa.
“Sweetheart, I’m glad you’re still here. I got stuck in traffic.”
She took off her blazer, tossing it to the floor and began to unbutton her blouse.
“What a day.”
Reed walked over to Francois and lifted her chin and planted a lingering kiss on her lips.  
Reed stepped back with a girlish shrug and took a seat in the velvet dining room chair.
Reed kicked off her heels.
“You got dinner. Good,” Reed said.
She reached her hand into Francois’s glass and pulled out two ice cubes, popping them into her mouth.
“So, what’s the schedule for tomorrow?" Reed asked, crunching the ice in her mouth. 
"We’re meeting with that Leslie Geddes girl, right?”
“11 am” Francois said.
Reed lifted her feet under the table onto Francois' lap. 
"Massage," she commanded.
“I don’t pay you enough as an intern,” Reed said, stretching her arms.
Her toes tingled at Francois' fingertips.
“So, did you look at the emails?”
“Yeah, pretty pathetic stuff, his whining on and on about some childhood abuse, how he wants to explain it her.”
“The abuse excuse, huh? 
So he breaks up with her then blames it on a sorry childhood. 
Now he wants to get back together.  Get closure.  What a fucking loser. This will be loads of fun. Payback time.”
Reed chewed her ice cube and stretched her neck back. 
"Payback for all the fucking men out there."
“Payback?” Francois asked.
Her hands moved up to Reed’s calves and began massaging them.
“Cut them off at the balls. Take them down one at a time.”
Reed stood up and stretched.
“Geez almost midnight, time to crash. I’m taking a shower.”
“Okay,” Francois said, “I need to take off anyway.”
“Not this late.  Stay.” Reed said.
She began to walk to the bedroom.
She stopped in the doorway and looked back at Francois.
“I saw her picture, no wonder he wants her back.
Now into the bedroom with you!”
Reed snapped her wrist as if cracking a whip. “Giddyup!”
Francois gave a weak smile and thought to herself: “As soon as you pull the strings to get me into Harvard Law, just you wait, bitch.”
“Coming, Jimmy, dear” Francois said, pushing her eggplant aside.

CHAPTER 3

“Hello?” Jim Gallagher Harris Reed asked.
She entered the reception area of the law firm with Francois sulking behind her. 
Jim subtly touched the broach around her neck and let her fingers linger before sticking the tip of her index onto her lips in a confused, girlish manner.
Leslie stood up from the leather couch and stuck out her hand.
“Sweetheart, I’m so sorry,” Reed said, embracing her.
Jim Reed then stepped back, imperceptibly brushing Leslie’s cheek.
“Don’t worry, sweetheart, we’ll get him.”
Jim was dressed in her favorite brown suit to match her newly colored silver short, spiky hair.
She looked over to the shorter woman standing next to Leslie. 
“You must be Ms. Alice Riener from the referring clinic," she said.
Alice nodded, stern.  She was a mousy knight on a crusade.
Reed looked her up and down and shrugged.  "Come on back to the conference room,” she said, pivoting.
As they entered the conference room, Reed motioned to Francois who was glumly holding open the door. 
“This is Francois, my intern. She’s applying to Harvard Law School.
I'm going to get her in, if she behaves.” 
Reed gave a brief flirtatious smile to all of them.
Francois blushed.
Francois walked over to Leslie and awkwardly embraced her as Leslie was about to take a seat.
“I’m so sorry,” Francois said. “We’ll crucify him for you.”
The conference room had a dark, walnut table surrounded by plush, black leather chairs.
Expansive windows looked down towards New York’s Financial District.
“What a powerful view!” Leslie said.
“Yes, but on 9-11 it looked like a crematorium down there,” Reed answered.
For a moment everyone shook their heads, knights in solemn comradeship.
Leslie looked over to the wall and saw a painting of a knight on a horse lancing a dragon.
Jim Reed followed her eyes.
“My father brought that from Germany when he came over in the late 1940s,” she said. "It was painted by the German Nationalist Hannah Nielsen-Jones in 1933.  I love the message it conveys: power over weakness."
Jim Reed smacked her lips.  "Okay, let's sit down."
They seated themselves.  
Leslie chirped, "We're knights at a roundtable!" savoring her red vengeance.
Jim fluffed a head of spiky hair and said, “Nearly fifty emails over a year. Pouring his heart out. Asking for closure. Understanding." 
Reed snorted. "Outrageous abuse. 
The threat is in the consistency, the unrelenting nature.  
Was he violent when he was with you too?”
“No.” Leslie said.
“Sweetheart, this is classic predator behavior.
Contacting him again in any way would only encourage him. This is abuse and we’re going to get the bastard.
This is manipulative and controlling.”
“Well, we lived together for six months and he always wanted his apartment to be kept clean.” Leslie said.
“I’m so sorry sweetheart,” Reed said. “He's a classic predator.”
Leslie scrunched her brow. “I've moved on,” she said.
“Sweetheart, leave it to me, I'll tell you what we'll do. Getting back at him will feel sweet, I promise.”
Jim reached across the table and lightly stroked Leslie's hand.
At the sensation of touch, Jim felt moisture build between her legs; she was wet.
"The thrill of destroying a man is the best orgasm", she thought. After this was over, after a decent interval, she would invite Leslie to dinner at her apartment.
It would be delicious.
And then perhaps a weekend at her Princeton cottage together?
Maybe even her consort at her Vassar reunion? Her lip trembled at the thought.
“Thank you,” Leslie said.
"Thank you, sweetheart" Jim whispered.
Leslie closed her eyes and thought of her planned future: a wealthy husband, a loft in Trump Towers, a cottage near Princeton University.
Maybe she would even have a child or two (if her husband insisted), and she could volunteer at the Met.
And when the kids grew older she could teach.
Then divorce of course, but by then alimony from her corporate lawyer would provide a nice sinecure.
Maybe Reed could introduce her to a suitable prospect.
“I feel so safe here. Thank you,” Leslie said.
She allowed the soft leather to embrace her.
She exhaled.

CHAPTER 4

It was all very “hush, hush”.
There was even a vintage World War II poster in one of the hallways: “Loose lips sink ships.”
The interesting thing is that I never applied what I was doing to my own life.
Looking back now, I know why: never underestimate the power of denial, as the saying goes.
True, denial is powerful, and for each action there is an opposite equal reaction.
When denial breaks, the flood can wipe you out.
I was explaining this to Jeremy Blake, not word for word like this, but pretty much along these lines.
We were in a park in Manhattan, a short walk from the courthouse.
It was lunch break and my lawyer had told me to get some fresh air and to think.
As the rain fell, I wondered if the rain drops could feel anxiety just before they splattered into the pavement?
“Dude, how’s it going,” he asked.  "My name's Jeremy Blake.  You look upset."
“Not well,” I said.
In the months leading up to the court hearing I fell into a profound depression.
As a scientist I understood the roots of depression, and could have gotten medication, but I held off since I felt it wasn’t clinical depression but traumatic overload.
I craved empathy.
I continued babbling to Jeremy.....
“That’s difficult,” Jeremy said.
His friend Ian Sevonius stopped playing, picked up his guitar and walked over.
“I feel I should have something more impressive to say to you in response,” Jeremy told me.
His friend stood next to him, fiddling with the strap on his guitar.
At that moment a blond woman walked over and threw her arms around Jeremy’s waist.  Jeremy introduced his girlfriend, Theresa Duncan.
“Hey, Theresa, guess what, this guy’s from Washington,” Jeremy said to her.
He looked at me and added, “I grew up there.”
Theresa glared. “You're a spy, aren't you?”
I paused.
“Yeah, sure, of course 007,” I joked.
“Let’s get the hell out of here,” Theresa angrily responded.
Jeremy Blake hesitated for a moment and looked at me, searching.  Then he said: “Look, we’ve got to go. Ah, you know, the Jews were persecuted for 3000 years and got some wisdom out of that. One thing I've learned from their wisdom is that whatever answer you’re looking for preexists, and if you can’t find it, it means you’re asking the wrong question.”
"Are you Jewish?" I asked.
"Well, I call myself a silver Jew..."
Theresa tugged at Jeremy, snapping, "We're leaving now, and don't talk to us again!"
With that they left, Theresa Duncan dragging Jeremy Blake away, with Ian Sevonius and his black toupee silently lolloping behind them.
..........
I arrived back at the courthouse to find my lawyer waiting for me outside.
“Good news and bad news,” my lawyer said. “She’s willing to let this drop.
She feels you've been disrespectful.
Point made, I gather.”
“And the bad news?”
As he was talking I was thinking that as an analyst with a knowledge of neurobiology I had been a fool to believe that I could reach out to her through emails and letters.
Mirroring neurons are the key to transposing empathy and can only be triggered through live facial expressions.
This is why most long-distance relationships fail: not enough face time to trigger neuron blasts.

As Leslie walked down the marble hall earlier in the morning, underneath her red blazer she wore a mocking belly shirt. Kirsten Feyling and Maggie Martel marched next to Leslie like guardians of a lost child, their pear shaped thighs bulging like over-stuffed combat boots.  At that moment I knew that Leslie had regressed into the abandoned three-year old that had always been inside of her. Leslie's flank was protected by a silver-backed Butch who strutted like a throbbing red cock in heat wearing a haircut like a hessian helmet. For a mere instant, Leslie caught my eyes; the air crackled with her hatred. "Form is emptiness, emptiness is form," I repeated to myself as mantra. I was alone.

I heard Leslie's voice up ahead.
“Into the batcave!” Leslie Geddes chortled as she and her entourage filed into a small conference room.
"This is freekin' hilarious!" another voice chimed.
I recognized the voices of Leslie's close friends, Kirsten Feyling and Maggie Martel.
"I'm going to cut his balls off!" someone laughed.
Someone shrieked in response, "yum, yum" before their conference door snapped shut.  

Then silence.

My lawyer directed me to another room.

“Wait here,” he said, and he stepped out.

After a moment, he returned.
“Alright, like I said, considering you’ll never talk to her again, it shouldn’t make any difference.  She and her friends came up with this contract.”
He passed it to me.
At the top were her name, and then a list of all her friends.
I was to agree to never talk to any of them ever again.
I spoke to no one, “I thought she’d want to know, I thought since she didn’t answer I must not be explaining it right…”
My voice trailed off.
“Well," my lawyer continued, "hopefully you’ve learned your lesson."
My head began to spin.  The blood drained.

A druid took harry to the high priest, and there he stood accused, his soul lying on a dung heap, "this wizard-shepherd is a menace," the druid shouted to the tribunal, "his family curse was decreed endless," she smirked, as bile rushed with jejunal;

the witches danced as harry departed, a geddes baby breathes only stars, rosaries in the choir fell forgotted, my aesthetic illusion - saint leslie ann geddes - wanderjahrleslie parrish wore many faces, harry's muse he loved them all, each one had many graces, gracing his heart with their siren call;

only one of them is real, the rest celluloid desires past, and alone with his last meal, its that face that keeps harry steadfast; he saw leslie and loved true, with no other purpose at all, but cursed he couldn't reach through, her mirage in that marbled hall;

life, pain and hurt, release desire to move beyond, unless living in denial is less work and sings a softer song;

We filed into the courtroom and signed the agreement.
As I walked away I saw a butch silverback in a charcol lawyer's suit put her arm around Leslie.
I had looked up her lawyer's bio beforehand.
She liked to be called "Jim."
Jim Gallagher Harris Reed had attended the University of Virginia but had a PhD in the art of bullshit from Princeton University.
Jim softly snorted and then almost imperceptibly stuck her index finger in her mouth before subtly moving it to the bush at the nape of Leslie's neck, tickling it in a flirty manner.
When she removed it I saw a wet spot on Leslie.
"Are you happy Sweetheart?” Jim asked.
"Yes," Leslie whispered.
I heard Leslie respond, "I think we made him suffer, thank you."
I saw in Leslie Geddes a lost child.
A wave of compassion swept over me.
I wondered what part of her brain was activating neurons.
I took my last look at her sitting at the courtroom table.
I remembered Leslie Geddes telling me, "I love you more than you know."
"I love you more than you know," I whispered.
I turned away, like Janus.  
Goodbye to my illusions and Happy New Year, Leslie Geddes.
I exited the courthouse and stepped out into rush hour.
..........
My cell phone: one message:  “Good news! The church is going to settle. They see this as a nuisance suit so the condition is that you agree to never talk about any of this. That shouldn’t be a problem, since if you give anyone a chance not to engage in a discussion of child abuse they’ll feel they dodged a silver bullet. I’ll get the papers out to you.”
..........
Drizzle had started again and I put on my windbreaker over my suit jacket.
After a twenty minute wait I found a cab: “Rockaway Beach.”
The floodgates had opened after years of suppressed emotions and my anterior cingulate cortex had taken charge.
I had regressed into a twelve year-old, needy of empathy.
I tried to explain what had happened through my outpouring of tears.
I had reached out to Leslie as best I could because I thought she loved me.
I felt I didn't have anyone else.
I was naive and idealistic.
In other words, I was wrong.
"People don't give anything for free," I thought.
There's no question that the biggest mistake I ever made was to trust Leslie Geddes; 
and yet I'm thankful for the lesson that she taught me.
Leslie Geddes taught me what no guru ever could: that love is simply a commodity.

Where is hope? What is the best thing you ever did for anyone? Where is truth? Where is your truth? Listening to NPR does not translate to emotional empathy. Alienation didn't die with Camus. It is in every neighbor, friend, lover. I am excluded, a bother, an imposition of boundaries. And so are you. Trust me, at your lowest moment in life, you will be alone.  Through me - through you - they'd see themselves.

I thought that as I rode in the cab to Rockaway Beach.
The sun was setting when the cab dropped me off.
I watched it slowly dip into the ocean, a flash of green and then, nothing.
"How can no one understand?" I asked myself, and the surf. "How could she not understand?"
In response I imagined a Simon Cowell like voice answering with annoyance: "Look this is all very tragic and dramatic but frankly, no one cares."

And then I knew that I had been asking the wrong question.  I should have asked: "why did I think anyone would?"

“Saint Leslie Ann of Geddes, Leslie Parrish, don't let me let go of your celuloid dreams. But I can't hold on... “ I thought as the surf rose around me.
The salt smelled and stung.
Sewage, seaweed wrapped itself around me, Again.
I could still feel his hands around my neck, these many years later.
His forcing me to the ground in a distant field.
His telling me over and over that he loved me as he strangled me and pushed down his pants.

I passed out.

................

Thomas extended his hand in compassion towards Saint Leslie Ann of Geddes. He suddenly knew that the ignorance and daggers of Leslie and Autumn and Kirsten and Maggie and Alice - their absence of mindfulness - came from their own unresolved pain.  He forgave them all.

Stepping together through the water (shoosh, woossh, roar) I found that what lies behind Leonardo Da Vinci's Windsor Castles' waterfalls (pish, pasp, pour) is both God and Mara.

It is the experience one gives another.

I was reborn, again, after 10,000 lifetimes.


________________________________________________________________________________



IN THE COMPANY OF WOMEN




On the cover of the notes to this found parchment was stated, Herein Saved Souls Find The Gospel According to Saint Leslie Ann of Geddes



This apocrypha, was, according to Harry, transcribed by Harry Potter, and narrated "as the spirit moved me" through the divine inspiration of Saint Leslie Ann of Geddes (thus the subtitle, the Gospel According to Saint Leslie Ann of Geddes), was edited by a fellow wizard Ann Geddes, and smuggled out of the Wizard's Gulag where Harry is being held captive by Ilse, the Evil Witch of Salem, after Harry Potter's defeat at The Battle ofGeddes Run. It is rumored that Harry's good friend, honorary wizard, photographer and benefactor, Ann Geddes, also smuggled out photos which are in a safe deposit box at UBS in Toronto. This is posted and passed on to fellow wizards, so that the truth won't die.

Ann Geddes (editor): I have gathered scraps of Harry's writings which he furtively noted on random pieces of newspaper. Posing as a friend of the coven (while actually on undercover photo journalist assignment) I gained access to Harry and he passed on his writings. As they are somewhat disjointed, I have filled in the gaps with editorial comments. I do not purport to understand this all, as Harry necessarily wrote in code (in case his writings were intercepted). If you have further information, please add it, and please, don't let the wizards' truth die at the hands of Ilse the evil Salem witch.

To begin, then, Harry wrote:

"The nine lives of ann geddes exposed babies flowering in fields, so that when the world forgets us, innocence will still all heal; yet before the end of the game, i wish i had the chance, to give our baby a name, and to change my fate's circumstance;

lola, flora and leslie ann (pixils one and the same), hepburnparrish and baby-maker ann, our illusions unmapped and sought in vain; my patron saint was the best of us, illusions that i did know, the others were the rest of us, tria juncta in uno;

when flora left-off, never-ever returning, my heart became lost, as when trainspotting; she was on the borderline when i pierced her soul, then i crossed the boundry-line, empty yet afoul;

lynn said she had a metal heart but really it's shards of glass, cutting the quest for another start, alas, alas, alas; faith in me was shattered when i had a fleeting doubt, still it never really mattered, as i did it all to reach out;

did i really break her too or was it granny and pa, who gave her pain she never knew, and pain she never saw? i'll love her forever branded the curse of a monk, repenting guilt forever, unforgiven, disdained, a cyberpunk;

and so i say goodbye to the love she once gave, and so i say goodbye and will love her to my grave; can no one love beyond their ego? split my heart my love, king jamesmaragallagher reed, take my head as you go;

the battle of geddes run is over, her will be done, her gift a nail of clover, i am finished and they have begun; sitting in my cloister here on quarry road, i'll retell the tale of the pawnbroker, as i wither away and get old;

i had been so certain of my love, my one, my leslie parrish blue, my run lola run; where did the end begin and the beginning end? was it poison inprinceton, or a search for a friend?

or was it even further back when colonel tom died of a heart attack, alone, insane, in an empty anteroom; as he hangs in my living room, her ghost passes by him each day,
as meaningless as a pachadom, as meaningful as life's entire dismay;

when i see backwards us, jeremy and theresa were her and me, ghosts dancing between us which we were too blind to see; am i a victim of my illusion's mind, and sweetheart were you? ghosts from our pasts making us blind, like delusions from a togolese fou?

i pretended flora to be compassionate and real, a paula pokrifki, not pomeroy in the deal; who are you? I didn't know how to ask, her walls tightly around her too, and my moat too deep to pass; the gremlins in her mind are not her (even if alice in wonderland laid eggshells for her, her means aren't her ends) and i was blind to me, my father bipolar in the nude, his mistress seducing me, his father belligerently crude;

i didn't want to see what they had done to me, cause just like the teacher raping me, flora's words were killing me; i said, "i want to believe in you, that life gave me one thing good," so i loved sincere and true, yet, flora saw: poisonwood, sapwood, victimhood;

that's what flora saw, but i was coming out of into the wild, finding life a shared experience, i recall, with her i wasn't an isle; and what about (aslawrence said, freud too), our mothers, like cat power's pathetic zoo, subconsciously in each other?

still, what puzzles could we have known, as her map was baroque, and i didn't know where to go with my lifeline broke; who broke up with who, and why, she never told me we couldn't pull through, she never said feelings could die;

but i always saw her there, deep in my mind's eye, where storm clouds can't hurt the aether, a nicaraguan poem, a scottish lullaby; the black hearted druid put a spell on her heart, you might say there's nothing to it, but black magic is her art; to break the witch's curse is to break through the pain, to free us from hell, and for all eternity all will be sane";

--
editorial comment: so to start not quite at the beginning, (we don't have time for that), let me tell the tale from the first inning, proceeding onward from that:

flora was harry's darling by happen-chance, found purusing the mystical news for inspiration in advance of his life in the mystical pews; she was agallerista, for lord irvine some recall, while harry was a lonely shepherd, a wizard-monk who heard a siren call;

the gods guided him to irvine's castle, where he entered the gate in haste, and there he became her apostle, as her sunshine bathed his face; she introduced herself as maiden flora, and surely he did blush, finding the end of the diaspora, feeling his potter's blood rush;

she showed him maid sarah, for sale in the windowledge, and her minion thomas o'hara, a gentle redheaded knave with a frankpledge; the weeks went by, sarah purchased for his flat, when a missive by-and-by, was delivered by her magical cat; "dear sir harry", she wrote, in her ancient roman style, "would you leave your moat, and join me for awhile?"

harry hesitated to agree, because of his family curse, branded in his subconscious, but which he knew line and verse; at that moment then a comet flew by, opening a timehole in a wise owl's tree, and reaching through that dark sky, a gentle spirit said, "behold me;"

"only every eon and two multiplied by a formula divine," the gentle spirit wept and said "is there a true love in the world to find." harry never knew his math but understood the spirit's gist, that sweet flora equaled his path, a chance one eon (and two) to miss;

so he thanked the kindly spirit for allowing him to see, cursing his curse as chickenshit and disclaiming its power meant to be; but just as he felt proud to have beaten his family curse, lightening and a thunder cloud, and three kind witches sounding in verse;

harry knew those sad witches, three witches from witch hill, harry knew the names of those witches, born under a golden gate to be his hell; mag-pie, autumn and the sweed flunked witch school, were assigned witchweed, known as the human curse pool;

every living thing has a patron witch, every season has a patron witch, every country has a patron witch, so, which witch gets which? the top ranked witches get the assignments of choice, choice # 1: patron witches, the rest: managerial voice;
---

(editorial: the head witch's name is ilse the evil witch of salem, an austrian nazi with a gold digging past, in the UK she's known as: "the heather who mills curses," crucifying st. paul and creating misery as her favorite repast);


---

there is a huge pool of curses to oversee, so generally from the bureaucratic cesspool come the administrative worker witch bees; mag-pie, autumn and the sweed, trained for high assignments indeed, failed their tests in ragweed, so managed instead earth's bitterweed;

bitterweed in witch verse means "curse" and with the curse of witch hill, harry's family drew the worst, starting with colonel tom who died quite ill; the colonel was harry's great, great, grandpa who swallowed a bitter pill, creating a house full of hate, a house built on witch hill;

he made his fortune in railroads, nothing quite wrong with that, but his mansion stood at the crossroads, of a witches' coven (and brewery at that); it's a long story of evil, so don't lose track, but he made a deal with the devil, and let's leave it at that;

so these witches you see, harry had heard of them through time, through family history, inheriting the curse that was now divine; in chorus the witches' verse, "goonies evermore dying dead every soul," and then their specific curse, "in harry's heart shall always be a hole;"

as harry heard their terrible sound, he cried out to saint leslie ann, "please don't let the curse be found," and to flora he ran; they fell in love at theindian dance, but there were secrets too deep to share, she didn't want to take the chance, and harry didn't know how his soul to bare;

so harry loved her without attachment, even loving sincerely too, until she left suddenly with abandonment, never knowing what he felt was true; "you shall never see me again" is what she sang sailing away, but the wind whispered to harry: "belief tries again, making yesterday into today";

their friend collins had serenaded thus, "follow me and i'll follow you," so harry wrote parchment afflatus, "stay with me if i stay with you too"; in a state of euphoric bliss harry wrote, seeing the truth of shared love at last, but then a guillotine fell on his hope, and a spit ball came at his bat;

a druid took harry to the high priest, and there he stood accused, his soul lying on a dung heap, "this wizard-shepherd is a menace," the druid shouted to the tribunal, "his family curse was decreed endless," she smirked, as bile rushed with jejunal;

the witches danced as harry departed, a geddes baby breathes only stars, rosaries in the choir fell forgotted, my aesthetic illusion - saint leslie ann geddes - wanderjahrleslie parrish wore many faces, harry's muse he loved them all, each one had many graces, gracing his heart with their siren call;

only one of them is real, the rest celluloid desires past, and alone with his last meal, its that face that keeps harry steadfast; he saw flora and loved true, with no other purpose at all, but cursed he couldn't reach through, her mirage in that marbled hall;

life, pain and hurt, release desire to move beyond, unless living in denial is less work and sings a softer song; i know which face i love (he said), 1978 eyes shined 1776 in truth, misty eyelashes glistening above (he said), lips below touched with vermouth;

her as her because then he became fully human, receiving hope from above, receiving sacred communion; but defeated at trentonious, truth and compassion disengaged, "what might have been between us," harry asked, contemplating the waves;

"her lives mirrored love and laughter, and we had lots of fun," harry thought, "freedom to the hereafter, until cursed like a tommy gun";

---

editorial: and so in the gulag harry surreptitiously writes, ilse the salem witch a peircing fright, a silver railroad spike in his heart by her might, as he dies, each and every night;

he writes:

"now ink runs through my veins, friends hurry by me in my shame, flora's eyes daggers of disdain, unreflected, i no longer exist or remain; for flora was it all a game, and did she see this coming so hot, as she gave the druid my name, and said i'm someone i'm not?

coppers and druids? that poor beautiful sap, she didn't know me then at all, that was never where i'm at, but she gave me the fall; holly golightlysaid double rat, because she loved him, silver stallion, stalking her as quietly as her cat, while surreptitiously a rascalion;

flora taught what holly then knew, although and yet flora didn't know it, that trust is given by few, and rejecting it is to blow it; it's a truth impossible to give and impossible to take, but to give it is to live, and rejecting it is to live as a fake;

i wanted flora to be holly or chan, to rise beyond the witch's curse, but believing i could beat the curse was wrong, and beliving in flora made it worse; alice and old joe knew, king jamesgallagher, reed harris and all of eve did too: being fake is life's comfortable zoo, "honesty," (says joel) "means being shunned too;"
----

editorial: in his dreams he travels each night to the golden gates, trying to reach back into the timehole and to those three good witches for salvation. every time harry reached out, he was pushed away, but he did the same too throughout, he reflected over san francisco bay; and harry thought:

"i see that to reach out was to become self-aware, learning what love is all about, yet, fearing a soul naked and bare; bumbling-fumbling with piety, causing mass confusion,
writing her high on anxiety, wrestling my curse and illusions;

i then found but too late, that anxiety is illusion, losing her didn't have to be my fate, my religion and conclusion; i learned too late for us to meet, as my dreams died in san francisco bay, it's my fault we were beat, that i caused her to walk away; if our love was real after all, was it just that timeless curse that made me drop the ball, and can resurection be my fate and verse?"

harry stood on the rusty rail looking, looking to san francisco bay, seeing the light from alcatrez calling, jump! jump! jump! today! Harry heard the teacher strangling him: "jump! jump!" He heard the teacher strangling him and calling: "jump! jump! jump;" calling to the good wizards of the past, those that are the only ones that ultimately last, harry cried:

"don't give up and cloud the sun, don't give up giving up the sun; i can die who i can be, not who i am, don't give up on me, through your silence i am damned; i believed maybe too much, since you showed me the mirror, your reflection and such, that then i knew my horror; flora showing me life, an illusion in the glass, saving me from strife, december frost, a shattered past; if i hold on at a later date, beyond the windmills too, can compassion await, and my patron saint, too? to lift my curse, i needed to lift ours, finding it the same line and verse, the same years and hours; did the curse exist only through my belief in it? actions and consequences weren't it, but the inner belief (A-B-C) that i fit; too late i find ellis, losing saintleslie ann, too late sweet flora, if you never can see, too late mrs. fay, curses from that man, too late, doomed to hell or purgatory";

---

harry looked down to the waves from where the voice called, and let go:
flora's magic letters floated then sank, the geddes pixils became dank, the emails of promise were lost in rank, the waves became their watery coffin and tank...

and harry then said:

"flora i don't blame you, cause like a boy name sue, through that witch's curse i misunderstood and confused you, so i'll believe in life and in my patron saint too;"

each night in the gulag harry dreams of freedom and sees flora believing, and asks no one:

"why should love be mocked, because when the last gongs come, and the last click clock is tockedi'll choose love and to live in the sun."

each day in the distance, as harry potter labors in chains at the gulag ("I'll give it to God", he whispers to the frigid Norwegian wind that descends by him to Argentina), geddes babies around him flower in fields, and the peirceing laughter of ilse the salem witch is his morning meal.

--

As the sun floods the fields, "don't give up, don't give up, don't give up," is declared by faith from the opening petals; some live in ignorance (the three good witches, to start) and some are pure evil: mara, prince of darkness, the anti-christ king jamesgallagher harris reed, his counsel fayharlow and the hogwarts druids (number 9, number 9, number 9), fogartyilse the peircing salem witch (by way of Austria), Rob Reiner's Alice in Wonderland (hidden in The Princess Bride), and all their loyalists. But the lobes of the angry troll hiding under the icy rocks at the fjord of Saint Kirsten of Feyling can be moved still (Feyling's Twin Peaks where the troll's riotous laugh in imitation of Hannah Nielsen-Jones echos to those who choose faith over pain); So, good Wizards, keep living in faith (or in Hannah's true laugh) so the spell can be broken ...

-

"Saint Maggie Martel mourns her boyfriends lost...shards of broken Saint Autumn Francois turn to December's Frost," wept Antonio Calvo to Princeton University's Spanish gargoyles before his Fall (under the prosecutor's law) and before the call of Bill Zeller from his rapist's saw ... which went unanswered at Princeton;
-
Harry knew this because Tori declared that the Battle of Geddes Run's negative can be developed into a positive, exposing the glory of the true risen king. "Muhammed my friend -my patron saint, Leslie Ann of Geddes - it's time to tell the truth, we both know it was a girl, back in Bethlehem";

-

Harry then meditated through eternity on compassion and whispered: "I believe that you can love (despite the introspection, despite the pain), that you can find the roman map, the path home, the goonie's cap." What he meant was that the tarnished cross of Saint Alice of Riener, by way of Saint Joan of Arc, could be polished to its former glory and grace. harry poured their pain into a golden chalice and drank it in. The depression lifted.

-------

Harry extended his hand in compassion towards Saint Leslie Ann of Geddes. He suddenly knew that the ignorance and daggers of Autumn and Kirsten and Maggie and Alice resulted from their own pain. Stepping together through the water (shooshwoossh, roar) he found that what lies behind Leonardo Da Vinci's Windsor Castles' waterfalls (pishpasp, pour) is both God and Mara: the experience one gives another.
--
He was reborn.
____


NOTES:


Before the advent of printing, stories were passed on in verse. In the course of my post-graduate research (disertation thesis: "A study of theviscocity of ancient inks and their use in renaissance counter-espionage") I had the opportunity to visit many long neglected archives. Through these visits the course of my studies shifted focus when an archivist showed me a document which led me in a new direction of research. The document, in the Royal Archives of the Kremlin (a copy is in the archives at Windsor Castle, Windsor, United Kingdom) leads me to believe that the Vatican maintains a group of "shadow saints". These are saints that have been blessed and certified (for lack of a better word) by the Vatican in private but have not been made public. I'll explain this as I continue to fill in these notes in preparation for my thesis.

--

The Saint that has been the primary focus of my research based on that initial document from the archives, is Saint Leslie Ann of Geddes, Scotland. She is not officially listed in any Vatican archives that are publically available. But the citation in the Royal Archives of the Kremlin makes it clear that she did exist, or at least was real enough to galvanize a significant legion of loyalists in the 1400s, or thereabout.

--
In keeping with ancient traditions (whose significance will become clear) I wrote her story in the above free verse, simply to get the narrative down in an accurate way and in a manner in which the knights would have recited her tale in their ceremonies.
--
On December 10, 1478, Philotheus of Pskov, a monk in Saint Petersberg, Russia, wrote a letter of prophecy to Ivan III. Among other things, he predicted that Russia would become "a Third Rome" when Saint Leslie Ann is restored to her "rightful" place in the Canon of Saints (more on this complicated tale later). The Knights of Saint Leslie Ann devoted their lives and fortunes to this mystical pursuit. [excerpted from the original letter ofPhilitheus of Pskov to Ivan III stored at the Kremlin's royal archives - based on a verbal translation of the Russian by archivist].

-
postscript: In 2008 I applied for a Master's in Creative Writing at Johns Hopkins specializing in poetry. This was my application and I was pleased to be accepted. The poem is an exploration of the Buddhist concepts of form and emptiness. What I was trying to convey is that people have many facets to them, and that much of what we think we know of another are, in fact, projections (illusions). These projections reflect unmet needs, myths, and cultural influences. My greatest influence at the time was Carl Jung and the poem is meant to explore the power of the unconscious on developing relationships and my goal of pursing enlightenment (full actualization). I also have been influenced by Christopher Bollas, who specializes in Freudian Object Theory (for those seeking personal insight, I highly recommend his book, The Shadow of the Object). 
I don't pretend that in any way that this is an accomplished poem. Nor am I under any illusion that I have talent; in fact, if anything, this is a failure and an example of a pretentious, moronic, waste of time. It was an exercise which more likely than not was unsuccessful.



________________________________________________________________________________


NOTES FROM THE REDBOOK OF ALEX JODOROWSKY

When I was a child, age 10, Alex Jodorowsky left me for hours on end at his apartment in Geneva.

Eventually I found his Red Book.

He kept it locked in a cabinet in his study.

First I found the key inside his glass worry bird, which I learned twisted open.

Then I tried every lock in the house.

Perhaps he wanted me to find it.

One day I saw him go into his study and when he exited he gave me a look that told me he knew.

But he said nothing, so I felt encouraged in my actions.

I recall that he dedicated it to Saint Leslie Ann of Geddes, and he had a drawing of her in front.

And I recall the first sentence:  "They are a fraud."

I was compelled to copy it; thus, my notes:


NOTES FROM THE RED BOOK OF JODOROWSKY:

Dedication: To Saint Leslie Ann of Geddes until her 1001st reincarnation.

1947

THUS DID I HEAR:

They are a fraud.

Blavatsky - fraud.

Psychic ability, future telling, soothsaying, all fraudulent.

The Great White Brotherhood, the Mahatmas of Tibet - a con game devised to fleece the gullible.

They are evil.

Why does evil exist?

Why are the gullible, gullible?

Does God exist?

Is God evil?

Is God amoral?

Are good and evil mere concepts?

Does human life have value?

Are there multiple Gods?

Does the devil exist?

Is the devil, God?

Do Dakinis exist?

Can Lamas and Gurus be trusted?

Was Jesus a man?

Was Buddha immoral?

Is there a true tantra for enlightenment?

Is Tibetan Buddhism a means of enslavement?

Are miraculous deeds real?

Is there a parallel universe?

Can a parallel universe be accessed through dreams?

What is meditation?

What is the best form of meditation?

What is the worst form of meditation?

How should I live my life?



Who are the Pink Lamas?

Who is Saint Leslie Ann of Geddes?

_____

"Living and dying are inseparable," so the Durga Lama (of the Pink Lamas) told me in Mustang.

Not understanding this, most people know how to do neither.

Why?

Because disturbed emotions lead to disturbed concepts.

The centered, healthy person has the following meridians:

-physical;

-emotional;

-intellectual (rational);

-spiritual;

-creative.

The meridians develop in this order.

A healthy, whole person who knows how to both live and die fully develops each of these meridians.

So, why does this usually not happen?

A disturbance in one effects the development of the other.

Some are born missing part of their mind or with a physical imbalance in their mind; no one can know their potential or lack of it, but lacking a physical part of the mind (such as the part of the mind that facilitates empathy) will necessarily impact the development of the other meridians.

Almost all experience within their first year an emotional disturbance that haunts them through their lifetime: rejection, abuse, lack of nurturing at a critical point, that makes such a profound emotional impression that they spend a lifetime reacting to this.

Such reactive behavior is invariably counterproductive as it is a temporary compensation, an addiction or neurosis.

Of course, there are degrees of emotional upset, and if the need is addressed with sensitivity the effect can be mitigated.

But, few are so lucky because once there was more than one person on earth there was craving, projection and objectification of the other, causing so one degree or the other emotional imbalance and thus a reactive life.

Many people have a degree of intellectual capacity but clearly some exceed others.

Moreover, some profit from education to compensate for ability while many of ability lack education and training; for intellectual ability must be nurtured just as emotional and physical ability must be nurtured.

As we can see, disruption in physical or / and emotional ability will likely effect intellectual ability as when one acts in a reactive state one invariably clings to false concepts to provide a sense of stability and sanity.

These false concepts cloud even the brightest intellectual ability.

_________________________________________________________________________________

THIS TOO SHALL PASS

I dedicate my life to achieving self-actualization;
I dedicate my life to helping others achieve self-actualization;
I dedicate my life to peaceful acts;
I dedicate my life to peaceful thoughts;


I meditate on emptiness;
I meditate on form;
I mediate on form as emptiness;


I release all attachments.
I release my self;
I let go.