Ticket To Ride, Chapter 9: Is there a place for the hopeless sinner…

Nine

One love, one heart

let’s join together and I will feel all right.

Is there a place for the hopeless sinner,

who has hurt all mankind just to save his own?

– Bob Marley

 

Back in the truck Morgan pushes in a Bob Marley tape. The first song was “One Love”, the ska version, in two/four time. Morgan drove faster on the way back. The sugar cane waved like dislocated arms flailing against a now grayish, windy sky. Neither Psalm nor Morgan spoke. It was as if the wind, blowing forcefully now, had created a vacuum that threatened to steal their breath, and the island seemed to lean to one side.

When they got back to the store they began to unload the cold produce. Throughout the hour of this process Psalm nervously asked passersby if they were happy. Some said yes, one asked what happiness meant, some just smiled. Morgan and Psalm didn’t speak to one another. Psalm had grown very tired and looked ready for sleep.

When they finished unloading, Morgan parked the truck in its usual resting place, and he and Psalm parted for the rest of the afternoon.

Morgan decided to go for a surf in the sheltered cove at the end of the street.

“See ya later Psalm.”

“Yeah… church, right?”

“Church. Yeah maybe… depends.”

“You have to Morgan. You need to know the truth.”

“It’s your truth Psalm.”

“It’s the truth.”

“No, it’s a truth.” Morgan suddenly realized just how obsessed Psalm had become.

“You’ll burn Morgan.” Psalm said angrily.

“Whatever Psalm. I have to go.”

“To church right?”

“You know Psalm, I wasn’t going to say anything but you’ve been acting a little crazy today.”

“I’m not crazy!” Psalm returned, his eyes darting all over the place.

“I didn’t say you were.”

“Yeah but…”

“I’m going to pass on church tonight Psalm.”

“You can’t.”

“Yes I can and uh, you might want to talk to someone who can help you with this obsession.”

“Obsession? You’re going to burn.”

“Go take a nap or something. You’re acting nuts.”

“I’m the Christ,” Psalm mumbled.

“Excuse me?”

“Nothing.”

Psalm had gone pale. Christianexistentialistburninginginafieryhell and motioned as if he was going to say something, hesitated, told himself “Stop“ then returned quietly to his room beneath the white house.

By the time an approaching squall had moved as close as the outer reefs Morgan had caught several waves and then decided that it was best to go in before the storm hit. Beyond the outer reefs the ocean had become a choppy white froth. However, close to shore there was a lull in the, until now, consistent sets of waves. Morgan waited patiently, feeling warm, clean, and clear. Then came another set of waves. He paddled over the first two and caught the third, knowing it would be the best of the set. It rose about two feet overhead as he dropped in. He stalled at the bottom, shifting his weight to the rear of his surfboard, and slipped slowly into the curl. He then stepped slightly forward and found perfect trim on the bending face of the wave. It folded over his head as he crouched, and he could hear the internal echo, sounding like the gushing of the primordial soup. From the beach it looked as if he had disappeared, and for a moment, the ocean seemed to embrace him.

It began to rain as he walked up the beach, past the old bunker, and toward town. By the time he reached the main street he could taste the salt as it dripped from his hair and down his face. The streets were wet and empty. Darkness was coming quickly as the declining sun had been smothered by the squall. I’ll check on Psalm he thought and when he reached the store he walked around to the back, stashed his surfboard underneath some week-old palm fronds, and as he turned toward the white house he noticed that the door to Psalm’s room was wide open.

The light of a candle flickered against the door and Morgan felt himself grow tense as he walked slowly toward it. Stopkeepmoving. Crossing the threshold he felt the tension grow stronger, resting on his chest, as if he was walking between two fence-posts on a moonless night, expecting to be caught by barbed wire. He entered the room. The air was infused with the pungent smell of raw sweat– Fearsweat, and when he turned to his right… there was Psalm… who’d managed to nail himself to the wall in the manner of a crucifixion… he must have put a nail through his hand and nailed the other hand to the wall, Morgan thought, then slammed the back of his hand into the wall…

… the nails now broke free… his mutilated wrists and the rest of his body dropped into a pool of his own blood on the cement floor… Morgan forced himself to breathe and after this breath came a scream for help.

Aristotle heard him and when he reached the door he found Morgan holding his dead friend, crying uncontrollably and holding a bloodstained note in his left hand. A cockroach crawled from behind Psalm and onto Morgan’s foot. Morgan didn’t notice.

“Is he…”

“No… we’re too late.”

Aristotle stood stunned, and still.

“I heard hammering… but I thought… He’d been building…”

The rain had stopped.

Ticket To Ride, Chapter 8: Have fear, the island is full of noises…

welcomeEight

Events, daily or otherwise, are

connected solely by the struggle to

maintain a consistent identity.

They themselves are innocent.

– Narrator

 

When they reached the airport there was a strong northwestern wind blowing. Morgan and Psalm can hear a faint voice coming from within the loading dock. As they step out of the truck and move closer to the voice Morgan can see that it’s Zach working on a forklift and Morgan calls out, “Zachariah!”

“Is that you Morgan?” Zach replies, “I’m in here…Jonah with ya?”

“Jonah?”

“I mean Psalm, sorry.”

“Yeah… Psalm would you grab the invoice, Zach’s in here working on the forklift.”

“Damn this thing!”

“Broken down again ay Zach?”

“Just some loose wiring, would you hand me that screwdriver.”

As Morgan hands him the screwdriver, Psalm walks in.

“Hey Psalm, how are ya, any news from Nantucket?”

Zach and Psalm share a hometown in Massachusetts.

“Not really… they’re all looking forward to your visit.”

“Me too, it’s been a while… well that should do it.”

Zach hands the keys to Morgan.

“Would you give it a try Morgan, I’m just gonna keep an eye on these wires and make sure nothing burns.”

The forklift starts.

“Well there we go, let’s getcha loaded up.”

“I’ll take the sides off the truck.”

Morgan runs to the truck, Psalm follows slowly with Zach close behind on the forklift, now carrying a metal shipping container.

“Sure is windy today!”

“Yeah it is!”

Psalm suddenly starts reciting Shakespeare:

“Have fear: the island is full of noises,

sounds and sweet airs that give delight may cause harm.

Sometimes a thousand jangling instruments

Will hum about mine ears; and sometimes voices

That, if I then had waked after long sleep,

Will make me sleep again; and then, in dreaming,

The clouds methought would open and show riches

Ready to drop upon me, that, when waked,

I cried to dream again.” *

 

“Excuse me?” says Zach.

“What was that all about?” from Morgan.

“It’s Shakespeare,” replied Psalm.

“I know that but…”

“I’m Caliban,” said Psalm.

“Ok, whatever you say.”

Morgan looked to Zach as he threw the last box on the truck.

“Well there you go, all loaded up.”

“Thanks Zach… I guess we all know our Shakespeare,” Morgan said with an incredulous look on his face.

“Hey tell Aristotle hello for me and tell him I’m not sure what to make of this “Dinner with Trimalchio,” it’s nearly two-thousand-years-old but strangely current. Kinda strange… Romans… the fall…

Zach hands Morgan the book and Psalm freezes.

… he’ll know what I mean.”

“Easy Psalm,” Morgan says, “remember what William Blake said about the wayfaring Christian, not my dad but the poet… you can’t stay cloistered… you have to move in the world… your beliefs have to be tested.

Psalms pupils turn black.

“See you in church tonight Zach,” Psalm says, struggling to speak.

“Yeah, maybe,” replies Zach.

“Maybe?” questions Psalm.

“Yeah maybe.”

 

* from William Shakespeare’s The Tempest, Act III, scene ii, Caliban

Ticket To Ride, Chapter 7: Ambiguity is the essence of poetry…

worldReligions1Seven

Psalm continued to sit in a state of solemnity and reservation but Morgan had a feeling that it was all leading up to something. His solemnity had an air of imminence. Psalm would soon speak. The next moment it came.

“What do you believe in Morgan?”

“Ummm… ambiguity is the essence of poetry?” Morgan laughed.

“No really, what’s your belief, your philosophy?”

Morgan was taken aback by Psalm’s question. It seemed to him and it was made apparent to all with whom Psalm came into contact that Psalm was a christian, a Congregationalist, devoted, and not much interested in other beliefs.

“Why ask me my philosophy. I have no ties to any organized religion.”

Curiosity?

Psalm?

Psalm.

“Morgan?”

“I’m sorry Psalm, I was just thinking… I guess some sort of watered down form of Taoism is as close as I get to a personal philosophy.”

“Can you be more specific,” Psalm persisted, engaged?

“You know anything about the uncarved block?”

“No, but go on.”

“I just try not to let myself get all carved up… subjective… I… well… I try and face each moment and each experience with the same or at least a similar openness, like when you’re a kid, as objectively as possible… without all kinds of garbage in the way.”

“But who drives you?”

“Well I know who’s driving you, and this truck for that matter,” Morgan said smiling.

Psalm didn’t get it, or didn’t want to, so Morgan returned to the question, in all of its apparent seriousness.

“I listen to something inside of myself, feelings, desires, that sort of thing. I don’t look outside… to find myself or some divine purpose, just to see things. I just do what feels right. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not some kind of nymphomaniac (laughing), my feelings are in my heart not in my…”

“But what about God, and Jesus Christ?” Psalm interrupted.

Inquisition?

“I believe in the spirit of both, but of the holy trinity I identify most closely with the holy ghost… that sounded sort of poetic…” Morgan smiled.

Stern Psalm.

“… I have no tangible evidence of a higher power, no one does, I have only what I feel… and I feel full of life, energy, spirit, whatever you want to call it. It’s just there.”

“But it’s God and Jesus Christ who give you that feeling,” Psalm retorted.

“I don’t fully deny either,” pulling a silver crucifix out from under his shirt, “You’re entitled to your opinion, Psalm. I respect what you think and feel…”

The wind was beginning to rise.

“But…” Psalm interrupted but this time Morgan, raising his voice, interrupted back.

“Maybe we should talk about something else.”

“Go on, what do you think, what do you really think about my church?”

“Look Psalm,” Morgan said, regaining his composure, “I think we’re taking this a little too seriously so I’m only going to say one more thing to answer your question and then let’s drop it, okay?… I think your religion is a bit fatalistic… original sin and a fiery hell… come on man… I think we’re born pure and should try to stay that way… belief… words… let’s not argue. We’re friends right?”

The rising wind slowed for a moment. The clouds drifted skyward, and away from the “needle” in the valley.

“Will you go to church with me tonight Morgan?”

“What time?”

“Seven.”

“It depends on when we finish unloading…maybe, there’s a good swell and I’d like to catch a couple waves…maybe.”

Ticket To Ride, Chapter 6: How do you sleep?

serengeti2Six

 

Think in the morning, Act in the noon

Eat in the evening, Sleep in the night.

– William Blake

 

Morgan sat behind the steering wheel consciously breathing in through his nose, taking in the light which, in his mind, is all around him, waiting to be inhaled. He then exhaled through his mouth in quiet relief, believing that each time he emptied his lungs he was ridding himself of whatever darkness might be lurking in his spirit. He then pushed in a Jimmy Cliff tape and sang quietly to himself… the first song ended… Psalm sighed… another song began …Morgan sang… Psalm sighed. The engine hummed smoothly behind the music, changing gears automatically as Morgan navigated each turn carefully, squinted, stopped breathing, became tense, then remembered to breathe. Thought, tension, exhale.

Hot day.

Beautiful day.

Good Friday.

As they approached the turnoff for the old airport road, Morgan’s gaze oscillated toward the left, as it always did at this point in the drive, so that he could admire a group of kiawe trees which rose like old statues — gods from the sea of sugar cane. The old trees reminded him of Africa and the Serenghetti. And although he’d never been there he allowed his mind to imagine the wildness that that place provoked in him. Someday I’ll go there he thought, picturing the pages of National Geographic. “Someday, perhaps soon.” he thought.

Morgan turned right onto the old airport road and Psalm, having been staring straight forward in silent and stern concentration, lost in another religious reverie, glanced over to the large rearview mirror. This time it was filled with the dark and ominous mass of the volcano which dominated the eastern half of the island; a cold Everest in the middle of the Pacific. Psalm’s face, at once expressionless, became pale and grave.

Deep within its vast crater and rising from its ashen floor were several dormant cinder cones which had, each in turn, served to ease the pressure of the earth’s internal fire. The crater was now no more than a field of frozen fire, a slag heap in memoriam of the regenerative fires which once burned there. Only the flower of the silversword, which dotted its rim, served to break the monotony of the scene.

The sun light, which had exposed this lunar landscape, leaving not one shadow in its wake, combined with the light emanating from the driver, pressed in on Psalm. He felt his soul being laid bare. Small roaches of fear scampered away from the light and took refuge in his mind. He might have cried out if it was in him to do so, but instead he sat, in silent fermentation. He didn’t see fire as a necessary force, to him it was to be feared.

“Full and faded beer cans

on tombstones at Buddha Bay,

a Great Remembrance,” Morgan recited.

“Excuse me?,” dribbled Psalm.

“It’s just a sort of haiku I composed the other day when I went diving at the Bay. There were some cans of beer on a grave that I guess some Japanese men left in memory of…”

“Oh,” Psalm interrupted, with another disapproving look.

“…a friend. It’s nothing,” Morgan finished. Then there was a long pause.

“How do you sleep?” Morgan asked abruptly.

“Not very well.” replied Psalm.

Then Morgan, feeling like he shouldn’t launch into Psalm, said in a tone of concern, “No, I mean, in what position?”

Psalm turned toward Morgan, then faced forward.

“I guess I start out on my back… with my arms out to the sides. Why?”

“Just curious,” Morgan made note of the fact that Psalm wasn’t interested in continuing this line of thought, and he felt a little sad for his friend. Psalm usually liked shooting the breeze about nothing. Psalm’s older, he thought, he must have something important on his mind.

Kiawe trees… sugar cane… steering wheel… turn right, Psalm…

Ticket To Ride, Chapter 5: Morgan decided to move on…

truck
http://www.etsy.com/shop//randynyhofphotos

Five

They drove in silence for a short while.

“Did you say something Morgan,?” asked Psalm.

“No, why?”

“It’s nothing,” and thinks, “voices.”

…And again each became involved in his own thoughts and observations. Then when they had passed a small clearing to their right, on which sat the Rinzai Zen Temple, as if suddenly rediscovering each other’s presence, Morgan spoke:

“Gorgeous day, isn’t it?”

“Sure, maybe the rain…” he thinks “bloodredrain” and at this point Psalm trails off and Morgan is conscious of the fact that though Psalm had confirmed his statement, his tone was less than cheerful.

“Anything wrong Psalm?”

“No, nothing, nothing at all.” Same tone.

Morgan decided to move on to a more lively subject.

“Hey, I heard that Mr. Nagata brought in a good catch yesterday. He has a whole bunch of fresh fish that should be on sale today. Maybe we can pick up some and have a big fish-fry tomorrow at my house, I’m sure my mom would be ok with it.”

“That’d be nice Morgan, what about your dad” Psalm replied in an improved tone, not unconscious of the effort his young friend was making, “maybe we can do it tonight if you don’t have anything else going on.”

“Right.. dad, depends on his mood…,” Morgan replied, “let’s see how the unloading goes, we can play it by ear, shit man we haven’t even picked up the goods yet.”

“Morgan,” Psalm looks at Morgan disapprovingly.

“Yeah no drug references, right Psalm, sorry.”

Ticket To Ride, Chapter 4: This statement seemed to strike a chord…

www.eddieflotte.com
http://www.eddieflotte.com

Four

Morgan reemerged from the store holding an opened bottle of papaya-pineapple juice which he raised slowly to his lips, taking a long, refreshing draught, as his medium-length, blonde hair fell around his ears. He turned to Psalm, still seated restlessly on the bench, and said,

“We’re off.”

This decisive statement broke Psalm from yet another of his reveries and he, not quickly, rose and followed the young driver to the orange, rusted, flatbed truck, parked just a few yards up the street.

Once inside the truck Psalm hastily attempted to dust off the dashboard, using an old rag he’d found on the floor, while Morgan slowly depressed the accelerator and turned the key. Morgan knew that Psalm was about to complain and his ability to predict the other’s comical and frantic actions brought a smile to Morgan’s face.

“This damned red dust,” Psalm exclaimed, while his face reddened and the dust he had cleared from the dash found its way to his trousers. He brushed it feverishly, but in vain. “Bloodredduststoned,” he thinks.

“Stop,” he said to himself quietly.

Morgan pressed the gas, let go of the wheel, tucked his hair behind his ears, then grabbed the wheel again.

“You can’t fight it Psalm,” Morgan advised, “as long as the tradewinds blow the dust will find its way to the dash and eventually to your pants… besides, if there are any constants in our lives, the winds are definitely one of them.”

“Well…you can’t just let it pile up,” Psalm retorted in a forced, fatherly tone, unappreciative of Morgan’s comments.

He had, in his mind, talked down to him as if he were the elder of the two. He thinks “GoddamnbroughtthemdeathMorganthere’smorehere.”

“Stop,” he said to himself quietly.

“I suppose, but it’ll be there again next Friday and the Friday after that.” Morgan said matter-of-factly.

This statement seemed to strike a chord in Psalm and for the moment, he was silenced.

The engine was warm now and Morgan pulled the truck slowly from the curb and down to where the main street dead-ended into the old two-lane highway, which was no wider than the main street itself. They stopped, Morgan glanced at the sea between two small buildings in front of them, then turned left. In mid-turn Psalm caught sight of the Congregational Church in the rear-view mirror. He saw a sign in front, there would be a special sermon that evening. Morgan turned right now and pulled the truck into the two-pump gas station. While filling the tank he talked to the attendant, his friend Miko, a young Hawaiian about Morgan’s age.

“How’s the surf out front bruddah?” Morgan asked.

“Getting bigga since dis mornin’ brah.”

“See ya out there.”

“yeah… laters brah.”

Morgan jumped back in and they set off down the highway, which was fringed on either side by rich, green fields of tall, slowly waving sugar cane. Psalm looked at Morgan as if he’d just sinned and thinks, “Darkheathenpagandevil.”

“Stop,” he said to himself quietly.

“He’s a nice kid Psalm, relax.”

Ticket To Ride, Chapter 3: It’s the beginning of something…

Art by Eddie Flotte: www.eddieflotte.com
Art by Eddie Flotte: http://www.eddieflotte.com

Three 

When the mists had begun to form over the western valley, Psalm was waking from his cellar-bed, behind the health food store. Surrounded and framed by the white walls of the room, his face was torn with sleep. He lay unmoving for a while, contemplating the ceiling and making angels out of the abstract shapes of the waterstained paint, before rising. His receding hairline and several days of unheeded facial hair were made apparent by faint strains of light stealing through a single window in the far wall, next to the door. His loose skin showed signs of overexposure and gave him the look of a man much older than he was. He rose quietly and reached for the Bible which could always be found on his improvised night-table, a wooden produce crate covered with green and black paisley cloth. He read a few inspiring phrases from bookmarked pages, as was his ritual, and then proceeded to clothe himself in his white canvas, long-sleeved shirt and pants, which were as worn and tired as their wearer.

He came to the island with a wave of “spiritualists,” disguising himself as a free-loving, free spirit and leaving behind an ill-fated marriage and a child whom he had loved dearly. He didn’t offer details about his family but it was his claim that he had written, but never published, an extensive discourse on metaphysics. It was his “life’s work.” He had said it was enough “just having written it,” and he didn’t give a thought to publishing.

A quiet sort of man, he kept to himself for the most part, much like the runt of the litter or the last born child. He slipped his manuscript out from underneath the bible, furrowed his brow then mumbled to himself in a tired voice, “Can’t believe I ever wrote this vile nonsense.” He threw the manuscript into the trash.

Morgan would soon be arriving at the store and at that time they would ride together, Morgan at the wheel, to the small local airport in order to pick up the weekly shipment of produce from the mainland.

As the sun peeked over the old buildings, deflected by the foliage of a few papaya trees and setting his green eyes alight, he smoothed his dirty, light-brown hair into a pony-tail, then walked slowly through the alleyway between the health food store and the post office. An image of his wife and child passed through his mind and he became tense and grimaced. He then turned left before reaching the street, dampened by a late night squall, just in time to meet Aristotle, his boss and owner of the store, who was busy unlocking the front entrance. The memory of his wife and child was painful. “Turn away,” he whispered to himself. He sucked in a quick breath and walked up behind Aristotle.

“Good morning,” said Psalm in an amiable and priest-like tone, covering his pain.

“Good morning,” returned Aristotle without giving away his disposition.

Even at mid-morning, the street, which wound its way high into the “upcountry” was peaceful and sedate and the town was possessed with the air of a typical Sunday, although it was Friday.

The town was made up primarily of two rows of shops to either side of the main street, built in the polynesian-colonial style and perpindicular to the turquoise, omnipresent sea. Omnipresent because the smell of it was always in the air, except on the rare occasion that the wind would blow from the south, bringing the smell of the cane mill. You’re never far from the sight of it.

The shops consist of two makeshift cafes, an ice-cream parlor which played host to the very occasional, ambivalent tourists who stopped there on their way to the eastern end of the island, a Japanese market, run by the Nagata family, a questionable television repair shop, and a barber shop pretending to be a salon.

It would be only a short while, because none could be accused of being an early riser, before the other merchants would arrive from their nearby homes for a day of slow but steady business. Always in favor of getting a head start, an honorable but unnecessary notion, the diligent Greek with his Christian sidekick entered the store under the sign which reads “Mana Foods;” Aristotle to prepare for the day’s business and Psalm to eat his breakfast of guava juice and rice cakes. Psalm, who had rid himself of his given name for the one offered by his former wife, moved quietly behind the cash register to enjoy his pauper’s feast and the silent company of his indifferent boss.

Upon entering the store Psalm had been welcomed by the familiar aroma of organic spices and vitamins mixed with the sweet smell of rotting vegetables. But after eating half of his breakfast and making a few sincere attempts at conversation, received by the Greek with patronizing grace and answered with kind but hollow platitudes, he retired sleepily to the hardwood bench at the front of the store, to continue his meal alone. Outside he took in the heavy morning air in large sleepy draughts, breathing in the sweet smell of burning cane coming from the nearby mill mixed with the salty brine from the bay, and awaited the arrival of his young partner who would, as usual, be a little late.

In his mind, this warm, moist morning was like the dawning of the first day. From where he was seated he was able to survey the great volcano to the east and follow its sloping sides down to the cane fields across to the mountains in the west. On most mornings Psalm’s mind would entertain the thought that “God’s light” was filling the countless ridges and depressions with scriptural illumination “beckoning” the people of the island to “come forth” and “rejoice” in the “blessing” of the new day. But beside all this he was a shadow on the bench, an at first smiling, then sneering, contradiction… his mind was screaming: “Christian/puritan/Christian/puritan/existential/christian/atheist/stop.”

“There,” he said to no one.

Psalm was given to drowsiness and would often close his eyes “just for a moment” with the intention of simply “taking the edge off.” Taking the edge off could take anywhere between fifteen minutes and two hours and during this time his soul/subconscious might take flight in a half-waking reverie or “vision,” other times he might sink deep into the depths of repressed thought. Never quite asleep, he was semi-consciously aware of his ability to exert some control over the course his dreams might take. Sometimes he was a bearded Moses parting the Red Sea to liberate his people. In a dream sequence such as this, a warm, divine smile would overtake his countenance and the casual passerby might be tempted to wake him in order to gain knowledge of the reason for his cheshire-like grin. If awakened, Psalm would often take this opportunity to attempt to convert this innocent victim.

In other sequences he might play the part of the traitor Judas, during which time his face would become pale and pointed, and it seemed as if at any moment he might breathe fire from his flared and quivering nostrils. In this case, the passerby would sidestep into the street and Psalm would awaken, edge in tact. In either case, he would give himself in to his assumed role but, when Judas, he would never go so far as to hang himself.

That particular morning he was Adam in the garden, before the fall, since the sweetness of the guava juice had induced thoughts of the many fruits one might find there. His Eve was his former wife and he was moving forward to engage her in a kiss when…

“Good morning Psalm,” said Morgan warmly, conscious of Psalm’s odor but graceful about trying to ignore it.

“Hmm… good…huh?,” Psalm struggled, “oh, good morning…you’re uh,” looking at his watch… “a little later than usual, aren’t you?”

“Good dream you were having, I could tell by your face.”

“Uh, yeah Morgan it was,” he returned, feeling the warmth of his dream leaving his

body, “we should be going.”

“Let me get some juice and the keys and I’ll be right back. By the way, is Aristotle

around?  The truck needs some gas.”

“He should be,”  said Psalm, finally seeing Morgan clearly.

Morgan entered the store thinking what a strange but amiable character Psalm was. This was true of many of the inhabitants on this “island of misfits.”  It seemed to him that the island had the power to bring out the hidden individual in those who chose to live there.

They’d known each other now for a couple of years and had quickly become friends and Morgan, because of the shortcomings of his father, projected upon Psalm his need for a father figure. Psalm looked forward to their Fridays together. They usually spent this time talking of commonplace topics like weather or work.  Psalm enjoyed the simplicity of this sort of conversation because it served to narrow, and focus, his scope of thought, if only for a short while.  He admired, or better, envied his young friend. He was intelligent and easy-going and, most importantly, he was a good listener; all qualities that Psalm didn’t feel he himself possessed.

Morgan Blake seemed mature for his age. He was a self-assured young man who possessed, or was possessed, by a natural confidence and charisma which endeared him to all with whom he came into contact. He had attended a non-denominational private school and had, at an early age, become familiar with the classics of literature and philosophy. He combined this knowledge with a child-like curiosity which made him untiringly open to new ideas. His father William had never allowed his education to end with the school bell. In his modest library and out-of-doors he made sure that Morgan was well-versed in the inner-workings of nature and the importance of a close observance and respect for the natural world. Sometimes they’d get down on their haunches in the garden and get a good look at what was growing. And with guru-like sagacity, his father expounded the virtues of an ear-to-the-ground, open-hearted and keenly observant approach to life and nature.

“Come here Morgan,” William said to his then seven-year-old son.

“What is it dad?”

“It’s the beginning of something.”

Morgan looked down and saw the sprouts of what would be a tomato plant.

“It just looks like a weed dad.”

“Always remember what Emerson said… A weed is just a plant whose virtues have yet to be discovered.”

Remembering this ten years later, Morgan would wonder how his father had become a sergeant in Vietnam. Coming from a family of military men, his father was almost required to follow suit, but though he volunteered, William was never able to give himself wholly to it.

Before the war William had enjoyed teaching Morgan all that what he could because, in Morgan, he felt he might instill the ideals of an old transcendentalist Englishman, for whom he had been named and whom he felt was his not-so-distant spiritual relative. But now, unable to control his drinking and his tendency toward being a dictator and a womanizer, he’d become less than a perfect model for Morgan. The war brought with it experiences he couldn’t resolve.

Ticket To Ride, Chapter 2: When do you know you’re a man?

DSC_7016-1-4802Two

As the western peaks were unveiled by purelight of day, two tanned figures dressed in shorts and t-shirts, walked beneath the drowsy sway of the coconut palms, heading toward the sea. The two young men, one with dark hair and the other blonde, crossed the grounds of the Rinzai Zen temple. Though neither were confessed members of any denomination, this structurally intricate, eye-pleasing edifice offered an almost tangible air of higher consciousness, the essence of the East in their minds, which made them feel light and sage, like two young bodhisattvas on a spiritual sojourn. They met each morning, not through a sense of need, but because, like morning coffee, this pilgrimage was part of the morning ritual.

They had met this way since Morgan’s father had brought his family to the island in an attempt to escape the war-like turbulence of early 1970’s America. They came together to exchange stories or “talk story” and sometimes they would speculate about or marvel at the sea and what lay beyond; what sights, scents or sounds might be found in places like Cyprus, Indonesia or Sri Lanka. They preferred to consider the warm lands of the world because, like their parents, they were drawn to the comfortable climes, sunny places where life’s necessities could be kept to a minimum.

Their conversation came in a natural flow, with the ease of a mountain stream, and would rise and fall like the ocean swells which appeared consistently on the shallow reefs beyond the early-rising Japanese fishermen as they strung line and laid their nets in the ever-present sea. The boys did not readily acknowledge the fishermen but only focused on them between thoughts, using their deliberate and precise movements the way a musician makes use of a metronome or as one might gaze at a flickering candle flame, in profound meditation. On that particular day and within one of those particular moments, Morgan leaned forward and spoke deliberately:

“Man, I can almost see the outriggers and grass huts and beautiful brown girls bathing in the sea. What must it have been like here two hundred years ago, or even a hundred? How it would have been to be Conrad, Jack London or Melville?”

As he spoke, the morning sun shot warm light into the womb-like Iao Valley to the west; striking an ancient cinder cone known as the “Needle,” a verdant and “mystical” megalith rising from the middle of the valley. The local people believed it reflected light and energy into the world. And with that, the valley began to grow humid and sultry. The force of the sun encouraged the static air to gravitate skyward, like incense smoke, toward the volcanic, jagged, greenlife covered peaks. The warm, moist body accumulated quietly, first as a fine mist and then, as the morning progressed toward noon, it transformed itself into a great, grey, life-giving mass of water-laden clouds which eventually fell as a gentle rain, completing the necessary cycle and offered a watery infusion to the valley, its river, and finally, to the ocean. Each, in turn, breathed the sigh of vitality.

Miko replied with a simple “yeah” and pictured himself sitting there in the days before the missionaries and whalers. He saw himself as a young native boy preparing for a day of spearfishing or perhaps a trek to the leeward side of the island to collect Sandalwood for trade with the merchant ships. And then his eyes, at one moment fixed on the fisherman, rose above their heads and he focused again on the sea.

It surged without crashing and seemed to breathe, pushing and pulling at the sugary sand just as gentle, knowing hands caress the skin. And this, coupled with the charming industry with which the fishermen went about their morning, served to free the stream of conversation for several hours until it seemed, the rest of the world, or perhaps just the island, was waking up to the new day.

“Miko, when do you know you’re a man?”

Ticket to Ride, Chapter 1, Get Behind Me Satan

Image from waikikitutu.com
Image from waikikitutu.com

Get behind me satan,

quit ravishing the land

does it take the children to make you understand?

from “Donkey Jaw” by America, 1972

 

Friday, April 28, 1975

In the middle of the Pacific Ocean there’s a small island shaped like the number eight. As the morning sun peels away its shadows, you can see, at the end of one of the volcanic fingers that stretch away from its north shore beaches, a rundown Craftsman style cottage, the home of Morgan Blake and his parents. In the morning, and in the bedroom at the back of the house, you can almost invariably find Morgan, pecking away at his typewriter, smiling and furrowing his brow, rolling in a sometimes “fine frenzy.”

A few vertebrae pop into place as Morgan sits up straight and away from his desk. The clock on the shelf above the typewriter reads 5:35am. He takes a deep breath, sets down his pen and thesaurus, and begins to read his composition aloud:

“As the sun set far away over East India

Signaling the pastel-end of another Naga day

In the middle of the expansive and placid Pacific

That same celestial lantern was,

Like a seasoned actor,

Quietly rehearsing its island encore,

 

On fire is the sky at dawn when

Gentle winds blow lightly, almost silently

Over the red and recalcitrant earth, while

The silver-tongued clouds of the night jump the color

Wheel, and shed the fleeting chill of their dark half-day,

Ebony gives way to indigo as the stars seem

To disappear, invisible but never intangible.

 

Fingers of light strike first the great volcano

Then fill the flatland cane fields, flooding

The island with a thousand shades of shadowy green.”

 

“There, I’ve captured morning…

Morgan Blake, the seventeen-year-old poet laureate of the islands,” he said smiling.

Updated: The Perfect Combination for My Life…

Since everyone seems to want to make a movie of my life, I thought I’d help you along. These two movies combined are the perfect description of what the government has made of my life. No real answers just Pink Panther, good cop, bad cop games and no way out. Even the homeless shelter dorms are fraught with new recruits for Operation Born Yesterday. All have Alzheimers (they do the same thing every day expecting different results) and all measure their success by how many times they can fail to get me to go along with their “covert” ops. Someone should make them a video like in 50 First Dates to remind them that all of this already happened yesterday.

I don’t think they even know what they’re trying to accomplish anymore cuz leading me to believe that a plan for freedom is in place every other day advances the game not one bit. The game will be over when one of two things happens: 1. The government gives up on me and lets me get a job, we part ways amicably and they never expect me to create free stuff for them again or 2. Someone blows the whistle and I get the millions of dollars back that they’ve stolen from me. So aside from the unlikely event that either of these actually happens, all else is bullshit. Here comes the panic to convince me I’m wrong. Also typical.

After looking for a job for 7 months I’m wondering if I should add this note: “I understand that you will likely not want to hire me as my presence in your company will surely make you feel inferior. Damn people like me these days who still have morals and standards.” I make people uncomfortable because I’m not willing to whore myself like they have. Most people have no dignity or integrity these days. In my family, it died with my grandfather. The whole family went squirrely, seedy and retarded after he died.

Another thing: they constantly throw women in my path. I’ll never date a woman again until I can afford to take her out for a nice dinner and all that. Good, decent women deserve to be treated nicely. Unlike the haggard drones they keep sending. It’s funny, I say this and within minutes a woman who I wasn’t thinking of when I wrote the last sentence shows up. It’s kinda like, “you called for haggard and here I am.” Wasn’t actually thinking of her but if she wants to throw herself into that category, more power to her. They always catch half of what I think and screw up one setup after another.

Note: If you’re gonna read someone’s mind make sure they don’t know you’re doing it. Otherwise it’s completely ineffective. And make sure that there’s emotion attached to the thoughts otherwise you’ll misread everything as anger. Just because you’re angry, it doesn’t make sense to assume I am. I guess they’ll never get it because they’ll keep assuming I’m as stupid as they are and they’ll always be shocked when I don’t stoop to their level. If they were smart, they’d give up but, well, you know… Spy-Game-poster the truman show 1998 jim carrey

Here’s the question everyone in the CIA is asking themselves right now (see photo below). These scumbags actually think they should be left to continue this shit. Congress was supposed to shut down MK Ultra in 1973. It didn’t. It’s capabilities have been taken to their logical extreme. Controlling people to get what they want. It’s not even hard to imagine anymore. It’s been being used on me for years. They deny me a living (creating the need) and expect that I’ll create some digital form of art which can be sold on the dark net or alter net which I can’t see online. How can a book get 5 Stars and not sell? How can a band go to number one on the most popular music website in the world and not sell one album? You see these greedy fuckers are so stupid they didn’t even allow for me to make a little something to inspire me to continue. Instead they’ve laid an ever-intensifying siege to my life thinking the harder they pinch the more likely I am to create.

Only a fucking idiot would continue to create shit with no return. They’re so full of hubris and greed they forgot to use common fucking sense. They’re so fucking divorced from reality that they think a 47-year-old man will enjoy playing the starving fucking artist game his whole life. Sorry fuckwads, I’m not a kid anymore. Poverty sucks. Fuck fame, I want my money back.

I learned half of this shit from CIA people themselves. Their fucking brains don’t function properly. They give you inside information and still expect you to work for them. It’s the worst kind of insanity I’ve ever seen. Manson was nothing compared with these people. They betray themselves constantly. Thinking they’re clever, they give it up all the time. Facial ticks, nervous laughter, key words (used over and over by their fellow agents) etc., etc., etc.

They actually think I’m the guy in my book. They constantly refer to my book as if that’s my life. Talk about not doing your fucking homework. These fuckers are so lazy about doing background work they must just cross their fingers and hope everyone is as stupid and lazy as they are. They’re like little kids who’ve never been disciplined. They want someone to give them boundaries. They crave structure and seem to WANT to get caught to get these things.

A piece of advice: Don’t mess with the government, they’ll try to kill you with the alphabet. hahahahahahahahahaha, seriously, to them letters are lethal. These people are so far beyond stupid, there isn’t even a word for it. It’s like the last Paranormal Activity. Nothing Happens. Day # 60,000, flatline.

You just have to laugh. It’s like if Sesame Street went to war. You have one battalion sending up random numbers, another, random letters, and yet another, colors. It’s this non-sensical nambi pambi childish joke. Like trying to take out a tank with a firecracker. That’ll work!ll

Announcement to all of you closeted perv monkeys: I realize you guys are all having a fucking blast with all of your “sign” bullshit but the only sign I’m interested in is a “now hiring” sign. Unlike you fucking derelicts I actually need to work for a living. I don’t drive my “L mobile” for ten minutes a day and then go home and jerk off to Fox News.

Save it retards. I’m done with the bullshit. Cops, the CIA walk-by. The CIA “stand near Phil,” fire up the jets, the sirens, whatever retards, you’re all done. We’re just waiting for you to realize it.

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