(You’d Have to Let Me In)
I Stepped on the Concrete
A bit of scattered poem
Eleni asks her picture.
You mean you go to school?
That’s the travelin’ life.
Do you think you can enjoy this?
Dumber kid world.
Getting off the ferry from Italy and hitching from Igoumenitsa, in the north near the border of Albania, to almost Athens is a blur. I do remember chief in my mind was the thought I’d been given about Greece by fellow travelers: Greece will either love you or hate you, and there is no in-between. Would I be accepted? The first test didn’t seem to say yes. A trucker gave me a ride, who was going not far from Athens. I don’t remember how far he took me, but more than the usual spurt. I got excited seeing the highway signs to Sparta and Olympia along the way, like history was jumping out at me, but to him it was just the usual route. When I explained about myself, how I was a vagabond spiritual pilgrim (adventure traveler to you guys), making sure to tell him I needed a place to stay that night, without outright asking him to take me home, he told me about an artist’s commune not far out of Athens he could drop me off at, one that had occupied an abandoned governmental complex composed of several buildings. I just wanted him to take me home and spend the night proper in a house and with a family. When he dropped me off at the place, which was just off the freeway about 35 kilometers out of Athens, I was so let down, and he could see that, and we had, or had had that whole ride he gave me, one of those underwater conversations that deal with the real issues between us, us being you and I, the person and their society. “I don’t want to take the risk. You type of people are weird.” “Do I look like a thief, a murderer?” “My wife would get mad. My dog might bite you. Hell I don’t know, I’m just not taking you home.” “One day you’ll be in my shoes, and you’ll remember this.” The last bit isn’t so noble, but don’t we all say it under our breath in such situations of genuine need not met by someone who readily can, no skin off their nose? That the place looked now abandoned put extra underwater words in my eyes. I slowly got out of the cab and made my way down from the truck to the street, it being not a semi rig exactly but one of those big trucks that looked like it had had its sleeper cut off, their only being a cab for the driver and one person to ride shotgun. It was already nightfall. Oh woe is me.
That night was horrible. I had to sleep where people walk their dogs to go two toilet. All the buildings, that I went I could see at least, were not in use, except the one I slept in front of, but it was all locked up. They were mostly one-story, government-style buildings, and they were all decorated in that ‘tribe of’ painting so characteristic of post-hippie communes and collectives, like Forte Prenestino, a combination of graffiti and art, fuck you and butterflies (you’re hearing 2002). Yeah, they’d been here, and left. Still, they’d left a strong impression of the presence of social revolt, of the anarchist kind, on the Greek scene that I was seeing. I anticipated this to be more pronounced in Athens than I would find it, but I’m getting ahead of myself. Not having the inclination to explore the place more fully for a better place to sleep, I chose the large yard of the building still being used, where the Saint Augustine grass was high enough I wouldn’t be readily seen, which was, like I said, peppered with dog shit. I had only some pasta I was saving for Athens, which I’d determined to cook and eat in the agora, the market area of ancient Greece, and so I went to bed hungry, something you get used to adventure traveling. I have no memory at all of getting up and out of there and on the road again, but I know I arrived in Athens early in the morning. The agora wasn’t so easy to identify. Although I’ve made reference to it in this story, I didn’t carry The Lonely Planet, didn’t carry any guidebook. What was the point? I had no money, and I didn’t want a wish book. I asked around. Almost anywhere I’ve found, you can easily find people who speak at least a little English. In a large European city like Athens, English abounds.
Where I ended up I don’t know, but it wasn’t far from where I’d gotten dropped off, thankfully, as I had not one red cent to my name, and I didn’t want to risk trying to ride free on the bus, if that were even possible; I didn’t know. The place I’d been directed to hadn’t looked right, and so I’d walked to a very large open space behind what I guessed was the modern market, and I could see some ancient whatnots sticking up in the distance, but I didn’t venture into the area, just set up on the side of a concrete street behind the buildings, one that, except for some trees, had nothing on it, no buildings at all. I pulled out my gear and started cooking, and I got looks from the people walking by, and I got that familiar feeling of being seen in my underwear, like in a dream, what I’d feel when doing something nobody else was doing in the middle of everybody doing normal things, a feeling really hard to shake no matter how many times I did such doings. I ate. Now what? You ever land in a city flat broke with no place to stay and no lead as to where to find one? I did, however, have an idea. Go walking until I began to see the anarchy A on walls, and then I’d know I’d be in an area where squatters were.
I must tell you that just because I used the anarchist symbol to find squats doesn’t mean I was an anarchist, just like it won’t mean I was a communist because (later in the story) I admire someone who was. Do I show you mine? Politically, if anything, I’m an American Democrat (looking forward to something better), have been since my university days, but I’ve never voted Democrat, only voted one time in my whole life, in the 1980 presidential race, and I voted Republican. Okay I messed up, but how many people can say they passed in review in front of a new president as an active duty army muleskinner behind a team of mules pulling an army escort wagon, saluted the president with a 45/70 black powder rifle, and then attended his inaugural ball dressed in old cavalry blues, spurs that went jingle jangle jingle, and wearing a sword? That’s what I thought.
It’s hard to fit all I did that day into one, single day, but I know I only spent one night in Athens, and so it all must fit. Although the Acropolis was chief in my mind to go and see and quite visible from most anywhere in the city that looked up, I didn’t go there, do any site seeing. I was on a mission to find a place to write for the winter, and I had, or so it seemed, come to the end of my rope; Athens was my last hope. I found an A before too long and set down my pack and looked for someone appropriate to ask about where to sleep. I mean I looked for a person who looked not only different but defiant, if I can use that word, it being too strong for what I was actually looking for but which gives you the picture that I was looking for someone rather ‘alternative’.
Presently a sort of weathered young woman appeared, and I asked her. While talking to her a couple more people came up, each with a look that said something other than 9 to 5. They told me the scene in Athens was not safe—too many heroin addicts. It did not escape my notice I was talking to addicts right then. They warned me my backpack would get stolen lickety-split, and I could get hurt. It was dangerous. What could I do I asked. What can you do I was asked. Could I teach English? They all thought that was a lovely idea; yeah, teach English. They directed me to a square not too far from there, where there were a couple of English schools, the kind that taught adults for the most part, the business kind that doesn’t look like a school at all. The two I went to were up on the second floor of the business block on that square, and I had to leave my pack outside the door. I’d tried to freshen up in some bathroom I’d found on the way, change clothes, wash my face, but with my long hair and beard and travel-worn clothes, it didn’t matter what I did, other than completely changing my appearance; I didn’t stand a chance. “Excuse me, can I help you?” “You want to what?” “Here?” I’ve reported what was going on under the conversation, the real, standby communication.
needed insistence to say hello.
your stuff with essential bottom aren’t yah?
so Greek in it
My mother’s different.
She didn’t scholar me right.
Everywhere I looked Greek,
trapped in here:
Oedipus Rex king.
It was all I could do to stand up.
When I was four
the whole thing liberated.
Control your consciousness, will yah?
That became my ground plan.
I was plagued by an imaginary playmate.
Demons are real you understand.
Essential textbook Greek
for my nose in books,
to help me get my head around the game,
for my hero’s story.
I languished in Greek things
for my understand.
That’s how I survived.
A survivor Greek tale
that little boy wore.
do you understand?
Wow that was a brave mile.
Get that one,
you have this textbook and that.
Now I’m sellin’ my story down the street
I’m a pomegranate.
It was out of control
the seed production rebellion.
Can you hear control
as my room sits to itself in the world,
in the reason of my daily life?
Now where do you think this journey was taking me?
You’ve got a longshoreman.
It’s incredible ways control,
even in mice feet.
Now I’ve placed a hardball in your hands.
I’ve got that essential storybook.
I can control myself.
Give it to me;
I’m riding December.
Like a spiritual sun,
my great and wonderful world,
I give you my notebooks
in your arms now.
A long anchor I lay down.
What I aim for:
the renewal of man.
Feel life abroad,
because our choices are there.
Let’s start with consciousness.
Where should I put
That’s the deadline.
What do you know,
consciousness rises between us.
You and I share it,
as between us there builds one mind.
We put them things aloud.
This is the tall story.
Have you lost your mind?
You just forgot
we are all of us we are one.
That’s why in the mornings
dig in that vinegar.
Round the birth of nation
The true stories I have written
I’m understanding slow now.
When it touches both hands,
like a pattern I have drawn for that day,
a secret oneness of our world
and particular natures,
the whole thing,
it’s at the healing,
and we share together base diamonds.
And you’re hearin’ our revolution.
And he was sleeping on the floor.
We’re intah base.
Read on story.
The next street,
that took us back
to hello Greece.
But despite not getting a job teaching English in Athens, as the country had other plans for me, Island Penelopes, Greece did love me; boy did it ever. And I loved it, or things Greek I should say, always had, and I suspect that in many Western childhoods ancient Greece has a gripping hand rocking the cradle. That culture is still very much alive in the maintenance of our own. When I was around four, I saw the Kirk Douglas movie Ulysses on TV, and from then on, my mind and dreams were populated by Greek heroes and monsters, not the least of which was Hercules, hero of song and story (italicized words sung), that song from the 1960’s cartoon, and especially the image of him running back up Mount Olympus often dragging the bad guy, daily morning features of my early childhood. Greek mythology became a thought about ingredient in the makeup of my growing up, and I’d check out books about it from the school library once I got big enough to read. I studied Classical Greek in university, after the army, becoming a competent translator of both Attic and Homeric Greek, even translated two books of The Odyssey and the first part of Euripides’ Hercules, the latter into rhyming English verse, the translation of Greek poetry putting a cornerstone into the foundation of my own poetry, indeed, into thought.
So I had put a lot of will and wonder into my visit to Greece, all of my life, and I hadn’t for either France or Italy anywhere near that degree, although I must say they were two countries on my mind’s friend list growing up, not so much the countries but their major cities, Paris and Rome. So it was natural that Greece welcomed me with open arms, but still, it was a struggle to find those arms. After the English teaching school rejection, I just walked about the streets, wondering where I’d spend the night, what I’d eat, those sorts of things, nothing deep mind you; I was hungry and tired. Presently I passed by a spiritual bookshop, and low and behold, in the shop’s window was a book by Sri Aurobindo, with his luminous picture on the cover, to my eyes at least—he is simply a heartthrob. The shop was closed, as it was by this time late evening, and so I determined to be there when it opened the next morning. Where else would I go, to the Greek Orthodox theater?
Some streets away, I passed by a building under construction, six stories tall. If you’re in a city survival situation, and you don’t know the city from Adam, the thing to do is find such a building, if the barricades keeping people out don’t, and go to the very top floor and sleep, but it needs to be a rather tall building, like the one I was standing before. The rational is this: people use empty buildings to sin in so to speak, especially at night, but they stay around the lower floors, scared to venture up usually, scared of the unknown, but mostly it’s an innate fear of ghosts, ghouls, and demons, not lions and tigers and bears. It was dusk by the time I got up to the top floor, the building just the skeleton of one, the concrete and rebar, nothing else, no doors, windows, railings, or what have you. I laid out my sleeping bag, cooked something quite simple I had left in my pack, what that was I don’t remember now, ate and went to sleep, the night taking possession of the building like a demon does an imagination, a grab you ghoul and then total darkness.
I felt fear grip me as the light went completely out, what just came up out of no choice, something about a skeleton building like that, something sinister when darkness falls, and fear let go, and sleep took me. Sometime in the night I awoke to people in the building carrying the torch of chaos, as the noise they made did not drum up images of order, and I lay there and counted the floors they came up, slow-like, their drunken scene spilling out to what more floors there may be, all the way to the 5th floor, one floor below mine, and I was surprised at their boldness. Although I couldn’t understand their language, I could hear the fear in their voices as they looked up at the top floor, deciding not to venture up any higher. Oh boy was I relived. The lion, the tiger, and the bear often possess us when we’re drunk or whatnot and come upon a hapless person all alone by themselves somewhere no one else can see what we do to them, those animals apt to represent the mal spirits behind such maulings and murders among us, when those aforementioned animals have gone mad with bloodlust. It’s a taken world.
I don’t want it devil in the morning.
Feel the nature of the world.
Do you see it there,
just a destroyed circle?
It’s an accident
the world is Belarus.
The world will write itself tomorrow
the world bigger than your fingertips,
a larger house than ours.
There it is again on the streets
Are you just belly up?
Images further than ghosts,
can I show you the world cares?
A world being,
Look to later on.
I’m hanging on philosophy.
No I’m dippin’ into my world.
Does it have your cooperation?
That’s so theory maxed.
are you scared of yourself?
A more balanced diet
would cover the story very well
You’re sleeping there in your sleep
even the puppy.
It’s ole Bruno,
tryin’ to get him to see past himself.
Can you see this big chair?
How big is it?
It’s bigger than doors.
She has all that divided.
Let’s see if she eats that.
She sank to ground zero.
An artist too conception of the world.
I’ll tell you what,
eating in here she eats here.
Ooh child things are gonna get easier—
The first window can be human.
Can we check her own full members of the family?
Walkin’ up the stairs,
we’re a family.
Want some unlikely brotherhood?
Come and take it.
Unless you’re doin’ somethin’ about it
you aren’t in progress anymore.
You name it progress
everybody gets included in the family,
If you sneak sleep in buildings under construction you have to be out early, before the first workers arrive, and so at first light I left. On the bottom floor I could see the remnants of the party the night before that had spilled upwards, beer bottles mostly, and wrappers of various sorts. Coming out of the building into the growing sunlight was such a relief. Going through the hole in the cyclone fence and leaving the property felt like a liberation. Hope is native to the start of a new day, really hard to kill even when things seem hopeless, but here I had reason to hope. I had faith in Sri Aurobindo, and I’d seen his picture in an unlikely place, in the middle of Athens, and so I had the expectation of good things on the way. Seems silly to say that about a dead guru, but presently you’ll see the way he teaches, as a living presence, “and now what am I to believe, the reasoning of others or my own experience?” (Sri Aurobindo, a partial quote from Thoughts and Aphorisms)
What else was there to do except go to that bookstore and wait until it opened? I sat there, doing my morning meditation, then reading Savitri, and then just sitting. It was a very long sitting, probably around three hours. Did I tell you that I didn’t carry a timepiece? Didn’t even before I left for the open road. I’d tell people I didn’t wear a watch because I didn’t want to be a slave to time, but I was always careful to check the time so I wouldn’t be late somewhere, punctuality being a very American thing, and there are clocks everywhere basically, and the irony wasn’t lost on me that I still lived my life around time, but I argued, to anyone that pointed that out, that I didn’t have to have it wound around my wrist at least. Now, on the open road, however, I no longer lived my life to a schedule imposed by all-demanding time, but here, waiting on an hour of business, the time of day became all-important again, and so quickly. The shop opened around nine I believe, and I was checking the time every so often by looking through the window of the shop next door at a clock upon the wall, which was difficult to see because of the angle of the clock in relation to the street. I had to bend down low to see it. Finally, two people came to open the door to the bookstore, a man and woman, both about the same age, middle aged, and by the way both moved in relation to one another, I gathered they were married. When they noticed me waiting there they were quite surprised. I stood up to greet them, smiling that smile you give, like the handshake, when you want to show people you have no weapons and want also to disarm them.
With an intense appearance as I had, there was always a second or two when meeting ‘normal’ people for the first time of “just hold on there wild man, do you bite?” It’s just a flicker in the eyes that quickly gets replaced by social niceties, and you just smile and pretend you didn’t see it, and they pretend they didn’t show it. With these two, however, that second or two was more of surprise in the eyes than doubt, and they quickly let that go and gave me a warm greeting and invited me inside, as I was explaining why I was there, because of the picture of Sri Aurobindo. It turned out they were disciples of the Mother and Sri Aurobindo, as I was, and every year they spent a few months in Auroville, India, an international township founded by the Mother, she being his spiritual partner and collaborator. Auroville is an intentional community inaugurated in 1968 that was created to achieve human unity and a transformation of consciousness that would help usher in the new human being. It was also the destination of my traveling. I was headed there, not just vagabonding just to vagabond. I’d visited there in 1995, going there from a six month stay in Israel, which I’ve spoken about in the beginning of this story. I subsequently spent six months in Auroville, where I became a disciple of the Integral Yoga. It had been my intention upon leaving Auroville to return to the States only to earn money to go back to India to become a member of Auroville, but it hadn’t worked out that way, and here I was seven years later still on my way to Auroville. Somewhere around here, either in Italy or in Greece I mean, I had a lucid dream about Auroville, where at the end I met the spirit of Auroville, a beautiful young woman, who asked me when I was coming, so we had a thing going on, only it was an inner thing, and on the outside to all Aurovillians and New Comers I was just a visiting guest. To say it in a metaphor: Penelope didn’t recognize me upon my return to Ithaca, but I could also say I didn’t honor her I am so very sorry to say, but I tried. How else can I say it?
Now, living just a few kilometers from the township these many years, Auroville has become the city of my dreams, literally, as I dream about it more than any other location on Earth. A minor miracle made it that, which happened in Jerusalem, but the story of our relationship began upon my arrival in Garberville, California. I’d left Laytonville and had enough cash for one night in a hotel, as this was just at the beginning of my homeless days, and I wasn’t yet used to sleeping out in the middle of society, and so I wasted the last bit of money I had for one more night under a roof. I awoke at 3:30 (by the clock in the room) and smoked some skunk I’d gotten on Spyrock Mountain, did that to purposefully go back to sleep conscious, or without losing continuity of being conscious I should say, what I believe is nowadays called WILD, a wake induced lucid dream. When you’re stoned and lucid dreaming, much more is possible. I didn’t, however, go into a dream but went into twilight, a place between waking and sleeping where you’re aware you’re in bed but not ‘awake’ in bed but still in a dream state, although often you can see the room you’re in, even if your eyes are closed. Usually the room is either slightly or quite different from the physical one you’re sleeping in, and often you’re hearing unusual or even frightening noises, the latter to scare you back into the corral of cramped experience if you want to know the truth, because you are in a place of great power. In some ancient literature I’d read it was called the crack between the worlds, as it’s a place of event where you can do multiple things, go into a lucid dream, lie there and experience whatever, which is often inner voice and vision, or induce a cataleptic trance, nowadays called sleep paralysis, and go out of the body.
As I lay there I could hear the OM being sung from every direction, booming more like it, although it had no unpleasantness to it. What I mean is it wasn’t coming from a source but from everywhere. The OM we make is only a facsimile of this one, and there was no pause for breath. A continuous stream of OM bathed me completely, rich with the tones of the universe, fulfilling as all sound. With a start I realized it was coming from my own mouth too. Then the scene changed from the place where I lay sleeping to what I would not call a dream exactly, although it was obviously a representation of something, something wonderful. I found myself in space traveling very fast through the frame of a square tunnel that was completely open and had no walls, only four stars that formed a square every few meters or so, and it dipped down and up and such, was not in a straight line. It was, I was, headed to some convergence of stars I couldn’t see but knew was there, and then I was back in the bed in the hotel room, still in twilight, very disappointed I had not arrived at the convergence.
But then I realized that I was free from my body though still inside it, and if you’ve had out of body experience you know the feel of freedom from the physical body while yet in it I’m talking about, as it’s from that place, what heretofore I had only gotten to via sleep paralysis, that you do whatever movement you’ve learned to get out of the body entirely. I willed myself out, doing a little twist of up and out of my physical body that I use. I had no problem at all leaving the hotel room and going outside, just went through the wall.
Unlike the popular conception of O.B.E., and how science seems to view it (how it seems to view anything inner, in black and white), it’s not a static, cut and dried state but one very fluid, with a mixing usually of inner and outer elements, and at any moment you are very close to your experience turning into a lucid dream, although one of travel towards wherever you’ve willed yourself to go or some representative picture of actually being there. This moving more into a dream happens especially when you cross boundaries, the first being going out of the room you are ‘sleeping’ in. Unless you are very focused and concentrated, you don’t make it beyond that threshold in the out of body state but find yourself surrounded more by inner elements of dream than outer objects on the physical plane. In other words, you’ve basically gone into a lucid dream, as many of those aren’t exactly just dreams. I tried to go to the moon once. You laugh, but if you think about it, it’sa logical place to try and go if you can get past boundaries, and I could. I went camping at a special place to do that, Enchanted Rock State Park in Texas, a place open to the spirit world if you’re open to it, but I didn’t make it out of the boundary of Earth into space, which appears to be quite the line the cross in O.B.E, naturally. You can read about it in my story online “You’re Like, Wow, That Really Was Enchanted with a Rock”.
I glided from the hotel to the street, which was Garberville’s main drag, Highway 101. It was one of only a few times I was what might be called for understanding’s sake a naked spirit on the physical plane, no dream elements present, but I’d put it that I was in my dreambody in the physical world, not in dream. Going down 101 a ways a hodgepodge of old fashioned storefronts to my right and left, I decided to stay in town for awhile. My decision was fortified the next day when I went to New and Used Books, the first place I went to after the hotel, bookstores being to me a center of any town. Someone had left a box of books that morning, and Paul Encimer, the bookstore owner, told me I could look through them and take what I wanted. I found a small booklet with a title something like Baptism in the Om, attributed I believe to Sri Yukteswar, Yoganada’s guru. Flipping through it I saw it described my experience the night before. Let me just pause a moment and make room for that synchronicity to sink in. It’s not one off the charts of probability, but if it happened to you, you’d see meaning in it too. Then a book by Dane Rudhyar,Planeterization of Consciousness: From the Individual to the Whole, caught my eye, and I picked it out too. Some days later I would read in that book aboutAuroville for the first time, and I determined to one day go there. It wasn’t just a mental note I made; it had the feel of destiny about it.
In Rudhyar’s book I heard of Sri Aurobindo for the second time, when the name finally took, although it took awhile for that to happen. In my self-teaching university days, when I’d left formal classes and studied on my own for a school year, reading around eight hours a day at that time, focusing on psychology, spiritual and metaphysical knowledge and experience, art and literature, and classic science fiction, I encountered his name for the first time, in one single book. But let me explain those circumstances a bit more. I’d left classes because I had learned how to learn, and I didn’t want to waste time on lectures, papers, and exams. My focus, if you’re interested in knowing, was where the human ego came from, both in the dawn of history and in every child born, and where we were headed next in the evolution of human identity. I had moved across the street from the Half Price Books located in the neighborhood of Montrose, Houston, so to take advantage of whole libraries being sold to the shop by the families and friends of people dying of AIDS, libraries with rare volumes on the aforementioned subjects. Montrose was the queer side of town, where many of Houston’s artists, poets, professors, and performers lived. This was in the late 80’s, at the height of the epidemic. I should add that I was a hospital volunteer in the AIDS ward at Herman Hospital in the nearby museum district, a hand holder, and not to get books.
Anyway, several times in the aforementioned bookshop in Houston I flipped through a book called Pilgrims of the Stars by Dilip Kumar Roy, but I never bought it because he seemed to me to be a light weight. A heavy person he talks about at length, Sri Aurobindo, did interest me as did a few lines of a poem I read by that heavy about dream being real that really struck me (from Savitri). I put some intention on reading a book by him, but I didn’t come across one and quickly forgot about it until I read Rudyhar’s book. Reading about Sri Aurobindo in his book, a lever clicked in a lock, and my heart was opened to the possibility of a guru, although I didn’t know that then. I only knew that Sri Aurobindo was a must read. At that time in my life I strongly resisted having a teacher, dead or alive, or following any one spiritual or religious system. Why did I need one? Knowledge and spiritual experience were coming just fine without one. I didn’t know then that there comes a time when great abysses open up where the soul steps, as you’ve gone as far as you can go solo, and you need a teacher to hang onto for dear life. Although I heard a thousand times that when the student is ready the teacher will come, I didn’t know what it meant until the teacher came, but it took me awhile to let him in, or them in I should say, since the Mother came too, later.
Two and a half years after reading Ruhyar’s book and that lock being unlocked in my heart, when I had returned to my hometown of Houston, after staying in Garberville for a year and a half, and I was just about to leave for Israel, not yet knowing I would be going to India too, I ordered a book by Sri Aurobindo. I never ordered books, always let them appear somewhere, on a magic shelf at Half Price Books for example, magic because I’d hear of a book and will it, and over half the time that book would appear on that shelf I kid you not. I see now that was a faith building process, and I needed it where I was going, eventually, to the open road. I ordered it because his name would not leave me alone, and so, at the last minute before I left the States for the unknown, with only enough money to run out within weeks, thus embarking on my first experimental adventure travel, a year overseas, I broke down and ordered The Life Divine. It seems to me now it had to happen that way, why a book by him didn’t appear on my magic shelf, because I needed to read it on the road, where faith was more pressingly built. From a heavy person the magic came (my muse).
I first met Sri Aurobindo in Jerusalem, as a living person I mean, the year 1995 as I’ve told you, about a week or so into our so called hunger strike (we drank banana milk and the like) in a little park the size of a football field not far from Jaffa Gate in the old city. It was morning, and I did a meditation and then picked up the aforementioned book to read, as I had come in the habit of doing daily. I read some out of it, and then closed it and gazed at the photo of Sri Aurobindo on the cover, and it seemed to me to come alive, like he was right there looking back at me, and so I asked him if I should go to Auroville after Israel. I really felt I was asking him, not a photo. I then went into the old city to the guesthouse where Lars and I had permission to use the bathroom, Lars, a young man from Denmark, being my hunger striking partner. I carried the book with me into the city. I carried it everywhere, never having a book that spoke to me so directly. It was over a thousand pages thick and very large in size, but I treasured it between my hands and never left it very far from me. I put it on a table in the sitting room of the guesthouse and went to the toilet.
When I returned there were two very young women standing near the table, one holding the book, they both very excited by it. They asked me if I were reading it. Yes I was, why? I knew he wasn’t a well known author, but I was confused at their excitement. It went beyond the book and its author. Would you believe they were both from Auroville? They’d grown up there. I was stunned hearing that and had to sit down. I tried to explain what had just happened in the park, but of course it wasn’t the same for them as it was for me, although they were glad to see someone reading Sri Aurobindo there in Jerusalem. I, on the other hand, was just beside myself. I did manage to ask them some questions about Auroville, how you became a member, what the requirements were, those sorts of things. When I got to Auroville some months later, I told people the story of the two girls I met in Jerusalem, but it wasn’t until one of them came to see me (the other was out of station) and told others about our meeting in Jerusalem that people actually believed me. Funny, it wasn’t a big deal to her at all, not much of one to anybody else, although it did raise some eyebrows, and I found that lack of wonder so very odd. But it’s like that isn’t it? We encounter a miracle and only see a happenstance if it didn’t happen to us. But I ask you, what are the odds of meeting two people from Auroville in the old city of Jerusalem immediately after asking Sri Aurobindo if I should go there?
A million unanswered questions
Garberville and the works.
Won the sexuality ribbon,
I think their slow salvation out of town.
Hardly squeezed between the lines,
you’ve heard it from the horse’s mouth
a thousand tongues wag.
I came to field in Jerusalem,
and you heard me say it in phrases:
Auroville I love you.
They put me off Garberville style.
My destination was a dead end.
You hear my rainbow?
Please let me in.
To understand the fount of man
learn about the dawn of history.
Learn about a weakness.
Loading the possibles that’s it.
He could show it to no one.
They gave an infant an orgasm
and sexual ties with children.
Manipulating consciousness to start man,
I think they were advised to.
See this fruit here Eve?
No tell me a devil don’t bother you.
more better blacksmith
for reaching out
into the unknown.
We obviously don’t want to return to early man,
but let’s not utterly condemn
someone who eats that old shoe today.
Getting back to Athens you understand now why I put all my hope in one basket, a picture of Sri Aurobindo in a bookstore window. We go way back. Hearing the bookstore owners were disciples and went to Auroville every year, I felt right at home, my hope in the right place. As they readied their shop for the day’s business, I explained my need. I wanted to teach English and winter in Athens. Did they know anyone that could help? He went behind his cash register and sat down, I going to the counter directly in front where customers stood. He made some phone calls. By the looks on his face I could tell it was a no go with each call. Presently he put the phone down, sadly shaking his head. I felt really let down, as I was sure this would be the ticket. Then I heard the cash register ring as one does when it opens, and he reached in and grabbed some cash and handed it to me. It was enough, he said, to take the ferry to Crete and a little extra for some food. He explained wintering there was much easier, was sort of a thing on that island. He and his wife gave me the nicest smiles for a send off, and the smile and thank you I gave in return remain genuine to this day. I asked about them once I got to Auroville, and it seems to me I did meet someone who knew them, but I never saw them again. Do you remember me? I remember you. You were the world being kind, the Earth smiling broadly at me, and, at the risk of offending all ye good people, you were Auroville speeding me on my way to what I needed to gather from the world for my final arrival, the one where I don’t then ever leave.
Riding the ferry to Crete I remembered the one I oft road in my teenage years, once I got a car. It went from Galveston Island to Bolivar Peninsula, very short trip. It was a small one and the parking lot kind. Passengers could either stay in their cars or go to the desks. I don’t know how it is now, but at that time, in the 70’s, there was nothing but highway on the peninsula for miles once you got off the ferry, except for an abandoned WWII bunker, and off both sides of the road sported beach, deserted beach. I liked to drive to Galveston from Houston with some friends and go skinny dipping at night on the beach. That was my enjoyment, not getting drunk or high. Other than smoking cigarettes and dipping Skoal, I was a straight kid, but not for moral reasons. My second time getting high on grass, when I was 14, I experienced the full on disassociation state, what the Mother calls infinity in the finite and what Buddhists call the pit of the Void, and both are quite revealing on how it feels, but the former way of looking at it greatly helps when you find yourself in it at whatever point it begins to happen on its own on the spiritual path, if you get as far as the changes and fluctuations in consciousness the path takes you to. I was so terrified I lay in my bed begging God to let me fall asleep, and if I woke up the next morning normal, I’d become a preacher.
I made good on that promise, and for the next three years I was what was called then a Jesus person, a Jesus freak to the less tactful, and I went to a Christian coffeehouse on the weekends and passed out religious tracks with fellow Jesus people at Houston malls, went to many different churches during the course of my religious period, and not just on Sundays. I often went to meetings and Bible studies on week nights, had an array of churches and private houses I went to each week, but it was in school, George A. Thompson Intermediate and J. Frank Dobie High School, respectively, where I preached, and I carried a big Thompson Chain-Reference Bible everywhere I went and would require anyone who wanted to be saved, and several did believe it or not, to kneel with me after lunch when all the kids were outside, so to ensure they were serious, and either you hated me or loved me. I was both bullied and admired, always had a crowd around me in Thompson when walking in the halls, both taunting me and defending me. At Dobie things settled down, and I did too, moving my religion more into my room and prayer closet, really getting serious with my devotion. I put my Bible down one day, at 17, rather abruptly for all my fans and enemies, and left religion entirely. It seemed to me, once I really started to ‘seek the face of the Lord’, that all I was doing by following a religion was putting on a set of clothes, which got in the way of finding God. I needed to be naked I thought, and so I started going out in nature, backpacking on the Lone Star Trail in Sam Houston National Forest on the weekends, going out in the fields and small patches of forest on the edge of Houston where I lived, a subdivision called Sagemont, and yes going to Galveston and riding that ferry to that deserted beach and skinny dipping, careful, always careful, to refuse any offer of grass or alcohol, anything that would alter my consciousness, so to avoid union with the Void.
As I stood on that ferry on my way to Crete thinking about the kid I was on that local ferry, my mind turned again to a measurement I’d established in childhood: would the child be happy with the adult he became? At a nine-years-old, when I’d been forced to live with my father in the country, where I spent hours each day wandering the woods in search of myself but not knowing that then, only thinking I was on the lookout for snakes and rabbits, trying to spot deer and coyote, I determined not to be like the adults around me, and I’m not talking about their character; I’m talking about their way of life. There was a world out there, and I wanted to see it; there was the unknown, and I wanted to know it. This was huge with me. Still is, only that kid, as elated and surprised as he’d be by the man on that ferry to Crete heading out on the open road into the unknown, since he was going farther towards the splash and rush of things than the boy imagined, he’d be so sad to see the falls of that man in this world school and that. As my muse put it on Crete:
Brahman, Brahman, Brahman,
and years ago days gone by I had nothing but traffic for my furry. [two lines sung]
Such significant and terrible things we’ve done.
I’m getting close to the spirit of keys.
The Board Ship Game,
it’s not breaking the record.
It’s stabilizing the connection.
He shall traverse what never yet has been crossed.
I’m traveling underneath it all.
Oh boy, the history we could lesson.
My muse of today:
Nara birth sign in 1847.
Uh, you’ll get the same story
in an old codger’s notebook.
He wants to be close to my penis.
Do you hear the crowd there?
We find known trashcans.
We put them in the book.
Now go print that out.
we are the world
or the Sexford Files.
Avoid the halfway
I can get you to trust me with society.
You have only to listen:
We pop up everywhere,
even in your field of dreams.
I’m not givin’ candy to babies.
I’m feeding you sirloin steak visitors.
Let’s be integral and mean,
that’s nowhere above.
You’ll be nice and accepting by the time this is over with,
Integral Yoga smiles.
You definitely need a scene.
That’s coming up in the record book,
but don’t you know we have to land on our feet?
And first we have to land on Crete.
That’s our next paperwork.
I would have to say keep up with my doctor’s book,
starting with Eve.
Do you hear this story whistle softly in your ear?
I’m joining you shortly.
And this symbolizing the Self thing,
well all I can tell you is I had it all my life. [this and above line came on Crete]
Our eyes were travelers for the page
identifying this unseen one in all of us.
That’s the story.
You’re not gettin’ me on this boat.
I’m taking myself,
I’m taking myself for a ride.
You got the spirit.
Then she give you the orange.
That’s maybe to understand
nine million rock stars
never can be alone.
has all the group to hold.
You got that rocket man?
To Be Continued
© 2021 (although I’d probably give permission for you to use the material on your site if you just ask, but please ask)