NORMAN DUBIE | Book of the Jewel Worm
Dear Urze: the ventriloquism
of our Khandro is truly naughty.
And yet you have met my mother,
I regret to submit
to both you and Marie,
including her full polyphony
that was first directed at me while still a boy
of four, thought to be dying of measles. That afternoon
I met the many mother masks of that sickness
and the Khandro of Lux
was, I suspect, their boss.
Pretend this is some orange postcard from Marseilles.
My love to you both.
I'll write more in a few days. I'm tenting on the Plain of Jars
until Thursday. Absolute, sincerest . . . Your
Remind me to tell you about the mules and kerosene lamps
of the beloved Mother Nairatma. She was the last
of the lotus born carriers of the sleep.
Don't you think
this Khandro of Lux is really quite charming?
I've lost my fear of her. And that
could be dangerous. What does Marie think?
Tell her that I'm back to work
on the rail
and hopefully with no coughing.
Dear Urze: there's wind coming,
the nine flue-tins
in my chimney are making
their strange applause. And then there are the
red clouds still peppered with glass
from the collapse of the old Travenier Geodesic
some ninety years back. The wind will polish
your eyeballs in a fraction of a second. The 'glass-rough' in it
will leak even into my contaminant-army
tent. It's affected my sight, along with those months
of darkness in Tibet. Every time a blue pearl
lodged in my neck
it was another adjustment
in the prescription for the contacts. The khandro was right
about the chelates, they assist the mother with pain
from the first contraction through delivery
while never reaching the fetus. And there's still the right level
of distress in the birth channel.
That your mother carried you at all
was a miracle. That generation of women
was completely taken up with the Wyndings
on Saturn. The rare woman who carried, aborted in the first term.
It was like a religion.
The number of white mills for both obstetrics and aging
increased a thousand fold on earth alone.
It lasted for ten years. Your mother's Laotion
mendicancy made all the difference. You do realize,
we were all in love with her. It was, she has told
Crow Woman's great-grandchild who was mid-wife to you both.
Her name was Ruth Psalter and it puzzled people
that she agreed to visit your birth
for in the past she had attended exclusively the incarnate tulkus.
And even then, mostly the religious ones,
almost never the artistic. The line
that runs from Mozart to Jimi Hendrix to the great Nigerian, Ben Ahlen
she would not assist that family.
Oslo and I joked
that your father could have been a forest mendicant.
But, of course, you have his DNA tags, all many millions of them.
This is my last night in this fucking tent. I don't
to even bring beer out here. I do get thirsty.
Alfred has come along on this trip
and they still pay him to be my research assistant. He
has been asleep for hours, so I dare not take my tiny hammers
to these yellow volcanic coffins
that we gathered off the plain. They're about the size
of ostrich eggs. One in a hundred will contain a script
I have one with a pink quartz streak in it
whose specific density is way off. When the Keet Sleet sealed it up again
they used a decorative resin the color of this quartz. I'll wait
till morning and open it with Alfred. My love. Your
Dear Urze: these
volcanic cinders that I collect
sometimes contain gold ribbon
with indecipherable dakini script. Even though
not a single Keet Sleet man or woman
has lived in the time of our recorded history
I still feel great misgivings when opening these caskets.
in two classifications, Geks and Dzas.
The Gek is just a vapor of elation in the brain
seconds after the cinder is opened.
The Dzas are scary and contain, according to legend,
gold and platinum strips
with cursive glyphs. The Dzas
are physically beautiful: magical
and ossified, there's a worm of movement
still living in its concentric disturbance of agate.
Like the strongest Dzi beads back on earth,
Dzas, it is reported, will escape collection by taking flight
or killing you where you crouch.
The cough that I've suffered since February is linked,
I'm certain, with that momentary insult to the brain
that comes when opening the Geks. Urze-la,
the Dza that Alfred and I opened this morning
had a turquoise worm in it that had eaten half its script.
What remained I translate:
niece was stopped
the last of the cholera checkpoints.
will delay her like the aunt.
the anterior margins of the sea
are the many spheres
One has hazel eyes
the aunt has red hair. Neither cries.
Show this to Marie. Tell her I joked about it
being worthy of André Gide. Don't be alarmed
by the reference to quarantine.
There is some psychic spontaneity to the Dzasan
self-fulfilling filter to the previous night's sleep. I had
dreamt of your dead aunt.
This probably accounts for the whole script. Don't forget
that the thing least likely to be surmounted, IS!
Your uncle. Ekajati.
Dear Marie: it's your mother-in-law here
and I'm very sorry for that last stockgram.
My husband always said
I was an addict to inflection. I must advise you though
to distance yourself from my son
who drinks and gambles with rough-necks
in the Maximillian Shacks. The son-of-a-bitch, pardon
this first person authority, would tell you
that I am not myself
and that this is another script
originating from the dark throat of Cygnus. Well, if he's so smart
why hasn't he paused to eschew
some obvious news, which is
that I died of a violent pneumonia
a week following
my beloved Samuel's passing. Let's shelter
Paul from this, he'd just mistake it for more of our fictive singing.
And after all we are not cruel. What else
is he confused about?
The cough did not originate with the mines.
It is caused by the ether
he's releasing from the Geks. Further
the last Golden Dza that he split
is sacred to several hundred dakinis in the Assembly. He's lucky
to still be with us.
He thinks Sister Nairatma protects him
there in those molasses and milk dunes.
He believes that he shuffles back to his Underground
following phantom trains of her white mules.
Twice she found him vetched ice
when he was dying of thirst. Urze must see
what a complete jerk her uncle is?
You know, his wife
scripted right into the arms of a Balinese gentleman
and is utterly thankful for the attraction.
What haven't I told you he is the government,
folded into governments. Twice already in his meager
he's worked as an agent for Zurich.
The last time he was on Earth
he accepted payments of gold and rice
from Beijing and Nice. And there was an exchange
originating in extant-Canada. A boy
was the payment then . . .
He no longer knows who he is, who he
works for. But it is cerainly not our Urze-la!
He'll be shocked to hear of his mother's death.
Tell him that maybe later
when I'm in a more generous costumery,
I'll hold his hand, play poker with him
I'll even weed his arboretum. Tell him
I am glad he doesn't fear me any more. I'm the Khandro.
Post Script: Oh,
he will live. The breath of the Geks
is not lethal.
He must not think of the Keet Sleet
as dead. His mother lived, didn't she,
until the page-turner began to rise
from her polished black bench, leaning forward
to 'vetched ice' . . . stunned,
but not dead. What does he think the weirding is?
Dear Urze: you
shouldn't worry about me.
The last cable to Marie
came here as well. No, any speech she makes
that might reach you will be truthful. So my mother
has been dead since the New Year.
The flares from the sun
were canceling stockgrams then by the hundreds,
half of them as delivered. Someone must have written?
Those large ellipses of the sun would make an excellent
transport for a Dza's turquoise worm.
It could easily fly
and then plough and bevel
the volcanic sediment. I tend to think though
that they are all Keet Sleet artifacts.
The Khandro sure is touchy about them?
The last thing she said regarding 'the weirding'
is curious. It seems these communications
are a collaboration between the Bardo splendors
of the dead and a transmitting dakini.
This means while we're eating her tripe
on Earth or Mars
she could literally be sampling cucumber sandwiches
and lemonade with my mother in a Paradise.
I do know you shouldn't worry
she won't harm me
for they won't tolerate anything disturbing you. And
there's a Minyak compact of non-violence
ruling all the assemblies, except the Shö
(if, in truth, any of them are still vital.)
I dreamt last night
of a late twentieth century barbarian poet.
He was French-Canadian, Monsieur Nedperse,
and he read to me from Milton
while eating a whole chicken. He sat in half-light,
a giant with a white beardhe'd recite,
lick his fingers and then recite some more.
Before leaving, he smiled broadly
and I saw then across his forehead
my mother rowing out on her pond
among greenly collared lilies.
She was wearing a straw hat and canvas shoes.
The giant pronouncing her,
not the daughter of black perpendiculars,
but the watercolorist of fat smacks.
Then I woke up.
Urze-la, don't worry about the dead.
Remember it's a long continuous thread.
And nothing happens. Love. Uncle.
Post Script: Oh,
of course I work for governments. It's romantic
compared to the Corporate Trust, IBM & DEEDS, or
Sears Roebuck. And the boy from Quebec
is just my assistant, Alfred.
This dakini is infuriating. Woe
is me travail
& blue, boo-hoo. She thinks I'm pinko?
By the way, don't attempt a phaxx & lading
until Tuesday, there are
expanding storms of invisible paraffins
nearing the Jet of Hope
yes these postscripts break her concentration
fiendish, isn't it?
THE OLD WOMEN CARRY SACKS OF RUE WITH DRIED ORANGES
DOWN FROM THE SNOW MOUNTAIN OF APHU
TO THE BURNING FIELDS
WHERE LIKE THE WHITE ROSARY OF VAIN REPETITIONS
LARKS ARE RISING FROM THE TIMOTHY
OF AN EARLIER LIFE. DRESSED IN A YELLOW RAG
THE COUNTESS OF EXCRÉMARGE
PASSES US STANDING IN A WAGON. HER SHADOW
THOUGH, IS BATHING IN MOONLIGHT ON A ROOFTOP
IN JERUSALEM. THE SAID, SIMPLE METRICS
OF A TIRED SEPTENARY. WE PARADE WITH HER
INTO THE SOFT AND VIOLENT CHAMBERS
OF AN EARLY POLAND. A GREAT WILDERNESS
OF BREAKING SNOW
AND SOFT LIGHTS OF A FRIDAY NIGHT SUPPER
WILL NOT SAVE THEM, THE MAD OZIAS TOLD US SO . . .
IN THE STARVELING WINTER
THEY SHOULD TAKE YOUR BOOK AND BURN IT,
PUTTING THE ASHES ON THEIR CHILDREN'S FACES.
THE SPECTER OF LOS
IS DREAMING OF THE HORSES IN WHITE WATER AGAIN.
ONE STANDS AND EATS THE SLAMON. THE KALF IS TWENTY.
ELIAKIM AND ELY
ARE THE ONLY COLLEGES, NOT OF WAR.
ABOVE THEM THERE ARE DISPLAYS OF RADIANT WHORES
CLIMBING OUT OF THE TOMBS' BATH-HOUSE
TO THE HOUSE OF BLINDNESS AND A DIMPLED MOON.
HERE AVIGDOR HA-SARFATI AND THE VENERABLE RABBI ISAAC
TAKE THE LOAF OF BREAD THAT WAS SET ASIDE
AND HALVE IT TWICE. SPEAKING IN A COMMON VOICE
THEY TELL US NOT TO FEAR THAT SICKNESS IN THE CHEST
FOR IT IS JUST THIS SICKNESS THAT WILL HEAL US.
STUDY THE MOUTH OF THE TET, THE ANGRY
UNSAYABLES OF THE PE. A THIN LINE OF CAMELS
ACROSS THE PLAIN OF BEZIERS WHERE THE RAGS
OF A GREAT SCARECROW ARE BURNING IN PARALLAX: 4 olin;
'ma' amarot of ten
and a gold beard with fifty-two knots.
LIKE SEWER PLATES IN LOS ANGELES.
IN OUR BRIGHTENING SUN?
A WATER MONSTER WITH HIS BOWL OF LIGHTNING
SHOUTS, SHOUTS FOR THE COUSINS OF LO.
THE WHITE LAMA IS OTRUL CHAK OF THE EASTERN GATE
WHO MOVES CLOCKWISE WITH US
ENTERING THE STARK SUNLIGHT OF ÖPAME. THE LU
OF THE 'A-MOUNTAIN' CRYING
NOT TO HURT THE MOUNTAIN. YET THEY WILL.
IT IS NOW ALL IN BEAUTY THAT THEY ARE DEAD.
AGAVE GROWING AROUND THE RUIN OF A LADDER
AND THE SIMPLE FLOURSACK MASK OF 'TALKING GOD'
ASKS THEM TO BE CALM
FOR THEY WERE TOLD IN A FIELD OF SNOW
THAT THEY MUST NOT HURT
THE STUPAS GREAT SKIRTS OF FELDSPAR.
'ONCE JUST TO WALK ON THE LAND
WAS TO DREAM.'
NOW A RAINBOW APPEARS IN THE SKY
AND THE CHILDREN WHO ARE BORN OF THE HORIZON
ARE BURYING THE RED TOOTH OF GEBURAH.
THREE INNOCENTS WITH LIME AND SALT BURYING
THE RED TRIANGLE PULLED LIKE A NAIL FROM THE TREE.
TSAK. TSAK. THE WOOD-BIRD YEAR.
AND THE BOATMAN CHATRAL SMILES AT THE TREE
WITH NOW THREE TEETH IN IT.
THERE'S A GIANT BLACK PLUM
TURNING AMONG LARCHES ON A HIGH CLIFF,
AND WE SHALL WORSHIP IT
IN BREEDING FITS OF SILENCE. ∞
Book of the Jewel Worm | Four
The Spirit Tablets at Goa Lake
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