At the Corner of Alive and Jesus
On the plane of mind, a thought is a thing and a mood is a place. 13-55 INTRO
Once upon a time there was a woman named Barbara who lived at the corner of Alive & Jesus. LIGHT CUE-LIGHTS COME UP
70-76 I AM BARBARA The corner of Alive & Jesus is the place where two streets meet, though the streets themselves have nearly disappeared, the corner remains, and it is there she built her house. Her house is four sided with a peaked roof. The north wall is brick with a thick fireplace and chimney. The south wall is made of redwood logs stripped of bark and stained with oil. The east wall contains a solid wood door carved from a single tree, and through this door she goes in and out. The wall facing west, my favorite wall 82-98 NORTH WALL, SOUTH WALL..........FAVORITE WALL forms a window paned with glass from which she can see out across a valley
107-165 FLUTE MOUNTAIN MUSIC of purple and green to the top of Blue Mountain way off over there where the sun sets each day. 170-190 BIRDS(FLUTE) 200-284 BIRDS (REAL) Each morning she stands in the doorway to watch the sun come up above a flat yellow strip of horizon. She fingers a smooth round stone retrieved from the riverbed last summer after the flood had subsided.
Evenings, she sits in her chair at the table with four square legs and drinks a pungent liquid made from the juice of pomegranate seeds. It seems that place and time are to be essential elements in this story. The pomegranates grow in a tree in her yard. They store up in the summer sun, then burst open each autumn spilling out jewel-like seeds that she collects and mashes in a sieve and strains through cloth and mixes with water in which highly-refined sugar has been dissolved. She pours it all into an earthenware jar which sits, fermenting on top of the 'fridge. And all year round she drinks this toast to the setting sun.
LIGHT CUE-SETTING SUN 290-377 GUITAR MOUNTAIN MUSIC
I like the sunsets in winter best because they last longer, but the ones in summer are more spectacular, especially if we've just had a thunderstorm. The other day I was watching the sunset and there was this mammoth cloud, it was shaped like a submarine, there were no curvy lines, just straight edges, it wasn't fluffy like a normal cloud.
What else is in the house? Table and chair, and as I mentioned the refrigerator. Yes she does have electricity. 397-453 MOOG MUSIC The TV sits on top of the dresser in which she stores her neatly folded clothes. Over the face of the television set, she's draped a kind of net scrim, you see, the picture is on the blink so she just uses the light as a kind of flickering light show. "Actually I've decided that I like TV better this way. Before the picture went real bad, the people were all stretched out like figures in an El Greco painting. Now I just listen. The net material is a piece I cut from an old peignoir my first husband's mother gave me as a bridal gift."
What else? Not much. Barbara doesn't like to have too many things. She lives a simple life. She takes her pleasures neat. If thought is a thing and mood is a place, we might take a closer look at what Barbara's house contains. One thing she does have is the ram's horn shofar given to her by her great great grandfather when she was a little girl. 461-499 SHAKUHACHI It hangs from a nail above the fireplace. She doesn't even remember what it is to be used for, so she doesn't really see it anymore. She's not aware that it has cracked.
Over there, in the corner, a bed of exotic proportions takes up a lot of room in this one-room house. She has piled it high with blue satin pillows and goose down quilts. She doesn't often spend her nights alone, but when she does she is still quite comfortable. "I think you can tell a lot about a person by looking at their bed, don't you?"
Now, what's this story about? Love, longing, metaphysical contentment? Don't worry. I'm coming to that. First I want you to hear a little more from Barbara.
Barbara, are you there? How are you, are you happy?
"Well, yes, I am happy. As long as things remain the same as they are right this minute, I'm happy. But of course, if things stay the same too long, I get restless, I want more." 515-532 I GET RESTLESS I WANT MORE Let's get on with it then. Barbara has taken to collecting china lately. 545-571 COFFEE CUP CLINKING IN SAUCER
This is something entirely new for her. We see her now coming in through the door with a load of cups and saucers. Some are Japanese with gold diamonds at the rim. some are from England decked with fleur de lis and pictures of the Queen. Theses here are American with bundles of fruit and flowers in shade of red, gold, and green. She stacks them neatly on top the dresser by the TV. She flicks the switch and light pours out warming her features. She licks her lips. She breathes. She moves toward the fire in the fireplace which is always alight. She has a talent for keeping a fire alive. It is fall again and nearing Halloween. she hasn't had time to make anything for the children who will be visiting soon with their dogs on leash expecting treats. She has spent her days searching for dishes. It's nearly an obsession now though Barbara would never use that word. She sits down in her chair with a small glass of the ruby liqueur and she sighs. Blue flowers in a vase have dropped a few dried petals onto the wood. A dull ochre cloud ignited becomes crimson and violet.
LIGHT CUE-RED, VIOLET 579-616 TAMMY (I'D SING LIKE A VIOLIN IF I WERE IN HIS ARMS)
Inside this time she begins to calculate the number of men she has had as lovers. Where are they now, and why am I alone? I wonder how many of them are no longer alive? (Barb and Sarah sing)
LIGHT CUE-THIS IS WHERE THE REST OF THE STORY BECOMES A DREAM MOTH Just then, a large velvety purple moth flies across her window just in front of her eyes. She jumps up, shoots a bare arm out the window, and catches it as it flies by a second time. It is there inside her hand. She places it on the edge of her glass where it stays closed as if in fright. She caresses it and moves the glass closer to the fire. But then, in a moment, something larger has attracted her attention.
MONKEY "What the hell was that?" Outside, moving past the window...she thinks it must be a heron or a deer, but no, it's a monkey! This is very strange. A monkey here? The monkey is red. It is red all over, even inside its mouth, except for the tiny yellow teeth which she now sees and a very long tail tipped a darker hue. Out goes her hand and in comes the monkey; snickering and fidgeting in her hot palm. The monkey scrambles off under her bed, she sees it trembling there. "Oh, you must be cold.." she says. Suddenly the monkey is up on her shoulder, then it crawls and clings tenaciously to her knee. She plucks it off and sets it down by the moth, where apparently transfixed by the fire, the monkey and the moth remain.
Barbara sits and observes these creatures who have entered her life. The moth opens its wings and Barbara sees a complex pattern of black, blue and iridescent green radiating out from the center of the moth's furry body. The monkey too stares at the moth, and Barbara begins to see something impossible... a human being no bigger than a capital E is moving across the moth's back. Barbara is reminded...
Yesterday I went to the beauty supply store for some age-control cream and the cashier asked me to help him identify one of those tiny images stamped from fold that they sell to be applied to fingernails. I held the little thing up to the light, a bird? a flower? but what I thought I saw, though I didn't have any idea what it could mean, was a tiny woman with a hood, or veil, in one hand she carried a little pine tree, and with the other grasped a bag of pearls.
LIGHT CUE-FAST COUNTRY SONG 621-700 TINY WOMAN Barbara now sees this same creature moving across the back of the exquisite moth. It's the very same tiny woman, draped in a white cape, yes, she's carrying a tiny pine tree, and in her bag, there must be infinitely small pearls. Barbara is moved by this sight. Is she real? Can she see me or sense my presence? As soon as this thought forms in Barbara's mind, the tiny woman disappears snapped shut inside the moth's closed wings; the monkey has jumped to the ground and scratched open the door . As it runs out the moth flies like light, straight out. LIGHT CUE-DREAM - AT THE CIRCUS
That night Barbara dreams: I am at a circus, coming up through the floor in the center of the ring, two choices are presented to me... two ways to get to my seat which is high on a platform above me. The most direct but most difficult route is a knotted rope that I might climb hand over hand using all my strength. The other is easier, a spiral staircase. I am on my way up it, when I notice that the show has started. Four animals 704- LIONS are circling the ring: a jackrabbit, a squirrel, a wild dog, and a fox. Though two are predators, there is no sign of danger.
LIGHT CUE-BAD STUFF, STROBE LIKE, LIGHTS ON AND OFF But, then, without warning, the fox goes for the squirrel and bites its tail end full up to the intestines. Blood spurts out the squirrels mouth.
724-760 OH MY GOD, WALL OF SOUND
770-816 MR FRATERDEUS LA LA LA LA In the morning just before dawn, Barbara leaves her house. The sky lightens at her back as she rides her bike all the way to Helendale. This is the first time in a long time that she has not watched the sunrise. She speeds past the armless and legless man, Mr. Fraterdeus, without her usual Good Morning and without pausing to toss some coins into his hat. As he passes, his glorious voice surrounds her for a moment, like a halo. His body is barely more than the torso; from whence that incredible sound. His hymn, this morning offers a richness and vigor she cannot admit in her haste.
Entering Fratelli's Cafe she encounters what she'd hoped to find. A truckdriver done driving for the night, weary, worn, and reeking of engine oil. He sits alone at the counter in front of the automatic Brewmaster staring at a stuffed bigmouth bass next to a plaster Buddha with a staff.
LIGHT CUE-SEX, MAYBE RED 824-907 HELLO JIM, SAX, ELECTRONICS
She invites him back to her house. She makes love to Jim then, and, before he falls asleep, he tells her anecdotes about his life in the fast lane. She knows she isn't loving the lovemaking with him and she knows she doesn't love him in any of the ways she has learned to love someone. She is simply afraid, and she is using his body as a shield. When he leaves later that day, she goes out to the south side of the house to a spot of dirt that contains traces of Lithium, and she eats some of that dirt to ward off a killing form of lethargy. That night, as the sky turns vermilion, she recalls the Chippewa belief that souls go toward the west after death. She thinks she might like to die soon because she is not getting what she wants.
LIGHT CUE-TRAVEL, LIGHTNESS She thinks about her lover of the morning. 911-962 CHOO CHOO TRAVEL MEDLEY He had explained to her that those big orange containers she sees stacked up at waterfronts first go on transport ship to ports where they are placed on flatbed train cars and moved on rails across the country and attached to truck cabs and driven up over hills and down into cities to be delivered at precise locations by people like himself, the truckers of the world. She desires a more fluid theosophy like his. She would like to be the white dust she saw clinging to the tires of his truck as he pulled away from her.
LIGHT CUE- DARK, DREAMISH 970-1138 DAVID, HELP, WALL O SOUND, FIRE FLUTE MUSIC In the middle of the night there is a sound. Just a light tapping, tapping, and it is, she sees, the moth flying against the glass. Barbara's mind begins to spin, perhaps she will get the tiny woman to speak, perhaps the tiny woman will open her bag and give Barbara some of those infinitely small pearls. Excitement turns to fear, turns to terror. Barbara knows this tiny woman cannot be real, nor the monkey, nor the velvet moth. And if they are real, they must be from somewhere else, but where? She thinks maybe she has not had enough curiosity about the world. The moth lands in Barbara's hand and opens its wings. Nothing. No tiny woman there. Nothing but the intricate design that Barbara sees suddenly as possibly quite evil.
LIGHT CUE- VERY INTENSE, STROBELIKE AMBIANCE IF POSSIBLE
At this very thought, her house is filled with living things: creatures of every kind, birds, bats, reptiles of every size and description. Flying insects, huge fuzzy tarantulas, sidewinders in pairs snaking across the floor, owls, white and black hooting, a family of tigers panting and pacing in the corner, an ocelot with moon-colored eyes, three big horned sheep, two rams taking turns preparing to rut the ewe, black birds screech and tear into each other, a red fox slides in the door followed by five bear cubs rolling like bowling balls, large black ants form a mount in the center of the floor, two moose lock antlers and crash into the dresser shattering the procelain, all is mass, movement, sound, there is no room for thought, there is no air, fire singes a grey squirrel's tail adding another rank smell to the room, two jackasses raid the cupboard, hundreds of thumbsized bees swarm, and a pack of wolves crowd the window calling the night. A butterlamp she keeps lit on her bedstead is tipped by a weasel chasing a mouse, and forty four loons emerge from the fireplace scattering embers. Soon the whole place will catch fire. What will she do? She is no longer master of her realm, her bedclothes have been shat and peed on by the now copulating big horn sheep, flame scours the floor, scorpions crawl through her dresser drawers, a goat eats the scrim from her television screen, and for a moment she sees a real face there. It is hers, reflected, a mouth wide in a scream.
LIGHT CUE-FIRE 1126-1138 FIRE FLUTE (this is connected to the David part, I think) Everything in Barbara's house did catch fire, and everything burned and while it burned it remained the same, in the same form, but burning still, inside it changed. And she too burned. Barbara was herself on fire. She looked down at her hands and they were flames moving across her body, igniting it, inspiring more flames to issue from each pore; and bigger jets of flame were shooting out from all the gates to her body.
Barbara catches sight of herself in the television set, also in flames even as it conveys a moving image generated somewhere very far away.
LIGHT CUE - DARKER The image is of a young woman, pale and sorrowful. This young woman stands on the deck of a ship looking down into black water. 1126-1138 PERCUSSION Tears pool in her eyes and spill, hit the railing and roll off, dropping into the deep water. Tears form over and over, each glistens for an instant, bright with moonlight before travelling the length of the soft down of her cheek.
LIGHT CUE-NIGHT CLUB AMBIANCE, PERHAPS BLUE 1179-1237 REMNANT OF EMBRACEABLE YOU In a room aglow from electric chandeliers, an orchestra plays one of her favorite songs while the one true love of her life dances on and on in an intimate way with a great dark beauty.
And this Barbara sees in her television mirror. It's an old movie, the picture exact for just this moment, it too ringed with flame. (sing Embraceable at piano)
LIGHT CUE-FIRE 1239-1250 MORE FLUTE FIRE MUSIC Bright blue fans of flame leap out, torchlike, at each corner of the screen, forming a gloss, or devotional rim, to frame the moving picture of disillusionment and loss. And on the surface, again, she sees her own face,flames shooting out her ears, mouth, and nostrils.
Barbara could not bear this image of herself. She broke out the window by throwing her chair through it. then she climbed up and jumped, it being impossible to exit by the door with the ocelot tearing open the neck of a black rabbit. LIGHT CUE-END OF WILDNESS, CALM With the impulse of the west wind, the flames were erased, the fire no longer raged as before, fueled by her identity. Barbara's bare feet touch the soil. Her heart paces strongly. Her skin cools and moisture collects on her upper lip. For a brief moment she is allowed to take in one complete breath of the rich wet night air that rises like a vapor from the dirt and the leaves.
1254-1260 SHAKUHACHI It has a fingerprint, this night's air. She is certain that if she dies now she will come back to it, to this scent at least once before the parts of her being are dispersed.
But no, something is happening here too. LIGHT CUE-STROBISH, WILD 1265-1351 TIME LAPSE GROWTH AND DECAY She sees that from this very spot clear out to Blue Mountain, everything is growing at tremendous speed. Bursting up with augmented vigor and strength. Pine, fir, spruce, and redwood trees bellow in their ascent to the heights Explode into blossom, berry, cone and fruit Seeds cascade to earth like hailstones Leaves curl into color and are stripped from Maple, birch, aspen Are banished to earth with twigs, boughs, branches, Whole trees crash down in sweeps and pile up haphazardly While grasses speed in lavish turns from early lavender to the deep plush of summer green and become straw and then dust They crust the earth along with petals crushed and berries withered Acorns split, brittle and spent vines spiral into the ground pulling up their own roots, Tubers burst with nematodes, witches broom saps the xylem and phloem Kernels, apples, lemons grapes and pears turn blue with mold and Drop, dropping, fall far into the earth while above and around, Points of light blur with the starry sky's lurid swirl of velocity.
LIGHT CUE- CALMER So what is going on here? Might we ask Barbara what she thinks of all this. "Barbara, Barbara?" "I'm here, I'm here but I don't know what to do." "Barbara, Barbara, you must have some thought, what are your ideas, how do you feel?" "I feel that I have been remiss all my life. I have been closed and impure and lazy perhaps, I feel that there is something I must do but I don't know what it is. I don't know how to stop all this." "Perhaps there is not anything you can do now. Perhaps you must just observe. See what happens."
Barbara does just that. Out of sympathy or exhaustion she lies down on the soft dirt outside her house now emptied of flames and animals. She is surrounded once again by trees shedding leaves and bark peeling off in a reasonable time pattern. She lies flat against the earth for such a long time, she is finally, completely covered with leaves. And she sleeps.
LIGHT CUE-ALMOST COMPLETELY DARK, VERY CALM (Sarah-Lullaby) During that sleep her heart starts beating again. She is aware that she has entered a dream: LIGHT CUE (darkish, a dream) 1534-1742 BOB TO END I stand in a wide field scattered with broken marble columns. One column has tipped and spreads out like poker chips. The sky is the blue of the veins in a baby's ear, or the color of a pre-columbian rain goddess or the underside of ribgrass. The horizon stretches out flat in every direction. A few friends are with me, sporting about on the marble. My first husband is off at a distance with my son. I watch them dig in the ground, my son holds a metal detection device. A violin falls toward me at tremendous speed from way up high in the air, s it nears I see it's really a hair ornament, then a clothes pin, then again it becomes a violin just before taking the shape of a prism as it enters the earth.
Pink clouds pass by veined and faceted like chunks of rose quartz. A flying creature with a beetle in its claws buzzes my head. Another flying creature, this one transparent, stops and teaches us to fly, my friends and I, we are all quite suddenly aloft, of course, how easy, how could we have forgotten this! We are just as suddenly back on the ground and something like exhilaration fills our veins. We are made aware that we managed to avoid a dangerous white atomized substance encountered up there. Between two blue columns bearing orange flame stands a small brown-skinned man selling ceramic pins. One pin is the shape of the tiny hooded lady, I see now, too, the red monkey on a leash. the monkey places a peanut between its teeth. The pins are lovely, I shout. I will buy one for everyone, I want them all! The man informs me that I must work for him at the kilns firing these little clay objects for the rest of my life. I agree to do so.
LIGHT CUE-RESOLUTION -CLEAR So that's Barbara's dream, a dream about a redemption born of diligence, not sacrifice. Perhaps it represents a generous attempt to make of her individual life a kind of large public conveyance, the kind of pleasure that might bring to herself and others. Barbara wakes and lifts herself from the ground. Amber, chartreuse, and magenta leaves stick to her nightgown. In some of the leaves, perfect drops of clear water appear for the night has pressed a fine net of mist upon the earth. She brushes herself off, and goes back inside to put her house in order.
LIGHT CUE-FINALE (maybe ethereal dreamy blue...) One thing I neglected to mention because it is difficult to describe. Well....as she lay in the dirt covered with fallen leaves, a small tickling thing came sniffing at her feet and by crawling in under the toenail of her big toe entered into her body. This tickling thing might be described as her own pure essence of being.
A tiny thing invisible to the eye but detectable by feel, when one is feeling most alive. This little thing moved on its way up her leg inside a main artery, against the flow of blood. And it moved right on up through the uterus into the egg sac. There it formed itself into a 6-pointed star as it wrapped tight itself against that organ and made the organ hum like an engine that's just been lubed. Then the thing crawled on its six points right up to her chest, in the area of the heart, where it again wrapped tight itself around that organ and squeezed a little too much which is why her heart stopped. But the heart started up again with being loosed and the star went along on up to her brain... that protein-glutted organ with millions of eyes and countess blind alleys. There, the star spread out into waves that surged and flamed, opening up six new rooms in the mind, to be later explored and inhabited by Barbara. The star burst out through the top of her head at precisely the moment she made a sound, ending the dream, returning her to the verity and variety of this world.