Friday, February 28, 2014

Anna Kingsford, Dreams and Dream Stories (excerpts)

I saw in my sleep a cart-horse who, coming to me, conversed with me in what seemed a perfectly simple and natural manner, for it caused me no surprise that he should speak. And this is what he said:—
"Kindness to animals of the gentler orders is the very foundation of civilisation. For it is the cruelty and harshness of men towards the animals under their protection which is the cause of the present low standard of humanity itself. Brutal usage creates brutes; and the ranks of mankind are constantly recruited from spirits already hardened and depraved by a long course of ill-treatment. Nothing developes the spirit so much as sympathy. Nothing cultivates, refines, and aids it in its progress towards perfection so much as kind and gentle treatment. On the contrary, the brutal usage and want of sympathy with which we meet at the hands of men, stunt our development and reverse all the currents of a our nature. We grow coarse with coarseness, vile with reviling, and brutal with the brutality of those who surround us. And when we pass out of this stage we enter on the next depraved and hardened, and with the bent of our dispositions such that we are ready by our nature to do in our turn that which has been done to us. The greater number of us, indeed, know no other or better way. For the spirit learns by experience and imitation, and inclines necessarily to do those things which it has been in the habit of seeing done. Humanity will never become perfected until this doctrine is understood and received and made the rule of conduct."
—Paris, Oct. 28, 1879

* * * * *

I was visited last night in my sleep by one whom I presently recognised as the famous Adept and Mystic of the first century of our era, Apollonius of Tyana, called the " Pagan Christ." He was clad in a grey linen robe with a hood, like that of a monk, and had a smooth, beardless face, and seemed to be between forty and fifty years of age. He made himself known to me by asking if I had heard of his lion.* He commenced by speaking of Metempsychosis, concerning which he informed
————- * This was a tame captive lion, in whom Apollonius is said to have recognised the soul of the Egyptian King Amasis, who had lived 500 years previously. The lion burst into tears at the recognition, and showed much misery. (Author's Note.) —————
me as follows:—"There are two streams or currents, an upward and a downward one, by which souls are continually passing and repassing as on a ladder. The carnivorous animals are souls undergoing penance by being imprisoned for a time in such forms on account of their misdeeds. Have you not heard the story of my lion?" I said yes, but that I did not understand it, because I thought it impossible for a human soul to suffer the degradation of returning into the body of a lower creature after once attaining humanity. At this he laughed out, and said that the real degradation was not in the penance but in the sin. "It is not by the penance, but by incurring the need of the penance, that the soul is degraded. The man who sullies his humanity by cruelty or lust, is already degraded thereby below humanity; and the form which his soul afterwards assumes is the mere natural consequence of that degradation. He may again recover humanity, but only by means of passing through another form than that of the carnivora. When you were told * that certain creatures were redeemable or not redeemable, the meaning was this: They who are redeemable may, on leaving their present form, return directly into humanity. Their penance is accomplished in that form, and in it, therefore, they are redeemed. But they who are not redeemable, are they whose sin has been too deep or too ingrained to suffer them to return until they have passed through other lower forms. They are not redeemable therein, but will be on ascending again. Others, altogether vile and past redemption, sink continually lower and lower down the stream, until at length they burn out. They shall neither be redeemed in the form they now occupy, nor in any other."
—Paris, May 11, 1880
————— * The reference is to an instruction received by her four years previously, but not in sleep, and not from Apollonius, though from a source no less transcendental. (Ed.)
*** Remembering, on being told this dream, that "Eliphas Levi," in his Haute Magic, had described an interview with the phantom of Apollonius, which he had evoked, I referred to the book, and found that he also saw him with a smooth-shaven face, but wearing a shroud (linceul). (Ed.)

Emily Dickinson, [1670]

In Winter in my Room
I came upon a Worm—
Pink, lank and warm—
But as he was a worm
And worms presume
Not quite with him at home—
Secured him by a string
To something neighboring
And went along.

A Trifle afterward
A thing occurred
I'd not believe it if I heard
But state with creeping blood—
A snake with mottles rare
Surveyed my chamber floor
In feature as the worm before
But ringed with power—

The very string with which
I tied him—too
When he was mean and new
That string was there—

I shrank—"How fair you are"!
Propitiation's claw—
"Afraid," he hissed
"Of me"?
"No cordiality"—
He fathomed me—
Then to a Rhythm Slim
Secreted in his Form
As Patterns swim
Projected him.

That time I flew
Both eyes his way
Lest he pursue
Nor ever ceased to run
Till in a distant Town
Towns on from mine
I set me down

This was a dream.

Robert Frost, "The Most of It"

He thought he kept the universe alone;
For all the voice in answer he could wake
Was but the mocking echo of his own
From some tree–hidden cliff across the lake.
Some morning from the boulder–broken beach
He would cry out on life, that what it wants
Is not its own love back in copy speech,
But counter–love, original response.
And nothing ever came of what he cried
Unless it was the embodiment that crashed
In the cliff's talus on the other side,
And then in the far distant water splashed,
But after a time allowed for it to swim,
Instead of proving human when it neared
And someone else additional to him,
As a great buck it powerfully appeared,
Pushing the crumpled water up ahead,
And landed pouring like a waterfall,
And stumbled through the rocks with horny tread,

And forced the underbrush—and that was all.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Nathaniel Mackey, "The Shower of Secret Things"


They ask her
what she’d think
if what she
thought was rock

shook and
rumbled like
hunger, if
what moved inside

the rock was
not its
blood but an
itch on their

tongues. And
where the bones,
what it was
they’d be, refused

its care love
quit its rattle,
while what
blood was in


There was a
man it seems,
whispered himself
thru his

fingers, a
cloth between
her legs, the fabric
wet from her

insides, her
ragged crotch, who
when she’d rise
would look him

down, or so
she’d say. And
this man, she says,
walks thru

her house, has
no clothes
on and carries
himself like her

Twin. Walks her
where when it
rains it not only
pours but

appears to be
sun. And burns like
salt the sand
does, and there

does a dance until
the sun cracks
her lips, the
cracks bleed. The

blood cooks,
drought lures
the “witch”
toward where the

bank they stand
on is. They
throw her in,
and that the river

wet her hair

predicted rain.

Hannah Weiner, "Astral Visions"

i want to discuss astrals, the visions and i want to begin with paw because he seems to have started his existence three years ago this coming january and still exists
      the reason to discuss paw is that he is one of the teachers and gives me instruction continually and in the three years i've known him, or that he has appeared, he's grown in intelligence and acuteness and accuracy and he also happens to be the funniest person that i know he didn't start out as paw and i will tell you the story
      it all begins the day i went to cancun three years ago when an invisible man walked into my bedroom and i could just see the outline of his parka, and he dressed me very slowly, i was still sweating, (or I was sweating then as well), in a black lace bra and white cotton panties and then he put a finger up the leg of my panties and tickled my hip-bone very chastely and said "coochi-coo" and made me lie very still in between dressing so i wouldn't sweat the rest of it was up to me i got on the plane and nothing happened until the meal was served when there was a voice saying, "ma, eat the chocolate mousse, ask for more?"
      we got to cancun and i put my suitcase down on a little table for suitcases, and overhead i heard the clash of arms after the clash of arms i heard a woman's voice from the yoga institute saying "well now we unpack our suitcases and put our undies neatly on the shelf" i automatically began to unzip the suitcase to unpack it and the invisible man grabbed me by the back of my parka and made me get undressed i was soaking wet, my hair, my body, my clothes, everything and he made me get undressed i hung up my clothes in deference to the yoga lady i put my underwear and socks in the sink with some soapy water and the invisible man pushed me into the shower where I took a shampoo and washed off the sweat the invisble man disappeared the next thing that happened was purely mechanical, I tried to get about a half dozen blankets to wrap myself up in because it was pouring rain and it was cold i made a blanket roll of five blankets after i discovered that you lie in the middle and you throw one blanket over the other, (you begin on one side and rolling over them), and i put a blanket on top of all that right up to my chin, and under- neath the blanket appeared the bear
      i don't know that i called him paw at this time or that he called himself paw at this time, but he was a brown bear and i could see his head and his eyes and his nose peaking out from underneath the top blanket and he had one paw chastely placed on my chest between my breasts saying, "i have a real maw," and he stayed under the covers for four weeks (i was there for four weeks trying to get a place out but couldn't) and every once in awhile he'd say something like, "order more chocolate cake ma" and "I have a real ma" and "my jaw hurts"
      the interesting thing that i have to say about the bear is that he's an astral for an indian someone has invented for him- self an astral that speaks for him in the form of a bear in some indian legends a bear is a healer, not that paw has ever done any healing for me,"* but his instructions were bood, except at the beginning he really wasn't doing too much after four weeks when the sun came out and it got really hot he walked out in full brown fur saying, "see you onthe plane ma"
* but I have felt his real self sending me bliss
      [now one thing happened in mexico that i'd like to talk about and that's the man from sonora who appeared astral this is a little interlude about paw the man from sonora appeared in my bedroom three times before i left ny, just his white hat and his long white hair and once a blanket over his shoulder before the ruins i got the message the first week i was there that he wanted to meet the woman with the long pipe (that's me) and he appeared in image form and he showed me a blanket trick that explained a little bit of castanida to me he was obviously an ancient mexican teacher who wanted to say certain things before he died and to pass on some of his knowledge he kept flipping the blanket (all of these things were very, very vividly seen) the blanket was sort of like in squares of different colors with a black outline now the black outline always remained the same but the patterns and colors of the squares kept changing so the lesson learned from that you could create an image but you couldn't keep it constant, you had to keep chaning the image he also had people circling the room, flying over- head in a circle that's something i'm not able to do myself and neither or any of the other teachers some of them can fly straight but nobody is able to circle it isn't really necessary, it's a matter of who is watching whom it's a way of guarding to have
      the man from sonora told me two things, he said "always give a health diagnosis out loud" and "to speak slow while speaking silent" because of the rain and because he wanted to meet me he made a long trip up the road from the ruins to the hotel and evidently he broke a leg or something happened and he fell in a ditch by the wayside and one night I woke up crying and sang a crossing song from "the big huge," it's something about a great light crossing the river, so i knew the man had died then appeared a woman, an elderly woman who evidently put a cross by hisbones and who the following day showed me his white hat, his white shirt, and white pants all neatly laundered and pressed out, so i know the man had died]
      ok, now the bear lots of other things happened in mexico but i don't have time for them i want to talk about paw
      when i got home the bear was very small, he had changed shape to a very small brown bear who lived in a cupboard in my forehead it had blue sheets and if i looked through catalogs and he saw some clothes that he liked he would immediately appear with the clothes on particularly a pair of black bicycling shorts and some wading shoes i tried to keep him occupied and i sent him on trips one was skiing in south america, and one was sending him to the south pole, and finally he decided to take his real ma on a honeymoon or whatever, a vacation and they went aboard a great big ocean liner and she, i think she was called ma belle, sat on a deck chair lounging on the deck of the ship and paw, or the bear, was flying overhead in circles because he was bored sitting on the deck when they got to france they rented a limousine and paw donned a chauffeurs cap and drove the limousine and all through france all is saw were pile and iles of spaghetti, that's all they seemed to eat for some reason also paw invented travelers checks so that he could pay for this whole thing
      this is the imagination of someone whose name is unknown but who has invented a form through which he can work so this was just sort of fun at the time you must remember that paw has written a great deal for me he wrote "the comma" in SILENT TEACHERS with noah kleinman my friend from england and he wrote "turpitudimous" which i read in october and he also gets in everywhere when i type up anything for the next book called WE SPEAK SILENT, or whatever it's going to be called
      finally paw and ma belle landed on a caribbean island, just the two of them under the shade of a palm tree the next thing i know paw turned into a great big white bear, not his final form he was called poohee at the time
      i went for a walk in the park and poohee got locked in the apartment and had to squeeze himself through the keyhole and i was accompanied in imae form by two people from the yoga institute one dressed in white who was walking alongside me and one who was dressed in pink who was sort of flying along beside me and poohee caught up and started smooching, you know he started sort of leaning over and kissing me or pretending to kiss me, or to tickle me or to laugh to make it a lovers lane walk and i started to laugh hysterically and i thought what will ever happen if i'm picked up by somebody, here i am talking to someone who is invisible an; oh well he was very funny the next time i went to the park paw* left the path and went over to some antique fair and came back with a velvet vest on it was a lilac velvet vest with red braid and green stones and an earring i laughed
      i talked to a girlfriend on the phone a few nights later and she was a very beautiful girl and paw clued me into the fact that i was talking to a very beautiful woman and he went out to see her and the next morning he appeared combing hair out of his teeth and the green stones were gone from his vest somewhere along the way his real ma got pregnant and we were walking along 14th street with the open stalls and he saw a bunch of little girls dresses he wanted a "pinkie" as he called it little girls dresses with little angel sleeves and some towels so he quickly donned a striped apron and cap imaged a big cart in front of him and trundled off piles of baby dresses with angel wing sleeves and towels, and brought them back to the apartment and we had to box them and ship them and send them all to his home he used to sit on the bed next to me reading the new york times with steel rimmed glasses the last time i really saw paw in any remarkable circumstance was at woodstock he had disappeared for awhile, he said "maw I have to go hime, something important is happening" and i was having breakfast at a coffee shop and there appeared paw sitting across the table from me with a big grin and next to him was a white lady bear, a daintier, felt to be a gentle with a wreath and a long bridal veil and they were toasting each other in white coffee cups that was the summer i hurt my back and the lady bear would appear with a pink apron and a cup on a tray and would bring me coffee or tea or whatever well i guess that's paw no maw im still really working hard besides paw and mrs paw there is a baby bear.
*he was now in his final form, a large white bear with a big fat tummy.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Maria Sabina, "I Am the Woman of the Principal Fountain," trans. Henry Munn

I am the woman of the principal fountain
I am the woman of the fountain of the sea 

I am a river woman
the woman of the flowing water
a woman who examines and searches
a woman with hands and measure
a woman mistress of measure

I am a saint woman
a spirit woman
I am a woman of clarity
a woman of the day
a clean woman
a ready woman
a woman of clarity
a woman of the day
because I am a woman who lightnings
a woman who thunders
a woman who shouts
a woman who whistles

Morning Star woman
Southern Cross woman
Constellation of the Sandal woman, it says
Hook constellation woman, it says
that is your clock, it says
that is your book, it says
I am the little woman of the ancient fountain, it says
I am the little woman of the sacred fountain, it says

hummingbird woman, it says
woman who has sprouted wings, it says

thus do I descend primordial
thus do I descend significant
I descend with tenderness
I descend with the dew
your book, my Father, it says
your book, my Father, it says
clown woman beneath the water, it says
clown woman beneath the sea, it says
because I am the child of Christ
the child of Mary, it says

I am a midwife woman, it says
I am a woman who raises the sick, it says
it is certain and true
I am a woman who looks over the body and examines it
I am a woman of music, it says
I am a drum woman, it says

I am a saint woman, it says
a spirit woman, it says
a woman of good words, of good breath and good saliva, it says

I am the woman who questions and sees, it says
the tracks of his hands and of his feet, it says
the echo of the path
resonant path
path of the dew
path of freshness
path of clarity
the path of goodness
the path of the day
I am she who examines the tracks of the feet and the hands, it says

I begin in the depths of the water
I begin where the beginning sounds and where sounds the important

woman who goes through the water, it says
woman who travels on the heights
woman who resounds with grandiloquence
woman who resounds with purity
woman of superior reason, it says

I am a woman of letters, it says
I am a book woman, it says
nobody can close my book, it says
nobody can take my book away from me, it says
my book encountered beneath the water, it says
my book of prayers

I am a woman and a mother, it says
a mother woman beneath the water, it says
a woman of good words, it says
a woman of music, it says
a wise diviner woman

I am a lagoon woman, it says
I am a ladder woman, it says
I am the Morning Star woman, it says
I am a woman comet, it says
I am the woman who goes through the water, it says
I am the woman who goes through the sea, it says

I am the woman who examines, the woman who sees

I am a woman of music, it says
I am a drum woman, it says
I am a woman violinist

I bring my light, it says
I bring my lightning bolts, it says
and I bring my whirlwind of colors
from where the Father came, from where the Mother
where the clean book, the good book is
I'm going to show you where the Moon comes out,
where the Morning Star comes out, where our Father, God the Sun, comes out

I am a woman wise in words beneath the water, it says
I am a woman wise in words beneath the sea, it says

I am not afraid, it says
I am going to demonstrate my courage, it says
Benito Juarez
Mother Guadalupe, it says
Mother Magdalene
Holy Father
I am a woman general, it says
I am a woman sergeant, it says
I am a woman corporal, it says
I am a woman commander, it says
I am a lawyer woman, it says
I am a woman warden, it says
it all comes from the primordial fountain, it says
from the fountain of significance, it says
I go up to heaven, it says
beneath the gaze of your glory, it says
where is your paper and your book, it says

I am a primordial eagle woman
a celestial eagle woman, it says

I am a fresh flower woman, it says
I am an important flower woman, it says
I stand up my reed, it says
my reed beneath the sea, it says
my hummingbird, it says
there are thirteen of them
beneath the water, beneath the sea, it says
I am a fragrant woman, it says

with words we live and grow

I am a mother woman, it says
a saint woman, it says
a doctor woman, it says

I am the Moon woman, it says
I am the Morning Star woman, it says
I am the Southern Cross woman, it says

I am the woman who observes, it says
I am the woman who examines, it says
I am a music woman, it says
a woman violinist, it says
a drum woman, it says
Holy Father, it says
I am the woman of the primordial fountain, it says

I go up to heaven where your ancient herb is, your celestial herb

Clayton Eshleman, "Juniper Fuse"

Friday, February 14, 2014

William Carlos Williams, XXIII, from Spring and All

The veritable night
of wires and stars

the moon is in
the oak tree’s crotch

and sleepers in
the windows cough

athwart the round
and pointed leaves

and insects sting
while on the grass

the whitish moonlight

assumes the attitudes
of afternoon—

But it is real
where peaches hang

recalling death’s
long-promised symphony

whose tuneful wood
and stringish undergrowth

are ghosts existing
without being

save to come with juice
and pulp to assuage

the hungers which
the night reveals

so that now at last
the truth’s aglow

with devilish peace
forestalling day

which dawns tomorrow
with dreadful reds

the heart to predicate
with mists that loved

the ocean and the fields—
Thus moonlight

is the perfect
human touch

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

Cecilia Vicuña, from "Word & Thread," trans. Rosa Alcalá

To speak is to thread and the thread weaves the


In the Andes, the language itself, Quechua, is a
     cord of twisted straw,
two people making love, different fibers united.
To weave a design is pallay, to raise the fibers,
     to pick them up.
To read in Latin is legere, to pick up.
The weaver is both weaving and writing a text
that the community can read.
An ancient textile is an alphabet of knots, colors
     and directions
that we can no longer read.
Today the weaving no only "represent," they
     themselves are
one of the being of the Andean cosmogony. (E. Zorn)


Ponchos, llijllas, aksus, winchas, chuspas and
     chumpis are beings who feel
and every being who feels walks covered in signs.
"The body given entirely to the function of signi-
René Daumal
A textile is "in the state of being textile": awaska.
And one word, acnanacuna designates the clothing,
     the language
and the instruments for sacrifice (for signifying,
     I would say).


And the energy of the movement has a name and
     a direction: lluq'i,
to the left, paña, to the right.
A direction is a meaning and the twisting of the
transmits knowledge and information.
The last two movements of a fiber should be in
a fiber is made of two strands lluq'i and paña.
A word is both root and suffix : two antithetical
     meanings in one.
The word and the thread behave as processes
     in the cosmos.

The process is a language and a woven design
     is a process re-
presenting itself.
"An axis of reflection," says Mary Frame:
"the serpentine
attributes are images of the fabric structure,"
The twisted strands become serpents
and the crossing of darkness and light, a
     diamond star.
"Sprang is a weftless technique, a reciprocal
action whereby the interworking of adjacent
elements with the fingers duplicates itself
above and below the working area."

The fingers entering the weave produce in
     the fibres
a mirror image of its movement, a symmetry
     that reiterates "the concept
of complementarity that imbues Andean


The thread dies when it is released, but comes
     alive in the loom:
the tension gives it a heart.
Soncco is heart and guts, stomach and conscience,
judgement and reason, the wood's core, the stem's
     central fiber.
The word and the thread are the heart of the
In order to dream, the diviner sleeps on fabric

     made of wik'uña.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

Edward Abbey, from Desert Solitaire

I have tried to create a world of words in which the desert figures more as medium than as material. Not imitation but evocation has been the goal.

We camp the first night in the Green River Desert, just a few miles off the Hanksville road, rise early and head east, into the dawn, through the desert toward the hidden river. Behind us the pale fangs of the San Rafael Reef gleam in the early sunlight; above them stands Temple Mountain - uranium country, poison springs country, headwaters of the Dirty Devil. Around us the Green River Desert rolls away to the north, south and east, an absolutely treeless plain, not even a juniper in sight, nothing but sand, blackbrush, prickly pear, a few sunflowers. Directly eastward we can see the blue and hazy La Sal Mountains, only sixty miles away by line of sight but twice that far by road, with nothing whatever to suggest the fantastic, complex and impassable gulf that falls between here and there. The Colorado River and its tributary the Green, with their vast canyons and labyrinth of drainages, lie below the level of the plateau on which we are approaching them, "under the ledge," as they say in Moab.

The scenery improves as we bounce onward over the winding, dusty road: reddish sand dunes appear, dense growths of sunflowers cradled in their leeward crescents. More and more sunflowers, whole fields of them, acres and acres of gold - perhaps we should call this the Sunflower Desert. We see a few baldface cows, pass a corral and windmill, meet a rancher coming out in his pickup truck. Nobody lives in this area but it is utilized nevertheless; the rancher we saw probably has his home in Hanksville or the little town of Green River.

Halfway to the river and the land begins to rise, gradually, much like the approach to Grand Canyon from the south. What we are going to see is comparable, in fact, to the Grand Canyon - I write this with reluctance - in scale and grandeur, though not so clearly stratified or brilliantly colored. As the land rises the vegetation becomes richer, for the desert almost luxuriant: junipers appear, first as isolated individuals and then in stands, pinyon pines loaded with cones and vivid colonies of sunflowers, chamisa, golden beeweed, scarlet penstemon, skyrocket gilia (as we near 7000 feet), purple asters and a kind of yellow flax. Many of the junipers - the females - are covered with showers of light-blue berries, that hard bitter fruit with the flavor of gin. Between the flowered patches and the clumps of trees are meadows thick with gramagrass and shining Indian ricegrass_and not a cow, horse, deer or buffalo anywhere. For God 's sake, Bob, I'm thinking, let 's stop this machine, get out there and eat some grass! But he grinds on in singleminded second gear, bound for Land's End, and glory.

Flocks of pinyon jays fly off, sparrows dart before us, a redtailed hawk soars overhead. We climb higher, the land begins to break away: we head a fork of Happy Canyon, pass close to the box head of Millard Canyon. A fork in the road, with one branch old, rocky and seldom used, the other freshly bulldozed through the woods. No signs. We stop, consult our maps, and take the older road; the new one has probably been made by some oil exploration outfit.

Again the road brings us close to the brink of Millard Canyon and here we see something like a little shrine mounted on a post. We stop. The wooden box contains a register book for visitors, brand-new, with less than a dozen entries, put here by the BLM--Bureau of Land Management. "Keep the tourists out," some tourist from Salt Lake City has written. As fellow tourists we heartily agree.

On to French Spring, where we find two steel granaries and the old cabin, open and empty. On the wall inside is a large water-stained photograph in color of a naked woman. The cowboy's agony. We can't find the spring but don't look very hard, since all of our water cans are still full.

We drive south down a neck of the plateau between canyons dropping away, vertically, on either side. Through openings in the dwarf forest of pinyon and juniper we catch glimpses of hazy depths, spires, buttes, orange cliffs. A second fork presents itself in the road and again we take the one to the left, the older one less traveled by, and come all at once to the big jump and the head of the Flint Trail. We stop, get out to reconnoiter.

The Flint Trail is actually a jeep track, switchbacking down a talus slope, the only break in the sheer wall of the plateau for a hundred sinuous miles. Originally a horse trail, it was enlarged to jeep size by the uranium hunters, who found nothing down below worth bringing up in trucks, and abandoned it. Now, after the recent rains, which were also responsible for the amazing growth of grass and flowers we have seen, we find the trail marvelously eroded, stripped of all vestiges of soil, trenched and gullied down to bare rock, in places more like a stairway than a road. Even if we can get the Land Rover down this thing, how can we ever get it back up again?

But it doesn't occur to either of us to back away from the attempt. We are determined to get into The Maze. Waterman has great confidence in his machine; and furthermore, as with anything seductively attractive, we are obsessed only with getting in; we can worry later about getting out.

Munching pinyon nuts fresh from the trees nearby, we fill the fuel tank and cache the empty jerrycan, also a full one, in the bushes. Pine nuts are delicious, sweeter than hazelnuts but difficult to eat; you have to crack the shells in your teeth and then, because they are smaller than peanut kernels, you have to separate the meat from the shell with your tongue. If one had to spend a winter in Frenchy's cabin, let us say, with nothing to eat but pinyon nuts, it is an interesting question whether or not you could eat them fast enough to keep from starving to death. Have to ask the Indians about this.

Glad to get out of the Land Rover and away from the gasoline fumes, I lead the way on foot down the Flint Trail, moving what rocks I can out of the path. Waterman follows with the vehicle in first gear, low range and four-wheel drive, creeping and lurching downward from rock to rock, in and out of the gutters, at a speed too slow to register on the speedometer. The descent is four miles long, in vertical distance about two thousand feet. In places the trail is so narrow that he has to scrape against the inside wall to get through. The curves are banked the wrong way, sliding toward the outer edge, and the turns at the end of each switchback are so tight that we must jockey the Land Rover back and forth to get it through them. But all goes well and in an hour we arrive at the bottom.

Here we pause for a while to rest and to inspect the fragments of low-grade, blackish petrified wood scattered about the base of a butte. To the northeast we can see a little of The Maze, a vermiculate area of pink and white rock beyond and below the ledge we are now on, and on this side of it a number of standing monoliths - Candlestick Spire, Lizard Rock and others unnamed.

Close to the river now, down in the true desert again, the heat begins to come through; we peel off our shirts before going on. Thirteen miles more to the end of the road. We proceed, following the dim tracks through a barren region of slab and sand thinly populated with scattered junipers and the usual scrubby growth of prickly pear, yucca and the alive but lifeless-looking blackbrush. The trail leads up and down hills, in and out of washes and along the spines of ridges, requiring fourwheel drive most of the way.

After what seems like another hour we see ahead the welcome sight of cottonwoods, leaves of green and gold shimmering down in a draw. We take a side track toward them and discover the remains of an ancient corral, old firepits, and a dozen tiny rivulets of water issuing from a thicket of tamarisk and willow on the canyon wall. This should be Big Water Spring. Although we still have plenty of water in the Land Rover we are mighty glad to see it.

In the shade of the big trees, whose leaves tinkle musically, like gold foil, above our heads, we eat lunch and fill our bellies with the cool sweet water, and lie on our backs and sleep and dream. A few flies, the fluttering leaves, the trickle of water give a fine edge and scoring to the deep background of - silence? No - of stillness, peace.

I think of music, and of a musical analogy to what seems to me the unique spirit of desert places. Suppose for example that we can find a certain resemblance between the music of Bach and the sea; the music of Debussy and a forest glade; the music of Beethoven and (of course) great mountains; then who has written of the desert?

Mozart? Hardly the outdoor type, that fellow - much too elegant, symmetrical, formally perfect. Vivaldi, Corelli, Monteverdi? - cathedral interiors only - fluid architecture. Jazz? The best of jazz for all its virtues cannot escape the limitations of its origin: it is indoor music, city music, distilled from the melancholy nightclubs and the marijuana smoke of dim, sad, nighttime rooms: a joyless sound, for all its nervous energy.

In the desert I am reminded of something quite different - the bleak, thin-textured work of men like Berg, Schoenberg, Ernst Krenek, Webern and the American, Elliot Carter. Quite by accident, no doubt, although both Schoenberg and Krenek lived part of their lives in the Southwest, their music comes closer than any other I know to representing the apartness, the otherness, the strangeness of the desert. Like certain aspects of this music, the desert is also a-tonal, cruel, clear, inhuman, neither romantic nor classical, motionless and emotionless, at one and the same time - another paradox - both agonized and deeply still.

Like death? Perhaps. And perhaps that is why life nowhere appears so brave, so bright, so full of oracle and miracle as in the desert.
Waterman has another problem. As with Newcomb down in Glen Canyon - what is this thing with beards? - he doesn't want to go back. Or says he doesn't. Doesn't want to go back to Aspen. Where the draft board waits for him, Robert Waterman. It seems that the U.S. Government - what country is that? - has got another war going somewhere, I forget exactly where, on another continent as usual, and they want Waterman to go over there and fight for them. For IT, I mean - when did a government ever consist of human beings? And Waterman doesn't want to go, he might get killed. And for what?
As any true patriot would, I urge him to hide down here under the ledge. Even offer to bring him supplies at regular times, and the news, and anything else he might need. He is tempted - but then remembers his girl. There's a girl back in Denver. I'll bring her too, I tell him. He decides to think it over.

In the meantime we refill the water bag, get back in the Land Rover and drive on. Seven more miles rough as a cob around the crumbling base of Elaterite Butte, some hesitation and backtracking among alternate jeep trails, all of them dead ends, and we finally come out near sundown on the brink of things, nothing beyond but nothingness - a veil, blue with remoteness - and below the edge the northerly portion of The Maze.

We can see deep narrow canyons down in there branching out in all directions, and sandy floors with clumps of trees--oaks? cottonwoods? Dividing one canyon from the next are high thin partitions of nude sandstone, smoothly sculptured and elaborately serpentine, colored in horizontal bands of gray, buff, rose and maroon. The melted ice-cream effect again - Neapolitan ice cream. On top of one of the walls stand four gigantic monoliths, dark red, angular and square-cornered, capped with remnants of the same hard white rock on which we have brought the Land Rover to a stop. Below these monuments and beyond them the innumerable canyons extend into the base of Elaterite Mesa (which underlies Elaterite Butte) and into the south and southeast for as far as we can see. It is like a labyrinth indeed - a labyrinth with the roof removed.

Very interesting. But first things first. Food. We build a little juniper fire and cook our supper. High wind blowing now - drives the sparks from our fire over the rim, into the velvet abyss. We smoke good cheap cigars and watch the colors slowly change and fade upon the canyon walls, the four great monuments, the spires and buttes and mesas beyond.

What shall we name those four unnamed formations standing erect above this end of The Maze? From our vantage point they are the most striking landmarks in the middle ground of the scene before us. We discuss the matter. In a far-fetched way they resemble tombstones, or altars, or chimney stacks, or stone tablets set on end. The waning moon rises in the east, lagging far behind the vanished sun. Altars of the Moon? That sounds grand and dramatic - but then why not Tablets of the Sun, equally so? How about Tombs of Ishtar? Gilgamesh? Vishnu? Shiva the Destroyer?

Why call them anything at all? asks Waterman; why not let them alone? And to that suggestion I instantly agree; of course - why name them? Vanity, vanity, nothing but vanity: the itch for naming things is almost as bad as the itch for possessing things. Let them and leave them alone - they'll survive for a few more thousand years, more or less, without any glorification from us.

But at once another disturbing thought comes to mind: if we don't name them somebody else surely will. Then, says Waterman in effect, let the shame be on their heads. True, I agree, and yet - and yet Rilke said that things don't truly exist until the poet gives them names. Who was Rilke? he asks. Rainer Maria Rilke, I explain, was a German poet who lived off countesses. I thought so, he says; that explains it. Yes, I agree once more, maybe it does; still - we might properly consider the question strictly on its merits. If any, says Waterman. It has some, I insist.

Through naming comes knowing; we grasp an object, mentally, by giving it a name - hension, prehension, apprehension. And thus through language create a whole world, corresponding to the other world out there. Or we trust that it corresponds. Or perhaps, like a German poet, we cease to care, becoming more concerned with the naming than with the things named; the former becomes more real than the latter. And so in the end the world is lost again. No, the world remains - those unique, particular, incorrigibly individual junipers and sandstone monoliths - and it is we who are lost. Again. Round and round, through the endless labyrinth of thought - the maze.