Sunday, June 14, 2009

Item: Epitaph for an imaginary Saint

Your golden joys were never girls
or boys, pretty as they may have been –
long of limb, fair of skin

and all too momentary.

Ah, contrary!

You loved deeper and always
(as in Eternally) more
than the shallow cups of time
could possibly allow for -

the heart that beat
the rhythm of your life
was bigger than life by far.

Your desire was too much
for a single pale star,
so you wished instead on galaxies!

Compassion, peace, tolerance
were all you ever wanted
for a world too long haunted
by opposing qualities.

Embracing all, you chose one.

Making peace your wife,
you devoted your life
to the only truth you knew of –
for lack of a better word, love.

- Transcribed by Richard Cody -

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Item: fragment, psychedelic illumination on an Earth like planet

a vasty deep

unfolded from my hands
and I looked
and saw that it was good

and wore the stars
in shining strings
‘round my neck like garlands.

And the flowers
on the wall and in the fields outside
sang a song so sweetly numinous

my body fell away
and my naked spirit shone
absolutely luminous

and softly sighed. . .

- Transcribed by Richard Cody -

Friday, December 08, 2006

Item: Captain Jack Tracker in the Imperial Palace of Balfagor VII


The cell was small and empty except for the shadows which shifted and huddled in the corners. What light there was bled in sickly luminous hues of green, yellow, purple and gruesome red from the cold tiles, which upon too close an examination, revealed to my straining eyes the ghostly remains of unwholesome stains.

“Please wait here,” said the liaisons, in unison. Turning to look at them, I caught the tails of sly smiles slithering from their twin faces – once again blank and impassive as our eyes met.

“How long?” I asked.

In a monotone duet they replied, “Long enough.”

I wasn’t buying their calculated coyness, nor the eerie twin act, and I let them know as much by crossing my arms and applying my trademark smirk (for all the good it did in that shadowed purgatory). “Tell His Holiness that I’ll see him now. I’ll be damned if I’m gonna’ spend any time in this pit.”

Behind me, from the thickest of shadows in that fetid cell a slow, almost inaudible hissing issued; and the louder sound of something large and. . . wet unfolding from the darkness. A moist plop reached my ears and what might be described as my hackles rose straight up. I didn’t look but concluded, “And I won’t be damned.”

The liaisons, falling easily before my superior will did not hesitate. “Very well,” they intoned, “follow us.”

Stepping forward, I reached behind me, and keeping my gaze fixed straight ahead as the sound of a large, not unviscous mass shuffled loathsomely across the tiles, closed the door.

- Transcribed by Richard Cody, 2006 -

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Item: Big Sur, CA., Deetjen's Big Sur Inn, Chateau Fiasco Room Journal, Undated

Once, in other times, I was called “He Who Outwalks The Night”. Now the story behind that name is forgotten, even by myself, and I answer to whatever names the wind blows my way. Today, in Monterey, someone shouted “Watch Out!” and I turned to see an elderly man struck down by a speeding automobile. My name, I knew, would not be a warning, uttered in alarmed shock. Maybe when I was younger. I refused that name, therefore, and continued on my way – which delivered me in pouring rain to this inn, this room, this page. Just as your way also, whatever it may have been, delivered you to this page. And here for a flicker of time our respective ways intersect. I am looking, perhaps, for a name. Only you know what, if anything, you are in search of.

I dreamed last night that a bird, luminously blue, sang my name from atop a skyscraping tree. A warm and golden light bathed the scene in amber. I awoke to a jay, shrieking and blue amid the white blossoms trailing the veranda. The bird looked right at me and then fluttered off, wake-up call delivered. I had no recollection of placing a request for a wake-up call, but there it was. The position of The Sun (creator of shadows) told me it was mid-morning. Ah, how good to wake up still alive, all possibilities imminent! Gazing through the windows, bright with day, each leaf on every plant and tree became a luminous parchment upon which was writ the poetry of infinity.


I believe it was a crow who first told me about the dark side of Love. I wish I could recall his name, but as I have indicated, I have trouble with my own most days. I do recall, more or less, that birds words:

“Love above,
Love below.
Brightest light maketh
Deepest shadow.”

“Just so, MO,” (not my name but this was how this particular crow called me), “you have seen, indeed been blinded by, the brightest of Love’s lights. You have scaled heavenly heights to be so dazzled! But, among other things I hope, you have learned to wear shades the next time you ascend such heights. For, blinded as you were by The Glory of Love most high, the face of the one who is many, you stumbled and fell. Indeed, you plummeted. Down, down, down you went, the after image of Glory burning your eyes, into the blackness at the back of Love.”

He went on from there, longer than I care to revisit here (crows, of course, being notoriously garrulous). At the time, I could not separate the subjectivity of my circumstances (to which the bird referred) from the objectivity of that crow’s words. Hindsight, as the saying goes, is 20/20. In any case, that long ago crow and his words of wisdom were brought to mind this afternoon by another crow I met at Nepenthe. He said his name was Arunaal, which struck me as resonant somehow. Momentarily, I realized why. The woman with whom I had so long ago scaled the heights of Love’s Splendor was one Lydia Aruna! Ah, poor lovely, Lydia! To think that she suffered more than I in our fall from Love withers my heart. That it was a crow who reminded me of you, dear lost Lydia, is either a revelation subtle and profound or one of the perverse jokes of which the universe is so fond. Time, time, time I suppose will tell.

Today I went to the shore, where land and sea meet, and thought that I heard my name in the roll and crash of waves. White sea foam seemed to spell it out in short sharply focused moments as it splashed through the air and then was gone. Too quick! I missed it. Wine tonight was bitter – or maybe it was just me.


Early this morning, early, I was awakened by the sound of music. The sky shone a pale blue. Lights were on, and the days business begun at the big house, but the music I heard came not from there. Indeed, though it contained hints and echoes of various earthly melodies (recalling to my mind at once madrigals such as I might have heard in the Courts of Elizabeth, had I not been unconscious for most of her reign, the traditional tunes of the northern countries and fanciful jigs and reels of The Scots and Irish) I am sure it came from no human source. I was familiar with this music, having heard it once before in a dream. My ears enchanted, I stumbled still in my bedclothes and unshod down the stairs, beneath the white bars and up into the dark and the green of the canyon behind this chateau.

I woke up there many hours later, wreathes of wildflowers wrapped around my ankles and wrists, above my head a halo of bumblebees buzzing away, and happier than I have been in a lifetime or two.

-Transcribed by Richard Cody, 2006 -

Sunday, April 23, 2006

Item: Devonshire, England 1934

"Ah, my dear Carmichael!" Gilbert addressed the empty drawing room, raising an empty glass to the uppermost shelf of the immense bookcase in the western corner, where a dark gap in the row of heavy tomes suggested - rather obviously, thought Gilbert - the black hole of a vacant tooth socket. "Tonight, my good man, I toast you from this empty glass."

A moment passed, during which Gilbert kept his arm raised to the corner and collected his thoughts. "To your bones, old man, may they serve me well." Unable to resist, he added with a grim chuckle, "Until, of course, they are rotting in hell."

He lowered his arm and another moment crept through the still room as he savored his empty toast and recollected the care with which he had manipulated Carmichael. It had not been easy deceiving a man of Carmichael's intelligence but - after nearly three years of grueling and laborious machinations, lubricated and kept smoothly running in no small part by the confidence he had won from Carmichael through well played sympathy and mock friendship - he had finally secured the object of his deception.

Turning to the desk behind him with a satisfied smile, Gilbert eyed the large volume which lay there. The missing tooth, he mused; a perfect fit for that empty space in his collection, which he had kept open and waiting for just this tome: La Langue des Mort par Jacques Perdue.

The smile on Gilbert's face widened as he read the title. Little was known about Perdue. As the surname suggested - if, indeed, the entire name was not a fabrication as Gilbert suspected - all but the barest facts about the man had been lost to history. Born in Marseille in 1602. Missing and presumed dead in 1678, or 1679, depending on which biographer one believed. This and the grimoire before him, The Language of the Dead, produced during the last twenty of those seventy odd years, were all that remained of the man.

Perdue's book, long coveted and finally wrested from Carmichael by Gilbert, was the only known transcription of the ancient and terrible tongue of its title - learned, claimed the author, after many years of communication with entities described as being from "realms beyond the five senses of man."

Gilbert smiled again, filled his empty glass from the bottle of wine beside the old grimoire. Carmichael, owner of the book for nearly a decade, hadn't known what to do with the thing despite his formidable intelligence. Or maybe he'd simply been afraid. Gilbert, on the other hand, knew how to use Purdue's book and was not afraid to do so - which was why he was the hoary tome's new owner.

Now Carmichael, or what was left of him, wandered the countryside serving Gilbert's will. Reaching down, he stroked the leather binding of the book. Yes, a few choice word combinations, courtesy of Purdue and his entities, had turned Carmichael's own dogs against him, and what is more, raised his dead and savaged body.

Gilbert sipped his wine, shuddered with a chill delight to think of Carmichael's frightful remains even now, perhaps, paying a visit on his behalf to that vindictive old bastard, Roberts. Ha, he thought, Roberts would finally get what he had coming to him!

It was then (rather poetically, Gilbert might have thought later, had he survived) that the drawing room window shattered behind him with a catastrophic clatter. He swung himself around, wine trailing from his glass and describing his motion in a crimson arc. Clambering through the smashed window, shards of glass jutting from his already torn and bloodied body, was Carmichael.

Gasping, Gilbert dropped his glass, now mostly empty, to the floor. "Wh- Wh- What are you doing!?" he shrieked dumbly.

The thing that had been Carmichael lurched, bleeding, into the room, raising tattered hands toward Gilbert. Clutched in the bloody fingers and dog chewed stumps of the ghastly right hand, Gilbert saw a folded piece of paper bearing his name in a familiar script. Carmichael shuffled forward and with horror Gilbert realized he was being offered a missive of some ghastly sort.

With his heart rising in his throat and his bowels churning in terror, he plucked the paper from the cold hand, flipped it open and read the last words of his life:

You were wrong, old boy, all these years! Purdue wrote two editions of his book. One containing information omitted from the other. Thank you for acquiring Carmichael's copy for my collection. Carmichael will bring it to me directly, as instructed, when he has done with you.

All my worst,

E. Roberts

- Transcribed by Richard Cody, 2006 -

Monday, March 06, 2006

Item: Puppy-Pup and Emily Larkin in an Unknown Trans-dimensional Pocket Universe

She was drifting now, and had been for some time. Reluctantly, she dropped the last shred of pretense to which she’d been clinging regarding any sense of intent or control guiding her motion through this “vasty black”, as Puppy-Pup referred to the void through which she currently tumbled.

Thinking of Puppy-Pup made her tremble. The long eared little gamin had vanished so suddenly and with such uncharacteristically curt words! What was it the adorable little mongrel had muttered before poofing so unceremoniously from her side?

“Urt! Yer on yer own, Kiddarooni!”

Yes, that was it, or close enough, and so unlike Puppy-Pup! Could there be trouble of some kind? She trembled again, more violently this time, and the shaking of her body caused her to veer off into the big black space up or down, east or west, she could not say as her previous location in the void had born no such designation.

She was becoming frightened now, she realized. Puppy-Pup had left her alone before – once right here in the vasty black, and again in The Fields of The Nephilim, but never for so long. If he didn’t poof back to her soon, she would have to find her own way back to her bedroom. And she was nowhere near sure about her ability to do so. The idea of a lifetime spent lost and floating through this interminable black caused her to tremble once more and again she flew off in a new and unknown direction.

A familiar voice by her side undid the frown growing on her face and even slowed her wild movement through the dark.

“Hey there, kidder, slow down a bit!”

“Puppy-Pup!” she shouted the beloved mutt’s name and then gasped to see that he was not all there. His crooked but radiant smile alone beamed at her through the blackness. “Puppy-Pup?” she queried the toothsome grin. “Where’s the rest of you?”

“Catchin’ up!” the smile replied.

And, indeed, not another moment passed before the rest of the amazing dog filled in around that smile, now warm and winsome as always with all of him there but, she had to admit, vaguely unsettling without him behind it.

- Transcribed by Richard Cody -

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Item: San Francisco – Excerpt from the journal of Brandon Pizer, dated August 9, 1988

I killed Margo today, as easily as I write these words. Just wrapped my fingers around her throat and squeezed. It was not premeditated, this brutal act. It was nothing I had planned. Yet it seemed to me that when I looked into her brown eyes, desperate and straining under my crushing grip, and saw my own calm face reflected there, that it was a deed I had been meaning to do since the first day of our acquaintance.

She fought, of course, and caught me a nasty scratch across the cheek before it was done. But it was done, notwithstanding the blood trickling down my stinging face, quicker than I could have imagined. Afterward, I rose from the bed, naked and guilty, and gazed at her still form until I lost all sense of time. Her eyes remained open, staring a black hole in the air beyond the ceiling. I realized dimly that my face had been occupying that stare. Her right arm hung limp as a towel over the side of the bed, the nails that had lacerated my cheek broken and peeled back, it appeared, to the quick. Her feet, twisted in the sheets, seemed to point in impossible directions. Upon her motionless chest her breasts lay strangely flat, and the stain of my deed ringed her throat in bruises that blackened as I watched.

There was no motion in that room, no movement, only the shifting of light as afternoon moved into evening. It was only when the fall of night had reduced her body to a dim outline that I was roused from whatever strange reverie had gripped me. Leaving her to the darkness of the bedroom, I moved to the living room and lay myself out on the sofa, where I fell into a sleep from which I’m not even sure I have awoken. Have I dreamed this whole grisly turn of events? Am I dreaming even now? I only wish this was so. The white glare of the bulb in this desk lamp, however, and the plain black fact of the words on this page convince me otherwise. My face, smarting from the wound Margo inflicted upon me, is another indication that this is all too real. The blood has dried; that is evident from the scabby, withered feeling of my cheek. I have yet to look into a mirror to see the extent of the injury.

But I can see myself even now. On the desk before me sits a photograph in a dime store frame. The first thing I become aware of is not the photograph itself but, due to the angle of the light, my own face reflected in the glass. I am surprised at how serene I appear. That is the first thing I notice. Then the dark and jagged line bisecting the left side of my face. Even the realization that this might require stitches, and all of the implications and explanations a trip to the hospital might entail, does not disturb the smoothness of my expression. With the exception of the injury, in fact, my reflected image is so totally smooth that it seems for a moment almost feminine. I squint into the glass but begin to lose myself in the picture beneath.

It is a photo of Margo and me.

Transcribed by Richard Cody, 2005