Always brush before you visit the dentist. Be careful who
you pick your nose around. Pick your nose, pick your ass,
don’t pick your tattoos. Don’t throw your cigarette butts
in the urinal. Put the seat back down when you’re finished.
Don’t stick it if you can’t lick it. Avoid anal sex. Don’t share needles, toothbrushes, straws or razors.
Don’t tell your girlfriend everything. Keep your mouth shut.
Trust no one. If you act you belong there, everyone else will
act like you do, too. On the telephone you can be anybody
you want. Keep your back to the wall. Practice safe sex.
Don’t argue with cops. Don’t argue, period. Hold fast that
which is true and get a shovel and hip boots for the rest.
The most dangerous people are those who believe their own
bullshit and anyone who believes them. Don’t talk shit –
well, not too much, anyway. Never mess with your friend’s
old lady – not even if she’s begging you to. Avoid red meat.
Try not to get too emotional in front of anyone. Familiarity
breeds contempt. A dog is a man’s best friend – you ever
meet a dog who lied? Always treat it as if it were loaded –
even if it isn’t. Avoid bars and big parties. If you’re paranoid
you’re probably right. The only stupid question is
the one you don’t ask. Women are crazy. Men are crazy. Be
careful – because you’re probably not going to be good. If
you’re going to tell the truth, you’d better make it funny
otherwise they’ll kill you. And remember,
“The world is a cross between a slaughterhouse, a bordello
and an insane asylum. “ Isaac Beshevis Singer.
Under the covers with the lights off. The radio on. Hero
draped his right arm over his eyes. The veins of his eyes
projected dim powder blue pastel lines in his brain that
looked very much like the spiders he’d once seen in a broken
windshield. He was face down over a cue ball and the green
felt of the table rolled them smooth, floating hungry, until
his regrets were forgotten. There was the sensation of little
chills on the outside of his legs just like the ones he’d
had while he was kicking methadone. A nerve on
the right side of Hero’s head twinged as if an acupuncture
needle had stimulated it, he knew it was only herpes.
Hungry, he couldn’t eat. Lonely, he couldn’t speak. Horny?
“Nah, too depressing, maybe tomorrow.”
A song played on about a pubic parasite that made the girl
singing cum and Hero thought his bed was slowly bouncing
up and down on super soft springs but his bed didn’t have
any springs, it was made of steel.
Worried, but with no one to turn on, there was something
else in all of this that he had to look for in the space
between the spaces, Hero would dive and return with that
silent knowledge that defied fear and mind numbing reason
of numbers here that counted everything in their greed. Their
need to know killed the whole show, Hero agreed. “Yes, that’s
it alright.” He ate some plain white bread he’d saved from
dinner and sipped at a mixture of his breakfast pineapple
juice and state Kool-Aid while the radio played on about
some country and western singer who was a traitorous dyke,
now the kept drunk of some cowboy somewhere.
“I spent my last ten dollars on birth control and beer,
my life was so much simpler when I was sober and queer … “
Che couldn’t hide his eyes, so full of focused, thoughtful
non-pity and murder there on the wall of Hero’s cell. He
looked so young.
“!Viva Cuba Libre, Che!”
Oh, man, where was he? What was gone? The passion in their
hearts? Now it was all alone to be chalked up to whatever
was good for me, so, “fuck you,” Che, they’d said.
That cadence of Karma came down through Hero’s headphones
carried by a man who said, “ … I’m grown – to the maxim –
two hemispheres – battling … “
Had it happened that Hero tripped without any new chemicals
being ingested? His mindbody swaying for days, the wisps
of electronica lights everyone else called “tracers” started
to take their places with flashes and exclamations lightning
white, “my eye,” Hero said in his head because he’d felt
one of them in his eyeball, lower right. The squiggles did
their eternal dance in every shadow, he hadn’t even taken
exception to them. He’d told a shrink about them once and
got 300mg. of thorazine everyday for three months for his thirteenth birthday.
He never told anyone again. The memory tasted like
brown corrugated cardboard inside his mouth. Scream to him
on frequency modulated, heterodyned waves, super RF burn
“ .. dog will hunt!“ signals and all the hairs on his head
stood up just long enough to let the cool night air irrigate
his thinning scalp.
“Not to worry,” he reminded himself – he always slept
with a wooly cap on in all but the warmest weather. It had
begun ten years earlier when he’d woke up one morning and
half his face was paralyzed by that evening. He’d had to
tape his eyelid closed to go to sleep and looked positively
ghoulish when he got stoned. Bell’s Palsy, and it would come
and go for life. Ever since then Hero wore a wooly cap whenever he could and he’d never had the half-face blues again. And he had a great collection of wooly caps from all over the
world to boot. He was quite attached to them, too. A friend
in Brooklyn was keeping them warm for him until he got out.
In Attica, he owned two wooly caps, both of them from the
commissary. (The governor wasn’t giving them away anymore
irregardless of the fact that the temperature there could
drop to twenty below zero with the wind chill factor. That
wind chill factor was a motherfucker.) The hats were thin
and synthetic and green like almost every other fucking
thing with the prefix “state” on it.
Hero began staring at a wrapper from a can of Ravioli with cheesy aliens and cheap holographic designs took Hero away again, off to the sky over that portion of the planet for orbit before he was swung out towards the moon, stars, and suns exploding in his head with the Universe, together. One. Moot.
For some strange reason, he couldn’t stop thinking about
Dr. Bronner’s Peppermint Oil Soap, the big family size bottle.
Strange to Hero, was anything, name it – a toothpick –
a yellow toothpick, an unopened candy bar, a closed pack
of cigarettes or a bundle of shirts folded and wrapped in
brown paper bound with the thin red and white string from
the Chinese Laundry. Hero had a penchant for packages of
any kind, so long as they were closed. He didn’t want to
open them and didn’t make a fuss if they were, though he liked
them better closed.
Hero caught feelings from objects. Their shapes communicated
to him in a silent language that was holy, sacred even. It
was a given and very much like second nature to him that
this should be so. The relationship was similar to that of
an artist for still life, only Hero didn’t paint and couldn’t.
“get crazy with the Cheese Whiz … “
This was the alleged nature of the bi-polar, he’d read, of
placing undue importance on so called everyday objects and
events. But that wasn’t so. Hero knew he could lose his track,
but it was this world, this Big phony Lie fronting as civilization
– reason – that choked the living shit out of any
decent opportunity for return to a continuing, synchronous
way of living, of interacting, of inter-being.
“The difference between a schizophrenic and a holy man
is that the schizophrenic doesn’t know he’s holy.” Marco
Vallis had written somewhere between the coasts flared out
on speed, spiritualism, and anal sex. Truly a life lived.
Hero thought about Marco; familiarly naive and struggling
upstream, forever searching for the ebb, flow and click.
“But, man,” Hero said sounding like he meant it, “that
‘click’ is a motherfucker! I mean, why have to differentiate?”
That’s how we’d all lived a long time ago and some of us
lived it still, hidden mysterious from the consumers who
always had to pick everything apart in selfish investigation and
evaluation to determine its acceptability for their fucking
consumption. Before. Before all of that, before standing
armies and the advent of “The Dominator Society,” Hero believed that the original questions of supply and demand were created by our paranoid survival instinct mechanisms perverted and exploited in applied ignorance by the early large scale designers of The Big Lie. Smaller versions existed as they do
today beginning with any nuclear family. Any attempt
to trace The Lie went so far back that it rippled time lines.
Hero thought it had something to do with ego and self-recognition.
“I think all the trouble started when I was about 8.”
“What happened, Web?”
“I developed an ego.”
Web told Hero about his journey, his search for freedom,
for the truth to all of this. All of this?
Tony listened with Hero and when Web was finished he
asked them if they wanted to go to the airport.
“I get money from the passengers waiting to leave. “
I tell them my luggage was stolen and that I lost my
ticket and all my money.”
“Do they give you money?”
“Yeah – only – don’t tell my wife – she thinks I’m working.”
“Oh,” said Hero, a somewhat naive 19 years old.
“That’s how you could go crazy, “ Web told him shortly before
he’d died, “if you don’t have anyone to share your truth
with – the real truth – not this phony baloney bullshit all
these dumb bastards are buying; your knowledge of what we
are, what we were, and how we’d lived and thought so differently
when we lived with the Earth – instead of on it like
some kind of hostile fucking mob of alien insects.”
“Like red ants,” Hero added, anxiously wanting to be recognized
for having some brains.
“No. Ants are way smarter than we are .. “
Couldn’t tears flow freely to hasten our return? But the
garbage we’d made, “Oh, the garbage. “
Hero sat still and didn’t have an answer for that either.
There was just so much of It, that It was so nasty, and It
was hard for him to believe that any of It had ever come
from the same place he had.
When he was 14 years old he saw a television interview
with Charles Manson by that snooty Geraldo Rivera. He’d
got scared. Manson made a lot of sense – even his idea to get people to kill each other off to save the planet wasn’t so crazy – so long as you weren’t one of the people getting killed.
When he got a little older Hero learned that Manson had
been locked up for almost 30 years and they’d never proven
that he’d killed anyone. The actual killers found Jesus in
their jail cells, publicly fingered Charlie, and were cut
loose after serving about 20 years a piece.
Meanwhile, the Fuhrer of California, Governor Pete Wilson,
had decided to so severely restrict Manson’s “correspondence
privileges” that he personally ordered all his mail be read
going in or out of San Quentin.
The Fuhrer struck Hero as someone in need of a heart. He
wanted to torture immigrant Mexicans and their children by
denying them access to health care – pretty stupid – even
for a Nazi. Hero knew that most of those poor Latinos and
were working at very low paying jobs like picking
our fruit and cleaning rich white people’s houses while
the more enterprising of the lot sold oranges out of stolen
shopping carts at the end of L.A. freeway off-ramps. He
imagined that eventually a epidemic of some formerly eradicated virus would tear through the Mexicans and hopefully
The Fuhrer and his friends would catch it, too.
The Fuhrer believed that everyone should speak the tongue
of the Fatherland, English, in California; the state with
a Spanish name. None of that bilingual crap for the home
of Hollywood. The Fuhrer’s Final Solution to The Mexican
Question was modeled, closely, after his careful study of
The Grim King’s manifesto: “The Cowboy’s Big Lie” which was
later re-released in northeastern markets as “Mr. Bonzo
Goes To Washingtoon.”
Hero wanted to keep up with America’s fascists but it
was all kind of disheartening as he became more and more
desensitized trying to consume – year after year – all of
those scumbags who were living well while there were so many
poor people like himself not to mention all the poor scumbags,
too. He even knew their “apologia” by heart:
“You’re just jealous and you know full well that we’re
really no different than you – except that you’re so poor.
Now that’s not our fault, now is it?”
Which sounded, oddly enough, a lot like what that cop told
that mark about the $600 he’d lost playing Flukey Ball.
The American Dream was more like a screwed up lottery they
should have called The Big American Liary. lt was painfully
obvious that many people were being rewarded for all the
wrong reasons. The idea that there was “more” of it going
on didn’t change the fact that it was wrong.
“Balance? What Balance? We don’ need no stinking Balance!“
Hero wondered how a particular newscaster he watched
was capable of smiling so sincerely night after night without
fail? Then, when he found out just how much his favorite
anchorman made he realized that the guy had seven million
reasons to smile. And that was per year. That’s a whole lot’a
“What goes around comes around, Hero.”
“Bullshit! That’s just something losers tell each other
to make themselves feel better,” he shot back when he caught
himself talking to himself and the mirror of his own thought
shattered before his closed eyes. Hero wished he hadn’t caught
on so quickly. Quantum Theory of Observation or was that
The Heisenberg Principle? It didn’t matter. Nothing mattered.
Moments drifting sound
of emotion ..
“Hero,” his androgynous self-called to him dragging the
“0” like “oh” from within from without, his rotting carcass
still quick flesh crawling with life into the mouths of ravenous insects “Corn, grow,” said Hero, standing on the plateau of a great stepped pyramid as he pulled the skeleton of the
ocean eel , Anguilla, through his foreskin.
“Anguilla!” he cried out ..
“Rostrata!” the reply and sweat rolled down his temples
while he spoke with the dead.
He saw a place, a sea, and a word. One word:
“Sargasso” and there was no more.
Sitting up, Hero rolled a cigarette and tried not to think
about any of it. The words “Seven Macaw” echoed inside his
head. They didn’t mean anything to him, yet he sensed serious
danger the way he did when a man had once attacked him with
a sharp heavy weapon trying to kill him. All his frivolous
thoughts – formerly taken for granted – were surgically cut
out – fast. Seven Macaw was close to him, like a brother,
no, a half-brother stronger than Hero and Hero was king.
Playing ball in the underworld, depicted in stone and later
on paintings that moved with his brother who carried a short ironwood club carved with numerous gods and decorated with beads and feathers. Skull beads hung loosely, staggered on a long thong at the bottom of the handle and clack-clacked sharply
when Seven Macaw swung the club high over his shoulder to
smash his brother’s skull in deep. His body dropped on
folded legs until he lay on his face in the dirt and the
ball rolled into his blood. An odd shaped corpse, thought
Seven Macaw, and dropped the club and two knives he’d also
brought with him. The Earth drank his brother’s blood and
found the taste bitter, tainted by his treacherous jealousy,
and she yielded no corn, or beans, or grains, or even the
grasses used for the mortar and bricks. Not that season –
or even the next – when Seven Macaw was drowned in the River
by a great green snake with sparkling yellow eyes.
All this was locked away, hidden deep inside Hero, someplace,
and all that he’d brought back were the words “Seven Macaw”
and the strong impression of inevitable, serious, deadly
violence. The words themselves didn’t mean anything to him –
but that was what he’d brought back this time. When he’d
eaten ibogaine, Hero returned repeating the word “Pesach.”
A few years later, while reading a Lubitcher tract about
Passover, he saw the word “Pesach” and it s English translation:
it was Hebrew for “offering.”
Loneliness empty and soul-less, or was it senseless? Hero
decided to put it all together in his invisible mojo like
Felix The Cat or some junkie Houdini idiot-savant. Houdini
thought he knew why all the old Chinamen were so mellow
until one of them leaned over and said to him in Yiddish,
“Gee, that’s funny – you don’t look Jewish!” and the entire
three front pews of the synagogue rocked and howled with
knee slapping laughter. A couple of the old men even cried,
it was very, very moving. Hero thought that he would have
laughed, too, if he’d had some of that shit those Old Chinese
Yids had been smoking. They gave a whole new meaning to the
expression: “Chasing the Dragon.”
“Two bowls every afternoon,” said The Burning Bush, and
Moses began to cry over the sins of Charlton Heston, “the
children ache, their bellies hollow, how can he not hear
them in the Choking City below? Surely, his footstool is
not made of his enemies, the little brown ones tortured to
face the forces of circumstance, stuck like bloodied pigs
“No, this is not a circle,” said Hero, floating in the
smog high above the freeway.
“This is not life, but so long, and that is time to do
over again until we peace,” but the words didn’t make any
sense and Moses broke-out. All Hero could see were the suffering fast. The steps of the dancers up and down again against the Earth. She is sentient and you may cry to her, but she is as indifferent as you, too, should be. Abandoned meek without malice. Stalk yourself, Hero. Have no pity but without hatred.
Glide between them all to your chosen destinations of solitude
where you may find them.
Hero saw himself from behind stepping through the courtroom
door and into the Manhattan Supreme Court bullpens just as
he’d promised his overpaid lawyer, and the judge, two months
earlier during his plea bargain agreement. His journey began
again. Sometimes, he saw all of it like a long digestive
system – primarily the lowest intestine – and they were all
foreign microbes and viruses, these prisoners like himself.
Relatively tiny, by comparison, yet very dangerous to the
system they’d infected and sickened, and even more so to
each other. As in Jack Henry Abbott’s “In The Belly Of
The Beast” although lately, Hero believed that he’d been
getting closer to the beast’s asshole and with any luck he’d
be shit out soon. For now, he needed sleep and modeled
an image in his mind of himself asleep.