Double Truth on the Second Level
by David Alexander
On the fifth lunar rising of the second cycle of the nineteenth year, as the moon prepared to touch the earth, my mind, caught on a nail, came free, and I was no more a slumberer.
In the dream I had remembered, I had remembered before the nail caught. The shadows of the dancers jerking upon the cavern wall, the chants of the tongue-biters whose task was to suck out the souls as they exit the mouths of the dead, the seven bowls filled with pure, holy water, the torches which burned, to affright Smoking Mirror God, the left eye presented upon the leaf, and many more things. It made me want to cry, made me want to cry. For I had forgotten, had long forgotten. What I had been before having become.
For nineteen years I had been within a journey within a self for whom I had no name that was my true name. And yet I did not know this name, though it would come, I knew this name would come. Now I was content simply to know that my mind had slipped the nail, that I had remembered that once forgotten, and that it was the moon which had been the cause of my awakening.
Naked, I rose from my bed and went to the window into which the moon poured its light as milk is poured from a pitcher onto a sponge which is the world and all things in it. In this lunar brilliance I stood and made to chant as did the tongue-biters, but I had not yet found my true name and I did not know them yet and so could not.
"Pelu, pelu," I muttered, "pelu Sebek, pelu," making these utterances only with great difficulty while attempting to make the signs of the ritual, but failing in these also, for I had lain in the fluid too long and breathed the fluid, had become a sponge filled with fluid. Yet now, in this grey light shed like milk upon the world sponge I heard the sound of airplane sky, and the sound was like that of the Urim and Thummim, such as make an obol in the mouth of the dead, and in this instant I knew the form of the offering now required.
Though I was naked, and it was cold, I opened the window and walked out onto the fire escape. Here, pausing, I knelt and offered praise to Smoking Mirror God in the guise of the moon, which now floated low across the rooftops, wishing to touch the earth. And it was given unto me by Smoking Mirror God in moon guise that I was to climb the fire ladder to the rooftop and walk the parapet one full circuit, and should I live, I would be brought still more from the dream, further into the waking, further into the knowing.
Setting one foot upon the next, I went up the ladder, beneath airplane sky. Soon on the parapet I stood beneath airplane sky, beneath chimney smoke stretched as a taffy, looking down to cold wind pushed cars as withered leaves and began to walk the parapet. I rounded one corner when sky became tongue and tried to lick me as a fluid into the mouth of Smoking Mirror God, but I did not go to the tongue, I was not licked.
Now around another turn, for I was beginning to recall the stepping within one's own shadow which kept the fluid to the center, well from the tongue, and to prove this I stood on one foot and flapped my arms beneath airplane sky and the tongue could not lick me. Fearing not the tongue, for I knew to step in my own shadow, I rounded the final corner of the parapet and climbed down the ladder beneath the cold milk of the moon, and re-entered my apartment.
I was now in chyöd pa, the state of sublime awareness, in which it was given to me that "bazooka men always get it in the throat," and that this was to be remembered, for though I did not yet know what these words meant I would be given the knowing in time. But now I must dress and go out to perform that which Smoking Mirror God had instructed me to perform.
And so I put on my clothes and went down to my car and began to carry out the instructions given to me by Smoking Mirror God. I turned onto the East River Drive and drove through antennas, toilets not flush, low humming magenta washings, wild symphonies of spun glass and through the tunnel onto the Prospect Expressway where I began to count the overpasses I passed beneath.
On the fourth overpass ahead I saw he who was promised by Smoking Mirror God, he who was the shadow in whose face I had stepped and whose tongue had tried to lick me like fluid. He who was shadow stood in the center of the overpass and raised his arms as I passed beneath, and in that instant something struck, something something struck struck the windshield of my car and shattered shattered the windshield of my car the windshield of my car and I swerved to the shoulder and stopped the car and got out to see what it was for I was unhurt, and this something was a dog.
This something was a large grey dog of unknown pedigree, a mongrel dog. And this dog that had been hurled down from the overpass onto the windshield of my car seemed dead, for its blood was all over the shattered glass of the windshield and the dog's tongue hung limp in its mouth, nor did this dog bark. This dog, barkless, dead, I removed from the shattered windshield of my car and placed upon the earthen embankment and inspected it, for I was in chyöd pa, and knew the dead dog was a talisman sent by he who had hurled it down from the overpass.
Other than blood from windshield smash, dog was pure and without blemish and so I proceeded to take from this barkless dog the talisman promised by Smoking Mirror God. This talisman I extracted from the rectum of the dog and rejoiced when I saw it, for the talisman was a stone image of the dog and it bore no sign of corruption. And in the instant that the talisman came free from the rectum of dead, barkless dog, dog began to bark as a living dog barks and ran off barking up the embankment and onto the street above the expressway cut and was gone from sight and hearing.
Smashing out broken windshield, I wiped dog blood off steering wheel and turned on the ignition, starting the car. But before I could drive away a police car pulled over and a highway patrol cop got out and asked me what had happened.
"Some fuckin' little punk threw something down at the car, that's what happened," I told the cop, speaking as he would have had me speak because I was in chyöd pa and knew these ways of speaking. "Almost killed me."
"What was it, a rock?" he asked.
"I don't know," I told him. "I think it was a rock. It sure looked like a rock."
Then this cop asked me to present him with my driver's license and vehicle registration, which I did, and he looked at, handing them back.
"You wanna come down to the station we can file a report," the cop told me.
"No, I just wanna get going," I told him.
"My brother-in-law's over in Jersey," I said.
"You better get that windshield fixed," the cop said.
"My brother-in-law's in the glass business," I told the cop and he walked back to the police car and then I drove away too.
And as I drove away I felt in my pocket for the talisman I had extracted from the rectum of barkless dog and I smiled. Not only did I smile because I possessed the talisman but because all I had told the cop, over and over again, in answer to his questions was, "the bazooka man always gets it in the throat," for it did not matter what words I spoke anymore, nor in which language they were spoken.
Still driving, I took the talisman of the dog from my pocket and set it upon the dashboard of the car. If, in the state of sublime awareness, you pull back a certain part of the scalp, you can open up a hole. This I did with my right hand, holding the wheel which steered the car with my left, and then reached for the stone talisman of the dog, and took this from the dashboard and placed the talisman within the hole in my head.
Putting the scalp back in place, I continued to drive, drive homeward. Now, with stone dog talisman inside my head, with stone dog talisman within my fluid, I became a fluid dog and my mind lay on the ground beneath the nail from which it had fallen and I remembered all utterances to Smoking Mirror God and all names from the time before the nail caught and would never slumber again.
Dawn was already coming to rob night as I steered car back to the Upper East Side along FDR Drive beneath sky no more airplane but through which sun opens, as it has done for centuries, like the birds which ply the air. In my apartment, I made sanctification of my body beneath the shower, cleansing the nakedness of my fluid within the shadow of the falling drops. And then I breakfasted on flakes of toasted corn in a bowl of moon's cold light and the juice of several oranges and a mug of hot, black coffee and put on my suit and went to work, and I was glad, for today would be a day different from all others.
With the stone dog talisman within my head and in the sublime awareness of the Smoking Mirror God, knowing was given to me of Michaelson of recent hiring, who had been rumored to be after my job. It was Michaelson, I now knew, who was of the bazooka men of whom I had been informed upon my climb down from the parapet where the tongue had not licked me into the mouth of Smoking Mirror God.
And because the tongue had not licked me from the parapet it would now be mine to gain the tongue of Michaelson. For in my state of chyöd pa, I knew that Michaelson was of a holiness so pure that his gross being would be transmuted into a subtle substance possessing special qualities of great power upon his death, and that I must eat of him to gain further knowing lest my mind be caught upon the nail once more and I slumber again. Furthermore, I had seen the approaching death of Michaelson and knew that I must act quickly.
The day progressed in a manner of great ordinariness during which calls were made, letters dictated and meetings taken in the usual manner. Seeming ordinariness, I should say, because ordinariness to all others except myself, for I was now as milk poured onto the world sponge, milk upon the sponge which became one with the sponge yet was not the sponge in any manner.
While I prepared the seven ritual bowls of a pure, holy water, lit the torches for the ceremony of rolang, the eating of the tongue of the holy Michaelson, and spoke only the words "the bazooka men always get it in the throat," to all with whom I interacted, none perceived my true actions, for they were of the sponge and I was of the milk, and I was within them but they were without me.
How many times, while my mind hung on its nail, I thought as I went about the preparations, had I wanted to touch strangers and say to them, "I am a fellow human. Step in my shadow as I would step in yours." But I had never made these utterances, for I had lain in the fluid, breathing the fluid, becoming the fluid, and they were of the sponge and could not understand me. This had all changed with my changing, changed forever, for I had found my tongue.
And so it went, with none of the sponge suspecting that which would occur after the office closed, for I stepped in my own shadow and my nakedness went unseen. In time, the hour of the closing of the office arrived, and all left, and the office became as a dying nerve under an anesthetic, and Michaelson became as a small fly trapped in a large room with the windows tightly shut.
"Got a minute?" I spoke, as a sponge might speak, poking my head in through the open door of Michaelson's office where he too worked late.
"Sure. What's up?" he replied, placing his pen on top of the desk. I noticed that Michaelson had a newer computer than mine, for his requisition had been approved while mine had not. This was surely one of the signs that he was of the bazooka men, not only of the sponge, and thus was holy.
I approached his desk and sat on the edge, and I looked Michaelson squarely in the eye and saw that he was without blemish and bore other of the signs of holiness, and I smiled in this knowledge.
"Well, so what is it?"
"The bazooka men always get it in the throat," I told him, speaking now in my own voice and not in the voice of the sponge, so that Michaelson heard the words "the bazooka men always get it in the throat" and not that which the sponge might hear had I used the voice of the sponge to address him.
"What?" Michaelson replied. "The bazooka men -- "
But before the holy one could finish this utterance, I had already spoken the sacred syllables hum phat which have the power to kill instantly those who have not received the stone dog talisman and other tokens from Smoking Mirror God, and with this utterance Michaelson's heart stopped beating and he fell across his desk and was as dead as the barkless dog was when it had shattered the windshield of my car before the robber dawn came.
Then I took Michaelson down from his chair and dragged him by the heels to my office where I had spent the day making the preparations for the ritual of rolang, called "the biting of the tongue of the jumping corpse."
Beneath the light of the burning torches and amid the fragrance of burning incense, I stripped off Michaelson's clothes and anointed his naked corpse with pure holy water, sprinkling drops from each of the seven vessels I had placed around the office. I then placed Michaelson's clothes on him backwards and began mentally reciting the incantations necessary to the success of the rolang ceremony.
Now, mounting the corpse of the holy one, I placed my mouth upon the corpse's mouth and gripped Michaelson tightly while continuing my inner chanting, lest my concentration slip even for a second, and the sponge spit my fluid into the mouth of the Smoking Mirror God. In this way I proceeded for many hours, long into the night, until I felt the corpse beneath me come to life, and become rolang, as the barkless dog had come to life upon the shoulder of the expressway.
Soon thereafter came the great test, for the rolang of Michaelson now began to shudder and jump with a power that increased with each moment of renewed life. Were I to let go, even for an instant, or even for an instant cease my incantations, the rolang beneath me would devour me before the laughter of the Smoking Mirror God and I too would become of the sponge.
Not until I had bitten off the tongue of the rolang, would I be again safe from harm, and I knew the moment when the tongue would be thrust out was drawing near, because the ferocity of the jumping corpse had reached a peak. So fierce were Michaelson's contortions that we were hurled across the room, smashing everything in our path. Thus I prepared myself for the moment, and when the corpse thrust its tongue into my mouth I bit down and severed it at the base, and the rolang fell back, suddenly limp upon the world sponge.
Having swallowed the tongue of the corpse, my fluid possessed the holiness of Michaelson, and having placed stone dog talisman in my head, my knowing increased a thousandfold. I knew I could now perform things I had not even the power to perform before my mind had become caught on the nail, and that my body was now a chromium instrument within a skin of spun glass, and that my thoughts echoed with the sound of doubloons spilling from a pirate's chest.
"Stand," I commanded the rolang of Michaelson. And Michaelson stood. "Put on your coat. Take your briefcase. Go down to the FDR Drive and dance in the rush hour traffic, for it is morning again."
I spoke in the clear voice of milk, not sponge, and Michaelson, because he was now a corpse whose tongue I had bitten off and swallowed, heard and obeyed. He went off to dance in the rush hour traffic on the FDR Drive and was never heard from again.
Unto me was given Michaelson's spacious office and a raise in pay commensurate with the combined responsibilities of two members of the legal staff which I alone now undertook. It was soon thereafter that I decided to create a tulpa, or double, of myself so that this double would perform my functions within the sponge so that I might travel to another place on the Nepalese border, before that of the hanging upon the nail, and study with great masters, who knew of the milk and of Smoking Mirror God.
And so, each night as I returned to my apartment beneath airplane sky, as the moon spilled its milk upon the sponge, I sat upon the floor and concentrated upon the formation of my tulpa. Night after night I spent in its creation, but after the space of twenty-eight risings and settings of the moon my tulpa finally took on a life. In the morning I inspected it carefully and was pleased, for this tulpa I had created was a perfect duplicate of myself in every way.
"Dress and take my place in the office," I commanded my double. "Speak as the sponge speaks. Act as the sponge acts. Speak not as the milk speaks. Act not as the milk acts. Do you understand?"
"I understand," replied my tulpa, who I was pleased to note used the voice of the sponge, and not the milk, even when addressing me, and I knew then I had done my work well.
And so I sent my tulpa off to work in my place while I left for Nepal to study with the masters with whom I had studied in the time before my mind was hung upon the nail nineteen years before, in the fifth lunar rising before the moon had poured its milk upon the earth-sponge and I awoke from slumbering into the knowledge of stone dog talisman.
One entire year I studied in Nepal, gaining greater fluid, while my tulpa carried on in my place, and then I returned and summoned my tulpa before me and told him that I would now dissolve him for I no longer had need of him. But my tulpa would not obey me. Having become accustomed to existence he fled before me and I had to go to great lengths to make him dematerialize again, lengths which exhausted even my abilities.
Finally he was gone, however, and I returned to work, gratified to discover that I had now been promoted to one of the partners. That night, I returned home wishing in some way to celebrate but found that I was already there, seated naked upon the carpet in a posture of meditation surrounded by seven bowls of pure, holy water, and braziers burning fragrant incense.
"It is time for you to be dissolved," I said to me, speaking in the voice of milk and not of sponge.
"I am not a tulpa that can be dissolved," I replied.
"Yes you are," I answered myself. "I created you nineteen years ago, but now I have returned."
"You're forgetting that I too created a tulpa," I told myself.
"Tulpas can create other tulpas," I answered from the floor. "And the bazooka men always get it in the throat."
With that, I watched my tulpa dissolve. He had been one of my best, but his time had come. Yet there was still one more thing to do.
Naked, I rose from the lotus posture and opened the window and went out onto the fire escape and climbed to the roof. It was time to walk the parapet, beneath airplane sky. For my mind was no longer caught upon the nail.