Sunday, January 30, 2005

Travelogue, Part 4, Into the Belly of the Beast.

Whipping through the scenery important characters go by the wayside. I met Billy Rodenberg when he was 16 and I was 19. The first time we met, I was declaiming to a crowd in the park. I didn’t know he was standing behind me and so I smacked him in the face with a sweeping gesture. The second time he saw me I was passed out under a tree; people had stuck pigeon feathers in my hair. We’ve remained best friends through the years.

Bill was the only son of a Washington lawyer from inherited money. His father had died by the time I met him and he lived in a five story mansion in Georgetown across the street from Al Gore Senior. Through him I met his best friend Douglas Hume; the younger brother of administration catamite Brit Hume and Howard Coon, the son of the ambassador to Nepal. Well, they were all film star good looking except for me and Douglas. All of them now live in rural Va. Surrounded by Washington Lawyers and ex-CIA execs.

These three figure prominently in many of the adventures and bear witness to the events. It was at an estate owned by Billy’s mother in West Va. Called Bear Den (Mosby’s Rangers used it as a lookout.) that some of the more cosmic dances took place. I spent one whole day there interacting with some discarnate Southern Gentleman who dispensed ageless wisdom to me in a homespun drawl. Once in a Shiva posture with leg extended in dance he said something about my possession of the truth. My father’s voice cut in with a sinister force, “He’d better be, I damn well nailed it over his head.” A hawk struck a bird in the sky a time later and the man said, “It don’t pay to be too innocent.” Meher Baba passed on around that time. On that day I was sitting on meadow and the wind came up and whispered Meher Baba all around me.

It was in Palm Springs where I first saw a seated Buddha in an antique shop window with hand extended on his knee in just the way mine were always held. Before and after I was always seeing green holographic Buddha’s seated in flower beds and meadows. They were everywhere as were the serpents that coiled in and around everything. Clouds infallibly transformed into Hindu chariots bearing the Gods across the sky. It was a long time before I realized that everyone didn’t have these similar experiences. Quite often I would find myself spinning across the ground like a dervish and then tossed into the air over a distance impossible for me to achieve in any normal way. It was something connected to slipstreams that exist in the ethers. Anytime there was a fire I could weave fantastic phenomena from it. This I can still do, given a portion of something psychedelic. The other powers faded with time and my descent into dissolution. But the fire magic remains as do the visitors who come. These days they come from The Sun and remain with me until reintegration. I checked in a couple of years ago and it was same as it ever was. Though uncanny phenomena do occur in ordinary life; if this life can be called ordinary it is rare. Yet it is instantaneous if I stimulate the pineal with essence. Obviously I’ve not passed some remaining hurdle. You can’t storm the gates of Heaven. God knows I’ve tried. These days I’m just plugging straight on with little appetite to cut ahead in the line as I so often did.

So I came to the highway after that spine trembler of a night. My first ride was from a man who said he was an anthropologist and who ironically smelled just like an ape. This was followed by one strange ride after another until I found myself back on that same Black Canyon Highway (or whatever it was called) in Arizona. I was now involved in a protracted conversation with someone who was probably in my head but appeared to be in the sky because that is the direction I was answering in. Even then I couldn’t make out what was being said but I must have understood somehow because I was answering alright. I remember when the intensity of it peaked and I was crying out that “I’m not worthy.” And “I can’t” I found myself walking across the highway and knocking on the door of a trailer. A woman answered and I asked her if I could call the police, who were looking for me. She said, “Of course.” And told me her son had done that very thing a year ago. We had a wonderful talk. The Sheriff came and he was just as nice as could be. I waited at his jail until he established that I was indeed being sought. And so a long journey by car in the hands of U’S. Marshals ensured until I was returned to the scene of the crime.

My P.O. was vicious toward me in a way beyond the calling of his job, as were they all. I went to court and the Prosecutor proceeded to assemble the railroad. I saw it coming and started singing in the court and then gesturing to one and all with my mudras. You had to have been there. The judge shook his head and said I want this young man looked at. The prosecutor was screaming and saying I was faking it. Later, outside, he kept shouting, “I’m going to get you.” Sure was a lot of emotion for a nobody like me.

So they sent me off to Petersburg Reformatory for mental evaluation. In the van I went deep into myself and held my body in a state of dynamic tension which I maintained for the whole 90 days. You have no idea what can happen when you one point to the exclusion of all else. In the holding tank the man with me was bouncing off the walls from the force. They locked me in a room on the hospital ward. The next morning John Reed appeared at the window of my room while I was flying birds on the reins of my hands through another window facing the outside. It hadn’t taken long for word to spread of my arrival. John had no doubt told them he could communicate with me; not hardly.

I maintained my persona and soon the whole place was under the spell. They put the word Guru in the nameplate outside my door. I fashioned a cone hat of paper and pasted pictures of The Beatles with the Maharishi on it. I inscribed the words Grand Imperial Dragon on it; having no idea of the meaning of the words. As the days passed I fashioned a bowling ball from a sock stuffed with toilet paper and began to bowl in the hallway with ten plastic bottles. I became incredibly strong. One fellow grabbed me and I put him down like he was a child on the ground. Word kept spreading through the prison about me. I started to kick the tile walls with the ball of my foot. I could kick it with tremendous force and suffer no injury. It really tripped the people out. The MTA’s who worked there; guards know as medical technical assistants were solidly in my camp except for one fellow called Sweeney. He’s probably dead now, he was older. He was reduced to a mockery by forces beyond his comprehension. The warden would come and sit with me to chat. I would sit on my bed and sing Chinese songs- I knew no Chinese- and inmates would gather. I had the run of the place. There were those in authority who were adamantly opposed to my liberties but they were swept away and rendered powerless.

Ian Fralich came to visit. He had been arrested for some amount of marijuana. He had owned a glorified headshop and meeting place in D.C. called The Source. He was head of a nuclear family and was the orchestrator of the first Be-In’s in Washington. He’s sit on my bed for long periods staring into my eyes. I don’t know what he thought he was going to find. There wasn’t anything in there. I was a comic rendering of someone from another planet. I spoke like a benign Gollum. I haven’t the ability to picture for you how I appeared. It was all coming from somewhere else.

One major event I remember among so many was when Robert Kennedy was assassinated. I was standing at the MTA station; a counter by the exit door where these guards did their administrative work. The exit door was on my right. To my left was a large dormitory/ward enclosed by bars and containing about 18 beds. At the time it contained about 9 black guys and John Reed. They had raped a boy out in the compound and were in there for the clap they had caught. I’d already had some fun with them. On this day I had kicked the wall a few times at the behest of the guards. They always liked to see me do that. Anyway, I’m standing there a few feet from the exit door which is partially open. The TV is going on about Robert Kennedy and one of the MTA’s says, “Guru, would you close the door?” I reached for it, it was out of my reach and then I said, without thinking, “that’s okay, it’s coming to me.” And just like that the door opened into my hand. Stunned is an understatement for the following mood, all of the inmates behind the bars had been watching too. I gave no reaction to the event. Just pushed the door closed and stood there. Shortly thereafter the inmates were playing grab ass and one of the MTA’s said, “Ya’ll better settle down or I’m sending Guru in there.” I said, “Yessss, let me in.” and walked over the cell door. I walked, generally stiff legged, my feet would leap out before me and pull me along, much like a centaur would do. They freaked. Most of them had been sitting or jumping about on their beds. They promptly jumped to the floor and crawled under them. I continued insisting that they let me in. They didn’t. It was a hoot.

Many other strange things happened. The psychiatrist examining me became a devotee and asked what he could do for me. He was willing to facilitate anything in his power. Somehow we worked it out to send me back to The John Howard Pavilion at St. Elizabeth’s. I perhaps should have said, “Keep me here.” I’d have gotten out sooner. And I didn’t realize until I was arriving there that if I continued in the persona they would shoot me up with Thorazine, especially after I met Dr. Kunev, an immigrant from Hungary who filled the halls with garlic every time he arrived. Dr. Kunev did not like me. He let serial killers and seriously violent nut jobs out before me.

I spent the next 19 months there, eating once a day, often fasting as well, sometimes just brown bread and meditating mostly. I befriended the heaviest hitters in the place and had no problems. I did not know if they would ever let me out when one day I met a fellow in the hall. He was a lawyer doing a study of conditions there. I thought for years that he was Michael Kingsley and it was that fact that a few years ago took me to Slate. We started talking and he instantly became involved in my case. He was sent to me, no doubt. He understood my talk about The Tao and other things. He advised me not to speak of these things any more and he would get me out. Dr. Kunev fought it tooth and nail but the lawyer prevailed. Upon release I was in such a high state that the world was more imprisoned than I had been while inside. This is a feature I noticed in my friends when they came to visit. Billy came regularly and Darren came every week.

I went to see her in Richmond where she was in school. I was on parole to a halfway house in Atlanta near my parents. It was the former home of the founders of Coca Cola. The parole officer there was a creep. I wound up driving a lawnmower at the airport. I wasn’t going to cooperate, but you knew that. I turned the head of the halfway house on to acid and he couldn’t do enough to help me get gone with a lot of lead time. People had started to gather around me in a nearby park but I wasn’t for staying. I left and met up with Billy in Washington D.C. and he took me to Woodstock, N.Y. where I lived with an archbishop on a mountain there; Father Francis, one time friend of the Vanderbilt’s and the Astor’s. I stated working for Peter Whitehead whose father had founded the community and still owned a large part of the real estate. I called myself Louis Ming and hung out with the poet Lokar Railey.

Billy’s mom, who hated me for years; many parents did; the Socrates problem, somehow overheard Billy talking with a friend and found out I was in Woodstock. She called the police and I was arrested and found myself at The West St. Federal Detention Center in N.Y.C. well, back into the persona. After a few days of non communicado a parole officer named Michael Esposito came to see me. I wouldn’t speak to him. He said, “I can’t very well get you out of here if you won’t speak to me.” Huh? Three weeks later I was out and paroled to Woodstock. After a year I had a gubernatorial pardon. Michael would still come to visit with his wife.

While in Palm Springs I had been musing about a spiritual occult bookstore where I might study the things that were happening to me. Suddenly I was working in one and soon after had it given to me. But that’s all for the next round and what happened in Woodstock.

I should mention that while I was locked up dozens of people from various parts of the country corresponded with me; Brad Lapin and the LA group and many people from Palm Springs and other locations.

I’ve left so much out and this is all just a vague sketch but we’ll just keep on choodlin till I can fast forward to the present.

11 comments:

Anonymous said...

Sparkling Evian water for the mind.

P

Anonymous said...

should I say, "what a long strange trip it's been(there done that."? Except I haven't but I wished I did- even the hard parts. Crackin good story so far?

crocodile boy

Anonymous said...

This sure beats a poke in the eye with a sharp stick...

ben

Anonymous said...

they're called siddhi's, you get them by controlling the chitti and that, of course, is the result of one pointed focus. i know you know that but this is for the benefit of those who may not understand that such things, though uncommon, are not at all unexplainable; just another law of nature commonly unobserved.

z a

Anonymous said...

I've tm'd Bob Weinstein about your story, heh heh. God, this is a corker. I just came on after not being here for a few weeks and have been catching up. I just finished the four parts an a few of the essays previous. You're outrageous dude and you keep getting better, or maybe it was the layoff that did it but I'd swear you've gone up a couple of octaves since I was here before-seriously entertaining and informative. I'll be baaaaaaack!

Bob

Carla Beal said...

Good grief Les. Wild. That is some pretty intense stuff. I'm posting it day by day up on the dorm bulletin board. Tina and I snicker when we see the other students reading it. We staple the newest one on the back and then thumbtack it up. We're replacing them about once a day. Figured you'd appreciate that. full credit given.

Carla

Anonymous said...

They raped a guy and caught the clap. Bwahahahahahahahah!!!!!! Good one.

TheArdent said...

To hell with the book...I'm thinking movie here...

Fantastic beyond expletives!

Anonymous said...

If TheArdent thinks it ought to be a movie, what with you having a one-point center of focus, of course I have heard of the siddhis and the chitti, but this is the first time I can communicate with someone who has demonstrated them. That explains all the unexplainables you have talked about. And why not should they not occur? The Masters have said we can have them...with a bit of effort..and suffering! hahahaha! The Path of The Chela..you would not believe perhaps that this lifetime is your time to become the Path itself, no? Incredible reading, as surely as reading any of those channelled by Khoot Humi, or Djwahl Khul to any of their chelas..!!

TheDreamer

John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland said...

Whipping through the scenery, important characters sometimes do get 'edited' out... I met Les ( Visible ) around the same time I met Billy Rodenberg, somewhere in the twilight zone between DuPont Circle and Georgetown. Doug Hume and I had stopped over at a cafe called "Brits" to join Billy for tea. Billy was sitting by the window, reading the famous Dylan Thomas poem in which the very first line rhymes with the very last line, and so on until they meet in the middle....And Les too, like a time-traveler, was the man of the middle, like the Tao of Lao Tzu. That serendipitous meeting, altered the course of history, or so they say. Shortly afterward, psychedelic destiny found Les, Billy, and myself on a plane bound for Los Angeles to rendezvous with the 'Doors' (of perception)... As the years passed, Bill and I became close friends, so much so that his mother's house became my home-away-from-home. And Les, well he was our pathfinder to 'beyond the beyond'...And out on the Blue Ridge, many strange tales were woven in that mystical tapestry surrounding that "estate owned by Billy’s mother in Va. called Bear Den". Of course, Les was always 'visible', and ever "elsewhere"...out on the threshold of the cosmic dream...in those days of ancient Atlantean future.

--- John Dudley, Duke of Northumberland

Anonymous said...

I knew Billy Rodenberg back in the day, although not quite in the same context. I was waaaaaaaaaaay out there, but somehow, not in the same space as Billy.
However, Billy did show me a measure of compassion that I'll never quite forget.
And John Dudley, I knew you,too!
What a long strange trip that part of my life was.
Just sign me the dancing diva of Nathan's.