Monday, March 31, 2014

Father Zosima

This is a hand-painted book, page size 15.5" x 11.25", 48 pages; bound by John Demerritt.

The Stench of the Cadavre of Father Zosima Frees Us All

I enjoy the gawky consonants of Russian: Tsarkoe Selo, startsi and strannicki, Khlysty and Skoptsi, Nishni Novgorod, Bolsheviki, Potemkin­­; and above all else, Rasputin––with his thirteen-inch prick (he used it to prove his identity), his mesmerizing eyes (he could dilate them at will), his second-sight, healing hands, and maniacal mixture of sex, politics and religion. I put Shostakovich on the turntable and study in wonder, and on Friday & Saturday nights allow myself to jack-off while imagining I'm the big starets, the giant holy man himself. Such power over all those Russian  principessas with their bright red nipples, prophesying revolution! Even his assassination is not beyond my drugged reveries, although I've had to tear out the pages where Rusupov cuts off the dark prophet's dick­­­: it's not a good thing to come upon when you're stoned. It's not that I don't accept God, understand, it's the world created by him I don't and cannot accept. Let me make it plain. I believe, like a child, suffering will be healed and that all of the humiliating absurdity of human contradictions will vanish like a mirage. Yet in the final result, I don't accept this world of God's and though I know it exists I don't accept it at all.

He puts down his fork, shoves his chair back from the table and rises––like an angel.

Here, let me take your hat, I know just how to deal with this. I will take care of everything.

No turn without a full stop: Once I came down here, it was a summer's day, hot and sultry I'd been playing alone and had to go to the bathroom. I could've gone anywhere, in the weeds, the trees, but instead, I went into the tool shed and defecated (our family doesn't use profanity). Flies buzzed, it was smelly, and I felt guilty, but instead of cleaning it up I felt directed to go to the doorway and stand in the hot sun, heat so bad you could faint. I stood there naked (anyone could've seen me!), listening to the flies, the birds in the trees––but I could hear something else, too: the planets moving around the sun and the earth turning beneath me. And somewhere deep inside the earth the things that made it turn: metal gears, giant flywheels, huge watch works. It didn't frighten me, I just wondered if I were the only one who could hear such a noise or if there were others, maybe everyone, only no one ever talked about it. Certainly, I didn't clean up my mess but someone did and no one ever mentioned that; so I know things happen that are not discussed.

All the most original Russian boys do nothing but talk of eternal questions––to begin with (stupidity) is brief and artless; while intelligence wriggles and hides itself. The stupider one is, the closer one is to reality. But these are not, of course, Russian questions: one scrap of paper I picked up turned out to be a worm and said: I am not supposed to be picked up. Others stretched into improbable lengths, their voices rising higher and higher until I could no longer understand their entreaties.

By the time Dostoevsky tooled into L.A. he was abject: the guilt he felt for the death of his child, the pain, was greater than any contract or renown could ameliorate; and he took to the Chateau Marmont as to a prison, a cemetery. But then he looked about, a strange expression on his face, and he said: I've been here before. I recognize this place. It was another time, with other actors, yet the same. Definitely the same. And with that, a zephyr sprung from his lips and he began to sing––a song filled with consonants as sweet as vowels, kinder than Jesus, softer than Brazil. He sang: The gears spin around, the kisses abound, the future so near and oh-so-dear...and every one could see him, his shining visage, the softness of his swan like neck, the stomach curving... the middle I shat: it smelled awful but no one ever mentioned it. And Father Zosima's cadavre wreaked to high heaven and everyone discussed it and how many souls were saved by the chorus of complaintants  that day? How many saved from false doctrine, how many freed from the manacles of...his funeral dinner. Certainly we shall rise again and go hand-in-hand––and don't be put off by our eating pancakes––it's a very old custom and there's something nice in that, laughs Alyosha. Kolya and the boys took up his exclamations: Hooray for Karamazov! Yes. Hooray!