blackbird online journal spring 2002 vol.1 no. 1


NORMAN DUBIE | Book of the Jewel Worm


                          Star room, lamp room,
The winter comes, a sea hunting . . .

                         —brother 'Perse

                                            —the New Year, an O'odham moon.

Dear Urze:      I also got a phaxx with no lading,
without holographic registery. The paraffin storms
can turn these things inside out. Yet,
there's a fearful coherence in it.

When it arrived in my underground
I fell to my knees vomiting—the lights
went out all over the camp.

When the lights returned I saw that
the lading had become two jewel-worms—
one in the eaves of my arboretum
making ice the color of rainbows and the other
lodged mockingly in my monitor's new filter
which has a fat sodium valence:

manatees, late evangelicals, and the mayor of Detroit
were all locked in fornication
there on channel fifty-two; I've always found the
mayor wonderfully distracting, even beautiful.
It was too bestial for words. I tossed
the damn thing into the lake. It depressed
the cat.

This phaxx looks like a full Mk'hagro,
a false Mk'hagro. But I don't know?

It was intended for thee, Urze-la . . .

Its origin was not anywhere in Lux—          it comes
from much deeper in the Assemblies.

The surviving worm in the arboretum
must be surrounded with braziers.

I'll talk to you again before morning.
I'll pray to Sang Yum.                      Uncle.

Post Script: 

this false Mk'hagro like a tax collector
could save all our lives one day. You
and Marie should memorize it in the Pali.

You asked about magic. Our worlds are so tricked up,
illusory and corrupt—
how can you assign any importance to a phurba dance
under these circumstances? But do study
the number values in the Pali alphabet.
I'll do the rest. Ekajati.


Uncle: I dream now of the Ward of the Septaguant
followed always by the Nitrate Wars of '24.

Wickle Ffee is killed by Septaguant—

wild donkeys are watching while the two kings stand
on the dry riverbed,
sunlight on the mica fabricates water on and around them.

When Ffee's ear falls off—
his sisters, knowing the outcome,
begin their ritual deaths while
tugging at great lengths of intestine—
leaving just a yellow-headed baby
alive in all that blood, rope and linen.

Septaguant stabs Marshal Ffee in the eye with a talc pencil.
There's a storm west of them in the mountains
which sends water down the hardpan washes. I see

there in a dark space Septaguant
and the blond infant riding an emerald wheel-station
beyond Pluto. Straight off M-914
there's a blue starburst. Then I only

hear the water rushing along the river.
I move into the very pitch of it.
My mother's voice is counting breaths like years.
Uncle, there are eleven Chöd strikes in her voice.

My throat is being cut—                   it is as if the blade
were the best silk, indefatigable volumes of light
drain from our head. It is
the sweetest sensation, the way Marie Proust
describes suckling
as warmth in the stomach.
Truly, it's as if nothing really happens. Think about it,
my sad captain.       Lux.


La:       she's cabled us in your voice
but with the signature of Lux. She doesn't
mean us any harm. She described happily
the death of Marshal Ffee.
He forced labor from starving wild donkeys, lepers
and even the orphans of New Zion. We shan't miss him.
Or his women. He once killed everyone

at a friend's wedding. His mother was a vehicle for Shö Wisdom
and then she crashed to burn
before even achieving her illusory body.
This is where the phurba language
of ill omen will take you.

Even Edith, the Spring Nurse,
used her phurba speech for only the most difficult births.

We have corralled the surviving jewel-worm
with braziers and tents of wet string.
Yes, Alfred builds these wonderful Tara fetishes
to tame the worms.
Both he and my recurring phantom, Nedperse,
do The Twenty-one Praises of the Goddess
every morning. Alfred uses colored yarn to construct these stations.
They resemble the Navajo tradition
of encircling. Half of it is pure calculus. That is:
the one seed, one pebble,

the one string. Descartes was a bore, we think!

Lord Hayagriva was singing away on the dunes last night.
Alfred has always feared the horse deity.
I tell him it's just gauze and smoke . . . refrains
of the dark phlegm. Kisses.  Uncle.

Post Script:
These post scripts have become a formal property
in our cables . . .

as in the parlors of Shö, these remnants of words
are the eternalist's preparation for no-thought,
or bliss,
the way stuttering leads to silence, or patricide?

If Marshal Ffee is dead
I suspect the Khandro assisted old 'tin-pageant'
in his victory. I must stop with these judgments!

The buddha descends the hill,
laughingly I climb it. Man's curiosity is shit. And, zing
goes the sling of my heart.
Enough absinthe for one day. Love. Your Vajramaster.


Dear Marie:     you can tell Urze that we lost the worm.
Alfred's male calico, Boil, liberated
the spirit-houses we'd made of yarn
so the worm fled
into a feldspar ledge beside the arboretum. Boil
is of that lineage of cats
from the first space station. They went into orbit
within twenty-five years of the Hubble. They have
those rhubarb rattlesnake patches that are so beautiful.

When I think of the modified Hubble
and how cocksure they were
that all of the observable solid matter
was flying away from itself and us—that it was all accelerating—
well, it was the chthonic wheezing of the Jovians
that led to that,
that foolish idyll of bloom and gloom.

I'm just delighted that Ffee is dead.

It was confirmed here yesterday.
That drummer on earth, Charlie Parker VI,
paid a million dollars for the ear. He and his friend,
Lyndon Alouyshus Johnson, between them
have a priceless collection of evil body parts.
This is the sort of shameless talk

that Alfred brings back from the Maximillian shacks.
They come up here to try and steal the cat
so Alfred and I heated our Huron blood
and gave the bastards four moons of diarrhea and rashes.

Now that they know Alfred's a witch they don't cheat at cards
and they offer us big dishes of potato salad,
tangerines and nitrogen candles. They say

the 'tin-pageant' wasn't even in the district when Ffee died.
I believe our mother dakini from Lux
was the incomparable assassin. In the end she strangled him.
I am beginning to love this woman.
Alfred and I have been celebrating since Tuesday. I'm certain
the Khandro was trying to find the groove

in the sacred Mk'hagro
and, pardon my French, but I believe
she just back-fired that Snakedeath script
across a whole glorious star cluster. She was immature for the groove.
It was a complete accident. Someday

our Urze-la may snap her fingers once
and lift those poor sons-of-bitches
right out of their tawdry scripts of circumstance. Would
she do the same for us? The blue Nairatma would . . .

I think the dharma
needs this family. Or else, the
Khandro's karma is in the crapper for an eternity.
You know I think the poor damn cat is even drunk. Beloveds,
I send you mud pies of etcetera.        Uncle Tweedledee-dum.

P.S.:     Alfred has dreamt of the giant Nedperse
with more banqueting and happy speeches
involving Chaucer and the blind Milton—
& Milton's satan. He refers to me as
the landlord come to collect the 'fie-foe-fund'? He
appears like Saint Nick with an armload
of gifts:             jars of green tea, mosquito netting
and a rat-trap that is a cross between
a black loaf of bread and a shoebox. I wish
he would leave us!


Dear Urze:       when Alfred asked me to sit
and have a cigarette with him, I knew
we were solemnizing a moment. Dammit, La,
I am so sorry. Alfred says your mother just fell from the horse.
That the burial is Thursday. There's a Redouler truck
running to Earth Wednesday. I'll be there for the service.
Let's go to the Maine woods for the weekend.
I'll make you my sautéed moose with plum pudding. Ha.
Damn, girl, I'm sorry for your loss. I just adored her, like my brother.
My love.         Paul.

Post Script:
Check your mother's papers, I believe
her request was to be cremated. The ringsels
in the ashes alone would be a great protection
for you and your future children. In the ashes
of Lama Karta I found a long silver
pin which I still wear in my hair.
Have you ever read that strange poem, Anagram Born of Madness,
by Gyurmey Tsultrim? Please, do!
It is an odd gift.          I love you, child.


Anagram Born of Madness, at Czernowitz

Do you hear those few songs
left for her
to sing, on the far side
of the river
of a human history . . .

                —Paul Celan, trans. Paul Ekajati

They were the strong nudes of a forgotten
Desert outpost, crossing through snow
Through the steam of a hot springs
Where they bathed twice daily against delirium.

It was during the conflict between the Americans
And North Koreans. We realized
They would use atomic weapons.
Our eyes were alive and you could read them.

How out on the glaciers
Angels were burning the large brooms of sunflowers
A back growth without smoke. Each flower's head,
An alchemist's sewer plate of gold.

They were coming down in winter
And whatever they were, Mr. Ancel's ghost
Would meet them,
Saying, "You may go this far and no farther."

Like fountains in winter the heart-jet
Is bundled in shocks of straw. Now, it's cold soldiers
In a swamp cooking a skull.  

   Table of Contents, The Spirit Tablets at Goa Lake
   Contributor's notes

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