a hybrid of narrative, dialogue, and free-form poetry…
MY JOURNEY ACROSS AN OUTLANDISH LAND, ATOP A REEKING DROMEDARY, IN SEARCH OF FRESH WATER, FIGS, AND WHAT THE SADHU REFERRED TO AS ‘SWEET NECTARS’…
He’d been fired in a wave of cut-backs, his woman had disowned him, his creative enthusiasm for life was at an all time low, and in the last year (or so) arthritis had begun availing itself to several of his joints. He was disillusioned, now, most of the time, and his yearning for something different, something that would reenergize and redirect his energies in a more positive way, was at an all time high. Following a time of whining, kicking cans, and half-hearted supplication, Providence lovingly intervened in his life and a new path was given. After cashing out his investments, freeing himself from stuff, paying off his debts, and tithing to a local charity, he boarded an inter-continental flight, and after two days of white-knuckled experiences arrived in Kathmandu where an adventurous reinterpretation of midlife miseries would commence…
On this pilgrimage
He sought no austerity
Or earthly riches
His imagination would be wings
Elevating him to a far & faithful star
Where a flame - that after being kindled -
Would burn brightly within his hearts earthen lamp
And in so doing allow the ashes of a quondam life
To be sprinkled upon a river of newness…
My first encounter with the Sadhu was arranged by a friend who’d met the Nepalean on a vacation he’d taken several years previous. I was informed that the man was special, and that I shouldn’t be taken by his colorfully gonzo appearance. In spite of this I was shocked speechless when I first laid eyes on him. He began laughing when he saw me staring.
Around him was a danda, (walking stick) a brass kamandalu, (water pot) a newspaper, a blanket, an incense burner, a pack of Marlboro’s, and an iPhone I assumed was used for transacting business with people like me. Following a short introduction I briefly explained the course of action I was considering. Staring at me queerly he said nothing. To lessen the uneasiness I mentioned the friend who had referred me. Nodding methodically, his eyes suddenly livened and he began laughing hoarsely.
“A most jocular soul,” he smiled as he reached for his pipe.
“Yah … he’s a funny guy alright,” I agreed.
“For your sacred pilgrimage you must ride upon these,” the old Sadhu motioned towards two camels under a crude shelter.
“Those? Come on!” My eyes widened. “No way man!”
“Call me Baba, Samsa.” Grinning he filled his pipe with fragrant hashish.
“How much Baba?” I asked.
“A deal for you at five hundred rupees, Samsa…”
“Hmmm… not bad; how long can I have them for?”
Baba exhaled a thick cloud of pungent smoke and coughed.
“Two months,” Baba sputtered after a second toke.
“Sounds fair,” I nodded.
“Despite what trials you may encounter, Samsa, carry on in all joy, persevering in faith. Bring scotch; the camels like scotch at night. Don’t sleep close; they drop much; no warning; very smelly. Somewhere in that distant desert, Samsa, you will surely find the inspiration you are seeking, and, perhaps, even the sweet nectars of Chandra’s nipples…”
“HUH … what’s that?” My interest ignited.
Baba didn’t respond.
So I handed 500 rupees
to an inner sanctum holy man, or perhaps
just a wily stoned ascetic seeking
bliss in cannabis clouds,
given to rigorous self-discipline and a
perpetual war of overly cerebrated selfness-
another wordless ascetic - with twined dreadlocks &
designs of red ochre and white adorning
a leathery tegument - perched
on granite steps
in ritualized deportment,
enjoying an American Marlboro;
puffing away in clouds of blue smoke
as he sought his fanciful bodiless someone
somewhere for enlightenment,
a philosophic renunciate,
of sandalwood paste and body odor
with glazed holy red eyes (agaze) after smoking an
outstandingly potent chillum of hashish…
Two months later…
How honest the quest,
and knotty my grim endeavors,
bouncing each day wearily on a barren lower land,
beneath a relentless sun, upon a pair of
reeking scotch loving dromedaries -
whose explosive ca-ca could
be used as a weapon -
in search of
thing (eye) felt certain (eye)
if ever (eye)
grieving, frightfully, too,
at the abundance of (eye’s) having
found their way into my holy thoughts
on a sacred pilgrimage intended purely to
re-discover SELFLESSNESS and to ignite anew
the cold embers of a flameless heart…
Alas…was (eye) once again doomed to failure?
richard lloyd cederberg
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|Reviewed by Blue Sleighty
|I enjoyed your work. The demons of mid-life are formidable. We try to stay true to our commitments and we feel the beckoning call of demons that if we do not resist will make our very world explode. God bless the ones who have a 'half' who can hold the little pieces in hand until together they can press all back together to form a whole new life, or be humble enough to hand the broken parts over when the broken one can be strong enough to make their part in life a whole new 'whole'.|
|Reviewed by Sheila Roy
You take us to this place that has me wary of the camels, but excited for the journey. Last stanza in particular had me wondering how often people search foreign lands for what is already within them. Enjoyed the dialogue, too.
|Reviewed by Morgan Merriweather
|I hope things are well in your world! mine has been busy, in a good way. This poem reminds me of a film class I took in college about fighting your inner demon , not man vs man, the inner demons of self and the journey it places you on, one of the films was about the aborigines in Australia, fascinating stuff. I won't bore you to tears here but this particular piece did get me thinking. ever, MM|
|Reviewed by Lily of Lough Neagh C. Dennis-Woosley
|This was quite a quest in your journey
A very interesting write more along the
lines of a story of inner discovery of self...
Love and Light
|Reviewed by Christine Tsen
|Ah, you make brilliant use of unforgettable material within such freedom and flexibility, and I love the "feel" of this masterpiece!
|Reviewed by Mor Inchrory
Quite an interesting read. It is a style of writing that I personally feel comfortable with.
Regarding, the journey, I believe that it is one, some of us at feel inclined to make at least once in our life.
I have made several, unfortunately to no great avail, the euphoria seemed to dissipate quite quickly when the journey ended and reality set in.
I had a suspicion on starting to read your well-crafted story, that its ending might possibly be somewhat similar.
On a somewhat cynical note, I was just wondering where your wonderfully portrayed, and ascetic holy man parked his S class Mercedes during the peak season.
|Reviewed by Ronald Hull
|I'd like to hire your makeup artist.
I only have one fault with your incredibly creative journey into discovering the self. And that is that while camels range the high Gobi desert, I don't think camels would like the altitude of Kathmandu. It would probably take you at least two months just to reach their desert comfort zone.
If I could understand the satire here, I would. Perhaps it is the mental transformation when one becomes homeless after several midlife disasters force him onto the street. Perhaps it is like sleeping in the desert with camels pooping on your face. It would help to have a little selflessness and help these poor guys out.
|Reviewed by Mary Ann Biddinger
Quest for the enlightenment sense of adventure
reveals a world of discoveries. Splendid writing to
this journey unique.
Lady Mary Ann
|Reviewed by Odin Roark
|Somehow, the reader believes you are not of minimal quest. You will endure the anomalies of a distant land and become more of what you are, what they are, what, if we be but honest, what we all are. Beautiful journey with humor, pathos, and anticipation for your own brand of enlightenment. Loved this write.|