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In the
Eye of the


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Jesse in a beret
in the rock garden
at the Runcible Spoon Cafe
in Bloomington, Indiana
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font of letter oKAY...It's like this. We're sitting in a Rock Garden in front of a coffee house that's actually in a small house with a front porch, and a bay window, with a nice piece of stained glass hanging in the window, which you can see from the outside when you're sitting on that side of the entrance walk. There are Locust trees for shade and you've seen them grow to maturity. Some afternoons, in the summer, when the lion's share of the college students are on break, you may well be surrounded by people behaving like "retired writers in the sun" and other such famously obscure artist types. Our table company has rambled all over the country and the world over 20 years time and yet we find ourselves re-collecting at our beloved Runcible Spoon in Bloomington, the cultural "mecca" of the Uplands of Southern Indiana.

indent spacerWe share a laugh when some one quotes whomever it was that said, "If you can remember the sixties, you weren't there!" I chuckle and say, "yeah...right. What century? Which MILLENIUM?" Decade brackets seem to delete themselves as we come up with hair-raising adventures, near misses, and coulda beens from our Collective Past. When they happened appears to not be very important to us - just the sheer exhilaration of sharing. So here you are. The scene is set and the bubble-up "machine" is ready to go.
indent spacerWhat follows may really only matter very much to your fellow cyber-typist, here, but I trust that you my gentle readers, may have a few "bubble-ups" of your own to share with the rest of us. If you are so inspired send me some. I will get back to you, and for sure we can build a file of them and then publish if that's what the Spirit of Recollection calls for. I'm looking forward to hearing from you as I load up some of my own favorite anecdotes, tales, rambles, rants and whatchamacall'ms - like the time I invented subway surfing on the Broadway line underneath NY, NY...


image font of letter tHE STORY begins early one morning in Manhattan's Lower East Side. Fifth floor walk-up - 3 room flat. Toilets with the tank up on the wall...2 W.C.s for four apartments...Luke, a trip-master MONKEY, if there ever was/is/will be one, has awakened me with a gentle tap on the shoulder. Truly intrepid spirit, this young man Luke - ex-Catholic seminary student. Could have shown the Merry Pranksters a thing or two. (In fact, I'm devoting a Page of his own to - let me call him Legendary Luke)

indent spacerLuke hands me a glass full of water with some milky emulsion swirling in it. One look at his face, and I know it's the "magic" elixir Dr. Osmond gave Henry and Clare Boothe Luce way back in those fabled days before the controlled substance listing of Albert Hoffman's Legendary "SOMA" Discovery. I get dressed - Luke and a third fellow, Barry, and I head out for what has proven to be my best outing in NYC. Luke suggests we go to the Episcopal Cathedral of St. John the Divine (...alleged author of the Book of Revelations). As I recall, we walked up fifth avenue to Central Park, visited a friend of Luke's near Columbia University, then the Cathedral. It was Stunning. An awe-inspiring silence pervades the interior - "sacred" space. Set aside from commerce's hustle-bustle. Or, as a Qabbalist friend of mine once said - DON'T LET THE MARKET PLACE INVADE YOUR IMAGINATION...or, as "The KID from Hibbing, MN" has sung since then, "Your mind is your temple, keep it beautiful and free, Don't let an egg get laid in it by something you can't see." (Once I came to Bloomington, I would discover that the Towers of St. John's are being finished with limestone from...the Uplands of Southern Indiana!).


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letter lUKE TELLS US how he would frequent this place during his seminary days. Takes Barry and I to one of the side chapels, teaches me to cast the I Ching with 3 coins, so as to divine the situation at hand. As I recall, we got the one of the 64 possible hexagrams called the Wanderer. Indeed. He then says, "Watch this - everytime I've been here..." as he walks to the apse of the Cathedral, the spot behind the cross shape of the building, it's behind the main altar - ya see nothing there at all! We reach that "spot", and the organist starts ruminating through Bach. All of a sudden, he's playing Wimoweh, Wimoweh - the part that goes: "In the jungle, the mighty jungle, the lion sleeps to" - then he doesn't play the last note of the phrase, and goes back into Bach. Barry and I - agape - look at Luke. What you would see, too, is a beatific grin...

Main Course

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of letter sO, THEN LUKE mentions he has a friend he'd like us to meet on Staten Island. The three of us lads take the Broadway Subway line. Now, the express we took to get down town to the Ferry slip at the end of Manhattan has some places where it doesn't stop for dozens of blocks. We move to the front car of the train, next to the operator's cab. Nobody else in the car! Perfect!! We take turns watching the light show as the train picks up speed and roars through local stop only stations. It's fun but I get bored fairly quickly, so I step back and let Luke and Barry watch the signal lights. Then the thought strikes like thunder and the lightning goes off in my head. The floor of the rolling subway car is a surf-board! If you have to grab for a railing or an overhead hand grip, that's a wipe-out!! I make this suggestion to the other two. Instant Cognition! They're Game!! So we spend the rest of the long stretch before the next express stop riding the rocking rolling waves of the car moving on the tracks as if we were on a board. I can still see those knee, elbow, shoulder hip shifts we all did. Did anyone wipe out? If you can remember the sixties, you weren't...(giggle, giggle) By the time we get to Battery Park, the giddiness of free form space odyssey is gone, so we "play it straight" on our way to Staten Island. Luke's friend is out, so we simply ride the ferry back to Manhattan. He takes us to see another friend of his called Angelique. the day is done. Goodbye for now, more soon. Hope you've enjoyed your first "meal" here at Jesse's Cyber Cafe.

Ever wonder what steel-wheel

This entreé Updated November 28, 1999 - Astral Tempus

For a song that reflects on these days of my life,
see Before the Throne
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*****All materials copyrighted 1998-9 Jesse Slokum*****

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