So, I had a vision this morning in which I visited the moon. What’s that? You don’t have visions? Oh, my friend, you must learn to have visions; it is a gift that saves.
I did not intend to go to the moon. I was trying to visit a figure I met in a dream: a mad doctor who was, in some manner, associated with my father.
I went looking for my father, the mad doctor, and found myself on the moon. It was as desolate as you’d expect, utterly alien and very dusty. I watched an earthrise. It was quite beautiful. I walked into a castle like building and found myself in a Hall of Mirrors.
Everything was reflected there: ancestors and all the gods, characters from books and movies, other worlds, angels, demons, apes, serpents. And my father, in the guise of a mad doctor, beckoning.
I followed as he seemed to slide into a hidden doorway between the mirrors. We entered the laboratory of a mad scientist, just like in The Bride of Frankenstein. The white-coated doctor/my father is my doppelgänger, mocking my every word and movement. Then, at other moments, he turns into a bird or a monkey and dashes about the room.
I think of the news cycle, of President Trump and his son Donald Jr., and the madness of the times and this administration. Are they not another father and son, doppelgänger reflections of one another, caught in a web of history, trapped in a mad vision. I wonder, how we can all escape this insanity?
My mad father bustles about and teaches me without words that he and I are together creating this vision in our Frankenstein’s laboratory, a vision which is somehow more real than real. It resides in eternity. It is heaven and hell.
At that thought, the laboratory transforms into a great cathedral and I hear celestial music. The cathedral is filled with ghostly images. I see myself as a skeleton, as dust, as dead. I see all possibilities and alternative worlds. This is an infinite cathedral of mirrors in which everything imaginable is reflected and connected. Out of these possibilities, I think, together we can create a world.
This is a big responsibility.
The thought comes to me: I cannot merely fight or resist Trump. I need to own the ways in which I—all of us—have created him. In America, today, he is Father, a mad authoritarian, an American myth made real. And, in a mysterious way, it seems, we give birth to the fathers we experience just as they assist in giving birth to us.
This doesn’t entirely make sense, but isn’t that the way of visions? I must feel my way through the illogical. The images have a life of their own. They will do their work or extract their due. I must acquiesce.
One might be tempted to say, “The vision has its own logic.” But that is a misunderstanding. Its nature is illogical. By definition, nonsense is not a different sort of sense but the opposite of sense. It is an absence of logic. Its claim to meaning lies not in its persuasiveness but in its persistent existence, ever arising from below, or, perhaps, descending from above.
So: a hall of mirrors, a mad scientist for a father (a god? the Creator?), a visit to the moon? Donald and Donald caught in a universal madness that effects fathers and sons? Ancestors, ghosts, gods, and monsters filling a cathedral of the mind?
What does it all mean?
It means: a hall of mirrors, a mad scientist for a father, a visit to the moon, Donald and Donald caught in a universal madness that effects fathers and sons, and ancestors, ghosts, gods, and monsters filling a cathedral of the mind.
Can you hear the drumming of the moon?
Rumpus original logo by James Lorenzato, aka Argyle C. Klopnick (ACK!).
“The Storming Bohemian Punks the Muse” was originally developed as a column under the editorship of Evan Karp at Litseen. An earlier incarnation of this work can be found there, along with many other interesting things.