Correspondence pigmented archival print 2013
prescript to a treatment
The small blue haired first mate whispered into the Chief’s ear so thoughtfully, "Don’t worry captain, all’s well, it doesn’t have to make sense for it to work. It’s all part of the plan."
The captain knew his kind assistant was right. He knew they’d moved too far out and been through too many perplexities for the whole thing to feel clear to him in moments like this. The key was to stay out of the way and to let it be. He returned to his breath as he surveyed the sprawling instrument screens before him scanning for anomalies. He reconnected to his prayers which because of his many years of training now went on independent of conscious effort. The huge black ship slid on through the night sky as most of the passengers and crew lay nestled like newborns wrapped in lambs wool, symmetrically arranged in their cocoon-like travel chambers. They were linked by their dreams. They all dreamed of the new world toward which they moved, silently and weightlessly.
He was a stranger even among them and they were all cloistered away from the world most know. Some rarely left their rooms. Some were catatonic never uttering a word. His first year was marked by a skyless indoor summer followed by holiday meals on trays. The food was good enough but the emptiness was numbing. He became adept at small talk, backgammon and painting and eventually, solitude. He fell in love with the doctors, Buddha-like characters from faraway lands who seemed to know so much of other worlds. They filled the atmosphere of the rooms with their presence. Especially, he adored the sage, the Section Chief, Dr. Dean Collins. He was a large and subtle man with a constant gleam and a deep, sublime silence. Dr. Collins loved them as only a saint could. His unwavering compassion and his joy around all made for a space of reassurance that was the foundation for the millue therapy that Menningers was at lest in form, defined by. And there was Dr. Bequer Benalcazar who was instantly recognized for his vibe and who had the eyes of a child. He came from South America and could be dark and cunning and as grave as one might imagine and then suddenly given to the abandon of a boy. Unpredictable, shape-shifting, carrying the charge of a chamán, he was the most magnificent man. The black haired magician lead him to the mountaintop over the course of the first year only to vanish to Switzerland, leaving him alone with God and under the supervision of a brilliant, elegant and severe Jewish Doctor named Howard Osofsky…
Then there were the sad ones. Lost souls like little Victor from British Columbia, the son of concentration camp survivors. He hung himself in his closet to bury their suffering while we were gone to the gymnasium for movie night. There was sleepy eyed John who also hung himself only weeks after returning home from two and one-half years there. There was Sam, who was generally loathed by the others for being pompous and overdressed and forever posing. One afternoon, he threw himself in front of a car. There was Thad, who looked Nordic and who had spent months at a time in restraints. Dr. Nathan had run out of options having already maxed out the appropriate limit of Thorazine im of 1500mg. He'd become riled when he found that he'd been omitted unjustly from the current TV Guide. One day they let him out of his binds and he ran through a huge, purportedly impregnable glass door. There were numerous others. Ours was the most colorful of communities. Children of the ultra rich, geniuses from all over the world and many for whom this place was literally, the last resort.
He knew he would live on. His awakening gave him hope. The trickster had been brought down over the 10 months there resulting in a sort of "transference/exorcism" break that resulted in a thunderous emotional display. Some of the patients would from that day forward distance themselves. Byron Fry, a smart and wise Art Therapist who'd worked very closely with him who was in the team meeting, told him years later that that was the day his life changed. Months later he drifted into a sort of conemplative drift that resulted in seeing a burning bush. Upon this sublime set of moments and ultimately for 14 days, he witnessed inexplicable things so profuse and scaled that there are no words. He found life to be unimaginably different than he had anticipated--yet utterly familiar. When he met God, it was much different than he could have expected. The Universe is much vaster and scarier…and tenderer and more immediate than most really know.
He left the clinic many years ago. Like wounds that can never stop bleeding, now he is free.