Memphis, Abode of the Gods, renowned for its necropolises and pyramids. Although I have never been to this Jewel of the Delta, it nonetheless has the feel of a homecoming.
"There are few remains above ground of the splendor of ancient Memphis." says Manning in his The Land of the Pharaohs, "The city has utterly disappeared. If any traces yet exist, they are buried beneath the vast mounds of crumbling bricks and broken pottery which meet the eye in every direction. Near the village of Mitraheny is a colossal statue of Rameses the Great. It is apparently one of the two described by Herodotus and Diodorus as standing in front of the temple of Ptah. They were originally 50 feet in height. The one which remains, though mutilated, measures 48 feet. It is finely carved in limestone, which takes a high polish, and is evidently a portrait. It lies in a pit, which, during the inundation, is filled with water. As we gaze on this fallen and battered statue of the mighty conqueror who was probably contemporaneous with Moses, it is impossible not to remember the words of the prophet Isaiah, 19:13; 44:16-19, and Jeremiah, 46:19."
Unfortunately, while traveling from the Cin-Cin-Atti Tower of Steel, my link to your worldwide communicative network is limited to cellular modem and intermittent packet radio bursts when the "juju is right," as Tom puts it. I am subsequently only capable of the sending and receiving text-based postal electronique, and am unable to access any editions of the Christian compilation of the Mythos Biblical in order to check these references.
I feel so strange of late. Not only has all matter of data slipped out of the grasp of my erstwhile leg-hold trap of a mind— I have read the whole compendium of this Mythos, including the apocrypha and pseudepigrapha of both Testament Greater and Testament Lesser, twice, but cannot dredge forth a single of these verses— but, additionally, I find my tempers to be exceedingly odd: I became so agitated, when denied my whim to peruse the Mythos Christian, that I fear I may have comported myself in a . . . less than cordial manner.
After I stopped slamming my hunting tentacles into the glass separating the piloting chamber and my chamber (oh how the blows made my rocketing sanctuary shimmy and shimmer in the blacktop sun!), Tom revealed himself to be something of a Christian Myth scholar (wonders do indeed never cease, my Ardent Readers), and noted that Isaiah 19:13 states
And Lo, Egypt was besought with fuckwads.
And yeah, hekki-hekki, lo be beware of the might and breadth and tallness of the mighty Egyptian fuckwads, as their fucks are wadded and their cocks both fierce and feisty, for they shall moan and gnash teeth upon their bits and pieces, before the might of the Everlasting Word.
O thou daughter dwelling in Tennessee, furnish thyself to go into captivity: for Memphis shall be waste and desolate without an inhabitant.
(How cryptic Manning can wax!) Tom has assured me that, when we arrive at a hotel-motel, he shall rush within and immediately requisition a Gideon Edition of the Christian Mythos in order to double check these references. So, in that matter at least, My Succulent Readers, we shall have answerers definitive.
Ah, but these matters Biblical are matters of the side. Although Manning makes little of it, it is Ptah, the God of Memphis and a greater creator in the pre-Christian myths of the Orient, that most captures my imaginings. Ptah is unique in that he did not create man through the messy business of forming mud or crafting bodies, but rather by invoking them in words alone. Ptah spoke Man into being, much as I, through my bounty of advice, speak you, Readers, into being.
Memphis, then, truly is my spirit of home.
Pardon, I intended to render that as "My Home of Spirit." Or, perhaps "The Home of My Spirit"?
I'm sorry; I tire easy in these days of travel and longing.
Strangely, my brain clears for a moment, and a single scrap of the Mythos Christian floats up from the murky depths. And so, in closing, I leave you with this bit of prophetic wisdom of Jeremiah, 46:20:
Tennessee is like a fair heifer, but destruction cometh; it cometh out of the north.
Ha ha ha.
(The Once and Future Squid)
Thomas posted the following note to me on a card depicting a highly magnified a mosquito with the caption: Tennessee State Bird. He had filled the back with his tight, crabbed penmanship.
We're on our way to Graceland. Suede my blue!
1). Lisa's not a Para-Legal. Junior partner. My bad.
2). Used "our lil secret in the supply closet" <wink-wink> to add a few entries to the law office's client database. Long story short: when the phone rings from now til I say so you answer "Brando Enterprises, Mr. Brando is not accepting any new scripts at this time."
3). Lisa's on tap for the trip as "Legal Counsel to Mr. Brando." Her boss was so impressed by the client records from an "associated firm in Los Angeles" <wink-wink> that he rubber stamped my request for Lisa's company right away. A little tale I cooked up "in confidence" for the boss's benefit about the last time "Marlon and I" traveled... when "Christian was still with us" . . . well, the explicit details sealed the deal. I lost track of what I was spinning him, half-way though, but he still bought it. Some folks will buy any old shit. Why?
4). As far as Lisa is concerned, I am the charming personal assistant of a notorious and wealthy eccentric celebrity, and she's around to keep us out of trouble, or to get us out of it when we inevitably drift off the path. Do you copy this, Sing-Sang-Sung-in-the-Round?
School marm fantasies roam freely.
Now, if only the squid would keep fucking quiet. Lisa's a little spooked by all of the Bible-thumping.
She's been mostly quiet, and I am just trying to keep my cool, lay a little groundwork before I make any moves, but the limitations of the cover story are already apparent.
"I loved Apocalypse Now," she said awkwardly as we swooped through western Kentucky's fucked-up hills earlier today.
"Madame," his reply came through staticky on the intercom that Devo had installed along with our other 'extras', "your immediate eschatology is unrequired. The magnificence of the sands and the stone shall be manifest soon enough. We shall all be faced with an Ozymandian moment of smallness. I imagine that an apocalyptic explosion will seem baroquely petty to you when set beside the elegant grandeur that you are about to behold. The clean, simple lines of the stones are enough, I am sure, to make Hiram himself slit his own throat. We are off to see the house of the Widow's Son!"
Strangely, Lisa nodded to herself when she heard that. It seemed to be something close to what she had expected.
We are off, Singy-Sang! To the House of the Widow's Son!
As an epilogue to this first transmission, it should be noted right now that my proper name is Hsien Sang. I realize that Thomas will always mangle it, and play with it as though it were a discarded toy. I have grown accustomed to the brutal disregard for etiquette that flows so freely in this nation of savage ghost-men. I understand what it is to live in America.
But... well, I felt it should be stated now what my feelings are on the subject. It seems unavoidable now that I should have to play a more vocal part in these grotesque affairs. Ah, well, it is as it always has been in this country.
I wonder what mother would think?
Also, from a technical standpoint, I am happy to report that I am receiving intermittent transmissions from Thomas' "lapel camera." I put quotes around the title because, though I assume that is where he has affixed the camera (that is where I would have affixed it) I am sometimes curious if that position is fixed. At any rate, the first images are in.
Though shaky, and sometimes ill-focused, I can see the highway clearly. The switchbacks that snake about the mountains are a bit disconcerting. But Thomas occasionally turns a bit to the right and I can see out across the valley's of Kentucky. There are little American hamlets, creeks from which cattle drink, children playing on the hills. The grass is rich, and though I am sitting alone in the laboratory with no company save the skulls of a hundred dogs, I almost imagine that I can smell the air: the lilacs and the moss, as that trio cruises through the ancient mountains to the south of me.
The air, it seems, is indeed blue in Kentucky. Charming.
Outside is America. Surely. But at least so far, that valley could easily be my boyhood home.
Well. The camera is working.
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