disciplinary roots

by dschapman

i am a disciple of a transcendent school of thought and my society is thinly spread across a literary tradition bound in violation and in awe. i have been reared by the Old Gents, by crippled illuminaries and protegenous bastards with cherry pit pupils that see far beyond the horizon. it is the discipline of higher thought, and through it i have swam the spiritual veins that pump bile into my heart and churn it back out as soul. we are essentially theologists, and gravediggers, and stowaways in an anchored ship. there is herman melville, the wise and batmad old prick, who wrote the first thesis, who published the founding charter and erected with raw and bony hands the chapel of suffering and raving disillusion which draws us mortals to its unfolding grin like moths to a lightning bolt. there is rimbaud, the little nymph, who channels the old mystics with his thumb in his ass, spreading beautiful words like appleseeds across the Great Literary Frontier but doesn’t wait to watch them grow. i have studied under steinbeck, the sad and busted old pariah, who followed his own advice and thus collapsed in on himself, folding like a house of gilded cards but whose wisdom is as firm as a granite bust of his own peerless features. there are the wicked twins, faulkner and burroughs, the Good and the Evil, who float disconnectedly away from it all, like shallow tidal pools or old silver mirrors, and wink and nudge with hollow looks, and who i have always felt a dispassionate respect for, but they are the reflections that cast my own humanity in uneasy parallels with their own. when i could hardly take it any more, when the blood threatened to flow from my pores and my head felt sore, the gentle old pariah nathaniel west would take me in his tender hands and tell me a joke or two. and of course the bitter school of kosinski, whose motives were unclear but whose volatile vision first shook me from my childlike beginnings and set me, if not stranded me, on the road to penance and reality which i find myself set forever adrift on. but above them all, omnipotent and otherwordly and contained in a single speck of dirt, is my professor and my caretaker, my spiritual guide and moralist, as well as my rapist and murderous lark of pure intentions, the profound old wiseman henry miller, who has taken my hand and guided me through the subtle inconsistencies that branch out into a universe as infinite and bizarre as a pluot whose sweetness is divine and whose pleasant taste will emanate forever from the corners of my vision and into the lives of the unenlightened that sleep soundly all around me, blind to my shrieks and horror, my hope and frailty, my wisdom and eternal unknowingness. i have been made aware and i have been shattered by the greatest men there ever were.

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