For his first forty days a child
is given dreams of previous lives.
Journeys, winding paths,
a hundred small lessons
and then the past is erased.
~From The Story, by Michael Ondaatje
Gather them together.
Loners, stoners, freaks and poets – meet me on the edge of town, the place where Neil Young says the roads turn to dust. Gather up your notebooks and your talismans, your ancient and wonderous stones. Brew a pot of strong black coffee, melt down your silver and your gold, and throw your ingots into the ocean. Gather up your workbooks and your masks made of feathers. Gather up your treasures. Live your life only for love and pleasure. Climb up the chimney and step out on the rooftop.
Be a missionary in the dark continent all around you, preach the gospel of sex and magic. Throw pointed sticks at the moon. Paint your body with scenes from the Wild Hunt. Wear homemade antlers and clown noses. Wear outrageous codpieces and swollen bellies. Eat fish and berries. Sing a bawdy song in the graveyard. Sing a sea shanty and a madrigal. Don’t be ironic. Let loose your fancy. Shake and cry when you have to. Laugh when you want to.
Throw away your strategies and your agendas. Walk away from your seminars and your power lunches. Step away from your cells and your cell phones. Walk naked into the sea and into the fields. Feel the cold wind on your face.
Know that you are an emperor travelling incognito. Know that you are the junkie in the tenement, the old woman shivering beneath the bridge on a night when the end seems near. Know that you are the frightened child listening to the demons in the closet, the footsteps in the hall.
Know that you do not have any idea who you are, and so you should not judge. You are playing make believe, nothing more.
Unplug the television. Lose your trust in medicine. Devote yourself to laziness and ambition. Throw away that worthless bundle. Take back the lost years. Take all of them back. Walk in perilous beauty until the end.
Gather together the children. Gather together the sick and the hunted. Attend to the wounded. Find a new republic. Gather together the cooks and the teachers. Send smoke signals on foggy days to invite all of the politicians and lawyers. Cut short the speeches. Listen to the sound of foghorns and the hissing of rain. Listen to the sound of comets passing by.
Meet me on the edge of town. Bring accordions and candles.