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Byron W Scott
PO Box 626
Mt Enterprise, TX 75681 903-822-3881 Hm
936-564-8348 Wk
sctt450@yahoo.com
26,617 words

THE SONGS FROM LONG ROAD

 

by Byron W Scott Forward

 

And editor once asked me about the title of this book. “The Songs part is self evident,”

 

she said, “but what exactly is meant by ‘Long Road?’”

 

The American Indians had a term for this existence of ours. They called it the Road of

 

Life. I find it to be an apt analogy, for along that road we find unimpeded straight-aways,

 

twists and turns, bumps, detours, and dead-ends. The term applies not only to the life of

 

the individual, but to generation after generation. From the dawn of human history, it has

 

indeed been a Long Road. Of course, there is more to it than that.

 

Mesoamerica stretches from northern Honduras and El Salvador up through Guatemala,

 

Belize and Mexico and into the four corners area of the United States. Each Indian tribe

 

will insist that it has developed its own unique culture, but there are certain myths,

 

legends and beliefs that seemed to span the entire region. One of those myths is the pre

 

Columbian belief that a bearded white man once lived with the Indians and then left them

 

and headed for the East. According to the legend, he would one day return to reunite the

 

two great peoples; the red man and the white. The Maya called this man Kukulcan; the

 

Aztecs and Toltecs called him Quetzalcoatl, the “feathered serpent.” The prophesied date

 

for his return in the Aztec calendar was Ce Acatl, which corresponds to the Christian year

 

1519, the year that Hernan Cortes appeared off the coast of Mexico. The Spaniards

 

destroyed nearly everything during the Conquest, and so very little remains of those

 

legends from the “high cultures”. But thanks to Frank Waters, who wrote The Book of

 

the Hopi, we have a compelling and comprehensive version of their legend—the Hopi

 

Pahana.

 

The prophesied date of Pahana’s return was the same as Quetzalcoatl’s. According to the

 

myth, if he did not return on that date, it would be hundreds of years before his arrival.

 

And that makes a very long road to walk. The Songs from Long Road is an attempt to incorporate this legend into the historical

 

perspective.

 

Prologue

 

If you happen to meet a mahu along your Road, you should stop and visit for a while.

 

There’s no telling what you might learn. Part 1

 

Hey guys,

 

It’s been a long time coming, but I’ve finally finished the Songs from Long Road. I’ve

 

divided the text into three parts because there are three CD’s. There are also three main

 

categories to the songs: history, American Indian mythology, and personal subjectivity.

 

There’s probably a little bit too much of the latter category, but I’ll let you decide about

 

that. The best place to start in any book about history is in the present. Why? Because that’s

 

where the readers are, of course.

 

I hope you enjoy the lyrics.

 

Something Good

 

I’ve been leafing through some books of history

 

There have been some sad events in our history

 

Recall the Trail of Tears of the Cherokee

 

Or down in Selma, Alabama before Martin Luther King

 

There have been some sad, sad moments in our history

 

Too many broken treaties, too many lies

 

Too much aggression to rationalize

 

Too many broken treaties, too many lies Too much racism to ever justify

 

But hey!

 

Got something good to say about the USA

 

Hey! There’s plenty good to say about the USA

 

I’ve got the freedom to learn

 

Got the freedom to turn my own page

 

I’ve got the freedom to fall in love and raise a family

 

Or to follow my heart, wherever that may lead

 

And hey! That’s always good to say about the USA

 

Hey! There’s plenty good to say about the USA

 

I’ve got the freedom to roam

 

Got the freedom to be my own man

 

I’ve got the freedom to launch myself upon this journey

 

It’s a varied landscape filled with mysteries

 

The people are friendly if you follow their laws

 

And take their attitudes with a grain of salt

 

You’ll find many good people who are going your way

 

There might be clouds in the sky, but it’s a sunny day

 

And hey! That’s mighty good to say about the USA

 

U S A Western expansion played a major role in the early history of the United States. Circa

 

1865, Horace Greeley advised “Go West, young man!” And that statement reverberated

 

throughout this country for almost a hundred and fifty years. Gold had already been

 

discovered in California, and also in the Black Hills of North Dakota. For westward

 

expansion, there would be no holding back. No gold would ever be discovered in the

 

Ozark Mountains, but who knew at the time.

 

Buffalo River 1886

 

Ozark Mountains called to me I heard it in the wind back in Tennessee

 

I found a job in the mines here in 1880

 

Knew there’d be a pot of gold waiting on me

 

Ozark Mountains, haunting me

 

It’s been years since they chased out the Cherokee

 

Now I’ve got a home in the glade and a family

 

And that pot of gold is still waiting on me

 

And I’m going up to Boxley when the dogwoods bloom

 

The river will be rising, going to float my canoe

 

Some folks think me loco, some think me brave

 

Past Ponca and Pruitt, going to ride those white waves

 

Buffalo River calls to me

 

Got a date in the morning with my family

 

Take my boy for a swim at the mouth of Rush Creek

 

Explore the limestone bluffs with the cedar trees

 

Buffalo River, haunting me

 

From deep in the mines I hear it call to me

 

The only pot of gold I’ll ever see

 

Is my love for these hills and my family And I’m going up to Boxley when the dogwoods bloom

 

The river will be raging, going to float my canoe

 

Past Hemmed-In-Hollow and Indian Creek

 

Floating that whitewater is a challenge to me

 

Going up to Boxley when the dogwoods bloom

 

The river will be dancing, going to float my canoe

 

Past Big Bear Cave, through Longbottom Hole

 

I’ll be rounding Toney Bend, down Clabber Creek shoal

 

Going up to Boxley when the dogwoods bloom

 

The river will be rising, going to float my canoe

 

Past Cow House Eddy, past Leatherwood Creek

 

Floating that clear water is a pleasure to me During the winter of 1874, General Ranald McKenzie and the US Cavalry caught the

 

Comanche and Kiowa Indians napping in Palo Duro Canyon in the Texas Panhandle. The

 

ensuing slaughter was not pretty. Needless to say, not everybody on the American

 

continent was thrilled with the westward expansion of the white man.

 

Comanche 1874

 

Whiteface are done fighting each other

 

Now the bluecoats come in force They’ve killed our horses, burned our winter stores

 

We should have foreseen these acts of war

 

These northern gales blow fierce and cold

 

They paralyze these high plains

 

My people are scattered, hungry and bare

 

I curse the white demons who put us here

 

We’ve learned we can never trust their word

 

They speak with two hearts, truth unheard

 

This prairie will never be the same

 

Its’ life is fading, it’s starting to change

 

They’re killing all the buffalo on the plains

 

And now they want to move us far away

 

To Oklahoma and the reservation

 

But the Clearfork and caprock are my home

 

Brother coyote speaks to me

 

He tells me of the death of my family

 

Eagle spirit mourns with me

 

I need the plains and the sky And I need to roam free

 

The pueblos and people west on the mesas

 

Wouldn’t want us there at all

 

Although they look to be the same as us

 

They never did come across from the North

 

They still await Pahana, their white friend

 

He’s awfully late; he must have lost his way

 

He left ages ago, will he ever return?

 

Is there a lesson here that we must learn?

 

Whiteface are strange in their beliefs

 

They kill and steal, lie and cheat

 

They don’t take their Lord very seriously

 

They don’t believe they’ll have to answer for their deeds

 

But their medicine is strong, I believe they’ll win

 

Don’t believe one of them could ever be my friend

 

These high plains winds come whispering

 

Oklahoma sounds like death to me Bother coyote speaks to me

 

He tells me of the death of my family

 

Eagle spirit soars with me

 

I need the plains and the sky

 

And I need to roam free Today we’ll keep sliding back in time. This song takes place just before the Conquest.

 

Strange things are happening in Tenochtitlan, the Aztec capital. Moctezuma, the Aztec

 

Emperor, is becoming worried. The year of Ce Acatl is approaching.

 

I can’t take full credit for this song. Most of the sentences came from two sources; Great

 

River and Conquistadors, both written by Paul Horgan. This man could make absolute

 

poetry out of history. I merely did a little paraphrasing, rearranged a few words and put

 

them to a melody.

 

Portents 1517 Lake Texcoco unexpectedly

 

Rose up one day and flooded the city

 

A comet fell to Earth in the middle of the day

 

It divided into three, spread from west to east

 

Omens and portents keep happening

 

They fuel seeds of doubt

 

They startle the city

 

Here at Tenochtitlan

 

Does it augur the end?

 

A fiery tongue in the night time sky

 

Would vanish at dawn, but for a year it went on

 

A fire broke out in the Temple of War

 

Burned it to the ground, we could not put it out

 

Serpent Woman roaming the streets at night

 

An Earth Goddess moaning, I hear her cries of fright

 

Wailing, “We are about to go, oh my sons

 

Whither can I lead you, my beloved ones?

 

Our fate is approaching, we’re about to go And I can’t find the door, can’t see to lead you!”

 

Ambassadors bring me news of white men

 

“Gods or men?” they can’t answer my question

 

There are people dying out in the Yucatan

 

A mysterious disease, they say it spoils the skin

 

Omens and portents keep happening

 

They fuel seeds of doubt

 

They startle the city

 

Wait for Ce Acatl

 

Look for Quetzalcoatl

 

An ash gray crane, a mirror in its head

 

Was brought before me in my royal palace

 

Peering into it I saw warriors on “deer”

 

A prophesy of doom, it heightened my fear

 

Serpent Woman roaming the streets at night

 

An Earth Goddess moaning, I hear her cries of fright

 

Wailing, “We are about to go, oh my sons

 

Whither can I lead you, my beloved ones? Our fate is approaching, we’re about to go

 

And I can’t find the door, can’t see to lead you!” As we go further back in history, we enter the realm of American Indian mythology. You

 

may have noticed a couple of names in the last two songs; Quetzalcoatl, from Portents,

 

and Pahana, from Comanche. The myth that a bearded white man would some day return

 

to set things right and reunite two great peoples was widespread throughout

 

Mesoamerica. As I have already pointed out, the most dynamic of these myths belong to

 

the Hopi Indians of NE Arizona. The Hopi possess four stone tablets that they’ve had for

 

hundreds of years; their Creation Tablets. According to the legend, the corner of one of

 

those tablets was broken off and given to Pahana, their white friend, so that when he

 

returned, there would be no mistaking his identity; Pahana will bring this stone piece with

 

him and the tablet will be made whole. The next few songs depict Pahana beginning his

 

journey. Time To Go 1388 BC

 

Brothers, fare you well

 

I love you dearly, with

 

This land and all it is

 

We’ve journeyed far south

 

From tropical climes

 

Climbed mountains of snow, gazed on northern lights

 

But this desert is fine; we’re all of one mind

 

And so we’ll gather back here in another time

 

Brothers, fare you well

 

I wish you all the best and more

 

Now you go west while I head east

 

But I’ll be gone before you reach that shore

 

Keep good thoughts, bring the rain

 

Grow your corn, harvest your game

 

Creator tells me it’s time to go

 

Old man nods, I think he knows I’ve been taking my time, been going too slow

 

Old man tells me he don’t know why

 

But if I rest more than twice

 

Things won’t go right

 

He says not to linger, to leave today

 

Say my good-byes and be on my way

 

Life fire planted like a seed

 

It grew into us, and now we see

 

That it’s a wonderful world

 

You gave us much more than we need

 

Lord you made it all so beautiful

 

Will we be able to keep our spirit true?

 

You gave us color and depth and solidity

 

I’m going to be hard pressed

 

To keep from pleasing only me

 

Brothers, fare you well

 

Creator tells me it’s time to go

 

He gives me this stone, sends me alone

 

And says when I return to this land

 

To grasp that hand, welcome home

 

Old man smiles and pats me on my back He says he’ll remember me when I come back

 

I know I’ll remember him when I come back Legacy 1387 BC

 

I came to the purple light, it beckoned me

 

Back to the Fourth World on awakening

 

The day is dawning, it’s refreshing me

 

The Sun is rising, He’s telling me

 

That there’s one more mountain range

 

Before the plains

 

I’m feeling good, I’m on my way again

 

I’m going to leave this desert far behind

 

My load’s been lightened Should be making good time

 

Been two days gone from that great river I crossed

 

The people I’ve met have been

 

Scattered and lost

 

Creator said that it would be best

 

If I stopped a second time to take my rest

 

Through sand He led me to these hills

 

I found a spotted earthen jar where I could quench my thirst

 

Then deep in the canyon I placed my stone

 

Leaving it there burns deep in my bones

 

One day one with insight will carry it home

 

And together with the Keepers make the tablet whole

 

This world is boundless, broad and deep

 

But the essence of this life isn’t hidden from me

 

If I keep my door open

 

I can see the mysteries

 

Snatch the magic from both sides

 

Affect reality

 

I’ve passed through the purple light, it beckoned me Back to the Fourth World on awakening

 

The day is dawning, it’s refreshing me

 

The Sun is rising, He’s telling me

 

That there’s one more mountain range

 

Before the plains

 

I’m feeling good, I’m on my way again

 

Going to leave this desert far behind

 

My load’s been lightened

 

Should be making good time Sun Father

 

Father sun your light shines on me

 

And this good Earth sings and grows

 

The clear brook laughs and glows

 

Will the land and sky always

 

Carry your message to me?

 

Father Sun your flame leaps in me

 

You are the sparkle in my eyes

 

The Spirit that makes me alive With this gift that you give me

 

I travel this road of life

 

Father Sun will I remember

 

To keep my door open to you?

 

To voice my thanks to you?

 

May this eagles feather

 

Carry my love to you Circa 1365 BC Amenhotep IV became Pharoah of Egypt. Right off the bat he took 1500

 

years of Egyptian religious beliefs and threw them out the window. He changed his name

 

to Akenaten, moved the capital from Memphis to a new city he built in the desert at

 

Amarna, and instituted worship of the sun. By doing so he totally insulted his priests and

 

everybody else in the Kingdom. He made foreign dignitaries stand in the hot sun until

 

they collapsed. Why? What would make a man do such a thing?

 

Oh, that’s right. Our hero, Pahana, was heading that way.

 

Halfway To Karnak 1365 BC Floating up from Memphis on the River Nile

 

Halfway to Karnack, had to stop for a while

 

Had the boatmen pull over and dock in the reeds

 

Held the Guard and went on shore with Nefertiti

 

Walked half a mile, then turned back towards the West

 

Saw a lion, a falcon, a golden sun disc

 

Saw a temple to Aten rise up from the dust

 

Then was startled by a voice that spoke behind us

 

Turned straight away and saw a ragged old man

 

Nefertiti felt weak and collapsed in the sand

 

We helped her to her feet, to the nearest shade tree

 

He apologized profusely as he bowed to me

 

Confusion in my head, could not collect my thoughts

 

He grabbed my arm and we began to walk

 

Said it was his nature, he was lagging behind

 

But we were fated to meet; now he must speak his mind

 

He said he crossed a great ocean that lies to the West

 

Over mountain and desert he’d been drawn by his quest

 

Although his path had altered he kept to his task To hear the words of the Creator and to do what He asks

 

“Amen and Ra and your myriad gods

 

Are confusing your beliefs, keeping you in a fog

 

You have it in your powers but change is a risk

 

Your Father’s in your visions, He’s the golden sun disc”

 

Floating up to Thebes on the River Nile

 

Almost to Karnack, we’ll be there in a while

 

Nefertiti feels ill, she is causing a scene

 

But my thoughts run heavy; I must speak to my priests

 

Giza kept calling him, said he had to go

 

All the lines were converging there, an energy source

 

He asked me if I knew what the Pyramids were for

 

I answered they were tombs for my predecessors

 

“No tombs of death!” he told me with a grin

 

“But a boost to your life if you’ve kept the knowledge

 

You have it in your powers; your life is at risk

 

The answer’s in your visions, it’s the golden sun disc”

 

Walked half a mile then turned back toward the West

 

Saw a lion, a falcon, a golden sun disc

 

Saw a temple to Aten rise up from the dust Then was startled by a voice that spoke behind us

 

“Amen and Ra and your myriad gods

 

Are confusing your beliefs, keeping you in a fog

 

You have it in your power but change is a risk

 

Your Father’s in your visions, He’s the golden sun disc” There’s a whole lot of time that elapses between this song and the last. That’s because

 

there are a lot of songs that never got written. I was going to do one on Moses, in order to

 

include the religion of Judaism, and of course one on the coming of Christ. I think I’ll

 

wait for divine intervention to do that one.

 

Milvian Bridge 312 AD

 

Mama, hope you’re doing well

 

Got good news, I’ll be coming home soon

 

I’m going to build another boat We’ll hire some help

 

Fish the coast down the straits

 

Through the Dardanelles

 

Mama, I’ve got a story to tell

 

I was there with Constantine at the Milvian Bridge

 

We were gathered up in arms against Maxentius

 

When there appeared a flaming cross etched in the sky

 

It was during the day, mama, you know I don’t lie

 

It was an omen from God

 

Blazing there in the sky

 

Mama, I’ve got some more to tell

 

That night outside the tent of Constantine

 

I was gazing at the stars, I could not sleep

 

When there came a shining or a presence

 

I’ll just say what I mean

 

There was an Angel talking to Constantine

 

We carried a cross into battle next day

 

It was a glorious fight

 

The tide swept our way

 

Mama, I’ll be leaving Rome soon I’m getting tired of toting this sword around

 

And Constantine will soon be in Byzantium

 

Greece will be great again, the Lord’s on our side

 

Mama, the Lord is beside us

 

We’re going to be all right

 

Mama, hope you’re doing well

 

Got good news, I’ll be coming home soon

 

I’m going to build another boat

 

We’ll hire some help

 

Fish the coast down the straits

 

Through the Dardanelles Between 610 AD and 632 AD Mohammed established the religion of Islam. Within the

 

next 100 years it had spread across North Africa and into Spain, as well as to other

 

directions; to Turkey, Persia, and into Pakistan, which was pretty incredible for that span

 

of time. Although their march northward was stopped at Tours in France in 732, over the

 

next several hundred years the Muslims established top universities and contributed much

 

to world culture.

 

Ali Raki-haji 750 AD There is no god but God

 

And His prophet is Mohammed

 

Allah’s given me the grace

 

A way to die for my faith

 

The sun is sitting low with Viking ships in silhouette

 

My scimitar is ready, every challenge will be met

 

Allah is presenting me the road to paradise

 

Barbaric infidels who come down from the ice

 

There is no god but God

 

And Jesus is His prophet

 

Allah’s given me the grace

 

A way to fight for my faith

 

My name is Ali Raki-haji, scribe of history

 

Events in Damascus are disturbing me

 

Sunni and Shiite, it’s political

 

So I’ve joined this merchant fleet sailing back to Seville

 

There is no god but God

 

And Moses is His prophet

 

Allah’s given me the grace A way to die for my faith

 

The Byzantines and Charles Martel at Tours

 

Their Christian minds are twisted, but they look to God’s words

 

Mohammed spoke with Allah through Gabriel

 

He said they’re People of the Book, they deserve our good will

 

There is no god but God

 

And His prophet is Abraham

 

Allah’s given me the grace

 

A way to fight for my faith

 

Viking ships are closing in; I can see them eye to eye

 

They are giving me a glimpse of Paradise

 

There is terror in their hearts; you can see their fear set in

 

Yet they keep on coming, I hear the fight begin

 

There is no god but God

 

And His prophet is Mohammed

 

Allah’s given me the grace

 

A way to die for my faith Troubadour 1100 AD

 

I’ve been a lover and a soldier and a fool of the court

 

Presently you see me I’m a troubadour

 

I come lately from the Holy Land; the journey’s been long

 

Oh, drop me a coin and I’ll sing you my song

 

Constantinople is where this song begins

 

Playing strings for the Queen at a private audience

 

Knew there might be trouble when my tights came to the floor

 

Though I satisfied her thrice, she kept on wanting more Hate to admit it but she soon enough was bored

 

I was tossed outside the gates, given to a motley horde

 

They had raped and pillaged all through the Balkan states

 

They said they’d guarantee me passage ‘cross the Bosporus Straits

 

Hey down ditty, I’m off on crusade

 

Going to save the Holy Land from that wicked Muslim race

 

Hey down ditty, I’m off on crusade

 

Get your blessings from the Pope, Jerusalem we’ll save

 

We invaded Asia Minor, fought the Seljuk Turks

 

We got cut to ribbons, stomped in the dirt

 

I escaped the massacre by dropping in a well

 

And now I’m here today as far as you can tell

 

Constantinople is where I longed to be

 

Drinking wine with the women in easy luxury

 

Stealthily I made my way back to the Bosporus Straits

 

Where I ran into the Franks, I was back on crusade

 

Strong knights and nobles made up this company And we conquered Nicaea, won it for the Byzantines

 

We marched on Edessa with pomp and pageantry

 

Soundly ravaged the city, won the spoils of victory

 

Hey down ditty, we’re off on crusade

 

We’re mighty grateful to the Pope, there’s a fortune to be made

 

Hey down ditty, we’re off on crusade

 

Heed the call of the Pope, Jerusalem we’ll save

 

When we crossed the Euphrates I noticed a change

 

Purpose and motive had been rearranged

 

We cursed the Byzantines; they stabbed us in the back

 

They made a Latin Christian state of Greek Antioch

 

That Bishop from Rome, just a motivating ruse

 

What we gain through malice we always tend to lose

 

For people of the cross, they sure showed a lot of hate

 

Seljuk Turks or bloody Franks, they seemed all the same

 

I stole a camel to make my way back home

 

But the dumb beast turned south and I crossed the Lebanon

 

Terrified of Muslims, I quivered to the bone But the Arabs took me in; they made me feel at home

 

Hey down ditty, I’m through with crusade

 

I don’t believe God would want us all fighting that way

 

Hey down ditty, I am through with crusade

 

Just a pilgrim in Jerusalem enjoying my stay

 

Now I had the time to talk with both Muslims and Jews

 

And there is something that they said that altered my views

 

These religions with their schisms, man it had me confused

 

It’s the same God Christians, Jews and Muslims pray to

 

Hard to determine the cause of this conflict

 

Truly inspired by God or religious politics?

 

Holy Sepulcher, I’m praying to you

 

Give me the strength and faith I need to see this through

 

Unholy crusaders were soon outside the gates

 

And again I found myself in narrow, dire straits

 

But God answered my prayers; I can’t tell you no lies

 

It was a miracle of Jesus that I came out alive Hey down ditty, I was through with crusade

 

I saw the bloody Franks come storming through the gates

 

Hey down ditty, I was through with crusade

 

By the grace of God I made my escape

 

Now it’s true that I’m a pauper, I’m just dust in your eyes

 

But those Holy Crusaders weren’t civilized

 

They slaughtered the Muslims, they sliced up the Jews

 

There was blood up to a horse’s knee, I’m telling you

 

Bad dreams I’m screaming, that’s all I cared to see

 

So I got me a mule and headed back toward Galilee

 

Outside Damascus I joined a caravan

 

And started singing my songs all across the land

 

Constantinople, a glimmer ‘cross the sea

 

You are the prettiest sight that I have ever seen

 

Constantinople, you’re where I’ve longed to be

 

Singing songs for the ladies in perfect harmony

 

Hey down ditty, I’m through with crusade We saved the Holy Land for a dirty, wicked race

 

Hey down ditty, I’m through with crusade

 

We won the Holy Land for the bloody Franks Part 2

 

OK. You knew this was coming. I’ll give you a little break from all this history. Instead,

 

it’s time to subject you to some personal subjectivity. The thing about history is that one

 

can look back and see how we got here from there, but everybody seems to see it from a

 

different perspective so it’s still kind of hard to get agreement on anything.

 

Some of you may have seen on the late night TV infomercials a particular joker trying to

 

sell his health books. He talks about the pharmaceutical companies not wanting to make a

 

product that will cure any of us. After all, if they cure us of our illnesses then we won’t be eating their pills anymore and then they won’t get rich off of us. Drug companies love

 

addiction.

 

History is the same way. World leaders won’t lead us to the Promised Land because if we

 

arrived there then we wouldn’t need leaders anymore and they wouldn’t be able to get

 

rich off all of us. So basically, we’ve got 5000 years of the same stuff happening over and

 

over again.

 

Tyrants is from my angry days. In a lot of ways, Western man has never gotten over his

 

crusader mentality.

 

Tyrants

 

with You Don’t Get Rid

 

and Overkill

 

I don’t see major differences in ideologies

 

But there are lots of global leaders talking down at me

 

Using so many words with so many meanings

 

Mostly politics, semantics and deniability We have capitalism, consumerism

 

Communism, socialism, monarchy

 

We have despotism, feudalism

 

Nazism, fascism, and democracy

 

There are so many isms I can’t keep them straight

 

And schisms of those isms, now give me a break

 

We have nationalism, colonialism

 

We’ve even had Manifest Destiny

 

We have imperialism, militarism

 

And now we’ve got economic hegemony

 

Yes, the names may change

 

But the tune’s still the same

 

They grow a little more subtle

 

When you see through their game

 

Those political clowns in their tailored suits

 

They’ve got the drive to dominate

 

They think they’re better than you

 

They’ve found a lot of clever ways

 

So they can subjugate you

 

They think they’ve got the right To take your rights from you

 

We’ve got Catholicism, Protestantism

 

Voo-dooism, animism, atheism

 

We’ve got Buddhism, Hinduism

 

Islamism, Zionism

 

God there ain’t no end

 

We’ve got monetarism

 

There are so many isms I can’t keep them straight

 

And schisms of those isms, now give me a break

 

Because the words may change

 

But the tune’s still the same

 

They become a little more clever

 

When you see through their game

 

Those religious jokers in their ritual suits

 

They’ve got the power of persuasion

 

They manipulate you

 

They think they’ve got the gift

 

They can decipher for you

 

They think they’re chosen from the rest

 

And they can preach to you But you don’t get rid of slavery

 

by killing all the Africans

 

And you don’t get rid of drugs

 

by shitting on the Mexicans

 

You don’t get rid of racists

 

by sucking on dem soda crackers

 

Don’t get rid of terror

 

by wasting all the Israelites

 

You don’t get rid of morons

 

by burning all these written words

 

You don’t get rid of war

 

by nuking all the commies

 

And you don’t get rid

 

of Palestinians

 

No, you don’t get rid

 

of AmerIndians

 

Killed the Indian, the buffalo, the bald eagle

 

Dammed up the rivers, moved the face of the earth

 

Drained the swamp, fenced the prairie, killed the estuary

 

The Colorado River don’t drain to the sea Got ozone loss and acid rain and toxic waste

 

Ecological unbalance all over the place

 

Got deforestation and desertification

 

Got overwhelming numbers of the human race

 

And if everyone was selfish like North Americans

 

There’d be a drain on resources

 

This good planet couldn’t stand

 

Imagine every Chinese family with two automobiles

 

You couldn’t breathe the air nor ‘ford your fossil fuel

 

And those industrial jokers in their tailored suits

 

They think they own the world and they can buy and sell you

 

And they’re ageing their mother to raise their profits

 

Tearing up Mother Earth to line their pockets

 

Yes, the words may change

 

But the tune’s still the same

 

And they get madder than Hell

 

When you see through their game

 

They’re Russian, European and North American

 

They’ve got the means to destroy you Got the button at hand

 

Yeah, they’ve got us by the balls

 

They’ve got the button at hand

 

And there are so many isms I can’t keep them straight

 

And schisms of those isms, now give me a break

 

They stick their ism up their ass and they call it belief

 

But when that ism schisms we’ll get nuclear relief

 

And it won’t take a minute to nuke us out of time

 

Won’t take but an instant to leave the world behind

 

No, it won’t take a second to leave the Age behind I don’t think it really matters which political system we live under or what our religious

 

beliefs are, there are things we can do to make ourselves a better person. We kind of get

 

hung up in the pursuit of wealth and fame and forget that there are other goals to achieve.

 

Very simply put, the more we change ourselves, the more our perspective of the world

 

changes. There is still magic out there. We can find it and we can utilize it.

 

Freedom

 

Now it’s true we don’t always

 

Do what is right

 

We do what we think we’ve got the might to do Survival of the fittest, the strongest will win

 

But that is not the road to freedom

 

That is not how to live

 

No one can take your freedom away

 

When you do a damn good job

 

Of making yourself a slave

 

Caught up in realpolitik

 

Habits lock you in

 

That takes away your choice

 

On how you should live

 

But you can rise above your poverty

 

Or you can break the pull of material greed

 

You can overcome your drug dependencies

 

You can eliminate your selfish needs

 

But if you choose freedom

 

Don’t take no silly chances

 

Don’t be no fool

 

Examine your own circumstances Everybody wants you to be like them

 

They are scared of the man who seeks his

 

Total freedom

 

They lose control of the man

 

Who gains his total freedom

 

But you can put a stop to your spiteful attitudes

 

You can relieve us of your hateful moods

 

You can reduce your obnoxious interludes

 

You can diversify your self-centered views

 

And you can curb your lazy tendencies

 

You can grab hold of responsibility

 

You can break the bonds of your slavery

 

You can find the road that will set you free

 

But if you choose freedom

 

Don’t take no silly chances

 

Don’t be no fool

 

Be fluid in your circumstances

 

Everybody wants you to be like them They are scared of the man who seeks his

 

Total freedom

 

They lose control of the man

 

Who gains his total freedom

 

Yes, you can redirect all your nasty energy

 

You can grow aware of your possibilities

 

You can be the master of new abilities

 

If you walk the road that will set you free

 

And no one can take your freedom away

 

When you do a damn good job

 

Of making yourself a slave

 

Caught up in everyday life

 

Habits lock you in

 

They take away the magic

 

In how you live Most of the world’s major civilizations started three to four thousand years before Christ

 

in major river valleys; the Yellow River in China, the Indus in India, the Tigris/Euphrates

 

in Iraq (Mesopotamia), and the Nile. There was fresh water, a ready food supply and

 

transportation. The exception, of course, was in the Americas.

 

There were two main obstacles to overcome for the Americans. There were no pack

 

animals, no oxen or horses or mules or water buffalo to be beasts of burden. The animals

 

in America looked at the Indians and said, “Piss on you. Do your own work.” It really

 

didn’t matter because the second obstacle was that there was no convenient source of

 

grain. No wheat, barley, oats or rice. There was nothing to feed a growing mass of

 

people. The coastal people of Peru overcame these obstacles and were building monumental

 

public architecture by 3000 BC. They had a huge source of protein just off the beach.

 

Anchovies. Billions of them. They’d jump into your mouth if you held your jaw just

 

right. This was a pre-ceramic society, which made it hard to cook food, but they were

 

master weavers. They could weave baskets that would hold water. Some pretty incredible

 

women.

 

The people on the rest of the American continents kind of just languished. Everyday they

 

tried to scrape together enough food for a meal.

 

And then one of those incredible miracles happened around 1500 BC: The coming of

 

corn.

 

Teosinte was the predecessor of corn. It was a grass that would give off two or three

 

kernels. You’d have to plant a field the size of Texas to feed your family for a week. But

 

then something happened. God, nature, or a very skilled geneticist developed a plant that

 

would yield ears of corn. But there was still a major problem. The human body cannot

 

metabolize the protein found in corn. You could eat and poop to your hearts content and

 

still die of malnutrition. But mix in lime (from limestone, not the fruit), and corn becomes

 

a nutritional source of food. A Corn Mother. A staple to feed the masses.

 

Tortillas are earth, water, and corn. There is something very profound about that

 

relationship. Maize originated in Mexico, and within two hundred years had spread the length of North

 

and South America. Civilizations began to appear and to prosper.

 

This is the Mayan version of the coming of corn. In the Mayan language, corn and jade

 

are the same word, discernible only through context. A milpa is the little plot of land they

 

burn out of the jungle every spring in order to plant their crops. Enjoy.

 

P.S. Got a wedding anniversary this week-end. Look for Blue Flute on Monday or

 

Tuesday.

 

Have a good week-end.

 

Maize 1500 BC

 

Down in the thicket, it’s hard to spot my food

 

I listened to the jungle, one sound caught my mood

 

So I followed that quetzal to a mountaintop

 

My stomach growled loudly, I came to a stop

 

I watched a line of ants emerge from a crack

 

They carried a white kernel of maize on their backs I asked them for a taste and to my surprise

 

It was milk of the Earth the way they satisfied

 

Milpa grow green, give us jade

 

Milky white seed, our mother maize

 

Magic water jar, moisten our fields

 

Milpa grow green, life to yield

 

Contrary ants wouldn’t bring me more maize

 

Anger rose within me, I squeezed them ‘round the waist

 

Then petitioned the four Mams to come to my aide

 

I had to find a way to recover that “jade”

 

Mams are the Masters of the wind and sky

 

Masters of the thunder and great flashes of light

 

Three times they tried, they issued forth their best

 

And each time that mountaintop withstood the test

 

Fourth Mam pondered

 

And then worked it out

 

Called on the woodpecker

 

To be His scout

 

To search the mountaintop

 

And find the deepest crack Then to fly off in a hurry

 

And never look back

 

The wind arose abruptly, a fierce thunderstorm

 

A lightning bolt struck and burned straight to the core

 

Rock flying everywhere, woodpecker got hit

 

And tumbled to the ground in a bloody fit

 

Then flew off in a rage, a blood-stained head

 

Forever after that woodpeckers wore red

 

White corn was scorched, yellow, black and red

 

A gift from the Mams to keep my people fed

 

Milpa grow green, give us jade

 

Multi-colored seed, our mother maize

 

Magic water jar, moisten our fields

 

Milpa grow green, life to yield

 

Milpa grow green, life to yield Circa 1200 BC a cataclysmic event shook the Mediterranean Sea. Seismic activity and a

 

stupendous volcanic eruption destroyed the Minoan civilization and rocked the Aegean

 

Islands. The sea level around the world may have risen by several feet. It’s a stretch, but

 

this Hopi myth sort of fits that event.

 

According to the Hopi, in order for them to be able to claim a place on this Earth, each

 

clan had to make a migration to the four pasos of the American continents; to the east and

 

west coasts, the tip of South American, and the Bering Sea surrounding the North Pole.

 

This song finds some of the clans at the northern paso.

 

Blue Flute 1280 BC Listen to the blue flute

 

The mahu plays the blue flute

 

Feel the effects of his warm melody

 

See the notes float by

 

Filled with tropical heat

 

Watch the snow melt

 

Note the rise of the creek

 

Hear our sweet melody

 

The cold and ice impede us

 

The Spider Woman leads us

 

Implores us to summon

 

All our power for heat

 

To reach the northern paso

 

We must melt the ice sheet

 

She’s brought the clans together

 

For a warm harmony

 

Hear our sweet melody

 

The Sun Clan has the blessing of clear blue skies They bring the Sun so close that we must shade our eyes

 

The Fire Clan focuses their prayers in a chant

 

The molten fires in the depths are at their command

 

Snake Clan sends vibrations throughout the ground

 

Starts the Earth to shaking, rocks come tumbling down

 

The mountain’s spitting fire, the mahu prances ‘round

 

Wild on his blue flute, the valleys fill with sound

 

Listen to the blue flute

 

The mahu plays his blue flute

 

Feel the effects of a warm melody

 

See the notes float by

 

Filled with tropical heat

 

Watch the snow melt

 

Note the flood of the creek

 

Note the rise of the sea

 

Now our powers vanish

 

Spider Woman has been banished

 

Creator decrees we meet our punishment

 

We’ve opened up the back door

 

To this sacred continent

 

We’ve upset the balance Of the elements

 

Do you note the silence? All right, so tell me, what’s a mahu?

 

The Indians of the American Southwest have done an excellent job of marketing

 

Kokopelli, the humpbacked flute player. He’s got a snappy name that has a good ring to

 

it. And he’s a cute little figure to boot. I’ve got a Kokopelli key ring and I drink coffee

 

from a Kokopelli mug. There’s a Kokopelli plaque on our wall.

 

Actually, there were two flute players; one grey, one blue, leaders of the Grey and Blue

 

Flute Clans. I can’t remember who is who, but evidently the other one never got famous

 

because no one can pronounce his name. His parents are probably still laughing about

 

that. I’ve got something different this week for my favorite readers. Instead of a song from

 

Long Road you get a chapter from one of my novels, Flipside, Part Two. We meet the

 

flute player on the plains of Peru. Yes, I agree, it’s an outlandish scenario. No, I don’t

 

believe it for a moment. But within the novel it’s all a dream, so take it with a grain of

 

salt and a shot or two of Mescal.

 

FLIPSIDE

 

Chapter 4

 

The transition felt easy and natural as he slipped from one state of awareness into

 

another. And yet, at the very moment that he crossed the threshold, his previous world

 

faded into mystery, a slate wiped clean, a dream that he could no longer remember. It

 

made him question whether or not it had even occurred.

 

He didn’t have the slightest inclination about where he had arrived. He was standing on a

 

gently rolling plain that stretched to fairly distant, stark brown, eroded mountains. They

 

in turn were followed by higher, mist filled ranges, violet in hue. The air was cool and

 

dry.

 

The plain immediately surrounding him was covered with shards of brown rock in a

 

consistently thin, even layer. Nearby, a shallow, dry arroyo snaked lazily into the broad expanses. It had not seen water in months, perhaps years. There wasn’t the first sign of

 

vegetation anywhere along its course. The whole area was nothing but a desolate,

 

forsaken environment.

 

As he scanned the mountain flanks for a canyon that might contain water, he spied a

 

group of people not three hundred yards away. Their actions intrigued him, for they

 

appeared to be working the earth.

 

Surely they didn’t intend to farm this arid plateau, he asserted to himself. He was

 

absolutely certain that nothing would grow there.

 

Intent on resolving the mystery, he began to make his way toward them, but instead he

 

became sidetracked by the sound of an alluringly beautiful melody. To his surprise and

 

enchantment, he found the source to be a humpbacked flute player; a creature that stood

 

three feet tall on thin, spindly legs and resembled a giant, blue grasshopper. He had a

 

human face with long antennae protruding from his forehead. He was obviously a master

 

of the flute. The wanderer listened trance-like, captivated by the brilliance.

 

“That was beautiful,” he complimented at the conclusion of the song. “What sort of

 

creature are you?”

 

“I am a mahu!” the flute player exclaimed with a bubbling smile. His face appeared old

 

and wrinkled, but his voice was a surprisingly youthful falsetto. “The music from my flute warms this cool mountain air. In my hump I carry seeds; those of maize, beans,

 

melons, and flowers.”

 

“Is that why those people are clearing rocks from the ground? To plant seeds?” the

 

wanderer asked in disbelief. “Nothing will grow here,” he added.

 

The mahu disregarded the skepticism.

 

“With the magic from my flute we can grow crops in any environment. But that is not our

 

sole purpose. We do not live here, but follow a star. These people are leaving their

 

signature on the ground as proof of their passage. I dare say the markings should last for

 

quite some time in this desert.” He flashed a broad grin before continuing. “As you can

 

see, other clans have already preceded us to this place.” He held out his arm in a broad

 

sweep across the dead, dusty plain.

 

The wanderer half-heartedly scanned the featureless grounds before replying. “I see

 

nothing out of the ordinary.”

 

“Perhaps there is nothing to be seen because of where you stand,” the mahu suggested.

 

“You of all people should know that. You shine brightly with the gift of the Sunfather. If

 

you are not grounded, why limit your perspective?” The grasshopper put his flute to his lips and the music poured swiftly but gently from the

 

instrument. The wanderer saw the notes as large, rainbow-hued bubbles that streamed

 

into the sky. When he reached out to touch one, he was lifted firmly from the ground and

 

swept into the air. A ticklish sensation in his stomach caused him to wrap himself around

 

the bubble and hold on tightly.

 

The note rotated slowly until he found himself staring straight into the bright blue sky.

 

Apprehension gripped him when he realized that he was rapidly approaching a group of

 

intensely brilliant stars or lights. Or something. He wasn’t exactly sure what it was that

 

he was seeing.

 

And then an amazing transformation took place in his perception, and he realized that the

 

lights were actually people. Other people were walking the sky with him! Intuitively, he

 

understood that they were the same people who were clearing the rocks from the ground

 

below.

 

The magic note that he clung to rotated once again and his vision became focused on the

 

ground.

 

His mouth dropped open.

 

The plain was covered with markings! A multitude of lines ran straight and parallel for

 

miles or criss-crossed in random patterns. There were geometric figures and animal figures, stylized birds and a whale. The figure presently being formed was that of a flute.

 

He realized that he was on the pampas of Peru. The Plain of Nazca was below him.

 

The flute playing ceased and the bubble that he was clinging to could no longer

 

regenerate itself. However, when it burst he did not fall. He analyzed the markings a

 

while longer before floating back to the ground.

 

Myriad questions numbed his mind as he gazed back into the sky. Again he saw the

 

people as lights. While some of them remained perfectly still, others made varying

 

motions; floating haphazardly, or in broad circles, or swinging as if on a pendulum.

 

He watched in admiration. “They shine so very brightly. Like stars in the daytime.”

 

A proud glint and a tear of joy lit up the eyes of the grasshopper. “Yes. They use the gift

 

from the Fathersun so very well.”

 

The wanderer understood the allusion well. By separating their awareness from their

 

bodies, these people could utilize their dual nature; the Earth Mother and Sun Father.

 

They needed no fancy gadgets or calculations to create the figures on the plain. They

 

simply directed their actions on the ground with the perspective from above.

 

“The figures on the ground I understand, no doubt being signatures of the migrating

 

clans. But tell me about the lines. What do they represent?” “The lines represent many things,” the mahu answered. “Some mark the time of our

 

passage, while others time the passage of previous clans. But most of the lines are a

 

tribute to the Grandmother Spider. It is her web that surrounds the Earth to keep it from

 

separating. Where you find a great many lines intersecting on the plain, that is where the

 

power of the Spider Woman is greatest, for that is where the web touches the Earth”.

 

The concept of the web intrigued the wanderer, but before he could formulate another

 

question, they were interrupted by a deep, flapping noise accompanied by a gust of wind.

 

A large, green parrot touched down beside them.

 

He was huge! He was every bit the size of the grasshopper, but exceedingly more

 

massive and threatening. While the mahu seemed unfazed, the wanderer stared stupidly at

 

the bird.

 

“I figured we would meet again, white boy!” the parrot cackled. “Yes, it’s me. Mochni!

 

Mochni, the parrot. Don’t look so surprised. You look stupid enough without your mouth

 

hanging wide open.

 

“I look much better with a touch of yellow, don’t you agree? It makes me feel so much

 

more zestful!” Mochni nodded his head from side to side and did a little dance. His eyes

 

sparkled. The wanderer didn’t give a shit about the yellow feathers. It was the outrageous size of

 

the bird that concerned him. He remembered Mochni as being a larger than normal

 

parrot, but not three feet tall!

 

“How come you’re so much bigger than before?” he finally managed to ask.

 

“Because I’m younger!” the bird shouted, exceedingly pleased with himself. “I see that

 

you haven’t changed at all. You’re still as stupid as ever. Have you remembered your

 

name yet?”

 

“I am a wanderer. I am here to learn.”

 

“Can’t remember, huh? Well tell me, mister man of wisdom, from what time period do

 

you hail? How will you ever find your home in order to make use of all this knowledge

 

that you accumulate?”

 

The wanderer disregarded the questions.

 

“Why does being younger make you bigger?” he asked instead.

 

“Hasn’t that blue bug taught you anything? I haven’t changed! The conditions have. Ask

 

him. Time’s been shrinking his appearance for over four thousand years!” The wanderer was stunned. While he had certainly wondered about the mahu’s age, four

 

thousand years seemed like a preposterous assertion. He looked at the old grasshopper.

 

“Are you actually as old as he says?” he asked meekly.

 

The mahu had been standing by impassively, apparently uninterested in Mochni, but a

 

smile broke out when he heard the wanderer’s question. “I’m not quite as old as he

 

claims,” he snickered. “But close! I am not a man, remember, but a grasshopper with a

 

magical flute.” The mahu erupted into full-fledged laughter.

 

“I apologize for laughing,” he said after regaining his composure. “But you look so

 

serious. Mochni and I become smaller as the Age passes. That is the way with ones such

 

as us. We are relics from the Third Age. Our purpose here is to guide.

 

“Of more immediate concern is why you speak to this foul creature. Especially since you

 

two have already met. My people will not listen to him. Surely…”

 

“That little band of wanderers!?” Mochni interrupted. “Hah! I spit on them! Most of your

 

urchins have already left you anyway. That’s why civilizations arise!”

 

The mahu ignored the protests of the parrot and looked at the wanderer. “Much like

 

myself, Mochni is a spreader of seeds. Only his are the seeds of doubt and confusion, for

 

he is the Deceiver.” “I can’t believe you listen to this…this locust!” Mochni screamed, infuriated.

 

The flute player began to protest, but the parrot cut him off.

 

“Tell me, locust, do you know where I first met this time walker? It was in the future at

 

Tenochtitlan! That’s right. He was admiring the way Cortes deals with the native people.

 

While you and your puny little clans claim this land by walking the breadth of the

 

continents, north to south and east to west, your friend here knows that it is only wasted

 

effort. It will all come to naught! Absolutely nothing! The white ‘gods’ will claim

 

ownership of the land by simply planting a flag, and will then proceed to trample the

 

Earth asunder. Only when there is nothing left will they allow your people their freedom

 

of choice—to either live as white man lives or die!”

 

He cackled derisively as he turned towards the wanderer. “If you came here to spy on

 

these stupid natives, white man, you would do much better to spend your time at

 

Tiwanaku. There, at least, you can learn what they are capable of accomplishing. You

 

will learn nothing whatsoever by staying with these pathetic rag—a—muffins, these…”

 

“They are Hopi,” the wanderer interjected sternly. “Why don’t you just leave?”

 

“Hopi! That is a good name,” the mahu concurred with a thoughtful smile. “’People of

 

peace.’ That is a fine title for those who heed the word of the Creator. We really must talk

 

further, my friend.” “We could if this parrot would quit squawking in our ear,” the wanderer replied.

 

Without further ado, the mahu purposefully raised the flute to his lips. Sparkling, opaque

 

notes soon gathered thickly and furiously around the parrot.

 

Mochni’s eyes shone with terror. “I blame you for this, time walker! I’ll get you for this!”

 

he shouted. “That bug won’t always be around to protect you.” He was then lifted

 

forcefully from the ground and whisked away by the notes. Within seconds he had

 

receded from sight.

 

“Well, that’s certainly one good way to get rid of the jackass,” the wanderer applauded.

 

“He is rather appalling, isn’t he? There simply is no debating that devil, for his words are

 

tainted with poison.”

 

The wanderer dropped to the ground, suddenly subdued and exhausted.

 

“I’m sorry,” he moaned. “But that parrot drains me. He leaves me twisted and frustrated.

 

He attacks my identity, calls me white man, and makes me feel worthless.”

 

“Mochni is like that. He brings out the worst in you. He plays upon your aspirations, your

 

fears and your insecurities, and tries to plant you with the seeds of confusion. But I really must say, your race is a silly thing to worry about. All men are the same. They have life

 

to live, decisions to make. It is not always an easy path.

 

“About your identity, I cannot help you. Is it true that you are lost in time?”

 

“I don’t know who I am or where I belong,” the wanderer admitted solemnly. “Perhaps

 

I’ve always been wandering. I remember certain historical events, so I must come from

 

the future, but I have no personal memories.”

 

“None at all?” the flute player inquired.

 

“No; only my previous meeting with Mochni and a visit to Oraibi, where your people end

 

their migrations.” And in a petty pathetic state, too, he added to himself. The thought did

 

nothing to improve his mood.

 

“Well, you are welcome to stay with us for as long as you’d like. You look tired. Perhaps

 

you’d care to rest?”

 

“Perhaps it would do me some good.”

 

“I will play my flute.” The mahu sat down on the ground and proceeded to play a soft, enchanting lullaby that

 

induced heavy drowsiness in the wanderer. He slumped back to find a more comfortable

 

position as a purple mist billowed up around him. In an instant he was gone.

 

The mahu continued to play his flute. Hey guys,

 

I meant to send this last Saturday but my typist pooped out on me. All she had to do was

 

weed eat, mow the lawn and bush hog the front forty, clean out the barn, tune up the car

 

and change the oil in the tractor, prepare three meals and put on her make-up. And of

 

course, bring me my beers. I tell you. Women these days. Mom would have had things

 

covered.

 

Be careful. Sam read this introduction before I could send it off, and now she’s going to

 

try and make it sound like I’m totally useless around here. She’s probably going to try to

 

make you believe that I don’t even refill the soap in the shower when it gets low. You all

 

know me. I wouldn’t do anything like that. I’m just not that devious. When that bar of

 

soap turns into a sliver, I always replace it with a new one. It just goes to show that the woman doesn’t have enough to do around here to keep

 

herself occupied. I’ll probably have to start drinking more beer to help keep her busy.

 

Where did you first read about the purple light (mist)? That’s right—Legacy.

 

Where did you first read about the converging lines? Halfway To Karnak! Boy, ya’ll are

 

good.

 

Keep paying attention. There’s bound to be a test when this is all over.

 

FLIPSIDE

 

Chapter 6

 

“Look! The mist!”

 

“I see him!”

 

“He’s opaque.” “He’s returning!”

 

“…materializing.”

 

“He’s coming back to us!”

 

The mist dissipated the moment he opened his eyes. He saw that the excited voices

 

belonged to a throng of people that had gathered around him. The mahu sat directly

 

across from him, a weak smile upon his face. His flute rested across his lap.

 

“It’s sprinkling,” the wanderer stammered.

 

“Yes!”

 

“Does it rain here very often?”

 

“It’s highly unusual,” the grasshopper assured with a smile.

 

The wanderer rubbed his eyes. “It’s a wonder I came back here and not to another time

 

slot.”

 

“I continued to play my song, even after you summoned the purple mist,” the flute player

 

explained. “I watched as it took you away. I surmised that if you had a beacon to focus upon, you might have a chance to return. And it worked! My magic notes followed you,

 

and you followed them back to the pampas.”

 

The wanderer maintained his silence.

 

“Do you remember where you went?” the mahu asked.

 

“I’m not sure.”

 

Although memories were beginning to crystallize, it was still a struggle to keep his

 

thoughts from drifting. The crowd leaned forward, eagerly awaiting his word. Hesitantly,

 

he began to relate the few details that he could recall easily.

 

He described a vast, absolutely flat, smooth plain, cream colored under a steel gray sky.

 

Three colossal pyramids hovered stationary above the landscape. His desire had been to

 

move closer in order to learn the reason why they remained suspended in the air, but he

 

had been unable to traverse the huge crevice in the plain, an enticing, black chasm that

 

soaked up all light. He had the oddest sensation that he had been within that crevice, yet

 

he could not recall any details of that experience.

 

Eventually, he had lost interest in the pyramids as he became intrigued by the translucent

 

bubbles that came out of nowhere and yet seemed to be everywhere. The bubbles were

 

massive enough that he had considered using them to transport his body across the chasm, but he was afraid that they wouldn’t be able to support his weight. He finally

 

came to associate the bubbles with the incessant music that he heard. Only then did he

 

sense that there was a two way stream from a mother source. He latched on and ended up

 

returning to the pampas.

 

“It was all so real. Was it all in my imagination?” he asked quietly.

 

“Was the chasm black or blue?” the mahu inquired.

 

“Now that you mention it, it was a deeply rich blue, very enticing in some respects,

 

horrifying in others.”

 

“Now I understand why you have trouble recalling where you belong, why you have that

 

gap in your memory. You have described perfectly the Plains of Metamor. Within that

 

crevice there awaits a personal journey, unique to each individual. In most cases, it takes

 

years of preparation before one feels capable of challenging the chasm. It can be a very

 

dangerous journey, and you were gone a long time. I hope you know what you are

 

doing.”

 

Inwardly, the wanderer admitted to himself that he didn’t have the slightest clue as to

 

what he was doing, but he also had a feeling that he was on the verge of remembering

 

something extremely important. “The purple mist is the gateway to the seven worlds,” the flute player pronounced.

 

Of course! The purple mist!

 

“Of the seven worlds, the Third and the Fifth are much like this Fourth World, and are

 

easy to maintain and relate to. The other four become increasingly alien. All of them are

 

unique. Metamor is the last world, and as its name implies, it is a transition. A

 

metamorphosis. Or perhaps the end.”

 

The wanderer continued to draw a blank.

 

“The tendency for most men is to hover in the purple mist, only briefly touching on the

 

other worlds in their dreams,” the mahu continued. “Needless to say, you enter the Blue

 

World. But upon leaving there, something makes you trip, and you end up catching only

 

the fringes of the white light. You end up dancing through time with no control.”

 

Memories suddenly inundated the time walker. Of course! It was all so simple! When he

 

was in the purple mist, the Earth was the white light. If he would enter the very center,

 

the most intense portion of the glow, he would find his own time period. He would find

 

his home!

 

He felt that he was about to experience further revelations when the spell was broken by

 

the mahu’s voice. “I know that you are probably eager to test the mist again, but since you are here now,

 

won’t you please spend the day with us? I, for one, would be delighted.” His enormous

 

grin was accented by the flowing wrinkles upon his face.

 

The wanderer was touched. The mahu had helped him immeasurably. He had offered his

 

friendship and had shown him the way to return home. Of course he would stay the day.

 

“You’ve got yourself a deal,” he said as he grasped the flute player’s hand. Whatever the

 

mahu was, he was surely a fine old soul.

 

The wanderer stood and stretched. Several people in the crowd, up until then attentive

 

and polite, suddenly closed in on him, attempting to touch him. He felt a moment of

 

apprehension.

 

“They want to feel your clothes,” the grasshopper explained. “What can I say? They are

 

like that. They know that you come from the future and they are curious.”

 

Blue jeans and a sweat shirt, he reflected. Big deal. But he was also certain that no one

 

intended him any harm, and he felt silly about his nervous reaction.

 

The mahu chuckled. “You really need to lighten up, you know? I haven’t seen you truly

 

smile since you’ve been here.” He gave a friendly wink. “Think about it. Here you are talking with a grasshopper, an unusually tall one at that, and you’re all frowns. And a

 

couple of days ago there was a mammoth parrot. You know?” The flute player nudged

 

him good-naturedly on the knee. “Smile! Laugh! You put too much pressure on

 

yourself.”

 

“I try to take things in stride,” the time walker moped. A couple of days ago? Had he

 

spent that much time in the Blue World? What in the world did he do while he was there?

 

The mahu smiled at him with fatherly admiration. “Do you still wish to visit Tiwanaku?”

 

A broad smile crossed the time walker’s face. Ancient even to the Incas, Tiwanaku was a

 

mystical lure that he could not refuse. His excitement began to mount.

 

“Of course,” he managed to stutter. “I’d love to go there.”

 

But he immediately reverted to form and began to fret. He knew that the city was several

 

hundred miles from the Plain of Nazca, high up in the Andes Mountains near Lake

 

Titicaca. Exceedingly rough terrain separated them, and his enthusiasm began to dull as

 

he anticipated several weeks journey.

 

The mahu noticed his dismay and merely grinned.

 

“Ready?” he asked as he raised his flute to his lips. Before he could respond, the time walker was engulfed by the music and carried away,

 

swiftly but light as the breeze. The next moment he found himself in a narrow alleyway

 

in a residential section of Tiwanaku. He was following the mahu towards a wider, sunlit

 

avenue that led through a busy marketplace.

 

They passed by stalls of ducks and geese and booths full of fresh vegetables. The

 

wanderer noticed that they were beginning to attract considerable attention, not to

 

mention a ripple of confusion. While some of the people were respectful and reverent of

 

the mahu, and understandably curious about himself, he couldn’t shake the impression

 

that most of the Tiwanakans couldn’t see either one of them.

 

Even so, they had gathered quite a following by the time they reached the outskirts of the

 

ceremonial center. The mahu paused there to let the magnitude of the city sink in. And

 

the wanderer took it in ravenously.

 

Across the moat the center was filled with massive platforms that were topped with

 

elaborate buildings and temples. Some of the structures utilized fifty ton blocks of stone

 

in a precise and vital architectural style. Inside one open temple stood a carved stone

 

monolith of a priest or deity, one of the two structures that he recognized. The other was

 

the Gate of the Sun, part of a larger temple complex that stood behind them. Although

 

smaller than the city of Tenochtitlan, Tiwanaku was on a grander, more dynamic scale. “The temple complex within the moat and the one behind us are ancient,” the mahu

 

announced. “They are already centuries old. Compare them to the more recent temples at

 

the far end of the court and you can see that the civilization is in decline.”

 

“And why is that?”

 

“The beginning stages of any civilization bring fresh, diverse ideas, and for a time great

 

deeds can be accomplished. But the survival and prosperity of society requires

 

specialization; food production, masonry, crafts, government. Laws are enacted and the

 

rules are expected to be obeyed. Children are taught to conform. As society becomes

 

more structured, laws become more inclusive. And when individual perception and

 

perspective are tuned to a narrow band to fit the rules, creativity begins to erode and

 

abilities decline.

 

“The early leadership of Tiwanaku learned that ritual could focus attention, and for a time

 

they were able to maintain momentum. The masses were misled into believing that they

 

kept the true faith, when in reality their thoughts were tuned to the building of the city

 

and maintenance of the culture. Instead of the Creator, they worship a monument to

 

themselves.”

 

“What about a democratic society?”

 

“A what?” “A free society.”

 

“No rules and regulations?”

 

“Well…”

 

“It is a contradicition in terms. One can be responsible to society, or one can be

 

responsible to freedom, but you can’t have it both ways.

 

“The Creator has given each one of us the gift of unlimited perspective. True freedom. It

 

is up to us to balance and maintain the entire gift by utilizing each side of awareness, the

 

Sunfather as well as the Earthmother. Many people here cannot see us now because they

 

have not polished their link to the Sunfather, and that is sad. What is sadder is that they

 

have forgotten that there is even a link to keep open.”

 

“But the monolith in the temple depicts a priest holding pahos, male and female. Surely

 

they keep open their door to the Creator,” the wanderer protested.

 

“If they walked with the Creator, there would be no need for idols, no need for

 

pretensions. Listen to me!” the mahu exclaimed suddenly. “I’m beginning to sound like

 

you. So serious! “But I believe that I have answered the questions that Mochni raised. Your concern the

 

other day was not so much about being a white man as it was about being a traitor and

 

breaking from your cultural roots.”

 

“How do you know that I have broken from my culture?”

 

“You would not be here otherwise. Let’s say that it is a prerequisite for what you do,

 

although it intrigues me that you choose to visit the high cultures. Be careful that you do

 

not escape the clutches of one civilization, only to be trapped by another. Remember,

 

only freedom can lead you to the mysteries that you need to uncover.

 

“Come now,” he prodded jovially. “I will show you my favorite place in this city.”

 

They made their way across the moat and into the tangled web of the temple complex.

 

The soldiers and priests at the gates let them pass unmolested, as if they feared or were in

 

awe of the mahu, but they kept the following masses out. Many of the walls that they

 

passed were covered in murals, but the wanderer caught only a casual glimpse of the

 

imagery because he was afraid of losing sight of the fast moving grasshopper.

 

They finally came to rest inside the sunken court, another part of Tiwanaku that would

 

survive the years. The forty by fifty foot court was eight foot deep, comprised of blocks

 

of stone that weighed from five to fifty tons each. At least sixty human faces carved out

 

of stone protruded from the walls. Painted in natural pigments, they were completely lifelike and represented people from around the globe, from Africa, Europe, Asia, Australia,

 

and America. The craftsmanship was superb, and with very little effort, the wanderer

 

could imagine the faces imbued with the life force, staring thoughtfully and serenely back

 

at him.

 

“Every continent on the face of the Earth is represented here,” the wanderer mumbled in

 

amazement, echoing an age old riddle. “How is that possible?”

 

“During the beginning stages of the city, the people had not yet strayed so far from the

 

Sunfather. There were still many who possessed the ability to see the lines of the

 

Grandmother Spider. A few of those people knew how to grasp those lines. The strands

 

carried them across the sea or to wherever they wished to go. When they returned, they

 

carved the likeness of those they met on their journeys. The murals on the walls we

 

passed depict some of their stories. There haven’t been any new faces now for several

 

hundred years because the present people can no longer isolate the lines of the Spider.”

 

The mahu stared at the wanderer with admiration.

 

“You, on the other hand, give me hope for the future, for you utilize your dual aspects.

 

You are able to see my people as they truly are, spirit fire from the Sun, as well as their

 

Earthly, bodily aspect. You walk the sky and have the ability to see Mochni and myself.

 

It is people like you who give us stature. The fewer people there are who are capable of

 

seeing us, the smaller we become. We are truly in the eye of the beholder.” “Back on the pampas I saw your people as stars…”

 

“Which they truly are. The spirit fire.”

 

“…but I didn’t see the lines of the web.”

 

“For the same reason that many Tiwanakans don’t see us now; your attention was turned

 

elsewhere. The lines are there.”

 

“Do they touch the Earth anywhere near here? Can you show them to me?”

 

The mahu suppressed a sigh. “Follow me.”

 

They departed the city and then followed a lightly worn footpath across the rust colored

 

hills of the Altiplano, and for the first time the wanderer became aware of the extreme

 

altitude. He was having difficulty catching his breath in the cold, thin air and it was

 

beginning to make him feel weak and sluggish. He stumbled along as if he was drunk,

 

while the mahu skipped effortlessly along in front of him, which made his mood even

 

more ill-mannered.

 

“Is this the place?” he asked irritably when they finally came to a halt. “This is it! We are in the center of the intersecting lines.”

 

Although the wanderer could discern no difference in that spot from the rest of the vast

 

plain, he had to admit that he no longer felt sluggish. In fact, he felt just the opposite;

 

energetic and powerful.

 

“I want to convey my good wishes, for I believe this is the moment of our parting,” the

 

mahu announced solemnly as he held out his hand. “I am happy to have met a man from

 

the future. You have done my heart much good.”

 

The wanderer was shocked and confused by the pronouncement and was reluctant to take

 

the flute players hand. He had grown very fond of the hunchbacked grasshopper; had

 

come to think of him as being a friend and mentor, and he had no intention of leaving

 

him now.

 

“I know your curiosity. You will grab hold of one of the lines and then you’ll be gone.

 

You would not otherwise be satisfied,” the mahu explained. “And once you leave, you

 

will not return.”

 

“I’ll be back! The other people returned to carve the faces. I’ll return.”

 

The mahu shook his head sadly. “No. You will get lost. You will not return.” “You can play your flute and I’ll follow your music back,” the wanderer persisted. Why

 

not? It had worked before.

 

“I’m sorry, but in this instance I’m afraid my song will be needed for other purposes.”

 

Other purposes? In a bad mood to begin with, the wanderer became extremely

 

exasperated. He sat down on the ground in a snit. Hell, he didn’t see any damn lines to

 

begin with!

 

“My music will be needed to show you the lines,” the grasshopper explained, obviously

 

amused by the time walkers stubbornness. He sat down on the ground and readied his

 

flute.

 

“It has certainly been a pleasure. If ever you find yourself in a quandary, facing

 

impossible odds, think of me. Perhaps it will help you gain a new perspective. I wish you

 

well on your quest, time walker, whether that quest is for knowledge or for your home.”

 

He started to put the flute to his mouth, but then reconsidered.

 

“Uh, one more thing,” he said. “Lighten up, huh?”

 

And then he grinned that huge, wrinkled grin before becoming one with his magical

 

instrument. As the melody gathered in volume and richness the wanderer witnessed the world begin

 

to change. The physical features of the land and air dissolved, becoming a translucent

 

superimposition over the true source, the life force, the fire from the Sun.

 

The wanderer saw that he was surrounded by energy and it overwhelmed him. Everything

 

glowed. Every rock, every shrub, every particle of dirt was alive with energy. No single

 

part of the Earth was dead! Everything pulsed with the life force and was connected to

 

everything else by filaments of light that resembled strings. It was true! He marveled.

 

The web of life was no metaphor.

 

He looked up and saw hundreds of fine, gossamer lines of a different texture criss

 

crossing the sky. Many of them converged above him and dropped to the ground on the

 

very spot where he was sitting. Reaching out his hand, he grasped a particularly

 

appealing strand and was immediately pulled from the ground and whisked away! The

 

anticipated ticklish sensation was short-lived, quickly replaced by an oppressive,

 

inescapable feeling of enormous pressure. Unnatural and stifling as it was, he

 

nevertheless knew that it corresponded to his traveling the lines at a fantastic rate of

 

speed, and it was up to him to persevere.

 

At the precise moment that the pressure became unbearable, he found himself bodily on

 

the ground once again. No longer was he in the Andes, but instead was standing in amber sand on the top edge of a desert plateau. A broad river flowed below in the near distance,

 

its flood plain green and lush and cut with canals. The air was hot and heavy.

 

When he glanced around, he was shocked and confused by what he saw. On the horizon

 

stood three giant pyramids, and he wondered if the lines had taken him to the Blue

 

World.

 

No!

 

He realized right away. Nestled unmistakably between the pyramids sat the Sphinx. He

 

was in Egypt!

 

Overwhelming exhilaration led to a flustered, disoriented feeling. His knees became

 

weak. He yearned for water. He yearned for the purple mist.

 

Before he could slump to the ground in exhaustion, the mist came and snatched him

 

away. Every major archaeological ruin across Mexico and Guatemala has one thing in common;

 

the ball court. Some ceremonial centers have clusters of ball courts around them. This

 

game was played amongst the Mesoamerican Indians for over 1500 years running, with

 

probably very little change in the rules. Today we don’t know how this game was played.

 

The idea that competitive teams were sent to different cities to play the ball game is my

 

own construct. Maybe it happened, maybe it didn’t. The problem with trying to do

 

history in the America’s is that there isn’t any history until Columbus and Cortes arrived

 

to wreck havoc on the civilizations. Only in the past twenty years has the Mayan code

 

been broken so that we can read their language. Names and events are starting to come

 

into the record. Of course, as with any government, there are a lot of tall tales being told,

 

so one still has to read between the lines. One thing is fairly certain; Teotihuacan, outside Mexico City, was the dominant power of

 

its time (200 BC-600 AD). It influenced city-states from the Gulf coast to Guatemala.

 

While the ball courts stand out at El Tajin, Monte Alban, Xochicalco, Chichen Itza,

 

Copan, Tula, Tikal, and so forth, it is hard to find the courts at Teotihuacan. Go figure.

 

Ball Game 148 AD

 

Going to the ball game

 

Getting ready for the ball game

 

We’re all in top condition

 

We’ll meet the competition

 

We’re ready for the ball game today

 

Going to the ball game

 

We’re all ready for the ball game

 

It’s an exercise in will

 

A testing of our skill

 

We’re getting ready for the season of trade It’s a festive atmosphere at Teotihuacan

 

We’re soon to take the mountain road to Monte Alban

 

With the seers and dancers and the mural painters

 

But we’re the number one attraction

 

We’re the ball game players

 

All the winners here at Teotihuacan

 

Get to play the Zapotecs at Monte Alban

 

It’s an honor to represent Teotihuacan

 

Walk the Valley of Oaxaca down to Monte Alban

 

Play the number one court down at Monte Alban

 

We’ve been to El Tajin

 

Played the Huastecs at El Tajin

 

It’s a heated rivalry

 

But our spirit reigned supreme

 

Now we’re ready for the challenge today

 

Going to play the ball game

 

We’re all ready for the ball game

 

I will look for you at courtside Encouragement is so nice

 

Hope to see you at the ball game today

 

I’ll look for you at the ball game today

 

Looking forward to the ball game today OK. So we’re back to the Conquest. At one time Long Road had twelve songs, but there

 

were too many holes in the story. And then the outline grew to sixty. I have actually

 

written 34, so there are still a lot of holes. That’s why I have included some chapters from

 

Flipside.

 

I keep hearing little voices in my head. They say, “I know this flakey character, this

 

Wayne. He has no musical ability whatsoever. He can’t sing, doesn’t play an instrument

 

of any kind, and there are too many words for these things to really be songs. He’s

 

delusional. He’s nuts. He really can’t even tap his fingers. He’s got to be full of kaka

 

poopoo.” Go ahead. Believe what you want. Stand outside our shower. Hell, I’ve even

 

put the chapters of Flipside to music! Flipside is actually an opera!

 

Yeah, right. Once again, many thanks to my lovely assistant. Putting these chapters into the computer

 

is time consuming, and it probably wouldn’t get done without Sam, my wife and partner

 

(not typist).

 

Have a good day.

 

FLIPSIDE

 

Chapter 2

 

It felt good to stretch his limbs.

 

Even though his thoughts were as thick and cumbersome as the swirling gray fog that

 

surrounded him, he felt physically stronger. He knew his rest had been beneficial.

 

He breathed deep the crisp, pine scented air and then began to make his way slowly down

 

the steep, wooded slope. When he stepped from the forest into a golden brown meadow,

 

the stifling mist thinned and a spectacular panorama opened up before his eyes. It was a stunningly beautiful valley, fifty miles or more across at its widest point. The

 

North side was open, and veed away in a broad plain a mile or so below him, broken here

 

and there by a low, lonely mountain. The converging end of the vee consisted of tall,

 

rugged ranges. The highest peaks were snow covered. The one nearest him was actively

 

volcanic and spouted ominous spurts of smoke.

 

But the most compelling feature of the valley lay at the foot of the opposite range; a sky

 

blue lake that flashed and sparkled in the sunlight. Near one end was a large island that

 

was linked to the mainland by three long causeways. They reached out like spokes to the

 

North, South, and West.

 

Where in the blazes am I? He wondered. How did I get here?

 

As if in answer to his unspoken question came a strange, grating voice. “Welcome to the

 

Conquest! Before you is the Valley of Mexico, the island/city of Tenochtitlan, the jewel

 

of the New World!”

 

He turned quickly and to his surprise discovered an unusually large parrot eyeing him

 

from a perch. It was a strikingly beautiful bird, resplendent in its rich, green plume.

 

“My name is Mochni. Mochni the parrot. And yours?”

 

His name? What exactly WAS his name? Did he even have one? He could not think clearly. There

 

was a disconcerting gap in his continuity that he simply could not access. He could

 

remember nothing before his initial appearance on the mountainside!

 

“Never mind. It’s not important,” the bird consoled. “After all, what’s in a name? You

 

are you! Right?”

 

“I am a wanderer,” he replied hastily, wary of the birds patronizing manner.

 

“You are a man of wisdom!” Mochni corrected gleefully. “And you have arrived at the

 

most opportune moment! We are about to witness the fall of Tenochtitlan and the

 

beginning of a new epoch in the history of the world!”

 

The wanderer felt a tug of apprehension as he attempted to fit himself into the time

 

frame.

 

“Is that truly the Aztec capital in the valley below?” he asked weakly. Why could he

 

remember some history when he couldn’t remember his name? He was well versed in the

 

lore of the Aztecs. Could he have actually traveled into the past?

 

“The Conquest is taking place at this very moment,” the parrot wheezed. “You should

 

take advantage of your good fortune and project yourself over the city.” Noting the pitiful look of despair on the wanderers face, Mochni prodded him. “Go

 

ahead. I know you can do it. Walk the sky! I will be your guide. Give you history from a

 

bird’s eye point of view, so to speak. You can trust me.”

 

Stricken by those last words, the wanderer wavered. Could he truly trust the parrot?

 

Mochni’s eyes betrayed keen intelligence, but they also cast a sinister glint. And the

 

grating, mocking tone of voice had put him on edge from the very beginning. Still, he

 

couldn’t deny that he harbored a compelling desire to see Tenochtitlan up close.

 

The wanderer’s indecisiveness ceased to matter when he discovered that he had already

 

begun to walk the sky. Even though he was standing in the meadow, he was also flying

 

with the parrot. Even though he was a man, and not a bird, still he was soaring through

 

the air, gleefully riding the wind currents down the side of the mountain.

 

When they reached the valley floor and neared the shoreline of the lake, a giant clamor

 

caught his attention. The water surrounding the city was literally teeming with canoes.

 

There were thousands of them filled with warriors battling one another. From six or

 

seven larger, more cumbersome boats came the flash of fire and roar of cannon. A full