Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Excerpt from 'Megalopolitan Maniac', the final section of Henry Miller's 'Black Spring'

'In the early evening, when death rattles the spine, the crowd moves compact, elbow to elbow, each memeber of the great herd driven by loneliness; breast to breast towards the wall of self, frustrate, isolate, sardine upon sardine, all seeking the universal can-opener. In the early evening, when the crowd is sprinkled with electricity, the whole city gets up on its hind legs and crashes the gates. In the stampede the abstract man falls apart, grey with self, spinning in the gutter of his deep loneliness.
One name branded deep. One identity. Everyone pretends not to know, not to remember anymore, but the name is branded deep, as deep within as the furthest star without. Filling all space and time, creating infinite loneliness, this name expands and becomes what it always was and always will be - God. In the herd moving with silent feet, in the stampede, wilder than the greatest panic, is God. God burning like a star in the firmament of the human consciousness: God of the buffaloes, God of the reindeer, man's God...God.
Never more God than in the Godless crowd. Never more God than in the early evening stampede when the spine rattling with death telegraphs the song of love through all the neurones and from every shop on Broadway the radio answers with megaphone and pick-up, with amplifiers and hook-ups. Never more loneliness than in the teeming crowd, the lonely man of the city surrounded by his inventions, the lost seeker drowning in the common identity. Out of desperate lonely lovelack is built the last stronghold, the webbed citadel of God formed after the labyrinth. From this last refuge no escape save heavenward. From here we fly home, marking the strange ether channels.....

I can think of no lovelier day than this in the full bloom of the twentieth century, with the sun rotting away and a man on a little sledge blowing the Song of Love through his piccolo. This day shines in my heart with such a ghastly brilliance that even were I the saddest man in the world I should not want to leave the earth.

What a magnificent evacuation, this flight heavenward from the holy citadel! Looking downward the earth seems soft and lovely again. The earth denuded of man. Unspeakably soft and lovely, this earth bereft of man. Rid of God-hunters, rid of her whoring progeny, the mother of all living wheels her way again with grace and dignity. The earth knows no God, no charity, no love. The earth is a womb which creates and destroys. And man is not of the earth, but of God. To God then let him go, naked, broken, corrupt, divided, lonelier than the deepest gulch....

This is the city, and this is the music. Out of little black boxes an undending river of romance in which crocodiles weep. All walking towards the mountain top. All in step. From the power house above God floods the street with music. It is God who turns the mnusc on every evening just as we quit work. To some is given a crust of bread, to others a Rolls Royce. All moving towards the Exits, the stale bread locked in garbage cans. What is it that keeps our feet in unison as we move towards the shining mountain top? It is the Song of Love which was heard in the manger by three wise men from the East. A man without legs, his eyes blown out, was playing it on the piccolo as he rolled through the street of the holy city on his little sledge. It is this Song of Love which now pours out of millions of little black boxes at the precise chronological moment, so that even our little brown brothers in the Phillipines can hear it. It is this beautiful Song of Love which gives us the strentgh to build the tallest buildings, to launch the biggest battleships, to span the widest rivers. It is this Song which gives us the courage to kill millions of men at once by just pressing a button. This Song which gives us the energy to plunder the earth and lay everything bare.
Walking towards the mountain top I study the rigid outlines of your buildings which will tomorrow collapse in rubble and smoke. I study your peace programmes which will end in a hail of bullets. I study your glittering shop-windows crammed with inventions for which tomorrow there will be no use. I study your worn faces hacked with toil, your broken arches, your fallen stomachs. I study you individually and in the swarm - and how you stink all of you! You stink like God and his all-merciful love and wisdom. God the man-eater! God the shark swimming with his parasites.
It is God, let us not forget, who turns the radio on each morning. It is God who floods our eyes with shining, brimming light. Soon we will be with Him, folded in his bosom, gathered up in bliss and eternity, even with the Word, equal before the Law. This is coming about through love, a love so great that beside it the mightiest dynamo is but a buzzing mosquito.
And now I take leave of you and your holy citadel. I go now to sit on the mountain top, to wait another ten thousand years while you struggle up towards the light. I wish just for this evening you would dim the lights, that you would muffle the loudspeakers. This evening I would like to meditate a bit in peace and quiet. I would like to forget for a little while that you are swarming around in your five-and-ten cent honeycomb.
Tomorrow you may bring about the destruction of your world. Tomorrow you may sing in Paradise above the smoking ruins of your world-cities. But tonight I would like to think of one man, a lone individual, a man without name or country, a man whom I respect because he has absolutely nothing in common with you -MYSELF. Tonight I shall meditate upon that which I am.'

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