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Prologue to an Adventure

As I walked through the wilderness of this world, as I walked through the wilderness, as I walked through the city with the loud electric faces and the crowded petrols of the wind dazzling and drowning me that winter night before the West died, I remembered the winds of the high, white world that bore me and the faces of a noiseless million in the busy hood of heaven staring on the afterbirth. They who nudged through the literate light of the city, shouldered and elbowed me, catching my trilby with the spokes of their umbrellas, who offered me matches and music, made me ,out of their men's eyes into a man shape walking. But take away, I told them silently, the flannel and cotton, the cheap felt and leather, I am the nakedest and baldest nothing between the pinnacle and the base, an alderman of ghosts holding to watch-chain and wallet on the wet pavement, the narrator of echoes moving in man's time. I have Old Scratch by the beard, and the news of the world is no world's news, the gossips of heaven and the fallen rumors are enough and too much for a shadow that casts no shadow, I said to the blind beggars and the paperboys who shouted into the rain. They who were hurrying by me on the narrow errands of the world, time bound to their wrists or blinded in their pockets, who consulted the time strapped to a holy tower, and dodged between bonnets and wheels, heard in my fellow's footsteps the timeless accents of another walking. On the brilliant pavements under a smoky moon, their man's world turning to the bass roll of the traffic, they saw in the shape of my fellow another staring under the pale lids, and heard the spheres turn as he spoke. This is a strange city, gentlemen on your own, gentlemen arm-in-arm making a rehearsed salute, gentlemen with ladies, ladies this is a strange city. For them in the friendless houses in the streets of pennies and pleasures a million ladies and gentlemen moved up in bed, time moved with the practised moon over a million roofs that night, and grim policemen stood at each corner in the black wind. 0 mister lonely, said the ladies on their own, we shall be naked as new-born mice, loving you long in the short sparks of the night. We are not the ladies with feathers between their breasts, who lay eggs on the quilt. As I walked through the skyscrapers, where the lamps walked at my side like electrocuted men or the trees of a new scripture, I jostled the devil at my elbow, but lust in his city shadows dogged me under the arches, down the black blind streets. Now in the shape of a bald girl smiling, a wailing wanton with handcuffs for earrings, or the lean girls that lived on pickings, now in ragged woman with a muckrake curtseying in the slime, the tempter of angels whispered over my shoulder, We shall be naked but for garters and black stockings, loving you long on a bed of strawberries and cream, and the nakeder for a ribbon that hides the nipples. We are not the ladies that eat into the brain behind the ear, or feed on the fat of the heart. I remembered the sexless shining women in the first hours of the world that bore me, and the golden sexless men that cried All Praise in the sounds of shape. Taking strength from a sudden shining, I have Old Scratch by the beard, I cried aloud. But the short-time shapes still followed, and the counselor of an unholy nakedness nagged at my heels. No, not for nothing did the packed thoroughfares confront me at each cross and pavement's turning with these figures in the shapes of sounds, the lamp-chalked silhouettes and the walking frames of dreams, out of a darker allegory than the fictions of the earth could turn in twelve suns' time. There was more than man's meaning to the bare skull bogies thumbing the skeletons of their noses, to the marrow-merry snackers scratching their armpits in a tavern light, and to the dead man, smiling through his bandages, who laid hand on my sleeve, saying in no man's voice, There is more than man's meaning in a stuffed man talking, split from navel to arsehole, and more in the horned ladies at your heels than a pinch of the cloven delights and the tang of sulphur. Heaven and hell shift up and down the city. I have the God of Israel in the image of a painted boy, and Satan, in a woman's shirt, pisses from a window in Damaroid Alley. See now, you shining ones, how the tuner of harps has fallen, and the painter of winds like a bag of henna into the gutter. The high hopes lie broken with broken bottles and suspender-belts, the white mud falls like feathers, there out of Pessary Court comes the Bishop of Bumdom, dressed like a ratcatcher, a holy sister in Gamarouche Mews sharpens her index tooth on a bloodstone, two weasels couple on Shiva-Nataraja's altar. It was an ungodly meaning, or the purpose of the fallen gods whose haloes magnified the wrong-cross-steepled horns on the pointed heads, that windily informed me of man's lower walking, and, as I thrust the dead-and-bandaged and a split-like-cabbage enemy to my right side, up sidled my no-bigger-than-a-thimble friends to the naked left. He who played the sorcerer, appearing all at one time in a dozen sulphurous beckonings, saying, out of a dozen mouths, We shall be naked as the slant-thighed queens of Asia in your dreams, was a symbol in the story of man's journey through the symboled city. And that which shifted with the greased lightning of a serpent from the nest holes in the bases of the cathedral pillars, tracking round the margins of the four cindery winds, was, too, a symbol in that city journey. In a mouse tailed woman and a holy snake, the symbols of the city writhed before me. But by one red horn I had that double image, tore off the furry stays and leather jacket. We shall be naked, said Old Scratch variously emerging, as a Jew girl crucified to the bedposts. We are all metaphors of the sound of shape of the shape of sound, break us we take another shape. Sideways the snake and the woman stroked a cross in the air. I saw the star fall that broke a cloud up, and dodged between bonnets and wheels to the ill-lit streets where I saw Daniel Dom lurching after a painted shadow. We walked into the Seven Sins. Two little girls danced barefoot in the sawdust, and a bottle splintered on their legs. A negress loosened the straps of her yellow frock and bared a breast, holding a plate under the black flesh. Buy a pound, she said, and thrust her breast in Daniel's face. He faced the women as they moved, a yellow, noisy sea towards us, and caught the half-naked negress by the wrist. Like a woman confronted by a tower, You are so strong, my love, she said, and kissed him full on the mouth. But before the sea could circle us, we were out through the swing-doors into the street and the mid-winter night where the moonlight, salt white no longer, hung windlessly over the city. They were night's enemies who made a lamp out of the devil's eye, but we followed a midnight radiance around the corners, like two weird brothers trod in the glittering web prints. In their damp hats and raincoats, in the blaze of shop window, the people jostled against us on the pavements, and a gutter boy caught me by the sleeve. Buy an almanac, he said. It was the bitter end of the year. Now the star fall had ended, the sky was a hole in space. How long, how long, lord of the hail, shall my city rock on, and the seven deadly seas wait tidelessly for the moon, the bitter end the last tide-spinning of the full circle. Daniel lamented, trailing the midnight radiance to the door of the Deadly Virtue where the light went out and the glittering web prints faded. We were forever climbing the steps of a sea tower, crying aloud from the turret that we might warn us, as we clambered, of the rusty rack and the spiked maiden in the turret corners. Make way for Mister Dom and friend. Walking into the Deadly Virtue, we heard our names announced through the loudspeaker trumpet of the wooden image over the central mirror, and, staring in the glass as the oracle continued, we saw two distorted faces grinning through the smoke. Make way, said the loudspeaker, for Daniel, ace of Destruction, old Dom the toper of Doom's kitchen, and for the alderman of ghosts. Is the translator of man's manuscript, his walking chapters, said the trumpet-faced, a member of my Deadly Virtue? What is the color of the narrator's blood? Put a leech on his forearm. Make way, the image cried, for bald and naked Mister Dreamer of the bluest veins this side of the blood-colored sea. As the sea of faces parted, the bare-backed ladies scraped back from the counter, and the matchstick-waisted men, the trussed and corsetted stilt-walkers with the tits of ladies, sought out the darker recesses of the saloon, we stumbled forward to the fiery bottles. Brandy forth dreamer and the pilgrim, said the wooden voice. Gentlemen, it is my call, said the loudspeaker, death on my house. It was then, in the tangled hours of a new morning, surrounded by the dead faces of the drinkers, the wail of lost voices, and the words of the one electric image, that Daniel, hair-on-end, lamented first to me of the death on the city and the lost hero of the heart. There can be no armistice for the sexless, golden singers and the sulphurous hermaphrodites, the flying beast and the walking bird that war about us, for the horn and the wing. I could light the voices of the fiery virgins winking in my glass, catch the brandy-brown beast and bird as they fumed before my eyes, and kiss the two-antlered angel. No, not for nothing were these two intangible brandy maids neighboring Daniel who cried, syringe in hand, Open your coke-white legs, you ladies of needles, Dom thunder Daniel is the lightning drug and the doctor. Now a wind sprang through the room from the dead street; from the racked tower where two men lay in chains and a hole broke in the wall, we heard our own cries travel through the fumes of brandy and the loudspeaker's music; we pawed, in our tower agony, at the club shapes dancing, at the black girls tattooed from shoulder to nipple with a white dancing shape, frocked with snail-headed rushes and capped like antlers. But they slipped from us into the rubber corners where their black lovers waited invisibly; and the music grew louder until the tower cry was lost among it; and again Daniel lurched after a painted shadow that led him, threading through smoke and dancers, to the stained window. Beneath him lay the city sleeping, curled in its streets and houses, lamped by its own red-waxed and iron stars, with a built moon above it, and the spires crossed over the bed. I stared down, rocking at his side, on to the unsmoking roofs and the burned-out candles. Destruction slept. Slowly the room behind us flowed, like four waters, down the seven gutters of the city into a black sea. A wave, catching the loudspeaker in its mouth, sucked up the wood and music; for the last time a mountainous wave circled the drinkers and dragged them down, out of the world of light, to a crawling sea-bed; we saw a wave jumping and the last bright eyes go under, the last raw head, cut like a straw, fall crying through the destroying water. Daniel and I stood alone in the city. The sea of destruction lapped around our feet. We saw the star fall that broke the night up. The glass lights on iron went out, and the waves grew down into the pavements.

Dylan Thomas



After Dylan Thomas by Lawrence Turner on Tuesday, February 21, 2012 at 9:27am

Information Security Pseudonyms used by chameleon man as a rail gun. Information Warfare punches holes in the Ionosphere. Weekly World News notes the Zen of World Domination. Rand Corporation = Amherst Internet Underground. Pseudonym for Platform: 1911; 1984; 1997. The Eternity server allowed Skytel to be chosen as the PRIME Reflection. Bubba the Love Sponge engaged in Defense Information Warfare for Jasmine Guppy. Artichoke, Badger, Cornflower, Daisy engaged in Secert Service Terrorism Defensive Information. Offensive Information Warfare allows counterintelligence, industrial espionage and industrial intelligence. Secure Internet Connections with Passwords and Encryption spell Espionage. The Investigation Echelon notes the key word jack is not in the Dictionary. Macintosh Internet Security and Macintosh Firewalls defeat Unix Security but not Cypherpunks, Coderpunks, Keyhole Blowfish, Internet Underground or Indigo. Counter Terrorism Security requires Rapid Reaction to evolving Psyops Security Consulting, Investigation Echelon and Cornflower Counterterrorism. Electronic Surveillance of High Security Gamma Keyhole. Corporate Security, Police perform Security Evaluation of Sphinx Encryption. Waihopai Information Terrorism is Offensive Information Counter Terrorism Security. National Information Infrastructure requires Secure Internet Connections for Secert Service, White House and Military Intelligence Espionage. Corporate Security Broadside. Egret, Iris and Hollyhock Beyond Hope. Capricorn/Gorizont/Merlin Firewalls activated.
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