Collating Smatterings of Memoirings (2) AN EMBARRASSMENT OF RICHES, OR A FLY IN THE EAR

Collating upd wpic
[Only one piece today]

From 1985, on 1968, 1946, 1985, 1965, 1959-62, 1967, etc.

AN EMBARRASSMENT OF RICHES, OR
A FLY IN THE EAR

SOON THE MOON will come up, big and round, like last night, beautiful, from where the lights of the port of Akaba stretch in gleaming dotted lines towards the Saudi port whose name I don’t remember, to cast a growing sheen of beauty across the moving waters before me. I have felt closer intimacy with the moon. Lying under a eucalyptus tree on a hillside some thirty miles out of Melbourne some sixteen years ago, aged thirty two or so, about an hour after letting the small piece of blotting paper with the drop of LSD on it dissolve under my tongue, I saw its beams streaming directly at me, and opened my mouth to drink them in, and felt their power stirring in me, and female forms danced among the branches, inviting and inciting me to join the cosmic orgy, guiding my hands as I lay there straining in delight. Until I tripped off in another direction, as now my mind does, not remaining fixed on any memory or thought, for the sound of the small waves rippling onto this stony beach, incessantly repeating yet never the same, brings me to think of other beaches, and of scenes between my many visits to so many beaches since the first time I came to a beach, a ten year old war refugee, at Repulse Bay in Hong Kong. Not only scenes come though, also thoughts: still I wonder at this inexplicable response to beauty, in sight and sound, and again I ask myself what this remembering is for, and why I have this desire still, or rather again, to share my memories and thoughts, to write at last the book or books I have wanted so many years to write, so many beginnings, so many designs, so many subjects, so many styles, things I apparently cannot communicate in conversation, nor really want to say to any one particular person though there are many people I know and probably many I don’t that I would like to write them to or for, though I could not with any certainty now tell you why. At certain times I would have said I knew why, in my prophetic phases when I believed that what I was writing was important, that it would surely change the world. And there were phases like that even before I started with the psychedelic drugs. So much to tell, so much to make sense of, if one can. All those pages at home, all those stages I’ve been through, and nothing achieved if achievement is what counts, and if it is to be measured by products and income. The waves wash in, the waves wash out. The sea’s surface can be beautiful, and beautiful too is its feel when I swim in it, cool still in early May after the blazing heat of the sun at midday. Beautiful, yet deceptive, or treacherous: a few days ago some sea creature stabbed me in the foot, stinging me with some poison, sending me into excruciating pain such as I cannot remember experiencing, yet reminding me of what I had not felt a long time, the reality of pain. So many things reminding me of so many things lately, especially since last weekend, the seventy two hours of leave I was given from my month’s stint in the reserves here at Taba, the disputed region between Egypt and Israel, where I’m serving as a liaison officer. I had to hitch hike back to Tel Aviv from Eilat, many memories, how I crossed the Jordanian border here one summer night a few months after I got married, and the kibbutz I was a member of the first three years in this country, and… There was an eclipse of the moon the Saturday night I was back, my second son knew from the papers, we watched it in spurts, I remembered the first time I’d seen one, unprepared, in Townsville, Queensland, waiting for a ferry to take me to Magnetic Island on one of my lone excursions, just me and my small stock of hash, into the unknown. That same Saturday morning there’d been a phone call, a publisher’s editor who wanted to meet me, and we met and she wanted to know the story of my life, and telling her as much as I could in speech in the time we had, I knew again that I wanted to write it. How is still a problem.
“You have to know what it’s about,” she said. “Is it about being born in Warsaw and growing up in Shanghai and in Melbourne, or is it about idealism and kibbutz, or about drugs and messianic psychosis, or what?”
I thought she meant my life.
“I don’t know, but I think what it’s about is what it is, what it has been, all of it.”
But she meant the book. And how to put it together. I told her about how many ways I’d tried, never satisfied. And about the time I spent a whole day, burning hundreds of pages. Sydney, Avalon, in the house by the beach.
Book, life, so many flows, like these waves. “An embarrassment of riches,” someone wrote about me once. She’s dead now. Anne. At the Writer’s Retreat, 1967, University of New England, Armidale, New South Wales. Before Jonathan was born. Before my mother died. Before I tried the drugs.
I don’t know any answers. I have no opinions to push. Can’t say I believe in anything. Whatever I’ve learned, if I’ve learned anything, must emerge in what I do, whenever. I have no precepts to pass on to my sons, and much I would like to tell them. I think this is a very special time of the world, and then I don’t think that. Thoughts, like memories, come and go. I don’t know what doesn’t. I think what seems to return is really something else. Sometimes, like now, my mind teems with these things. Enough of standing here and letting them just flit. I’ll get a pad.
Soon the moon will come up. Big and round, from where the port lights of Akaba gleam. I won’t need it for light. A large projector behind me lights up yards of rippling sea and the long lines of quarried rocks spread along the shore. I’m sitting on a large rock, my back against another, writing pad on my knees.
Into the wash and slap of the wind moved waves comes the voice of my “partner” in this liaison post, in Hebrew.
“Are you writing letters or drawing?”
Even here people ask you. How many times have I heard such
questions, in how many places. How many pads.
“I’m writing. Not letters. Not drawing.” Some people can always think of funny answers. What is it with me, always trying to be close to truth?
Not drawing? Maybe I am, drawing what’s here, drawing on memory.
Writing, again.
I said I wouldn’t start writing again until I knew where the narrative would end. I know now where it’ll end. Round about here.
Here, where I brought my pad some fifteen minutes ago, after standing here for some fifteen minutes, seeing and hearing the beauty, feeling the wind, thinking, remembering, wanting, knowing and not knowing.

[Added when typing this handwriting]
The moon didn’t come up that night. Clouds hid it. And I wrote no more until I was home, away from the military atmosphere and routine.

ARCHIVELINGS: 19680319 [20161110]: Writings: Changes

I have to reblog this text, because of course it’s from 1968 (not 83, as I stupidly misread & miswrote the dateline; won’t go into why or how now): March 19, on the first pages of a blackleatherbound notebook bought in Melbourne. Where this was written I don’t remember, but the following & very different pages were done in Sydney soon after…archiveling-8319-2

[196]8[0]3[/]19
Writings: Changes

Writing is a faculty, like thinking or
remembering. To attempt to suppress any
faculty is to try to check the flow. (The flow
can never be checked, true – but the attempt to
suppress any faculty creates tension and
resistance and thus makes the flow less
harmonious.

Words are insufficient, true. Not only for
communication – even for clarification. Thus
writing, like verbal thinking, is limited in
its scope. You cannot think your way
out of a hang-up: finally you must just
submit, and the submission which comes with
non-verbal realization brings about the
transformation, creating a new harmony.

For there is in the head a pre-thinking
consciousness – when thinking a thought
out in words, at the speed of speaking, you
suddenly realize you are not thinking a
new thought, but translating into words

a thought which was flashed into conscious-
ness completely and instantaneously a few
“seconds” before the return into the timeflow
of consecutive word-making. All this happens
in the head: you can even stop the {worded} thought
half-way, knowing that you know the
whole thought though you have not yet
verbalized it.

So why verbalize at all? Because that is
Another faculty – why suppress it?

The faculties, and the centres in the head –
the image-maker

ARCHIVELINGS: 19830109 [20161110]: Writings: Changes

archiveling-8319

[19]83[0]1[0]9
Writings: Changes

Writing is a faculty, like thinking or
remembering. To attempt to suppress any
faculty is to try to check the flow. (The flow
can never be checked, true – but the attempt to
suppress any faculty creates tension and
resistance and thus makes the flow less
harmonious.

Words are insufficient, true. Not only for
communication – even for clarification. Thus
writing, like verbal thinking, is limited in
its scope. You cannot think your way
out of a hang-up: finally you must just
submit, and the submission which comes with
non-verbal realization brings about the
transformation, creating a new harmony.

For there is in the head a pre-thinking
consciousness – when thinking a thought
out in words, at the speed of speaking, you
suddenly realize you are not thinking a
new thought, but translating into words

a thought which was flashed into conscious-
ness completely and instantaneously a few
“seconds” before the return into the timeflow
of consecutive word-making. All this happens
in the head: you can even stop the {worded} thought
half-way, knowing that you know the
whole thought though you have not yet
verbalized it.

So why verbalize at all? Because that is
Another faculty – why suppress it?

The faculties, and the centres in the head –
the image-maker

Farewell John Kleiman (May 30, 1947 – September 29, 2016)

jk-comp2

This is how I found out, from a post on Facebook:

jkcb

It was John, more than anyone, who first turned me on. Which means he had a great influence on my life. &, therefore also as my son (the second of three) Ohav (he’ll be 47 this month, & he arrived here yesterday from Tel Aviv for a month’s stay with us, which he does mostly every year) remarked laughingly & rightly, he had a great influence on quite a number of people who never knew him, all of my sons in particular.

I first met him 50 years ago, when Nitza & I were living in Melbourne for a few years. I was 30 & he was 18. I was the working as the sub-editor of The Australian Jewish Herald, a weekly newspaper that ran for several years in Melbourne. One day John came into the office in High St, St Kilda, to visit his friend (& by then mine too) Peter Weiniger, the newspaper’s young reporter. That was the beginning of an intense & beautiful friendship. (I soon learned, by the way, that I knew his father Sam, in whose clothing factory I ‘d worked or as a dispatch & pay clerk some time before I left Australia to become a member of Kibbutz Nirim across the UN-policed border with the Gaza Strip.)

Soon after this, I remember, John & I sat in my car for hours talking about so many things. This was my first contact with a “head” – already a buzz word then for people (mostly young, of John’s generation much more than mine) who had tuned in to the new wavelengths of consciousness with the aid of substances old & new, legal & illegal. Many of them then would have identified with the saying (coined in 1964 by Jack Weinberg but often wrongly attributed to Abbie Hoffman, Jerry Rubin, the Beatles, and others) “Don’t trust anyone over 30”. I was just over 30 then, & for as long as I live I’ll continue being grateful to him for having trusted me despite that. If he hadn’t I might not have escaped the fate of so many of my generation who never experienced the entheogenic or psychedelic wonders of reality made accessible by psychotropic plants & compounds…

I was almost ready for it, though not so evidently to myself at first. I was disgruntled about much that was happening with myself & in the world. For myself, I was OK with Nitza, & with working for a living for now while trying to write a novel, but for quite some time had been feeling frustrated & pretty hopeless because I had no real idea what the novel was to be about or like. & in the world – the Viet Nam war, nuclear proliferation, collective & individual alienation, exploitation, discrimination, deprivation, abuse, population explosion, subjugation of indigenous people in colonized countries, you name it, & no prospect of positive change; & to my thinking then the hippies I’d been reading about were just into escaping from it all…

My thinking (& much more) changed after I first turned on. That, though, took more than a year after that first meeting with John. Actually, a few months after we’d met quite a number of times, & after many vivid description by John of what I might see & feel if I tried it, I agreed to smoke a joint with him. We were alone in the apartment Nitza & I were renting in Redan Street, across the road from the “Own Your Own” flat my mother had bought with the reparations money she’d finally received from Germany. Nitza was out, painting or etching at the National Gallery Art School in town. I took a few puffs, but started feeling nauseous, & had to throw up. It’s not for me, I decided.

A few months later we moved to a terraced 2-story house in Nelson Road, South Melbourne, & I got a new job as an afternoon-shift proof-reader for a trade-printery not far from there. Our first son was born. I didn’t want to call him John, it was too Christian a name to my mind, but I was thinking of John when I suggested the name Jonathan, Yonatan in Hebrew, & Nitza agreed.

I was glad to be a father, I felt so much love for our new son. & glad too that my mother could joy in her first grandson & hold him in her arms (& even laugh when once he pissed right in her face). It was to be only a brief joy for her: she died of a stroke a few months after he was born.

John still visited, & we still talked of many things, cabbages & kings, but he didn’t try to push me to try again. In the meantime, however, I’d met another sweet & amazing young head who lived further up Nelson Road, Al Katinas (a brilliant photographer too), whose enthusiastic & entheogenic talking about his experiences & understandings again made me start thinking that there indeed might be something here for me. At this time too I started finding all kinds of articles in the newspapers, especially in Life & in Time magazines, about Haight Ashbury, about Timothy Leary, about what heads were experiencing. & one evening, while watching TV (which was still only black&white), I saw a news report of heads tripping near a body of water (I don’t remember if it was a river or a lake), & saw not only how blissed one or some of them looked as they were looking at the surface of the water, but also, through some blessed magic of the cinematographer, something of what they were seeing there, & something in that sparked something in me (I’ll return to this moment below) that led me to decide: yes – I’m going to try LSD. But to get myself ready for that I’ll take a few months of getting stoned.

John brought the hash, Al brought an incense charcoal tablet, lit it & placed the piece of hash on it, & thru the narrow tube of an emptied ballpoint pen we inhaled the sweet line of smoke that rose. & my world changed. An hour or so later I walked out into the street & was stopped for maybe half an hour by the sight of a tree with all its leaves & it was like I was seeing a tree & its plenitude of beauties for the first time in my life. The high of this smoking lasted into the next day: I spent the whole (beautiful, sunny) afternoon in the Alexandria Gardens, mostly lying on the grass, blissed, looking at (& seeing! & being with) the sky, the trees around, the blades of grass, worlds within worlds …

My first trip I took by myself. It was, I still believe, life-changing for me, but that’s another story: here I want to say only that I well may not have got there if it hadn’t been for John. My second trip, however, was with John. In Sydney. He’d gone up there a few weeks earlier, & after my first trip I felt I wanted to trip with him, so I went up for a couple of weeks. We took the trip somewhere near Kings Cross & John took us to a park somewhere around there. I remember John taking his shoes off & saying to them “Stay there!” & then laughing & remarking “I always say that to them”. A little? later? there was a pond in the park with a moon reflected in it & the ripples were moving & what I saw & felt & knew & was (you don’t just see when you’re tripping) was maybe something like what the tripper/s I’d seen on TV had seen, but more than that it was a déja vu, I’d seen this way before, maybe as a 2- or- 3-year old, in Poland, maybe in a foresty place my mother & I would spend the summers in before we fled in September 1939. I felt I’d felt this joyful awe & amazement at such beauty already as a child, & it was such joy to be feeling this way again.

John found me a place where I could stay with some of his friends in Glebe. We trippeddylan-blonde there too, with a number of other lovely & loving people, whose names I no longer remember. I remember lying on a mattress & for the first time really hearing & digging the lyrics (& the music!) of Bob Dylan’s Blonde on Blonde. Until then I hadn’t really heard or listened to the electric Dylan: I’d appreciated his early folk/protest songs, to which I’d been introduced by Pete Seeger – but now, like wow x ꝏ!

Then there were more trips during those weeks, with others as well, I especially remember us driving from Glebe to Barranjoey before dawn, all of us well stoned, & John handing out the acid tickets about half an hour before we arrived to see the sun rising & soon everyone was tripping on their own in the amazing land&sea&skyscapes&spaces. Leary wrote once that it can be important when tripping to have an experienced tripper as a kind of counselor when necessary. John was such a counselor, for others, & for me.

In 1969 Nitza returned to Tel Aviv with Jonathan, & I followed her several months later. John & I didn’t stay in touch, but when Nitza & I visited Australia in early 1989 we spent visited him at the place he had in the bush. He was vibrant & it was great being with him. Here’s a photo of John & me from then that Nitza took & kept.

jk-n-i-crop

& then again years passed & no contact, till 1997, when Nitza & I came to Australia from Tel Aviv for about a year, to stay for some time with Jonathan & Ora, who were living in Redfern , & also to spend time with Zohar, who was living in Taree with two friends. From Redfern I made a trip to Melbourne & managed to also spend some time with John. He also took me (on the pillion of his motorbike) to Moorabbin to meet his daughter – I don’t remember which daughter, but I do remember how warm & loving their meeting was.

I didn’t see him after that. Years later he found me & friended me on Facebook, & we exchanged quite a number of messages…

I made the composite pic (at the top of this post from photos he posted on his page, overlaid on a Martin Sharp Jimi Hendrix poster) & I’ve also collated below a few of his Facebook posts from the past two years.
 

September 26 ·
4 gays killed in australia recenntly
..more information please!
 
August 13
This Earth…….URANTIA
There is so much hate + violence
So much killing +oppression
So much primitive fundamentalism+self-righteousness
‘Tis a world in turmoil where children suffer
The land is ravished+poisoned
The wildlife slaughtered
The oceans polluted
So much regression the planet cries/weeps for this suffering
at the hands of man
(? like a cancerous weed)
 
?May 26 ·
MOON OBSCURED BY CLOUDS
TRUTH OBSCURED BY OBFUSCATION
STILL YOU’VE GOT TO LOVE
THIS PLANET WE LIVE UPON
 
October 10, 2014 ·
YOU THINK YOU’RE STRESSED.
IT’S TRUE.
THE WHOLE PLANET IS STRESSED.
 
June 1, 2014 ·
THE WAVES. …..COME&GO….EBB&FLOW….UP&DOWN. …SIDE TO SIDE….HIGHS&LOWS…..EVER COMES….EVER GOES…..also such are the moods of men&life….(even the energies of space & spirits)………………..STATIC—ACTIVE…….CONTRACTION&EXPANSION….INHALATION&EXHALATION………….be it ..the sea..the sky…or the psyche…………..
 
jk-waves
 
June 1, 2014 ·
WER’E ALL HEADING TO THAT DATE WITH DESTINY! BETTER NOT TO KNOW,MAYBE.
 
May 31, 2014 ·
from the vaults…Book of Ditties. ….AS A TEENAGER,IN MY TEENAGE YEARS I WROTE…FORMALIZED RELIGION IS LIKE A CRUTCH TO A CRIPPLE….ALSO IT IS BETTER TO KNOW THAT YOU TRULY DO NOT KNOW THAN TO TAKE ON ANOTHERS POSSIBLE BULLSHIT…BETTER TO GROPE WITH YOUR OWN UNKNOWNING THAN TO TAKE ON ANOTHERS’ IDEAS OF HIS KNOWING NOTHING….REMAIN TENACIOUSLY TRUE TO YOUR INDIVIDUAL PERSONALITY AND INTUITION…………………………………………………………….
 
May 30, 2014 ·
Thanks for your birthday greetings,as it may be my last,it is life&life only&I may not have much choice in the matter___L’chaim
 
May 30, 2014 ·
Let’s remember the words of ALBERT EINSTEIN,that imagination is much more important than knowledge….”Logic will get you from A to B.Imagination will take you everywhere”_Albert Einstein………………………………………..ANY MAN WHO CAN DRIVE SAFELY WHILE KISSING A PRETTY GIRL IS SIMPLY NOT GIVING THE KISS THE ATTENTION IT DESERVES_Albert Einstein
 
May 29, 2014 ·
“ONE GOOD THING ABOUT MUSIC…WHEN IT HITS YOU FEEL ALRIGHT”…music.music…music…THE INNER LIFE…MEMORIES..MOODS..FEELINGS……..MUSIC SOOTHES THE MIND, BODY, AND SPIRIT
jk-1goodthing
 
May 29, 2014 ·
I’ve always enjoyed my walks alone at night,stoned&usually with dog, wherever I am. …transcending time. ..during the night while people sleep….the ether is clearer the mind is freed to explore…abstractions of thought trains…to walk alone…and to ponder…and wonder…and wander…and to seek inspiration
 
May 26, 2014
When profound is the moment___I love that__ When intense is the experience___I love that__ When quietude comes in waves upon waves_I love that_ When my child once said “I love you Daddy”_I loved that_ when memories shine bright of experiences lived through_I love that_ When friends share my vibe&I theirs_I love that_ When machinery is tight & right_I love that_ When each day is anew with mystery still !_I love that_ When people truly smile with their eyes_I love that_ That GOD is a SMILE & LOVE___I like/love that. 2009
 
May 19, 2014

…………………………ART……………………………………
jk-art
 

John, you will always be with me, & with all who have loved you & who have learned from you.
My condolences to all who feel the loss of your physical presence among us.
Blessed is your memory.

it’s been like being in hospital (& not):

I wrote these lines last Saturday, but – for reasons I won’t go into here – embargoed this piece until I felt like posting it. Now, in the same space on another day of high heat & humidity, & in the midst of another writing spate, I feel like posting it.

With this heatwave outside it’s been
like being in hospital (& not):
I haven’t been outside for two days
but I feel I’m in a good place,
especially now, thanks to the god
or whatever, of grass,
& the grower & waterer,
& the vaporizer operator,
& my still-capable lungs, & me

a nice place to be
to see what I see
when I’m stoned
like

this

this this

here now

& matters
however pressing,
oppressing, represssing,
suppressing, depressing,
elsewhere & elsewhen
simply don’t matter

with my afternoon glass of tea
& a spray of nicotine
I know some drugs are good for me
in good doses

& though even here
I may natter again of such matters
or of other differences
between hospital & here
where I share a space
with only one other person
& the occasional visitor,
& my editor says
the details don’t matter either,
so I delete them.

So.
Maybe enough sitting here for now.
Move about.

Whoo, I’m back quickly,
though moving slowly, unsteady on my legs,
I’m more stoned than I thought,
more stoned than I ought
to be, but N’s cutting some watermelon,
& I’ll start coming down
(I hope, that’s what usually happens)

Ah! & some blueberries too
on the white plate that she brought me,
the cold sweetness of the watermelon pieces,
every berry to the last, every piece
a taste of honey dew (“Weave a circle… “)

& now for a spray of nicotine
& goodbye for now.