(by Daniel R. Jones)
When I first met Dylan Quincy, he had ice in his veins,
in the literal and proverbial sense.
On his one arm, he had a punk-y chick with a blunt-cut,
clad in black, lacquered nails and Doc Marten boots.
He held her like a grudge.
On his other arm, he had track marks.
Dylan told me to not postulate on the dissolution of ego, because the ego loved such talk.
He talked of transcendence, as if
car notes and
dirty dishes and
the ballast bags of everyday life
Dylan wanted to— like Jesus—feel the power go out from him.
But given that—unlike Jesus—he cared very little who touched him.
If I relaxed my gaze, I’d get a bit cock-eyed
and his philosophy came into focus;
like some human-shaped magic eye puzzle.
His life was a burnt offering. So what if it was a slow burn?
Without a lung full of flower, Dylan’s thoughts bumped up against one another like railway cars,
and pin coupler never quite
He couldn’t connect one to the other in a way that formed a coherent
Dylan liked that the DSM-5 calls it a ‘hypomanic episode.’
“Because it really does feel like an episode of some action thriller,” he’d say.
“The boring parts of life all stripped away;
my every action imbued with a sense of meaning,
distilled seven times over;
the minutiae of everyday life
left on the cutting room floor.
Life in mania is the way it’s meant to be seen.
The Director’s Cut.”
He ended his homily with “Such a life is deeply satisfying.”
That lie the lone tarnish on his otherwise silver tongue.
Dylan Quincy once told me a koan disguised as joke:
Jim Morrison had a spray bottle of LSD-25 in one hand and a rag in the other. He was spritzing the acid on a sliding glass door, wiping it down every few sprays. Aldous Huxley happened to be passing by, and he asked Jim what he was up to.
“I’m cleaning the Doors of Perception,” he answered.
The Lizard King finished his chore. The door was perfectly clean; there were no streak marks at all. In fact, it was so transparent that you couldn’t tell the door was there at all. Just then, William Blake passed the two, and ran headlong into the glass door, bumping his nose and injuring himself in the process.
He cursed at Jim Morrison.
“Why are you angry?” Morrison retorted, “I was cleansing the Doors of Perception, that I might see the infinite.”
“Perhaps you should’ve left a streak mark,” Huxley responded. “That way, you never forget you’re inside.”
I told Dylan I didn’t understand.
“Then you do!” he said. “If you don’t get it, you understand it perfectly. Glad to see you know you’re inside.”
Still, there were times when it seemed he almost broke through.
Such as Golden Hour on that lush spring evening,
when Dylan and I hoofed it fourteen blocks to get to his favorite public park.
At the first scent of lilac, we remembered we were eternal.
He had me on his wavelength when he turned and said, like a benediction:
“In April, every loamy, dew-drenched field is holy ground. Oh, God, forgive us the times we neglect to take our sandals off.”
His life was a drink offering. So what if it was a slow leak?
What called him up today, so many years after his memory finally faded?
Perhaps it’s just survivor’s guilt in our ceaseless spiritual war.
Not so hard to sell a soul that’s never been used.
When I last saw Dylan, he had one shot
liquor bottles strewn about his feet
like discarded cups of communion.
An eyeless Samson, slumped
against what wasn’t
Didn’t anyone tell you Dylan?
Too much Keurouac is like vinegar to your soul.
When you get the message, you hang up the phone.
You can lose the title of “Seeker.”
It happens when you’d rather seek than find.
When you fall in love with the questions,
to the detriment of the answers.
No burnt offering,
no drink offering,
just the smoldering embers of
“the fire in your belly.”
not from zeal.