eighth series






Hands in the Land and a Daimon by the Throat





Book Four












somapoetics 74


Lecture on Ripples




The subject for the day is Through

the Substance: Ripples of Splendor.


I had to satisfy my Western compulsion

for verifiability. So I asked

the participants: Why

do you do what you do, and mostly

the answer: To feel better,

I went to make myself feel better.

Power medicine. Perfect Medicine.

These are the words that come into the mouth

willing for an English. As for the point

of the ritual:


To promote the transfer.


Splendorous ripples.

Render the lips to the words

and the shapely substance utters itself.

So the theory goes. Such is the spectation

in the mind of the doers.



coexists with the principle of time itself.

The principle times itself to coexist

with the transfer of power.

Coexistence principles itself

through the power of time.

Time coexists in the principle of power.

Hence the transfer.

There are many ways

for the substance to say itself.

Why is it we are doing what we are doing?

Is it the notorious transfer of ambrosia?

Translate this back into Sanskrit

and see where that gets you:


through the sky

or back into the lexicon.

Two tongues meet in lexispectation.

And so we are given the Tibetan word men drug,

to think medicine, drug for the men, mind dragging itself out

of any particular hole,

thus: “to accomplish or retain.”

Hold the seed long enough

for the transfer, keep

the middle open to itself, we are reminded

never often enough. The word

enters the dictionary

to begin its poem, the definition

is ta’wil on its own first word.

So when I say ambrosia I mean anything

usable in the present context.

Correlative semantic device. Power medicine.

We read the dictionary in order

to feel better. The backward opening word

cures, in order to move forward.





Close the page to turn the mind.

We were speaking before the break about

Gnostic equanimity or

the further fabrication of the self.

Now we are no longer before the break and

so we no longer have to speak about it.

The transfer from tongue to tongue

by the King of Ambrosia through the langue d’oc

is a complexity of Yes in the urge of the mind

to turn on itself. The Mage closes the Book

and nods to the Numen, and even he

is led by our being led by him

in what he says. Stress,

strain, and general entropy of the body

get together in the transfer:

Soma, as against soma.

Tongue placed against the tongue.

Sense it in the tip of saying

It touches the Alveolar Verge

in order to utter It tongues itself.

Tiny sound with a diamond center,

the Daimon cures in kind.

King. Queen. Quaynte.

Hard tone heard in the enter.

Put your head in your hands and hear it enter.

Put time in the tone and you think it to enter.

This then is the center of turning. Time lapse.

The entropy of body enters

the ripple of splendor

and the rot is transferable music.

This is the rite

as against phlegm which causes ignorance

in the brain and semen producing desire,

and so Mara soars.


This is a very esoteric subject and few will speak of it.

Someone interrupts the train of thought

always before the secret is spent.

We keep it in context

in order to feel better, we keep

the three channels open, left,

right, and center.


that we are skipping all the vital data.

Patience. There is an art of listening

that may instruct us even in this

kingly but questionable discourse.

We have to watch our tongue

or we’ll lose track

and let the word out of the vocal sack,

and lose our double nature.

O double double soil and ripples

everything is twice come,

twice seeding. Blood

is the origin of the gross and the subtle,

Soma rubbing against soma.

Let it ignite. We have touched the tone

and burned the tongue in the open process.





Lure the spiritus into the materia.

Listen to the distance: Charlie Chan

is in the next room, he has ordered a wrecking crew

to repair the lost Train of Thought. O Orient

with your slanted tongues!

Teach us the trick of the Ambrosia Cycle

as it pumps out the blood and semen.

Help me across these Urals of word

bearing a pack of healing mushrooms

into the body of the text.

When we accept all the roles that have ever been

we will use as many strains as exist in the tongue.

Congestion in the lung is a fact of the lecture.

Divine pride is a fact in the mind of the doer

in the time of the rite. Time is a person.

Or time is the medium of the transfer

and it gets personal. It lapses

and we have our spectrous thoughts, yogis

of the word eating our vile substance.

Lure the spiritus further

into the materia.

[Explosions outside the text.]

Mahakala in this distance, approaches.

Tantric blessings and powerful medicine

for all you folks out there. And you,

Herr Reich, you come too, there’s room

for you too.

In the Seventh Stage

the Ambrosia comes to life.

In the Tenth, Purification

of the Three Doors.


You can’t see him doing it but he’s doing it.

Anoint the genitalia with a drop of Ambrosia.

Note that this is what we call

Metaphoric Reality. And yet

we believe it when the voice says

This Is Your Life, your poetics,

This is your Kleopatra Chrisopoeia.

And the text reads: One

is the Serpent which has poison

according to two compositions.

O Language! Restore me my ears

as the end of the Art of Hearing.

I hold up the Lycurgus Cup of green chalcedony

and light it from the center:

It reddens,

and I discover: All facts are simple

by the fact of factuality, it makes me

say it is so.

Mercury halts the stroke of time.

As for Melusina, she slides down

the central pole

of my body. Time

is where the dragons join.

She anoints the genitalia, a drop

of Gnosis, and the rain of flowers.

Here we enter together.





We transfer, so to speak, our addresses,

I is we is you is the God,

and so forth. Ambrosia in semen

in blood in thought in

word. Hence this feeble lecture.

Hence the calling it up

is called

Taking the Powers.

All expectation lessens

in the crevice of mind. All your life

which This Is you will struggle

for the Opening Middle, and the poetics

is never the way you thought.

The insight must be shared,

that is the path elected in the fact of text,

and you will forever try

to weasel out of it. Coward that you are.

Blood and semen on the brain

until the biological state extends, O Worry

that you will never know . . .

Add the bios to the logos

and lay out the life.

You have passed through a part of the dark

and now you may notice:

Female Blessings

and Transubstantiated Spiritual Horses

passing before you.

Now you have heard it

and may begin

to dissimilate. The Goddess

officiates at this stage.

Give me

your Body Power. Now Speech Power.

Now Mind Power.

Receive the Syllables.

Two. Eat up. Leave no sacrament on your plate.

Ripples out and beyond sight. This

is about the process of hearing

it said in time. Twisted

as the strand seems.





Here we gently turn our minds:

the Lovers awaken.

Recall the first time

you heard your parents shriek in the sexual bliss.

Water. Blackness. Visible and audible decay.

These are the stages, now place the finger

of the mind

in this sticky structure.

What have we done in doing what we do?

We entered the fire.

We entered the tree.

We entered the lily.

We summoned the demons and used the garlic.

We placed it all in the urine of a camel.

And now we return.

Back into form. Back into philosophy.


And here the Goddess asks us

to explain the Golden Pill.

We snort and slurp our words like the swine we are.

We mumble something about the synthesis

of body, speech, and mind.

Togetherness of the organs

through the fiery grip in the thighs of time.

O Time, give us a break,

we cry in the spirit of Confidence,

the Great Racket

at the end of the Negative Rainbow.

Three Conflagrations. See?

The rite calls us to attend the Festivities.

Attention of turning: See?

We’re moving toward form. The ass brays

in the lapis tones of Tibetan:

Firetime is Mahakala,

Inner Heat is Energeia. See?

We’re developing our skills.


Ointment is like a vulture that goes in the sky.

The eye weighs ten thousand pounds, but: See?

We can fly.

Outward is exoteric and away from the body

and here we begin, fleshly taught

in words, on the wings of poesy.

Inside, what’s going on can’t be seen.

So we have no choice

but to show it all

all the time.

It’s all pragmatic,

you feel a little better.

Black girls, white girls with fiery eyes,

Obviously it’s very dangerous.

Thank you for your patience,

and thanks also to the

Goddess of Ambrosia.










Note On Somapoetics 74


[Note written for Alcheringa, New Series, Vol. I, 1976]


Following somapoetics 73: Essie Parrish in New York [Alcheringa, New Series Volume One #1, 1975, P. 27], this poem completes the Eighth Series, Hands in the Land and a Daimon by the Throat. The series has a continuing thread of ‘daemonial speech’ as a guide through ‘the Land’ and an initiation into healing. This poem connects with Essie Parrish in New York as a special sort of ethnopoetic event in which I function partly as scribe: in the one case (Essie Parrish) an almost literal transcription of a dream‑vision, and in the other a more complex weave of lecture notes from a talk on Tibetan medicine and a direct ‘calling up’ of the Daimon—’Taking the Powers.’ “


The first draft of somapoetics 74 was actually written off the words of the lecture as I heard them at a seminar on Tibetan medicine at the Newark Museum (part of a conference on Tibetan Buddhism, sponsored by the Buddhayana Foundation, October 1975; the lecturer was Prof. William Stablein). The second draft brought a further complexity in that I was obedient to two voices: the lecturer, speaking with deep sympathy for the materials but with appropriate caution; and the power of Tibetan ritual healing. The key event is the Transference of Power, wherein what we call transference in psychoanalysis meets the ritual event of identification of participant and deity. The poem hovers between the two. And in this respect it is truly an event in Ethnopoetics, which may be defined in part as a modality of creating a fertile terrain between us and the Sacred. As for the title, Lecture on Ripples, it comes from the central ingredient in the ritual healing, “ripples of splendor” (the Tibetan word which I gently parody in “Prof. Chin-Lap”). I was interested to learn of a vision-aiding ointment that is rubbed on the eyes, doubtless what we call a psychotropic agent. And the concern with Ambrosia and the homeopathic like cures like gave a further rhyme with Somapoetics, with its doublestrain of “liminal body” [=between physical body and other body, sometimes “corpse”] and the Vedic Soma. (Soma first appeared to me in the oneiropoetic space between dream and the composition of a long poem, Of a Woman the Earth Bore to Keep [Stony Brook 1/2, 1968], in the fall of ’68, in which Soma gave Four Proverbs, and two years later I learned [via Susan Quasha, who got it from Charles Olson in his last class at University of Connecticut, Storrs] of Gordon Wasson’s research on “The Divine Mushroom of Immortality,” and Susan and I went to meet Wasson) A final gloss on the poem: Ta’wil (like much of the poem, not derived from Stablein’s lecture) is a recurrent theme in Somapoetics, standing for an Art of Reading that is a sacred Telling. (See Henry Corbin, Avicenna and the Visionary Recital, Bollingen LXVI, and Ta’wil or How to Read (1973).)

Rokeby Farm, Barrytown, NY, 1.21.76