“The people who run the world,” Martha said.
I smiled. I said, “The last person on earth
I want to disagree with is the girl
in front of me in a sexy dress, but,
do you really believe that this planet
is run by anyone? People plan this?”
Martha rolled her eyes. She said, “I believe
people try to run the planet. They try
to plan the things that happen day to day.”
This was Martha’s topic. Her red hair bounced
as she paced in front of me, lecturing
me about the colonization of
our global collective unconsciousness.
“Everybody knows about the weird things
associated with JFK’s death.
Princess Diana’s death is the female
counterpart of the JFK killing.
Every year the world learns more bizarre things
about Princess Diana’s death. As if
the Roman goddess of the hunt dying
while being hunted by paparazzi
wasn’t bizarre enough. Male and female.
Those are the elements of the working.
A pair of leaders. A male. A female.
And what pair is the world’s most famous pair?
The mythic progenitors of us all.
Adam and Eve. Kennedy. Diana.
And what events befell Adam and Eve?
Expulsion from the Garden of Eden.
The people that run this place, this planet,
have created their own Adam and Eve.
Kennedy and Diana. Everyone
becomes—in our mind—this primordial
male or female, lives out the life taken
from the real Kennedy and Diana.
This world we’re in—our Garden of Eden—
will be the stage on which we will act out
our expulsion, our Fall, the ultimate
working as the gods of this world create
for themselves the ultimate counterfeit,
the material made re-creation
of creation itself. No god, just them.”
“Martha,” I said, nodding, “have you ever
heard that old theory that if you start up
the Zapruder film at the same time as
Pink Floyd’s ‘Dark Side of the Moon’ the music
becomes a soundtrack for the images?”
Martha stared at me. She started to speak,
stopped, started to speak again, stopped again.
She looked away, shaking her head slowly.
She sighed, then spoke, her voice very quiet.
“‘Dark Side of the Moon’ is almost two hours.
Zapruder’s film is twenty-six seconds.”
“I know, Martha,” I said. “I was joking.”
“Some things,” Martha said, “shouldn’t be laughed at.”
I nodded, again, frowning. I studied
the motion of Martha turning away.
I said, “We’re not going to, ummm, have sex
tonight, if I’m reading things correctly.”
Martha didn’t look at me. She said, “No.”
I nodded a third time. Martha and I,
in fact, never had sex again after
my little Pink Floyd-Zapruder film joke.
Alchemy is about transformation.
Workings are rituals to create change.
As much as I miss Martha this stuff still
makes me laugh as I sit here typing it.
Real alchemists understand that workings
will have side effects you never thought of.
I haven’t given up hoping someday
Martha will smile at my Martha working.