I Meet the Goddess in the Flesh
Episode 2 of Must Not Sleep, a new novel which takes place in shamanic space, a realm of shapeshifting and trance. For episode 1, "Waking Up to the Big Time," click here. A free download of Michael Brownstein reading from the novel is available on Podiobooks.com.
It had been ages since anyone turned me on the way this woman did. We stared at each other with breathless anticipation. By the time we met up again I was jumping out of my skin.
My desire went beyond the physical, though, beyond her dancer’s body and green eyes flecked with gold. There was something wide-open about her, something unflinching. And I had the strangest feeling she had a gift for me. A treasure of some kind.
At last, I thought, here was someone not intimidated by surface reality. Because after years of what-the-heck-was-that affairs and relationships I finally understood how serious the sexual link-up was. I needed a consort, a partner, someone who wanted transformation as much as I did.
And did I ever want it. Otherwise the universe wouldn’t have come looking for me. Otherwise I’d still be working in a mid-level job for a mid-sized company in midtown Manhattan. All that had been blown away for a reason. The universe never acted except with conscious intention. My challenge was to embody that intention.
And I’m not alone.
“Let’s have dinner tonight.”
“Yes,” she said.
Right on time, a turquoise wool cap pulled down around her ears, there she was.
We both were starving. But five minutes after sitting down in the noisy, crowded Thai restaurant we decided without hesitation not to eat but instead to go up to her apartment, which was nearby, and take Ecstasy.
Neither of us had ever tried it. Months before I’d been given some by a friend and had carried the little tinfoil bundle around with me like a talisman, always finding reasons to postpone taking it. Now nothing seemed easier.
“But first I need a new name,” she insisted. ”No way am I dragging that old moniker around with me anymore.”
“What name would you like?”
Her sparsely furnished railroad apartment was on the top floor of one of the last old tenement buildings on Bedford Street in the West Village. We settled ourselves on the sofa in the living room. A large ficus tree sat in a clay pot by one of the front windows. Through these south-facing windows, thin high moonlit clouds raced over the tarry roofs of lower Manhattan. Opening my backpack, I took out the shiny package and unwrapped it. White capsules fell into my palm.
“Georgia,” she announced after a moment’s deliberation. Smiling to herself, she repeated the name softly. She rocked back and forth with the sound of it, cradling it like an infant. “Georgia...”
Then she asked, “What about you? Don’t you want to change your name? It feels so great! How I’ve longed to dump the past. The same responses over and over. My head filled with useless memories like a closet stuffed with clothes I can’t wear anymore.”
She gestured around the nearly empty space.
“For months I’ve been throwing out all kinds of stuff--photo albums, letters, dishes, chairs, pictures, even the television--but I didn’t know where it was leading till today.”
I swallowed a capsule and handed one to her.
“Isaac’s fine for now,” I said. “But no last names.”
Georgia’s grin widened into a big, happy smile. “Wow, that’s so cool, I can’t believe what I’m hearing. No last names!”
“Right. Everything’s changed since 9/11, haven’t you noticed? Everybody on the planet is family now. What else could 9/11 mean? We’re all brothers and sisters. What use do we have for last names? My children are your children.”
Leaning back on the sofa, I belched elaborately. Something fiery began dancing under my skin. And what about that exquisite pleasure I now took in the simple act of inhaling and exhaling?
“Georgia, do you feel it coming on?...I hope you don’t mind me saying this, but I’m completely crazy about you.”
“Me too,” she whispered self-consciously. When the E kicked in for real we stood up, took our clothes off, wobbled into the bedroom and collapsed on the bed.
I gazed into her eyes and my heart melted.
“You look so-o-o familiar.”
In a rush of bodily sensations I understood why we’d met.
“We’ve known each other through incarnations involving every sort of adventure--as lovers, as friends and enemies, brother and sister, father and daughter, mother and son. All in preparation for our present time together. This life is a reward for everything that came before. Coming together one last time for joy...”
“How fortunate we are,” I added, so overcome I could hardly speak.
Georgia seemed to know exactly what I meant. It was uncanny, breathtaking: for the first time in my life I‘d locked into unqualified communication with another person. The merest glance, the slightest expression, carried with them complete rapport.
I gazed into a soul that went on forever. Rays of light streamed out of her eyes and travelled to the ends of the universe, rays of love which entered my heart, warming it so that it opened unhesitatingly, opened a million times over.
“A million times. We owe each other so much.”
“A million times,“ she echoed, her voice rapturous.
“Everything is perfect,” I said incredulously. “Do you realize what that means? There really aren’t any problems! Problems result from fear, they’re beliefs about things instead of the things themselves. Because belief creates experience. What you see is what you get.”
We wept with laughter, the uncontrollable laughter of paradise. My body surged alongside hers, riding the wave of each breaking moment.
“Joy is life’s secret, Isaac. How could we have lost track of that?”
Irridescent tears streamed down her cheeks. I bent over to taste them. As I licked her face she whispered slowly and deliberately, “Totality – we’ve been gobbled up by totality.”
My eyes skittered around the room, darting back and forth uncontrollably.
“God,” I said, “talk about a revolution. All we have to do is trust. Nobody excluded or betrayed. Because scarcity’s a myth. There’s enough to go around if the people with the keys to the storehouses open their hearts. Heaven on earth, Georgia,” I said thickly, the phlegm catching in my throat. “Only accept!”
But she was no longer listening.
Overcome with new sensations she fondled her breasts, cupping them in her hands and stroking them. Soon I joined in, running my hands over her body, amazed at her beauty.
“I’ve been looking for you all my life,” I whispered, and she laughed.
Splayed out on the bed, our eyes entangled, we moved underwater. I lay on my stomach and, straddling me, she started to give me a massage. But promptly she got lost in my back, licking it, inhaling it, kissing the muscles. My body felt permeable, expansive. I rolled onto my side. The massage forgotten, we touched each other’s genitals. They were fascinating to explore but elicited zero sexual response.
“How weird, Isaac. Sex is impossible but I still want you with every cell of my body.”
She ran her hands over my skin, moaning with pleasure, sweating profusely.
Then the effortless identification between us began to fade. Before we knew it we were separate people again. My jaws clenched spasmodically and I shivered.
“It’s fucking freezing in this apartment,” I said crossly. Gritting my teeth over and over, unable to control it, I muttered, “Are we crashing already?”
She was on the verge of tears. “I didn’t want to mention it but I’ve been feeling the same thing for, like, I don’t know...”
We exchanged sorrowful glances. I stood up from the mattress and stumbled across the room, my legs cramping.
“What do you know about this stuff, Isaac? How bad are we gonna get whipped? It’s like coming down from speed and that’s no fun at all. Maybe we should take a hot bath.”
“Georgia!” I shouted, because now I was standing at one of the front windows pointing toward the sky. “The world is so beautiful. Come look.”
I raised the window and peered into Bedford Street. Ancient city smells drifted up in the cold night air. Towering streetlights nodded on their stalks, their heads filled with light.
We stood at the window holding each other, our faces lifted out over the darkened buildings. A car turned the corner and passed by, the sound of its motor insistent and invasive. My jaws clenched and let go, clenched and let go.
“I’m so thirsty,” I whispered.
We made our way into the kitchen. I drank glass after glass of water while she filled the kettle for a pot of chamomile tea.
“I hate this part,” she said. “I hope we can get to sleep.”
I was watching the barely perceptible movement of her chest as she breathed. Her heartbeat was persistent, unwavering. When I shut my eyes I could feel the warmth radiating from her heart. I choked, “I can’t begin to explain how wonderful.”
“Why is this ending?”
“I don’t know.”
I thought for a moment.
“Guess what. I was given six caps. We have four left. Want to take one more?”
Out of the blue I offered her two instead of one. When she accepted, I swallowed two as well.
“See you on Venus,” I said, squatting naked beside her. She sat at the kitchen table sipping her tea. Then the Ecstasy banged on full-force.
“Oh Christ,” she rumbled in a deep voice I hadn’t heard from her before. “Gotta poop big time.”
Jumping to her feet, she ran into the bathroom. I was right behind her. While she emptied her bowels I did my best not to explode.
“Hurry,” I pleaded.
“Isaac, this is perfection.”
Unable to contain myself, I pulled her aside, sat down, and took a monumental crap. She stood next to me, untroubled by the fetid odor which quickly filled the cramped, enclosed little space.
Rhapsodically she declared, “This is the greatest gift of all. Death begins in the colon, you know... I’ve been waiting years to poop like that, years. All the colonics I’ve done, they never really reached down and got the hard impacted stuff. The ancient sediment sticking to my colon walls like library paste from a lifetime of eating refined flour, fried food, animal protein, dairy. Yuck. But tonight it’s being stripped away... Fabulous... I feel so cleaned out.”
While my gut emptied in a cataclysmic release so that I had to flush the toilet repeatedly to keep it from overflowing, Georgia exclaimed, “We’re all so damned polluted! Maintaining a cesspool of decayed matter in our colons. Unable to release toxins that travel through the blood stream affecting every cell in the body. The immune system becomes compromised. Putrifaction, stagnation, parasites, fungus, mold...Holding it all in, don’t you see, Isaac? On every level and in every way we’re holding it all in. America’s totally constipated and the dickbrains in command don’t even know it!”
“On ev-e-ry lev-el...” Weeping and laughing, shitting endlessly, I repeated the syllables, my front teeth caressing my lower lip, my tongue grazing my palate.
“Holding it in on every level,” she chanted as I leaned forward, straining with all my might. For the first time, something was impeding the flow of evacuation.
She noticed my scarlet face, the veins bulging in my neck, and burst out laughing. Taking a full, lusty breath, she crowed like a big bird, braying and cawing. She spread her arms as wide as possible, her eyes shining, her face bathed in sweat.
That’s when everything broke wide open. Light sprayed from her body in all directions, white light surrounded by shifting rainbow-colored lattices. A fixed, hieratic smile appeared on her face. I watched the muscles in her cheeks tremble, her lips quiver. She was shaking violently from head to toe, her eyes wide in an unseeing stare, her arms extended away from her breasts. In each hand she held a shiny black snake, squirming and twisting in the light that filled the little room to overflowing.
Transfixed, I sat on the toilet seat unable to move until finally the snakes were gone. Rainbow light sloshed around the room in waves until it too disappeared and Georgia lay on her right side on the floor, her arms clasped around her knees. I stared down at her trembling body until suddenly my gut erupted.
With a great shout I leaped to my feet. Reaching behind me I pulled from my ass a long ropey turd as clear as quartz crystal. Georgia stood up and as we stumbled into the hallway I festooned it over her shoulders, then wrapped it around my neck like a scarf.
“That’s it,” she said reverently, “the motherlode. I’ve heard about it but I’ve never seen it before. The oldest, deepest layer of all, laid down when you were just an infant. You’re clear now, Isaac.”
We danced out from under the garlands, leaping around the apartment. This was the limitless energy of the gods. This was the combustion of the sun. We turned cartwheels, slamming against the walls, diving under and over each other like dolphins sporting in the sea.
“This is just the beginning,” I said. “Wait’ll we blow out all the emotional shit too—the shrunken self-images, the blame and regret, the heavy metal memories clogging our systems, dragging us down. Talk about being clear!”
I started singing and she joined me:
“We have no history, it’s all been burned away. No public history, no private history...”
Falling to the bed, I saw before me the Goddess dishonored, her statue toppled into the sea, her shrine desecrated by a rampaging army. I saw men in armor raping, killing, burning. I heard a chorus of wise-ass male voices, sarcastic, dismissive, unyielding, voices of all the boys and men I’d grown up with, gone to college with, worked with.
“Too bad for you guys,” I shouted. “You’re stuffed animals now. Mastodons. Yesterday’s papers.”
I saw an open, celebratory sexuality. I saw the world-to-be as it also was uncounted centuries ago, before private property, before class and caste, before slavery. I saw the garden where all of humanity once lived. But honoring the Goddess meant honoring Georgia in person. She wasn’t a symbol.
I stood up and we embraced.
“Damn, when are we gonna be able to make love, Isaac?”
We erupted into gales of laughter.
I sank onto all fours, licking her feet. She tasted like salt, like leather. I kissed the inside of her knee, running my fingers along her calves, licking the muscles, biting them, feeling their strength and heat. I watched her feet gripping the floor, her quadraceps tensing and releasing as she maintained balance.
Coming down was tough. We endured hours of drawn-out, speedy, jaw-clenching jitters. Our hearts fluttering, skipping beats, our vision jumbled. Teeth grinding and muscles cramping, we sat in the bathtub helplessly running the hot water.
The E wore off towards dawn but we couldn’t get to sleep. As we lay in bed tossing and turning our sexual appetite returned. We made love but I came immediately. Then I came again. I felt a definite loss of energy. Like when I was a teenager, unable to control myself. Georgia giggled as I pulled away.
I sat on the edge of the bed staring down at my cock.
“I just don’t get it.”
Still giggling, she carressed my cheek and said, “It’s time for me to explain something. You can cultivate and refine your sexual energy, you can stay young forever. It’s easy, except for one little detail—you have be in service to the Goddess. Which involves a major shift in self-image, right? All the guys I ever tried to show this to slammed the door in my face. But I know you’re receptive now, you’re open to the beauty.”
She added vehemently, “Lopsided male domination is the problem. Lost in abstract fantasy, stifling the feminine out of fear, mowing down everything in its path. It’s crazy and it’s killing us all.”
Then she sighed.
“The fact is, we’re still living in the dark ages. For thousands of years certain techniques were common knowledge. Then they were suppressed by men afraid of their own shadows. Let’s start with this: male life force is lost during ejaculation. It’s as simple as that. But the weakness and resentment men feel as they grow older can be avoided. You can delay ejaculation and have mutiple orgasms, just like women. Because there’s no way around it: female sexuality is larger, more ample. Once men surrender to it, men and women can be friends—sexual friends.”
I blinked. She was right: I felt a surge of defensive energy. “Are you talking about tantra or, um, esoteric Taoist practices? Don’t go getting New Age on me now.”
“Taoist practices—that sounds kinda high-falutin’ to me. I mean something way more ancient than that. Something more down to earth. This is huge, Isaac. It’s about healing dick.”
The few minutes of basic, no-nonsense physical instruction which followed turned my world upside down.
“Now let’s play,” she said softly.
Rolling her onto her stomach, I put a pillow under her hips. Then I rode her with my eyes closed. Soon saliva filled my mouth, my anus loosened. But with ejaculation fast approaching, this time I pulled out and stood up on the mattress. With all my might I closed off the pathway for sperm to advance, contracting the muscles in my groin, clenching my buttocks, gritting my teeth. The moment of crisis passed.
I realized that once I got the hang of it and these muscles were strong I’d be able to stay hard for as long as I wanted. The little death of seminal orgasm would be gone forever. Sex without coming was paradise.
What a kick in the head.
We made love again. Instead of coming I channeled the approaching orgasm back into my body where it mounted my spine, spilled down my chest, and became an unending circle of pure pleasure. I followed Georgia’s greater rhythm wherever it led. The flow of energy between us was continuous.
“Love... Love... Love... How come it feels so damn good?”
Her smile as she said this was as wide as the universe.
Sometime after dawn we finally lost consciousness. We had no desire to take Ecstasy again anytime soon but it certainly had served its purpose. In spite of the bone-rattling crash, our lives had changed. No more sunset view of cynicism and doubt, no more nihilistic world order.
However, a few problems remained before Georgia and I could pitch our tent in paradise. My anger, for one. Why, in spite of everything I’d gotten rid of, in spite of everything I’d learned, was red-hot rage still breathing down my neck?
Image: "La dame d'Arc-en-ciel" by sokalkyle via Creative Commons license.