—From EF—

Hail the Goer

 The Heart Sutra is imbedded in the part of my heart filled with the words that give me goosebumps. “Gone, gone, gone beyond, gone altogether beyond, hail the goer.” (Gate, gate, paragate, parasamgati, bodhi svaha.) There is a simplicity and beauty in this chant that sank its hooks deep into me before I knew what it meant.

 I had it in my mind with the death of my actress-colleague in Zurich, Erica, someone whose artistic stature blew me away since our first meeting in 1979. It was a regular ritual for me to visit her annually when I went to Europe, first with her artistic partner Zbignew Stok, and after his death, with Peter Doppelfeld. I stayed in their little theatrical kingdom on Silhkai, a three-story narrow building overlooking the waters of the Sihl, and many’s the late afternoons we spent in the rooftop garden with white wine and deep conversation. She was an immense creative force, creating a long series of performance pieces illuminating some of the finest minds we have ever known, like Van Gogh, with stage-pieces entirely made from bundled straw, his painting made literal.

Cancer. Fuck cancer. She had one bout of diagnosis and treatment, and when I last visited she was trim and vital. Three months later, she was gone.

Hail the Goer.

And our artistic partner Camilla Schade. She confronted breast cancer, went through the treatment, and took her unbounded creative energy into more projects. Then the demon returned in a different form and took her away. We spent a golden five hours together at the end, and I will never forget that blessing.

Hail the Goer.

And someone I never knew personally, Paul Krassner, died today. He was the icon of comic resistance for Conrad and me through years of our memory, and today, he crossed over. In our time of turmoil, we will miss his acidic humor, his unerring skewer.

Hail the Goer.

And the time will come when we will join that mighty march. It is inevitable, and should be given respect. When I go this September to Carnac, in Bretagne, I will carry time-messages. I already placed a token there for Erica, when she was searching for monetary support for a major book, and it worked. At the foot of that ancient stone cross I will place three more tokens this year: one for Camilla, one for my soul-sister Flora, and one for myself. We belong together.

Hail the Goer.     


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