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The Gods Have Ears - Full Moon In Yelapa - By Christopher Moses

    The following is an editorial written and published in 1994 for the Voice of The Path (aka: Hola Amigos) a small local newspaper in Mexico of which Chris Moses was the editor. It concerns the full moon bonfire, which used to take place at a particular spot on the beach every month.

I had blisters on my fingers, so I went for a walk.

    Down on the corner, I stepped on a piece of chewing gum. I tried to scuff it off as I walked, but it seems that this piece had already laid down first, and last, and deposited itself in the grid of my sole. As I walked on, the gum began to flatten out and I thought I might be in the clear. However, a small breeze was blowing a scrap of newspaper across the street towards me. The corners of this flotsam were folded down so that it hugged the ground as the wind pushed it to it's rendezvous. It hopped the curb, scuttling sideways like a crab over the cracked sidewalk and into my path. Forecasting only the tip of the inevitable, I made a clutch decision and stepped on the paper for the good luck of random geometry. I looked at the sky and whistled a strain of some long forgotten tune, as though anything were possible.

    I was several steps down the lane, when I realized that the piece of newspaper was stuck to my shoe- or stuck to the gum which was stuck to my shoe. I bent down and retreived this scroll, and held it up before my eyes. I saw the advertisement quite clearly.
"Hmmmmm" I said.
So I bought a ticket down to Yelapa, and had a smoke.
Somebody spoke, and I went into a dream...
    As you may have guessed, we're not allowed to tell you the juicy stuff. There is no paper trail. It makes us squeam to think what you could find out, what you would do once you knew. But we do want you to know (some of our best friends are squeamish). The stabbings and the stealings, the fondlings and the feelings, are mulched in private conversation, and held to piquant fermentation till the moment is ripe for intoxication.

    We catch a stray now and then. A wanderer with no certain root, may chance to hear vague reference. In stooping to learn more, this fortunate vagabond is lured into the surf opera, becomes enmeshed in a cinematic fabric, and becomes part of the machine. In this way, warp is added to weft.  

    Anarchic, theatrical, misty-eyed, down to earth, zany, conniving, besotted, and very occasionally wise, our oral literature is not to be missed. Do set a spell.
The translation to page, of course, is quite another matter entirely.   It is a mask, a glance, a reflection in a curved brown bottle. Something barely.    
    I am so far away now, from the frogs and the phosphorus, but here in another world, in a little room, gobbling gigabytes in front of a glowing screen, like millions more. I could use a story of some sort to pull me from one dream to the next. This humming box will process.    

    Being a typical boomer, I guess I don't have to tell you, that kicks just keep getting harder to find. As the sands shift, some things cannot be repeated. The American dream followed me to Mexico, so I scout for frontiers. The story unfolds as you lose your brain to the beat. Love makes you stupid.
    As I cruise the path in Yelapa, I sometimes take along my musical instrument. It makes a pleasant sound when it bangs against the rocks as I walk. This noise also serves as an alarm, a reminder that I might give a little more attention to my walking. Like as not, my feet would be in one place, my head in another. As it should be.
Being thus equipped, any such person as I might happen to meet or go visit who might want to hum in tandem, or slap their flanks and yodel, will be able to receive service from my strumming strings.  

    Though not enshrined on precisely the same pedestal as the pleasures of the great Priapus, the mysteries of music have their own holy highs to quicken the pulse and throw back the head. And in this I can be promiscuous. Society will turn the other cheek if I step behind a building with some compatriot and rut like an alley cat through another quick chorus of La Bamba.

Yo no soy marinero.

    I might exchange my most soulful notes with good friends, or with strangers, perfect for their ability to provide a new moment, who pass through this little town. We can go "all the way" without fear of disease or reprisal. We can give our all to song after song, without having to rest in between. I can get together with several others for a swinging group experience and share that primal, rhythmic, give and take that leads to sacred spaces. Music is multi-orgasmic. Or I am. Take your peek.
    Each waxing month, the nights grow lighter and brighter, until one day I can stand it no longer. I pack a bag full of things that make noise and wait for the sun to go down.  

    I think, "I must make a journey. What are my avenues?," but I know there is only one.
Before embarking, I am fortified with foodstuff, and substance strange and sacred, to provide energy for the reach ahead.  

    Sunset finally gone for good, through the palms I peer and see a knife of searing silver light appear in the young sky. I feel the shafts of her terrible love. Drama introduces itself to the night.

    Fully emerged, the mother moon makes a perfect blazing circle of her creamy churn, hanging full and bulbous just above a notch in the mountain. The light spills out, and I am drenched. She is so close I can almost touch her, and my eye carves an intimate vibrating tunnel between this heavenly body and my heart. Suddenly the sky is singing, and the world is swimming in reflected glory and beneficent adjustment to higher frequency.

    With my pack hung on one shoulder and my trusted musical instrument strapped over the other, I set upon the colored walk and out the bamboo door. From there, down. Down stone steps, to the deep shadows of the great path. I turn to the East, and head toward that narrow strip of beach, which separates the river from the sea. To the vortex. Where the energies meet. Where the fire burns. Where the Gods go. The cliff is steep.

It furthers one to cross the great water.

Forms are gathered around a fire throwing sparks in the sand.

    The scene is often pathetic. Strewn and bedraggled, the pantheon straggles to the windy circle, disguised in motley, almost embarrassed by their divinity in this day and age. Each deity arrives and greets the burning bush, extending palms toward blaze in traditional greeting and acknowledgement. As the participants compare notes and prepare to put the puzzle together, much ordinary activity is observed.

    Virulent strains of the ubiquitous cocktail chit chat  snake through the assembly and good natured shop talk abounds as we prepare to cast off the burdens of modern civilization and return to the patterns of the ages. The energy build can be agonizing. The Lord of Logs throws another limb on the pyre.

    Around the circle are passed the clear jugs of sacramental fire (an entertaining water brewed in the local mountains which when mixed with moonlight makes a milk of amnesia designed to facilitate the breakdown of bourgeois constraints). Beyond acceptability, burns the fire.

   By now, my focus is on my work. I enlist friends and strangers alike to grasp the wild wire of the lunar celestial beam and help to amplify for all, the Music of the Spheres. I encourage them to lay down their timeshares and pick up their bongos, sing their favorite song, or simply push themselves to some convenient extreme.

    Take a tip from the birds. You don't need words. If you want to be a part, have heart.     If you want to go up, come down. Let the spirits enter the body, let the wheat make bread. Let the chaff take a bath, you can sleep when you're dead.  
    The moon is much higher now as it accompanies me away from the crowd to the edge of the surf to share a word in private and watch me pee into the waves. The bliss is Oceanic. Infinity hovers. Critical mass beckons.  

    I return to the fire to find a person more outgoing than myself who can hold a tune and keep the beat, a hook for my hat. This front person can remember words perhaps. I just want to play, to turn on the spigot. I don't want to think too much, just fool with that song. In fact I hope to lose my mind entirely.

    When the gatekeeper is gone, disbelief is suspended, time slips away. Dismal goofiness gives way to transcendental groove. I can look down at my hands moving on my musical instrument; dancing, gripping, sliding, flicking, strumming, pulling, and enjoy it as a spectator. As though someone else was doing it. It does itself.  

That's Grace;  a very engaging sensation.

I also feel like a buzz saw. Superbly lubricated, I'm spinning fast. I wish to cut through.

Seasons pass. Colors change. It's the other side of day. Luna llena.

    Bound by wild desire, the emcee falls to his knees and testifies at the church of the piss-elegant crooner. As the ring of fire reaches higher, the vibration intensifies, and there are sometimes explosions. Revelers strip, and hurl themselves into the sea. Rockets blast off at odd angles. Sweaters are singed. Government officials have been seen masturbating. The Muses circulate and tickle. The Blues harp on. Those gods who were sleeping awaken, and love affairs begin.

    Diminuendo to crescendo, the night is in bloom.  
    Enveloped in moonshine's chamber, the minutes dissolve and the wind dies for a bit.

    Tricksters appear, to lead chants, and vanish. The bonds of memory slacken, and songs flow out from underground, like a spring of jewels. Rare discoveries are made, jokes seem funny, enchanters evoke the eternal, and canoes slink seductively in the dark lagoon.  

    The night becomes quiet and peaceful, the crowd thins like an old man's hair, and forever falls upon the valley. The waves lap serenely in the background. This sand is the only land. The supersonic sounds of the frogs, are eerily planetary.  

    There is just a small cadre now; gone cats chasing chaos' corner. Bad Gods, harmonizing with the embers, in tune with things that haven't happened yet.

    On a good night we may trip the ecclesiastic bop with grand dip-see-doodle, Cro-Magnon style in our pagan humanity. Of course we're still dragging our disguises around, tied to our ankles like lapsed underwear, but we hope one day to forget the fifties, and forge bravely into new music.

Hear the wind whistle, hear the wind blow. Throw the last log on the fire.
    All of a sudden I'm walking home. I'm tired. The dirt path seems smooth, like a worn banister, and looks velvet covered. As I make my way, my musical instrument tied and dangling behind me strikes on various boulders and bridge posts, setting off discordant gongs in the cool, quiet, early morning air, which in turn rouses small regiments of dogs who loudly hail my passage through their territory.

    I can hear the echo of my footsteps. Suddenly I swivel my head around and gaze serious, like an old hunting dog, back into the misty distance, toward the haggard beach, hesitating, as though trying to remember something. I am drawn on by exhaustion however, pulled to my pillow.
    The sun is coming up, but the fire still smolders as I enter the bamboo door.
    I click my icons, close my windows, and save these thoughts to hard-disk. Quickly, I pull out my menu, and shut down. Nearly blind from screen burn, I stagger to the chimney, grab my Guild, and slouch onto the couch.

    In this other world, streetlights drown the moon, but I'm up late by habit. It is always late before I get the time to play, in this other world, and I am soon to sleep.
"At last," I think to myself, and begin to fingerpick a melody oriental and serpentine. I close my eyes and think of distant sands. I drift away.

    When I jerk awake a few seconds (or is it minutes?) later, I look to see that my hands are still moving, still playing an autopilot reverie of mystic origins. As if someone else were doing it.

Say goodnight Grace.

    I stop playing, and bow my head, reluctantly relinquishing the day. I run my hands along the sensuous curves of the old F-50, trying to hold onto that melody, fading now like lost childhood, even as I slide down on the couch and into nothingness, still clutching the instrument.

    At the fulcrum of consciousness, I hear a distant voice advise: "Forget it Beavis, it's Chinatown......"