For #Thurds from “Drowning in a Sealed Chamber: “I thought reading might be a good idea (I vowed never to go to a nudist colony because I’m easily distracted, and I could imagine having a problem constantly being seen…).”
    I don’t know why Zawmb’yee thought it would be a good idea to break into the Ngtqua without permission. Doug describes how he met her there. She thought she had learned everything she needed to know to enter without supervision. Doug:

[excerpt from “Drowning in a Sealed Chamber”]

… ENTRY 24

“Yeah, yeah, yeah. You’re dying to read it. Hey, I’m the one who’s supposed to practice meshing with the mainstream culture. I can take it. You’ve got something better to do? … Have some wine and let’s hear it.”

Our clothes were still too wet to put back on, and needing a diversion from arousal, I thought reading might be a good idea (I vowed never to go to a nudist colony because I’m easily distracted, and I could imagine having a problem constantly being seen…). I fumbled through the plastic bags, opened the book and turned to ‘Sax Piano Bird’

She said, “Well, what are you doing? Let’s hear it.”

“No, I’ve changed my mind, and I think I should stop writing poetry altogether.”


“Well, I’ve a bad feeling that they’re about to outlaw it in the up-top world except for Shakespeare,” I said.

“Why would they do that?”

“Because it’s subversive,” I said.

“But Shakespeare’s subversive.”

“Yeah, but it’s Old English and young people are forgetting how to read it,” I said.

“Well, at least tell me what your subversion is about,” she said.

“Well,” I said, “shall I glorify a paraphrase for love…”

“Yes do.”

“Well, the now secret title is ‘Sax Piano Bird’… Um, I’ll change it a little.”

“Yes, yes, yes, get on with it — do your best translation on the go.”

“Zawmb’yee dear, if you will play, I will kiss your tune lips, because anything goes when I’m slinking down your keyboard, tickling doleful note doodles, plinking your chords, caressing pianissimo, bopping forte, top a’ ya board, yes indeed, I’m chording love accolades that stay for improvisations when cool mistys get hot, and if you will play, I shall be cool.

I will kiss your tune lips if you will transpose your glory keys to high toned harmony that sees me exposed with whistling kisses blown all sax-ified, but that’ll be after the race. Y’know it was a mystery that birds of a feather could have gotten the winner’s name from the horse’s mouthwash, but I had heard them say that you used to play with your pet cockatoo at the piano bar down by the racetrack at the end of the race, and so I decided to see for myself. When I got to the piano, the bird said, ‘Leave a tip.’

I said, ‘Baby Needs Shoes to win, place, or show me a new tune.’

But as they had said, it was your habit to nag the feathers off it to make it snatch bills out of patrons’ hands.”

“And um, uh…”

“Yes, continue the prose translation. I think you’ve kept most of the poetic spirit in it. So go be subversive. I won’t tell anyone,” Zawmb’yee said.

“Um yes, OK,” I said. “After you had played with your pet cockatoo, I tipped it into a snifter, hoping you’d play with me, because I bet on the nag. But then I had said to you, let’s go to the showers.

I had said that to install the clean in a froth of warmth, above a soapy love, you should join me in the shower stall by the steamy wall where flights of fancy are never scrubbed.

I had said to you that if you will, then I, with fragrant soap, will wash in tribute the toe that tested my waters, will in tribute cleanse the foot feats that two-stepped when I was a mere calf and you were knee high to a love like a soap opera. I had said to sing in the shower from your diaphragm where no melting soap is barred while I swoosh below your breasts with swirling helicopter hands taking off with haste as whirlybirds land on nipple pads.

I had said, if you would say, taxi to the terminal then the refueling hose could dock and the passengers could be served hot blessings, but I said remember: the fifth race is soon, time to place bets by the river on the sailboats, although we could check out the entries swimming in the racing waters where in trepidation you can put a toe in the water of my soul as I kiss it as I would a child’s boo-boo, offering you a future, a splash of my essence; I breathe your perfume, a cherry-flavored love.

You undress in my river and I kiss your thigh in baptism before lips. Like a mallard I swim aside, a breast in hand and hand in bush.

All goes swimmingly, as I reminisce first kisses raising my mast, sailing our ship, and now anything goes, even past the sunset in moonlit tunes splashed across the stars.’ ”

She gave me a sultry look, touched her hips, cocked her head to the side, and hugged herself. She said, “It does sort of ramble, but I like it … I see that your thank you is rising again …”

“Uh, umm, well umm …”

She ran naked down the stairs giggling.


I was still gathering up our stuff when Zawmb’yee came running back up the stairs.

“It’s a miracle,” she said.

“What’s a miracle?”

“The pfayohoqwaahujpi sealed all the doors downstairs during the flood, and …”


“And the bidet is working!”

“Doors? There are rooms?”

“Yeah. Didn’t I tell you? Oh, well … A lot of akwaki are just plain cisterns, but some are qwuakwaki even all the way down here. The Gods were remarkable; weren’t they?”

“Um, isn’t that a little vulgar for ‘Gods’: that they needed flush toilets …”

“Well, maybe, they just built it for us … I mean, they did save all the ice for us when the ice age ended and …”

“I didn’t know about that … is this part of the history Utcoozhoo is teaching you?”

“Yeah. Um, OK, let’s get organized here. I’ll finish cleaning up here … OK, all the doors are open and the lights are on. I think we’re safe for now, but I don’t think we’re going out the front door …”

“Is there a …”

“Go take a shower. I’ll be there in a minute — I have to get my stuff together.”

With all the commotion, I hadn’t even looked at the back of the ngtqua. Maybe if we had gone to the back in the first place, we would have escaped.

Towards the back began a marble floor, a sudden intrusion in the irregular limestone floor that led to the stairs …


I stepped onto the marble floor, and peered down the stairs. The first seven steps were glowing with the colors of the rainbow. An intense red glistened almost like a traffic light, but it was a go signal, a beckoning, not a stopping. My left foot plunged onto the red step. An orange shimmered on the second one. My right was pulled onto the orange slab, and a bright yellow beam forced me to squint. Intense yellow light made me wonder if the third would be hot like the sun. Looking down at the step, I was blinded and couldn’t see the rest of the stairs. I squatted down on the orange slab and reached out with my hand to see if there was any heat coming up from the yellow. Then I reached down, touching the third step with my finger. It was cool.

I stood up. There was a pull like an invisible tide. I was drawn onto a wide green landing with both feet, my legs feeling heavy, wanting to lie down, but I looked carefully, picked up the pace, got into a rhythm: left on blue, right on indigo, left on violet. The slabs became more regular, but now with colors in reverse order.

Running down the stairs, resisting the invisible tide wasn’t possible. Violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, red, and again. Thirty-five steps. Arriving where?
—- END of ” 6. Drowning in the Sealed Chamber ”

7. Captured by the Gods


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