Saint Ana, dear – a great big breath from you please.
To blow away these credits, end this montage,
and stir our story forward! The reader sees
the black Mercedes parked outside the garage;
and notes its driver toying with the keys.
I’ve mentioned this talented retainer
– the chef cum chauffeur cum ﬁtness trainer
cum handyman (he works like a pun!),
cum guru-shrink-masseuse all in one.
His name was Ramana Narayanamurthy;
his age was locked at less than thirty;
his real name was Rick. What satisfaction
he felt to be Indian! – though ’twas only a fraction.
his hair was golden; his ﬁrm physique was shaped
by some kickboxing program, plus a certain brew
for which the lips of kitchen blenders gaped:
Bee pollen, power bars (low carb, and only a few),
Guatemalan ginseng, guarana,
vitamin B, some marijuana,
a mystery powder of strange patina,
wheatgrass, carrots and spirulina;
and vegetable protein to make him strong,
his mind and values never wrong;
and give him ceaseless energy to expound
philosophies Kamal believed profound.
Put quickly – for our driver sees his lady
leaving the house, and something tragic is about
to happen! – what philosophies he made he
kept both clear and simple, so our devout
Kamal could easily follow: Life was arrayed, he
believed, like a stage, for every actor
to ﬁnd something he called a ‘factor
X,’ or ‘X-factor’ (Kamal
confused the terms), a private call
from within that tells us how to perform.
‘The red phone!’ Ramana would inform.
‘Desire! Pick it up! Make it real!’
In other words: Always act the way you feel.
such words presented an ontology
as great, to Kamal, as Phillip Donahue’s
– that ancient pundit whose ideology
no doubt informed the thoughts of Montesquieu,
and whom his mother often quoted.
[Editor’s note: I must break-in here to explain that Phillip Donahue was the Oprah Winfrey of his day. His TV program, The Phil Donahue Show, invented the modern talk show format.]
Kamal, to Rick, was so devoted
he often asked him for advice.
And just 12 hours, to be precise,
before the time that snags our story
and drags it from the ‘prefatory,’
Kamal had asked opinions from his sage,
which caused (we’ll see) Fate’s minions to be paged.
‘Sometimes – I mean – I hope you’ll understand,
but’ – Kamal was unsure how best to raise it –
‘lately, alone with Imogene, some gland
or other, I don’t know – let me rephrase it –
our bodies do things at their own command,
which, once the blood and nectar subside,
leave us – not just mortiﬁed –
but ﬂushed and happy and laughing too!
And that is why I’ve come to you.
Dear Ramana! Is it okay
for me to commune with Genie this way?
Such things between a brother and sister, I mean.
Be honest – is it indecent? Or – obscene?’
or panted, or shoed, was well-adorned in sweat
– but not from any news Kamal asserted,
(which left our guru amused more than upset),
but rather from the peddling his legs exerted.
He stopped, dismounted his cycle machine,
smiled at Kamal, and said – ‘Obscene?
Nothing is obscene, my friend!
Not even passions we emend
to mollify society!
Thank god for impropriety!
Thank god for Freedom’s most essential treasure:
The right to chase what gives us greatest pleasure!’
‘But – my sister?’
‘And why not your sister?
Has she not the parts that you require?
The years? The pulchritude? Then why resist her?
A sin it is to shun what we admire!
When Adam, beholding Eve, embraced and kissed her,
should he have thought, “she’s made of me!” –
and curbed his sexuality?
And what about the wife of Cain?
Or Cleopatra? Or what’s-her-name,
the sister of that Roman Caesar –
Persilla? Ursilla? – a real teaser.’
‘Genie often mentions a poet, a Lord,
whose sister was the one he most adored.’
‘Kamal! No man is luckier than you!’
The teacher gently squeezed his pupil’s shoulder.
‘Listen – pleasure’s what you must pursue!
Pleasure! The Goddess of Contentment! Uphold her!’
an inﬁnite vivacity
from Rick’s profuse sagacity.
And too, from Imogene he knew
the privileged Incas of Peru,
Hawaii’s Alii, the Singhalese,
Hyperion and Pylades
and Zeus – and more! – without the slightest quibbling,
were granted rights to marry – and love – a sibling.
But back now to those keys! Our story’s ignition!
They stimulate the Benz, which shivers, then purrs.
The famous lady shows no inhibition
in the mini-dress she most prefers
(Versace’s tribute to her dietician!).
She gives Narayanamurthy a kiss.
‘There’s something I must tell you, Miss,’
he says in servile tones she loves.
‘Oh darling,’ she counters, ‘where are your gloves?
A waste of all that naked brawn, no?
To not wear gloves like Galliano?
That’s better. Go on, now ﬁnish your complaint.
I ate those brownies, so? I’m not a saint!’
But Ramana had something else to say
– which he’ll soon tell…
Legs and heels retract
into the Benz’s hind-wing. It speeds away.
The Italianate villa’s door – left open a crack –
swings open further still (Saint Ana’s play),
inviting us inside…
And we will enter that door very soon, to see for ourselves what Kamal and Imogene are up to while their mother goes shopping. A hint:
They’re deeply engorged, I mean engrossed,
in what they love to do the most…
…and we must hope their mother doesn’t return before they are finished.
See the complete index of episodes from Kamal, Book One