Arcturus foulsham, £6.99
Almustafa, the chosen and the beloved, who was a dawn unto his own day, whatever that might mean, had waited 12 years in the city of Orphalese for his ship that was to return him back to the isle of his birth.
Then in the 12th year, he climbed the green hill far away without the city wall and looked seaward: and lo! He beheld his ship. His joy flew far over the sea but then a sadness descended upon him.
Long had been his days of pain at being forced to write in the absurd style of the not very profound mystic, yet many had been the naked disciples who had walked with him and his soul cried out for them. Yet he could not tarry.
So he said unto himself many more meaningless and contradictory statements until he reached the city. There the priests and priestesses said unto him. Fain, go not away from us. Much have we loved you, though speechless has been our love. Sadly, we’ve chosen this moment to put that love in words for otherwise you would have been out of here and we’d all have breathed a sigh of relief.
Then a woman named Almitra stepped out of the sanctuary. Prophet of God, in search of the uttermost, please tell me what you know of Love before you go.
He looked profoundly into the middle-distance before uttering. I feel it in my fingers, I feel it in my toes, Love is all around me, And so the feeling grows.
And what of Marriage, Almitra asked?
Sometimes you shall be together, Sometimes you shall be apart.
And then a woman who held a babe unto her bosom said, Speak to us of Children.
People of Orphalese. Your children are not your children. Especially if they are adopted or have been kidnapped. You may give them your love but not your thoughts, for the children invariably know best. So if they want to eat loads of sweets and beat the crap out of one another, you shouldst stand back and let them.
Then a rich man said, What of giving?
You give but little when you give of your possessions. So by all means hang on to your dosh. Thou really only givest in the truest sense when thou dost also receive. And the rich man went away and scratched his head.
Then another said, Speak to us of Work.
Work is a real bummer unless you are a bit blissed out and stoned. So Fain would you do anything that does not fill you with love. Like watching daytime TV. And there was joy in the hearts of many 1970s hippies who believed they were reading the meaning of life.
Then a woman said, Speak to us of Joy and Sorrow.
Fain would you feel Joy without Sorrow. Joy and Sorrow are as one. Joy is Sorrow and Sorrow is Joy. So have a good laugh if your entire family is wiped out in a car crash.
Then a weaver said, Speak to us of Clothes.
Fain would you wear Clothes. Clothes are merely the trappings of a bourgeois culture that would seek to try and make you get a job. Better by far to go naked and let it all hang out, man.
Then a judge said, Speak to us of Crime and Punishment.
If a person does wrong then society is to blame. It is you who should be locked up and not some poor hippy who was laying a quarter ounce of grass on a fellow dopehead.
Then a lawyer said, What of our Laws?
There are no laws except the ones you choose to obey. So if you fancy axing someone to death or abusing several children, then be my guest.
Then a woman with a blister said, Speak to us of Pain.
What can I tell you of pain, you who have worked your way through pages of this meaningless, turgid drivel?
Then a dropout said, Speak to us of Self-Knowledge.
And he answered, saying: Self-Knowledge is to be found within your soul. Go forth and take a few tabs of LSD and watch the snakes crawl up the walls for a few hours and then bleat on about how you’ve had a consciousness-raising experience.
Then a teacher said, Speak to us of Teaching.
No man can reveal to you aught but that which already lies half asleep in the dawning of your knowledge. Which means you are born knowing how to do algebra, speak seven different languages and fly to the Moon.
Then a chatterbox said, What of Talking?
Fain would I talk. People only talk when they have nothing to say. Just watch my lips.
Then an astronomer said, Master, Speak to us of Time.
There is no Time. Even though it may not feel like it while I am still droning on. Today is yesterday is tomorrow is my birthday so where is my card?
Then a loner said, What of Friendship?
And the Master said.
I am he as you are he as you are me and we are all together. I am the Eggman, They are the Eggmen, I am the Walrus. Goo Goo G’Joob.
Then another moron said, What of Pleasure?
Pleasure is Freedom but Freedom is not Pleasure. Let not Regret becloud your mind for that is not Pleasure unless your Regrets are a source of Pleasure in which case it is.
Then the Priest said, Speak to us of Prayer.
You’d better start Praying this doesn’t go on too much longer. And lo! Their wish was granted as the ship did dock and The Prophet and his Sad Profundity was taken away from them.
Thank you Master, they all cried. Your leaving has taught us the meaning of Relief.
Then Almitra cried, Why is he called The Prophet?
And Gibran spake, It is a misprint for The Profit. For that’s what I have made out of the Gullible’s insatiable desire for Platitudes.