Sex, Drugs, and Public Health

June 5, 2015

BLOG from the Sea of Cortez – 6

Filed under: Uncategorized — cbmosher @ 5:18 am



April, 2015 Isla San Francisco


Overhead the Frigate Bird hangs motionless upon the air
And deep beneath the rolling waves in labyrinths of coral caves – – –


Tom Uno left the U.S. nine years ago. He and Ketch 22 sailed from San Francisco down Baja, up the Sea to ports along the Mexican mainland, his twin sails, like the wings of a biplane, slicing the air of our world to navigate the liquid of another world, beneath the reeling and cawing of scavenging sea birds.




As the horizon of water eclipsed the greed-and-murder filled world of Bush, sailor and boat drove south: Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, El Salvador, Costa Rica, Panama. Then east: the Canal, Cuba, Florida, Georgia, South Carolina, Roatan, Isla Mujeres.


No one showed us to the land
No one knows the Wheres and Whys – – –


“I had my music,” Tom Uno says, answering a question I was entertaining without voicing.

“Put on Pink Floyd,” Tom Dos requests as we approach another Margarita sunset.

Good call, Tom Dos. I’m impressed.

Tom Uno plays the music that makes his soul dance. Tom Dos and I release our souls to join in the choreography.

“I have a friend,” Tom Uno smiles, “a lot younger than us. Likes my music. He says ‘your generation had it made: Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll. You left us with AIDS, Crack cocaine and Rap.’

I know I have all the important songs too, as much a 60’s and 70’s music freak as the Toms appear to be.

But I don’t.

I thought I’d compiled all the soundtracks of my joyously chaotic and chemically enhanced memories, but Tom Uno has one I’m shocked I’d forgotten.

“Play it,” I ask Tom Uno, almost whispering. Almost worshipping.

It’s psychologically brilliant. Inspired by a schizophrenic genius, completed by minds that dared to explore what lay just beyond the Doors of Perception.

Executed by mere kids – still too undamaged by society to self-censor, too honest not to reveal their hearts and souls.

Technically, it’s brilliant for the times. Way back in the early 70’s, they orchestrated human voice with synthesized sounds, then used the slow, gradual crescendo to tantalize. Most Rock musicians are too impatient for this.

Could I do that? Or am I too over-trained by society? Is access to and the sharing of that depth, that honesty, perhaps only possible when you’re still young enough to be naïve?


The echo of a distant tide
Comes willowing across the sand – – –


The sand between my toes, scalding beneath the hydrogen bomb that powers our lives, rasped my skin 40 years ago on a beach outside San Felipe, far to the north of this Margarita sunset, echoing across the distance and time to when we waded into the water, seeking respite, just as the Northern Baja tide began its flood, surrounding our skin in its slow trickle of jewels, glittering, sparkling crystalline – I had to squint – we rolled onto our backs and floated, hallucinating who and what swam beneath us in the warm Sea as the tide flooded into a current, creeping higher up the receding beach and carrying us now, floating and drifting, in what had become a river of diamonds, as we saw the land and our van float away, away, because the tides here are dramatic and where we had waded in on sand was now far, far below where our feet could reach and we were being swept to wherever it was that we were supposed to be.

We took it on faith.

Or some chemical likeness thereof.


But something stirs and something tries
And starts to climb toward the light – – –




A ray breaks the surface of the diamond-dancing sea. He leaves a trail of suspended jewels in the air my Margarita and I inhabit, and splashes back to invisibility.

The world I am condemned to inhabit is scorched by the hydrogen bomb above and burned to dirt and rock. A world adequate for the occasional cactus, wounded, holes drilled into it by desperate birds, half dried into a skeleton yet clinging, clinging.

A world swirling with nocturnal winds that shift directions through the night to swing us dizzy on the anchor chain.

And right up the center of this world, filling the wound where The Giantess broke the land in half, the Sea of Rays has flooded in. Beneath the dark blue that colors the sky with its reflection, is another world I have only glimpsed from its upper 60 feet, requiring contraptions strapped to my back. A world that tempts me to dreams of darting fish like songbirds on wing, of sleek silver warriors in broad ranks with teeth like vipers, of undulating kelp forests, home to fat golden swimmers like Indonesian Birds of Paradise and scampering brittle stars who lie upon the forest floor, of vast reefs of hard exteriored animals who coalesce into protective societies of red and blue and gold and green – all colors hidden from our terrestrial eyes.

Somewhere in that world live a King and Queen, commandingly large, wise, gentle. Humpbacks. With summer castles of ice far to the north, who rule this Sea during the Mexican winter. A royal family capable of both breeching the surface and exploring 1000 feet down.

And the magic of such a world so close, so almost accessible – except for that air problem that almost killed me off La Bufadora – the beauty of such a place, forces me yet again to ask the god-question my human brain of logic had long ago answered in the negative. Then in floods the guilt of the pre-pubescent Altar Boy. In floods the Baltimore Catechism warning me not to enjoy this beauty lest I rot in Hell for Eternity.

And in floods the rage at being manipulated, yet again, to spoil my own joy.

The Gnostics had it right, I think. There is beauty everywhere, a product of the Great Flame which created the Universe. Except for us humans. We -poor wriggling worms – are defective from birth, self-destructive, greedy, homicidal. Every one of us imperfect. And fully aware of it.




We humans could not be products of The Flame. The perfect Beauty of everything around me – except each other – seems completely alien.

And, most cruelly, we know it. I know it.

The way I know it, the Gnostics teach, is that there is a tiny something within me – a mere Spark of The Flame – that creates an unrelenting drive to re-unite with the origin of that Spark. To re-unite with The Flame.

All my efforts from birth to death, have been and will be chaotic, inadequate efforts toward that reunion.

But meanwhile, I get glimpses. There are worlds other than ours, right here within reach. Most often, I don’t have the – what? Courage? Imagination? Vision? Faith? to do more than glance at their surfaces. Thing is, once, among the echoes of a distant time, I glimpsed what was beyond the Doors.

I put on mask and snorkel, jump in, and am immediately stricken by terror: Sharks! Sting Rays! Drowning! Death! Damnation!

And then, almost within reach of my hand, while above me a ray breaks the surface of the diamond-dancing sea, leaving a trail of suspended jewels in the air of the world I just left, a shell made of rainbowed electricity swims past in the shape of a dolphin.

And I am again stricken. This time, by Beauty.




(photos by Tom Marlow; see also )

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