Open Letter to the Secretary of the Interior

Dear Honorable Secretary,

Please believe me that it is with reluctance that I approach you this way through the mails. I realize your time must be extremely limited, busy as you must be with thousands of daily communications just such as mine. I realize there are many others in our country eager to communicate with you on matters of equal importance, and it would impose an impossible burden were you personally to consider each such piece of mail that reaches your office. I therefore understand that you may find it necessary to have the information contained herein considered by some subaltern in your service, although I have every hope that in at least summary form the facts of this matter will reach your personal attention. For it is an important matter – perhaps even one of some urgency – and one which, it seems to me, should be acted upon only after the most responsible parties have given it their consideration.

This is a problem which was not always with us, and one which, to my knowledge, has arisen only within recent years. In former ages men of all sorts were able to identify their most intimate inner selves with a hard, shell-like exterior, or a kind of mask, which in one way or another was accepted into the established patterns of civilized society. Today, however, we discover on every side strange, deranged individuals who seem not to have been able to fashion for themselves exteriors of the strong and enduring type. Instead, we find them displaying brittle, false fronts, transparent at best, and apt to crumble into the most disgusting disarray at a moment’s notice. It is indeed but little to note the numerous disruptions these incidents have occasioned in our country’s social and economic life when they are compared to the far more serious effects that have been brought about in the sphere of the nation’s interior. Here one can foresee nothing short of the chaos which must have preceded man’s first feeble attempts at rational organization. Tragically, it is this very breakdown which is now being championed as a new panacea to cure all mankind’s ills, and those who support this “cause” number among them rebellious and irresponsible persons who will resort to every extreme to achieve their purposes. Within just this past week one of them is reported to have boasted:

“The days   of our collaboration with Raggedy Anne have passed! The Andy of today is a man of flesh and blood!”

A “newly discovered anatomical Andy” they call this, Mr. Secretary. Such is their manner – extreme statements purposely conceived to arouse the emotions of quick-tempered men, all the while muddled with a kind of metaphoric jargon likely to spur the imagination to even more degraded depths. I am sure that already you can see the dangers coincident to conditions of this kind. However, so that you might understand more clearly, please bear with me while I describe some of its more concrete details.

Just as modern weapons have forced the Interior to depart, so Purshottam Kakodhar, leader of an anarchist group which has established itself in a remote area hitherto supposed inaccessible, has managed the difficulties, although we do not know at this time how it was possible. You yourself, I am sure, will appreciate the fact that it is Mr. Kakodhar who has taken over the leadership of this enterprise. For you will recognize the name of Mr. Kakodhar as that of a high official in the country of his birth, and a man, like yourself, who has sacrificed personal advantage to accept an exacting and responsible position in government service.

I wonder if you have been apprised, however, of Mr. Kakodhar’s most recent activities. In case you have not I may be able to supply you with information otherwise not available. For this same group of which Mr. Kakodhar is leader has, within the past few days, transmitted to this office a sketch of their camp in the wilderness. In it we see eighteen barefoot monks in black. A caption at the bottom reads:

“For the first twenty minutes the air was described as cool and white. Robes began. Later ventilators of a crematory.”

Their arrangement is something like a pueblo, and the “Indians,” as they call themselves, are gathering logs for the Anniversary of the Mountain (there is no information on the details of this ceremony). Their clothes and “the Red Ball” (no explanation of this obscure phrase) are out for fires.

Mr. Kakodhar himself has been given the code name of Ripper, by which he is known to the initiated. One of his projects seems to be an attempt to change the battlefields of war. This program treats infants in the first year of life, who are fired through a flattened star system and the spectral lines vanadium oxide, after having been subjected to the armed forces, and attend a burial at sea. A dozen men in gleaming dress white stand in line and chant, “A penny for the Guy.” These stunts are what are known as “modern pressures,” and in the lingo of the child psychologists those who have undergone the process are called “dis-victims.”

In line with all this, I think you should know that a Bombay newspaper reported last week that forty-four whooping cranes appeared from one of that city’s hotels. This is not so surprising in itself, but on Tuesday of that same week forty-three ranking members of Goa’s Congress Party (of which Mr. Kakodhar was once President) signed a proclamation declaring still-birth an “anatom-joke” and wrothy of only private performance.

Carryings-on of this kind, Mr. Secretary, are far from coincidental and indeed far from the innocent jests under which they masquerade. They are conducted with precision and skill and are presided over by a committee of trained experts. Mr. Secretary, who are these labor incidents?!

I was on hand myself at Union Square the day the World War II hero was tossed into a fountain. We have had reports that the Columbia University graduate training program in the deep infrared “dazzles” with a dictatorship but not a bad one. Their brochures spoke freely of taunting letters to the police and the sniper killing of two men, for which the ultraorthodox church of Greece has expressed its traditional political and literary alignments.

This, indeed, is changing the battlefields of war. The last live flock of whooping cranes was supposed to have left Bombay November 28. And some people still have the audacity to talk about the decorated unconscious mind…

Listen to this description by Dr. Erich Camps of some of the goings-on at the Arkansas Wildlife Refuge:

“Children in a compulsory annual visit marched to the lake and then to a rocky isle miles away. We stood at low tide after a kind of religious humanity – monks, I believe they were. They said, ‘Long lines feel Him closer out there.’ The monks moved into corpses. The people cried. When we got to the lake, the abbey was undergoing restoration and the girls were never in camp. We had this ceremony for more than a century.”

I won’t quote all of this lengthy article, but Dr. Camps also saw men and women held, guarded by trial fishermen, who were guided by monks hanging from gallows, being “war captains.” The lake he mentioned is across sand flats shot, whipped or clubbed – and is an altogether sacred and notorious area. They showed pictures of crematories, which they called their church. And they always insisted, “We are quicksand.” They started a barracks packed solid with their god Waw-mea.

One is reminded of Freud’s instinctual urges and Canada’s Great Slave Lake. A place like that might be a spiritual retreat for Jack the Ripper. You remember he used colored lights, slides and even Fromm, the psychoanalyst, to deceive pursuers.

Some of them came back, having mistaken the Texas Gulf Coast from the holy Ganges. That Ripper is no slouch. He has ical skill, and uses knife films. Or course, he has never been apprehended. Even the Veterans Underground was fooled. They said, “He occupies long mirrored summer nesting grounds near the River.” But what river, Mr. Secretary? Is the Rishikesh going to flow down to six or seven mutilated rooms on top of the Polski Dom?

In 1978 a nationwide search for a certain Mr. Tutes was held in a gaslit saloon on St. Mark’s Place. Now all this activity has been replaced by Kakodhar, the lone crane who hasn’t left yet. I remember the night Kakodhar came by in squads on the police-stoned streets of the East Side. He was in the air like a dancing party, with everybody acting out their alienation, anxiety and hope. In those days he was nicknamed Scarneck, because special investigators discovered peculiar patches and sewing tracings on his anatomy.

The Masque of the Redlessness they called it – that night. One victim I saw with my own eyes was Catherine Ed-Death. Many of her relatives did the round dance in a refrigerator, crowding around the electric light and thinking all the time they were stalled in a parked car. Two showers died, landlocked. Others, hidden, danced and sang for pleasure. Twenty five families helped telephone. If it hadn’t been for the irregular arrangement of those ashes placed in his body, there’s no telling how far things would have gone. As it was, it lasted more than four days.

The last night I saw Dr. Fromm standing on a street corner preening the few sparse neck feathers he had left. He went away with a woman named Dowes, whose body was found to have been constructed around the end of 2500 social workers, known as an individual. Kakodhar ended with his abdomen cut open, and kept repeating Sartre’s famous principle, “Psychiatrists and psychologists have first to arrive at Arkansas Territory.” Sartre himself, you know, when he wrote, did it with his left kidney missing.

Oh, sure, we all know that everyday is hell to other people and that a rose is a rose to a rose. But what about war, Mr. Secretary? Are you going to pay more attention to it in the fall? And can you tell me: who was the last person to leave a letter to Home Minister Gulzari?

Sunday morning, Sept. 30, 1978, Mr. Secretary! Look that up in your almanac!

“Gulzari is an innovator,” they tried to tell me. They said, “He has gone fur the public highways of the mind,” in that quaint accent of theirs. For Canada in the spring! – that’s what they should have said.

And what about Lal Nanda standing there announcing he was in Mitre Square while all the time he was near white he was so scared somebody would notice it was latitude 24.22 at about 800 degrees Fahrenheit. Well, you know it now all right. Go up to Hima-Chapel on High Street if you want to find out for yourself. It’s all there all right – everything on discs and tape. He has even arranged his own family pathology, and laid out a town for “meditation,” as it calls it.

He can call it meditation if he wants to. But why is it his patrons are always saying, “We are too exclusively con?”

A withdrawal like that – and after they were in the lead – what does it feel like? “Con” is the word for it.

Listen to this headline in a London newspaper:


And the story! Listen to this: “The center of merriment (apparently motiveless) in Parliament today was the Orthodox Ecumenical Patriarch, Athenagoras I, who sat sifting 36 barrels of gunpowder at his desk. ‘This is the kind of cause that united men often in the past,’ the Patriarch claimed. ‘Look at the way a child adjusts to his dress uniform. If he tries wearing the neighbors, he will find the more distant ones too deliberately planned.’

“Athenagoras, who is called a boy, 15, received the idea from a book, and tried gunpowder in several ways, coating it with a special epoxy plastic. He was wearing the Silver and Bronze Star and also a hot planet, Venus, which he killed and cut up for the opening of Parliament the next day.

“’It was a signal,’ he said. But the Parliamentarians proved once again that their head-turning and finger-sucking is indifferent to everything that does not offer a reward. More recent information suggests that these peculiar objects are extremely suffering under harsh laws against the care-taking practices in a maternity hospital.

“’And they are unable to overcome any other adversaries,’ said Patriarch Athenagoras, ‘than the conical telescope whose mirror jiggles.’ He added, ‘It’s about as close as we shall ever get to the sky from inside the vaults below the House of Lords.’”

Five minutes in the corner with a bunch of journalists, and what do you get? You might as well hire a pathologist and let him cast dice for a disease. Every year crowds wander past the family plot and sink their minds into some evangelist’s vision of the instincts. It’s nothing unusual in India. Cast doubt today on the popular superstitions, and tomorrow they will say it was a never-proved theory.

Jack comments that he made it to In-Ninevah, and that perhaps is the opening session of the Ripper, the notorious East End-dian. Reporters who sought him still have time to mend their ways.

If they want to find him, why don’t they pay a visit to the American Orthopsychiatric Institute? Rook went around there just last week. Listen to him report:

“Managed entry under pretence of interviewing Johnson, murderer of the Late Eight, as they were called. Staff speak jargon of ex-communication. Pretend to impart valuable facts while drifting always to flaccid. Was told ‘Johnson is out in his hut at Rishikesh.’ Medical student led way through botanical garden. In front of door student warned, ‘The room is, of course, very sociations.’

“’As-sociations?’ I suggested?

“’No,’ he said, ‘that’s the style of dream-work, or, at least, visionary architecture. What we have here is…’

“And he opened the door. Inside was a doctor squatting on the floor in his dark. And it was streaked with that crisp whip crack sound. Could feel it run up your back – their ugly noise.

“’43rd annual meeting,’ said the student. And then in a phony accent: ‘Een his eightees.’

“Was not concerned enough with the doctor. In conversation seemed normal. Spoke of new robes, and he made it clear that he is … Reddish Light.”

The Velvet Under-Pathology of Normalcy, Mr. Secretary! The handwriting on the institution wall! They have no intention of attaining any moral absolute, of becoming ground. Their souls consist of a three-wheel drive to conformity. They’ve done everything they can to prevent the publication of the Petrel Gazette, which advertised itself as “A magazine for a permanent sanyasi, or of giving.” There they are – a whole hospital’s employees proffing up on politics!

Francis E. Camps argued that “How could I?” he said. “I little disport themselves for most-ness.”

That’s the way they talk, Mr. Secretary! Two dancers and PERT, a system for organizing any project. Ask them how they are going to change the battlefields of war.

And you thought there were people traditions?!

Well, Mr. Secretary, I realized you time is valuable, and I will not take up any more of it with details of this kind, although I can assure you that many more facts of equal importance are available to us here. You can see from what I have described just where we stand in these affairs, and I am sure you are well aware of the great number of pressing problems in this area.

Let me say in closing that I feel we need not despair and that there are many causes for optimism – not the least of which is the existence of your own office and the interest of the government in matters of our nation’s interior life. I look forward to the many improvements our country can expect as a result of your department’s activities, and can assure you that I and the members of my staff stand ready to assist you in any way possible. In particular we will at your request communicate to your office whatever future information develops from our investigations.

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