Beware the Monkey God


Get out Muse.  There isn’t any place for you here.

No invocation, no kowtowing to see the empress.

This will be something other.  We’re going to take

you by the lapels and jam our forehead into

the middle of your brain.  This is my evocation

of a god that passed into obscurity before

you had even found that muddy little stream.  In

a world of holograms, this is going

to be the tatwa to end them all, clear in the

murky depths of the intransitory.  With all

your words, you won’t be able to touch it.  So out

with it, open the book, still the bell, light

the candle.  We shall really see Nyarlathotep.


It was during the year of the Monkey; we were

drinking beer one night in Rico’s when it all

began to come together in a frightening

way.  The brew had taken us down to the level

where reason shuts its doors if not the curtains.

It’s about there that philosophy begins.  In

this case, it was syncronicity which took us

further than we had dared go before.  The talk was

about Katmandu, one of the temples there, and

how the sacred monkeys moved about the faces

of the Tibetanized Shiva.  There is something

strictly Himalayan in those faces which can’t be

seen in the ones from Southern India; a stark

caricature of a memory that couldn’t

exist in the human sense.  About then, a friend

opened his stony blue eyes  with the effect of

a loaded 44 magnum stuffed in your face.

We all felt it, but nobody at the table ran:

a credit to us all.  Each of us knew that a

horror was about to be unleashed on our

already ravaged brains.  The fact that in our state

we would have broken our necks scrambling over

furniture didn’t cross our minds.  He spoke at last.

“Beware the Monkey God.”  The doom was upon us.

“Beware the Monkey God.” He said it again.

Fortunately he didn’t make the third pronouncement.

The eyes closed to ponder the depths

from which this little gem had dropped.

What fate had saved us from the ultimate terror,

I do not know.  Everybody at the table

began to lapse into the psychic realm where

the words had grown.  The pieces of conditioning



Flashback:  Karachi . . . Outside the airport on our

way up country, they were going to stash us in

a hostel for a couple of hours between flights.

We were waiting for a car to take us.

There was a tree on the horizon, big green

sucker, like what you would see lions asleep in.

Something in the tree moved.  What it was I couldn’t

say, but it was bigger than a bread box.  It could

have been a monkey.  I was never really sure;

we were gone before it moved again.  Probably,

it was a vulture.  They have those in Karachi

too.  I had never seen a real monkey, just

the twisted kind they have in zoos.  Captivity

snaps their minds.  My brother use to take me to

watch them.  He explained how when the head-

honcho came out of the monkey-house, the less

dominant ones would go sit in the corners.  Sure

enough, they did.  I had seen pictures of monkeys with

electrodes in their brains, shot into space and all that,

but real ones out there in the world was something

else again.


Maybe that was the first time the Monkey God struck.

It’s a sneaky little bugger the Monkey God.

By that night in Rico’s, I’d let it go to the

vulture theory.  But now, with anthropology

101 and ten long years of college behind

me, I still wasn’t sure.  At least I remembered.

People do that, they remember.  That’s what makes

them dangerous.  You have to kill them off quickly.

Leave one alone in a room too long and it will

make an H bomb.  It was anthro that gave me

the first clue.  Sure, I’d seen all the movies, 2001,

One Million Years B.C., (I loved the one with Raquel

Welch) Murders in the Rue Morgue, but these weren’t

the Catalyst, the scientific verification

of what all this monkey business was about.

Here we had the main man, Leakey, white haired and

tan, pointing the way back through time with small

fragments of bodies dug out of an African gorge.  This

was it.  The Trail was getting fresher, only a

million years old.  It wouldn’t be long before we

had the little shit by the nuts screaming out for

mercy.  We wouldn’t give it any.  About this

time the toothpaste ads started to effect me.

People on billboards grinning,  people on TV grinning,

people in magazines grinning.  Christ!  When I passed

them in the streets they weren’t grinning.

When they were, I crossed the street.


Flashback: Islamabad . . . We’d been in the hills

all day trying not to get bitten by a krait.

It was a good thing that it was winter,

and they were asleep.  We were taking

a dirt road down when a brightly painted

truck stopped.  The driver asked if we wanted a ride.

He was grinning ear to ear, red betel nut

teeth and intense hashish eyes.  We took the ride;

it was quicker.  Unfortunately, we were straight at

the time.  It would have been better otherwise.

That way we wouldn’t have been worried about dying,

just sat back with the rush.  The Monkey God takes

many disguises.  These days, I think it was the driver.


I always wonder what would have happened if my

friend pronounced the third doom upon us all at that

table.  Every time I look at a clear sky, I

can almost see two hairy hands poking through, and

then pulling it apart to reveal the black gulf.

A huge, grinning black-eyed face would drool

down on the world leaving mindless vegetables

writhing on the ground.  It’s awful to think about.

It’s the mundane which takes over the senses,

to make the void between the ears; an emptiness

which is rewarded by the powers that be with

all the trinkets a body could want.  Glass beads are as

good as cash in the open market, because

there isn’t much to loose in selling anymore.

They even throw in a mate to make the sale

complete.   Then you get a little bit extra with

working, sleeping, eating.  I has to be in

a church.  They’re always grinning in church,

at least the reborn ones are.   Let’s hear it for out

Lady of Ultra-bright in the Aisle.  Speaking of

churches, did you know that some Muslims got

together and built a mosque in Pullman, Wash.  There

is one thing wrong with it.  They didn’t put a

loudspeaker in the minaret so the faithful can be

called to prayer.  I miss that in the evenings; some nut

droning out over the city that God is great.

You better get on your knees and pray or God

will kick your ass.  Every god needs a helping hand.


Flashback: Band-I-Amir . . .  We had run the road north

with a Peugeot sedan and a good driver.  I

can’t remember how much AID paid him, but he

was worth it.  This was a private gig anyway.

Just me and the doctor, Dr. Watson that is.

We were going to take a look at the tallest

buddhas in the world and then maybe stop to look

at the king’s lakes.  The buddas were in the valley

of Bamiyan near the City of Screams.  It was

either the hordes of the great Khan or some perversity

of its own which gave the city that name.  Nobody

gave the whole story.  All that’s left is the tell,

filled with melting mogul arches.  In the evening

we had dinner in the village and watched a dancing

boy, long past his prime, sweat out an existence

before the group of art lovers.  Most of the time we

just tried to keep him off us.  When we

were back in the yert we drank ourselves to

sleep.  The morning came with embarrassment on the

faces of the buddahs, pink cheeked sandstone in all

its glory.  Two full figured statues, hundreds of

feet high, looking as if they had been there since

the valley was formed.  All around them were caves

which the monks had used to work and sleep in while

creating the images of their master.  The

dark holes made the cliff look worm eaten.  But there

were no orange robed figures hurrying

about.  It would have been a great effect.  I wonder

if the monks watched what happened in the City of

Screams?  From the valley it was only four hours up

to the lakes.  Blue, clear lakes which even have

Tahoe out classed.  Maybe it’s the emptiness around

them.  Nothing really can beat the cataclysmic

emptiness of the Hindu Kush, who would want

to try.  They formed from natural springs which had

built up limestone dikes.  The water was deep enough

so the bottom couldn’t be seen.  Yet for some reason

clear enough to make you think that you could.  The

king had stocked them with trout so his family could

go fishing.  We could see them swimming around the

steep chasms below the water.  That day,

no one from the family was fishing.  There was

a ritual going on.  In the mud-brick mosque

some local wife was in seclusion having prayers

said over her by the local holy-man.  She

was possessed by demons.  Every time her husband

wanted to fuck her, she got physically sick.

To save her from the fiends, they were going to throw

her in the lake and exorcise the demons:

damn cold those lakes.  Watson said she would be

lucky not to have a coronary, probably all

psychosomatic.  That’s what the doctor said.  Good

thing the doctor was too old to interfere, and I was too

young.  We would have gotten our throats slit.  The

Monkey God was running in a pack that day, or

should I say troop.  Sometimes I wonder how I got

so lucky.  The number of times I could have had my

head kicked in are just too many.  For some reason my

ass always slipped out of the sling and the noose just

missed my neck.  That night I just had to be at Rico’s,

just had to hear those words.  They never stopped

echoing.  That was years ago, and the run-on dreams

get closer.


Flash-forward: Moscow, Idaho . . . Hemingway was

there.  I don’t know what he did, but I would

set up shop reading cards.  At my back a WWI

memorial, it carried trophies.  The Tales of the Golden

Monkey is running to the end of the season,

and the fair is full of pagans, robes and costumes

from a thousand years of history.  The cards are hot.

In the booths I see a golden Yeti whistling

a tune.  He will sit across from me for the fair.


Did I do that, would I?  Closer,

though the pronouncement never comes.

Drum beats on the table shake us back from where

we’ve been.  The lights are being turned up as we are

being turned out into the illusion which the streets



I was processing books for the library;

I found one called Indian Summer.

It had paintings and comments on Sind done the year

before I was born.  The chapter I opened

was called “The Monkeys of Karachi”.  It has

started again, and like the cat fading in a tree,

it leaves only a grin.  Its sense of humor won’t

let the third pronouncement fall, but it will

speak in the voice of my daughter every time

someone asks her year.  She was conceived

in the year of the Monkey.


first published in Living With a Stranger: self portrait, 1993.


About johnsmithiiimxiii

John Smith, IIMXIII is the avatar of an award winning poet, artist, etc. who still lives in the Palouse country of the Pacific NW. He has not received much notice with his prose . . . but as his avatar, I hope that he keeps plugging along.

3 responses to “Beware the Monkey God”

  1. yassy says :

    Tatwa? Google , should I ?yoo tell

    Liked by 1 person

    • johnsmithiiimxiii says :

      Tatwa is a thought form used in ritual magic, a way of training the imagination to look into the astral plain. I believe it was incorporated in the Hermetic Order of the Golden Dawn through Indian philosophies. Maybe through the Theosophy movement. It is sometimes spelled Tattyah. Thank for asking. Hope the world is treating you well.

      Liked by 1 person

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