Off Road Tantra


Off Road Tantra
An exploration of the gossamer realms of tantric gazing, and a tender portrait of departed love.

I entered the scene late in his life, and though I had a firm idea of the kind of tantric script I wanted to write with a stand-in for the Divine Masculine, Michael promptly demolished it. No “firebreath orgasms,” no “you Shakti, me Shiva” repartee, and he wasn’t having any of this worshipful “lotus yoni” and “diamond vajra” stuff either. He wasn’t into glittering handwoven fabrics or Tibetan bowls. He endured two small tantra workshops I taught, playing his role well but neglecting to shower fond and doting looks at me as a tantric goddess incarnate. Perhaps our biggest surge of public tantric joy occurred during a very dismal “trance dance” which he enlivened with a spontaneous poem spoofing the entire occasion - as we goofily enacted a sort of Bhangra vaudeville all over the room which got so out of hand we accidently knocked over a portrait of Babaji at the altar. (So sorry!) It was kind of like waltzing with a Cyrano de Bergerac, but without the sword. Instead approaching tantra like most folks, we quickly went “off road” (his term), finding ourselves in uncharted gossamer terrain. It’s a delicate thing to write about a former lover, and a dead one at that, and so let me switch to third person italics for a moment, so that you can catch the flavor from a different angle:

The woman lets herself into the flat, climbing stairs which are partially obstructed by papers, rocks, plants, and other natural history specimens. She looks nice. She’s dressed in anticipation of meeting her lover, but her clothes don’t seem to matter much to him. She can hear the click of his keyboard as she reaches the top of the stairs. A huge piece of printing equipment partially blocks the way to his room, along with stacks of magazines, books, and slippery plastic bags on the floor. She puts her purse on the unmade bed, which is also stacked with books, magazines, newspapers, and mail. Rubber bands lurk in the bedding. The man in the room is lit by the computer monitor, still typing on his keyboard. His long grey ponytail hangs down his back. He does not turn around, he does not acknowledge her entrance to the room. She will have to wait, as always, for him to make the transition from one activity to another...

Eventually the man turns to the woman with a greeting, spends a few more min- utes at the keyboard, then gets up from his chair and beckons her into the kitchen with a crisp command. She follows. She expects tea first and then some conversation as he sorts a month’s worth of vitamins and supplements into various compartmentalized lidded boxes. Or perhaps tonight he’ll be scraping grease from his stovetop with a razor, or delicately removing the last bits of dried flesh from a rat skeleton (many small skeletons and natural history specimens gather dust in his flat). Manual activity seems to accompany his shift into sociable interaction. Their conversation is lively, interesting, but for all its warmth, is never sentimental and seldom addresses emotions. It is not a “lover-like” exchange. Unlike other lovers, these two never indulge in mutual reminiscences designed to renew emotional closeness after a separation. Almost everything that has happened between them, good or bad, is never mentioned between them again. To the woman, this feels strange.

This article was originally published at . Reprinted with permission.
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