Apes of Eden – The Scribes of Eden by Jon P. Gunn

The Scribes of Eden is the completion of a Post-Apocalyptic
Search for God by a tribe of killer apes who began their journey in the Garden
of Eden.

Available on Amazon Kindle for $2.99 and Kindle Unlimited

Paperback on Createspace for $10

 

 

It is written in Heroic Couplets, a form of Iambic Pentameter.

I’m kinda glad you got us in this fix–
you never let me do my magic tricks.

 

In the year 19067, a tribe of killer apes leaves Eden on a Post-Apocalyptic Search for God. They
face evil creatures from Hell and Heaven alike. The story is told in the
words of Literate Louie, the Scribe of the Tribe.

A tribe of killer apes living an idyllic life in the Garden of Eden begins a monumental
quest to search the post-apocalyptic Earth in search of God. The Journey
Begins is the first of a trilogy. The Apes of Eden is written in iambic
pentameter. It is a humorous look at religion and philosophy through the
eyes of an intelligent ape.

The Apes of Eden is written in rhymed iambic pentameter thus falling into the category called
heroic couplets. Each line has 10 syllables and the pairs of lines rhyme.

While many lines were written in 10 syllables in very early Latin, it was Geoffrey Chaucer who added the meter and originated iambic pentameter in the English Language which was further immortalized in many plays and sonnets of William Shakespeare.

 

Jon P. Gunn wrote The Apes of Eden over a period of many, many years beginning as a teenager. He
read Spenser, Chaucer, Dante and Cervantes. Many oddball philosophies,
from solopsism to deism are explored and mocked. Allusions to a broad spectrum
of myths and canons are made.

Jon never graduated from college even though he had twice the number of hours to
graduate. He was too busy reading the great works of literature to bother. He
shared his work with a friend. It is that man and his friend, Rick Lakin who
are bringing you Jon’s work. We think it’s very good. We hope you do too.

 

Interlude

The Tribe another mighty battle won,
and overthrew the House of Solomon.
It’s known by written lore, but not as well
as by the epic tales our gaffers tell.
Our tribal sagas give it high renown.
We blew our horns; the walls came crashing down;
the Tribe stormed in, destroying every foe
and razing every building.
Even so,
recorded variants are so confused,
it’s hard to know which version should be used.
One scribe asserts he saw the towers fall.
Another claims there was no war at all;
that fort was just mirage. Still others say
the city fell to foes who passed that way
a thousand years before the Tribe arrived—
and several other versions have survived.
I’ve tried to puzzle out the facts, but failed;
so my description isn’t too detailed.

We captured quite a lot of human lore
which they had saved from centuries before:
the daring deeds of famous heroes bold,
and tales that make my aging blood run cold
of human inhumanity to man
surpassing that of ape to pithecan—
the preludes to their racial requiem.
We apes are civilized, compared with them.
As much as I would like to work it in,
there’s too much to it, even to begin.
Of human lore, I’ve little more to say,
unless I write another book someday.

There follows quite a “lull in history.”
To leave this era out, it seems to me,
would give the false impression that our grief
and woe and hunger pangs were fairly brief,
which wasn’t true at all. It looks quite short,
because our scribes found little to report.
While passing through unpopulated land
not much of interest happened to our band
except the constant struggle to survive
and finding food enough to stay alive.
There wasn’t too much forage in the drouth.
Our livelihood was mostly hand-to-mouth.
A scribe who has to forage day and night
to stay alive, has little time to write;
and brief although this Interlude appears,
it must have lasted several hundred years.

As one effect of sunlight on the skull
historiography grew very dull
and hard to read. The topics scribes left out
reveal as much as what they wrote about.
For instance, in the records now extant,
they’ve rarely mentioned any types of plant
except for cactuses and fossil trees,
remarking there were very few of these.
The scribes weren’t ignorant of botany;
but when the desolate monotony
is unrelieved by any leaf or sprout,
the subject’s one of those that get left out.

Some scribes completely lost their sanity,
and took to scribbling sheer inanity,
which represents itself as serious
philosophy, but sounds delirious
by normal standards. Many scribes, it seems,
have blithely written up their fever dreams
as fact; for though our scribes possessed the best
of minds, their brains were boiled like all the rest.
Some terrible examples have survived
their cadence ragged, and their rhymes contrived.
I’ll copy one example of the sort
of psychedelic nonsense they’d report.
It typifies the writings still extant.
I hope you understand this stuff.
I can’t.

The Prophet of the Gulch

A certain scribe went out one day alone
to do a little hunting on his own.
For half a day he chased—but couldn’t catch—
that sportsman’s dream, a six-point bandersnatch;
then finally took what game there was to take:
the commonplace, but wholesome, rattlesnake.
As dusk approached, the hunter started back
with half a dozen serpents in his sack.
(The sack, of course, was that in which he bore
the Tribe’s· collection of recorded lore.)
He picked his way through groves of fossil trees
which stood immobile in the scorching breeze
and flashed like crystals in the slanting light
of evening. Some were pink and some were white.

He came upon a clearing, to behold
a bird whose aspect made his blood run cold.
It stood about one-third as tall as he,
and perched upon the fossil of a tree.
Its ragged plumage was as black as night
except a tufted collar—greasy white—
around its neck. Its naked head was blotched
with pink and brown. The beak was hooked and notched
and had a scalloped rim. The beak was decked
with pulpous lumps. The glassy eyes were flecked
with spots of purple, amethyst and red,
and stared like targets from its bony head.

When first he spied the vulture sitting there,
our tribesman jumped a cubit in the air,
alertly raised his tomahawk to throw
and sternly challenged, “Enemy—or foe?”

“My friend,” the vulture said, “I’d say your nerves
are much too highly strung, as one observes
from this alacrity with which you reach
for things to throw. I have some lore to teach,
and not too many pupils, way out here;
so find a place to perch, and bend your ear.”

“What kinda lore you got?” replied the ape.
“I never seen no scholar quite your shape.”

“I’m more than just a scholar,” said the vulture.
“Some have called me Prophet of the Gulch—or
others call me Prophet of the Air.
For esoteric Truth I have a flair;
so hearken, and for better or for worse
I’ll spill the Secrets of the Universe. “

“Go fly in circles!” sneered the ape. “No bird
that’s two-thirds devil, and another third
some kind of dust mop’s very apt to know
what makes the prickles on the cactus grow—
much less what makes the stars and atoms tick.
I think your propheteering’s just a trick.
One look at you’s enough to plainly see
you’re faking—and you got it in for me!”

“I’d never harm an ape who’s not yet dead;
I’m more fastidious,” the buzzard said.
“We vultures aren’t exactly birds of prey,
although we’re often thought to look that way.
As long as you’re alive and on your feet,
you’ll never qualify as fit to eat.”

The ape said, “That describes my feelings, too.
I’d eat a snake, but not the likes of you.”

“My gospel,” said the bird, “is Truth and Good;
my teaching Universal Brotherhood.
Be not misled by Externalities.
Beyond Appearance lie Realities. “

“Okay, then,” said the ape. “Let’s hear your stuff.
I’ll damned soon stop you when I’ve heard enough.
I’ve never yet turned anyone away
with anything intelligent to say.”

He set his sack of snakes and archives down,
and then, affecting an attentive frown,
he took a seat upon a rock near by.
He set one elbow firmly on his thigh
to rest his chin upon his doubled fist—
the image of a metaphysicist.

“I’m ready,” he announced, “so let her rip!
I’ll interrupt, if I don’t dig the trip.”

“Attend,” the vulture said, “and when I’m through
there won’t be much that’s still unknown to you;
for there’s a Thing that’s Natural and Inherent,
sometimes called the Universal Parent.
Fathomless it is, and void of motion,
vast and all-pervading, like an ocean.
Infinite, it cannot be exhausted.
Never moving, no one’s ever lost it.”

“Be specific,” his disciple said.
“That abstract jive is way above my head.”

“One cannot say just how its name is listed,”
said the buzzard; “but, if you insisted,
I could call it Tao. If that should throw you,
then Supreme’s the label I could show you.
Since ‘Supreme’ means always Onward-Going;
Going On means speeding, never slowing;
that means ‘Going Far,’ as you’ll be learning.
Hence it’s clear the Tao must be returning!
Therefore, Tao’s the Universal Ruler.
Next comes Heaven, up where flying’s cooler.
Then comes Earth, then us. So it would seem we
rank among the Four who reign supremely.
We the laws of Earth are manifesting.
Earth obeys what Heaven is behesting.
Heaven’s law’s by Tao administrated.
Tao’s autonomous, and self-created.
Therefore, men of Tao refrain from action,
not arousing an opposing faction;
use no words or books to spread the Teaching,
since their silences are further-reaching;
neither fight, nor run from opposition;
offer no consent, nor prohibition;
never try to amplify nor edit;
get things done, but never take the credit.
Claiming nothing is their bonum summum,
so the credit can’t be taken from ‘em.”

“But,” the ape objected, “tell me how
you figure jazz like that explains the Tao!
At talking all around it, you’re a whiz;
but that don’t tell me what the subject is!”

“Defining Universal Tao,” the bird
went on, “is not accomplished in a word.
The Tao that gets expressed is not Eternal.
Labeled truth is not the Real Kernel.
Into deeper mysteries we’re reaching­
hence the vagueness of my Deeper Teaching.
Nonexistence is the Antecedent
of the Earth and Heaven; but the pedant
with his bookish speeches, meets resistance
when he tries defining Nonexistence.
Though the isn’t is the Primal Mother
of all things, they’re told from one another
by Distinction, which therefrom arises.
Hence, from Non-Existence, one apprises
all Beginnings, calmly and serenely;
then, from Being, sees Distinctions keenly.
They’re the same in origin and nature,
but we give them different nomenclature.”

“Hey,” the ape exclaimed; “what you just said
like starts to tell me something! Go ahead!”

“The Sage, who’s never from his window peeking”
quoth the buzzard, “finds the Tao he’s seeking.
As the over-zealous seeker travels,
less and less geography unravels.
Cool your heels; don’t stir yourself to wander.
Thus you’ll know All Things, both hith- and yond-er.”

“That I gotta cool,” the ape put in.
“We would of starved, by staying where we been.
We’d sooner do our seeking in a land
that ain’t so short on food, and long on sand.”

“That’s up to you; but things are lost by sticking
to them. Well-honed blades are prone to nicking.
Guarded treasures are more often stolen.
No moss gathers on a stone that’s rollin’.
He who strides too fast is apt to stumble.
Lofty towers are the first to crumble.”

“Now you’re swinging!” cried the ape. “I think
you’re treading on the Cosmic Secret’s brink!
It’s time this stuff got taken off the shelf
and passed around! You make it up yourself?”

“Not I! It’s handed down from long ago,
when Lao Tzu tried to leave the Land of Chou,
and Yin Hsi wouldn’t let him out of town
until he’d written all his wisdom down.
He wrote a book of dark and subtle hints,
then hit the road, and no one’s seen him since;
and rare has been the sage who’s figured out
exactly what his Teaching’s all about.
In Lao Tzu’s words, “I’d gladly walk the Tao,
but people seem to think I don’t know hao;
for though the Way is very plain and easy,
they prefer the byways, slow and sleazy.
While the palaces are painted slickly,
herds and fields are looking kind of sickly
and the bins are empty. When you polish
up your swords and trinkets, and demolish
quantities of food and wine, the bandit
is encouraged. If you understand it,
that’s the kind of ruling reminizcent
of the things the Tao of Heaven izn’t.”

“Man, you’re getting through!” rejoiced the ape.
“This Taoist scene’s like really taking shape!”

The bird continued, “Don’t exalt the worthy.
Teach the common yokel to prefer the
unexalted life. He’s dumb and happy.
Since he needs no feathers in his cap, he
isn’t lured by objects of desire,
therefore, neither cheats, nor rises higher.
Sages rule by Virtue Transcendental,
filling bellies but ignoring mental
aspects of the people’s constitution.
That’s how we discourage revolution.

“Keep the people innocent of knowledge!
Keep the crafty from attending college!
Do away with learning! Banish wisdom!
Shun the fatal curse of moralism!
With Confucian ‘righteousness’ rejected,
generation gaps will be corrected.
People then will benefit a hundr’d-
fold, where educated rulers blundered.
Stifle cerebration! Conquer mental
tendencies! Let natural love parental
be restored, along with filial duty.
Once the thief gives up for lack of loot, he
can’t be lured by gains or artifices.
Who needs education? It suffices
just to flaunt your simpleness and plainness,
once you’ve overcome your selfish vainness.
He who governs by complete inaction
causes neither progress nor reaction.”

“We just crossed the sophic Rubicon!”
the ape exulted. “Man, this turns me on!
There wasn’t nothing Lao Tzu didn’t know!
The Taoist trip’s the only way to go!”

“The men of old who walked the Tao were subtle,
penetrating, never in a muddle;
so profound you couldn’t understand ‘em.
Here’s examples (more or less at random):
Cautious—like one crossing streams in winter.
Soft—like melting ice about to splinter.
Circumspect—like one who fears his neighbors.
Plain—like wood unmarred by whittler’s labors.
Modest—like a beggar come to visit.

“Who can lighten the obscure? Who is it
who can calm the turbid till it slowly
clears? When you’re a sage you’ll follow solely
Principle, renouncing satiation.
Thus you’ll renovate your own stagnation.”

“Stop!” the ape broke in. “I’ve heard enough
to hold me—but it’s real swinging stuff!
I’d hear some more, except I gotta get
to camp. I see the sun’s about to set.”

“You act just like Confucius,” said the vulture.
“No capacity for Deeper Culture.”

“That ain’t it,” the wise old bird was told.
“I’m just afraid my supper’s getting cold.”

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