Scrimshaw: That Ole Bone Dance (Revised Version)

An Allegory 










Woodcut by Pleydenwurff from Schedel’s Nuremberg Chronicle, 1493.  



O My My My, that Ole Bone Dance
That shuffle and shake,
That poke and slip,
That wiggle and wank,
Into that Ole Pink Hole.

Yeah, Yeah, My Friend,

You know what I mean.

Yes, Yes, Yes,
Shaking the House of Bones,
Doing the Meat Jig,
Climbing the Bone Tree,
Spilling the God Fruit.

Hey, Hey, Hey,
Crazy Boy, Crazy Crazy Boy!
Down there in those Sacred Woods
Banging the Ole God Skull
Full of Seeds, singing songs.

He be just dancing all round
Naked as a hambone,
Just oozing the ooze,
Splashing over those stones.

Drip drip drip.
Sticky white laughing honey
Running thick with vein of red
Falling all over the Riverstone,
Making making making lil fishes
And silver black tadpole thinkings.

An Oh Ho Ho, Oh My, My,
He is most surely a Laughing Boy.
Yes Siree,
He is a laughing long with that.
Hes booming out with Soul Laughter,
Sounding that make your deep bones,
And every private hair you gots,
Turn stark jelly white...
Ifing you werent ready for it.

Dark gloomy woods glooming
With the cries of lonely cricks
And hollering bullfrogets,
Hoo Hoo Hoos owling dark as night,
And the brush and break of leaf.

Yessir, you know, hes down there
Dancing with them Bones,
Along the creekside,
Under the smoke white fog,
Doing it and making it,
Waiting for you.
Umm Hmm, hes waiting,
Shaking with the Goddamn Godofitall,
Waiting for you.

Come on, Come on, Come on,
Yeah, now you see, you see,
That Skull there that
That boy be ashaking
And adancing with,
You see, thats Godskull, umm hmm.

And whats making the shaking
Is buncho lil black seed inside o it.
You see? Come on, Yeah, Yeah, Yeah,
Each of them lil seeds
Is like a whole universe there,
Inside o those seeds
Is whole universes importential,
Like that, something like that,

Each of those seeds
Holds part of the Fire
From Gods Damn Creation.

Make you dream
About dreaming about.
Thats the kind of dream
That wakes you up.
Wakes you right up.


So bode one night, might be last,
Not so sure about time in all this,
It was that I was down
In those Sacred Wood.
Watching him like I like to do,
Watching and listening to that Shaking Skull.

And Yeah, Yeah, Yeah.
I was sitting in a pool of honey
That come rising up out of the root
Of ole elm tree there side me.

Sitting there just holding my bone
As hard as I could,
You best believe it,
Hard as I could.

And well, imagine this boy there:

He got the very Godskull there,
Not just got, but hes shaking it,
Making that beat with jillion worlds.

Imagine that now and him then
And you might can
Understand how it was,
How I felt that sacred scared,
Same time so damn wanting
To get out there,

Dance with him and the Godskull.

But, as usual, you know,
I was just left there with my bones
Being not able to figure it out.

And so Im spelling it out there,
Once again,
Just thinking to step on out there,
Picturing it in my mind,
Over and over.

Then, what you know,
Up comes this sweet lil woman-child,
This girl just come
Right out of the woods.

And he stop doing his dance,
And I aint never seen that,
And just holds out his hand to her.

Just like that, like that,
Like, Come on, Come on, Come on.

And I was just burning there
In that pool of ole honey,
Damn God, just burning.

So she step through the Creek,
Dress soaking up the water,
And she cross over.

Then he take her hand and
Make a sign in it
And she take off all her clothes.

And I aint never seen
Nothing like that.

And I was thinking
I might lose that hold
That I had there on my bone
And I held on harder.

She was such a Sweet, Sweet, Sweet
Piece of Godmeat, you know?
You can imagine her, yeah?
Make her up, yeah?
You can see the Dream working there,
Seeing this naked woman-child
Working up there in your head,

Cant you?

So then, that Crazy Boy say:

What you got?

And she open those soft lips
And she say back like a song:

English Language.

And he say:

All o it?

And she say:


And he say, smiling now:


Drawing the word out of his mouth long and slow.

So then, he takes out his bone,
Thing it was, kith and kin.
He takes that bone and there puts it,
Sinks it deep there
To the middle of her,
Takes and puts and sinks his bone
Into her Sweet Pink Hole.

Bone Hole be that, sir.
Sweet Pink Bone Hole.

Umm Umm Mmm.

And before no time,
Shes a coming and
A coming and acoming
On fire with the Flesh Fire,
Like a flame flaming,
A holy a holing.

Then: blink of an eye:


He took off her skin.
Like a sheet off a bed,
With one gracefilled motion there,


Now, hang on, hold on,
Just hold it now.

I know what you is thinking:
Why Why Why did he take off
That Sweet Lil Things skin?

Well, just dont let it
All go running off.
Let me finish
The telling of the story,
Seeing iffing you cant figures it out
For your own self without me,
You see?

Later on, iffing you needs it,
Someone most likely
Tells you anyways.


So he done took
Her skin straight off like that
As she was a coming like fire.

And the whole time
He didnt at all has
To take his bone out of her hole,
No sirree.

Something to see, I tells you.

Course, she starts screaming
Something fierce and horrible,
I reckon that
I had never heard
No sound like that,

No sir.

Youd think a whole messo pigs
Being tore up one time
And you might get part of it,

Juss part.

She be there and woulda fallen
Hadnt been that
She had that fools bone
Stuck way deep up
Into her like it was.

And that was a mystery there:

How she jerk and dangle, not falling
Not slipping nor sliding off,
How he stand so still,
Holding her skin out away from her
As iffing it was most precious thing
And he sure didnt want
None of her blood
Get splatter all over it.

Now I watched it all,
Eyes wide open,
And had no thoughts
About my own self.

Then, get this:
He turn his head, grin big,
And look straight at me.

He done knowd that I been up here,
Behind this ole elm the entire time,
Knowing that I seen it all,
Knowing that everything
I been doing,
Knowing everytime I held my bone
And shook there in the shadows
Dreaming about him and that Godskull.

And the shame come then
And the shame fill me up.

But then he held the Girlskin high,
Shook it like thunder.

And he shook it at me.
And the shame fall away then.

I stood up and
Come out then of my hiding
And went to him,
Without no fearing.

By now, as you might expect,
That girl is just sorta trembling,
Moaning and mumbling,
Her mind done gone some place
Round the bend with that big pain.
And there werent no language
There for her to think no more.
She was just a Crazy One
Babbling over with the voice
You got when you wants to talk to God.

And so, I cross the creek too,
Walks over the Riverstone
And up to the them two
And look at him
Straight in the eye.

And he whips her skin back


And it turn inside out,
Him holding it out to me,
Me not knowing what.

I look at the girl there
And she be watching me
Those big white eyeballs
Twirling all round.

And she sounds
Like the water tumbling,
And shes dancing there, I see now,
Hanging on to his bone, dancing,
All of her insides
Shining and dripping,
Her sweet bones slipping
Out from underneath,
Dancing as the Crazy Boys
Laughing juice
Run down her red legs like river,
Drip and pool, drool and pip,
Splashing over the laughing
Into the water,
Lil fish running over silver.

Then he hands her skin to me.
I reach out to take hold of it
And when I touch it, I grab into it,
And it sings Sweet Sweet Ecstasy
To my bones.
And I wrap it against me
Like a blanket,
And I fall to my knees and tremble,

Pure Pure Pure Language,
Sings there in my skull
Like my skull be a mountain.

Then I see that he is pointing
To a black feather fallen
On the stone.

He then look down
At the white pooling
Down around where they were doing
The Ole Bone Dance.

And there I get it together.

Hes wanting me to write it down,
To tells the Tale,
Spells out the Words
On the inside of her skin.

So, you know, you know,
You know, I laid her skin out
By that creekside,
And I took up that feather,
Dip it deep and turn it
Through that red threaded pooling.

It took a bit to figure it out,
But I got the hang of it,
Yes sir, most certainly
Figured it out,
That particular way of writing.

This is what I wrote:

Once upon a time, God lived in a little ramshackled shack smack dab in the middle of the Desert.

And, you know, people were always coming to see him and asking him questions bout how to start religions and stop religions and stuff.

And soon enough, they get others do that work for them, priests and preacher going out only, they do all the taking of the prayers, petition and confession and problem for him to answer and to look at.

And then, dont you know, everybody got used to God. And afterwhile, come a time no one go out to sees him no more.

You see, everybody figure everybody else is making the way out there into the Desert, everybody figure that theres more important things to be figuring out in these days.

So no one really seem to know about God dying out there in the Desert. No one seem to see any of them signs and wonders that show God be dead.

At least , no one until the Holy Fool come along and decide to head on out to the Desert for as long as it would take to find Who Knows What. (Which was just the Holy Fool’s way of talking about what wasn’t there where something like God used to be.)

And he had a time of it, surely he did, setting his mind down, losing it and refinding it, chasing the Devil and being chased, shaking lone and long, and making those deals over and over, walking down those deadend trails.

Again and again, the Holy Fool kept to it, Forgetting Who Knows What, forgiving Who Knows What, trying to dream about the Dream. Or Who Knows What Dreaming.

And he didn’t gives up, no siree, the Holy Fool didn’t never gives up.

Lo, One Day…

He come to the Place of All Deadends, and discover there the Old Ramshackled Shack, and you can bet he know, right then and there, exactly what that all was.

There be piles of bones all round it, seem like this be the place where every creature in the whole Desert come home to die.

And there be all manner of broken and busted and rusted machine there, piles of newspapers and books, just all thrown out to dry into dust.

The Holy Fool stepped through it all and came up to that Door that was so much carved over with Sign that it was near cut right through.

He knew he didn’t even has to knock and just go on in and not thinkatall.

Think at all and you gives the Devil and chance to come creeping in between things.

The Door screamed to open.

And the Holy Fool crossed the Threshold, and the Door slam back like thunder, and the Holy Fool be inside the Godshack.

I tell you, that surely musta been something to see: the inside of the Godshack, surely so. But there ain’t no one can tell, can figure or spell that inside out, least not using the letter and word.

It be true mystery.

But I can tells you this: inside the Godshack, the Holy Fool found the Bones of the Forgotten God, dry and white, some being broke part.

And there on the table cut over with scar, like might have been the last place God lay his Sorrowfull head, was…

The Skull of God, Godskull.

The Holy Fool sat down there cross from it, doing some hard thinking about Who Knows What.

After a time, he reach out to it, turn it round and get damn near lost inside those empty eyeball holes.

Figuring that had best get, he takes up the Godskull in his hands and with all his strength, lift it up to his lips and kiss thos cold white teeths.

And, lo, it was that that Ole Holy Fool didn’t spook hisself some there and let the Godskull fall to clatter down upon that table.

Course this make the Holy Fool jumpback and damn neat scat right on out the Door.

But then he saw it there clear: he saw there that a lil Black Seed had tumbled out of the Godskull.

It lay there like pearl of night nestled down into a cutmark in the wood of that table.

Well, he ain’t called the Holy Fool for nothing, so sure enough he pick up that seed and pop it right into his mouth, swallow it down as deep as it would go.

Didn’t come this far to turn back now, be what he done tole hisself there.

Forty day and forty night later, the Holy Fool come through it, might bes a bit more Holy than Fool.

But most certainly having seen that Too Bright Light inside the Eyes of the Byss.

He had done seen through the dreaming into that Goddamn Goddream.

The way he put it: “Ah dun fount a way thru da Mystrees o da Flesh, dreemuns o da Meet, Ill Lushuns o dat Time Slut, down to da Troofs o da Spirut, wakenuns to da Bone, hart cor Reality o da Goddreem, Goddman ah shorly did.”

My my my, he was a Laughing Boy then, dancing round and round, right out of the Godshack, right cross the Desert, singing his Songs of Prophecy, Songs of God and the Devil, the Desert, the Mountain and the Sea, saying again and again his tales about uncovering the Bones of the Dream, bout getting back into the Goddream, of helping others to wakes up, gets inside it there too.

And making such troubles and noisomes all as to wake up that God who be out there Dreaming the Goddamn Goddream of us, yes sir ree.

Amen. Amen. Amen.

And there I come through it
My own self, and that finish up what I had there wrote on
The soft insides
Of that Sweet Girlskin.

Now the whole time
I had been figuring and spelling, Crazy Boy didnt stop doing that Ole Bone Dance,
Not for one instant, nope.
But he was keeping eye over me and Smiling,
knowing I was doing
What there needed to be done.

So I sets down that black feather
And takes up the Girlskin,
Which riseup like a fog,
Those words hanging there on it,
And gives it back to him.

And Crazy Boy takes that Girlskin and POP!
Turns it back right side
On the out again,
Whips it round the Woman-child
And SLAP! puts it back over her
Like it never come off. 

All faster than I can tell it.

And that be truth, yessir.

She then step back off of him,
Stumble, dont fall,
Turn round three times, not fallen, No, till she standing shiver
Smack dab in the river,
Smack dab center.

He call out:

Worth it?

She nod her head.

I think might be she done
Spend all her new words out,
Long as she took to say
Something back. 

She look at me while smiling.
I reckon shes feeling these words
I got down in there moving around Inside of her. 

Then she say, big as day:

Goddamn God!

And she starts laughing
That Soul Laughter.

And in that I could hear every Goddamn Thing in the Goddamn Goddream.

And I tell you truth:
This was shore good thing...


Just ing, not inging.
Just song, no singing.
Just thing, no thinging.
Just be, no Being.

Yes Sir Ree.

That be so.



For all of us, the allegory is an aesthetic error.

- Jorge Luis Borges