I wanted to be alone for this night, so after dinner I wandered out, plan­ning to hitch a ride with a passing art car. Parked out­side and waiting to go was the silver Sphinx. Serendip­itous. So I climbed aboard and met Mato, the beau­tiful man organ­ising things. He was one of the most beau­tiful beings I’ve encountered. Long hair in dreds, threaded with rib­bons, liquid eyes, a black leather cincher, a skirt made of brightly colored rags caressing his boots. 

In the middle of the roof was a wooden harp and a woman seated in front of it. 

I moved to the front of the Sphinx and we started to move across the playa towards the Temple. As we got there, the music was turned off, and we stood and watched it burn brightly. A cowled man behind me with dark eye­liner spoke of his friend who’d killed him­self. The Temple was entirely sur­rounded by people. As we waited and watched it burn, someone started a wave of noise that went around the circle like a Mex­ican wave, infec­tious. It went around six times.

I started crying, for Grandpa, for other reasons, for a teen­hood that I could have had. Hands touched my shoulders. 

Behind me, a voice said “To for­give is to be free.”

To for­give is to be free.”

To for­give is to be free.”

On the third sen­tence, the Temple fell. 

Third time’s the charm,” I said.

That’s why they call me 3D,” said the cowled man.

We were asked to clear the decks so the band could play. It turned out that the beau­tiful man was the lead singer of a Las Vegas group called Kin­etic Ori­gins of Rhythm. He chanted the names of god in twenty lan­guages. He sang of us all being mes­siahs and spoke of love. He chan­nelled primal ener­gies and stamped ancient rhythms for the harp to play against, eerie sounds dis­torted through the mixer.

He made eye con­tact with me and mouthed some­thing I didn’t quite catch. He was the incarn­a­tion of mas­culinity and magic. I tried to tell someone this later and they asked me what I was on. When I told them I was “on” the power of the music and nothing else, I don’t think they believed me. It was true, though.

After­wards, I spoke with him and hugged him and told him, from one mes­siah to another, that he had an incred­ibly powerful gift. A woman from Ecuador wearing an amazing feathered head­dress came up to us. She had in her hands a carved Phoenix, blackened on one side. I’d heard a rumour that part of the first Man had been put inside the second. It had been shaped as a Phoenix and its single eye was green bottle glass. On its back were the sig­na­tures of all the people who’d built the second man. It said, “You thought we had a second Man in a box. We didn’t. You are all the second man.”

Appar­ently, it was in the Man’s head and his head didn’t burn. She saw it fall and went to pick it up from where it fell. The Phoenix is arisen once again!

The Sphinx went back to the Vil­lage and I said my farewells.

[EDIT: The story of the making of the Phoenix. The eye is melted neon from the first Man.]