Thursday, April 28, 2011

Haagentis' Mutiny (450,000 BC)

A Short Story

Haagentis’ Mutiny
((The Hidden Ancient World) (450, 0000 to 300,000 BC))

How it might have happened? Part I of II

Rabel was a short, slightly bearded man who’s legs looked as if they had been broken, who worked with this two sons, mining gold on the Nacza plateau, which stretches some fifty miles in the Nacza desert (South of present day Lima, Peru) sometime near the middle of the Pleistocene Epoch, the Old Stone Age period. He had fought with a puma like wildcat, of a large sort, and his wounds never mended properly, he could do little work, and limped painfully about. To the alien force he was known as something of an elder of the group, a tribe, witless but needful as a slave labor leader amongst his kind, of which numbered within his cell group, perhaps near one-hundred and thirty Homo erectus like beings (within this period the Homo sapiens neanderthalensis would be created or born).
Haagentis, being the restless tyrant he was, and captain of the spacecraft, made the sons and daughters of the Rebel tribe work the mineral fields, hills and mines of the region to near the point of exhaustion, likened to racing a horse until it dropped dead.
In the half-dark of the little group of developing humans, work went at a crawl, and Haagentis went about swearing and protesting against delay in work. His planetary mission and his needs were of utmost importance, he claimed, which was for the most part, mining gold. At times he even had his soldiers work alongside the burly looking beings, who created a mimicking quiet protest among the established star gods of the skies; they felt a little belittled for being made to do such work.
Haagentis was fearful of failure, losing his rank, among his kind, or not gaining additional future rank, one or the other, and perchance, both circled his cerebellum, if indeed he had one.
Earth was for the most part, a new mission for his planetary species, he had come from the constellation, Hydra, and near the brightest star, Alphand, some 1700-lightyears away (which is hard to describe such a distance, perhaps if one took the distance between earth and the moon, which is 250,000-miles, that would be but a glass of water, out of the Pacific Ocean in comparison to the distance from Earth to the Alphand Star, and their planet, considering light travels at 186,000 miles per second, and a light-year is equal to near 6-trillion miles, or 5.87) he had used what is called a wormhole from their point of origin to earth, a wormhole being similar to bending or folding time (another example might be, if one is to have a sheet of paper and earth is on the edge of one side of the paper and the Alphand star on the other, it is a distance let’s say of eight inches, folding the paper in half, now you are right next door, or like walking across the street).
“This is our chance,” he yelped, “to save ourselves the scorn of our planet, upon our return home, and deliver to them a year’s supply of energy: if we don’t our planet will suffer because of us.” Although there was perhaps some half-truth to his statement, it was by all means exaggerated.

It came to the point Rabel’s sons and daughters and kin, which made up the majority of the tribe of one-hundred and thirty, were unable to even crawl any longer without resting, and stood up to stretch their weary bones and limbs, as Haagentis stood emotionless by the edge of his large spacecraft, the freight being loaded onto it hourly, throughout the twenty-four hour day—nonstop, and he swore “I feed you beasts, you lazy good for nothing beasts, Work!” He then shouted “Don’t stop the work!” Himself, idling...
He ran back and forth yelling: “You’ll be my ruin, you’ll be my ruin!”
As the Alien soldiers looked at these humanoid creatures, stooped, misshapen figures crawling slowly out of tunnels, and digging on the surface, listening to their grunts, Haagentis driving them like cattle, their hearts were deeply touched, and they wanted to protest but dare not.

In the dim light of one such evening, a particular soldier took note and much interest in the situation, here were slow moving figures of women, crawling, men lifting, long rows of grotesquely misshapen human like beasts, treated like animals for the most part and to the captain they were somewhere around that borderline that distinguishes one from the other. And here they were, driven to hard labor by the likes of god figures, to perform this terrible task that were made for machines and horses, and alike.
An arm went up for the human beasts to rest, it was Haagentis’ arm, and came down three minutes later, again swiftly. Enough of a break, to break the slow rhythms of the human beasts…

The next day this particular soldier, one of the legions finest thought about what he had witnessed, having learned, professionally learned, Genetic Engendering, which was quite advanced on their home planet, he felt, an experiment could take place here, not that it was part of the mission, but it could have devastating effects in the short and long term production of minerals on earth.
At the present this particular soldier felt, Haagentis’ was on a backward road, a stupid and prolonged and insistent repetition was his game, what he felt necessary—no great deeds by him, just some push to get the freight out of the ground, into the spacecraft, into outer space, and on its way back to their home planet, and create a myth of his greatness to the world he was from.
Serr, was the soldier that felt adding one gene, just one gene to the DNA blueprint, within the double helix of the Homo erectus, feeling it would make the difference in advancing this upright humanoid creature to a better understanding of instructions, and awareness, the gene being HAR1. Thus this new creature could take a quantum leap overnight, to becoming what would be coined in future time as, the Neanderthal, undertaking with instructions the actual construction of great monuments, and mining duties, just a little patience would be required.
He had dropped this idea into the computer banks onboard the spacecraft, sending it back to his uncle, ahead of Extraterrestrial Life on Other Planets, at the Planets main University, where his uncle was a professor, and with the planetary counsels permission, the idea became a reality. Serr inferring, in time, earthly methods of cultivation of the soil would change the lifestyles of all such creatures as know known as the Homo erectus.

Haagentis was alarmed at this betrayal of one of his subordinates, but it ended the long exacting hours of slave labor to the point of near deathly exhaustion, and genocide of a race. Although Haagentis’ character didn’t change any, meaning, he swore and threatened as much as ever, but with less intensity, and drive. He never lost any rank, but he never gained any.

No: 802 (4/25/2011)

The Peace Keeper

((The Hidden Ancient World) (300,000 BC to 40,000 BC))

How it might have happened? Part II of II

Those on Serr’ planet, have a life expectancy of 15,000-years. And Serr lived to a ripe old age of 15,019 years, so the annuals of the planet indicate. Under the guidance of his uncle, and the Planetary University, of Greater Science for Extraterrestrial Life on other planets, Serr had come back to Earth a dozen times within his lifetime. And left a legacy for his countrymen, to foster, and in keeping a peace keeping mission, but instead of using the wormhole and coming by ship, he had built the ‘Gate of the Gods’ a solid door within a mountain, of Peru, near Lake Titicaca. (In more modern terms, it is now called a Star Gate, it is a device created by ancient beings where one can travel instantaneous between two planets, and Serr’s uncle had established one, within a stable wormhole. The only way to make it inoperable is to bury it, and thus this one still remains active, to my understanding. There are three left on earth. The technology was already in place when Serr’s uncle had created this devise; it had been created by another race long before, the Alterans, who had built the first one having received his inspiration out of need, when his people had to exodus from their galaxy, like Moses had to exodus out of Egypt.) As I have already indicated it kind of works on the same premise as a wormhole. So it was really old technology renewed, but Serr was the first to have used his uncle’s devise.

Serr had become very famous on his planet, and now his uncle had been dead for some five-hundred years. And what the Planetary Counsel of the Ruling Body of his planet wanted was, a peace keeping force on earth, because several other species of aliens were now coming down to visit—not an invasion, not yet anyhow, but they felt a moral responsibility to do so, plus there were some species who would have liked to have had the planet for themselves, and exterminate all the developing Homo sapiens, and have all the minerals for themselves, while others simply wanted to mine and strip the planet and enslave the inhabitants.
But the question that came up was: “How this could be done without alarming the inhabitants, and not changing the composition of earth’s natural development, with its ever-growing cultures worldwide, it would take careful discrimination.

Serr came up with the answer, or solution, again it would take genetic engineering. But a different kind this time and he needed volunteers. Thus, let me now explain in the best way I can, what he did, and how he did it, which lingers on unnoticed to this very day, although there has been updates in-between.
Upon the death of his uncle, he took his spirit, and found a human shell for his spirit to inhabit (thus he was the first source of the experiment). I am oversimplifying it so let me get into more detail: he somehow found planet volunteers to inhabit the genetic strain, already tracked and selected for use. Finding humans with the least karma (Karma being in its most rudimentary form, and I must reverse this part of it: the lack in creative power, not embracing past and present deeds, a substance of the mind, unseen)(perhaps the best way for me to put it is, they were seeking—trying to find a host for the spirit, a person with low Karma in essence, for the higher one operates in its own field without the intervention of any external, independent ruling agency, thus they needed the reverse as I’ve pointed out, if that makes sense.)
Now, to my understanding, Serr found these individuals, hosts and spirits, now the modification genetically was to attach the two. The egg and the sperm were genetically altered so the appropriate manifestation would occur, then fertilization. At this juncture, the two were assigned to the embryo. Thereafter, a bonding took place between the being and the spirit. They operated at the subconscious level for the most part. The embryo was then transplanted to the host, implanted in the female that is for the gestation process to take place.
And this had worked out quite well, hurtling through time, finding man had made another jump to the Cro-Magnon state over night, pert near, at 40,000 BC. Thus, evolution was altered to accommodate the forth coming, Homo sapiens, which would not be the last stage of development.
What was meant to be an exploration of earth, turned out to be—now in the modern day, a camouflaged peace keeping force, with three-percent of the world’s population being not only mixed with the genetic codes within their DNA of the Neanderthal, but Alien DNA.

No: 804 (4/27/2011)
This is just a SF View, I’m still a Christian

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Two Poems: State of the World & Allen Ginsberg

Two Short Poems

Two Poems for the Goats!

State of the World
((April, 2011) (poetic prose))

President Obama gave the country a big squeeze, between Bush and Hitler, now he’s just watching us bleed. Venezuela’s oil is funding all the thieves in all the South American Capitols…and then some. Haiti is demanding the world pay up what they promised them, for their earthquake; Japan is waiting in line for their bid. Cuba’s rising like the Nile, and Egypt’s looking for Democracy down the road, in all the wrong places I suppose. Libya’s killing people like swatting flies, a civil war, like Pol Pot, back in ’74. Obama is giving Iran the big bomb; Israel’s no longer singing our National Anthem. North Korea’s blackmailing us again, waiting for another handout— let’s give it to them, a Mickey Finn. Everyone’s sinking is sand, and we’re all clapping hands. Russia’s unseated the EU and UN, and calls America “Friend.” China’s trying to squeeze the old buffalo on the American nickel, like squeezing a pickle, waiting for it to bust, but they like us. Afghanistan and Iraq, our twin Vietnam is still going on and on and on, and not one American is in protest, the strongest country in the world has become gutless. I suppose I can go on and on, Peru is picking out a new president, called Cancer and Aids, and all the Peruvians are waving flags. I think there’s something very wrong out there.

No: 2934 (4-28-2011)

Oh Deep Sigh
(Elegy for Allen Ginsberg)

((April, 2011) (poetic prose))

Okay Allen, dead as a doornail spirit, dark as an abyss worm, gray as a city’s furnace, unhappy as dark unleashed by night, over your nasty gravesite—
Your appearance is unnecessary you were quickly replaced— No more 1200-pages books filled with cremated words of disgrace.
Ugly spirit, you touched him with your ugly hands, when he was young, a beautiful kid and body, so pure, it had hope beyond the ugly spirit, what he became.
Impersonal ugly—
You showed the world your muscle, cold and clad, over forty-years, zipping that zipper up and down, up and down like a clown! Listening to moans and groans with your eyes closed, then writing it all out, with a warped pen and mind, to remind us you were once alive.
You would have been better off—and us—had you never been born.

No: 2935 (4/28/2011)

Friday, April 22, 2011

† Pasión de nuestro Señor Jesucristo, según San Juan

† Pasión de nuestro Señor Jesucristo,

según San Juan (18, 1—19, 42)

Apresaron a Jesús y lo ataron

C. En aquel tiempo, Jesús fue con sus discípulos al otro lado del torrente Cedrón, donde había un huerto, y entraron allí él y sus discípulos. Judas, el traidor, conocía también el sitio, porque Jesús se reunía a menudo allí con sus discípulos.
Entonces Judas tomó un batallón de soldados y guardias de los sumos sacerdotes y de los fariseos y entró en el huerto con linternas, antorchas y armas. Jesús, sabiendo todo lo que iba a suceder, se adelantó y les dijo:
“¿A quién buscan?”
C. Le contestaron:
S. “A Jesús, el nazareno”.
C. Les dijo Jesús:
Yo soy”.
C. Estaba también con ellos Judas, el traidor. Al decirles ‘Yo soy’, retrocedieron y cayeron a tierra. Jesús les volvió a preguntar:
“¿A quién buscan?”
C. Ellos dijeron:
S. “A Jesús, el nazareno”.
C. Jesús contestó:
“Les he dicho que soy yo. Si me buscan a mí, dejen que éstos se vayan”.
C. Así se cumplió lo que Jesús había dicho: ‘No he perdido a ninguno de los que me diste’. Entonces Simón Pedro, que llevaba una espada, la sacó e hirió a un criado del sumo sacerdote y le cortó la oreja derecha. Este criado se llamaba Malco. Dijo entonces Jesús a Pedro:
“Mete la espada en la vaina. ¿No voy a beber el cáliz que me ha dado mi Padre?”

Llevaron a Jesús primero ante Anás

C. El batallón, su comandante y los criados de los judíos apresaron a Jesús, lo ataron y lo llevaron primero ante Anás, porque era suegro de Caifás, sumo sacerdote aquel año.
Caifás era el que había dado a los judíos este consejo:
‘Conviene que muera un solo hombre por el pueblo’.
Simón Pedro y otro discípulo iban siguiendo a Jesús. Este discípulo era conocido del sumo sacerdote y entró con Jesús en el palacio del sumo sacerdote, mientras Pedro se quedaba fuera, junto a la puerta. Salió el otro discípulo, el conocido del sumo sacerdote, habló con la portera e hizo entrar a Pedro. La portera dijo entonces a Pedro:
S. “¿No eres tú también uno de los discípulos de ese hombre?”
C. El dijo:
S. “No lo soy”.
C. Los criados y los guardias habían encendido un brasero, porque hacía frío, y se calentaban. También Pedro estaba con ellos de pie, calentándose.
El sumo sacerdote interrogó a Jesús acerca de sus discípulos y de su doctrina. Jesús le contestó:
†. “Yo he hablado abiertamente al mundo y he enseñado continuamente en la sinagoga y en el templo, donde se reúnen todos los judíos, y no he dicho nada a escondidas. ¿Por qué me interrogas a mí? Interroga a los que me han oído, sobre lo que les he hablado. Ellos saben lo que he dicho”.
C. Apenas dijo esto, uno de los guardias le dio una bofetada a Jesús, diciéndole:
S. “¿Así contestas al sumo sacerdote?”
C. Jesús le respondió:
“Si he faltado al hablar, demuestra en qué he faltado; pero si he hablado como se debe, ¿por qué me pegas?”
C. Entonces Anás lo envió atado a Caifás, el sumo sacerdote.

¿No eres tú también uno de sus discípulos? No lo soy
C. Simón Pedro estaba de pie,calentándose, y le dijeron:
S. “¿No eres tú también uno de sus discípulos?”
C. El lo negó diciendo:
S. “No lo soy”.
C. Uno de los criados del sumo sacerdote, pariente de aquel a quien Pedro le había cortado la oreja, le dijo:
S. “¿Qué no te vi yo con él en el huerto?”
C. Pedro volvió a negarlo y enseguida cantó un gallo.

Mi Reino no es de este mundo

C. Llevaron a Jesús de casa de Caifás al pretorio. Era muy de mañana y ellos no entraron en el palacio para no incurrir en impureza y poder así comer la cena de Pascua.
Salió entonces Pilato a donde estaban ellos y les dijo:
S. “¿De qué acusan a este hombre?”
C. Le contestaron:
S. “Si éste no fuera un malhechor, no te lo hubiéramos traído”.
C. Pilato les dijo:
S. “Pues llévenselo y júzguenlo según su ley”.
C. Los judíos le respondieron:
S. “No estamos autorizados para dar muerte a nadie”.
C. Así se cumplió lo que había dicho Jesús, indicando de qué muerte iba a morir.
Entró otra vez Pilato en el pretorio, llamó a Jesús y le dijo:
S. “¿Eres tú el rey de los judíos?”
C. Jesús le contestó:
“¿Eso lo preguntas por tu cuenta o te lo han dicho otros?”
C. Pilato le respondió:
S. “¿Acaso soy yo judío? Tu pueblo y los sumos sacerdotes te han entregado a mí. ¿Qué es lo que has hecho?”
C. Jesús le contestó:
“Mi Reino no es de este mundo. Si mi Reino fuera de este mundo, mis servidores habrían luchado para que no cayera yo en manos de los judíos. Pero mi Reino no es de aquí”.
C. Pilato le dijo:
S. “¿Conque tú eres rey?”
C. Jesús le contestó:
“Tú lo has dicho. Soy rey. Yo nací y vine al mundo para ser testigo de la verdad.
Todo el que es de la verdad,escucha mi voz”.
C. Pilato le dijo:
S. “¿Y qué es la verdad?”
C. Dicho esto, salió otra vez a donde estaban los judíos y les dijo:
S. “No encuentro en él ninguna culpa. Entre ustedes es costumbre que por Pascua ponga en libertad a un preso.¿Quieren que les suelte al rey de
los judíos?”
C. Pero todos ellos gritaron:
S. “¡No, a ése no! ¡A Barrabás!”
C. (El tal Barrabás era un bandido).

¡Viva el rey de los judíos!

C. Entonces Pilato tomó a Jesús y lo mandó azotar. Los soldados trenzaron una corona de espinas, se la pusieron en la cabeza, le echaron encima un manto color púrpura, y acercándose a él, le decían:
S. “¡Viva el rey de los judíos!”,
C. y le daban de bofetadas.
Pilato salió otra vez afuera y les dijo:
S. “Aquí lo traigo para que sepan que no encuentro en él ninguna culpa”.
C. Salió, pues, Jesús, llevando la corona de espinas y el manto color púrpura.
Pilato les dijo:
S. “Aquí está el hombre”.
C. Cuando lo vieron los sumos sacerdotes y sus servidores, gritaron:
S. “¡Crucifícalo, crucifícalo!”
C. Pilato les dijo:
S. “Llévenselo ustedes y crucifíquenlo, porque yo no encuentro culpa en él”.
C. Los judíos le contestaron:
S. “Nosotros tenemos una ley y según esa ley tiene que morir, porque se ha declarado Hijo de Dios”.
C. Cuando Pilato oyó estas palabras, se asustó aún más, y entrando otra vez en el pretorio,dijo a Jesús:
S. “¿De dónde eres tú?”
C. Pero Jesús no le respondió.
Pilato le dijo entonces:
S. “¿A mí no me hablas? ¿No sabes que tengo autoridad para soltarte y autoridad para crucificarte?”
C. Jesús le contestó:
“No tendrías ninguna autoridad sobre mí, si no te la hubieran dado de lo alto. Por eso, el que me ha entregado a ti tiene un pecado mayor”.

¡Fuera, fuera! Crucifícalo

C. Desde ese momento Pilato trataba de soltarlo, pero los judíos gritaban:
S. “¡Si sueltas a ése, no eres amigo del César!; porque todo el que pretende ser rey, es enemigo del César”.
C. Al oír estas palabras, Pilato sacó a Jesús y lo sentó en el tribunal, en el sitio que llaman “el Enlosado” (en hebreo Gábbata).
Era el día de la preparación de la Pascua, hacia el mediodía.
Y dijo Pilato a los judíos:
S. “Aquí tienen a su rey”.
C. Ellos gritaron:
S. “¡Fuera, fuera! ¡Crucifícalo!”
C. Pilato les dijo:
S. “¿A su rey voy a crucificar?”
C. Contestaron los sumos sacerdotes:
S. “No tenemos más rey que el César”.
C. Entonces se lo entregó para que lo crucificaran.

Crucificaron a Jesús y con él a otros dos

C. Tomaron a Jesús y él, cargando con la cruz, se dirigió hacia el sitio llamado “la Calavera” (que en hebreo se dice Gólgota), donde lo crucificaron, y con él a otros dos, uno de cada lado, y en medio Jesús.
Pilato mandó escribir un letrero y ponerlo encima de la cruz; en él estaba escrito: ‘Jesús el nazareno, el rey de los judíos’.
Leyeron el letrero muchos judíos, porque estaba cerca el lugar donde crucificaron a Jesús y estaba escrito en hebreo, latín y griego. Entonces los sumos sacerdotes de los judíos le dijeron a Pilato:
S. “No escribas: ‘El rey de los judíos’, sino: ‘Este ha dicho: Soy rey de los judíos’ ”.
C. Pilato les contestó:
S. “Lo escrito, escrito está”.

Se repartieron mi ropa

C. Cuando crucificaron a Jesús, los soldados cogieron su ropa e hicieron cuatro partes, una para cada soldado, y apartaron la túnica. Era una túnica sin costura, tejida toda de una pieza de arriba a abajo. Por eso se dijeron:
S. “No la rasguemos, sino echemos suertes para ver a quién le toca”.
C. Así se cumplió lo que dice la Escritura: Se repartieron mi ropa y echaron a suerte mi túnica. Y eso hicieron los soldados.

Ahí está tu hijo - Ahí está tu madre

C. Junto a la cruz de Jesús estaban su madre, la hermana de su madre, María la de Cleofás, y María Magdalena. Al ver a su madre y junto a ella al discípulo que tanto quería, Jesús dijo a su madre:
“Mujer, ahí está tu hijo”.
C. Luego dijo al discípulo:
“Ahí está tu madre”.
C. Y desde entonces el discípulo se la llevó a vivir con él.

Todo está cumplido

C. Después de esto, sabiendo Jesús que todo había llegado a su término, para que se cumpliera la Escritura dijo:
“Tengo sed”.
C. Había allí un jarro lleno de vinagre. Los soldados sujetaron una esponja empapada en vinagre a una caña de hisopo y se la acercaron a la boca. Jesús probó el vinagre y dijo:
“Todo está cumplido”,
C. e inclinando la cabeza, entregó el espíritu.

Aquí se arrodillan todos y se hace una breve pausa.

Inmediatamente salió sangre y agua

C. Entonces, los judíos, como era el día de la preparación de la Pascua, para que los cuerpos de los ajusticiados no se quedaran en la cruz el sábado, porque aquel sábado era un día muy solemne, pidieron a Pilato que les quebraran las piernas y los quitaran de la cruz. Fueron los soldados, le quebraron las piernas a uno y luego al otro de los que habían sido crucificados con él. Pero al llegar a Jesús, viendo que ya había muerto, no le quebraron las piernas, sino que uno de los soldados le traspasó el costado con una lanza e inmediatamente salió sangre y agua.
El que vio da testimonio de esto y su testimonio es verdadero y él sabe que dice la verdad, para que también ustedes crean. Esto sucedió para que se cumpliera lo que
dice la Escritura:
No le quebrarán ningún hueso; y en otro lugar la Escritura dice:
Mirarán al que traspasaron.

Vendaron el cuerpo de Jesús y lo perfumaron

Después de esto, José de Arimatea, que era discípulo de Jesús, pero oculto por miedo a los judíos, pidió a Pilato que lo dejara llevarse el cuerpo de Jesús. Y Pilato lo autorizó. El fue entonces y se llevó el cuerpo.
Llegó también Nicodemo, el que había ido a verlo de noche, y trajo unas cien libras de una mezcla de mirra y áloe.
Tomaron el cuerpo de Jesús y lo envolvieron en lienzos con esos aromas, según se acostumbra enterrar entre los judíos. Había un huerto en el sitio donde lo crucificaron, y en el huerto, un sepulcro nuevo, donde nadie había sido enterrado todavía.
Y como para los judíos era el día de la preparación de la Pascua y el sepulcro estaba cerca, allí pusieron a Jesús.

Bible Reading for the Holiday, April 22, 2011

Gospel, Jn 18:1-19:42

1 After he had said all this, Jesus left with his disciples and crossed the Kidron valley where there was a garden into which he went with his disciples.

2 Judas the traitor knew the place also, since Jesus had often met his disciples there,

3 so Judas brought the cohort to this place together with guards sent by the chief priests and the Pharisees, all with lanterns and torches and weapons.

4 Knowing everything that was to happen to him, Jesus came forward and said, 'Who are you looking for?'

5 They answered, 'Jesus the Nazarene.' He said, 'I am he.' Now Judas the traitor was standing among them.

6 When Jesus said to them, 'I am he,' they moved back and fell on the ground.

7 He asked them a second time, 'Who are you looking for?' They said, 'Jesus the Nazarene.'

8 Jesus replied, 'I have told you that I am he. If I am the one you are looking for, let these others go.'

9 This was to fulfil the words he had spoken, 'Not one of those you gave me have I lost.'

10 Simon Peter, who had a sword, drew it and struck the high priest's servant, cutting off his right ear. The servant's name was Malchus.

11 Jesus said to Peter, 'Put your sword back in its scabbard; am I not to drink the cup that the Father has given me?'

12 The cohort and its tribune and the Jewish guards seized Jesus and bound him.

13 They took him first to Annas, because Annas was the father-in-law of Caiaphas, who was high priest that year.

14 It was Caiaphas who had counselled the Jews, 'It is better for one man to die for the people.'

15 Simon Peter, with another disciple, followed Jesus. This disciple, who was known to the high priest, went with Jesus into the high priest's palace,

16 but Peter stayed outside the door. So the other disciple, the one known to the high priest, went out, spoke to the door-keeper and brought Peter in.

17 The girl on duty at the door said to Peter, 'Aren't you another of that man's disciples?' He answered, 'I am not.'

18 Now it was cold, and the servants and guards had lit a charcoal fire and were standing there warming themselves; so Peter stood there too, warming himself with the others.

19 The high priest questioned Jesus about his disciples and his teaching.

20 Jesus answered, 'I have spoken openly for all the world to hear; I have always taught in the synagogue and in the Temple where all the Jews meet together; I have said nothing in secret.

21 Why ask me? Ask my hearers what I taught; they know what I said.'

22 At these words, one of the guards standing by gave Jesus a slap in the face, saying, 'Is that the way you answer the high priest?'

23 Jesus replied, 'If there is some offence in what I said, point it out; but if not, why do you strike me?'

24 Then Annas sent him, bound, to Caiaphas the high priest.

25 As Simon Peter stood there warming himself, someone said to him, 'Aren't you another of his disciples?' He denied it saying, 'I am not.'

26 One of the high priest's servants, a relation of the man whose ear Peter had cut off, said, 'Didn't I see you in the garden with him?'

27 Again Peter denied it; and at once a cock crowed.

28 They then led Jesus from the house of Caiaphas to the Praetorium. It was now morning. They did not go into the Praetorium themselves to avoid becoming defiled and unable to eat the Passover.

29 So Pilate came outside to them and said, 'What charge do you bring against this man?' They replied,

30 'If he were not a criminal, we should not have handed him over to you.'

31 Pilate said, 'Take him yourselves, and try him by your own Law.' The Jews answered, 'We are not allowed to put anyone to death.'

32 This was to fulfil the words Jesus had spoken indicating the way he was going to die.

33 So Pilate went back into the Praetorium and called Jesus to him and asked him, 'Are you the king of the Jews?'

34 Jesus replied, 'Do you ask this of your own accord, or have others said it to you about me?'

35 Pilate answered, 'Am I a Jew? It is your own people and the chief priests who have handed you over to me: what have you done?'

36 Jesus replied, 'Mine is not a kingdom of this world; if my kingdom were of this world, my men would have fought to prevent my being surrendered to the Jews. As it is, my kingdom does not belong here.'

37 Pilate said, 'So, then you are a king?' Jesus answered, 'It is you who say that I am a king. I was born for this, I came into the world for this, to bear witness to the truth; and all who are on the side of truth listen to my voice.'

38 'Truth?' said Pilate. 'What is that?' And so saying he went out again to the Jews and said, 'I find no case against him.

39 But according to a custom of yours I should release one prisoner at the Passover; would you like me, then, to release for you the king of the Jews?'

40 At this they shouted, 'Not this man,' they said, 'but Barabbas.' Barabbas was a bandit.

1 Pilate then had Jesus taken away and scourged;

2 and after this, the soldiers twisted some thorns into a crown and put it on his head and dressed him in a purple robe.

3 They kept coming up to him and saying, 'Hail, king of the Jews!' and slapping him in the face.

4 Pilate came outside again and said to them, 'Look, I am going to bring him out to you to let you see that I find no case against him.'

5 Jesus then came out wearing the crown of thorns and the purple robe. Pilate said, 'Here is the man.'

6 When they saw him, the chief priests and the guards shouted, 'Crucify him! Crucify him!' Pilate said, 'Take him yourselves and crucify him: I find no case against him.'

7 The Jews replied, 'We have a Law, and according to that Lawhe ought to be put to death, because he has claimed to be Son of God.'

8 When Pilate heard them say this his fears increased.

9 Re-entering the Praetorium, he said to Jesus, 'Where do you come from?' But Jesus made no answer.

10 Pilate then said to him, 'Are you refusing to speak to me? Surely you know I have power to release you and I have power to crucify you?'

11 Jesus replied, 'You would have no power over me at all if it had not been given you from above; that is why the man who handed me over to you has the greater guilt.'

12 From that moment Pilate was anxious to set him free, but the Jews shouted, 'If you set him free you are no friend of Caesar's; anyone who makes himself king is defying Caesar.'

13 Hearing these words, Pilate had Jesus brought out, and seated him on the chair of judgement at a place called the Pavement, in Hebrew Gabbatha.

14 It was the Day of Preparation, about the sixth hour. 'Here is your king,' said Pilate to the Jews.

15 But they shouted, 'Away with him, away with him, crucify him.' Pilate said, 'Shall I crucify your king?' The chief priests answered, 'We have no king except Caesar.'

16 So at that Pilate handed him over to them to be crucified. They then took charge of Jesus,

17 and carrying his own cross he went out to the Place of the Skull or, as it is called in Hebrew, Golgotha,

18 where they crucified him with two others, one on either side, Jesus being in the middle.

19 Pilate wrote out a notice and had it fixed to the cross; it ran: 'Jesus the Nazarene, King of the Jews'.

20 This notice was read by many of the Jews, because the place where Jesus was crucified was near the city, and the writing was in Hebrew, Latin and Greek.
21 So the Jewish chief priests said to Pilate, 'You should not write "King of the Jews", but that the man said, "I am King of the Jews". '

22 Pilate answered, 'What I have written, I have written.'

23 When the soldiers had finished crucifying Jesus they took his clothing and divided it into four shares, one for each soldier. His undergarment was seamless, woven in one piece from neck to hem;

24 so they said to one another, 'Instead of tearing it, let's throw dice to decide who is to have it.' In this way the words of scripture were fulfilled: They divide my garments among them and cast lots for my clothes. That is what the soldiers did.

25 Near the cross of Jesus stood his mother and his mother's sister, Mary the wife of Clopas, and Mary of Magdala.

26 Seeing his mother and the disciple whom he loved standing near her, Jesus said to his mother, 'Woman, this is your son.'

27 Then to the disciple he said, 'This is your mother.' And from that hour the disciple took her into his home.
28 After this, Jesus knew that everything had now been completed and, so that the scripture should be completely fulfilled, he said: I am thirsty.

29 A jar full of sour wine stood there; so, putting a sponge soaked in the wine on a hyssop stick, they held it up to his mouth.

30 After Jesus had taken the wine he said, 'It is fulfilled'; and bowing his head he gave up his spirit.
31 It was the Day of Preparation, and to avoid the bodies' remaining on the cross during the Sabbath -- since that Sabbath was a day of special solemnity -- the Jews asked Pilate to have the legs broken and the bodies taken away.

32 Consequently the soldiers came and broke the legs of the first man who had been crucified with him and then of the other.

33 When they came to Jesus, they saw he was already dead, and so instead of breaking his legs

34 one of the soldiers pierced his side with a lance; and immediately there came out blood and water.

35 This is the evidence of one who saw it -- true evidence, and he knows that what he says is true -- and he gives it so that you may believe as well.

36 Because all this happened to fulfil the words of scripture: Not one bone of his will be broken;

37 and again, in another place scripture says: They will look to the one whom they have pierced.

38 After this, Joseph of Arimathaea, who was a disciple of Jesus -- though a secret one because he was afraid of the Jews -- asked Pilate to let him remove the body of Jesus. Pilate gave permission, so they came and took it away.

39 Nicodemus came as well -- the same one who had first come to Jesus at night-time -- and he brought a mixture of myrrh and aloes, weighing about a hundred pounds.

40 They took the body of Jesus and bound it in linen cloths with the spices, following the Jewish burial custom.

At the place where he had been crucified there was a garden, and in this garden a new tomb in which no one had yet been buried.

Since it was the Jewish Day of Preparation and the tomb was nearby, they laid Jesus there.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Great Roof, of Villa Rica (and a Haiku)

The Great Roof, of Villa Rica
(It’s how it was… in the coffee plantation countryside, 2007)

The coffee plantations (or farms) lying close to the township of Villa Rica, raised coffee beans (when red, they looked like berries) which commanded top prices in Lima, and elsewhere throughout Peru, reached by bus or car only, from La Merced, mostly dirt roads. And those folks in town not engaged in the coffee business, were in the trades—carpentry, mechanic, or the restaurant business, house painting or building or the like. The few small grocery stores, bars and one main hotel, were all in walking distance and on the Main Street, which had just been paved with concrete, otherwise it was for eons, a dirt road. A city of ten-thousand or less, nestled within a green and luscious valley, cuddled by the Andes.
On summer mornings men, women and children went to work on the coffee farms. And when the coffee beans ripened, everyone was rushed back to work and the streets of city were once again deserted.
Smaller trucks were loaded with boxes of coffee beans while children and dogs played and laughed nearby, and everyone else picking those coffee beans in the plantation type setting, a few banana trees scattered among the coffee plantation, and a few young men would shake the tree to get a cluster of bananas for the workers, men smoking their afternoon pipes after a meal, or chewing coca leaves, they carried in their pockets, talking about production.
At night folks of the town loitered in the nearby park, up a ways from around the hotel I was in, it had a statue of a giant coffee pot in the park, a city icon that seemed to disturb the new mayor for some odd reason. Children recited poetry for their coming poetry fiesta, and the normal talk among the old folks on: horse racing, politics and religion. It’s how it was in Villa Rica—

Old men with lit pipes, young women with lovers, kids laughing, everyone gossiping along the curbs, all throughout the city sidewalks and especially on Main Street, in Villa Rica. Everyone had put on their white clean shirts, after a long day of crawling over and through the bush like shrubbery, of the coffee plantations, those coffee bushes on the farms, rows of coffee beans looking at you, in tangled masses. The girls put on pressed clean skirts and blouses, walked up and down the sidewalks before the young men. Under the trees lovers embraced.
At the end of the season for coffee bean picking, there was always a mild outburst of marriages to the town. So nicely isolated there was no great national problems that touched closely their lives, they received three newspapers three times a week, amongst the ten-thousand.
The soul and its destiny of each person was spoken out in the open on the streets, as was poetry, or the recent sermon at the church, and the coffee picking for next year, that was all that seemed to occupy the minds of the citizens of this little town.
The town had a character of its own. All the citizens of Villa Rica were like one big family. It was a town with an invisible roof of which everyone lived beneath. Here boys and girls fought and quarreled went to the same schools, formed life long friendships, fell in love, married, became fathers and mothers, grew old, sick and died. That’s how it was in Villa Rica—

No: 799 (4-21-2011)

Haiku on Truth

When you seek out truth
You may find an end in life—
Just a child will do…

No: 2930 (4/17/2011)

Monday, April 18, 2011

Piety Hollow (a poem)

Piety Hollow

((The Old Bent Drunkard) (a poem))

Among the streets, in small framed houses

Stumbled an old bent man, far gone in drink,

In Piety Hollow

And here he lived, slept and wept. His mind

Leaped, back to those far-off days, as he’d

Wandered the streets, of Piety Hollow

Staggering, and begging with no regrets, he

Had left dreams behind him, unmet; lips that

Touched liquor, with no sentiment

Now leering into creepy faces, weary and wet

Restlessly he was dying, in his submerged world

In Piety Hollow

For all that it is worth—he was a fragile soul

Cursed; stumbling along in dingy halls, in rooms

With discolored curtains and windows

…snarling screams, from unknown voices

Passed lighted saloons, not to be remembered,

In Piety Hollow

His legs now weak, and wobbly—with gratitude,

He sought long sleep, in a sea of diluted faces

Hoping to find peace …

“There is much to life,” he thought “in this world.

Too bad, I just couldn’t find it, here

In Piety Hollow”

No: 2929 (4-18/2011)

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Among the Neighborhood (A Vietnam War Vignette, 1968)

Among the Neighborhood

(A Vietnam War Vignette, 1968)

The neighborhood guys and gals used to come into my room and talk and lie, drink and smoke, and well, did just about everything imaginable. It was a garage I rented out from Larry Lund, one summer in the late ‘60s; it was a barn-like room —parallel to Acker Street, on the North End side of the city, St. Paul (Minnesota). There was lots of noise, a trucking outfit across the street, and down the embankment in his backyard out a short way, a railroad ran alongside that edge that shook his garage, and the foundation of his house next to the garage. Often, perhaps too often in that garage our conversations were interrupted by those trains, freight engines jumbling up cars, whistles blowing, screeching iron on iron; freight cars banging against one another; cars racing up and down Acker Street. The garage we sat in, that I lived in for that summer was of a dirt floor, the old frame structure, the foundation somewhat sagged when a heavy freight train came by, the walls shuddered. In the evening a dozen guys and gals showed up with cases of beer, and bottles of wine, brought in from around the neighborhood; some had left the two bars up the block to see what was happening down at the garage. We drank all that beer up, and smoked one cigarette after another, and just talked, and talked. We had our music: Rock and Roll, and Country Western. Our Elvis Presley, and Rick Nelson, and Brenda Lee, and Johnny Cash, and Jack Scott—and our tough guys, but Larry was the toughest, and we had our guitar player, and our chess champion, and of course, our race car drivers, Mouse and Gunner. We were talking one time about being drafted into the Army and going over to the war in South East Asia, killing Vietcong, they called them gooks: What do you feel at the moment of shooting one of those military rifles and killing someone; suppose you get killed yourself? As we talked we sent Big Ace out for beer, or Rick—sometimes we just pulled out a bunch of dollars and said “I’ll buy if you fly!” meaning I’ll pay for it, if someone will go get the next case of beer, and there was always someone available. The girls were habitually silent during most of these talks. Big Ace was the tall fellow who could drink down a bottle of wine in three gulps, he was always willing to go get the booze, but never had a license, so we had to find someone, with a car too. Everyone had left and Jack was left, he had just come back from the War in Vietnam, he was drunk. His face was a little haggard. There was something strange going on inside his mind. When I looked at him sitting in the chair to the far left of me, he stood up, he went and sat on the sofa with me. He began to tell me something: whether it was the truth or not, I do not know. Anyway, he talked. “Everyone was talking about killing or being killed in here a while ago,” he said. “I killed some gooks over there, in Vietnam. I didn’t aim to do it” he said quickly. I didn’t make any kind of expression on my face. I figured if he wanted to tell me about it, about killing some of those Vietcong, well, that was up to him, it was okay with me, I wasn’t as drunk as he, actually I had drank very lightly up to this point. “It was very easy,” he went on to say. “You meet all sorts of Vietnamese folk alongside of roads, walking down dirt roads, in the rice paddies alongside of roads. At one time I had been driving down this road—one I had went down a dozen times before, and a group of Vietnamese tried to stop my truck, Charlie, the VC, he uses them to do this and then wham! They are mostly farmers, desperate at times, you don’t know what to do or believe.” He was taking his time, unsure how I would respond to his story, then he must had taken it for granted I would hear him out and understand. I knew something about him; he and I hung out a lot at one time. I figured by now, he had a good start on the story and was bound to finish it, and he drank down two more beers, as I sat there to listen of course, just waiting. “It was rainy weather that day. I was on my way back after delivering some supplies to a campsite, I was on my way back to my base, and this group of Vietnamese were coming down the muddy road, rice paddies on each side of the road, it was near dusk, they were waving for me to stop…” he now looked at me, smiled a drunken and sickly smile, what he thought was humorous about it I don’t know. He was hesitating, but wanting to get at something. Why he kept fending off telling me, I wanted to know. “I hit the whole bunch of them, farmers or not, with the front of the truck, I ran right over them, they flew everywhichway, gone to pieces, I had to pick their flesh off my bumper when I got back to base,” he said unexpectedly. “I did it because I thought I had to do it,” he said. And now he was looking directly at me, he seemed to be uncomfortable, I turned my eyes away.

No: 796 (4-15/2011)

Friday, April 15, 2011

The Rude Chamber (Voodoo/short strory)

The Rude Chamber (The Voodoo Guardian of Haiti) A short story within the Paranormal/part of the Cadaverous Planets (Whatever Happened to Tfarcevol?) Advance: Tfarcevol the Wise, seen in the pages of the History of Moiromma, known as one of the Cadaverous Planets, had his one-hundredth life, as did most Moirommalit’s, but for some reason, out of the velvet darkness he was cast into where his mind and soul went, he was chosen, and resurrected for the 101st time, but there was a reason for this, as there is for most everything within the universe—to be the Voodoo Guardian of the Citadel in Haiti (this happened in 1986, how long he was the guardian I do not know, perhaps since the time of Napoleon; the story has been handed down to me by a woman named Sam Pound, I shall narrate it in the first person, and do my best to see it his way, Dan Weber’s way, the friend of Sam’s.)

[The Citadel] Its passageway let up to the chapel, I and Sam, my female, assistant, walked slowly through it by candle light, it reflected on the walls, glowed on the floor, the ceiling, made a lovely haunting-ness to the thick stones walls. The Citadel was built in the early 1700s, on top of a hill, 3000-feet high hill, it took 20,000-Haitians to build it, in fear Napoleon would takeover the Island; evidently he had such intentions, but it never happened. Thus, it was built in a hurry and many of the forced labor were killed in the process. Perhaps the citadel can be more thought of as crematory, or sacred ground, than a fortress, but it has been called the 8th wonder of the world. The year was 1986, when I was there with Sam, I was thirty- nine years old then, and she was ten-years younger. Both of us were treasure hunters (looking for collectables of the ancient), part time archeologists you might say. We had found the chapel, it was blocked off, and we had to go under the floor, and through the walls, and up again. A new roof was being put on over the chapel, and most of the work had been done, it was evening, and the workers had gone home. We were unobserved, Sam Pound, was from Minnesota, like me, Dan Weber; I lived on Jackson Street in the city of St. Paul. This was not our first adventure together.

[Midnight] The evening was intensely hot, my body was sweating pitilessly. In another hour we would attempt to locate the treasure we came for. I pulled out a book to read, by Bram Stoker, “Lady Athlyne.” During this time a workman came on watch, a Haitian, checking out this and that, the doors in particular, the ceiling and roof, etcetera. He then left as he arrived, and I started to read afresh, trying to figure out between sentences the secret place were the writings were, the treasure we sought after. (The treasure being the secret scriptures of Moiromma; they were taken to earth by Agaliarept, the henchman of Hell, hidden from everyone because of a three-year war that took place on the Planet, and now guarded by a voodoo priest, also known as the Prophet of Moiromma, or wise man of Moiromma, Tfarcevol.) Not much was known of him, only legends told of some far off planet, and he was resurrected from the dead, to guard the scriptures, ones he had written long before they were taken to earth, written on his Planet. Anyhow, I was hoping most of this was legend, not fact, only the scriptures. Normally, 90% of legends are bull, and 10% fact, so I’ve found out in my worldwide search and travels. I put my book down, got thinking, and strangely enough Sam stood up, looking down, over me: like a cat looking above a mouse; she was still, as I lay on the floor. She was hauntingly looking, which didn’t connect to her breeding or personality. I forgot about the treasure for a minute, lost all interest in it, lost in a contemplation of her despair. I quickly stood up and said horridly “What is the problem with you?” Thinking she saw something, and was paralyzed by it, or shock in seeing it.

[Trembling Spirit] She spoke in a strange low tongue, one I had never known. Her body became contorted, as if there was a spirit form inside of her, too large for her, and her skin was budging like rubber being stretched to its limits. She was trembling, or so it seemed, and in a low rustic voice that was not hers, slowly, the language she was speaking turned into English, almost a gradation, syllables being worked out, the words were forming. Then she said, “If I offended you, pardon me!” then added, “I am not the owner of this body, as you well know, but I am the guardian of this citadel, as you should know, and known as Tfarcevol the Wise, from Moiromma. And you see, if it is the treasure of the scriptures you are after, I cannot allow this, it must—in time—be returned to Moiromma.” Then she raised her hand in protest, “Stop your search, and I will release your woman friend….” I had also read about this legendary planet, and knew should I do as this spirit said, it could not be trusted, and I wanted the scrolls. In all respects, the spirit that filled Sam to the brim, if he was good natured at one time, he was no longer, in a word, he was bad news, but he could not possess two people at once, so I had a chance to escape, or try to deal with it. I paused a moment, my eyes roving about, to see what I could do, Sam’s fingers nervously moving about, trifling perhaps. “Be careful,” the spirit said, I think the scrolls were in the room and I was making him nervous. “Do you not see the importance of you leaving this area and not coming back?” The voice said inside Sam. “Perhaps not,” I said. “For many generations, many have come to find this treasure, only to find misfortune.” The voice alleged. Again I thought the spirit, that called himself …the Wise, was playing games with me. Perhaps the treasure was nearby, and what could an old spirit do in a woman’s body, that was half my size, and I knew karate. “There is not a corner of this chapel or for that matter, the whole Citadel that has not been searched so looking for the scrolls is useless, plus I will not allow it even if you could find them,” exclaimed the spirit. But I felt not all was lost. “Someday someone will find them, you can’t stop everyone!” I stated. “By that time, I will have given them to a Moirommalite to deliver back to the planet, you see there are many of us down here on your earth, I simply cannot leave this fortress to go and find one of my kind at this time, if I could have I would have long ago.” Before I could say another word, he leaped out of Sam, she must had said something to him, he mumbled something anyhow, as if he was talking to himself or Sam in a confusing dialogue, and leaped inside of me, quicker than a leopard. And the only thing I could see was her running out of the chapel door too freedom, as this large, perhaps seven to nine feet tall spirit (for I saw him for a second, during the transfer). Then he went into the cellar, opened up an old coffin, bones inside (I could hear Sam breathing, she must had come back for a moment to see what was taking place, because the spirit said…’shoo’ which I took for: go away), and he lay down, and he told me, “You will die here, and I will wait, and when you do, I will go about my business as normal.” He wasn’t going to leave my body quite yet, and he wasn’t kidding. I tried to negotiate with him, but he wouldn’t have it, he feared me, feared what I first feared, that he was lying; now he assumed I was lying, but I wasn’t, and I guess he wasn’t.

Written: 4-18-2007 (the author was in the Citadel in 1986, and it is a wonder to see) Reedited 4/2011 for publication in 2012

Mother's Room (a short story)

Mother’s Room (Originally, “Already Dead” Part I of IV)

She is over there, over on one of those three shelves, the middle one, no, I mean, down, down on the lower one in the China Cabinet; her insides, just ashes, that’s all that is left of her—a wooden urn, around her bagged ashes, and her, she’s just ashes inside it all, that’s it in a nutshell: “Over there” —I say, talking to myself, the person inside of me, and point, to where over there is “She’s just ashes, in that China cabinet, she’s a ghost, I suppose,” I murmur, whisper. Not sure why, perhaps so my brother don’t think I’m nuts, or going nuts. I sense her presence in this room here, mother used this room as her living and dinning room combined, here on Albemarle Street (in the North End of St. Paul, Minnesota): her room, where now I have the china cabinet, and it’s my room. I can’t be sure she is present not one hundred percent sure, but I can tell exactly where her draw seems to be. Mike, my brother, “...she talked to me yesterday...” I tell him; I can’t remember exactly what she said, or told me, I tell Mike this, but that is a lie, I do remember, I just say that: she told me to travel to places my heart desires, now, right now, before it is too late. I think she was saying: a live dog is better than a dead lion, therefore, if I can do it now, do it. She inferred: ‘Life, is living.’ Perhaps, equally put, “The great adventure is living life.” I thank God, have thanked God; several times have thanked God, that she had a peaceful death. My wife says “She had the most peaceful death I’ve ever seen.” I am so awfully grateful to God, to Jesus for this. “Why doesn’t she go...go straight to heaven...?” my brother asked me. Heaven—! “Heaven,” I say, I’m looking at the urn, wooden urn, with a butterfly on it, carved in wood, and a statue of Christ on it, carved in wood, I got the statue of Jesus when my wife Rosa and I visited Rio de Janeiro a few years ago, it fits perfectly on the edge of the urn. “Why does she want to stay down here?” Mike asks. Her physical life is over I know, and to me, Mike is asking thick questions, I say nothing to him for the moment, nor to myself (it is just a rhetorical question to me). I say, out loud, kind of an impulsive reaction to Mike’s question I didn’t want to remark to, it must be the other person inside of me, “For me, she stayed down here for me….” ((I want to say chew on that, but I don’t)(Mike can be like that, commanding like my mother was, he’s never forgotten he’s the older brother by two years…God forbid, why couldn’t it have been the other way around?))

—I’ve looked for mom in the shadows of the house, when Rosa is asleep: I think I found her residue, her ghost like configuration a few times, her essence, wandering about in the house a few times, I really don’t know for certain; I know God has her, I know that for certain: she loved Jesus; Jesus, she believed in Jesus, but I need her around for awhile longer I’ve told her, and Him— I hope she hears me, or Jesus tells her, so if she hears me all the better, and if she doesn’t Jesus does, He can get the message to her. I know she hears me though, once in awhile, and she’s in the house once in awhile. She wants to go, but if she does, she returns.

Mike stands up, pauses by the urn, sullen, adrift. My voice is thin, it has been since she died, died, died, I hate that word, but it is appointed to each person, like it or not. And so my voice is thin, thoughts appear to me; “I’m Fine” she had told me four days before she died. “Who wants to live like this anyhow, would you?” She told me five days before she died. I heard her say in this room, this very room “I’m fine,” meaning she’s still fine, in her afterlife. “Did you see any angels yet?” I asked my mother before she went into the three day coma and then died in the hospital. “Yes,” she states firmly, without reservation, but looks at me, as if wanting to say something else, but doesn’t. “She had a peaceful death…” Rosa says to me, and I saw it happen, kind of, for thirty-days I saw her dying, visiting her in the hospital shriveling away to nothingness, and then, then death, it was peaceful, I agree it was quiet. She told me: “I’m fine... I’m okay with dying, I’m okay with it.” She was too, but I wasn’t okay with it. I suppose I am now, I told Jesus I was... that it was alright to take her, after thirty-days of seeing her at the hospital, and—well, well she wasn’t getting much better you know. Rosa says she had a peaceful death, and so she did and so I’m alright with it now.

The muscles in my face are sore though: sore from crying, grieving, it’s funny how a face can stretch, get contorted when it grieves, I’m aging twice as fast, no, three times as fast—while in this grieving process. Rosa knows my face is sore, I doubt Mike does. He’s pacing the floor now, looks back at the urn—it’s forenoon, a few days after the wake. We were filling out paper work, lots of paperwork when someone dies in America: insurance, funeral, and the like. I can’t really, not in reality, do things worthwhile, not a damn thing— wish I could, but I can’t, maybe don’t want to, what for...Rosa wants me to see a doctor, Doctor Sullwold, at the Veterans Hospital, depression I think; but I never get depressed, that is, I never did before, I suppose I am...I suppose I’ve lost my ability to function normally, whatever normal is. Today for me normal is to feel sad, maybe that can be translated into depression. Am I supposed to be happy? I heard and read and been quoted to by the clergy: Christians should celebrate when a loved one dies, but hell with that, I don’t, do not want to celebrate, and won’t, can’t, couldn’t if I wanted to, it’s not in me at the moment. The preacher at the Hospital asked me if I wanted to join him at his chapel for a prayer. I told him, “It’s too late, she needed prayer before. She don’t need it now, she’s where she is, one way or the other.” Although I know what he means, Rosa my wife thinks prayers after the fact will help, also. I’m not convinced. That’s a Baptist and a Catholic for you.” I am exhausted now, Mike passes me again, walks to the kitchen, to the bathroom, a bird at the window is watching us, maybe not us, maybe just me....

Notes: There are four parts to this story, “The Room,” changed to “Mother’s Room” is part one, written right after my mother’s death in July, of 2003, originally published with the other three parts, October, 2005, perhaps when all four parts were written out. This part here expresses the moments dealing with the grieving process days after her death: parts II “Mother Calls,” deals with an incident a few months later, a fire that someone started in our garage; part III, deals with “The Urn” her ashes: in and part IV “After Death” is about letting go of the person we are grieving so we can go on with our lives. Besides part one, all other parts written sometime in-between July of 2003 and October 2005. This is the first time the account has been edited with some slight sentence restructuring for clarity sake, along with correcting simple errors of spelling, etc (4/2011). Note two: I grieved for three years with my mother’s death, it is said, and it is very true, all a month for grieving for every year you have been with that person you are grieving. Throughout our lives together, my mother lived with me, or I with her, perhaps some 33-years.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

John Nobel and the Mac Camp Boy (a short story)

John Nobel and the Mac Camp Boy John Nobel [Voyage down the Mississippi, from St. Paul, on down to New Orleans—1925] Part one of two Parts A t a little after seven, John Nobel came downstairs from the upper deck of the riverboat after a brief greeting from one of the other guests; he leaned over the vessel’s railing. A few other folks wondered through the door, once such fellow the porter, called “Dinner is being served!” He had rather expected that, looked about to see who might be listening then added “…cocktails will also be served!” John—for the moment, had put these thoughts back into a corner of his mind for later, figured the lounge would not disappear, turned his attention to some black folks in the distance, near the shore,

“Well, what do yaw make of that Niggers singing and dancing on that woodened raft,” pointing “must had drifted down the Ohio to the Mississippi I bet, must be at least twenty of them on that little raft,” he said with a grimace for an expression on his face, loud enough for whomever might be walking by to stop and look—then squinting his eyes, showing more now of a smirk—or rather what tried to be a smirk, turning out to be a grotesque smile, “By gosh, they know how to have a shindig.” He was a Midwestern boy. There were Negro babies, women, young healthy men, old folks, and a good sample of the breed he thought, on that raft. Obediently, they paid little attention to him, jammed tight together, one bowed his head, as if to say hello, when John Nobel looked closer, staring as if they were some odd looking creatures from down under the surface of the Mississippi River. A little girl was standing up, arms spread out wide, eyes lifted up toward the stars. The nose of the riverboat, bumped into a drifting raft, two other black souls were on it, had been on it, they had jumped off, had been sleeping evidently, woken up in time to jump overboard, it made some noise, and the raft tilted rakishly, as they swam to the other raft already half sinking with the weight of the others. He, John Nobel, continued standing on deck, holding a book, “Windy McPherson’s Son,” by Sherwood Anderson, in his hand—the book had a marker in it, on page thirteen, as the boat got closer to the shores—closer to the point, so close one could see the moss growing along the banks, stacks of sugarcane and cotton and more Negro’s doing laborious shores.

John got thinking of all the books he wanted to read, and had heard were coming out, or just had recently been written: such as, Anderson’s new book: “Black Laughter,” and the new writers such as William Faulkner’s, “Soldiers Pay,” already out, and Hemingway’s ”Torrents of Spring,” along with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s, “The Great Gatsby.” He had read pomes by Juan Parra Del Riego, he liked them, and a new book was out, poems to his wife, and knowing he was ill, if not dead by now, the book would be scarce the very month this year it appeared (1925). He was short of time, no time to read them not all of them, if any, yes, even at forty-seven years old, he could sense life was like a seagull flying out to sea on its last flight, and “Fast it’ll go…” he murmured.

If you would have asked him, he would have said he needed more time, maybe fifteen more years would do, but what would he do with those added years: read, read and read more books? It was a rhetorical question. He was the lone stone, in the valley no one ever hears when it falls and breaks off from a higher peak: cracks and rolls down the hill to the bottom, there it rests; people walk by and pay no attention to it, as if it was there a million years. Yes indeed, he was looking into an endless gulf of water, as far as you could see, or not see, the day now had turned into night as the Mississippi Queen chugged along, going down this endless river—empty except for water, his inner voice telling him what he knew, ‘Time was short, very short.’ He saw a pretty woman walk by, said to himself, ‘She has no form,’ then turned the opposite way, saw another, ‘That one has a nice figure,’ he looked at her mouth as she walked by, passionate vitality in her walk and balance, and the mobility of her mouth gave a constant impression of change, unrest, intense life, what he wanted, what he was now lacking.

He thought about his wife, it was night, of the next day—his wife, no children, Rosalina Ann Lee, she died from childbirth, as did the child, years, and years ago—how many years past, he had forgot (he yawned, but he didn’t move, just stared into the black river). Rosalina was his life, he called to the waters, several times, “Rosalina, Rosalina!” looking at the moon now a tinge slanted, or so it seemed to him, as it faded in and out of drifting gray clouds—mystic shadows, it was full dusk. The Riverboat went down the river string-straight: slowly, slowly tugging along, through: frogs, fireflies, and crickets: he could hear them all yawning, and dogs yelping along the river banks, as the riverboat folks, slept in their rooms turning over those big cow-eyes, deep into dreams of what they’d be doing once they arrived in New Orleans, he saw a few fish jump out of the water alongside the boat, ‘…curiosity even hits God’s dinner food,’ he chattered in the deep dark of the night, only the stars and moon for light, a world of near perfect ecstasy, and quiet. The more he looked the more he knew, the wonderer of life was living, and perhaps a little more appreciated if you know you are dying.

Ever since he was a kid he had a notion to travel down the Mississippi like Mark Twain, right on down to New Orleans, only now he was dying and doing it, and when he thought of it he was quite young. Rosalina Ann Lee was quite young also; Rosalina his wife was the sister to Ella (Mrs. Ella Sillvc: something similar to that, he couldn’t remember the name clear, or pronounce it—it was Russian, everyone pronounced it and wrote it differently). He had noticed one of the Mac Camp boys were on the boat going to the same location he was: perhaps he was nineteen-years old he told himself, perhaps twenty, no older. His family came up from the South, or was it, a few of them went to the south, and the rest stayed there in the Middle West, or as they were starting to call it, the Midwest. They saw one another a few times, both acknowledging the other on the boat, both going about their day-dreaming, as daydreamers often do—in half dazed mode; He, Mr. Nobel at this moment had been thinking about writing the Great American Novel—but he knew now, time would not allow it, had often thought of it though; and Mac Camp, about other things, and possibly reading that Great American novel Nobel would have wished he wrote. Later that night, early morning, the moon went down with an unruly churn under an umbrella of gray and doom like clouds, left a rustling in John’s chest. It was a darkish-blue black night, and the pilot was a bit nervous; so John had noticed, observing him in the pilot’s cabin above him. He knew that the Captain was acquainted with the Mississippi like the back of his hands, but this river could change from one steam boat trip to the next, and there the old coot was, pacing the square cabin as if he was talking to a ghost. “By Godfrey!” he yelped in a whisper, “they ought to put some of these crazy pilots, to rest, before they put the vessel off its course, it is getting to be outrageous to watch him pace, and not pay attention to the river, talking to a ghost, as looks like.”

Out of the deep-dark, came voices, Negro voices, that came in whispers to Nobel: thinking it was that raft of blacks he saw before, singing away, laughing as if not to have a damn care in the world: almost envious, or is it jealousy, the way they lived, free as a bee it seemed. Old man Günter Gunderson from St. Paul, Minnesota, had given him a loan; it was nice of him, he thought, it would come in handy, perhaps never get paid back, but Mr. Gunderson knew that. He kept the $500-dollars hidden for this very thing, this trip. Not in the damn bank, but in his sock, underneath the wooden steps that went down into the basement of his rooming house. No one knew it. He sold him his shack of a house on the levee, a shanty, it wasn’t much, but the old man said he’d use it for someone he was thinking about, who might need it. He knew John had only a limited time to live; cancer was eating him up slowly, like a garbage worm, a maggot, his liver or kidney, the doctors didn’t know but he was excreting blood, peeing it out, and he was weakened from it, evidently his red blood cells were not duplicating themselves for some odd reason. He could have taken the railroad down along the river, faster, but this was more scenic he thought, more mystic, silent. Down to St. Louis, now down to New Orleans.

“Here I am!” John said not to anyone in particular, just said it as the port of New Orleans was in sight (it was impossible to determine whether this question was a question, or a statement: ingenuous or malicious, but he said it cheerfully).

New Orleans

When John arrived at the Port of New Orleans, the place of his boyhood dreams, the place where he never thought he’d get to go to, he got off the boat slowly, and onto land, and walked right over to Jackson Square (Park): he still had over $400 on him. “It’s a curious day,” he slashed suddenly out of his mouth, feeling like a trespasser, but who was bored with life, now this, an enormous thing had happened he had a slice of a dream, and it hit him in the stomach! He looked back at the boat, up the river then to the park, said “One minute I’m on the ship, the next here in the park, will death be like that?” He had hidden in his socks, in his pockets, big pockets, his money now, where he also kept four bottles of homemade brew, strong whiskey he bought on the boat. With his book in his hands, now on page 204, and with the wind blowing through his hair he found a place to sit in the sun, in the park. It was 11:00 a.m., John Nobel had purchased a few sandwiches before he got off the boat, to eat for lunch, and so he sat in the park, looking back at the boat, the Mississippi River, taking a drink of his whiskey, eating his ham and cheese sandwich, and putting down another shot of whisky after each bite; looking at his book and the people in the park. A boy came who pointed out a café, said they served a good lunch in an hour or so there, and left to meet other prospects for the café. “Jack London,” he said out loud, “I would liked to have read more of his stuff,” he liked especially the book, “Before Adam,” it was his favorite of London’s, then he ate his second sandwich, with another shot of whisky. He had fallen to sleep now, for a spell, than woke up again, took a few more shots of whiskey, looked to where the boy had pointed out where the café was, he had to push, push hard, very hard the food down, the sandwich he had started to eat, but couldn’t finish, it outwardly didn’t go down well—it squeezed inside his heart, pained him to push it down farther, he looked at his book, opened it, it was on page #204, his face tired, and sleepy, almost drooping like a dogs, tired-droopy, he took another shot of whisky, the food now sloshed down, saw a young black woman with a baby, called her over, took out the little envelope he had hidden in his sock with the $400-dollars, gave it to her, said “Make me a fine funeral please.” She looked about, didn’t want to take the money, she could see it as the envelope was opened, put he pushed it into her hands, “Please do it!” then she took it, sat down a bench away from him to breast feed her child, she had put the money into her pocket pouch, within her dress. He rested his book on his lap, laid his head back caught some of that fine bright sun seeping through the leafier part of the trees, and never woke up again. The Negress, quickly got up, and slowly walked away, walked towards the steam boat that brought John Nobel to New Orleans, and bought a ticket for St. Louis.

The Mac Camp Boy [1925—New Orleans] Part Two of Two Parts

The young lad, by the name of Mac Camp, had gotten off the boat just like Mr. Nobel had, but he went his own way, slim, milky-white skin from those long winters in Minnesota, blond hair, not tall, nor short, deep blue eyes. He hung around Bourbon Street drinking and doing what pleased him; going into the bars and listening to the Jazz Age come alive, the Fitzgerald age had come alive, so some had called it; walking drunk down side streets giving tips to the street players that rested against the walls of the buildings playing their saxophones and trumpets, trombones, and drums; sleeping here and there, at houses—new friends he’d met in the bars. A few women ended up taking him in for a week or two, taking their share of his money during the encounters: his glance and glare for the hookers fell more than casually on each and everyone he passed, women—became like loose branches from a tree, he had no end in trying to grab them, picking them up, he was like deep crusted ice; often he’d go over to the park, scan it, pick up tramps, so drunk at times his eyes squinted to see them, against the hard dimensionless glare of the moon.

It looked as if after several weeks of this dauntless city life—in the City of Night— wore his welcome out, as often we do when we have no more to offer the recipients, the so called friends—and thus, the doors were being closed to him, one right after the other. He got a few drinks though, from recent acquaintances, but only a few, as he was now down to the last few dollars, something dismal about this lad, just as he knew there was something gorgeous about life, it became dusty, he seemed self destructive, or caught up in the exhilaration of every moment of his day being filled with pleasure, drink and rich foods, becoming restless, and discontent he gave it his all.

Consequently, he was becoming a burden to his friends, those friends he knew for only a few months, friends that had already been settled, in New Orleans—on this note his friendships ended. And he found himself increasingly alone, with no means to eat, drink or able to find shelter. He looked for Mr. Nobel, but could not find him either (unaware he had died, and had to be buried by the city proper); nor was he told by anyone of his death. In consequence he had no place to go, nor knew anyone to help him, that would help him—yet he found a few dimes and nickels to buy a pint of whiskey, begging here and there, going to those old friends, beckoned them and yawned at them and started to respond with bitterness and narrowed eyes, he became to many of them an intolerable spirit.

Walking stiffly past the outskirts of the City, rigid faced with pride, unbecoming. He had been looking for an abandon house, or its equivalent: possibly an open door to an outside basement, potato cellar would also do, so he told himself. His posture and face was in despair, pale and thin, he seemed to have aged over night; it was vanity and stupidity that got him into this mess; yet he kept a jonquil-colored voice to the situation. And like Mr. Nobel, he had nearly four-hundred dollars: I say had. A sum not to laugh at, yet he had nothing left to provide for his survival until he found work, and an apartment. He wanted to be a writer, and so, carried a pencil and pad of paper always writing poetry or something on it. It had come into sight that after a while he forgot the days, the names of the days to the week he was living in a stupor [a trance]; He even forgot the names of foods, but not for the taste.

It was close to 2:00 a.m., and he had just found a barn door open, a little ways outside the city—he had walked long and steady, past an old cemetery that had old tombs made out of cement and brick and seashells of all things, molded into its marble like substance, crushed into its masonry to create mausoleums— ‘…evening in a barn, is better than on a park bench…’ he told himself. He looked hard and steady at the barn, from a distance, he was interested, with encouragement, and no malice intent, with indifference, and no disdain, he took innumerable little stops to the barn, convinced there would be no trouble should the owner see him enter it. The wind must have opened the door, he thought. He could hear horses in there (he breathed deep and slow, feeling with each breath himself diffused, becoming one with the hay and loft, and horses, he was so very tired). The sky was building up to a storm behind him, there in the countryside, where dark was as black as the crows black wings. With no lighting except for the moon, and the house, a house that, was about three hundred feet from the barn, perhaps more…had no light in it either. But you knew someone lived there, it look so. It had curtains in the windows; he could see that from the refractor of light of the moon beaming on them. Then suddenly it started to rain (as expected), not pour, just a medium to heavy rain, a few sparks of lightening, and a roar now and then that accompanies such lightening—called thunder.

(He looked about as with a tremendous effort, as with a tremendous effort to find a place to rest, sleep, “Yes, O yes,” he said, in a whisper, with his suffocating voice, looking up to where the loft was.)

He climbed up the ladder onto and into the loft, it was filled with hay, and laid back, listened to the horses, two of them, letting them know he was there, they moved a bit to see who had entered, the wind woke them, disturbed them more than he did, as did the crackling of the door with old hinges. Then he laid back and fell to a half sleep deep into the hay, covered a portion of his body with it, his mind had lost orderliness, space and time was oblivious to him: except he knew it was raining, for he could hear it—it was a blur, but he knew it, and it was dark, very, very dark, so it had to be night.

The Visitors

It must not had been but thirty-minutes, and the lad was woken up to the singing voices of Negroes, so was his notion, that is what it sounded like, and so he laid back down again to sleep, giving it not much thought— whereupon, he ended up pushing his body up a bit, like a turtle coming out of a shell, most of the hay falling off his legs, his bare shoulders and unbuttoned pants, his shoes off, and his long neck showing. But no sooner had he rested his head back on the hay, no sooner than five-minutes or so, the voices of the Negroes had entered the barn, and now the horses got a little more aroused, unsettled you might say, not all that much, to wake the people in the house up, but then the storm covered that noise pretty good, so everything remained stone-silent under the sounds of the storm. All three of those huge middle-aged, black-bucks were stumbling about, drunker than a mule on local-weed, then one saw something move in the loft. Said the tallest of the three black men, “I done heard a noise up in the loft, Lucas? Whut youall think it is?” “The rat?” said Silas. They all started laughing, voice deliverable. For the young Mac Camp boy, it was loud and clear, matter-of-fact, he pushed himself back a bit to get out of their focus, but he looked even more like a female to the stumbling drunk Negroes, the more he moved, for the more he uncovered himself, he was still half drunk himself, and clumsy at that. His hands now trembling as six-eyes stared up into the loft. He told himself, ‘be quiet,’ but out of fear and terror of being raped or death, he couldn’t help himself. Lucas caught a glimpse of his milky white skin, and didn’t think of how the white folks would treat him should they find out what he was thinking: hang him for raping a white women, he just started climbing up the ladder like a bulldog after a cat, like a cat after a bird—drunk as anyone can be or get: in the heat, and saturated with alcohol, lust seeped out of his pours, like sweat on the back of a horse—to the boy, when he saw the huge Blackman he was but a flea on a bears tail—what man can be talked to or reasoned with—when intoxicated with both alcohol and lust, indomitable, he continued up the ladder with his two huge buck friends behind him.

Said Silas with a burning tongue, “…I ain’ never mess up ‘round white folk kaze da hang ya ef-in dey catch yaw wit’ a white woman…I goin’ to see things I ain’ wantin’ to’ see…she sho look white.” Tad right behind Silas, saying, “Some niggers is mighty fool, dey is one, you Lucas, wes best get on out of her…!” Lucas, likened to a camel in heat didn’t heed a word, saying, “Some women sho’ do a heap of breathen… cuz I hear her cryin’ I hears it….” Silas (knowing now he was going to go along with whatever Lucas did), whispered, “Don’t youall forget me! Oh, Lawd, have mercy on my soul…” Tad, “Yawl bunch of helpless niggers, cuz you git a mind for murder…I knows it.” Lucas, “White folks git my body; ef-in day finds me now, day lynch me anyway.”

Raison d'être

The horses were now standing—curious as to what the commotion was all about, and then all of a sudden, Locus had the young figure, framed within his vision. Long blond hair, covering his ears, and he must had shaved, or couldn’t shave yet, for his face was smooth, no one could tell, for his skin looked as smooth as a woman’s. The boy, near nineteen, had forgotten for a moment on how to reason, he was thinking on how to rationalize his way out of this situation, but his head wouldn’t work, it was blank, as if he fell down some stairs, knocked himself out, he was in a daze looking into big black faces, big eyeballs—white and red, then he suddenly woke up a tinge more, more and more: something grabbed him…poignant, unforgivable, like a turbulence—it was like one of those rare times you are caught in a stupor, wordless, and he was being handled like a bushel of discontent,

“I’m no female,” shouted the boy, “Stop, stop,” but the big Negroes just jumped on him as if he was: He was already laying somewhat on his back trying to pull his pants up, as they had already pulled them halfway off him, and the other two, holding his hands, his legs—successfully, pulled his underclothes to his knees—and turned him over onto his belly, —Lucas, and the other two men, saw he was now just a pretty white boy living like a nigger in a loft, he grabbed him, which infuriated the boy, but what could he do…? “You is a white fox, boy—” said Lucas, “…you is a pretty boy… an’ I jes’ a fool nigger…” said Lucas with a sacrilege tone to his voice, turning the boy completely on his stomach, all peering over this young lad…thus started the sexual taboo; thenceforth was his boyishness broken, completely gone, feminized with fear, brooded fear…! Notes: interlinking Chapters, written for the novelette ‘Look at Me,’ subtitle, Mississippi shanty Town, written, 2003 (the year the author’s mother died): these two linking stories were written: July, August and September of 2005, reedited and revised 11-2008 (book originally called, “Mississippi Levee” Revised 11-2009 (Reedited and slightly revised, ending for John Nobel, 4/2011) The Author had visited New Orleans, in the September of 2000.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Erwin Van Buren's Son (A Real Love Story)

Erwin Van Buren’s Son (A Real Love Story) Sherwood Van Buren the son of Erwin Van Buren a drunk and loafer whom everyone said Sherwood would someday end up being just like—meaning, ending up on skid road, that stigma was branded on young Sherwood like the “A” that was worn by Hester Prynne, in Nathanial Hawthorne’s “The Scarlet Letter” as if imprinted in the flesh, surely in the mind. I say had been, it no longer was—he had become a man of means.

The more he thought of Mary Peters, the more persistently he built so confidently his dream of a life to be spent with her. There he stood by the river looking at the silent moving water. She was fair, that is to say, she was not beautiful, to look at, but one that definitely told him he wanted her for his wife. His dreams were not full of making love to her, having her arms around his body and them kissing each others lips; oh no, instead his nightly dream world, his daydreaming life, with a fulsome heart, simply wanted a life lived with her. He wanted her to walk beside him, down the streets of the city, to show up suddenly at his office door, to sit outside by the water fountain—as he gazed into her eyes—and have her inquiry on his day, his convictions, his hopes and goals and values. And in the evening after dinner he would like her to sit by a hearth, feel the warmth of the fire, waiting for him to join her. Knowing as he sat down by her, by the flickering lights in the fireplace and listening to the crackling sounds of the longs burning, all the charm that surrounded him; until now, until this very moment, was but a depraved way of life to be lived, until this very moment—whereupon began life more fully and completely. To get to this moment, he had stopped excessive drinking, walking the streets, and no longer seeking old company. He knew he loved her, from his hotel room looking out the window he’d look down upon the Mississippi River, watching he boats afar, with their lights, thinking of her. He imagined her in the room, behind him, her hands combing through his hair, all the quiet ways of a woman, yet she had strength, and was smart, perhaps from her good living, this he admired too. He forgot the illuminating moment during which he had decided he would ask her to marry him, but it was a silent moment between them, when he had this predetermined certainty that she belong to him—that she was by definition, a part of him. Oh yes, his mind was flooded with screeching thoughts at that moment, but something in her had taken hold of him, perhaps both being curious of each others curiosity about one another, they seemed to want to be led the way onto the road they both wanted to travel.

And now he had fallen to sleep at the St. Paul Hotel, and Mary Peters, came to visit him in his dreams. It was a nightmare, he saw her suffering face. How could this be, he asked himself, sitting up on his bedside, wiping sweat off his brow! He seemingly had built so self-assuredly, with poise a dream schema for him and her, each and every night, looming as if it was a soap opera. He had found out that very day, she had gone to Europe with her family, and so he kept his mind on his business, not allowing himself to be absorbed in thoughts of her. She did not know of the ardent desire he had for her, but his reasoning was, ‘How could she not know of his feeling for her,” although neither one said a word on the matter to one another. He wrote her several letters, tore them up, and she did likewise. In one letter he wrote, “In all this big whole world, someone once wrote there are only three persons who will match up perfectly for any one person, if indeed you can find that one out of three, to marry, before she gets caught up or entangled into the masses: thus, you are doing great, as for the rest, it’s potluck.” Well, maybe there was some truth to it, or half-truth he thought. In any case, he said “This must be the one.” He had had many an affair, and now he met one of those three, out of billions and billions of people. This miracle of miracles, he told himself would have reawakened anyone to old hidden desires, one he thought he had for another girl long ago while in High School.

He left his hotel office and walked down by the Robert Street Bridge, looking over and down upon the Mississippi River, how calm it looked, this afternoon. Then he walked over to Rice Park watching the children of the city play. “Mr. Van Buren, Sherwood Van Buren!” Yelled a voice across the street, he had been sitting on a bench. The spring breeze and the lightly wet grass, was comforting. He tried to look up to get a better look, and lo and behold, there was an old friend—figurative speaking—familiar face that is, “By gosh,” he said to the person inside of him “that’s Miss Sybil Ramsey,” a most shapely and beautiful girl he had known at High School, whom both attended the University of Minnesota at the same time, and had many a conversation over a sandwich between classes, during those long college days. She was dressed to kill, but then she was always dressed to kill. He tried to pay her no attention, but her insistent calling, made him stand up and wave. And she joined him. It had been five years since they had both graduated, although he had seen her from a distance on a few occasions at the Emporium and Golden Rule shopping with her parents. Her family was in politics, and he himself, now was of a high office position at Swift & Company, out in the stockyards in South St. Paul, the second largest stockyards in the nation next to Chicago. “We might have that talk we never had while at the University,” she said. He had liked her very much at one time; they had been engaged for one whole week, and when they broke up, they had set a date to talk about it, neither one had showed up at the appointed destination; her because she didn’t know where he’d end up in life, and him because he was fearful he could never support her standard, or style of living. She was more likened to a princess with high maintenance, but a kind and noble princess. Matter-of-fact, at times he felt she was far above him, too far above him to ever reach, this kind of thinking was no longer in his subconscious, he had come a long way in life, he had come from the dark side of the city also, she, from the more lit and glamorous side. She smiled at him, as they sat down, her cheeks rosy. “I have been thinking of you,” she commented “I’ve heard good things that you are going places, that you’re an executive with great ideas.” And as much as he wanted to get away from her, he wanted to stay by her: a serious look coming into her eyes. “After all this time, what have we got to say to each other?” said Sherwood, blunter than ever, no longer giving her that air of superiority over him. Sybil watched him steadily. “I have a lot of things to tell you, to say to you,” she announced.

He never did forget Mary Peters, for that few months they seemed to have followed one another like two quails chasing the wind. The certain light he had for her was now a tinge dimmer. But isn’t it so true, 97% of people are married to the wrong people. And men are so attractive to the physical. They married Sybil and Sherwood, and Mary lived a long and lonely life, with an intense waiting look on her face, for Sybil to die, so she could marry Sherwood. She stayed with that idea throughout her life, it had seemed to her she had arrived at some kind of zenith, some end for her, and perhaps a starting point for Sherwood, who’s to say. Had you asked Sherwood, he would have said, “I found two of the three women soul mates, the perfect companions for me on this earth, made for me, and married one, both rich, both smart, both having given me vague shadowy uncertainties at first, and I do have reflective moments of Mary, I cannot brush them away, but what assurance do you have with anybody?” Henceforward, he found some enormous realization out of all of this, and followed a moment of fear perhaps. How little he really knew of her, of Mary—sometimes we put horns on people to justify our next intended move, I can’t say he did that, but I’m pretty sure he felt he didn’t know her way of thought. And as for Sybil, he knew her inside and out, he knew her even in Junior High School, he knew her strong serious little face, her mild curiosity, her vast mind, he did not have to build an instant idea of her, and he knew her, and she knew him.

Years later, Sybil had said to Sherwood one evening sitting by the hearth, feeling the warmth of the heat, looking into the flickering flames, a glass of chilled wine in her hand, she said to Sherwood laying her head on his shoulder, “I had been thinking we might marry someday, I was hoping you’d prove to be a good businessman, you and I, after I read in the society section, that you were courting Miss Mary Peters, I figured you and I, could get things done. And when I read Mary went to Europe for an extended period, I figured she went to think things out, and this would be my last opportunity. I knew you liked making money, and I knew you like me.” Said Sherwood, in response to this statement: “Why should you have been thinking anything of the sort?” “Because I knew you were one of the few men on earth I could marry,” and they both began to laugh, one not knowing why the other one was laughing, perhaps for the same reason. Sherwood faced her. “That’s absurd!” “Before I liked you Sherwood,” she remarked with deep sincerity, “I loved you, now I have both. I did not expect things to workout this way, you know me, but somehow I always knew I’d marry you in the end.” No: 794 (4-12-2011) SA