Monday, July 14, 2014

The Old Shepherd


The  city of wood and sticks (also called Wicker City), with its shacks and
       huts, and tin roofed  tops; ceilings clumped together, side by side  among along with a few red brick lower level structured buildings seemingly buildings with plywood and bamboo upper levels; the city more of a handyman’s dilemma of perhaps ten-thousand, had a main open street entrance, a dozen thin black folk ran about as the old man passed, called
       the shepherd. Seeing the narrow roads between the dense shacks and buildings—all in a big square perhaps in a plaza like surroundings of four 
       acres. Out of nowhere a man of no great size or built, with long black-kinky hair: who had on a torn black and patched cloaked that might have   
        been at one time a blanket, smiled at the old man, as he hastily walked by, turning into the maze of wobbly looking structures: huts, and shanties,
       of every size and dimension, and crisscrossing dirt path for roads. Thus, the old white man found his way among a huddled of black folk. Thin
       young faces, that appeared, and disappeared as if in a moving cloud; all faces with little to no joy in them; the light of life burnt out of them, eyes  
       blank, and formed so finely, half shut from lack of sleep, and from the wind dust, burnt their brows scorched by the sun, patched on both sides of 
       their faces. No more than, trotting rats, walking barefoot, on their
       heeds, as if not to burn their feet in the sand more than possible.
The rats watched these passersby in little clumps, as if waiting for a
       striking moment, to find the weakest of the lot, weak enough to leap
       upon and gnaw into their thigh, without contest, for a pound of flesh.
No children stood laughing, nor shouting together, did they stand
       separated but together, as to show unity, and in their silent stare you could read their lips, one to another: “Who’s that old white man? Their  
       minds in question.  Down from a wooden fence one jumped, to get a better look: and the calm that had been on the old man’s face, turned into
       estrangement, it was as if he became deaf to all the sounds around him, His eyes like two gibbous moons, and he lifted his head to see it all,
       from end to end, his lips moving, his eyes twitching, his jaw jerky, the children about him, jeering children, at his body movements;
       behind him, old women watching, he drew nervously on before them all, like an old ramrod in spite of his nervousness: like an old an old ox,
       sinking into the sand from step to step. 
One look, long look, was most that all gave the old man, never looking
       back, as if it was too much effort, nor to the edge closer to see him further advancing. There was no interest in the old man.  


This was their world, the old
man knew, and no man was its measure, and
       no man’s mind could telescope such a scene, now entering a particle, a subdivision of this local, like a freak circus fenced into to this Wicker City
       of sorts, as if on the shores of a small continent, within a galaxy: innumerable pens were about, and an onslaught of freaky humanity in
       them. It brought the world to focus in the old man’s feeling brain.
In clear nerves, in an infectious splendor of ugliness, he witnessed the
       bleak, the somnambulism of nature…everyone in the pigpens were in a half dead sleep. Seeing what he was seeing he could have screamed in pain. 
       The killer of disgraceful pleasures, whomever, had put these human beings into pigsties, chained them to posts, put earing in their noses and
       ears, and there was two men, so it looked like men grown together, and a third leaned his body halfway on them, as if three heads were connected, like the hounds of
      hell. Flees and flies, circulating their scabby bodies, teeth yellow, and black with gaps. Per near naked, lying still against the sting heat of the
       day. How did they hang onto life? Asked the old man, to his second mind, as he walked from pen to pen? Suddenly his mind became incapable
       of clear focus on this striking circus of humanity, yet his mind wildly active, like a snake trying to dodge a fire. A man’s chin rested upon his fist,
       in one of the stalls; the old man’s kidneys became weak, his adrenal glands floating: passions pouring out of him in violent secretions, yet he
       knew this unbearable scent, grave as it was, there was a law of vengeance, and he was here to observe, not to strike out, or  to try and
       cure the dementia in each and every stall, or pen. He was there for a purpose but, it was not this. All those faces in all those coops, and cages,  
       and pen, looked timidly at him, imprisonment for life, so it appeared. He even thought of himself as the penitentiary doctor, and he was being told   
       of all this madness. And all those souls in these pens, as if kidnapped,
       in a state of paralysis, and yet no complaining. As if they understood. Frightful suffering.
The old man noticed most everyone’s skulls were so sucking inward-thin,
       bones sticking out, so light and reedy, you could put each one of them into one palm.  Their skin stretched on their faces like leather. And then he found the entrance out.


The prostitute that walked now
beside him, greasy brown to black skin, a bundle of hair tied tightly down
       on her head, some in cords, looked like wool, and young whores and children running by, snatched a look at him, none offered a threat, then he
       saw several young women with their bodies glazed-dark from the sun that seeped into the tent’s environment, greased with a white kind of
       lubricant. The tent like structure was—he supposed—one of many among the thousands of wooden structures in the city, made of a brown to
       rosy-barked wicker-wood, possible a stick wood, with planks, boards,
       timber patches going every-which-way.
The whole place stunk with a sickness, and foulness, that even now laid in
       the old man’s close, sinking deep into his nostrils.
       “Oh please, Oh please,” a meek young woman cried to the old man, as if she was one of his ewes.  She was no more than eighteen year old girl,
       shrilled, “Cure my body, make me healthy again,” she had bumps all over her chest, and arms and face and legs, white and red pimples, and dying eyes.
       “You let the old man alone,” said another woman nearby. But the brown skinned Negress stepped forward and started to cry; “Not so close” said another women to the young negress,  
       she was nearly into the face of the old man, then out of some compulsive act—followed so quietly and quickly, a gentle cry—

“You can cure me, I know you
can,” and she put both her hands on the old man’s chest. The old man answered, “I cannot heal you, but Christ, can!”  “You can,” she said, and the
       old man repeated, “It’s a small road, you will have to believe that Christ can and will heal you, if not through me, through his Mother Mary, and then
       through me, but it will come from Him, do you believe?”
It was a shallow moment, then the women said “Yes, I believe it can be that
       way, I believe,” it was to the old man like one stone to another stone,  but she felt safe in using the old man, and hearing a female’s name, Mary
       for a vessel to Christ, so he 
       said under his breath, “If it be your will Lord, please heal her,” and she was healed, right then and there; it was a marvel, her body smooth as silk, her flesh restored to a healthy look.  And all those who saw stepped closer as
       if they were animals sniffing.  And then another woman ran up to the old man, said “I want to be heal too,” but she could not believe, and the old
       man told her, “If you go into the pastures, where sick sheep have walked, healthy cows will not pass; thus, how can you be healed .”
       “But you can still walk into the pasture, can you not?” was her answered.
The friendly old man went out of the wicker wooden tent, “good-bye” he said to the women. And the whores among the flock went about their
       business, as if he never was, and the one who got healed, was nowhere to be found.


The old Shepard, laughed, he was glad, he had
undid the bundle of sickness, most likely Satan or her imps had
plagued the young woman with. He had shared his Lord with one sheep;
       with one of the Lord’s sheep that is.
Perhaps even pushed down the iron fences Satan’s henchmen had built 
       over the centuries, now the folks of the wicker city, were curious.

A man ran by, he had a torch in his hands, with flickering white and red
       flames, it gave off a rosy-color, bathed in the hot blue sky, and he
       threw it at one of the largest giant wood constructions, and it went ablaze,
And the strangely tall structure intensely went dark on a layer of gray
       colored smoke, into the high tender blue, turned amber, then ebony
       black, thick-branched columns fell in flames.
Fed on a moment, two other buildings caught on fire, and the old man now
       could hear hooved cries, and crisp wood burning, people beating the flames.  On the brink of a nearby stream, people brought buckets of water,
       to fight the fire.  While others lay down together in the glade, watching the fire while others sat combing one another’s hair; gap-toothed, laughing at the catastrophe. Then as evening came, the
       thick black strands and fire that hissed from the inside of the wood, fell  to a glimmer with twilight, yet all still felt the warmth of the heat, and
       their bodies moaned and itched as if they were heavy with fungus and flees.

Note: Why the dream?  Perhaps it is a message: if all we do in our life time is save one soul, and our own, then it was worth the voyage to earth.
No: 4465 (7-12-2014)

From a Dream