After the storm

Here in the house of sloth, the bungalow of boogaloo, we wait for no man. We watched the lightning and saw the light and it was black. We listened to the thunder and heard the sound and it was silent. We went from window to window, eight windows looking out for ourselves and we saw no one.

The storm has moved on. Everything is slowly stopped. Without leaving the house we have cleared away much of the debris. Face masks have been unmasked. Viri surrounding the house have been picked off with a Henry repeating rifle. Pop-pop-pop. The pandemic is systemic racism, racism is the color of purple haze. We don’t want to hear about it. The six o’clock news has been punched in the mouth. The national news has been shot on sight. Politixxx has been swept under the rug.

The hermitage is empty. Even the ghosts have left. They left without saying a word. We are alone. The cat is on the bed. She contemplates the moment and appears to come to a conclusion. She looks at me. I am in bed. It is going on noon.

”What?” I ask. She answers monosyllabically in her own language. After two years of just the two of us I’m beginning to understand her. I translate her meeck as, “This is it, then.”

“Yep,” I say, “this is it.” Her look says she’s okay with that. She lowers her head and curls up to sleep.

I used to fight tigers, hand to claw combat. I fought demons, hand to pitchfork. I went from job to job and place to place like an itinerant farm worker, Boxcar Billy, four countries, two provinces, nine states, a dozen cities and towns. I’ve been jailed and nailed and loved and loathed. I’ve buried loved ones and love the dead. And now it’s past noon and I’m still in bed.


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Thud! Back to the real world

AS HE LOOKED BACK through some of his old posts he noticed that he had seriously — more like desperately than seriously — entertained the notion of “God” — entertained is an amusing word for someone who was hopelessly depressed, so depressed that he was delusional, looking for ghosts in crawlspaces, imagining voices of the dead in his head, reaching out in the darkness for his dead wife’s hand, a hand that had guided him for nearly a lifetime, reaching out for his son, reaching out for his two brothers — all of the above dead and beyond reach.

He was completely alone, an aged man in solitary confinement. So it was quite understandable that he would seek help from another sphere, realm, dimension, as-yet undiscovered wave-length, whatever the hell you want to call it — this unknown place where secretly dwells the invisible “God” that’s worshipped by more than two billion people in the world.

MEANWHILE IN THE REAL WORLD

He is still in solitary but after a year and a half of confusion and craziness, he is no longer delusional. He has returned to the real world and the first reality is that his wife is dead and his son is dead and his brothers are dead, and the second reality is that he will never see them again, hear their voices, be with them in some magical religious sense or feel their presence in this- or that- or whatever-sphere. 

They are gone. Period. Full stop. In their own minds, or in their “soul” or via electrical energy there is no awareness, perception, spiritual well-being or Godly bliss. There is nothing but oblivion.

And in his mind — what’s left of it — there is the sanity-saving, mind’s-eye album of remembrance. That’s what it’s all about now — memories.


Jog on, jog on, the footpath way,
And merrily hent the stile-a:
A merry heart goes all the day,
Your sad tires in a mile-a.

Shakespeare — The Winter’s Tale (4.3.42-45)


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