oerphans of the storm

by dschapman

when the Creator has nothing else on his mind, and can create no more, how does he idle away his time? does he twiddle his thumbs whilst man runs rampant ringing mission bells and developing atomic power? we have done no harm to that which ought be harmed, but our hands are by no means clean. the left hand is the dirty hand. we use it for nondescript past-times. we hang our laundry out to dry, rub codliver oil on our shoes, and pick the ticks from the backs of our extended family. the old ones have fleas. they need to be de-loused, but none of us know a thing about de-lousing. you make good friends when you’re a leper. of course they’re all called lepers as well. they stick together; more or less.

my method is borrowed from the declaration atop mount olympus; in the morning, our worlds will collide. my heart is soft when it beats within inches of yours but turns to liquid nitrogen when i wake up alone, and i suspect yours might too. the bastards have put cholecalciferol in our milk and iodine in our saltlicks. are we cows for fattening? are we duck with overstuffed livers? does the shepherd protect and command his sheep? the sheep sell their weak and infirm to the wolves and blind the shepherd with a spoon. our mothers swore allegiance with their sons and our fathers with their daughters and the rest of us are caught somewhere uncomfortably in between. we without sons or daughters; we without mothers or fathers. if we be zeros, then the rest make ones, and we are different things entirely. it takes a modern mind for us to even exist. otherwise, we would vanish from perception like a snuffed-out flame. surely, you don’t believe all that talk about misogyny and justice. it’s all pigeonfeed. are you a pigeon? do you peck the knobbled toes of decrepit old women? do you coo for bencheaters and puppeteers? but not before cutting with your beak all the puppet strings, you rascal! i’ve always had my eye on you; my third eye, the all-inclusive eye, which i have borrowed from the Benefactor himself so i can better gauge the reality of human sorrow and infidelity. and what i see is awefull and conclusive.

it is easy to imagine the great works of art you could produce (if only you were as talented as one of the great masters). instead you’re just a poor little baby, with two beautiful baby blue ladykillers set in a handsome visage. was this a mild winter for you? or are you colder than you look? you have slept alone night after night; no one has been with you to hear you cry, hear you shiver, hear you wake up groaning, moaning, calling out in lament for the agonizing completeness of man; no one to feel the icy sweat on your brow and to unclench your fingers from your chest.

-don’t listen to him, mother! he’s jaundiced, he’s delusional; and look at what miserable condition he keeps his shoes!

the boys go on fighting and mother pays no mind. she’s fast asleep in the studebaker with one leg on the dashboard, one on the headrest; a pair of tongues are inbetween. whose tongues could they possible belong to? impossibly long tongues! you wouldn’t believe how deeply in they went. it made her shudder. it made her remember her own troublesome childhood. those long hot nights –

-i’ll tell you once again; the world is on my shoulders. i cannot lend you a hand. i cannot lovingly embrace you. i cannot reach out to wipe the tears from your eyes. if i move even a finger, i’m liable to drop the whole world to the ground.

-what are you talking about, you little timid animal? all you’re carrying is the nuts in your cheeks and a knapsack full of tijuana bibles. you’re nothing but a couple well-spoken parlour tricks; you’re a grifter, so take your soapbox and leave this town. if you were a family man, it’d be different. if you were a married man, we’d give you a second chance. but pack your bags go. and don’t come back. but he’ll be back (and he’ll paint the town red he comes).

i was unusual from the moment i came out of the womb, choking on my own umbilical cord, a deep shade of blue from the neck up, dying before i could even open my eyes – would you believe the state i am in now! i have been breathing for all these years… the breathing hasn’t stopped yet. that is something good. maybe i will keep on breathing ever longer. i will breathe until i have shrunk up and withered in bed and i will wrap an umbilical cord around my neck, turn my face blue, and crawl back into the womb for some rest. some hard earned and deserving rest, in the deep and tranquil quiet, where all your nerves are exposed and all they meet is warmth, eternal providence, and maybe some nicotine if you’re lucky. i kiss my friend on the mouth and wish him farewell. mom and pop will be waiting for him back home. i kiss my lover on the labia and tell her i’ll see her sometime soon. the balls of the pendulum are swaying in, and soon they will knock me far, fay away; and once i have gone the farthest i will ever know, i come back home again. (and all actions have an ______ but opposite re-action)

these are the conscious endeavours of a spirit which is hitherto been kept suppressed; confined to chicago southside studio flats and windy montevidean cemetaries where great artists have laid dead for centuries, and their spirit hardly made a sound, except to those who listened… so listen to the spirit! its blowing loudly through the corridors and building power and is meant to be heard. maybe it will be a spoken-word radio broadcast on the late show tonight, this very night, or a chance comet will fall tomorrow and burn up every book but the one, the one written with a sense of spirit… or the entire structural culture of the 21st century will fall to ruin, but the internet will hold together, and the future of man will have one or two surviving memoirs, surviving notes, and at least they’ll have someplace to start. the trains haven’t run through this station for a hundred years, but tomorrow one will make its ghostly way past. i will be here, and i will be towing the same cross i have towed across the great interstate highways that cut decidedly through our mystic country, and i will be hitching ride south. what’s for me in the north anymore? unless i’m just a tear in a seam; and then i will travel as far as i can to rip the seam from start to finish. once my watch snagged on a seam in reality and all being collapsed in when i checked the time; why can’t it happen again?

but no, my friends; no. not like this. not with these insidious intentions. we are not the ones to bring about ruin. are to be victims, like everyone else. we are to everyone else, and sympathize with them, and die in their helpless arms like children. for better men will come, and they will bring thus the ruin; but they will be wiser men, better men, and they’ll be in control. if it were me, i’d rise up out of the rubble all guns blazing, collecting uranium ore for my own little war. i have a fortress high up in the hills, where we will be safe, living in the mountain, living in a den i’ve hollowed from a gold vein in my younger days, and lounging by an aquifer where a fruit tree grove is always bountifully producing the ripest fruits; pay no attention to the rumbles in the night. it’s only the monsters in the deep. one day they will break through and eat everyone they find. one day, too, the sun will burn out; why wait for hopeless things?

-i have been murdered in my sleep. i woke up with a dagger in my chest. darling, is this your knife? did you murder me in my sleep? how kind of you, yet – how strange! i’m not sure what to do now. did you put this dagger in my chest, darling? did you put this dagger in my chest?

and so on he wails, did you put this dagger in my chest, darling? and there is no one in the room, and no one ever answers, but he wails ever louder into the night. his wails turn to howls and they match the coyotes standing outside eating chickens. he drops his prey and howls back; his eyes are blood-red.