Archive for March, 2013

Many Mansions

(This a piece that, since its first appearance here several years ago, has never really been able to figure out whether it’s for Christmas, or Easter. So now I generally reprint it in both seasons.)

* * *

In my Father’s house are many mansions.

—John 14:2

A couple years ago, in contemplating Santa and Jesus, the two began to get confused in my mind. Santa Claus, for reasons that have never really been explained, devotes each year to overseeing minute laborers who fashion gifts which he annually delivers, in a single night, to all deserving children the world over. Jesus Christ, for reasons that have been variously explained, roamed for a short time across a relatively minute plot of land, uttering gnomic wisdoms, then was seized and subjected to excruciating suffering, so that all, deserving and undeserving alike, might be gifted with salvation.

When a sprout, I was taught that while Santa’s labors never end—a yearly, year-long grind—Jesus’ was a one-shot gig. Wander around Palestine, ascend the cross, into the tomb, three days later out again, brief appearances before various friends and lovers, then up to heaven for a well-deserved eternal rest.

I no longer believe that. I believe that, as is set forth here, “Jesus Christ suffers from now until the end. On the cross. He goes on suffering. Until the death of the last human being.” That is the mystic meaning of his tale: he suffers with all beings suffering in the exile of existence. And we are called upon to do the same—to grow to empathy, so that thy neighbor truly is thyself, and suffering everywhere, for everyone, may be eased. With this meaning there is no need for the resurrection. All of us are him, doing the same work; our work, his work, never ends.

For those who are wedded to the resurrection, the advances in science and philosophy in my lifetime, in the understanding of the multiple dimensions and multiple worlds about us, too mean that his work never ends. For the planets, it is now known, are innumerable, and so are the dimensional variations of this one. And if salvation is indeed his calling, he will forever be busy as twelve bastards, for there are those who need saving, inhabiting every one.




The good folks at Lapham’s Quarterly notified me this morning, via e-tube, that today, March 31, as we slide from Passover into Easter, marks the anniversary of the 1492 Alhambra Decree, by which criminalsthose howling imbeciles King Ferdinand and Queen Isabella heaved all the Jews out of Spain.

Ferdinand and Isabella, they occupy a special place in the Human Hall Of Shame.

Not only did they throw all the best people out of their country—meanwhile stealing all their money—they also dispatched The Admiral to muck up the New World.

The full Alhambra may be found here. An excerpt:

We, with the counsel and advice of prelates, great noblemen of our kingdoms, and other persons of learning and wisdom of our council, having taken deliberation about this matter, resolve to order the Jews and Jewesses of our kingdoms to depart and never to return or come back to them. And concerning this we command this our charter to be given, by which we order all Jews and Jewesses of whatever they may be, who live, reside, and exist in our kingdoms and lordships, as much those who are natives as those who are not, who by whatever manner or whatever cause have come to live and reside therein, that by the end of the month of July next of the present year, they depart from all of these our realms and lordships, along with their sons and daughters, manservants and maidservants, Jewish familiars, those who are great as Alhambra_Decreewell as the lesser folk, of whatever age they may be. And they shall not dare to return to those places, nor to reside in them, nor to live in any part of them, neither temporarily on the way to somewhere else nor in any other manner, under pain that if they do not perform and comply with this command and should be found in our said kingdom and lordships and should in any manner live in them, they incur the penalty of death and the confiscation of all their possessions by our chamber of finance, incurring these penalties by the act itself, without further trial, sentence, or declaration.

The decree was not formally voided until December 16, 1968.

Hubble Hubba

The latest photographs from the Hubble Space Telescope are in, and it seems the device has at last succeeded in penetrating the veil of Heaven.

Among other images—which shall be offered hear the name of the lordhere, from time to time, exclusively to red readers—the Hubble returned shots of the Big Guy himself, the fellow variously known as Yahweh, Jehovah, Allah, etc.

Many humans have long wondered just what the guy might look like.

Now they know. Feast, here, thine eyes.

I have to say that I myself am not much surprised.

It appears from this image that part of him might need to be Repaired. I am assuming this is a temporary Easter-season thing.

Roll Away The Stone

Not many people know that I am a priest.

So what.

Not many people know more than nothing about me.

And that’s the way I like it.

Nevertheless,our church it is true: I am a priest.

Certified. Certifiable.

And, hereabouts, we call our church this: Kneel Before Mary Holy Mother Of God Blessed Lubricious Wonderment Eternal Wet Waiting Willing Open Golden Flower.

So let it be noted.

So let her be noshed.

I am outing myself, as priest dude, because here, in this 2013 Passover and Easter season, members of our congregation are, more than usual, expressing Despair. As we wander through the wilderness of that time, in this world, when and where there is no god.

Did I mention—speaking of Passover—that I am also a rabbi?

Why, though—the fuck?—should I have to.

Because, as everyone knows, one cannot be a priest, without first being a rabbi.

Musical interlude. While, those unacquainted, strive to process.

Work it, people.

; )


Songs Of Innocence And Experience

“When I listen to him,” Zina said on the second side, “I hear getty image ; )a first boyfriend. Men are like malicious children, but he is like a first boyfriend, the sweet one. Maybe he is a merman, a child of the sea. In a rough sea, on a big boat, I hold on to the rail. Down below, on his small deck, he stands with perfect balance, riding the waves.

“I listen to his innocent voice over and over again. It would be a dream, he says.”

—Martin Cruz Smith, Polar Star

The Only Meaning In All Of Things

“When I was preparing to be whatever it is I’ve become, I was sent to work in a hospital. Comfort the dying. I remember the mortuary there—it was very Victorian. Neo-Renaissance. In the foyer there was an inscription in Latin. ‘Let smiles cease,’ it said, ‘let laughter flee. This is the place where the dead help the living.’”

The older man in the group the bodiesgot to his feet muttering.

“Bummer!” he shouted at Egan. His heavy face grew red with anger; he raised cupped hands to amplify his voice, and screamed. “Bummer!”

“I’ll describe a picture to you,” Egan told his congregation. “I’m sure you’re familiar with it. A group of men are standing over a pile of corpses. They’re smiling and they have guns. Some of them have tied handkerchiefs across their faces but not to give themselves the raffish air of banditti—because of the smell.”

The priest wiped his mouth with his sleeve and took a cautious step forward. “That’s the big picture, children. That’s how it is now. That’s why you see that picture every week in all the magazines. You know—there are variations, the people, and the uniforms come in different colors, but it’s always the same picture.”

Around them the silences and the darkness deepened. Ramon nuts pattered to the ground through a web of leafy branches, making a sound like soft rain.

“Now why,” Egan asked, “are we made to see this picture week after week until it’s imprinted on the backs of our eyes and we have it before us dreaming and waking?”

No one answered him.

“Will these dead help the living?” he asked. “Are we to seek the living among the dead? What does it mean?”

“And yet,” he said, “and yet—where?” He opened his eyes and peered at them across the firelight. “Because you can stare into the faces of the dead—I’ve been doing it for years, I ought to know—and you won’t see anything. Anything more than plain death, I mean. You can look as sharp as you like, you can pray for a sign, for something, for the slightest hint of something . . . more. Not forthcoming.

“You can look into the dead face of the world, try to catch it unawares—no good. You keep looking, you tell yourself you’ve seen something, some little imitation, you know, of something . . . living. The Living. But it’s no good. You won’t. It won’t reveal itself that way.”

He had been standing, swaying, dangerously close to the fire. The heat warned him away.

“I mean—you look outward. To the stars, to the farthest nebulae. Not a sign. Or you look in. Close your eyes and look down from the outside in and what have you got? Blisters. Skin, eh? Flesh, parasites, sour guts and a little concupiscence. Then we’re down among our several intoxications and delusions and we find our minds, the little devils, the soulsthe devious protean things. Anything more? A glimmer?”

Some of them sat with their eyes closed looking in. Others stared at Egan or into the fire.

“Maybe yes,” Egan said. “Maybe, eh? Who knows down in that mess? But maybe there is something. A little shard of light. What is it?

“It’s the why and wherefore,” the priest said, “that little radiant thing. I’ve never seen it, you know, but it has to be there. It’s the life. The Life. There’s all this death and this dying and it’s the only difference. It’s the only difference things make,” he told them.

“There aren’t angels,” Egan said. “There’s none of that. Thrones. Dominions. All that business—it’s rubbish. But there’s life. There’s the Living among the dead. I mean, you can’t ever quite see it, can you? You’d hardly know it was there but it has to be, doesn’t it? It’s only mislaid.”

He was dizzy, his chest felt hollow. He steadied himself against the stone again.

“Because it’s there—everything’s all right.”

He tried to see each of them among the shadows and flickering light.

“You have to try and find it, see?” Egan said. “If you can’t find it you have to believe in it. If you can’t believe in it you have to hope you will. If you can’t hope then all you can do is love the idea of it. Love it at a distance if that’s the best you can do, children. Love it like a secret lover.”

He seemed perplexed by their silence. He walked around the fire into the semicircle they had formed.

“It’s the only meaning in all of things,” he said. “There aren’t any others.”

—Robert Stone, A Flag For Sunrise

Scrotum On The Storm

Kentucky is not without its charms.

For instance, the grass there really is blue. Also, county sheriffs in the state generally do not remain in office long enough to inflict real damage, as they are soon found to be heavily invested in the local methamphetamine trade, and so turtle scrotumare hustled off to reside in their own pokeys.

However, there is a disturbing penchant among the congenitally yeehawed of Kentucky’s residents to slay raccoons and then slap their corpses over roadside fences. Traveling on the back roads of Kentucky is like boarding some bent Disney ride through an open-air abattoir.

This is why I believe that it is right and meet that a raccoon be selected by the state’s Democratic Party to challenge and defeat Turtle Scrotum in the 2014 Congressional elections. The masked nocturnal omnivores require, and deserve, Vengeance.

Turtle Scrotum is the US Senate Minority Leader and the titular head of the Confederate States of America.

He is also the horrific result of a failed Dr. Moreau-like experiment that sought to cross a human with both a turtle and a diseased and swollen scrotum.

The elevation of Barack Obama to the presidency rendered Turtle Scrotum totally insane. For Turtle Scrotum is a relict, an atavist, a being who the new senatortruly believes that the only good black man is one dangling, strange fruit, from a tree.

The people of Kentucky know this, and it is why increasing numbers of them are uncomfortable with the notion of Turtle Scrotum continuing to represent them in the United States Congress. For Kentuckians also recently sent to the Senate Rand Paul, son of Ron “Rugs” Paul, another well-known advocate of black people as roadkill. And the general feeling seems to be that one such person from the state in the Senate, is enough. Turtle Scrotum’s time, then, is up.

This is why winter polls showed Turtle Scrotum leading by but four points one Ashley Judd, who seems to be some sort of singer and actor, but who has never been involved in politics, not even in the movies, and who does not even live in the state.

But Judd is gone now—has decided she don’t wanna—and so the Democrats must alight on an alternative candidate.

I say a raccoon.

Those who would object to running an animal for office overlook two things.

First, nowhere in the Constitution of either the United States or the state of Kentucky may be found any provision that requires an officeholder to qualify as an actual human being.

Second, Turtle Scrotum himself is at least partially of non-human origin, what with the turtle and diseased swollen part non-humanscrotum elements of his genetic makeup.

Turtle Scrotum will not be able to devote the time and effort that he should to his re-election campaign, consumed as he is with hatred of the black man. For Turtle Scrotum is the sadsack who, from the moment the black man entered the White House, devoted every fiber of his being to frustrating the president’s every effort, no matter how benign. Who, upon Obama’s re-election, immediately informed the money-mites of the Wall Street Journal that over the next four years he would again dedicate the entirety of his being to Hating The Black Man. And who, according to an illuminating recent piece in the National Journal, has been, and is, monomaniacally focused on utterly extinguishing the Affordable Care Act. Because Turtle Scrotum, like any good Republican, is dedicated to the proposition that everyone who is not him should suffer and die. Especially if they are black.

When he does turn his attention to his campaign, Turtle Scrotum will be confronted with the fact that his opponent is a raccoon. This will derange his mind. All he will be able to think is: “coon.” This will remind him of the black man in the White House. White foam will appear at the corners of his mouth. It will not be pretty.

He will also be unnerved by the campaign song of his opponent, which I and the raccoons here at the Manor are currently refining. It will be based on the ominous strains of the Doors’ “Riders On The Storm,” and will include such revised and revisited lyrics as:

there’s a killer on the road
his scrotum’s squirming like a toad

A Super PAC that the Manor skunks have formed will flood the Kentucky airwaves with ads that will ask state voters if they really want representing them in Washington a man who brazenly wanders around with a face that consists of a body part that all decent and chaste Kentuckians modestly keep squirreled away beneath layers of clothing.

Turtle Scrotum, he is Over.

When I Worked

March 2013
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