Missive the Fifty-Fifth
Who Wears Stars?
DATELINE: Saturday, February 3, 2001, at 0045 hours CDT.
Conway, Arkansas, USA
By D. Ebenezer Baldwin Bowles
CornDancer & Company
I cannot decide if I choose this moment, if I am driven to it, or if the moment chooses me. One way or another, I am here.
How many points has your star? Would you, if They so commanded, sew your star on a breast pocket or collar as a symbol of your degeneracy in the eyes of the State?
Inclined to self-pity, I refuse. I wear only stars of my choosing. They flow through the River of Time or from the reservoir of the well-armed Ghetto.
When we build the Temple, I will instruct the architects to align the lintel of the front doorways to the zenith's glow of certain choice stars — Mira the Wonderful, Rigel the blue-white foot of Orion, and Achernar at the End of the River — knowing full well my folly.
Let's Swim in the Full River of Stars.
Who among us can stop the distant celestial bodies in their tracks? In twenty-six thousand years I've not learned better; have you? When I belatedly realized that red Betelgeuse no longer arose o'er the crown of the sarcen, I was startled. I forgot about the rotating axis, the itchy shoulders of Atlas. Time unraveled the plan. Yet I make the attempt, again and again, because I'm too oft seduced by the splendour of the full river of stars. Can you imagine how wondrous it would be to swim there?
Do you think North leads to the top of the world? I think the portal of the Temple should face that way, top or naught. It would ensure the spiritual impregnation of the flock.
On the other side of every boundary is a greener grass. Next door, in every neighborhood are abodes of agony, of greater agony, of any agony at all. I see drunken men, stumbling on porch steps; children huddled inside and swaddled in fear. Are we powerless to help them? Is mother?
Such Horrid Things
As Misaligned Stars and Agonized Humanity.
For nine days and nights until the noon, I managed to avoid leaving the hermitage so that I might not witness such horrid things as misaligned stars and agonized humanity. Number One Son, becoming man, heard about my isolation and said, "Talk about a social life!" My protest rang hollow, tinny — but I am not the hollow man. My melody is rich enough and sonorous.
The eyes are not here
There are no eyes here
In this valley of dying stars
In this hollow valley
This broken jaw of our lost kingdoms
— Saint Thomas of Saint Louis, 1925
Do you actually think you have a purpose, a destiny?
Why not become a flea slayer. Your services could be in demand before the equinox. The epidemiologists urged us today to fear the flea and prepare our household defenses for a population explosion of the bloodsuckers. Government Oracles predict an outbreak come spring. On behalf of all barking dogs, I rebuke them. (The cats can take care of themselves.)
Agony Is Limited,
Proportionate, Susceptible to a Lifting.
I walk in the physical world as a healing spirit, but the children of the successful man refused to be healed when I walked among them. They were addicted beyond repair to their avarice, envy, sloth, and anger. Shadows fell, shadows fall upon them. "Life is very long," Saint Thomas wrote.
I walk in the physical world as a healing spirit, aware of the agony of the human condition. I know that agony is limited, time sensitive, proportionate, and susceptible to a lifting. The patients are everywhere.
"Physician, heal thyself," saith Oksob de Opposite, sternly.
I met a man on the sidewalk outside the post office today. (You meet the strangest folk there in the twilight of the public square.) Tall and willowy, the man held a brazen cup in his left hand. "I'm accepting contributions to help build the Embassy for Extraterrestrials," he said. "We're going to build it in a pleasant country with a mild climate, with seven rooms always ready to receive guests, each with a separate bathroom." He peered directly into my pale blue eyes. "Will you fill my cup?"
I deposited the Seven of Pentacles in his brazen cup and wished him well.
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