Missive the Sixty-Eighth


To Be,
He Be.


DATELINE: Monday, August 27, 2001, at 1212 hours CDT.
Conway, Arkansas, USA


By D. Ebenezer Baldwin Bowles
CornDancer & Company


A time comes to release doubt and surrender the baton of failure to the banshee screamer. Then at last! a time arrives to Be.

Be, Baldwin contends, is the antithesis of Not. The lifetime of Not his lifetime, passed in a bastion of unworthiness the life he supposed he had lived all the way 'till now, instantly becomes The Lie.

Of a sudden in the late summer of a mature year, he Be.

"So cute and self-consciously vague," saith Oksob de Opposite, erect in his vigilance. Oskob cast critical pronouncements from a perch in the Opposite Loft. "Why do I wish you'd just come out and say it?"

Say what, O alternating sage?

That I am shocked by the silence of failure?

That the overcoming of an illusion forestalls the cataract's formation?

That a piece of the system failed? Baldwin whispers, "I don't care." It was merely a plug-in; mere luxury. Its failure meant one less stream of chatter.

That.... That.... That what?

I Be. In the time of mass dissolution, the Age of Dissolution when the fragments of a shattered core dissipate further, when the core drifts toward distant points on each degree of the vortex, Baldwin stands in a chosen place of security and watches the material fragments fade, flicker, and depart his carefully chosen field of vision.

Where they go is one of the million mysteries. That none remain for him to follow is one of the Legion of Pities.

Baldwin meanders. Charmers and vagabonds share the byway. From the besotted drifter an aside is submitted. The drifter plucked the aside from the wet well beside the chalice cabinet. The drifter waits in a hidey-hole beside the roadside ditch, springs up like a jack-in-de-box, stuffs the note into one of the Samaritan's waistcoat pockets: "Beware of the thirteenth fork in the road ahead, weary traveller, the one to the east leading to Pemba. Popo Bawa, Po Po Bah Wah, ghostly sodomite of the Zanzibar Islands, is let loose on his nightly prowl to the beds of sleeping men."

Baldwin smiled the sly smile. He never took the thirteenth fork not once and he was sure to count. He counted every step. His escape from the prison of the sodomites was lasting and assured.

He preferred to honor another aside, delivered by the Hermit, who carried epigrams in his cloak. The epigram for Baldwin emerged like a ghost from the Hermit's lantern. Candlelight flickered through one of the glass panels, engraved with shadows as portals for words, light holes, wavery words projected onto a tautly stretched skullcap, which a messenger had pasted to the Wailing Wall:  First Contact commences today.




WATCH FOR MISSIVE THE SIXTY-NINTH
in your mailbox sometime.
Once I wrote according to an internal deadline.
It worked well enough.
Now I glide in presumptuous luxury,
awaiting communion with a Muse.

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| 2001 by David Ebenezer Baldwin Bowles |
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