When I was a boy my mother brought me a gift. It was not a “normal” gift like a ball or bat or glove, you see, I was not a normal boy. It was a copy of the Rubaiyat.
“Think, in this battered Caravanserai
Whose portals are alternate night and day,
How Sultan after Sultan with his pomp
Abode his destined hour, and went his way.”
In this epicurean fantasy, Omar considers our place on the earth, and in time, and eloquently lays down an accurate and considered philosophy of life.
“Ah, make the most of what we yet may spend,
Before we too into the Dust descend;
Dust into Dust, and under Dust to lie
Sans Wine, sans Song, sans Singer, and–sans End! “
And I, as a youth, considered my time laid out before me as a fuse burning brightly in the night – I can see the flash of now, but through the glare the future escapes me and all I have is the charred remains of the past to assume what one day may be.
“Yet Ah, that Spring should vanish with the Rose!
That Youth’s sweet-scented manuscript should close!
The Nightingale that in the branches sang,
Ah, whence, and whither flown again, who knows! “
..and the spring did vanish, like the rose, and I learned, and I studied, and I lived, until life gave me a respite and I found the time to look around and to assess my place.
Oh, threats of Hell and Hopes of Paradise!
One thing at least is certain–This Life flies;
One thing is certain and the rest is Lies;
The Flower that once has blown for ever dies.
I found that my reward was not in the flash of the present, nor the charred remains of the past. It lay out there in the future beyond the vail, perhaps. I could have been disappointed by this. I was not. You see, we all must play the game, plan or hold, the fuse burns on…
“The Moving Finger writes; and, having writ,
Moves on: nor all your Piety nor Wit
Shall lure it back to cancel half a Line,
Nor all your Tears wash out a Word of it.”
The uncertainty of life, the uncertainty of death, the uncertainty of the hereafter – it matters not.
“Alike for those who for To-day prepare,
And those that after some To-morrow stare,
A Muezzin from the Tower of Darkness cries
“Fools! your Reward is neither Here nor There.”
We have life. With it comes the promise of death. This is the only absolute. We may pray, or worry, we may pontificate, we may complain, but the fuse burns on. What remains after we are no longer, perhaps it is that, which matters the most. Each life changes the world, some greatly, some little, but each breath is a part of the wind. We all must find our place to make our mark, for this is as close as we shall ever get to immortality.
Words matter greatly. They change life. They change the course of history.
My mother is a poet. She is a psychologist and that is what she would answer if asked, but truly, in her soul, she is an artist. She explains life in prose. All of her children are writers, too. My sister wrote a wonderful book. My brother has drafted words to explain the intricacies of the systems of aircraft and electronics. I have hammered out technical discussion on methods and means of construction.
When I was a small boy, above my crib, my brother and my bunk beds, and now over my desk, hangs a poem. It is not one of mothers great poems, it is a very simple poem written by Rudyard Kipling. Wikipedia describes it thus:
It is stoic in its nature. It compels one to strength of character and self reliance. It is a worthy piece of literature for a young man to refer to as age takes a grip on him. I have read it many times through life and have looked up at it in times of trouble. The simple words of this piece contain all of the strength that is necessary for a man to excel in political endeavors, in business, and in life.
If you can keep your head when all about you
Are losing theirs and blaming it on you,
If you can trust yourself when all men doubt you,
But make allowance for their doubting too;
If you can wait and not be tired by waiting,
Or being lied about, don’t deal in lies,
Or being hated, don’t give way to hating,
And yet don’t look too good, nor talk too wise:
If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;
If you can bear to hear the truth you’ve spoken
Twisted by knaves to make a trap for fools,
Or watch the things you gave your life to, broken,
And stoop and build ’em up with worn-out tools:
If you can make one heap of all your winnings
And risk it on one turn of pitch-and-toss,
And lose, and start again at your beginnings
And never breathe a word about your loss;
If you can force your heart and nerve and sinew
To serve your turn long after they are gone,
And so hold on when there is nothing in you
Except the Will which says to them: “Hold on!”
If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with Kings—nor lose the common touch,
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you,
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it,
And—which is more—you’ll be a Man, my son.
If you are moved by these words, clip this out and hang it on the wall above your desk and, in trying times, read it.
I have a particular friend who is a brilliant engineer. He was raised by missionary parents in India. He is a theologian with a deep understanding of most religions. His time in India influenced him to a Jainism-like Christianity. He enjoyed the discussions of the evolution of one self, through self-reflection progressing toward selfless perfection of the “soul”. He seemed, to me, as one who would soon reach enlightenment. He surely was on his last life, perhaps a demi-God, soon to be in Siddhasila, the abode of liberated beings.
We used to talk for hours. I learned from his quiet adssuredness. He never judged another. To him, all was interesting, nothing was beyond our discussion. He listened and he offered. He never criticized. He commanded my attention through his considered statements and his quiet listening.
God, whatever you perceive him (her) to be, must be kind. The “fear of God”, itself seems unreasonable. If one believes that there is a God and one believes that he is all-knowing, then would kindness not be certain for such a creature? Have you ever truly “known” another who you did not love? Is not the understanding of another the only requirement to love that person?
Those who “obey” the laws of men, purposed as the command of God, himself, must be awfully uncomfortable. If one feels that he is balancing on a pin head, one “improper” thought or utterance certainly casting him into the depths of hell for eternity! That is a terrible thing.
Can man conceive of such a heartless and unkind
creature? If he does, how could he follow such
teachings? Does Mohammad send men to be
martyrs or are men just distorting beautiful
thoughts to serve their evil intent?
God, if he exists, must be a great guy. I, personally do not picture him sitting on a golden throne. I picture him fishing. You see, I have figured this thing out. “Our father, with Art, in Heaven, Harold be thy name” You must surely see by now! It is two old men, Art and Harold.
Harold is the big cheese, Art is his sidekick. Harold deals with the intricacies of the world, Art handles your prayers for your grandson’s soccer match. When the little tyke loses, Art was probably fishing. It is ok when they are fishing. We are mortals, and all of this bellyaching and crying must be awful when they are trying to catch a nap. Al might say “Gee, Harold, don’t they understand they are all going to die soon anyway?”
Christian, Muslim, Buddhist, whatever! Just be good, be kind, be considerate of others and God, be he Poseidon or Mohamed, whatever one might call him, if he does exist, he will understand. If he doesn’t – well we’ll be dead – so at least we will have been kind to each other while we lived and that is a very good thing.
I am a writer. I have always been and, God willing, I shall always be. I write about engineering, construction, physics, and politics, but my truest self is a poet. It has always been thus. My first poem was published when I was eleven. This writing is a fantasy. A poetic account of the sea, alone in the dead of night:
Some think that it is the mind’s reaction to the lack of stimulus, some think it is the result of pent up fear, or lack of sleep. I have seen the ghosts and heard the voices of the angels or the devils that live out on the ocean on a moonless night.
Since men first harnessed the wind, there have always been the stories of the strange happenings on the midnight watch. It is the late watch, the Devil’s watch. It begins at the stroke of midnight and continues to 0400. There is no waning of daylight. There is no promise of a coming day. As the great sun hides on the other side of the earth, the tiny boats sail on the endless sea devoid of light and all of the noise of life and community. There, on that indigo ink sea are the few watchmen and sailors steering to a dimly lit compass or a distant star where most men will never be – could never understand.
On the lonely sea tonight, on the far side of the world a lonely sailor speaks softly to the night and he is answered. Some think it is a breach of the universe. Perhaps without stimulus of other kinds our minds find a place where they cannot go in the light of day – perhaps a lost sense is rekindled in the depth of night. Many of us who choose to sail the open ocean alone in the night have seen it, or felt it, imagined, perhaps these things.
I am no fool, but I, have smelled the breath of the dragon and heard the far off song of the sirens, or the voice from the bridge of a ghost ship in the dead of night.
We share a pact, those who have shared the ghosts of the midnight watch, but with the day, the memories fade behind that curtain where dreams go to melt from our memories. It bonds us with the sailors who have passed this way so long ago. Perhaps it is their soul that we hear laughing on the ink-dark waters of the night.
Now and then, though, fueled by rum and nicotine, the stories surface. They are filled with creatures with and without form, of voices of the dead, of visions, or “feelings” – strange feelings that make your hair stand up and send an electrical rush up your neck and those few of us who have shared the wonders and horrors that fill the night listen and understand. Some support the teller, some sit silently – unable to address such happenings – uncertain of the validity, the reality of what they, themselves, have seen.
The tales tumble forth through wind – cracked mouths of old sailors framed in grey beards stained by tobacco. Late at night in old bars in harbor towns to those few who care to stay to hear – perhaps to none. The tales flow into the night air traced in smoke. They are heard by a few who want to hear, or who know the secrets of the sea. To the sailors of the daylight he is, perhaps a fool. To those who have taken the helm at the stroke of midnight he is a comrade, an affirmation of their own secrets, hidden deeply between reality and imagination. In the day he will not talk – oh, he will talk of varnish, pitch and caulk, wooden boats and storms, but if you try to lead him to the quiet nights alone on watch he will become uncomfortable, his old worn fingers wound around his hand like a fish in an octopus’s grip. He will light his pipe and redirect the conversation.
Across the quiet bar old men nod, eyes of sailors tear. Some get up and leave, some stare as they are transported out there onto the sea – as their minds take them to their own tale, one never to be told. These stories do not mix well with the light of day. Like a cheap plastic tarp, daylight breaks them down, and they fall into pieces. They were wrought of the night and in the night they live. There are other stories to fill the day.
I share these things with you with some difficulty. They don’t hold up to the scrutiny of intelligent men. They are written in the logs of our grandfather’s ships. Sailors whisper them late at night. These stories are not worthy of scientific scrutiny nor the time, or reason of serious men. They are told, though, on the decks and in the berths of freighters, and naval ships, and in sailor’s haunts around the world. Perhaps it is an old man’s mind playing tricks on him. I don’t profess to know. I only know that the sounds and the sights are real enough in the dark of a moonless night, and why they come only then escapes me as well but for sure – they are there. They live out there on the ocean in the belly of the night.
It is not the stories that really matter, if any of it really matters, but I will tell you some of mine and some of the others I have heard. In the night, when the moon and sun are hiding behind the earth and when the sea is kind and flat those of us who choose to “dance with the devil” on the midnight watch see things. Its then, that we hear dead relatives speak from the nether land. We see the monsters that haunted the sailors of long ago. We hear the deep breathing of a giant who follows our tiny boat across the deep sea – watching as we pass. Most of these things are frightening only in their realism. They occur, but are rarely relayed to the morning watch. It is our secret. It is our waking dream, or failure, or manifestation of hidden fear and it is easily dismissed in the light of day. But alone on my little boat I have this strange intercourse with the night and the things of the night.
Once, at the tiller, my leg hanging over it as I sighted a star with my one eye open. Sleep took me and my sails fell limp. I awoke to a star-filled night and stumbled to the stern to relieve myself. In an instant I lost all of my bearings and I hugged the aft stay with both arms as my tiny boat sailed without wind in her sails across the open night sky. I looked down over the stern and the world was gone far away into an endless black of space, yet I breathed and I stood there on the stern of my little sloop looking down on the galaxy. I carefully walked back to the cockpit and held the tiller once more and with a quick pull I felt the resistance of the sea and I was back. It was too odd to be real, too vivid for a dream. I was caught in that place that exists sometimes in the midst of night in the deep of the sea. I don’t question. I was there.
I once heard a distant conversation waft across a lifeless sea outside of Diamond Shoals on a moonless night. The voices were happy and were of men and women. They talked and laughed yet the night would not give up their secrets to me. I became obsessed, starting the engine and running fast toward their voices and shutting down to listen again. They were always just too far away I could hear them – but I could not make out their words. I yelled across the lifeless sea “AHOY” – to no response but silence I started the little diesel and ran again toward them full speed. It was then that the quiet night was shattered by the depth alarm. It had been set long before in the intercostal – 10 feet. I was on Diamond Shoals. I drove the little sloop off of the shoals as the swells began to pick her belly up and got clear to the east again. I shut down the engine. They were there, still, laughing and talking just a bit too far out to quell my loneliness. I don’t believe in much. I don’t believe in ghosts or parallel universes that mesh with our own, or the tales of the Bermuda triangle – but they were there and I could hear them and they drew me toward death that night.
I could not stop my mind from thinking of all of those who had died there out far off the dark coast on those hideous shoals, imagining the horror of their final moments as the breakers shattered their wooden ships and sent them to its watery grave. Were they lonely that night too?
One late night I was off of the coast of the outer banks of North Carolina. I had sailed down along the barrier islands all day. The moon was retiring, a silver pathway shimmered on the water connecting my tiny boat to the shore and then closed into a failing halo over the coast. I kept my little sloop off of the shore, marking my way with the lights of the beach homes and restaurants and fishing piers. My attention waned or was drawn away toward some task. The sails were lightly full. I looked back at the shore and the lights had gone.
There are areas on the outer banks with nearly no lights on this part of the coast but there is always the occasional car or fire, fisherman, or camper to assure me of my navigation. All had gone. A power outage, I thought. It was all that could explain the absence of lights. I reviewed my passage – Duck, N.C. – Kill Devil Hills N.C. – I could not yet be down to the Hatteras light. I must be nearly off the dunes – Nags Head.
There, long ago, men known as wreckers would lure ships to their death on the sandy beach. They led a nag with a lantern rigged around her neck up onto the dunes. It’s irregular swinging high up above the land looked like a ship gently rocking in a kind anchorage. Too many captains saw the lights and with the tricks of night and the want of anchorage were drawn to their deaths on the beach below the dunes. The people who lived in this, then desolate spit of sand made their livings partially off the spoils from these wrecks. The early architecture of the islands was adorned with parts of the lost ships and their cargo. Skeletons of those ships emerge from the sand to this day after a heavy storm.
My mind filled with worry. I listened for the breaking surf of the shore. I adjusted my course 15 degrees to the east and thought of Diamond Shoals. I should clear it if I keep this safe course, but I was lost, uncertain of my location. How many fools’ bones litter the bottom of this part of the Atlantic?
It was then that I saw it. Up high, a single light swinging and bouncing. Perhaps it is a friendly anchorage, a little indentation in the coast to allow me rest and sanctuary on a lonely night. I turned toward shore and the wind sharpened. My mind wondered where this little hollow might be. A sickening feeling overcame me. Something wasn’t right. I reached into the combing and found my light. I shot it’s beam toward shore – surf. I pushed the tiller over hard and the compass turned to east. I stashed the light and established my course.
Looking back over my shoulder the shore was full of life. A hundred lights dotted the beach. A string of cars moved up and down A1A. The fishing pier flooded it’s blue light into the sea. The neon of the shops painted the night. The shore was a glowing crescent of life and light.
On another occasion I was alone off of Cape Fear. The sea had been hard all day and my boat and her captain were drained. In the calm of the night I curled up, my head on a pillow on the combing, and I closed my eyes. The night was as dark as coal. I awoke to the deep sounds of breathing – not human, perhaps a whale, taking long deep breaths that shuttered my soul. I fell about the cockpit and finally found my spotlight. I pulled the trigger and the night was filled with the beam. There was nothing there, not even a disturbance of the surface. I have heard the voices, too. They answer questions posed aloud or within my mind but they speak clearly and distinctly. I have answered them before swinging my gaze up to the sound to find nothing
I met a young couple in Florida. They work on Yachts, the big white boats that float around the islands from expensive dock to expensive dock flooded in lights and shooting supercharged diesel breath into the night. After I got to know them well, late one night he told me his stories. I had not “shared” – I never dreamed that your senses would allow such things with the lights, stereo, and LED monitors filling the night, but he saw them, too. To him they were ghosts. They haunted certain yachts and appeared and reappeared they spoke and moved things in their cabin. His wife nodded as if to affirm the unaffirmable. I said nothing in response. I didn’t laugh at them, but I didn’t tell them my stories, either. It seemed too private.
What is real and what is fantasy, a sailor never could know. I can only feel and hear and respond in wonder to the beauty and strength of the sea. I am but a tiny dot on a sea that spans the globe and she does not care for me nor does she harbor me. I sail upon her and she tolerates me or perhaps, doesn’t even know that my tiny ship is there.
So you see, I have seen the dragons. I have heard the songs in the distance, the conversations from another place or time that float across the ocean at night. I am not the one to excuse these things – are they real or are they imaginary? They are as real as life and death. They are as imaginary as life and death. They are out there. They await you if you dare to “dance with the devil” on the midnight watch.
My dreams, they haunt me, deep in the night, alone inside of my cranium. They spark neurons triggering a web of impulse across a great gray field of memory. Awake or asleep, I do not know, hiding behind eye lids in darkness, between the sheets, waiting for the quiet of morning.
On the sea, I find succession of the flashes that so disturbed Nicola, awake alone in his chair, contemplating the harmony of the universe. He would have liked to sail with me out on the open sea – far from land to find our comforting friend, loneliness. There I sleep, on the ocean. They cannot find me there, a dot on a field of nothing. I exist the most there, in the night.
The world is falling – spinning through space, I am frightened, to know too much. I reach for him in a dream, but he has gone before me, gone to the endless harmony beyond the veil. I wait, devoid of comfort, I hold a truth, but feel the pain of impotence to convey. I am lost in an empty place beyond the bounds of humanity. I am lost in a horrid dream.
Nicola, Albert, Newton, and John, we all scream together in silent harmony. Erwin’s cat looks on, through the depth of time. Erwin’s cat looks on, uncaring, as photons spin left and right, but not to the cat, who sits, still, looking. We, those left out, through genius or stupidity, care so deeply for the inequity of spinning photons, arguing their place in a world we cannot see. Perhaps it is our shared insanity. Perhaps it doesn’t matter, our efforts, our experiments, our theory, our lives.
John and Bobby, Martin and Dwight, I hear your screaming, but your screams fall silent, and men move on. Your words are dust, so soon forgotten, or never understood, by those who are simple. Perhaps it doesn’t matter, the equity of man. Perhaps it doesn’t matter.
Will they ever hear, the screams of great men? Will they hear or will we keep on spinning over and over, light and dark, night and day, until it all is lost. And all is silent in the ether of space, perhaps it was always so.
,A work of fiction exemplifying the progression of failed actions and an Agenda 21 based future for California.
I am old now. It seems so long ago when the dam broke. An act of terrorism, they say. I remember the sound. I remember the sights. I am not to think about it, but it keeps coming back to me. I must tell no one.
I live in Sacramento now. They have built us a new community. It is octagonal with the grand concrete buildings each facing the courtyard. In the square is the fountain. It, too is built in the shape of an octagon. There is no water to fill it any more. They found people drinking from it and stealing it, even after it was poisoned. The birds that landed near it and drank all died. It was part of my work to pick them up in the morning before the others got up. I am an early riser.
I remember seeing this place. We were so happy to have our own home. We share much. Each of us lost everything in the flood. My supervisor tells me that I may get special consideration soon. I had a challenging time adjusting. It was hard to see everyone die, my wife, the kids. I just couldn’t care about life anymore. I suppose that if it was not for Don, I would be gone, too. He took me under his wing. He even once pulled me away from a guard and told the guard that he would take care of me. He could have lost everything for doing that. He is a good man.
I spent twelve months in adjustment. It was hell. I had such a challenging time adjusting. I refused to do my work and I was insubordinate to the guards. That is how I got this scar. I am doing better now. Don makes sure I take my pill and it helps me to concentrate on my work and to think about today. That is what the sign in the square says, “think about today”. I have had difficulty. I spent far too much time thinking of the past. It must be left behind.
I am celebrating my seventy fifth birthday. I am the oldest person in the camp. We still call it a camp, though it is really a small city now. I remember the smell of the trailers and the smell of the mud and death. I need to work on it but it keeps coming back. I tell no one, not even Don. I will not go back to adjustment. I will kill myself first. I don’t think I could live through it anyway. That is the one freedom that we still have. Many have died at their own hands. I understand. I was a religious man. I believed deeply. That is one of the problems that I had with the adjustment. It was so hard to give up such deep belief. The doors to the roofs are all barred now. I suppose that was just too easy and many just ran off the edge and fell to the brick of the courtyard. That was in the beginning. Most are adjusting well now.
I sweep the courtyard each morning. I get to see the children. That is a wonderful thing. Don says that I should feel very lucky. Many are never able to see them. I can hear them laugh and I can see them playing. I am not supposed to speak to them, but I see them through the fence. They will never know about the past. They are taught only the future. The book says that we are not to speak to them so that they may be pure. I failed at that, too. It is not worth it to speak, it is enough to just see them, new life after so much death and so much loss. It is a blessing to have children for those who qualify. They are truly blessed by our leader.
Tomorrow I will find if I get special consideration. It is a wonderful thing. if one works hard and puts forth extra effort, that is communicated to the leaders. If they find you worthy, you may be given special consideration. I have asked to see my home. I hope so deeply, to leave this place, once again in this life, and to see the place where I once lived. They have warned me that it is all gone now, but still, just to be there with Clara and the boys. It would make my life complete.
Don is coming, as I sweep the brick of the courtyard. “Did I get my consideration?” “Yes, you did. You will be able to leave the camp and you will be able to return home. The leader himself signed the order.”
Don took me to a young man. He stood with a backpack and a walking stick. “I am Steve. I am taking you to Oroville.” I followed Steve through the gates. The guards stood and did nothing. We walked right past them. “Oh, my God, Steve, we are free.” “Hardly, old man,” he said, pointing to the drone far above us. “So what?” We are allowed to go back to Oroville, no one has been allowed to see it. It will be a blessing to see my home again. We got into the little aluminum boat. And it was light and fast. Steve opened the throttle and off we went down the river. The guards saw us coming and they never pointed a gun. The leader had said to let us pass and they did.
After a time, Steve let the throttle slow a bit and he took some food and two bottles of water from the back pack. We floated sideways as we ate and drank. Trees lined the banks. They were short and young, but they were coming back. No longer in rows, but I could see the kinds. Life sprung up out of death. It was a wonderful scene. There were a few trunks that emerged from the soil and new branches reached for the sun. The air was clear and I could see the sky. The courtyard has only a little sky. This is how the world should look, open and clear.
Steve started the outboard and off we went again. I thought of the leader and how kind they had been. I was a terrible refugee. They were right, I took from society and all I gave was sweeping the sidewalks and picking up dead birds. I was very lucky. They gave me this incredible wish. Steve was a bad refugee, too. He acted out. I could see the scars and I saw he had bitten his lip badly, too. Therapy! I decided to let his story be his own and I kept to small talk. He had been a young man when the flood happened. Now through the leader’s love, he was getting this wonderful opportunity and he still was full of hate for our leaders. It was sad.
Steve hoped to find dissenters living in the wild. He said that they would hide in the banks of the river so that the drones could not see the heat of their bodies. He was a truly bad refugee. We never saw anyone. There were no dissenters. There was just wilderness, and water, and birds and fish. It was a joyous time for me. The river forked and Steve said, “Ok old man, this is it.” I looked around and saw nothing. Steve insisted that we were in Oroville. It had been a long day. He turned the boat in slow circles, as I looked for some landmark. He put the boat up onto the bank and I stepped into the trees and brush. There were rocks all around, round rocks. “The dam,” Steve said.
There was a dull thud and Steve stood up a bit and then a second and he fell to the bottom of the boat. I looked on in disbelief. Our leaders had neutralized him. He must have been a bad refugee. I wondered how I would get back. I looked up at the drone. There was a flash.
I set out to change the world. I saw it falling from understanding.
I studied science, looking in the aether for some grain of knowledge that may spark, again, the imagination of man. I found a system of education that was organized to exclude. I was told what was, and what was not, only to see it all fall apart over time. I was tested on the beliefs of others, others who failed to understand, each stating the accepted fact, until, at last, through difficulty, the falsehood of the truth was exposed, and the bow-tied, sweater-vested changed their drone to reflect that of the latest hero, perverting science for medals and titles. Regurgitating the latest belief as if science was religion.
And so, I looked to religion, hoping for a way for mankind to live together. I saw many beliefs, each certain, each absolute, each unwavering. They hated the sinner, though we all are sinners. They hated those who thought differently, though most do. They told of the hell that awaited them, the burning of a soul for eternity by its loving creator. Each had a set of rules. Each ran in the face of humanity. Each perfection, unattainable. God, himself, cast as human, reflecting the least of humanity, himself, breaking the rules, jealous and petty, requiring servitude and loyalty, threatening at a whim, the eternal soul. At last, I saw them for what they are, men, greedy for dollars, cars, mansions. Their perfect hair and their robes, their molestation, their secrets held in convent walls. Like science, religion was not a place for one who would heal the wounds of man. It, too, was a manifestation of the failures that had been allowed to manifest for so long. Still, we sat in rows, bowing to the unseen, kept in place by fear. I left and never returned.
I looked to politics to find the podium for my message. There I found men in rooms in buildings, flags and pictures, structure and procedure. I spoke with them, one at a time, they sent me to the bottom, from there I could enter the conversation, still every door led to another. The cost of being heard was prohibitive, and there were so many others passing through doors, paying their way, to be heard. Soon I saw that my resources and my time could never persuade the system. It was too massive, and others held every key. I left the city and the grand buildings, frustrated and disgusted by what I had seen.
I am a man of words, I thought. I shall find the words to change the world. I looked to the past, to great men who went before, men who tried to save us. I read the words of Martin Luther King, who, after being threatened by our agencies, given the opportunity to end his own life, said that he had seen the promised land. I read the words of Kennedy, and Gandhi. I could see, in their words the frustration, the struggle. Each great man stood on a pulpit and stated the obvious. Each stood fearlessly, then was shot dead. The promised land was not as King had seen it. The same evil that threatened his life took it. His words were stopped by a bullet to his head, telling us all to stay in line and do as we are told. John, then Bobby, men who stood forward, unafraid, shot by cowards who’s only action was murder in the face of decency. We obliged, serving the evil that took them, by staring at television screens, manipulated by coordinated evil, through Operation Mockingbird, believing lies. We preferred safety to freedom, and we took it. Still, there is no safety in cowardice, only ever increasing fear. They use that fear to herd us to condos and malls, factories and mines. We are slaves, cowardly drones doing as we are told, while professing our freedom. I read words in old deep books that smelled like mold. In them, I saw men struggling to find truth. From Beowulf to Einstein I looked in the folds of paper for a clue. Still, in the old books, there was nothing for me, and I set them aside.
I set my own words to paper, trying with all of my intellect to pierce the veil of ignorance. I spoke the truth and left the unproven. I kept my integrity and tempered my rage. I hammered the keys to send a message, to steer us from losing all that is good. It sat on the paper, unopened.
Time has taken my fair skinned boyhood. It has taken my hopeful attitude. It has stripped me of my passions, replacing them with less aggressive attributes. Through these many years I have watched as men failed to become what we should be. I have seen honorable men sell that honor for nothing. I have watched men sell what they were entrusted for a pittance. I have seen the worst of man.
Now, perhaps, you will say that I am a bitter old man. I suppose that I am. I was born with the aptitude and the tools to change the world. I tried with all of my tenacity and will, still, I failed. Perhaps if I had been more brave, if I had sacrificed myself as so many great men have done, in an effort to lift mankind, we may have become what we should have been. I am devoid of hate for men with different colors of skin. I am devoid of men who have differing beliefs. I am the man who I set out to become, yet, I have failed through communication or example to sway the direction of mankind. I have failed to act as an example. I have failed to act as a leader.
If you wonder why the world that we hand our children is less than what we were given, if you look to find blame for our collective embarrassment and failure, it is I. I am the one who failed this world so miserably. It is I who allowed the corruption and greed to strip our children of their right to freedom and equity. It is my failure and mine alone, and I shall shoulder this burden for all of my remaining days.
Albert Einstein pontificated the relationships of space and time. Within the Theory of Relativity, which he drafted in the Zurich patent office, he defined these relationships and the influence of speed of motion upon time itself. From his math we finally began to accept that, as objects progress toward the speed of light their time slows. Time elsewhere remains constant. He saw that, given this warpage of time, it would be impossible to exceed the speed of light (299,792,458 meters/second). This is a seemingly impossible reality to comprehend.
He further declared that the speed of light was a constant, independent of the position or speed of the observer. Many, including Einstein, thought that there must be an influence to maintain the speed of light in space.
Beyond the speed of light, relative to our position of observation, there may be universes, moving toward, away, and through us completely unnoticed. Perhaps the thing that defines one universe from another, forever dividing the entirety of all of matter and energy is a simple thing, relative motion.
If this is so, there may be many universes, each as real as the others, each occupying the same space and time for a moment, each with the same quirks of distortion within the relative movement of elements within its whole. We would see little or nothing of them but, perhaps the background noise of their interplay that seeps into our realm.
We know that the majority of mass and energy is “black” unseen and unknown to man, still, from gravitational computation, we know that it is there, somewhere. Perhaps that “black matter” is only another universe passing through us while we sleep separated from us only by its relative motion.