No one really knew him. He was just a 20-year-old kid who sat in a corner and didn’t speak; another mental case and a mute. When he arrived, one of the psychiatric aides introduced him to me. I said hello and forgot about him immediately. Then the rumors spread. I heard three of them. First, the boy swallowed a bottle …
The music of the soul is gone.
I do not sleep at night for I recall my father’s curse, and wonder if it’s buried in my genes, ensconced in DNA on a chromosome of doom, the invisible microcosm of my wounded brain, coming into being and emerging from the bestial womb of fate.
The music of the soul is gone.
I do not sleep at night, for I remember my father’s deaths, and wonder if I share his destiny. He died twice, and his first death took him to a desolate place-a terrible landscape, and then the island of oblivion, the final resting place of his dissolving past.
The music of the soul is gone.
I can’t forget what happened to him-to us. I watched him disappear; his dark brown eyes stared blankly into space, and I mourned for him. He was gone; his old familiar face a ghostly visage in a vacant universe, devoid of self and ancient memories.
At night, I no longer hear the music of the soul, only the thumping and pounding of my heart. I fear my father’s curse. I fear oblivion.
We can’t shake it. Yet, still we seek a wizard with perfect power. – mh
I do not exist. I died yesterday. I can’t recall the exact date. It doesn’t matter. A year ago, 10, 50 years ago, 1 day, yesterday, it happened. A mad metamorphosis occurred. 1 hour, 1 second, 1 nanosecond ago. Puff! I died. “Oh no,” you say. “You’re still here. I see, hear, and smell you.” “So what?” I say. “But …
Hands that sink into the soft tomb of the desert clutch dust and sand and disappear. I watch with my mind’s eye. With despair, I see destiny unfold.
Farewell, old friend.
I sit in the tiny room in the I.C.U. and watch you drift off into nowhere with a morphine drip.
For a moment, I shut my eyes. And now, magically my arthritic hands place peacock feathers on your heart and a white rose in your hands.
Suddenly, hands in the swirling dust of the desert, buried in the sand dunes, reach upward, grab my olive hands, let go, and vanish forever.
Soon, my weary eyes return to this small suffocative space of final moments. It contains unbearable truths.
Your moribund hands, covered with old shattered skin, lie still. And now, I sit in a cold chair in this eerie room and gaze at you.
Yet when I speak, your soft breaths become heavy. So I sink into a long harrowing silence, an oval noose around my wounded soul, and wait.
Before I say goodbye, I share stories of yesterday, vignettes of joy. And perhaps, my voice soothes you now, for in-between my words, I listen to your soft, free-flowing breaths.
Goodbye, old friend, for tomorrow is the end. Yet know this. I hold you in my soul, a blue butterfly nestled in a bed of peacock feathers and white roses.
I hold you now until we meet again around the bend in the invisible universe of life everlasting and love divinely eternal.
An army of death stalkers invade the barren room behind me, crawling and creeping and brushing against the outer wall. I do not see the multicolored scorpions.
Hunched over in this tiny tomb of metamorphosis, inside the I.C.U., I gaze at you, my moribund friend. And I fall into an abyss. This is our farewell reunion.
Pale gold, brown black, dark yellow, green, and tan scorpions move surreptitiously around the soul-stealing room. I can’t see them.
I close my weary eyes. And now, the scarabs, huge black-shelled beetles emerge from a terrible nothingness and roll your spirit out of your mortal body.
I watch from the unbearable emptiness of the abyss. Is this some old punishment for man’s sin? What crime did we commit? None, I protest inside this cold room.
I sit still, my eyes shut tight, as a death mosaic of scorpions and scarabs and ghostly soul appears. This final tessellation overwhelms me.
And when I open my tearful, tired eyes, I say goodbye, old buddy, for death is the price we pay again and again for this miracle of life and the magical universe of love, lent to us for an earthly nanosecond.
Wonderful words, written by Dr. Mel for the passing of his best friend, Charles Freundlich. May he rest! – mh
After the Apocalypse, I dance all night in the Make-Believe Ballroom. The vast dance floor is a swirling vortex of almonds, and as I spin around the Circle of Thanatos, I clutch my chimerical dance partners, gaze into their empty ebony eyes, and search for a glimmer of soul.
Tick tock. Tick tock. Tick tock. I rock ‘n roll and do the Stroll in front of our black-and-white TV, whirling and swirling to Dick Clark’s American Bandstand. I’m a kid again and free in the Make-Believe Ballroom until I see the grotesquerie.
Exotically hot and sizzling like Nathan’s french fries but cooling off in Coney Island waters, I become a cold corpse with a raw chilling rigor mortis, passing and slithering through merciless metamorphoses.
After the end, around the bend, I discover a baroque ballroom. I trudge across a seething threshold of deep snow and ice and enter.
Now, I peer through the thousand masks of my false self. “Hello,” I whisper as I whirl around Eternity. The susurrations of my real self murmur “Goodbye.”
After the Apocalypse, I dance all night in the Make-Believe Ballroom, caressing illusion, kissing Chimera, a nonbeing, swirling in nowhere, a once-upon-a-time genuine member of the species homo sapiens, transmogrified into a true-blue corpse, and perhaps, a meandering ghost sailing across Eternity’s dance floor searching for a glimmer of soul.
Apocalypse when? Could be always, if still looking for that glimmer and in your dancing shoes. – mh
I’m dying. I need emergency surgery. But I can’t leave my blood-red studio apartment, an antediluvian basement in a 2-family house on Thanatos Street, Brooklyn, New York. I’m too ill. In the past few weeks, I’ve called 911 a couple times, and when EMS arrived, they took me to the ER. On these occasions, the doctors admitted me for a …
I found a new thrill in the summer of 1968. I compiled a list of New York cemeteries allegedly haunted by ghosts. Then one afternoon, I drove upstate in search of Scarlet Hollow Cemetery in Freaksburg, New York. I got lost a few times before I arrived in Freaksburg. When I found the town, I parked my car, went to …
In the Garden of Paranoia, I listen to the haunting sound of bones, the horrific melody strung from the ancient bone-guitar, in the Valley of the Shadow of Shadows, at noon, I listen.
And beneath an oppressive sun, when the obscene heat of the Sun-King burns my human flesh and a chorus of monsters shrieks a mournful refrain, I wait for the merciless blast of gunfire.
Hunched over, I wait for the ominous thunder, the unforgiving sound of a booming roar. Rimbombo! I wait. And in that long lonely moment, my burning skin glistens beneath the sun’s glare, sweat pours down my fiery flesh, and my battered brain sizzles. Rimbombo! I run. In the Garden of Paranoia, I run for my life.
I run forever, I imagine, within the Circle of Circles, swirling around and around, clockwise perhaps, spiraling toward a vanishing point, it seems, but never reaching this mythical portal to freedom and peace of mind. But still I run. In the Garden of Paranoia, I run.
I rush across the swirling light of day, taste a turquoise sunset with my parched lips, and drink the dying sun’s rays with desperate eyes. And I hear the deafening sound of footsteps behind me, the thunder of death piercing my psyche, almost reaching and ripping my flesh apart. But with a sudden burst of energy, I sprint toward the twilight and dusk and disappear into the redemptive darkness.
I run forever, I imagine, within the pitch-black Circle of Circles, whirling around and around, counterclockwise perhaps, spiraling toward a preternatural vanishing point, a fugitive sailing through the sinuous darkness in search of freedom. Yet I hear the thunderous sound of my hunters. Their furious footsteps crush the barren earth nearby in the Garden of Paranoia. And I smell them too. Their obscene breath reeks of abominable evil-pulverized flesh, putrid souls, and molten, volcanic obliteration, paranoid eruption, psychotic annihilation, and apocalyptic extermination, launched from the unholy Abyss spewing suffocative flames, fetid fumes, and foul fires, cauldrons of madness, shooting out of the ancient chasm, the maw of the beasts, the cannibalistic black hole that craves my identity-my invisible spirit, sacred breath, holy blood, and celestial soul and longs for my holistic truth-my secret self, real self, and connection to the Source.
If the monsters find me, they will force me to gaze into the mephitic masks of Mephistopheles, smell my own evil, see my pulveratricious darkness, and lock me in my private Hell. And then, they will slowly torture me, devour my flesh, suck the life force out of my body, and eat my spirit. If the monsters find me, they will feed me to the Abyss.
The beasts are nearby. I hear their crushing footsteps. I smell their obscene sins. Only the blinding, pitch-black darkness that engulfs us saves me. I hide inside its whirling womb.
An ancient clock chimes 12 times. Midnight, in the Garden of Paranoia, I pass through a preternatural portal. Can the monsters follow? I wait, ponder existential and metaphysical mysteries, and wonder. Is this the mesonoxian hour of deliverance or destruction? From an eerie place, a luminous landscape, beyond the Garden of Paranoia, I watch the beasts struggling to penetrate an invisible boundary. On the other side of Existence, I stop running. Still, I watch the monsters lurking near the portal. I fear they will find a way to slither through, and permeate my darkest dreams.
Now, I hear their crushing footsteps in the other world. And I smell their foul odor seeping into my heavenly haven. Will they penetrate my psyche and stalk me in the Garden of Paranoia?
I guard the portal.
Remember those monsters, threatening us from the closet when we were children? They’re still there… – mh
It returned every night for months and frightened the middle-aged reporter, aspiring novelist blessed and cursed with an uncanny imagination. The haunting dream swept across his unconscious psyche and implanted the eerie seeds of terror in his battered flesh, the pounding and thumping of his heart, the crushing blows of death, profuse sweating mixed with the stench of a thunderous …