My friend Fritz, Opus 3

I have never been fearful of his visitations. At the start, and ever since, these come unbidden. I have yet to expend the effort to even ask why, to try to gain any understanding of the reason or reasons for his appearance. It is not that I am an incurious person, quite the contrary; rather it is that I possess the humility of knowing that there are those things which our friends the Scots tell us are “beyond our ken”. As the sun and moon shall traverse the heavens, as surely as seasons shall pass, this too is of their category.

These have occurred mostly at night, in those restless hours shared by madmen and vigil keepers, devout insomniacs and those of a lupine nature. It is perhaps coincidence only, for though I may at any given day inhabit any or all of these categories, I can not say with certainty that my friend Fritz belongs to any. I endure these visits without superstition, yet with each occurrence I am vaguely haunted by the echoes of a pale horse’s hooves, off away in the night. This brush of death, real or imagined, is more subtle in daylight hours.

On one of those first warm, pleasant days in the spring I had occasion to visit a remote and somber place. It is a place at once familiar to me in both it’s physicality and it’s history. A place inextricable from my history. I absorbed the mid afternoon sun in that quiet solace, the very stillness of the place in it’s constancy. Towering some forty-five feet above was a lone oak leaf, completely brown and desiccated, which had clung stubbornly all winter long until that day. I heard a faint snap as the stem fell away and the leaf remained gracefully suspended beneath an updraft. It hovered there in mid air, wagging side to side as if debating which way to fall before starting it’s slow spiral earthward. I watched spellbound as it circled downward, spinning gently until coming to rest upon the ground just more than an arm’s reach from my seat.

It is a splendid day, is it not Thomas?

It is indeed Fritz.

And yet you are troubled, nicht wahr?

Why else should you be here?

His silence here served as an affirmation. Thus I am to conclude that my demons plague me most at night. And that my worst plague me at all hours.

It has been forty years now, my friend. You should have let this go by now. It has consumed you.

His words were true. I could not deny it.

Forty years seems like a good marker, don’t you think? Just end it here, I was thinking.

What changed your mind?

Who said I changed my mind?

Because if you had not, my friend, I would not be here.

It is your purpose to stop me?

It is only my purpose to be here. Just as it is yours.

What did this mean? Before I could ask he was gone. I fear it may be some time before I see Fritz again.

Where the Blue Bells bloom

Mad Kings and warrior poets,

these bards at arms

Beneath woodland veil they creep,

stalking these darkened slopes

Black eyes watch silent over waters below

Move with the timeless flow of glacial memory

Their children roam the high meadows,

the innocence already gone from their eyes

Following phantom wisps in the moonlight,

down to the old jumping bridge

where many a hope has drowned

Beneath the sick green paint peeling,

the rough and rusted hide revealed

upon iron beams span bank to bank

Like the strong, broad back of a young nation

when those fires were forged

Many sorrows ride upon these currents,

borne to a distant sea

Now but tears in a distant ocean

We watch the clouds to know

our lamentations have been heard

For snows will ever abate

Bring the rush of pent up waters

She breaks her banks in mercy

Wash away the dead and waste

Here where the Blue Bells bloom

Stone in contemplation

At icy water’s edge

Mr. Campbell’s unfortunate end

For convictions of their truths

Eddington and Einstein both condemned

By luckless circumstance

the wave breaks upon this stone

The bastion of some undefined

proposition we are not alone

Stones, they trouble naught

nay even a sixpence

Over any ken

of their own existence

Sentient beings, blessed and cursed

not knowing the way of their end

will forever do their worst

to author it again

You are the virus

Settle into semblance of order
or something that passes
Incomplete, but enough
to play the charade

Darwin looms large
in reflexive response
Seeking gratification
they find a spigot run dry

Another tempest brewing
in this teapot we call home
Short attention span theater
loose wire to find a fault

Psychic gods deny us
understanding of what we fear
Subliminal image
on flat screen TV

I am the virus
I am the virus
I am the virus

August ’83

Coming of age in a foreign land

No history precedes you

No reputation to uphold

The test of how high to fly

or how far to fall

A meat puppet on display

Your curious new plaything

Passed around your circle

for the amusement of all

The shame dies with the shadows

that disappear in December rains


Quarantine: by the numbers

The rain, it pelts relentless

driving angry sheets upon the window

I have 150 watt drapes to dull the sound

and 90 proof elixir

Self embalming, should the worst occur

3 grams per day should last

for 30 days

After that, over the wall