My friend Fritz, Opus 5

You were a stranger to yourself for most of your life Thomas. What say you now?


 

I have returned to my somber place.  It holds the solace of constancy.  I no longer live here in the physical sense, yet I have lived here all of my life. This life. Here I am Jack Torrance in the Overlook Hotel. You have always been the caretaker here, Mr. Torrance…

 

What say you now, Thomas?

I think I died here Fritz.

Yet you live and breath here now. That can not be.

And why not? You are dead, and yet here you are.

I am not here, Thomas. I am only in your head.

 

This was true. I had not admitted this to myself before, but in that moment grasped the truth of it.

 

My former self then.

Ahh, I see. You believe this, do you? Is this the reason you insist on returning to this place?

I am not certain what I believe Fritz. I suspect that you know, but will not say.

Not will not. Can not.

What is it that prohibits you from saying?

Because I do not have this answer, my friend. Only you do.

 

What say you now, Thomas? It occurred to me that as I am yet confined to the living it is only I who sense the immediacy of the question. Fritz is dead, so he may wait an eternity for my answer. It is only when I find the answer that our timelines may agree.

 

I have been a stranger to myself for most of my life and now I say that I am still a stranger.

I think you believe this.

I do. But…. it is not true, is it? And that is why I return to this place.

Are you asking?

Maybe.

We do not deal in maybes, you and I.

 

A hot wind stirs the trees today, the leaves sigh in that timeless symphony.  The waters of Darby Creek flow still and everything else moves in this place where time remains still. I decided I should sidestep the question.

 

When I was a boy, Fritz, lightning struck in the same spot up on that hill. On the 4th of July. Once, and then again in the very same spot, a year to the day later.

Yes, Thomas. I recall it. I was here.

 

This surprised me. I don’t suppose that it should have, but it did. I had been there, but was then unaware of his presence.

 

Are you God?

I am God as you are God.

But….God is dead.

He is indeed, for we have killed him.

No, Fritz. Not we. I have killed him.

You have answered the question then, Thomas. You are no longer a stranger to yourself.

But what does that mean?

 

He was gone again and I had only the sighing trees to answer me.

Asylum

The clean white sands of distant beach

A coveted shoreline

bathed in optimism

The hope that anything could be better

Or the sterile blandness

that only institutional grade paint can capture

Antiseptic perfume masks

the urine soaked safety

of supervised narcotic therapy

Poisons more palatable to state sanction

No more white sands await

No stadium could contain your madness

Asylum like an ocean

and no water to drink

 

No sparrows

This pajama nation

fed on Slim Jims and fiction

Smart phones for weapons

they man digital foxholes

Style over substance

and strange advice

Phone calls with awkward silences

while instincts of institutional preservation

thunder mightily from the east

There is some subtle shading of difference

wide as the gulf

between realization and acceptance

Believing that no sparrow must fall

Treacle

You are not essential

Salute the heroes

It’s all for them

or it’s for the children

Targets unassailable by design

I am Eric Cartman, hear me roar

Respect my authority!

We’re all in this together

We’ll get through this

These trying

These difficult

These challenging

These unprecedented

Times

When this bottle is empty

suck your thumb

Go back to sleep

When you wake

they will change your diapers too

 

The un-season

In our angelhood

Spring emerged in light

from Winter’s sun waning

She came as a pale girl

dancing barefoot from the forest

into awakening meadows

A blank canvas blossoms in colors

Grows in light and life

then fades to a wraith in Summer’s cauldron

Now the axis has turned

the days grow longer

Still light and color elude us

She comes now as a grey matron

in her shawl hobbled and bent

Down to the river bank

where she will lay down to sleep

Calendar pages flutter in the wind

and time remains still