Phoenix

by DJ Sprague

Op. 15  Apocalypsis

 In life, there is a place and time that changes the lights of destiny to darkness, and within a world that seems to be not much larger than what we are, this darkness becomes even darker. We are caught up by our own love and vision, and in this way we belong to the living. Within the darkness of chaos, there is an apocalypsis. Within it, we discover how much we belong. We sense how small we can be. And when the winds of infinity pass through us, our eyes open to see..how large the universe can actually be


 Upon departure, crowded together, a flat voice said, "Look to your right, to your left. One will stay. One will limp back. One will walk back." Something inside changed. I ate knowing that it is good for my body. I sipped whiskey because it is suppose to relax me. I look at a woman's legs, because they are suppose to have beauty. Look into the quiet sea, the white puffed clouds, the white sandy beaches, the gentle winds because..they are suppose to be peaceful

 Upon arrival, there was a deep thud shaking the ground. And another. Then another. Everyone was running in desperation. I saw an explosion and thought, "That cannot possibly be meant for me"

 I was told to go to the armory, and there, I saw a half used, unlit cigar hanging from a mouth. I heard, "It's either your life or their's." He issued me a weapon. And I held the piece. It was there, even though I could not feel it in my hand

 First night, my clothes were my blankets. My pack was my pillow. Darkness brings all the sounds of violence that I dare not interpret..because I knew that I must close the eyes, so I will think I am resting

 Checking in, a hurried voice says, "Do your job. Eat and sleep as best you can. But above all, know where the holes are, in the ground." War is usually making holes, not finding them. And then, something happened. Past and future disappeared

 A sunset always stops time somehow. Sometimes it is a welcome rest for a moment. Sometimes it is impending terror. But a sunset in the apocalypse always means the other self is being aroused. With the last glimmer of knowledge, I peer into the surroundings. I survey carefully. Every little sound, every glimmer of light is amplified. I feel separated from everything...localized, isolated within my own little night

 On the road, I am surrounded. In the village, I am surrounded. In the bush, I am surrounded. In my sleep, I am surrounded. And someone says, "It's always like that." And there is no sense in being afraid. When I am, I feel a little touch of craziness

 When impending destruction whistles overhead through the air, there is a stillness inside that knows I can never feel completely safe. I feel better, but not much better, learning to live with this

 There is always some site, some structure where the winds of chaos passed through once before. When I look at it, I feel pulled into its time

 In the name of the father, resolution...the son with no legs..and holy mother spirit, hope..life, in the midst of an apocalypse, is so blessed

 Looking at a calendar, I know down deep that it is madness to use it. But I do anyway, just to feel normal

 One day, after violence, I saw a little girl. She was wearing a dress for the first time. She was so small, and eating an orange for the first time. The pain seemed gone from her damaged leg. Violence always brings, first experiences

 Once, upon a brief reprieve from war, a doctor sat down. And suddenly some boys under his care ran to him, under him, beside him..on top of him. And he was smiling. In brief reprieves from chaos, sometimes I see a heart of gold, and its purpose

 When I saw, the young boy was firmly supine. The light was radiant and cast onto him, onto his skin, into my mind, raw and dark scaled from burns. The pain had consumed nearly his entire body. He just laid silent..waiting. Pain can only go so far, until it just ends. Pain goes no further, than the destruction of its thresholds

 "GI! Hey, GI!!" He was asking for a favor, or had something for me to buy. But his words echoed, not for what he wanted. In my mind they echoed..."Why? am I here"

 Living in the midst of the apocalypse, there is always suspense everywhere. A question is always everywhere. I do not look too deep inside, because there, I am simply..afraid

 And I saw. There was a young boy sitting darkly in a chair. He was sitting crookedly because his left arm was bandaged straight, and his chest was bandaged. The fires of chaos were searing. And I looked into his eyes. I could not find him there. Truth is difficult to look at. Reality..too difficult to bear

 He was only three, and his leg bandage was firm and clean. They gave him a soda, and he drank it. They gave him a name, and he liked it. They gave him some beads, and he wore them. And someone gave him a smoke..but he returned it. Alas..it is so, that in chaos, friendship is a delight, and a basic need

 And there was another. And he was very young. And because of his body cast, he was immobile. All I did was lift him, and he looks at me, and I feel a great truth..."another world is in my hands"

 Just a young boy he was, straight and true. Got his hand in the way, the winds of chaos blew through. With bandaged hand and arm in a sling, he was so very small, leaning against a white post. His eyes were shy, but his smile, very large. When I see happiness, it is often inspiring. Through a single smile, I can feel home

 I walk into the nursery where new life is. The wounds of chaos are all around. I feel weak and lost. And suddenly, I feel something penetrate the corner of my eye, and I looked. A pair of eyes was looking up at me, smiling. In chaos, sometimes a pair of eyes can own you

 The yard where the native people bury their dead is protected by a stone wall. It is believed, "Evil spirits travel only in a straight line." So, the entrance, a charming arch tattered by warfare, has a stone wall behind it to block the way of evil spirits. Well, the winds of destruction did pass, and the stone wall remained standing. There are some things that will enchant you, until I look at them closely. There are some things that will enchant you, until they reflect your reality

 In the aftermaths of fire and damnations, there are little flurries of excitement. But mostly, there is unsteady stillness. And inside, I am crying

 Once, I was drunk on the ground, on the perimeter of my operations unit. The ground shook. Everyone was crazy. I tried to run, to find a hole. I had to run. But I could only crawl. And I knew, I would not have, that kind of nightmare, again

 In chaos, there are some who are loners. They remind you of your other self. When the heart is uncertain, the self'sufficient self is forgotten, and generally I find a friend, who I feel I can help. Helping makes the heart more certain

 There are many pains. But none so affecting as the one that is deep and dull. I saw injury through her eyes..her eyes starved for love

 When all was dark and empty, I could not stop myself. I took a jaundiced look at the divine heavens, for a brief moment, inside

 When the winds of destruction pass through, I feel like I am being sorted. There are many short trips down corridors..narrow passageways where everything is visible but dim. I feel ushered. And I do not understand, why so much is mal natured

 Hell does have a back yard, where I can know only each blade of grass, each rock, or grain of dust, by itself..each isolated, from everything else

 Once, the floaters came in. They were long since dead. They laid long in the jungle field. They arrived to graves. And I was drawn to see. Missing arms and legs. Torn, soiled bodies. And gases rising from feasting maggots reached down into me and pulled my stomach up. I turned and walked, not feeling the ground. Later, I saw a child suffering from famine and disease. In this child I saw, what was knawing in me

 I searched deep for answers. Sometimes, I think I have a hold of one. But in bringing it to the surface, it slips and falls from my touch, like a piece of silk caught by the wind

 In the midst of the apocalypse, what I feel most of the time is transience, entrapment within impermanence. But nature is everything everywhere. And if I look at the sky, I can see the part that is free

 Off limits, confinement. When I saw them, I knew that I was as restricted. I hoped not for its end..for I dared not spend, any bit of wit, for any bit of hope. When it did end, I was still confined, to search for whom I had become

 When I look up into the sky, I wonder if there is a heaven, a haven where there is peace. And I wonder why it is so isolated, too

 There are many things in war that are unexpected. Everyone is afflicted. Everyone is the same height

 I saw disease break the heart. I saw starvation bury living spirit. More often than I perhaps should have, I hungered for home..before the pain comes..on alien ground, I look far off and see the hills that were so familiar to me, as a child

 I was preparing to leave. And I saw a small boy looking up at me, watching me. When I leave, I will leave him behind, inside of me. Somehow, I will work hard to get him back, inside of me

 Papa'saun. Papa'saun, grand Papa'saun! I am always running from this now, into the ethers of my mind. You seem to accept relentless tearing of flesh, these conditions for life, while I, only hearing pain, so many cries, you remain, giving comfort with your armor, all stately and wise

 When night arrived, my watch had already stopped. I became restless, but remain motionless. Dawn is dim and too far away. And there is no way of knowing how dawn will arrive. There is no way to run from this now, no exit into past or future

 Covered with alien dust, weapon readies for weapon. The children are forgotten. Life is forgotten. The world becomes misty. The guns are heavy

 A sense of something wrong never leaves me. Yet, all of these things that are wrong are in life. And we burn mountains, so the enemy cannot hide. The people there, they also burn mountains, so the soil once fertilized, for all will provide

 But for now, there are no differences. And there is a place inside that is very still. All things in war are equal. And there are always the clouds in the sky, or the distant hills, to see home

 And so it was, from this torn flesh flooding life, and so it spread and pooled in the night of me, until from that night I awoke in the midst of pounding thunder. The breaking heavens! The blinding light! The ground was black and barren. And it violently shook from convulsing Earth. And behold! Under the bolting light! A fiery horse. And seated upon it was a child'warrior, self crowned. And having destroyed the world of time, it proceeded to make war and conquest for its figments of mind. And again, the ground shook. And the Earth convulsing, quickly brought forth a black horse. And seated upon it, was dark Famine. Its flesh, withered. And its eyes were sad, but there were no tears. And the skies deepened in thunder. Jagged light scorched the living. Torrents of acid rain poured down through poisonous air. And look! Up from the broken ground. A grey horse! and its rider, Pestilence, is old and in torn rags with open sores upon its skin. Its eyes were filled with terror and blood. And soon after, the heavens became murky and silent. And the Earth trembled. And suddenly a great bolt of light broke through, and the Earth was drowned in thunder. And there appeared a pale horse! moving swiftly, splattering the cold muddy earth everywhere. And from its hooded rider, was the creaking and clattering of skeletal bones. And its eyes..pitch black. And its scythe was dark and heavy, putting life asunder, for what followed was the Hades..the living dead


REV:  Oct 2017

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