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The Old Gods Visit BrooklynTo Phil Rockstroh's previous piece

A Gift During Wartime

"At the present time," you said, "mankind is a divine parasite, a maggot-angel come with a sword of entropy to cleave the rot of paradise."

"What's in it for me?" I asked.

This is how it went: I could not find consolation through my in entreaties to the invisible.

Not that you were reticent with me; you spoke volumes on the subjects that were close your heart.

But I had been particularly self-involved as of late-- and I wanted to hear about me, but you could not have given a rodent's rectum. You said the confessionalist's mode was not high among your lists of passions; you said you had grow rather weary of petty gousing and chronic complaints and that just because you had advised Baudelaire to get drunk and to stay that way... didn't mean you had hired yourself on to be the universe's bartender who needed to feign interest in the tedious concerns of the self-absorbed to garner tips.

A howling chasm of abandonment opened before me; I was shaken to the foundation of my bar stool; it tottered, swaying toward the breathing breach.

"Yes," you said, "It's located in that direction. You're getting your bearings now...."

"Are you God?" I asked.

"No. But I can show you a billion prayers swarming in empty air like a nimbus of gnats."

"Who are you then?"

"Like you, presently, I'm a cleansing maggot spindling in Celestial God-Shit."

"No, really. Who?"

"I am what comes to your room after you've engaged in months of compulsive masturbation and builds a towering empire from your stiff cum-rags.

"Oh, you the one."

"I hear the particles of chickens, pigs, and cows lodged between your teeth singing a hymn that is an ode to common destiny; I show up when your hobbling up Esplanade about to cut in the Quarter and your blown-out asshole begins tooting the same tune then tears into a ripping trumpet solo from Potato Head Blues."

"I can't sleep night. The God of War has moved into the apartment over mine. His armies march on the floor above my ceiling day and night. Can you provide some remedy for this?"

"Such as?"

"I need some sleep. Could you hang for me a hammock between Death and the Abyss?"

"No, not my department, but I can reveal to you the secret, in-air, mating rituals of never-before-seen birds of paradise: This meaning of course: I can instruct you how to acquire a pilot's license for the fabled act of taking a flying-fuck. I can teach you to lick the clits of those moralistic spinsters Limits and Time so that they, for a moment, forget their totalitarian duties and yearn for escape to some secretive and permissive rendezvous. And if you prove to be an apt pupil I will bestowed upon you an extravaganza of divine indifference, allowing you to luxuriate in the abundant nothing of my deep concern."

"I'd be forever in your debt. But what have you given me lately?"

"This poem. In wartime, it will have to suffice."

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