Monday, June 30, 2008

The Prophet With His Poison Tongue

Maybe you’ve seen me. By the corner, with my sandwich board. In the square, on my milk crate. I try to help you and you flip me off. I try to save you and you pay me no mind. And while other prophets may have been ignored in their lifetimes—validated by future generations—me, I won’t have the luxury.

Sometimes you toss me a few coins. Like I’m a bum. Sometimes you drop a doggie bag at my feet. Like I’m in this for half a chicken fried steak. And besides, your money will be no good. Not when the time comes. Your comfort food will be of no comfort. Not when the time comes.

But I stand on my simple mount and preach my simple sermon. The End is near, I tell you. Best be ready, I tell you. Time is not forever, I tell you. And you pull your children close. And you keep walking. And you say, forget the crazy man, Dear. Forget the crazy man. And me, I might be crazy. But I’m not the only one.

* * *

From thousands of years back the Mayans saw it coming. Their calendar, racking up the k’ins (days), the unials (months), the tuns (years). Ticking away like an odometer, closer and closer to the end of the Great Cycle. 5,200 years in the making. Closer and closer to the End of History.

For us, it will be December twenty-first, two thousand and twelve. What I mean is, by the Roman calendar, the Great Cycle ends on 12/21/12. One two, two one, one two. Add them together and that’s 3,3,3. Maybe not the Number of the Beast but halfway there. For them, it was to be 13.0.0.0.0. What I mean is, by the Mayan calendar, the Great Cycle ends on a perfect thirteen. How lucky is that?

And check this out: that day—12/21/12 if you like, 13.0.0.0.0 if you’re a stickler for accuracy—that day is the winter solstice, shortest day of the year. And while the sun makes but the briefest of appearances, on that day it crosses paths with the galactic equator. Bam.

So what happens? Floods, earthquakes? Tornadoes, hurricanes? 5,200 years coming. Four years to go. An End to History.

* * *

Maybe you’ve seen me. By the corner, with my sandwich board. In the square, on my milk crate. You laugh at the dirty old man, the loony fool. But there is no time for laughter. There is no time for levity. There is no time for apathy. Because really, there is no time.

Once in awhile you sit by my corner, in my square. Play your guitar and sing your songs and wink at passersby as you drown out my message. As you drown out the message. I tell you, sir, I’m preaching here. I tell you, sir, even if you don’t care, others must be reached. I tell you, sir, the End is near. There is no time for merrymaking.

And of course you care not. You tell me, bro, I’m preaching too. You tell me, bro, the people don’t dig on downers. You tell me, bro, I’m singing ‘bout peace. There’s always time for peace.

But really there isn’t. And I tell you as much but you laugh. Everybody laughs. You tell me, bro, you’re crazy. And I tell you, sir, I might be crazy. But I’m not the only one.

* * *

Nostradomus wasn’t any Mayan. He didn’t know about any Great Cycle, didn’t know about any 13.0.0.0.0. Nostradomus wasn’t any Mayan. But he called the End of History just the same.

And check this out: Nostradomus, he predicted all sorts of crap using judicial astrology—forecasted the future based on the movements of stars, movements of planets. Sound familiar? Did he see the solstice sun cross the galactic equator? Fucked if I know. But whatever he saw, what he made of it was plenty clear.

What he predicted: he predicted three Antichrists, three manifestations of evil, three destructive forces—3,3,3—that would precede the End of History. The first—an Emperor born near Italy who would exhaust his forces in Russian snow—was Napoleon. The second—a Captain of Germany whose revolt would cause great bloodshed—that was Hitler. The third—the Antichrist who finally ushers in the End—the third Antichrist is the worst of the bunch.

Of the third, Nostradomus wrote, he’ll “come out of the country of Greater Arabia.” Nostradomus wrote, “From the sky will come the great King of Terror.” Clear enough? Terror from the sky?

The most important historical event of the new century and Nostradomus called it almost half a millennium ago. And more, he knew this wasn’t just some serious shit. Really, this was the End of all serious shit.

* * *

Maybe you’ve seen me. By the corner, with my sandwich board. In the square, on my milk crate. You pity me. But still I try to help you. You ignore me. But still I try to inform you. You laugh at me. But still I try.

You need to know nothing lasts. You need to know there’s always an End. You need to know it only grows closer. Never further away.

Of course, I understand your reluctance. You refuse to accept that there is an ebb and flow. You refuse to accept that you are temporary. That everything is temporary. Of course, you are afraid. But fear is not excuse enough. Not for me.

So prepare, I tell you. Repent if that’s what you believe in, I tell you. Make amends if you have amends to make, I tell you. I might be crazy, I tell you. But I’m not the only one.

I might be crazy, I tell you. But all things considered, there’s something to be said for experiencing the End of History. And there’s something to be said for peace of mind.

3 comments:

Isabelle Rose said...

I found your card inside of a book at a Borders in Pleasant Hill, California.

I leave notes inside of books. I write them when I visit the bookstore, usually just short notes reminding people to smile, and I stick them inside of books I enjoy.

Finding your card felt like payback, like it was there just for me. So, thanks for that.
I think. Noticing now that you live in New York has me curious as to how your card ended up in that book. Did you place it there yourself when you visited Pleasant Hill?
Why on earth would you visit Pleasant Hill? Unless you're from here originally, and in that case, how long have you lived in New York?
Or maybe someone placed the note in the book for you. Maybe you have a friend here.
Maybe you have a team of people to spread the word about your writings.

So many possibilities.

Anyway, thanks for writing and thanks for leaving little suprizes in books.

Derek Tench said...

My parents live in Pleasant Hill. I've lived in New York for a year and was in CA visiting them last week.

So, no team. Although that would be cool. I only left a few cards in copies of books that I really dig. But I'm excited that someone actually found one.

Matthew said...

No time for levity!!! I'm showing some people at my work your stuff, we all fuckin dig it!