The Audience

starrywindowThey appear

as the curtain rises

and the house lights dim.

 

Cold and distant,

the silent observers

are totally unmoved

by the dramas unfolding below them.

 

Never critical or demanding,

yet never complimenting or approving–

they merely observe,

austere and untouched.

 

Yet every night

we each perform,

always hoping to be the one

to sway the heavens,

 

and make the stars

forsake their silence–

and send down their applause.

Remembering

I’m at the train station, holding my younger bruder’s hand. Something inside tells me that I will never see this valley or these mountains again. I love oma and tante, and especially mutter, but I am glad that they are not here to see this.

There is something very wrong here. We were on our way to school, but when we arrived, we found soldiers standing there. They held guns and had swastikas on their shoulders.

At first, I thought they wanted us to become soldiers like they were, but I was wrong. They separated me from my brother, and they asked me all kinds of questions. When they finished, they shoved me into the back of a truck and brought me here.

As I step down from the truck, I see that we are at the train yard. There is a crowd of people here, mostly men and boys, though some old women, too.

It is only through luck that I find my brother again. He must have seen me as I got down from the truck and fought his way through the crowd to be with me. Now we stand in a solemn-faced crowd, clutching each other’s hands and wondering what will become of us.

I am tall for my age, and through the crowd I can see two open boxcars. I am beginning to suspect that these soldiers expect us all to somehow fit ourselves inside these boxcars, but I know that that is impossible. There are too many of us, and those cars too small.

Obviously several others in the crowd also make this conclusion, and angry voices erupt, protesting the interruption of their lives. This is followed by several rapid bursts of what I believe to be gun fire, and suddenly there is silence. Then a man’s voice rings out from up ahead somewhere, ordering us to move forward.

At first there is no response, then I hear several more gun shots and the crowd at the back surges forward forcing everyone forward, too. The surge, soon turns into a slow, reluctant march, and my brother and I are carried along with the swell. There is very little noise. I hear some sniffling, a few sobs, but these are mostly from the younger boys. Since belligerence was met with violence, no one complains anymore. We merely move ahead blindly, like cattle to a slaughter.

When we reach the boxcar it is already filled with people, but the soldiers, using their guns, motion us forward. A man reaches down and grabs my brother’s hands, hoisting him up into the overcrowded car. Several other pairs of hands reach out for me, and I let myself be lifted into the car.

Finding my brother is more difficult this time. There is no room to sit, no room to move. I am squeezed in from all sides. The door slides shut, and we hear them locking it. Although it is only moments later, it seems like hours, when the car jerks forward. Toes are trod upon, and a few words exchanged, but soon it is again silent except for the sound of the train’s wheels grinding beneath us. We sway and move as one, for we have no choice.

Time loses all meaning as we stand here in this mass of bodies. Snippets of light filter through the cracks in the side of the boxcar, and even though our eyes adjust to the gloom there is nothing to see but the many faces of those wedged in here with us. I hear a few whispers, and some grunts, especially when the boxcar sways around a curve. But the fear stifles most conversation, and we each huddle within ourselves wondering where we are headed and why.

My brother whispers that he must urinate, but there is nowhere to do so. I whisper to him to hold on as best he can. I see a flash of his of tears in his eyes, but he nods and quickly turns away and stares at the back of the person in front of him. Is it minutes or hours later, when he pulls my hand and again tells me that he needs to go. I don’t know what to tell him. There is no room, there is no accommodation for this.

Finally, unable to wait any longer he wets himself, something he hasn’t done in years. Embarrassed he cries, and I comfort him as best I can. I move my arm across his shoulders letting him know that it is all right, though I wonder if anything will ever be all right ever again.

Soon, I too, must do the same, and we share our secret shame. After awhile, we realize that many have done what we have, and soon there is no shame in it. We don’t know how long we stand there, swaying and dozing. There is no night and no day. There is only the movement of the train and stifling closeness of the bodies.

The air grows fetid, and I feel faint, but there is no where to fall, so I remain standing. My brother becomes sick, and that simply adds to the rankness of the air. My asthma squeezes my chest, and my lungs refuse to fill. I am gasping for air, and there is no air. My brother whispers urgently at me, asking if I’m alright. I try to answer, but there is no air in my lungs to make words. I squeeze his hand and he gazes up at me, but the smile I try for won’t come. The world is slipping away. I can’t see my brother and I squeeze his hand harder. He says my name and I hear panic in his voice.

Suddenly a light appears, and I think “we are saved!”. I let go of my brother’s hand and I reach toward the light, and I am no longer constricted by the crowd in the boxcar. I find myself looking down at the mass of people crowded together, and I realize that I am dead. I try to call out to my brother, but he does not hear me. He does not know that I am dead…oh my god, I am dead! Who will care for Helmut? Who will watch out for my brother? With that thought, everything changes. My world becomes grayness, and I am alone.

Haints

My childhood home was haunted…or at least we all thought so.

When I was about twelve or so, my family and I became convinced that our house was haunted. Now we had been living there for at least seven years with no ghostly manifestations, but right around my twelfth birthday everything began to change. Books jumped off shelves even though no one was near them. Doors slammed even though there was no wind. Papers blew off desks and tables even though the windows were all closed; and footsteps could be heard climbing the stairs to the second floor even though the second story had only recently been added. Radios and TVs became filled with static and snow, and electric or battery-powered clocks and watches either slowed or stopped (and sometimes, even went backwards).

It was my father who began noticing that these events most often occurred when I was around—especially the interference with the radios and TVs and the problems with time and clocks. Obviously, what w had then was a poltergeist, not a garden-variety ghost or goblin. According to mom it was as plain as daylight—maturing child + playful ghost = poltergeist. What else could it be? Since she was the one who had read all the books, we took her word for it; after all, she was the only “expert” we had.

So, every few nights this poltergeist would thump its way up the stairs, stopping when it got to the second floor hallway. And every day my mother put up with being unable to listen to the radio in the mornings; and every day I would pick up the books and papers that ended up strewn about the various rooms. After awhile it became common place and routine and we no longer gave much thought to objects moving or being misplaced, or noises or electrical appliances not always functioning properly. It was just the way things worked in our house. That is until the day the new neighbors came to visit.

My mother was a stickler for presenting the proper face to the world, and that included inviting new neighbors over for a friendly “get-to-know-you” chat. So, here it was a beautiful Sunday spring afternoon, and instead of playing outside or sitting in my favorite tree and reading a book (one of my favorite pastimes) I was stuck inside trying to be nice to the new neighbor’s boring son. Listening to the stilted conversation of the adults, I could tell that even my father found these new neighbors stiff and pretentious. I watched him as his eyes glazed over as the pompous man droned on and on about his important job, and his expensive car, and his notable connections. My father was never impressed by that type of thing. Although my mother was (impressed by just those types of things), I could see that even she was having a tough time warming up to these people.

Suddenly, the piano, which was also in the front room, jangled discordantly. As startled gazes sped to the simple upright piano that held down the corner in the front of the room, tea cups rattled as guests hurriedly placed their services on the nearest table. My dad gave the guests a quietly crooked smile, while my mother nervously made suggestions about the wind possibly causing the noise or the cat (we didn’t have) possibly walking across the keyboard. Although the neighbors nodded, they seemed unconvinced, and suddenly had another engagement that they needed to get to.

As the guests hurried to leave, I studied the piano and for the first time an inkling of understanding began to seep in. The poltergeist had never touched the piano before, but about the time that it had jangled to life, I had been wishing that the people would leave so I could at least practice my music. Wondering if what I was suspecting was true, I scrunched up my face and stared at the piano until my eyes watered. The closing of the front door, as the guests scurried away, broke my concentration. I turned away to see my dad put an arm around my mom and reassure her that it was okay, and that our reputation in the neighborhood would be fine.

I glanced again at the piano, wondering if mom would mind if I did my practicing and that’s when the piano plunked out half a chord. My mom jumped a little, then sighed. As she began picking up the cups and dishes, she suggested that maybe if I practiced a little that the poltergeist might quiet down again.

Needing no further encouragement, I scooted over to the bench and slid in front of the keyboard. As I started running scales, I let my mind wander and I think it was at that moment that I began to suspect that the poltergeist wasn’t some phantasm linked to me and haunting the house, but was just me—my emotions and my unfocused energies/powers just running amok.

As I grew older and more accustomed to my abilities and powers, I’ve come to understand that what we called a poltergeist was me. Between my body maturing and therefore changing chemically and my abilities growing, I had lost “control” of them. So while it seemed that these occurrences were random or happening due to some outside influences, they were really just responding to my own emotional needs and “outbursts”. Unable to express myself in any other way (such as when those neighbors were visiting), my emotions expressed themselves through my abilities.

Even the thumping on the steps was my own emotionalism letting go. I’ve always had very vivid dreams and during that period of my life parts of the dreams actually “came to life”, that’s all. Now that I’ve grown up (though sometimes I feel more childlike than ever), I look back and see how easily those odd events during those few years could be misperceived. But as much fun as it was to think that our house was haunted, the only haint was me 😉

Accused

I look around at the faces surrounding me and I refuse to drop my eyes. Some meet my steady gaze with stony silence and angry eyes, but most let their eyes swing away. They stare instead at the plank floor of the town church and meeting hall.

How can they condemn me without condemning themselves? I have helped most of these families through the illnesses of fever, lung congestion, and the awful coughing sickness that took so many of the old ones. It is also I—with God’s help—who has helped them birth so many of their children.

It was not my will that Goodwife Hannah died. That was God’s decision. I did all I could for her, but the baby was breach and unwilling to come out. Goody Hannah began bleeding—just a little, at first, but soon it came faster than I could staunch it. I used all the herbs and healing techniques that I knew, but to no avail. Perhaps if I could have saved Master Goodwin’s son he would not have accused me of this preposterous and monstrous act. Yet, having lost both his new young wife and the son she tried to give him, his need to lay blame is strong, and I his primary target.

They call me witch now, and revile my name, but my family will not be shamed. Over the heads of those who now spit upon me, I see my husband as he cradles our own young son. They both smile and my heart is again eased.

The questions they ask are ridiculous, but I know I must guard my cynical tongue and answer carefully, but I am tired and my annoyance growing. I have been held now for a week, with little in the way of food or comforts, and all because the fat, old merchant refuses to take back his accusations. I can see in his eyes that he regrets what he said, yet he refuses to recant and set me free. Instead, I must sit here surrounded by those pompous members of the town council as they ask me how many others I have bewitched or enchanted.

“None!” I cry over and over, but they have already made up their minds.

I hear their verdict as though from far away, for I am concentrating on my wonderful husband. What will become of him and my beautiful son? Who will care for them? They will have to move away, I realize, or they will become outcasts.

We are now gathered in the town common, though I never even noticed when we left the church. Three of the burliest men in town hold me pinned to the damp ground, and the irony of it causes me to laugh out loud. Me, who is barely 5 rods tall and as thin as a whip, being held down by three large men—including the smithy. I cannot help myself, the laughter rolls out of me, hysterical and refreshing. Then the witch board is laid across me, covering me from chin to shin, and the laughter abruptly dies.

The other men begin to pile rocks upon the board, and my eyes seek those of my husband. I would tell him so many things, including how much I love him, but the breath will not come. The boulders press me into the hard Earth and I cannot breathe. Another boulder is laid upon the board and I feel my ribs crack.

Again, I seek my husband, but he has turned away. Is he ashamed? Does he believe me guilty? He must believe me; I love him so much…

But I die not knowing whether he believes me innocent or guilty.

Dante’s Equation

A universal wave that defines our reality…that is the key plot item to a book I just finished reading. The odd thing is, that although it’s a book of fiction, it brings together several concepts I have researched and studied for years.

If you believe some of the studies I have researched, we (as individuals) are a composite of frequencies, and one part of our individual frequencies contain the “universal frequency” of our reality. It’s what links us to this moment and this place. If we altered that link, that universal frequency, we might suddenly no longer exist in this reality. Instead, we would be in a different reality—perhaps one that is so close to our current one that we would be hard pressed to identify the differences, but it would be different.

If we alter that linking frequency in one way, we’re in an alternate reality; if we alter it another, we move from the physical plane to what? The astral plane? After all, the physical plane is only separated from the astral plane by a small shift in frequency. For instance, if all of physical reality (all the streams of physical reality that exist) exist within a frequency range of 0 – 100, then the astral plane is probably 100.1 – 200. And each reality within the astral plane is a separate frequency, just as each reality in the physical plane is a separate frequency. So, while astral matter is more pliable than physical matter, I would image that there are still some common realities that people go to in order to learn certain lessons, such as the reality of a brimstone and fire hell, and the reality of clouds and angels—how common are those? Perhaps there are realities that mimic the various realities on the physical plane, so that experiences can be reworked and revisited and the lessons learned.

But back to Earth and this reality. If the whole physical reality is in a frequency between 0 and 100, then where is our reality…50 – 52, or 48 – 50? Maybe it’s not so close to the middle, maybe it’s more skewed than that…maybe we’re closer to 35 – 37 or 60 – 62.

And what happens to the me in the reality I shift to (provided there is a me there), if I’m able to shift my linking frequency? Do we meet and cancel each other out? Does my moving into the next reality, push the me that’s there forward or backward, creating one big chain reaction of pushing ad infinitum? And if I push the me from that reality out and take her place, then when (and if) I shift back to my own reality, does the other me slip back to her world, too? My mind boggles (which is an interesting game, by the way—do we have a headache yet?)

Another concept I found in this novel that was interesting, was how the astral plane worked. Now the author didn’t call the realities where the different characters ended up the astral plane, but to me it was so obvious that no label was needed. When the protagonists were subjected to a pulse, it shifted their universal frequency link and each of them then found themselves in a world ideally suited to showing them their main life lesson.

Two found themselves in a world of wondrous technology, but what they found was that people didn’t matter, only the technology did. At first, this was great because they loved technology. However, the more they realized how little people meant, the colder and less ideal their “chosen” world seemed to them.

Another character who believed he knew what God wanted and never thought people showed enough respect (to him and to God) found himself in a world where the rules were so rigid and so strict that only blind obedience was acceptable. He soon found that this was not the type of faith that he wanted, nor the type of faith he wanted to foist onto others.

So, it went for each character, as they confronted the worst in themselves and came to realize how narrow and shallow they really were. Exactly the types of lessons you would expect to encounter in the astral planes.

Once they acknowledged the blinders that they had worn, they were able to return their individual frequencies to what they needed to be in order to return to their own reality.

Now, while the author took some liberties in the way she got them back to their own reality, and in how they actually get to the astral plane (she had them traveling to the astral plane as full physical beings), it was still a very thought-provoking and intriguing book. More than anything it makes me want to ask the author which of Nick Herbert’s publishings she has read, and what gave her the idea in the first place. I think it would be utterly fascinating to sit down and discuss some of these concepts with the author, to see where she got her ideas from, and what her feelings are about multiple realities.

So, if you love a book that will make you question and think, then I highly recommend that you read Dante’s Equation by Jane Jensen.

The Race

DCP_5540   

 I watch as raindrops rev for the race.

The official thunders his command to descend,

 

and like quicksilver lightning  they descend.

Sliding and skittering, they slip down the glass,

 

The winners rushing  toward the circle

of the puddle beneath my window.

The Sky is Falling

It’s so hot that the air hurts to breathe. I swipe a hand across my forehead, and glance fearfully toward the open window. There’s no breeze, just the steadily increasing odor of burning and the vile stench of rotten eggs.

I feel as if I’m burning up; I’ve never known it to be so hot.

I look around the small room, nervously jiggling the baby. I wish my mistress would return. The baby starts screaming again. I let it suck on my finger, but that only distracts it momentarily. It is also having difficulty breathing, and, I think, it senses my fear.

I wonder if I should risk leaving the apartment, as a slave I am bound to do what my mistress has ordered. Yet, she is not here, and the air is so thick and hot. I do not think she would want her son to suffer so.

I pace across the floor constantly looking toward the window and the noises of the frightened people I hear out in the streets. To the door, then back towards the window. I stop to look outside. I can see the shoreline in the distance. Perhaps the air will be less stifling if we go towards the sea.

I grab one of my mistress’s mantiles and toss it over my head. Perhaps covered thus, no will notice that I am a slave wandering on my own. I scurry down the stairs, the baby held close to me. Although quieter now, he is still fussy, and threatens to begin screaming again any moment.

At the exit, I pause, frightened of what I am about to do, but unable to think of any other course, I plunge out into the street. Many people are fleeing. Some are staggering further into the city, while others, like me, are heading down towards the sea.

No one is paying much attention to me, as I join a throng of what appear to be merchants and slaves. Rocks seem to come from nowhere, hitting my back, my head, my shoulders. I hunch over to protect the baby, whose breathing has the sounds of those mongrel dogs when they become too warm.

The man beside me stumbles, and I reach out to steady him. He pats my hand and we continue racing down the street, a pack of people with no class and no societal barriers. We are merely frightened people trying to survive the anger of the gods.

The air, though a bit cooler—or is it just my imagination?—is now filled with soot and ash. It is as if the gods have decided to clean a gigantic fireplace and dump the debris onto our little corner of the world. I hear a woman sobbing, and I work my way over to her, as my feet continue to find their way through the rubble that lays strewn across the roadway. A woman, clutching the hand of a small boy—perhaps five or six—sobs as she runs. When I ask her why, she explains that she has lost her other two children, and fears for their safety. I try to comfort her, but what can I say? I am only 12, I have never had children, though I would fear for my life if I let anything happen to my mistress’s son. But I do not know what it is to lose a child of my own.

We can see the bay far ahead of us, as the street wends it way downward. Suddenly, the ground is shaking violently, and we all dance and jig in an effort to stay on our feet. I look behind me where the mountain roars. Large balls of flame shoot skyward, and as I watch, these balls land on the city, which bursts into flames. Even more terrified, I grab the lady’s hand and help her back to her feet, and we begin running again.

Now the fire balls land closer and the brief spat of coolness I thought I felt is completely gone. There is only heat, ash, and fire. The smell of rotten eggs permeates the air, and that combined with the ash that still rains down takes away my breath. I cough and stumble, and those around me do likewise. Leaning against a building, my chest heaving, I realize that I haven’t heard any sound from the baby in quite some time. I look down and the baby is still, his cheeks abnormally red and rosy, he makes no sound. Surprised that he can sleep through all of this, I push on.

The ground shakes again, and I am tossed to the ground. The air is so thick, and so vile, I curl into a ball, the baby in my arms, and think, “…Just for a moment…I’ll rest just for moment.”

Gray ash, light as down covers me, and I imagine I am back home in my bed. My back against the wall of the building, I look once more at the small boy I hold and think, he is safe. I have done what I could to make sure he is safe. Then I let the darkness pull me under.