“The Parcels”

“The Parcels”

The parcels sit idle by the door, and I in the chair
Browsing bills rescued from the mailbox, notes
From no one these days to no one since even votes
For what remains from each day are meagre, a flare
Or two by email, terse reminders of a sometime love; I stare
For seconds at the ceiling and back to a tiny screen to scan what floats
Across the little window on the world; yet another memory to dote
On as I think back to when I last called, when last I was there.
Among the many scurrying to work each morning,
Earlier than need demands, too late, in fact to make a difference
To the fresh beginning in what lies before them in a day already spent
On efforts in the shower to stay awake or worse, the lint
Of days gone by still lingering since the phone rang long after warning
Bells were lost on both the dryer and clothing and none of it made sense.

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16 responses to ““The Parcels”

  1. “…notes
    From no one these days to no one since even votes
    For what remains from each day are meagre…”, made me exceedingly sad…

    And, “…a day already spent
    On efforts in the shower to stay awake or worse, the lint
    Of days gone by still lingering since the phone rang long after warning
    Bells were lost on both the dryer and clothing and none of it made sense.”, for some reason I can’t get my mind to focus on, reminded me of Beckett…

  2. Yes, I can see what you mean about Beckett, if you mean the Irish poet. It is an odd thing to me that in the present period, what I most disliked, what was the bane of existence as a university student in the 60’s, namely, the curse of the Theatre of the Absurd, a period of obsession on the part of most of my professors and their flocks in almost every English class, not to mention the same concentration on the absurdists in the Theatre Department, now comes back to me, not so much in the academic sense, but in life, itself. I have no idea what made me able to think even to comment on Beckett, Ionesco, and Pinter, and of course, the king of them all, Joyce, himself. I was never in love with any of them, found most anything having to do with their work pedestrian and entirely beneath even the guise of “interesting” literature. Even now, when I hear their names, I remember those days during which I labored to comprehend how anyone could get all that great a thrill out of discovering that we cannot communicate either with the addition of knowledge [as Joyce would have it] or the utter abandon of the same [as Beckett seemed to believe and manifest in his own life.] Of course, I never once allowed myself to disqualify my mind in the eyes of others by admitting to this intense distaste for what appeared at the time to be the ephemeral pursuit of happiness in nothingness of 60’s; I simply haboured my distemper by remaining absolutely silent on the matter unless pressed during a conversation here and there in some all-night restaurant [one of only two or three open past midnight in Lincoln, Nebraska at the time] over coffee and nothing else to do. Now, all these years later, it seems I understand something of what it was that was so unnecessarily heavy about these writers, now that I am no longer bound by the conventions of the academic life, now that it no longer matters in the light of all that I have discovered through the Light of the Revelation. I still cannot enjoy their works albeit I know that what they were expressing is a truth beyond all truth for anyone who may still be waiting of “Godot” and hoping that he doesn’t actually show up for fear of commitment.

    I hadn’t thought of it quite in these terms, but now that you mention it, the “parcels…by the door” are the works of these very writers and the ashes of the whole zeitgeist, as it looked to me then. As with just about anything, the intellectual acquisition of knowledge is one thing, but the living of such truths as one finds is quite another. Then, I could not live what it was I was learning; now, I live in precisely those terms vis-à-vis almost anyone I know or anything I do, and apparently even write about it. Just as in the poem, no matter how fresh the beginning of anything may be, “the lint Of days gone by still…” lingers “…since the phone rang long after warning Bells were lost on both the dryer and clothing and none of it made sense,” even after all these years.

  3. I think the absurdists were “playing” with the language; desperately, frantically playing with the mirror that art can turn on life ill-lived…

  4. I sensed at the time that what you have said was in fact what they were doing, but at the time, I had no evidence to back me up on my suspicion; how could I? I was only barely twenty years old, brought up in a middle class home lacking nothing in a state where nothing in particular ever happens except kids grow up there and leave, all looking for “Godot” and only looking because something of the kind was mentioned in some minor English class at one time or another….Now that I am three hundred years old, of course, the evidence is everywhere…

  5. Youth’s ignorant
    Vanities morph their way into mature
    Propensities bound for an age of
    Revulsion.

    Perchance the Light may shatter the
    Clouds and tortuous
    Storms wreak
    Salvation…

  6. Alexander, if these are your lines, I can tell you that I could hardly have said it any better myself….

    With all things considered in the balance, with the certainty of all that you and I know is coming that would prompt even the Christ to say:

    “24:19 And woe unto them that are with child, and to them that give suck in those days!
    24:20 But pray ye that your flight be not in the winter, neither on the sabbath day:
    24:21 For then shall be great tribulation, such as was not since the beginning of the world to this time, no, nor ever shall be.
    24:22 And except those days should be shortened, there should no flesh be saved: but for the elect’s sake those days shall be shortened….”

    as mentioned in Matthew, and again, in the same Book:

    “24:12 And because iniquity shall abound, the love of many shall wax cold,” and beside all this, anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear the daily wailing in the nightly news with no let-up, day after day, I feel it is safe to say that it takes everything in me, and then some to manoeuvre through each day such that I end the day with the same certitude that I had on waking, and even so, I can never really be sure not so much about what is happening but rather my own competence in interpreting for myself whatever it is I think I know. Again, in Mark, He says,

    “13:20 And except that the Lord had shortened those days, no flesh should be saved: but for the elect’s sake, whom he hath chosen, he hath shortened the days.13:21 And then if any man shall say to you, Lo, here is Christ; or, lo, he is there; believe him not: 13:22 For false Christs and false prophets shall rise, and shall shew signs and wonders, to seduce, if it were possible, even the elect. 13:23 But take ye heed: behold, I have foretold you all things.”

    it is never easy albeit never beyond reach that we take solace in having been warned both in the older Scriptures of the previous Revealed Religions as well as in the present Dispensation that it is as bad as it is, and is exactly what it is, but having said that, it is not impossible to bear and in fact with every passing year, I find that nothing touches the certitude that is only possible through the Manifestation of God no matter how utterly wrong and confused I may be at any given moment and no matter how egregious the behaviour of my fellow inmates in this world. Every time I turn around, I see another advertisement for a “Christ” in terms of claims for veracity or miraculous potentials in this or that programme, and I am not immune to the call of every least siren; I have to pray strenuously to use what I have learned throughout the years and to apply it now since it has become obvious to me that everything that came to pass in my life in the first fifty years or so, did so in preparation to face whatever the hell is going on now and from now until the day I’m gone from this world. What happens to us now is always a preparation for the future and since I am now the other side of 60, there is no “there” there in the future and so it leaves me no choice but to draw a line in the sand and say, “Take it or leave it! This is what I am and this is what I can do.” I truly sympathise and empathise and feel enormous sadness when I think of what the youth of today will have to face through the next fifty or sixty years after I am gone. Having been in the classroom for forty-two years, I can tell you that they have not been prepared in the least for what’s about to happen in this world. If you and I felt slightly confused at all about the 60’s, of course, ultimately, we made it through somehow. I don’t know about you, but I do know that had I not been found by Bahá’u’lláh when He found me, I have no doubt whatsoever that I would be dead by now after all I have seen in the past forty-some years. I feel certain that I would have drunk myself to death or drugged myself up the yang yang; luckily, I became a Bahá’í when I had just turned twenty-one and so the alcohol and drug thing never happened to me; what did happen, I cannot express simply because it would sound too greatly like hyperbole. What presently has come out through my sonnets is what I simply stowed away for use some day and long ago despaired of ever really expressing. The sonnets, if nothing else, have provided a “bang” in that regard that I truly did not expect. I did not think in the last twenty years or so that I would live to retire, so great was the strain of teaching in our public school systems and the toll it took periodically on my health, even though I loved every minute of it. Somehow, one day I woke up and had crossed the finish line.

    Fairly recently, I found the following Writing from Bahá’u’lláh, Himself, that holds within it what I have always known from the beginning but what was nonetheless an enormous blessing once I stumbled upon it. Within it, is a strength that has never failed me and a conviction that even in the face of utter ruin and confusion, I have found solace and assurance simply because, although it needs no confirmation from me, nevertheless, it in fact the evident and obvious truth to anyone who has ever known the Glory of Christ or Bahá’u’lláh:

    Whatsoever occurreth in the world of being is light for His loved ones and fire for the people of sedition and strife. Even if all the losses of the world were to be sustained by one of the friends of God, he would still profit thereby, whereas true loss would be borne by such as are wayward,
    ignorant and contemptuous. Although the author * of the following saying had intended it otherwise, yet We find it pertinent to the operation of God’s immutable Will:

    “Even or odd, thou shalt win the wager.” The friends of God shall win and profit under all conditions, and shall attain true wealth. In fire they remain cold, and from water they emerge dry. Their affairs are at variance with the affairs of men. Gain is their lot, whatever the deal. To this testifieth every wise one with a discerning eye, and every fair-minded one with a hearing ear.―Bahá’u’lláh…from a Tablet translated from the Persian―The Compilation of Compilations vol. I, pp. 153-154

    * Sa’di, Muslihu’d-Din of Shiráz (d. 691 A.H./1292 A.D.), famed author of the Gulistan and other poetical works.

  7. Those words are mine, written in response to our thread of communication here, though written for a “me” that was about 41 years old–just before I found the Light…

    Thank you for the quote from Baha’u’llah. I am familiar with it but needed a reminder…

    Speaking about what the youth of our world will suffer, I hope my forthcoming book, its message, and the forum I will have for discussion of it when it is published can help a few of those youth suffer and still Win 🙂

  8. “The sun shone, having no alternative, on the nothing new.” –—Samuel Beckett, Murphy (1938)

  9. Is that just Beckett speaking or is from one of his works?

  10. As far as I can tell, the quotation comes from the novel “Murphy” published in 1938 and featured a protagonist who appears to be working in an mental hospital and finds that the patients make more sense than anyone else he meets. It was his third novel [prose fiction] and had mixed reactions insofar as it featured what appeared to be praise of “nothingness” and seemed somewhat negative about the Irish Free State and/or the “powers that be” whether within the English or the Irish variety. I only happened to stumbleupon the quotation somewhere [I can’t remember where, now] and it stuck in me only because I had already made my comments to you about Beckett and the gang. In locating other quotations of the man, I found myself impressed with their sagacity, oddly, now that it doesn’t matter to me anymore. Again, I am convinced that it would have been impossible for me at the age of twenty or so to have had any grounds to stand on re: my attitude at the time on Beckett. It just seemed to me at the time to be a favourite “plum” for conversationalists at parties at that time and of course there was the complete worship of anything from the absurdist background in the theatre department as well as the “stream-of-consciousness” routine of Joyce et al in the English department. It always seemed to me that those who were so fond of these writers were in fact “begging the questions” of the 60’s, or, in short, felt competent only when speaking of the absurdity of life because the 60’s featured anything that downed middle class values and the previous obsession with classic literature and literary conventions as a whole. It seems to me that now I still do not actually “enjoy” the absurdist approach mainly because although the premises are correct, the conclusions–flirtations with anarchy–really leave me cold, and, of course, there needs to be some compassion shown here because if one takes out exposure to the present Revelation and Dispensation, what choice did any of them have when it came to whatever passed for the search for truth at that time.

  11. P.S. How do you use italics in the messages you post. It doesn’t seem to work for me.

  12. The word to be italicized must be surrounded by code:

    with the letter i within the carets before the words and with /i within the carets after the words…

  13. damn. The software for this blog didn’t recognize what I typed.

    You need a before the words and a after the words…

  14. damn, again…

    Well try looking below this area we type in for the HTML tags that can be used the one with carets surrounding an “i” goes before and you need the same symbol after but the “i” needs the right-slanting slash right before it…

  15. Many thanks. It’s the same method that’s used on Stumbleupon and I suppose that goes for bold print and underlining. I don’t know why I didn’t think of that.

  16. That last message was just a test.

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