Twitter Plague

“There was much of the beautiful, much of the wanton, much of the bizarre,something of the terrible,and not a little of that which might have excited disgust”.
The Masque of the Red Death-Edgar Alan Poe
Quotable Poe-week # 2 from Heretics,Lovers and Madmen website: https://hereticsloversmadmen.com

The Twitter plague came like a thief in the night spreading it’s infection, devastating vast areas of urban humanity. The population, seeking respite from human contact, locked themselves in their castellated abodes becoming an echo chamber of mean spirited wraiths. For this was a plague that infested the soul rather than the body.

I was relaxing on the park bench, admiring the majestic sweep of the weeping willow, its lower boughs drooping into the stream. I closed my eyes trying, unsuccessfully, to ignore the sounds emanating from the cell phone held by the woman sitting to the left of me. Her voice suddenly chimed ” serves you right you hypocrite, it looks good on you.” My curiosity getting the better of me, I asked what she meant by that statement. ” That so called university professor who thinks he know everything. There a video of him on Twitter crying just like a baby. ”

‘Can I see it” I asked. “I think I know the person.”

She showed me the video and I tensed for it was my favorite YouTube personality. It was then that the Twitter plague first manifested itself in my body. My heart started beating fast, my irritation towards the woman grew and I made a huge effort not to scream my derision at the stupid,inane comment she had just uttered. With an extreme effort of will I turned abruptly from the woman and made my way to my castellated abode.

Seated comfortably in my library I pressed the laptop’s on button,clicked the Twitter icon, scrolled down the tweets and yes there it was the tweet I was seeking with the video attachment. The 90 likes and 35 retweets increased my heart rate and caused my brain to throb with anger. My fingers tapped a suitable reply and I glowed with satisfaction as I reread my non refutable argument and clicked send. Over the next hour the plague quickened in my soul and fed off the negative energy I had sent and received. I became increasingly tired and drained as the diatribe continued, no side backing down, continuing to disparage the other for their lack of knowledge and insight into this important matter.

My wife shouted up the stairs ” Suppers ready.” I frowned in irritation at this disturbance wanting to unleash my hurried thoughts onto the screen before they escaped my mind. ” Suppers ready, are you up there”, my wife shouting again. Reluctantly I closed the laptop and went down stairs.

“Everything okay.”

“Why do you ask.”

“You look flushed and not yourself. Are you getting sick”

“No. Just some stupid, idiot on Twitter who is the biggest sanctimonious, hypocrite I have ever come across.”

” Oh, is that all. Is the beef cooked okay. I was trying for medium but it may be a little overdone.”

I felt myself relax as the Twitter plague began to recede, leaving my soul whole again.

“Once in a golden hour

I cast to earth a seed.

Up there came a flower,

The people said, a weed.”

Alfred Lord Tennyson,

Friends

Responding to Reena’s challenge ” # 107 using the word “Unbridgeable”
https://reinventionsreena.wordpress.com/2019/10/03/reenas-exploration-challenge-107/

Is there an unbridgeable gap that divides friendships? Where is the crossover point where friendships divide and cannot be bridged? Are friendships forever no matter the circumstances that befall us?

The reality was that I knew my place in the pecking order. Derek was the clown, always in your face with his off color jokes trying so hard to make you laugh. Steve was the wise one always stating his opinion, continually expounding on the state of the world. Rick was the negative one, pointing out the inadequacies of everyone we met and dissing every person that ever lived. Which leaves me, the quiet one, the listener, the one who doesn’t like confrontation, the one who just nods his head in affirmation to the continual barrage of sound directed his way. The one who can be molded into the image of the friends he surrounds himself with

Being the quiet one doesn’t mean that my head is empty. There are all kinds of thoughts being processed as I listen to the ramblings of my friends. I wish Derek would just shut up with his off colored jokes, they’re not very funny. What does Steve really know about the world, everything he learns is from social media. Rick is giving me a gigantic headache with his constant negativity. Why can’t he say something positive for once. See I have a lot going on in my head. But we’ve been friends since grade one and friends put up with each other and stick together.

As the four of us swaggered down the street, listening to Derek’s latest off colored joke about a prostitute and a politician, the rain started. We sprinted for cover into the nearest doorway shaking our heads like wet dogs, wiping our hair to prevent the drips streaming down our face. So it was a few moments before Steve commented on the ragged bundle laying in the corner, clutching a brown paper bag and snoring loudly.

Rick never missing an opportunity took a few steps, crouching down to examine the snoring specimen and exploring the contents of the paper bag, an empty wine bottle. He lit a cigarette, took a deep drag and exhaled the smoke into the bundle of rags. Receiving no response Rick looked up, gave us an inquiring look, flicked his lighter and held the flame to the paper bag. The bag instantly burst into flame causing Rick to leap away, Derek to laugh hysterically, Steve to stare with fascination and I to leap forward and attempt to quash the flames with my foot. Rick grabbed the back of my collar and jerked me back, forcing me out of the doorway and into the rain.

The flames from the paper bag started to dim but random sparks made their way onto the bundle of rags, the homeless man twitched but continued to lay there snoring away. The sparks started to smolder, igniting his sleeve, small flames beginning to flicker up his arm. We all stared fascinated by the glow. Breaking out of my trance I pushed Rick aside. Reaching for the flaming bundle I heaved it along the ground out into the rain. The steady down pour quickly doused the flames and woke the homeless man. He stared around in bewilderment. Steve, Derek and Rick giving me a dirty look kicked the bundle of rags in the side as they strolled out of the doorway. I gave them a guilty look, shrugged my shoulders, gave the bundle of rags a double kick and followed my friends in search of another shelter from the rain. Derek broke the silence ” Have I told you the one about the French maid and the butler.”

Agape

This is my fictional response to a prompt from hereticsloversmadmen blog. Week #1 of “quotable poe week.” I have used extracts from Poe’s wonderful poem “The Raven.”
https://hereticsloversmadmen.com/2019/10/04/quotable-Poe-week-one-m-a-morris/

If the road to hell is paved with good intentions then I have built a super highway to speed me on my way. My intentions were pure as I initially stepped on the path that I hoped would lead me to God. I prayed, meditated, contemplated,read all the mystics, followed their advice of mortification, purgation and detachment. Never looking to the heavens for my God but searching inward, ever inward. I started to revile my body as an inadequate vessel for the soul. No matter how much I lash and starve my body into submission the lustful,sinful temptations of the flesh remain. No matter how much I pray and center my mind I am denied entry into God’s presence .

I love so much and yet am denied the object of my love. Is it because Eros’s arrow still pierces my heart, blinding me to that other love which is agape. I know that God loves me, ” God so loved the world that he gave his only son”. In those few words I have written proof of God’s love for me and I have striven to return it. God isn’t listening.

It’s mid-night, I stretch my arms and stifle a yawn as I try to concentrate on the words of “the Living Flame of Love: St. John of the Cross.” Glancing into the mirror beside my chair I see a grim, ghastly, gaunt apparition staring back at me. But it is only a body. My body may be emaciated but my will is still striving to stir my soul. I fall to my knees and cry out to receive God’s grace, for God to have mercy on me, to release me from this dark night, to ease my soul so sorrow laden.

“Tell me truly I implore. Is there balm in Gilead. Tell me , tell me, I implore. ”

So here I sit in despair. Recognition dawning of my wasted years of searching, knowing that I will nevermore find the grace of God if I continue on this path.

Deep into that darkness peering, long I stood there, wondering, fearing, doubting, dreaming dreams no mortal ever dreamed before.

A splash of color entered the darkness, a caterpillar was crawling on a branch, munching hungrily through the leaves, trying to assuage its voracious appetite. The caterpillar stopped eating for a moment, turned its head in my direction and winked.

A Cockney Angel

Shout out to mbrazfieldm at Words Less Spoken for giving me the following idea from her blog
https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/156180627/posts/1711
She wrote in part of an angel named Hortance, a Mae West look alike, who spoke with a Cockney accent.

I weren’t much of a looker. Me face being a bit pinched, dark circles under me eyes and I ‘ad this ‘orrible wart on me chin. But I ‘ad a generous ‘eart. I used to give to the poorest of the poor. Blokes who needed me but couldn’t afford the ready.

They’d say “Liza, I got an urgent need, but me ship ain’t come in yet. ‘Ow about yer take care of me and I’ll say a prayer fer yer. I’ll put in a word for yer to that geezer up there. Tell ‘im of your kind ‘eart.”

I’d say ” ‘Ow can a girl with a kind ‘eart refuse yer, when yer willing to do me such a big favor, and yer ‘ave such a need. So we’d do the business and after, I liked to fink, they’d go ‘ome and not beat on their old ladies.”

I’d run into Meg crumpled over in the alley. She was kneeling in piss and vomit, moaning an clutching ‘er belly. I knelt beside ‘er and put me arm gently round ‘er shoulder.

” Wat’s wrong luv. ” I asked.

“Me trick, didn’t like me touch. Said I didn’t know me business and wouldn’t pay. So I put me ‘ands in ‘is pocket and took what’s owed. ‘E gave me such a thump in me belly and boxed me ears and scarpered. I pissed me self and vomited me steak and kidney pud I ‘ad for supper and now ‘ere you are me sweet Liza. Yer a saint, yer are, and no denying. I’m saying a prayer for yer while I’m still on me knees, yer such a comfort to poor old Meg”.

I saw the two starved young’uns eyeing the barrow. Eyeing the barrow man’s every move. When ‘e was distracted by a customer they made their move. Scarpering past the barrow and scooping two apples. The barrow man ‘adn’t seen ’em, but some nosy git grabbed ’em by the neck and yelled thieves. They both frew the apples in ‘is face which made him let go as ‘e tried to shield ‘imself with his ‘ands. They took off. I saw ’em ten minutes later trying the same trick on the other side of Spitalfields. I ‘ad a whole shilling to me self, due to me good luck with a bloke feeling generous, so I went up to the barrow boy and bought two apples. A penny each. I took em over and ‘anded em to the kids. Save yerselfs the bovver I says. They snatched the apples from me ‘ands and said God Bless yer missus and scarpered.

I ‘adn’t seen Sally for a while so I fought I’d pay ‘er a visit. I knocked on ‘er door but there was no answer, so I went in. She was laying on ‘er bed looking proper poorly. A stink came from ‘er as she was layin in ‘er own fluids. She was feverish and tossin from side to side. I looked for some water, but there weren’t any. So I took the bucket down to the pump and filled it, eaving it back to Sally’s ‘ouse. I undressed ‘er and washed ‘er body. Luckily she ‘ad another shift to put on. I turned the mattress over and put on a dry sheet. I stayed with ‘er four days till the fever broke, caring for ‘er, washing ‘er face and forcing down sips of water. On the fourth day she smiled at me and said I fought yer were an Angel looking over me. I smiled back, stroked ‘er face and went ‘ome feeling done in.

I took to me bed, feeling a bit queer. Next fing I knew there was white light all around me. Some voice echoed ” welcome to ‘Eaven but yer work ain’t dun. I’m sending yer back as me Cockney Angel.”

So ‘ere I am back in the East End.

There goes Peg with her bottle of gin again. I whispered in ‘er ear. ” The babies crying Peg dear why don’t yer put the bottle dahn and see to ‘im. ” She paused, frowned and listened.

The Child is Father of the Man

Reena’s exploration challenge # 106. Write a piece using the theme paradox.
https://reinventionsreena.wordpress.com/2019/09/26/reenas-exploration-challenge-106/

They argued all day. Non-stop. On and on and on.

They argued with each other. With family, neighbors, co-workers, authority.

A constant spate of negativity gushed from their mouth.

“I should have married Alberto, he was more of a man than you could ever be”

“You weren’t so much of a catch yourself. You practically threw yourself at me. Nobody else wanted you”

“Mom always loved you the best. You were her little pet.”

“You always got away with everything and he always blamed me.”

“My dog can pee anywhere he wants. Don’t tell me what I can and can’t do.”

“Stop harassing me for money. Get a job you loser”

Two people trying to gain control by hammering others into submission.

Christopher was raised in this toxic environment. When very young he would cry in frustration and bewilderment at the noise, the angry faces, the lack of love and comfort. Over time he began to retreat to his room, close the door,stuff cotton wool into his ears and try to envelope himself in silence. As he grew into independence he would escape into quiet places and savor the silence.

He found a job and left home and his parents behind. The paradox is that he became a respectful listener, patient and attentive to the concerns of others. In this case two wrongs did make a right.

My Heart Leaps Up

My heart leaps up when I behold
A rainbow in the sky:
So was it when my life began;
So is it now I am a man;
So be it when I shall grow old,
Or let me die!
The Child is father of the Man;
And I could wish my days to be
Bound each to each by natural piety.

William Wordsworth

How Do We Define value

Responding to Reena challenge #105. Write a piece using the phrase ” only if I knew it then”
https://reinventionsreena.wordpress.com/2019/09/20/reenas-exploration-challenge-105-wistfulness/

Only if I knew it then.

I was never good at economics. I always went for people over monetary considerations. Where other people would see dollar signs I would see a person in need. I was content with food and shelter……and perhaps a few books. I married and found another kind of existence. My wife would assign a value to household goods that we were willing to sell on and I would debate and then give them away for free. How do we define value?

Some children of wealthy parents are expected to follow a certain path. It’s the child’s choice. Conform and follow the path or be a starving artist and suffer the consequences. The path of economic stability always wins out. How do we define value?

An ancient oil painting is valued at $100 million, a movie star’s mansion is valued at $50 million, a subway stop- about a ten minute walk-is valued at $2 billion, army and defense $ untold billions. Yet people are homeless, live in tent cities, have addiction problems etc. etc. etc. How do we define value?

I was reading Charles Bukowski ” The Post Office” an interesting book, definitely not great literature. He always felt that he needed to bring sex into a book for publication. You could tell in later life he regretted this, but at the time he felt this held great economic value and so he gave in to the economic gods. How do we define value?

We are all trying to survive the best way we can. People with dollar signs in their eyes seem to have the most material comforts. Others who see a different path struggle to survive. Who has the most value, the corporate elite, political elite, YouTube bloggers, movie stars, the 1%, the 99%, starving artists and the list goes on. How do we define value?

What do we consider a life well lived? Following our dream, family get togethers, material wealth, exploration of the soul, survival at all costs. How do we define value?

Only if I knew it then…….. I would still choose people over monetary considerations.

For what does it profit a man, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?

Mathew 16:26-27

The Bluebird of Happiness

Responding to Reena Saxena’s Exploration Challenge #104. My selection “amidst the noise, smoking and loud talking.
For full prompt go to:
https://reinventionsreena.wordpress.com/2019/09/12/reenas-exploration-challenge-104/

We all search for the blue bird of happiness as it flits further and further from our vision. We strive to capture this blue bird so that we may imprison it in a gilded cage for our entertainment. We like its sweet song. Except once imprisoned it refuses to sing and we are left lonely and isolated. If what makes us happy is alcohol, drug dependency, gossip and social media, perhaps we are the ones in the guilded cage imprisoned by our dependencies. It’s a cruel world where we cope with economic survival, family upheaval, bad lifestyle choices, political malaise and fragile bodies. These forces change us and tend to bury our true nature. We have to break free. Happiness cannot be captured and put in a cage but has to fly free so that we can observe it in sudden tranquil moments amidst the noise of life.

As Charles Bukowski so eloquently expressed in his poem Bluebird ” there is a bluebird in my heart that wants to get out.” We put on a fake persona for the world and do not truly understand our heart or if we do are too frightened to set it free. We should not let others dictate our actions. We must learn to express what is in our heart and set it free. It’s going to be a wonderful day when that happens.

Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah Zip-A-Dee-A
My oh my what a wonderful day

O plenty of sunshine headed my way
Zip-A-Dee-Doo-Dah Zip-A-Dee-A

Mister blue bird on my shoulder………

Oscar winning song from Disney’s “Song of the South”
The Bluebird - Charles Bukowski (1920-1994)

There’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I’m too tough for him,
I say, stay in there, I’m not going
to let anybody see
you.
 
there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I pour whiskey on him and inhale
cigarette smoke
and the whores and the bartenders
and the grocery clerks
never know that
he’s in there.
 
there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I’m too tough for him,
I say,
stay down, do you want to mess
me up?
you want to screw up the works?
you want to blow my books sales in
Europe?
 
there’s a bluebird in my heart that
wants to get out
but I’m too clever, I only let him out
at night sometimes
when everybody’s asleep.
I say, I know that you’re in there,
so don’t be
sad.
 
then I put him back,
but he’s singing a little
in there, I haven’t quite let him
die
and we sleep together like that
with our secret pact
and it’s nice enough to
make a man
weep, but I don’t
weep, do
you?