Searching for a Spontaneous Apocalypse

July 3, 2008 · Print This Article

Searching for a Spontaneous Apocalypse

I wrote “Searching for a Spontaneous Apocalypse” for a summer school class in 1999 when I was a graduate student at the University of South Florida.  The assignment was to take one book of the Bible and depict it artistically (painting, poem, short-story, collage, etc).  I chose to write a short-story in spontaneous prose style about the events of the Book of Revelations set in present time.  I wrote it all in one sitting, taking about 6 hours, maybe less, between the hours of 9pm and 3am.

I consider it to be my very best writing, and not just because it received extremely high praise from the professor of the class.  This work came at the height of my long creative period at the end of the 90’s when my mind was focused and spilling out words almost constantly.  I believe it to very closely reveal how I actually think and perceive the world in my own mind. (some exerts from the story are real)

This story is best read all in one sitting, which will take about 15 minutes.




            Long hours spent alone at night

allow for ample time to explore all thoughts in mind and

uninterrupted thinking is only slowed by sadness that is being constantly fought against.  To all

poets on Sunday nights, the world seems particularly sad.  Others enjoy “family night” or feel a

sickness well up in them as their work week—which kills them—comes onto their horizon

again.  Sad poets contemplate the nature of reality and at once realize the tragic nature of it all,

and then think its all love too.


           Anyway, having

recently read the Book of Revelation for kicks and possibly finding cool new

quotes to use as my answering machine’s outgoing message, imagine:  “Behold, I

am alive for ever more.  I am the Alpha and the Omega——leave a message at

the beep,” I was betting how I, like anyone else, could go out looking and “see”

the apocalypse coming in my own time.  All those seals being open on strange

orange skied nights, then crazy bellowing sounds coming down the orange rays

unto all our ears.  Surely if sixteenth century New Englanders in their

no-dancing nights could think they saw all this coming, I in hot, mad dinful

late 20th century nights could have no trouble thinking I see them too.  A

little frog friend is sitting beside me now, staring at the same swelling moon,

quietly like me too, not like most other humans, always busy making noise, using

things that make noise, she (he?) and I contemplators of the night, quiet but

not, I thinking on the END of the world, he, perhaps on the tragicness of being

reborn as a toad, humbly waiting for another chance to be reborn human. 


     Lying in my

cushiony-recently rotated-mattress dreaming not of sugar plumbs dancing, but if

I can see the seals being broken, and of trumpets booming in ominous skies of

disappearing stars.  Real dreams are actually of meeting the loveliest

red-haired girl, with gentle soy-milky skin and faint freckles, her limbs are so

long and slender.  We are supposed to be in a play together, its opening night,

and I realize I don’t know my lines, then I realize I never even read the

script!  I prepare the lie that I can go out to my car and get the script if I

need to, who knows if its actually there, then everyone goes on stage and

realizes we have never actually rehearsed, except only I really realize this,

everyone else confused—stalls, while I sit next to the darling red-haired girl

and we get sweet together, and puts her womanly small hands on my cheek or mine

on hers who knows.  This beautiful dream is interrupted by my bladder’s constant

need of attention, dragging my carcass back to the pillow tops, I do dream of

the END time.  Great masses of people running around, I just standing in the

middle of a street digging how cool the end of everything is going to be.  Who

wants to ever have to work again anyway? 


     So how do I go about finding

this white horse with its Son rider, morning breaks and having no job to

slavishly go to, why not find my own apocalypse?  A morning (really afternoon,

late wake up times are necessary because what does one do with all that morning

time anyway, just go back to sleep friends) of driving along car commercial

roads through not so tainted by humans land.  Worthwhile labor for any day, and

when I come upon the white horse, I shall scribble in my pocket

notepad—-Behold, the first seal is opened, I have found the white horse!  The

rider is there too, but naturally invisible, as no one can look upon the Son in

all his glory, with a face like the Sun, I would need that special eclipse

viewing box device, which I don’t have with me, so no looking at the SO/UN

anyway.  Lovely sagging fruit stands abound the shoulders of this travel route

with such interesting character to them—stopping at one is like meeting a

strange old man who knows everything and everyone that happened in this county

for the past 100 years.  A nice snack of probably pesticide covered apple,

grapes, and seven strawberries mixed with homemade country-woman-made lemonade

are my nourishment.  All locals at the stand, though not staring at the aspiring

apocalyptic seer.  Kind of attractive woman is handling some tomatoes, I too

cowardly to keep eye contact, looking for a horse anyway. 


     Spot a grand, wide, field

that one likes to remember one ran through as a youth but never actually did. 

Horses are upon it, of course its separated off by a barbarous barbed-wire

fence, but remembering Native American belief that no one can own the land, I

find a low spot, stack some rocks, and hop over.  All the youthful dreams are

here, vast volumous cumulus clouds floating blimp-like, lone trees with umbrella

like branches, high wheat-straw plants at hip height to run through and small

hills purposely placed in arrangement leading to a pond with for certain one

large mysterious car-sized hidden snapping turtle only mythically spotted by

your grandfather’s boyhood friend back in ’88, 1888 that is. 


     Horses are hanging out near

the top of an erotic hill and the bottom of a teardrop tree.  I always have this

feeling of wanting to run, so I do, not full stride, but fast, with arms

naturally outstretched at my sides skimming the tops of the weed-wheat-grass. 

How can all this end with awful plagues and sores and bloody fire? 


     I know these horses are my

friends, but they may not, so long enslaved by humans, carrying such huge

burdens with only small sugar cubes as reward for their unasked for but not

resisting toils.  We ask so much from these dear animals, yet they ask for

nothing in return and loyally continue giving in to whatever abuse we want to

lay upon them.  They should be more weary of me, an enslaver-human, as I

approach, but they have been broken, or maybe they know I am a friend just

casually looking for the opening of the first seal.  I walk between them

silently letting them know I acknowledge the suffering they endure, like all

creatures.  Long lashing tails stir and snorts and shuffling hooves is what I

have found, but none of them belonging to a potentially seal breaking white

horse.  All my equestrian friends are dark, like the sky is getting to be. 


     I’m going about this all

wrong.  Rough, well traveled asphalt has played with my tires this soothing hum

and hhhummm, and realized none of these crazy other century seers went looking

for seals and trumpets among obvious places.  How stupid of an idea to go look

for a pale horse among a field of horses.  Methodology is all wrong, just relax,

go on as usual, wake up in those afternoon-mornings, have a breakfast that takes

soooo long, especially while still drying from a routine shower that only washes

dirt or something off, no relief from any other sufferings, at least don’t feel

greazy afterwards, one less ill feeling.  Run the usual double time taking

errand that really doesn’t need to be done, but lo’, one must do something

during one’s day to feel useful.  How awful it is not to be able to do the best

thing which is nothing, which is no-thing.  All this has been called slacking

when young people do it, resting when you get older.  So no slacking this week,

seals are sought for and trumpets of doom blowing, and maybe a nice faint

freckled red-haired girl too. 


     The most awful feeling is

waking up.  Another day to brush teeth, hair, move things around, eat things,

sit on things, all with no reason told why we should bother to do so.  If the

future is already determined, why bother doing anything?  Maybe I am starting to

understand.  Neighbors always have people coming and going with very important

drinking to do and get too, or parties to be set in motion, all grand things to

them.  Behold, today the cropped haired baggy panted roommate has been driven

back by a random blonde with the letters of Greece that she has never seen on

her chest, and they arrive on the white horse!  She drives a white Ford Bronco,

seek out not the seals, for I shall deliver the seals unto thee, and now the

first seal of my own personal searching for apocalypse has been opened!  The Son

is really driving the white horse, invisible inside the blonde.  Anyone can find

an apocalypse. 


     All are supposed to have

either the mark of the Beast (money?) on them or the seal of God.  How easy it

is to see all with the mark of the Beast.  Thomas Merton said he was afraid to

own anything for fear of the harm it might have caused the person who made it or

the suffering of the obtaining of its parts.  This is such a fundamentally

important fear for consumers to have right now, but behold, the consumers,

especially in America, are fearless consumers.  Tools of the advertising

agencies on Madison Avenue, responding faithfully to anything they want to

sell.  Hence I look for the mark of the beast as not necessarily money, but the

useless products money lets the slaves buy.  Three 20-ish aged men walk past me,

each with his own pager and digital phone, all having wind-test tunnel hairdo’s,

displaying the finest animal carcass composed shoes, belts, and the gaudy gold

rings, necklaces, and bracelets humans adorn themselves with, because we are

jealous of animals’ brilliant colors; us, a plain looking animal with no

adornments but hair can’t have lowly animals looking flashier than we are.  All

these I see as the mark of the beast.  Look closer and see the display of the

tall one’s phone, I am sure all incoming and outcoming numbers begin and end

with 666.  Stopping along for some food, our three heroes again care not for the

suffering what they are about to eat may have caused, as they in celebration

order more carcass to fill their insides, having plenty on the outside already. 

Such unseen suffering, dearest Merton would be aghast.  Perhaps the mass

slaughter of the witnesses is already occurring, and its falling on the heads of

all non-human animals used as nourishment and consumer products. 


     The opening of the second

seal is done, the glowing winged-red horse of Mobil on the corner is the signal

that the taker of peace hath been unsealed.  This I notice as I hesitantly feed

my auto with gasoline, having places to go (not really) I figure its necessary. 

The red horse is all over, on the pump, the street sign, the cashier’s shirt

inside.  Again the rider is invisible, but the virgin blood red horse is

gruesome enough to look spookily upon.  Handing over my cash, the doomed

attendant asks me if I want anything else, I think to tell him I have just

discovered the second seal of my very own apocalyptic scavenger hunt.  Only

instead I say, nope, glance at the secret world behind the counter, and cut out

of there. 


     Crossing a street like a New

Yorker, not waiting for the traffic to clear, but instead darting dangerously

between the passing speeders like a running back slicing through linebackers. 

Feeling now like I have learned how to easily go about spotting the rest of the

things I need to in order to SEE mine own apocalypse of 1998, I brush up against

a wall and scribble into my notebook—Found the red horse at Mobile, seal #2

opened.  All the past dreamers of the apocalypse must have had to work so much

harder than I to discern enough events to make millennial boasts.  In a city

with a billion things, all on the move, stand still long enough and the horses

of the seals will gal-LOP right on your feet!  


     Inside this store, having

entered avoiding the automatic doors, don’t want machines doing everything for

me, thick oily air sticks in my throat from the toxic snack bar where its beyond

comprehension how people eat there.  Now, a brown jacketed man, grimacing at his

watch, and pondering the deep-fried choices, when once his mother used to

prepare him his own special little lunch sandwich, with the crusts all neatly

cut off, settles for himself to have the best seven week old oil can cook up. 

Thumbing over some books across from the electronics section I sense the

opportunity to note further my observance of the END time.  TV’s all lined like

lights on a string flash the image of the Secretary of Agriculture, donned in a

black suit.  To him I allocated the opening of the 3rd seal, a black horse with

a rider that has the power to cause a grain famine.  This man shall withhold the

grain, as our mother’s used to withhold cookies from us in pre-dinner time

afternoon hours.  “You will spoil your dinner.” 


     Carry over into a night.  No

chance for star gazing, an unexpected dusk rain storm has clouded over the sky,

the pavement still somewhat moist and free of pebbles and little ants.  The

night should be a bright one, only a day’s time away from the full-moon. 

Closing time at all the cities taverns, people sloshing around the last sip of

their toxic beverages, pushing stools back under bars where people spilled ashes

and words.  Charles Mattery is strolling his old legs along the sidewalk,

typical for him on nights when he can’t sleep, I often see him peddling about in

no particular direction as I return my fixation to the stars and straining to

smell the scents of night blooming plants.  All this on a darker night than a

city should have, but all the easier to see bright objects.  Bouncing around in

the mind for awhile, flashing my eyes open to notice the 4th seal, and its pale

horse and unseen rider, though known by everyone as Death, especially

unnoticeable in this bleak black night.  The leering numinous of a commercial

jet’s body substitute for the pale horse’s flank, and unretracted landing gear

gallop across the ether as hooves would upon the wooden covered bridges where

Death would normally ride hoping to find a lonesome traveler. 


     Quick notepad entry, have

spotted the 4th seal, look for others to come quicker now, for once one has seen

the arrival of Death, no need remains to be hesitant or afraid of what one may

find next. 


     Bentingly, the movie complex

larger in size than towns in Mexico (but infinitely smaller in life) is

surrounded by angered attendees because the mad projector operator, too

preoccupied with talking to his sweetheart about the pleasure of gazing into her

doe eyes over the phone, did not notice the overheating projector, until the

manager with yellow short sleeved shirt and unmatching brown tie burst  into the

booth and maniacally told him the film is burning!  So 200 have been sacrificed

so that he may have an extra seven minutes of magickal time mouthing to his soft

doe that his mind thinks of her all the time in the day (and especially while at

work).  Weaving and excusing my way through this entrance clogging mass of

martyrs, the 5th seal is opened.  They all want vengeance, they all get free

passes instead.  Note—martyrs spotted wanting vengeance, not getting it, fifth

seal is opened. 


     My ticket, secured in hand,

wondering if the projectionist in my booth has a secret doe


eyed beauty too.  Within the

first act of the movie I witness the events that mark the opening of the sixth

seal, an earthquake, a meteor crashing into the earth, which topple


mountains and wash islands under

water respectively.  Booming into the night of the day, where past seers had to

experience the real shaking of the earth’s crust opening up and being shattered,

the modern apocalyptic seer only has to venture into a multiplex and view these

events unfolding.  Actual earth needs not to be moved by the Spirit of God, but

instead God just acts in movie producers, directors, and special effects artists

and the events of the sixth seal are created in the Hollywood celluloid world. 


     On the way out, I see that

the hands of the martyred movie goers have been stamped, the seal of God has

been placed on them, as was supposed to happen between the opening of the sixth

and seventh seals.  Preparing for the seven trumpet booming blasts, I check

directions to this airstrip putting on a performance tomorrow.


     After a solid, restful ten

hours of sleep, worth it, but made me late for the necessary departure time to

avoid having to drive madly.  So I drive insanely through lanes and between cars

who are in no particular hurry, enjoying the scenes, no apocalyptic recording

notepad in their glove box.  Following the open lane of clouds in the sky, on

paths that birds migrate from in search of more hospitable climates that shrink

each time a storm passes, I see again the desolate shacks and houses that

populate roads on the interior country.  Feeble structures that must be strong

somehow, for many storms of excessive gale winds blow through each summer,

frightening dogs first, then children, lastly the weather forecasters, because

they know its just nature letting off some steam because she’s angry we pollute

her oceans with the waste we don’t dare to touch once it leaves our bodies. 

Circling the grass pressed parking lot, slipping into a nice space by the

tenderness of a tree that doesn’t often get company, hopping out, having to

reach back in for very important notepad to make note of the trumpet blasts, cuz’

see when those above top secret (twenty years ago) jets fly by and break the

sound barrier, each time a trumpet will sound, and the seventh seal, the final

signaler of God’s wrath coming upon the hapless earth before the new heavenly

kingdom will be established on its washed with blood and cleaned with blood

surface, will be opened. 


     A jet rockets

by—BOOM—the first trumpet sounds, and I look for the hail and fire mixed

with blood that is to fall on the earth, that will kill the poor trees and

grass, and I see it.  The revelers are around a spit which hath skewered a pink,

curly-tailed cross-eyed pig friend.  As the searing orange, blue, and yellow

flames rise into his flesh, and the blood is boiled out of its corpus, it falls

back unto the earth, and so there is fire mixed with blood falling that does

kill the grass below it, completely.  And all the trees around weep and bend

over in sadness.  All this noted.  The next trumpet is sounded, another plane

breaking the sound barrier with a crack, nature’s way of warning humans that

they should not travel that fast.  The warning is true, as the plane explodes

and loses its nose piece, which catches fire and pummels into the sea of old

tires in junkyard below, leveling a third of them killing a third of all the

rats, and cats, and mice that lived in them.  Noting this event, the third

trumpet sounds, a great clump of mud and oil being readied for disposal is

instead dropped clear into the septic tank of the neighboring property, the sole

drinking source has now been contaminated by 33%. 


     The fourth trumpet, which is

to block out a third of the sunlight, moonlight, and starlight, comes as a wave

of planes zoom low overhead, with their huge vapor cloud trails bellowing out

their supersonic tailpipes, and this smog partially blinds everyone from the

sun.  See how modern technology easily allows for identifying signs of the

apocalypse, how could poor apocalyptic date setters of the fifteenth century

listen for the sound of the trumpets without the benefit of convenient air shows

continuously providing the sounds of the seventh seal.  How convincing

charismatic seers must be today in declaring the END to be at hand.  With no

charisma at all, I can lamely cite examples from Revelation that exist today, so

imagine the sway of individuals with true insight into making modern connections

with John’s revelations. 


     The same smoke quagmire that

blotted out the sun, also signifies the 5th trumpet as the clogging dust

particles settle upon the crowd like pestering locusts, for five minutes the

crowd is tortured by their attack.  This time, the seal of God is the gas masks

air show promoters have at the ready to protect from the locusts, while all the

unmarked suffer without hope of death.  (not that smoke inhalation is that

painful)  In this time of confusion for the crowd, grills are knocked over

spilling fire and hot embers (sulfur) onto others, as another M-16 scuttles

overhead with its own boom, the sixth trumpet.  I have since retired to a nearby

wooded area far enough to not be affected by the plagues, but close enough to

note them into my ever ready pocket notepad.  The final, seventh trumpet is not

sounded by a passing plane, but is the booming voice of the air show coordinator

declaring that the smoke and smog will be cleared soon, and a new show will be

established.  The last seal has now been fully opened.  There remains, however,

the matter of the vials, but the ills of modern society once again demonstrate

how all the vials have already been poured out.


     Those with the mark of the

Beast shall be given sores when the first vial is poured unto the earth, and

cutting along amongst a number of a crowd of people and many inflicted

individuals, though attempting to hide it at their best, will display the sores

from herpes on their partially in-folded lips.  Or look to those who chew on

tobacco, these individuals too are afflicted with sores, as they place large

pinches of caustic brown leaves between their gums and lips to chew and spit

onto the earth as the first vial was also spit onto the earth.  Sores appear

eating away to the bone, the flesh of those such marked.  Writing hastily in my

notebook now, the sights of all the vials manifest in my quicksilver thinking

mind.  The second vial is poured into the sea and kills EVERYTHING.  The tons of

toxic waste from nuclear weapons being built to protect us from others mass

weapons, this by-product is yet another danger compiled onto the weapons own

explosiveness.  The vast seas are replenished no more with pure rain from the

looming heavens above, instead acidic rains raise the banks of these swollen

entities back up onto the shores of our homes.  As each salty sea molecule is

replaced with its toxic counterpart, all life within it will soon come to an

end.  Similarly, when the third vial is poured into the rivers and fountains to

turn them into blood, any nuclear waste that isn’t dragged all the way to the

edge of the sea, is conveniently misplaced into an accommodating river, and the

waters turn to blood with the deaths of stoutly salmon, grazing egrets, and

splashing otters. 


     The fourth vial, poured on

our sun, are own star, which shall procure burns unto the people, caused by the

chemicals jettisoned and aerosoled into the skies toward the sun, plaguing our

own atmosphere terminating the layers of atmosphere that surround us to keep

humankind from being terminated by the powerfully emitted rays of our sun, now

the vial is poured, and exposure in our sun causes us to burn, instead of simply

warming our unblemished skin.  The fifth vial, poured unto the throne of Satan,

to make him gnaw his tongue, is the pollution of lies that has poured over all

the seats of government, causing all our leaders to gnaw their own tongues when

forced to have to tell the truth.  And the sixth vial, most mysterious of all,

pouring out into the Euphrates river allowing the passage of three kings.  Our

great Euphrates is the Great Milky Way galaxy, clouded with star dust blocking

the sight of our planet to all others, but upon the sixth vial being poured into

it, three alien races can now discover our unprotected planet, and lay waste to

it if they desire so. 


     The final plague of the

seventh vial, which is poured into the air causing the largest quaking of the

earth’s surface and hail to fall upon the people, is the launching of

intercontinental ballistic missiles with twelve nuclear warheads each to descend

from the skies, rocket into the earth splitting cavernoulsly open, sending

tremendous dust particles into the sky, that will settle mildly back toward the

ground, but will in fact fall harshly on all the people below. 


     So this is how I was able to

formulate mine own events in the late twentieth century that would allow for the

interpretation of the Book of Revelation to indeed be at a near time.  All my

past companion apocalyptic seers, most so sure their interpretations were so

correct, were all erroneous, as I expect to be, simply because too easily one

can formulate and manipulate, and make malleable any time’s events into the

shape of the apocalypse, or anything else for that matter.  Every time an

ominous sky approaches, I pause for a second to think that the end of the world

may be approaching, only to be alive yet again the next day.  So shall we all

pass in some way from this earthly existence, and perhaps we shall all be alive

again, for ever more.


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