Ode to Christ The King

“Fond” wouldn’t be the word to describe it, really.

No, “despised” would most likely be a better fit. But still, as a place, it became firmly enmeshed in my soul as the years wore on. My experiences within it built upon themselves to create in my mind, not only a place, but also a metaphorical landscape for all my nightmares to play out. A stage, so to speak, for my mind to desperately sift through all its fears, anxiety and desires.

As such, it is fond to me. Or it was, at any rate.

Years of physically attending both the church and the school, I was well acquainted with each nook and corner by the time I graduated from the 8th grade and altar boy servitude. I knew of every hidden closet, every community-less community room, every darkened corner behind the school gymnasium stage. In short, I knew every portion of both buildings where an overtly shy little boy could go to get lost from the rest of the large, loud and scary world. A world that would surely eat such a boy who was so weak, demure and unsubstantial, destroying him well before it would ever accept him.

True, that boy did grow, becoming a man. Maybe not a strong man, but a man none the less. And while he left that place, the place never left him. No, the place returned every night, serving as the previously mentioned backdrop to his annoyingly trivial nightmares. Every. Damned. Night.

It didn’t take me too long before I realized, in order for the nightmares to end, the buildings had to end first. Of course! They needed to be removed from this world all together. Hell, maybe it was even a mission from God, a way that I could help other shy little boys to also escape.

So I burned them down.

Right down to the very last kneeler. Right down till every stage drape and Formica-covered desk top were mere bubbling puddles. Right down till the roof above the pass-through between the two buildings was lying forlorn between two dead piles of ash and soot.

I burned those mothers all the way down.

Sadly, the nightmares haven’t stopped yet. And now, their backdrop is new; one of smoke and ash, instead of brick and mortar. One where my little mind no longer has anywhere to hide. Outside of my dream world, I too now have a new backdrop. I’m not sure why, but it never once dawned on me that what I was doing would be deemed in any way wrong or illegal. I mean, I was just saving myself and other scared boys from suffering through years of dreams of dread.

As it turns out, the Roman Catholic Church and the State of New York disagree.

I’m not very fond of this new place either. A place I guess I’ll be spending quite a number of years at. A place, I fear, that won’t come down nearly as easily as the first one did.

•••

Picture 1

Quickly spying Daily Prompt’s “Ode to a Playground,” the above story came about in short order. It wasn’t until I went back to the prompt to create a link, that I realized the instructions asked for a memorial to be written. As such, I was getting ready to dump this altogether. But reading it once again, it occurred to me, I like it. And much like “fondness” can have several definitions, I suppose “memorial” can as well.

Today’s post, postponed

Honest and true, I actually did have words to place here today.

But they failed to inspire me nearly as much as the poem that appeared in the back of the program produced by Roswell Park Cancer Institute for their memorial service. A celebration of sorts held this past Wednesday, for all the patients who had lost their lives to cancer within the first six months of 2012 – my dad having made the cut by just one day.

I hope Casey and Mary are reading along today, as this poem – I feel at any rate – really nails the truth of it all. The whole of who we are as a species. I hope you’re all reading today actually, and I hope that some of you decide to share this in your own fashion, as it’s hardly people like Casey, Mary and myself alone who need to be reminded of the following…

When I die
Give what’s left of me away
To children
And old men that wait to die.
And if you need to cry,
Cry for your brother
Walking the street beside you.
And when you need me,
Put your arms
Around anyone
And give them
What you need to give to me.

I want to leave you something,
Something better
Than words
Or sounds.

Look for me
In the people I’ve known
Or loved,
And if you cannot give me away,
At least let me live in your eyes
And not on your mind.

Researching this poem further, I found that there were two more verses to it as well. Of the two, the second-to last didn’t really strike me, but the final one did…

Love doesn’t die,
People do.
So, when all that’s left of me
Is love,
Give me away.

~ Merrit Mallory

•••

Amazing, right? Of course love doesn’t die.

It never has.

How surprising is it then, that we must constantly remind ourselves of this?

More may be coming on the subject, as this idea slowly begins to weave its way into another post currently under construction. In the meantime, let’s listen to a little ditty that one of my dearest friends in all the world just introduced me to. Seems only appropriate to share it today…