THE LAUGHING BONE‎ > ‎WORD‎ > ‎PROSE‎ > ‎

Death

That Jones shall worship the god within him turns out ultimately to mean that Jones shall worship Jones. Let Jones worship the sun or moon, anything rather than the Inner Light; let Jones worship cats or crocodiles, if he can find any in his street, but not the god within. Christianity came into the world firstly in order to assert with violence that a man had not only to look inwards, but to look outwards, to behold with astonishment and enthusiasm a divine company and a divine captain. The only fun of being a Christian was that a man was not left alone with the Inner Light, but definitely recognized an outer light, fair as the sun, clear as the moon, terrible as an army with banners.

- G.K. Chesterton, Orthodoxy

And eternal delight and deliciousness will be his, who coming to lay him down, can say with his final breath—O Father!—chiefly known to me by Thy rod—mortal or immortal, here I die. I have striven to be Thine, more than to be this world’s, or mine own. Yet this is nothing; I leave eternity to Thee; for what is man that he should live out the lifetime of his God?’

- Melville, Moby-Dick

***

Upon the occasion of my 50th birthday, I decided to make a journey across America. Along the way I ran into many friends and teachers old acquaintances family. Almost universally all of them told me: "you have wasted your life!"

Sent a beautifully drawn postcard with a haiku and and told by Myra: "is this it?"

My grandfather sitting me down in his office across from his desk and asking me: "so what have you to show for yourself?"

My teachers, Mr. Williams, all asking me: "so what are you going to do with all of your learning and education?"

I told him I've been writing a book. A great book. The great American novel. A masterpiece.

I cite various fictional reviews and praises by fictional people and impostors.

B Jones is the fictional creation. His biography is analogous to Don Quixote 

Names are arbitrary. The sound you make to call the thing a thing is useless. Call it anything. Call it Jones. Call it God. These words like children running after the Haybale. Trying to surmount the tailgate. Forever running never capture.

We all called him God. The old man on the corner. Organ grinder. With a monkey. 

***


They once said that imagination is boundless. But it is not. If time is bounded if there is a beginning and an end and imagination has a place in which to form, to play develop evolve and eventually find its termination. But if there is no beginning and there is no end, if there is only a vast desert eternity. If the world is a timeless sphere then we harvest the imaginations of those have come before us. We gods look back into the minds of smaller man. We look into the imaginations of those who came before us. Before the time of the gods. We find tremendous comfort in the trivial dramas of ordinary people. These moments sustain us through eternity. These "moments" that are your life.

***


I am waiting for the Old Man to die. 

There he dreams. In the guttering light of the fire. Here in the canyon. Under the stars.

And here I watch and wait to carry out his final instruction.

One time, Jones told me about first coming into this canyon. Back before all the big fire charred half the landscape. 

Walking in on the red road. Comes to a massive oak. Under the oak what he thought was a black boulder. But as he came closer could see was an enormous beast of some kind. Emaciated and apparently petrified. A heavy chain wound around the tree and latched to a collar around the beast's neck. He could see where over the long ages the beast had been so leashed, it had worn down the earth in a circle around the tree, stretching to the limits to devour everything within its circumference, all it had to eat. The tree was bare limbed excepting a few buzzards that watched over. 

As Jones approached, he saw the beast was still alive.