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Ten Virgins… One Long Everlasting Winter

by
moriba sababu

I forced myself into paradise on the tail end off a supernova, and must declare most stridently, even add, without entertaining a hint off contradiction from any source, that it was the Mother of all rushes.

Somewhere within the unbelievable range off a thousandth off a nanosecond, I was transported from an idyllic restaurant in a disputed land to the feet of the Big Man Himself... the ultimate crème de la crème... the Alpha Thought par excellence... The Big Cheese... the Hefty Big Cajones Himself, (you get the picture) GOD!!!

In that very instant I underwent transmigration, my corruptible body was no more, poof... it was gone, and I was suddenly clothed in the upscale paradisiacal branded, bling bling garments of incorruptibility...

Wow...! Did I shine, or what?

I fell to my knees, I guess... that's what these little pads are called, and shook all over with a feeling of enraptured ecstasy.

Around the Big Man, countless beings, that I naturally took to be angels, well... what else could they be...? went diligently about what I could only consider their administrative duties, seemingly oblivious of my presence...

All of them that is, except the dude on the right hand of Mr. Big Himself, and in his hand was a gigantic book, titled: THE BOOK, which would alternate with another title: LAMBS BOOK OF LIFE... each title phasing in, and out like the decadent beckoning neon lights of a Las Vegas cathouse... hmmm... that didn't look too good, but what the hell! Whoops... excuse me, er... wrong word... I meant... what the paradise... got to remember where I am.

Quickly, and what I hoped was surreptitiously, I glanced around, and realized for the first time, that I had arrived alone. None of the planets, moons, meteors, and incidental space junk that had been with me in that temporal restaurant in that troubled land had followed me through the dimensional wormhole, to this Celestial Seat off Beginnings. I heaved a sigh of relief. For their absence was indeed a good sign I can assure you, after all, I sure didn't need any dissenting vibes to mess up a good thing.

"WHY... ARE YOU HERE... SO EARLY?"

I was startled out of my revere by the voice of the Big Man Himself. Boy oh boy! Yes indeed! The Big Man Himself! His very own self, was speaking to ME!

Instinctively, I knew that every word He spoke, was louder than every crack off thunder I had ever heard all rolled into one, but boy oh boy, the acoustics in this here Paradise was so good, that the melody of His voice was sweet, and mild to my new incorruptible ears, at least... I guess that's what the holes in the side of my head were called...

"I... er... did my duty... Oh Great One, oh Master of the End Time, as given to me by your representative on Earth. Now I... er... have come to claim my reward."

My voice shook with enraptured emotion.

"Hmm... I SEE." said the Big Man, as He contemplated me in silence, while His eyes like X-rays, bore deep into my being for a moment, that seemed an eternity. Then addressing the dude with the gigantic book, He said:

"TELL ME... SHOW ME..."

Whereupon His right-hand dude opened that there book, and instantly a 3-D holographic image took form beside me. There I was, as if in a Hollywood movie, no... that's not right... more like a Bollywood movie, since I sort of danced into the restaurant. Gracefully, I gravitated to the centre of the room, where with a majestic flourish, I pulled back my coat to reveal coloured wires, and closely packed blocks strapped to my chest. Then, after singing melodious incantations to the Big Man, as many of those around me whispered, or cried incantations to their Big Man, I pulled a ripcord, and created a blinding light.

With that, the book was closed, and the image disappeared...

"Hmm..." said the Big Man.

"My Lord," said the dude with the gigantic book, "it is true what he says. He followed the instructions of their Middle of the East representative to the letter."

"Hmm..."

" He is of course of the 'ten virgins' believers, not the 'milk, and honey' ones. They will be arriving later... on the afternoon shift."

I didn't like the sound of that. I was so sure they would be heading for the basement.

"He was born, and raised in the West, but put aside the Western path of enlightenment to The Way, to seek enlightenment from those in the Middle of the East, to the path of The Way."

I didn't like the sound of that either... for both Eastern, and Western guys sounded a lot like they were on opposite ends of the same thread mill.

"Hmm..." said the Big Man again.
"THEN I SHALL REWARD YOU WITH WHAT YOU SEEK, AND THE OTHERS TOO, WHEN THEY ARRIVE."

Suddenly ten virgins'... I'm telling you, ten real honest to goodness honeys stepped out of the space around me, and came quickly to my side... each more beautiful... more desirous than the one before. If I wasn't already here, I swear I would have died and gone to Paradise. In fact, even when my eyes feasted again on number one, after digesting the unbelievable curves of number ten, she seemed now even more so than number ten.

I was so happy... no... that is an understatement, my joy knew no bounds... I was so blessed, that I could not find words to thank the Big Man.

Raising His Hand, He stilled my spiel, then said:

"THESE TEN VIRGINS ARE YOURS... FOREVER SHALL YOU HAVE THEM... FOREVER SHALL YOU LOOK UPON THEM, AND KNOW THAT THEY ARE UNTOUCHED, UNSULLIED... I GIVE THEM TO YOU FOR THE FULFILLMENT OF THAT DUTY... YOU MAY NOW GO... THEY WILL TAKE YOU TO YOUR NEW HOME, IN GARDENS PLANTED WITH SHADY TREES OF POMEGRANATES... ORANGES... APRICOTS, AND GRAPES TO NAME BUT A FEW... WATERED BY COOL FLOWING SPRINGS."

The ten virgins,' the ten babes of Paradise, held my hands, my shoulders, my arms, my waist, and tried to lead me away, but I couldn't move. I was you understand in a state of perplexity. My mind was so much more sharper now, than when I had listened to my teachers.

Er... my Lord... er... question... a question... please... Oh Great One."

I felt like I was back in kindergarten, what with my index finger sticking up, *at least I guess that was what the nob was called.**

The Big Man looked at me for a moment, then said:

"ASK YOUR QUESTION."

"Well... you said... if I heard you right, that forever shall I look upon these virgins, and know that they are untouched, unsullied, but if this be so... and it must be so, since you are the Big Man Himself... when then would I get the chance... the opportunity to... well... you know... sully them?"

The Big Man, the Big Man Himself, looked at me for awhile, and then smiled.

"YOU CAME LOOKING FOR TEN VIRGINS, AND TEN VIRGINS YOU HAVE BEEN GIVEN. IF YOU SULLY THEM, THEY WOULD NO LONGER BE VIRGINS, AND WITH TIME, YOU WOULD FORGET WHAT I HAD GIVEN YOU, AND FEEL CHEATED. SO VIRGINS THEY SHALL REMAIN."

As the virgins led me away, tears flowed from my eyes. The touch of the virgins were soft... were warm... the scent of promise that emanated from them was intoxicating... their laughter, and little bashful giggles gladdened my heart... and their overpowering presence steered my body to the point of eruption, with no where, I suddenly realized, to erupt from... Damn!

For the first time I even felt sorry for the 'milk, and honey guys. No doubt, the Big Man was more than likely going to make them spend forever swimming in vats of milk, and honey!

I was in Paradise all right... but I felt like hell...

the end

© Ralph Boothe

i… Man…

by
moriba sababu


we have been here from the evening of creation...
since we are the soil...
we are the clay...
but the soil...
the clay...
was
here
long before midday

in the midst of the evening
before the dawn of rest
the Potter fashioned a familiar image
and baked it in the warmth of a Hand
then softly breathed within its fragile form
the energy
of
life

then the Potter held us up
to rays of the scarlet sun
hovering prostrate
with sated homage on the horizon
far out beyond the towering mountains
that stretched to meet the portals
of the enigmatic heavens
beyond the churning cascading seas
that bubbled and danced
like the unfettered gyrations of a child
released from the watchful gaze
of a dotting parent who sleeps
on the hammock of a restful mind

THIS IS MAN...

said the Potter to the host of Her creation
who had been there since before noon

in Our image We have made him...
he shall care for thee...
he shall have dominion over there...
he shall be a shepherd...
a good shepherd to thee...

and the host of Her creation
that roamed the land...
that swam the seas...
that sailed on the thermals of ether...
whose roots although sunk in the soil...
has spread its mighty arms
since shortly after noon
rejoiced with but a single voice...

but
i... Man...
never
heard
a
word...


© Ralph Boothe
December 30th. 2001

rekindled love…

by
moriba sababu


we
stopped
when dawn cautiously peeped beneath the door...

that's not exactly true...

we stopped when we were
SPENT...
when every ounce of energy was gone...
and all that was left...
was
SWEAT...
warm sweat...
slipping through our valleys
cascading over our cliffs
traveling with a freedom one finds only
after a storm...
SWEAT...
mingling with a pungent aroma
that speaks of the
substance
of
life
encased in a living sap
flowing from the depth of a well
into a lagoon...
deep...
and
moist...

*

we
had
stopped...
but our breathing still rasped
loud...
hungrily
in the universe of our chamber...
sluggishly
i hauled my sensibilities
back to the here...
back to now...
and instantly felt the unwelcome
but lingering kiss
of a draft...
ooh...
my body shimmed uncontrollably...
i should move...
i knew i should move...
but felt anywhere
but
here
would be
cold...
desolate...
unbearably
lonely...

*

slowly...
with the ever gentle pull of certitude
your
breathing...
like
mine...
became subordinate
to the whispering hum of the fan
rotating incessantly below the ceiling...
you shifted wordlessly...
then turned over...
and
your
highlands
were lost to view...
yet i did not feel cheated
for the sloping savanna
that now reclined beside me
gently rose to expose
two
dunes
lightly covered with a
soft
down...
slowly...
gently..
i ran a hand across your plain...
my fingers
purposeful
like a cavalry of conquering
MOORS
through a pre columbus spain...
tenderly
i examined the slight indentations
that were the peaks of your underground
mountainous
chain
ahh yes...
la
VERTEBRAE...
then over the crest of the dunes
that stood like a double dose of
ULURU...
with care i skirted the fissure that kept them forever asunder...
hauntingly you moaned
while beneath your continent
with the seismograph of my touch
i felt the tremor of life born anew...
you uttered words beneath your breath
but your words
were the words
of
BABEL...
i felt a surging ripple within me
and held my breath
in the pocket of my throat
as i felt the oncoming
swell
of an
ocean
against a fragile
dam
so i gritted my teeth...
and stilled the tide...

*

yes
we had stopped
when the dawn had peeped cautiously beneath the door
and we...
both you and i...
were spent...
but now...
now i felt
we had the
will
to
begin

again


© Ralph Boothe
July 16th. 2022

rebirth…

by
moriba sababu

first there was the drought...
which he had grown to accept...
for his thirst was not life rending...
still...
he could feel his misty mind
being purged by a burning sirocco.,.
that left the soil of his body
cracked...
sandy...
brittle...

years-upon-years-upon-years of fiery heat
raced unencumbered
through his tender veins...
turning
avenues
that had once carried messages to his heart
into a miry unnavigable labyrinth...
a tightening mesh
which had trapped
and then starved him of
his feelings of emotional sensations
to a point beyond the portal
of
death...

heat...
that had burnt away
his body's store of life giving fluid
and threatened to erase painfully remembered
yet still wonderfully treasured
meadows...
valleys...
where once his feet ran free
in the company of
she
who as now become the wind...

a heat that hung like a cloud over remembered
mountains and lagoons
places that once ignited the fire
of his love for her...
that transient maiden
of
the
north

heat...
a burning suffocating heat
that was willing him to melt away memories
of a wayward union...
once sweet memories
of how she had cradled his body
in
the
distant...
distant...
past...

then the clouds of renewal
swept across his horizon
and tore the heavens asunder
as if it were but delicate rice paper...
the rains came in a torrential flood
and he stood
wide
open
beneath them...
as they filled his cracks to the very brim...

life's fluid again
like a mighty soaring river
flowed through him...
and emptied itself into a willing basin
that did not force him to sell his soul
but accepted him for whom he was...

the hunger of his need was hot
once more like a fever...
emitting screams of freedom
that rose like a geyser from his eternal spark...
while the lighting feet
of rebirth darted triumphantly
through his once dormant body...

the winter of his life... he knew
had rolled over
and he could now bury it
beneath the snows of time

spring...

that harbinger
of life...
of growth...
was now knocking persistently...
childlike in its wonderment
at
his
door...

once more...


© Ralph Boothe
February 2nd. 2002

a prayer…

by
moriba sababu
christianity is like a mirror
hanging without hooks on
a Wall free of blemish...

a beautiful gilded mirror
the surface of which is polished
to a radiant gleam...

so pure...
that it can reveal
the very essence of the soul...

paul touched it...

D A M N...

it rocked...
it swayed...
it fell...
and broke into thousands of pieces
some small...
some large...
some but specks of dust...

you and i like hundreds in our wondering
came across its shattered remains in the dust...
and we have each taken the piece
that fits most comfortably
in our hands...

now we gaze ardently
at what we feel is the whole...
while around us...
even beneath our feet...
is the rest of christianity's broken bones
begging...
beseeching...
petitioning...
each of us to return our piece
and make its body whole once more
so it may yet again
adorn the Wall...

the Wall that is free of blemish...



© Ralph Boothe
December 27th. 2001

X

by
moriba sababu
i remember a time when i... ugh...
but that was a long time ago 
a time when i was young...
invincible...
and you -- sorry to say -- not yet a thought
a time when the scent of dew
could intoxicate the brain
like the wanton perfume of a woman
and make one want to... haa...
but... that was a long time ago 
it is not that the imagined feel of your lips
the cradle of your arms
or the cushion of your breast
does not cause that impulsive part of me
that thinks the least
to rise at your entrance
and insist to be heard
but such words were spoken to others
when i ran with the mustangs
while an earlier part that was you... swam like a tadpole
but as I said... that was a long time ago 
today i am not yet as old as my father
but you... could call me dad
and no one would wonder why...
today i visit my grandchildren
and listen to them speak a language you would understand
today whether i eat...
whether i sleep
depends not on beanie man
nor the antics of bounty killa... bounty murda... bounty...
whatever
ugh... your word...
no!! they no longer hold the keys to my actions
much as their contemporaries once did
but... that... that was a long time ago
an agonizingly long time ago
when the thought that i could welt
in the face of a feast spread on satin
was akin to... well... sacrilege...
so child...
sweet... sweet child...
go home...
tomorrow remember me only as a warm spot
you could have slipped in
a long... long time ago
© Ralph Boothe
--/--/1999

“THOU SHALT NOT…”

by
moriba sababu

I have always wanted my life to travel like an arrow in flight, but in two ways… well… at least one way, (its mode of action), and the other… an embodiment of an individual I have long admired.

My mode of action???   Will… that of a writer… but not just any old writer, no way!! and definitely not a yesterday writer, for writers such as those, can be found in any dime store, or back alley antique shop that is stridently adverse to the concept of recycling; or buried deep in the basement darkness of the Smithsonian.   Authors of works confined to such places, are naught but a collage of forgotten names, forever resting… under a winters coat of dust.

No!   No!   A writer must be major!  even I dear say… BIBLICAL!!!  absolutely “Rush” like in statue, yet not in intellect.   Such a writer must be able to emerge with nobility after descending a mountain, and look into the faces of a multitude of indifference, and proclaim in a voice akin to thunder, after following the cascading neon lights of lightning:

“THOU SHALT NOT….”

Even now I feel a wave ripple through me when I contemplate such a reality… but it also brings me I guess to my other — always wanted to be — fixation.

I always wanted to be a Moses.

***

Yeah… yeah I know, a little bit over the top, and hovering in the realm of pretentious… but still nonetheless… Moses!   You doubtlessly have heard of Him… the freer of the chosen ones… the tormentor of the Pharaoh… the divider of the sea… the giver of laws.   A downright giant in His day.

Indeed… I could have been that Moses, I am absolutely sure of that… but unfortunately… I was a teeny-weeny bit late, and God was impatient, and could not wait.

Tomorrow all that shall change however, because after deep reflection on the burning Bush of 92, and an earnest pep talk with God, I have the Eleventh Commandment to give… to deliver… to share… with an equally childlike, frustrated, and altogether fickle society…

Just like that Moses before me.

Consider:

One can lower the lights, turn down the music, chill the wine, allow the intoxicating aroma of perfume to enter the nostrils, and cloud the mind.   Then whisper in a voice that is not your own… “Kiss my lips…”

One can sit in a chair under a bright light, take one look at the artist, then close one’s eyes, and say nonchalantly as one succumbs to near slumber… “Paint my lips…”

One may even, lock eyes with the surgeon, and say with absolute determination:   “Enlarge my lips, make them full… make them soft… make them able to caress another… make them tremble… make them flutter… make them able to generate heat, long before one encounters a tongue…”

But my friends!   O my friends… THOU SHALT NOT SAY under any circumstances… none whatsoever… “Read my lips…”

Never!!

For lips were not meant to be read… observe how they lie in an inclined position… seductively… wantonly… thereby allowing one’s mind to forget… what was said…

Lips were not meant to be read.   In reality, they hold the tongue captive, allowing words that struggle to be heard… to remain unsaid…

Lips lie!   O yes… they can lie.   They have the power to beckon… then smile a macabre smile… when one is left to baths in the icy cold!  Cold!!  COLD!!! waters of that frozen word… “NO!”

O yes!   O Yes!   The people need another Moses, and I dear say a forceful writer.   I can be that writer, and with God in my corner, I can be that Moses.   The only one who can lead those who will follow him, out of this wilderness of loose speech, and petty bravado.   The only one who can cleave the Red Sea of twisted phases, and political diatribe.

But unlike the Moses that trod the Earth before me, and the countless thousands who followed Him… you, and I, do not have to wander in a Sinai of ignorance for forty years.

It’s really simple…

We merely have but to think… before we speak…

©Ralph Boothe
–/–/1993

The Passing…

by
moriba sababu

A bolt of lightning struck the old oak tree, causing an agonizing scream to enter his throat, but the sound was extinguished before it left his mouth.

For what had seemed an eternity, he had seen the burning ember plummeting down upon him, and knew without a doubt, that for him… life was over.

How strange it is he contemplated, that selective thoughts can suddenly cascade through one’s consciousness in such a short space of time when the end is near. Leaving only momentary thoughts for comfort… and the mind… the only spectator.

Was it just yesterday…? Or was it this morning, that all whom he knew… all whom he loved, and grew up with, were killed by the unknown substance in the demons hand? He could still remember the look of joy on that murderers’ face, as she had held the red, and green container, with the letter R, peeping between her fingers. Such a fiend he knew could never have in her heart, (if she even had one), any remorse for the holocaust she was causing.

At least for him, he knew, death would be quick, his demise would be painless, unlike all his relatives, and friends, even the youths, and babies… where the act of dying seemed to go on, and on, forever, and ever.

With agony piled upon agony, he had seen them squirming in the dirt, where they had fell, the cruel mask of death stamped indelibly upon their faces, as if painted with the fine strokes of a master artist, he had instinctively known, only the severing of the silver cord of life had offered them relief from the pain.

Now he thought awhile of the mutant prophet Antroachant. Ahh… yes… indeed! Such a glorious martyr…! One… the likes of which the world had never seen before, and may never ever see again.

She had said among much in the Holy Anthilliant, a mere six months before her death, and eventual resurrection to the abode of the Gods:

“… to die… yay…! to pass on… without leaving memory, or hearing some words of oneself behind… is but a waste of quality air.”

He sighed… for now all whom he knew, were no more, and this knowledge pained him most exceedingly, leaving an emptiness in the pit of his stomach.

It would indeed have been reassuring if someone… anyone… had remained alive to speak of him. Any simple words would have sufficed.

If he had the time, he would have cried… for soon the wind would blow away his many foot prints, and others would one day walk… and talk… laugh… and cry… in the very spot where he would die… yet know nothing of him, nor the life he had lived.

Suddenly… within the eye of his psyche, these string of words appeared, and were echoed in the magnificent voice of Antroachant, where their essence hung like pearls from the neck of a Queen… and swayed like the ripples of a thorax about to deliver:

“He lived a good life
Both morning, and night
He died on his feet
With his chest sticking out
All of his soles planted firmly on the ground
Indeed a credit to his race
An ant”


He smiled finally… a melancholy smile… and was gone…


the end

Ralph Boothe
–/–/1995

untitled 4

by
moriba sababu
come with me to neverland
where the rainbow never dies
and thoughts of
unborn
children
wait for souls
to find the
magic...
of
love

come with me to neverland
so we may resume our quest...
for
we
who crave the meaning of
tomorrow
must walk
today
amongst misty mountains
that feel only the weight of
butterfly
wings

come with me my love to neverland
and dream dreams
that are crystal clear like
spring
rain...
but let us not
I
beg thee
dream in
color...
for color takes us to places
where we have
been
before...
let us instead
see
visions
in
black
and
white
with the merest hint of
gray...
for the perplexity of
men and women
dwells in the realm of the
obscure

come with me I pray to neverland
far outside even the reach of
peter
pan
for pixie dust
can make us
sneeze
and thus scatter the delicate
saturn rings of the
rainbow

come with me to neverland
I
beseech
thee
come I say to
where the rainbow never dies

neither
you

nor
I


© Ralph Boothe
--/--/1993

Father… Beckons

-- (Written on behalf of Kimisha Grindley, as a comfort for her dear friend... Kamisha James on the occasion of the death of her husband Leslie James, December 18th. 2020 --


by
moriba sababu


what a man was Leslie
who left us but two weeks ago
yet it seems... but yesterday

parties no longer reek with joy
regardless of the music
for now a hole is left... in his every song

three years of knowing...
one year of joining...
now a lifetime of memories for Kamisha

he took rememberances of her with him
left reminiscences of him with her
an interweaving perfume wafting through time

with the joy of laughter he left
now when school reopens... who he was shall smile in the hearts of his students

parents... brothers... sisters... friends...
shall utter words of prayer
to straighten his path to the Father

haa yes... what a man was Leslie
bound for the undiscovered country
ohhh... truly... what a Spirit he has become


© Ralph Boothe
January 1st. 2021