Eschatology for Modern Living

Poetry

Space, Time

By H.J. Herrick

I. Man, Woman

We are each an ocean. Everything touches us, borders on us, rest and lives within us. We can all destroy life and give birth in the same moment, month, year, century, millennium, millennia. We are within everything. We are full of waves, each plunging headlong into the land, each a tongue caressing the lips of the Earth. We spend our long lives shaping everything around us, touching all our neighbors, mingling with them, our currents entering each other, penetrating each other. We all give birth to the borderless world. We each build the shores up and erode mountains to nothing. And really – though we all change and are changed – we are always here, in some form, some eternal idea. We can’t be killed. We can’t die. We all merely evaporate, drift and rain back into ourselves, each other.

II. The Human Race

We are a wave

slowly gathering,

bearing down on

a shore we cannot

choose. Someday we

will rise, crest, break, die

upon rocks which

will be barely changed

for it. That brief

moment will exist

alone. At last

we will finally

roll back, drawn out

to the ocean which

birthed us as we

cling desperately to

the land. Mercy

will take us outward

to that unseen

place where the ocean

kisses the sky:

where History is

blind and deaf, where

Man is an alien,

where Despair is

a myth. Where Time

ends silently. Where

Hope ceases to

torment us with its

disappointments.

Where Oblivion

caresses our face.

Where even Death’s

lungs fill with water.

III. The Universe

Sometime cosmically soon the Sun will expand and the oceans of this planet will boil off. If we are still here then, we will be immolated and the world will again be barren and void. No one will remember our names, our stories, our histories, because there will be no one. And then the universe will expand

until, asymptomatically, It reaches absolute zero and everything stops

or

until It reaches a state of maximum entropy wherein all is evenly distributed across nothing and no gradients remain possible in nature, until information itself is gone and with it all life everywhere and everywhen at once

or

until Its galaxies and eventually all physical forms – no matter how small – disintegrate into unbound radiation and elementary particles

or

until It goes on forever endlessly, mercilessly.

In any event we are a mote in a nonexistent eye. Our gods will die because we will not exist to imagine them, nor to worship our own imaginations. By then we will be stardust, frozen matter, light, radiation, nothingness.


The Human Race

By H.J. Herrick

 

We are all waves

slowly gathering,

bearing down on

a shore we cannot

choose. Someday we

will rise, crest, break, die

upon rocks which

will be barely changed

for it. That brief

moment will exist

alone. At last

we will finally

roll back, drawn out

to the ocean which

birthed us as we

cling desperately to

the land. Mercy

will take us outward

to that unseen

place where the ocean

kisses the sky:

where History is

blind and deaf, where

Man is an alien,

where Despair is

a myth. Where Time

ends silently. Where

Hope ceases to

torment us with its

disappointments.

Where Oblivion

caresses our face.

Where even Death’s

lungs fill with water.


The New Apocalypse: Preview of Coming Attractions

Dear Constant Readers,

It’s my pleasure to inform you that big changes are coming to The New Apocalypse. First of all, the fundamentals are bending a bit. New Apocalypse will now be a forum not only for non-fiction, opinion and guerilla journalism, but also for poetry and — perhaps even occasionally — fiction. You may have seen a prototype of this contribution if you were paying attention almost a year ago at my last posting. Lots has happened since then and the game has changed. It’s time to embrace the New Paradigm.

I am perhaps even more excited to announce that The New Apocalypse will soon be home to a new and very important contributor: Upton Charles. This man is a consummate gentleman and is given to strong drink, which means we can trust him. Never trust a man without a vice. Or ten.

I had the pleasure of meeting Upton Charles several years ago in a horrific dive bar in New York, NY. Mars Bar is it’s name and locals will be familiar with its general back-alley ambience if they have any drinking blood in them at all. I was flailing my limbs and gibbering incoherently about the End of Days with yet another half empty glass of rum and ice, tripping on bad mushrooms, when this erudite young gentleman strolled in. Obviously a regular, the bartender served him without a word and he observed my diatribe cooly for some time.

Finally, Charles interjected his own points to the debate and we found we were of like mind. Yes, he too had heard of the Pacific Plastic Soup. Yes, he too despised politics as usual (especially in the Republican Party). Yes, he too knew the pitfalls of modern technology. Yes, he too knew the dangers of Traditional Gothic Heavy Metal Doom Rock. Yes, he too hated Christmas. Upton always spoke eloquently and with nobility; others took this to mean he was a bit stuck up, a tad high strung. I know better. He’s a gentleman and a scholar. His demeanor is simply a by-product if his staggering and brutal intelligence. It’s hard to cope with that kind of Knowing. He is a paragon of honesty and introspection. He is a True Journalist of the first order.

After the conclusion of our drunken debate in that hole in New York, we took a walk in the bitter cold, smoking cigarettes and reefer. Finally we agreed that we should collaborate, and that he should join my venture on the interwebs: The New Apocalypse. Why it took so long for this to finally happen is another story. I’ll let him tell that one.

I am proud to welcome him now, these several years later, to The New Apocalypse. Look for posts from Upton Charles coming soon.

P.S. In other news, there is a pretty good chance that I will be starting a new blog in collaboration with another colleague of mine: Richard “Bingo” Little, also know as Comrade Bingo. This blog, called Disputationes, will be imbued with the Aristotelian ideal of debate and dialogue. Each post will take on a topic, and we will each argue one side of that subject, to its bitter and final conclusion. This is a bit more down the road, but look for it in the near-ish future.

Thanks. And keep up the good fight, dear Constant Reader. Don’t let them dull your mental blade. Keep thinking!

Yours, in dubious and brooding solitude,

H.J. Herrick


1/1/11, 1:11 A.M.

Nothing should be done,

that should be done.

We all try to reinvent ourselves

today,

to upgrade:

Lose twenty pounds.

Control your anger.

Make new friends.

Read more books.

Travel to some new place.

Learn a new language.

Find a new job.

Spend more time with family.

Stop drinking.

As if any of these resolutions,

these pre-broken promises,

can better us.

No.

We are the same shitheaps

that we have always been:

gritting our teeth

behind these new smiles,

these new handshakes,

these new chores.

We always will be the same people

we cringe to look at in the mirror.

So why bother doing?

Why bother changing?

I say fuck all that.

I say don’t do.

I say be.

Be overweight.

Be angry

about those genes

given to you

by the asshole, God,

by fate, by whatever.

Be alone.

Be wasteful.

Plough the same rut.

Work the same job.

Say the same things.

Avoid the same unbearable people,

the same unbearable truth.

Be a drunk.

Be.

No one else

seems to mind you

too much

just as you are.

So don’t do.

Be.

To persist

not despite it all,

but to spite it all:

that is the trick.

Not to feel sad,

but to be sad,

and to feel happy

about it.

Greet the uncertain

future:

the lousy women, men,

the bad health,

the lost friends,

the miscarried children,

the rejection letters,

the days in jail,

the deaths,

the funerals,

the lies of those once respected,

the tyranny and oppression of the State,

the broken engagements,

the careers destroyed.

Greet this future without fear,

your hand ready to shake.

Greet it with

fire

in your throat,

lightning

in your fingers.

To live the right way

is to craft a sculpture

from sorrow,

to place your heart

in the kiln

and wait

patiently

while it burns.

Be confident, sure

that when you

pull it from the flames

it will be better

not because it will be

different,

but because it will be

the same

forever:

beautiful, hardened,

with all its scars preserved.

Changeless.

Silent.

Eternal.

How else will you remember

who you are?

Feel its contours,

craters,

its old war wounds:

like a relief map

of downtown Baghdad.

Yes.

Remember all that pain.

Then put your heart

back in its cage.

Yes.

Still there.

Still alive.

Nothing.

None of it.

Can kill you.

And though it won’t

make you stronger either,

at least you’ll have

this reminder:

You will always

have one choice:

to keep going,

to keep living,

the way

a dolphin chooses

to live

every

single

time

it takes a breath.