The Preacher's Lament
Dale S. Hankins
And then the preacher approached the stage and started to sing:
“The senses cannot see, cannot find the place between the sheets of the mind, when there is so little space for time and peace of mind. Let us stand then. Let us scream against the fear. Let us burn it down. Not to the ground but below where the ground has been before, below where it has ever been. Desperation of a declaration. Let our love stand, to be seen. Naked, in full sight, cloaked only light. Free. Free. Flag waving in the wind even though there is no need for flag or wind.”
The crowd remains after the burst and then, then we see the little ones. See the neighbor ones the ones so long in fear; the ones who can now walk freely in the breeze. They are freed because the preacher has felt the last of the binding, the last of the whipping for being himself. He does in truth sing a song of himself, to himself for himself. What other song would he sing? Singing someone else's song means his death.
Later, the preacher stands in the coffee shop, drinking pot after pot, of ruby tea. Outside the window, he sees a beauty of red above and red below. A tasty peach that IS beyond his reach. But peaches no longer bind the one who has entered the land of the preachers. They can be tasted, but are not needed.
And then another comes--the one in the paisley dress comes to stand behind the blue and orange madras shirt leaving the dog tied to the tree standing in the sun. The dog does not care. It pants and is free. The madras dances, bends, flexes and finds itself back inside. People swarm along the pavement, in front of the maddest preacher the world has seen in this land or any other.
The dog lies in the circle of a lake at the foot of the tree. Resting finally, not worrying about the passers by. The dog of all the preacher's past and bits of his future. Wrapped in a golden cloak, wearing a purple leash that binds it to the tree.
Can the preacher untie the dog? Does he even know of dogs and dog like things today?
He has truly touche the sky of the mind finding places. Empty places and places full of pain and places where pain is a meaningless word. He did not choose the pain, the dream or the dog. They were just there.
Once the preacher feared what the others would think. He wished them no harm. He wanted to help. He could not find them. He could not touch them. All was seen through the glass of the window. A window he has not put in place. A window that he could perhaps shatter, but in so doing would he not bring down himself and those he treasures most?
Let it stand then. Let it stand for now. The window that keeps his feet in this world, the only world he knows. He can still find breezes here. He can still find friends. At least he hopes.