Myron and Father
Myron is insane of course, how could he not be so, scarecrow
ripped from some boggy pasture and set stumping haggardly
for our place across the football field in the crackly cheap raincoat,
winter and summer, his shoes a flexible carapace of leather
scored and cracked around his swollen feet. He comes by two buses
from his North End hole, his face displaying a shrunken cunning,
but he is mostly meekness. His accent is a diasporic question
of provenance: is he a skeleton DP himself from the Eastern Front,
or a barbed seed latched onto parents who escaped the Nazis?
Midnights, Myron takes payments in the Esso gas-kiosk
across from the poster-plastered, urine-smelling doors
of the Epic Theatre. He sneers at the costumed crowds
for The Rocky Horror Picture Show as though they were
a cackling Restoration coven. Myron loathes his customers
and likes to lean out the window and lecture them:
Friend, you are down the wrong road, you’ve fallen
into the trap of material acquisition! The guy snorts.
His muscle-car reverses, roars, rams Myron’s shell.
The glass cracks, Myron flinches, the car blares off.
“So s-stupid Dumbkopf, heedless material acquisition!”
And now he crosses the road, removes his hat. His scarcely
audible knock. Mother hovers as he with awkward turnings
strips off the raincoat and hands her the bundle, never easy
with the social graces, his Thank You too late, and doesn’t
answer when she says, “Have you eaten?” Too much shame.
With appreciative murmurs, he sets himself before the plate
of grey tough bloodless beef, fake walnut-colored gravy,
canned lima beans. “Homework, kids, just leave him be.”
He shoves food in, wolfs unchewed mash, and licks the fork.
Yes, Myron has crawled from the Single Gents Only
North End hotel to our duplex, a disciple of the esoteric
millennial bullshit Father peddles. Father is insane as well,
but he has the essentials of any adept: a decent CV
and a library of paperbacks. On those hallowed shelves
one can find Paramahansa Yogananda and his airbrushed aura,
the pseudo-archaeological reports of Erich von Daniken,
and a thriller about a priapic spy named Cocksman
who gets laid every three pages. Father will have you know
he rose through the Summit Lighthouse and The Rosicrucians
towards his current gurus with their Miami tax-free ashram.
Yes, Father is insane. The reel-to-reel recorder’s running.
He wouldn’t want to lose a second, or a second take,
of this week’s astral entity’s sonorous channeling
that goes on for a good hour, the Being extemporizing
on the Akashic Record of that old soul Richard Nixon.
(Mother is insane, too, but her tastes run to Jeanne Dixon’s
predictions in The Enquirer, Elvis, and the Bermuda Triangle).
Just look at Father, Om-ing and Om-ing from the sofa,
like some cardigan-wearing Tibetan Auden, while Myron,
a loser betting heavily on reincarnation, will find a way
to object to Father’s teachings; in fact, will challenge him
to demonstrate some outcome that his incense-addled
mind has brought about, a measurable improvement
in the world’s vibration. Father says, “By long application
of my I Am Self, and the blessings of the Hierarchal Board,
I have managed to reduce the influence of radio talk-show hosts
in Winnipeg. It wasn’t easy–my I Am Self is constantly disturbed
by the intolerable wailing and yelping of Led Zeppelin.”
“That’s it?” says Myron. “What with war, disease and world poverty,
you reduced the power of Your Morning Drive on CFRW?”
But Father will brush away the objection, and remind Myron
that he has a ways to go before he comprehends the mysteries,
and Myron will accept this. Mother will bring tea and biscuits.
They will slurp and chew, confident that in the long run
there will be a New Jerusalem, when their flesh will cease;
when their Light-Bodies will burble up through seven chakras
to prove the doubters wrong; when karma will get their revenge.
Steve Noyes has published several poetry collections in Canada. He
lives in Sheffield, Yorkshire, and is working on a novel about
Marmaduke Pickthall and Yusufi Ali, translators of the Qur’an.