A Reading from the First Book of the Kings

MENE [God has numbered your kingdom and put an end to it]

I have conquered the Kingdom of Heaven and vanquished all kingdoms on Earth–and I am poorer for it, drawing only from mine own reserves, with no one left to take from. And I know that this final and most-precious Kingdom of Life will someday collapse of its own excess.

MENE [God has numbered your kingdom and put an end to it]

Because I have woken up from all of my dreams, I no longer want to sleep. But the sun is setting–as I speak, the autumn air is turning the colors of the molten blood of earth and the lukewarm blood of men.

TEKEL [You have been weighed on the scales and found deficient]

Look on, ye proud, and see that I have lost all of my first loves:

Eve, flesh of my flesh, your desires became my desires because I desired you. And thus it was that sin was born. The cherubim have since laid down their burning swords, and abandoned their posts. We can return now to the Garden, and it is just as I remembered, except for one tree, now uprooted. And I bury myself in the soil there but cannot become clay again. I hold the Earth in my hands, it slips through my fingers. I remain forever separate from it, just as I am forever separate from you—and no matter how hard I thrust I cannot be unborn. So we weave coverings out of fig leaves and our shame, and leave the garden for the city. This time, forever.

Mary, though the stone was rolled away, and my garments lay empty in the tomb, you would not believe that I was raised–because you knew my father, just as you knew yourself to be no virgin. So I denied you, in turn: the pomegranate became my mother—and my Father, the Sun. The Holy Ghost that dwells within me screams, “Eternity!” And I laugh, and I cry, and I try not to listen.

Martha, I created a storm and walked on the oceans to show you I possessed nothing, not even fear. I called you to me and you nearly drowned in your doubts, but this was your baptism: I conquered your flesh, and you prepared for me a feast and washed my feet with your hair and fine perfumes. And as you knelt, I stepped on you to reach sweltering roads paved with gold and good intentions.

UPSHARIN [Your kingdom has been divided and handed over to your enemies]

My innocence has been choked off by the thorned-vine that grows forbidden fruits. I close my eyes, sink down to my knees, open my mouth–but no matter how hard I heave, I cannot purge myself of these poisoned seeds. I am the tree that grows on rocky soil. I am no longer a man, just a mirror, reflecting an indifferent and inhuman universe. And I will die; and it will not. The writing is on the wall, inscribed by disembodied hands. What is there left to say?

“So I hated life, for the work which had been done under the sun was grievous to me because everything is futility and striving after wind”

Ecclesiastes 2:17

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