1744 c/o Rory Fleming

Things Heard and Seen

There are no spirits or angels that I cannot put my finger forth and touch—these things want to be seen. And they are us. I am them. I was once you. Before my eyes were pried apart. Forced to see a brightness intensified beyond that of any earth candle. It was godly floating ooze on a blue flame string that compelled me to take the journey straight home from the market. I was nervous at first about what my other man might think. I was careful to walk in a straight line, using peripheral vision, to follow. What inconvenience a labeled madness is! At home, I put my hands together, as I was then too a man of the Lord, and let what was to come, come. The angel rolled up the string in its palms and it vanished. The angel tapped me on the shoulder when I was about to weep, and I saw. I saw the compassioned smile, I saw the more ethereal but still very much human figure of the angel. Just as spoken about in Scripture. I damned myself for every time I interpreted one’s appearance as symbology! He was right here before me.

And I asked—why? And I asked—how come?

The angel held out its hand and placed it on my trembling shoulder. The angel looked at the pen pad on my desk. The angel knew everything. That I was ripe for telling. That I wished I could make my fellow earth-man understand. I had been touched and would not let go. That it would not drive me mad to see one of them up close. It would drive me to be like them and bring as many up as I possibly could.

Angel, I said, can I write the things you will tell me? Can I tell them of such a world?

The angel nodded and said:

“Emanuel, I will tell you of heaven and hell, of the things we do to pass the time, and the objects we use to light our fireplaces at night. I will tell you of the soil, that is actually made of clouds, and the origin of ourselves in man. And I will show you what I see when I am home, through paintings of great ease on the scale of great masters. I will show you the rising high of the tides of flame from hell, and how they came to be, and how they came to be there. I will show you the food that we eat—as we very well do eat food—and our sleep schedules. I will tell you of the flora and fauna, our shining rags that we wear to cloth ourselves, and the towns that we live in, and you will call these correspondences. Some will understand, some will strive; others will be critical, and one such person will write a critique of similar or greater beauty. But for now, take the pen and write! Write as I say it, and title it Heaven and Hell.”

Maybe that would get me to Heaven, I thought, if the angels indeed were once people.