Chapter 1
Apocalypse pt. 1

By estory

Is this the beginning of the end?

Contactless interfaces and social distancing across the streets of people in masks as the number of infections rises and the rate of hospitalizations rises and the death toll rises

The shelter in place orders close the non essential businesses and the rumors of how the virus spreads on surfaces proliferate across social media platforms

While the restaurants and bars where we used to gather on Saturday evenings close and the malls and office buildings all go dark at the same time for an indeterminate amount of time

Time seems to stand still. The city that never sleeps stands still. The airplanes sit in their hangars. The trains sit in their tunnels. No crowds. No children in the playgrounds. No school. No church.

People wearing masks walk past you wondering about the danger of infection

Telecommuting and teleconferencing and remote education and online shopping experiences flash on the screens in the boxes through the wires in an endless data stream

Author Notes Some notes on Apocalypse: This was inspired by the onset of the epidemic last year and kind of grew from a description of what it was like to be in the vortex of it, what the emotions were like, into a broader articulation of the corruption of the modern world. It will be rendered in a monochrome style, in a data stream flow, sort of like news coming over the wires. This opening part sets the scene of a plague sweeping over the earth, consuming the world, overwhelming us and sucking the humanity out of us. Large parts of it, in the beginning, will be dark in mood, but I encourage you to stick with it, because over time it will brighten and the end will be squarely in the light. It will follow roughly the outline of the book of Revelations in this regard. What I hope to articulate here is a sense of living through the tribulations spoken of in that book of the Bible, told in our own language, with images from our world to liven it up, giving us a sense of actually watching and experiencing the ending of one world, and the beginning of another. estory

Chapter 2
Apocalypse pt. 2

By estory

Is this the end?

Virtual reality live streamed on the podcasts and the tik tok
videos and the video game channels and the dating sites
and the porno sites

As the beast and the second beast that proceeds from the first beast,
living, despite their mortal wounds, bring the answers to your
fingertips, predict the weather, monitor your movements
compile your profile and analyze the statistics
explaining the mysteries of the universe until
there is nothing mysterious left about it.

It brings down fire in the sight of men. Raises the dead.
Prophesies the future. This technology.

Author Notes I wanted to create something of a streaming effect, a mechanical, digital tone of the language to mimic the voice of a machine. I want to make people think here, of how the computer and the cell phone could very well satisfy the image of the beast described by John in Revelations; living, or appearing to live, on the screen, and then going dead at the flick of a button or a switch. How else would John have been able to describe something like technology, in his time, having no experience with it? It certainly raises the dead, on demand; look at the old movies of dead stars you can stream. It brings down fire in the sight of men; all the explosions in the action movies. It is a substitute for reality, for emotions, connecting you into this machinery designed to manipulate you for financial gain. estory

Chapter 3
Apocalypse pt. 3

By estory

In these end times we are all alone together sitting in our
apartments skyping and zooming and texting each other

Toasting each other from our living room couches across
the street or tweeting about toilet paper and sanatizer or
meat or the accidental shaking of a hand

There is no more shaking of hands. No more in person
interviews. No spectators at the ball games or patrons
in the dining rooms or mourners at the funerals
or colleagues having lunch together in a park or talking
over coffee in the coffee bars.

A silence that is never ending and a distance that cannot be
crossed hangs over the empty office buildings and the long
streets empty of traffic where the traffic lights go from
green to yellow to red to green in their endless, automated

Author Notes The images in this part of the series come from the early days of the pandemic, as you will certainly realize. These images of a humanity separated from each other, connecting only through machines, and the empty buildings and streets left to the automated sequences of the traffic lights, ironic symbols of the meaning of machines, without human beings. Yet in many ways, they are the future while we are the victims in this stage of progress. I wanted to create a sense of helplessness here, of humanity caught in a situation out of its control, that is sapping the humanity from it. estory

Chapter 4
Apocalypse pt. 4

By estory

Here, at the end of the world,

We spend our time listening to commercials
advertising cereal, cars, or pharmaceuticals.
We watch the ticker tape of the shares rising
instead of the sun in the early morning.

As the share prices rise we dream of vacations
somewhere at the end of a long flight to south pacific islands.
We buy a new Mercedes Benz.
A summer house.
Another video game.
Another bottle of scotch
oblivious to the letters in the mailbox
from charities and non profits
that end up in the paper shredder or the waste basket.

We drive past the church
on the way to the shopping mall
and its marble floors and skylights,
its restaurants and coffee bars and boutiques,
charging new shirts, cufflinks, swiss watches
neckties and double breasted jackets
to our credit cards

Watching the young ladies in their blue jeans and miniskirts
standing like debutantes along the promenade
looking for someone to tell them they are beautiful
to admire their new tattoos

In the end we have our one night stands
one after the other.

We wake up with a hangover.

We look in the mirror.

We turn out the light
and close the door.

Author Notes This poem is kind of a harsh indictment of the self centered consumer lifestyle we all live today. If you stop and think about it, we spend so much time thinking about making ourselves happy, and then wondering why we are still unhappy. Its because real happiness comes from making others happy. Its all in how you look at things. Whether you look in the mirror or at the people passing you in the street, whether you watch the market rise instead of the sun, or whether you go to church or drive to the shopping mall to buy yourself stuff. These self absorbing pastimes can end up consuming our lives if we let them. estory

Chapter 5
Apocalypse pt. 5

By estory

In the end

We have become our own gods.
We write our own rules, make our own way
imagine our own religion and our own connection
with the universe and the force
designed to our own specifications
and dimensions
to suit our own devices

We answer to no-one
like a man sailing out over the cascading edge of earth
into an eternity of bliss

A heaven of cocktail parties
and family reunions,
vacations to Yosemite and Niagra Falls

We sit in our armchairs
the god of fortune and finance,
the god of love and war,
the god of time and space,
harmony and balance

Adding up our bank accounts
remembering our lovers
turning the pages of old photograph albums
and fast forwarding the videos

Without so much as remorse
or conscience to guide us

Knowing only what we see, hear, feel, taste
take up and use and discard,
filing away the important documents
and meditating away
the pain, the fear, the anger the sadness
as if it didn't matter
in our own little corner of the world

Where we sit like a god
with no-one to answer to

A god of good and plenty

A god of a box of good and plenty

Author Notes This is a poem about the "me" generation and the mind set it has created, the consumer culture and the emphasis on self gratification that has carried us away from the idea that we are born servants of each other, and of God. In our time, we have basically declared ourselves our own gods, and invented our own spiritualisms to make us feel we are 'good' people and deserving of our self absorbtion; all while we ignore of dismiss the people around us and the God who created us for His glory. estory

Chapter 6
Apocalypse pt. 6

By estory

In these end times,

The sky is grey above the empty churches and the silent cemeteries
with their forgotten gravestones waiting and waiting for something
to happen

The snow seems to linger on through the winter and into the spring
as the inhabitants of the townhouses watch their television sets
and the people walking their dogs in circles stare at their cellphones
and send text messages

The picture of the flower still hangs on the bedroom wall

The light from outside still falls through the window
on the other side of the exhibition hall
illuminating Rodin's statues and Rembrandt's portraits
in the empty art museum

There on the television set is a glimpse of the far off mountains
and the sound of a waterfall

The phone rings.

It is another robocall.

Author Notes In this part of the series, I wanted to articulate this sense of life struggling to reclaim something of its former grandeur, its former vitality, in the midst of the pandemic and the images I used here were of the emptiness of New York City at the height of it. The empty art museums, the empty churches, the gravestones waiting for redemption and resurrection, the winter snow on the edge of spring; these are all images of a world on the threshold of something, looking back and looking forward at the same time. And yet we are called back to that reality of despair by the incessant robocall. estory

Chapter 7
Apocalypse pt. 7

By estory

These end times are the age of science.
The age of scientific analysis of data compiled from the
memory banks of computer systems.
The age of observable facts.

It is an age of solutions developed by experts
based on physical evidence and scientific experiments.

The prediction of future events based on
computations by digital and quantum based machines.

It is the age of reason.
The age of facts and figures.

It is not an age of miracles.

Author Notes As we have lost our faith in God and spiritual things, miracles from heaven, this is what we are left with. I'm sure many people would say 'scientific miracles' are miracles in and of themselves, but in reality, there is always a failing with man made 'miracles.' Pharmeceuticals have side effects. Treatments have side effects. And things like computers and machines have no emotions to guide them; they are merely the instruments of logic. Nuclear energy, carbon fuels, electricity; all these things at one time seemed like solutions to our problems, but in the end, only created more problems. I personally don't want to live in a world without miracles. Without a connection to the God who loves us. estory

Chapter 8
Apocalypse pt. 8

By estory

Is this the beginning of the end?

Overhead the spy satellites and the telecommunications satellites
and the streetlights and the drones outshine the stars

Through the smoke the moon looks like blood.
The sun goes dark.

The noise of cars and radios and television sets
drowns out the sound of crickets and birds.

The honeybees are dying.

At the north pole and south pole the ice is melting
and the ocean is rising until it swallows up the houses
on the islands and then the islands.

In the middle of the ocean an island of empty plastic bottles
and empty plastic bags floats discarded.

Nobody prays.

There are no miracles.

Author Notes In this poem, I wanted to create a sense of the signs of the end of the world as something we are in the middle of right now, something we can see and feel all around us. Also I wanted to work in that sense of the world turning away from God, believing that there are no more miracles, and that we must rely on ourselves to get out of this. It is this turning away from God that will result in God's intervention and saving us, literally, from ourselves. estory

Chapter 9
Apocalypse pt. 9

By estory

In this far off time and place at the end of the world
we have forgotten prayers and the faith we had in God
the selfless love given by Christ upon the cross
and the resurrection from the graves

We have forgotten the bread and the wine that bound us
together in the Word and the Spirit
that raised the roof with hymns

We have forgotten the homeless men
out in all kinds of weather
and the drugged and bedraggled women
and the hungry, dirty children
left behind by the Apples and the Amazons
of this world

We forget that we are servants of each other
in this rat race to get ahead and make a name for ourselves
on the social media bulletin boards of stars
star crossed with themselves

We have forgotten our marriage vows
our children in our mad dash
to find ourselves somewhere
out in the flashing tangled instant gratification
of disconnected moments scattered across the far flung
schematics of applications downloaded from the social network

We are lost somewhere in a loop of computer graphics
on a video game distraction in the middle of nowhere

Author Notes The modern day obsession with instant gratification and fame and fortune has drowned out the presence of God in our world; there is hardly a moment when you even find the name of Christ or God even mentioned on TV or the social media, hardly a moment when one prays, in this focus on science and technology and self gratification and self love. Need we wonder why our families are falling apart and our society is falling apart? When a society turns from God, this is the result. Violence, self obsession and bitter squabling over money and power. estory

Chapter 10
Apocalypse pt. 10

By estory

The end.

Is that what this is?
This digitally compressed, silicon based,
amalgamated, politically correct
podcast connected to the internet
24/7/52 weeks a year
nonstop, automated, vertically integrated
into a platform monitored by remote
artificial intelligence
across the network
in real time
and synchronized
to be simultaneous

satisfaction guaranteed
except where otherwise specified
in the fine print,
where we catagorically deny
any responsibility for opinions
not wholly expressed
or verified

by the justified,
indemnified, popular
public opinion disseminated
and activated
by the express written consent
of unaffiliated disengeneous
organizations operating
to fascilitate
or otherwise agitate
for commonly accepted
endorsed practices
to be enforced
according to the legally binding

appointed and apportioned
for all

Author Notes I wanted to capture the helter skelter crazy pace of today's digital world in this piece, and to do that I decided to use this hip hop urban kind of rhythm, fast paced as the New York City streets and chock full of all those competing arcade images flashing all around you. I wanted to capture the sense of the individual being overwhelmed by the fine print, by large cap mega companies, the law and popular opinion. In today's world, you get swept away by the popular opinions, or turned off by them. estory

Chapter 11
Apocalypse pt. 11

By estory

In the end we click on start click on run click on open
click on copy click on share click on comment click on block
click on close click on open click on post click on share
click on reply click on confirm click on deny
click on access click on print click on file click on delete

we add and delete files of friends long distance

we comment on the posts of friends and family

we set the parameters and scan through the profiles
examining examples the computer highlights and adding
and deleting as we go along

each one a face in a moment of time,
each life reduced to a profile

we post we reply we comment we delete

we click on close

Author Notes This part of Apocalypse was done in another very different style, this time I wanted a very dense feel, a feeling of being self absorbed in this mechanical process of navigating on the internet. Social functions here become mechanized, and the experience of life becomes hollow and empty as a result. Experiencing life and living through machines empties the soul. estory

Chapter 12
Apocalypse pt. 12

By estory

This must be the end.

Everything is broken. Marriages are broken.
Children are broken. Nobody can put them back together again.

There's a broken bottle scattered on the street.
A broken window. A broken mailbox.
A broke television set. A broken clock.
A broken lamp. A broken man.

The door slams shut the phone call ends
the interface is blocked.

You hear the sound of sirens the sound of gunshots.

People wander in the streets afraid to take another step
afraid to go back home unsure of how they got here
and not knowing where to go

Afraid to look at themselves in mirrors
broken into pieces and trying to replace the broken pieces
and put them back into some kind of a semblance
of a human being we no longer recognize

Afraid to ask for help

Obsessed with pain and death

Walking passed the windows of the stores
with only gizmos and gadgets to offer in the end

In the end, everyone must look after themselves

Author Notes I wanted to use a broken up syntax here to underscore the theme of a broken landscape, and broken culture, and broken society and broken up individuals. I took some special care in picking out the images; lamps, clocks, television sets, that symbolize light, time and moments, and communication. Windows that symbolize transcendence from one space to another. I wanted to capture this sense of lonely people, adrift from their moorings, cut off from family, trying to piece together some sense of self out of the world around them. And all they seem to have to choose from are the material things for sale in the shop windows. Ours is a sick culture, a culture of disconnect and finance, personal gain and self love. And this leads to broken pieces of people trying to fit in. estory

Chapter 13
Apocalypse pt. 13

By estory

Near the end we find a scattered light between the gathering clouds
falling across the yellowing concrete like a memory of a former time
or a glimpse of the way out

On the other side of the world it seems an old churchbell still rings
on Sunday mornings and one remembers what it was like
to sing a hymn in the light of the stained glass windows

A girl wearing a face mask crosses the street
and stands on the far corner for a moment
running her fingers through her hair

A violinist playing on a recording of Beethoven or Brahms
recalls the memory of the orchestra in Carnegie Hall
curling the air like the curlicues on the carved balconies
and the chandeliers and the way the audience sat together
holding its breath, listening to the music

While the moon drifts overhead

In between the telecommunication spires

While people walk over the Brooklyn Bridge
out of the silent city and on to somewhere else

Author Notes I wanted to capture a sense of nostalgia for this world, to capture the memories of we have of the world we enjoyed here. It is not a perfect world, but on the edge of leaving it behind there is a certain sadness to leaving behind the things we loved about it, the moments we celebrated in it. At the same time, I wanted to create that sense of movement on to something else, something we can't quite grasp in our dimension, we don't understand with our limited experiences created in this world.

A side note; my time will be very limited here for a while. My father suffered a stroke a couple of weeks ago, he will be coming home, and I will have to help out with his care at home. I will do my best to post and review, but it will be limited. estory

Chapter 14
Apocalypse pt. 14

By estory

I think of this world now at its end,
thinking of what will be left behind.

This light illuminating the autumn leaves,
this wind in the treetops,
Those tiger lilies in my mother's garden.
The rain. The snow. The far off mountains.
Oceans and islands out in those oceans.

A glass of wine. A lady's face.
The outlines of a figure in a silk print dress.

The smell of coffee, the smell of apple pie.
Fresh baked bread. Old photograph albums.
Hand me downs. Chocolate.

Girls at a party trying to catch your eye.
The stars glittering in the far off Milky Way.

Bluebirds. Cardinals. Monarch butterflies
resting on a butterfly bush.
Clouds brightening in a sunrise.

Evening. Christmas trees. Candlelight.

The sounds of a train whistle as a train pulls out of town.

Author Notes As twisted and defaced as this world has become, we still had our moments in this place God created for us. We still had our joys and moments of glad grace, as Yeats would put it; our loves and our delicacies. And maybe we will miss something of it in the next world, or dimension. This poem is a backward look, remembering those joys here; a celebration of the moments we enjoyed in this world as it goes through the eye of a needle. estory

Chapter 15
Apocalypse pt. 15

By estory

Alone in a darkened room one hears a still, small voice
whispering in your ear: "It will be alright. I am the way,
the truth and the life.

I am the end, and the beginning."
In the window the sky brightens from east to west

Like lightning

'Something is happening,' you say to yourself.
'Someone is coming.'

The electric goes out and the clock goes dead
and the computer goes dead
and you scramble onto the roof

Above your head, the northern cross
cuts through the sky like a knife.
Light comes pouring through.

Author Notes In this chapter, I wanted to capture the moment when Christ returns and our world reaches the end of one age, the age of man, and enters another, the age of Christ. I tried to show this by showing the man made things of this world, the clocks and computers and electric light going dead as in a storm, and the darkness being lifted by this light pouring through the hole torn between Earth and heaven in the sky. I wanted to use this fractured format to articulate the feeling of being shaken by unsettling images, jarred out of the familiar into this new world. estory

Chapter 16
Apocalypse pt. 16

By estory

After the end, where will we go?
What will become of us?

Will we lie here forever,
unmoving, waiting, remembering
who we used to be?

Or will everything just go black
as if it had never been?

A void as empty as the space between galaxies
a never ending silence
an unbroken absence

Or will there be light at the end of the tunnel?
Will we hear a voice
feel a hand
see a face

Like a raindrop on a windowpane
brightens for a moment
in the sweep of the headlights

Then vanishes,
never to be seen again?

Will it be like someone sitting in a darkened room
listening for sounds of life next door?

Suspended animation?

An unremembered dream?

Author Notes In this part I wanted to try and capture what we might feel in that moment when this world will pass, before the new world becomes apparent, using images of unsettling surroundings and trying to dig up those emotions. I wanted something of a free fall effect, when we have our hands stretched out and feel nothing, when we can see nothing and can only imagine what is or might be out there. A moment when we just have to leave our senses and reason behind and just trust God. estory

Chapter 17
Apocalypse pt. 17

By estory

What will come after the end?

Will there be another beginning,
another day, a new breath taken,
a light filling the room?

Where will we go?
And with whom?

After we have crossed the chasm
in between worlds,
this one ending and that one beginning,
after we have leapt over the void
lying between memory
and hope,
what will we come down on?

Will we walk away
into a world without shadows,
a world without tears?

Will we see those mothers and fathers
we haven't seen in years?
And what will they tell us?

Will we come to life again,
will we be able to love again,
to speak of something inside of us
as if it survived the chrysallis,
a butterfly remembering the caterpillar on the leaf?

Author Notes I've often wondered what the next life will be like, as I am sure many of you have, and many people have wondered about it all through literature. Will be able to remember anything of this life here, and the people we knew here? This is the moment I wanted to capture in this next to last part of Apocalypse. This is the transition point, the moment when we go from here to there. estory

Chapter 18
Apocalypse pt. 18

By estory

After the end of this light and darkness
there will be a silence, a peace,
something of the endlessness of the sea
or the sky, passing our understanding
with its grace, its clean, clear presence
in which we stand and sing
new songs of the Lamb, His sacrifice
in body and in blood
that has become pure love and spirit
like the wind, the rain, or light itself.

After the end we will rejoice,
reclaimed from pain and suffering,
lifting our voices out of the darkness
and its heavy, weighted silence
like children in a choir on Sunday morning
listening to the rising intonations of the organ,
clothed in white, containing every color,
every tribe and every tongue
speaking in the tongue of the Spirit
pouring like pure water out of the jar
of the waterbearer in the stars
moving above the surface of the waters
before time began its long heartbeat
through the ages of man and his empires.

In this garden we see a remnant,
a fragment, of what that poet
tried to capture in stone
as if he could put a living man
in a looking glass;

There, on the distant hills,
the Coliseum, the Sphinx,
The Great Wall of China
crumble slowly into the dust;

The Mona Lisa, the Waterlilies,
The Starry Night
fade in the bright light;

Michaelangelo's David
breaks and cracks
and returns to the Earth
from whence it came.

Moving among us
is the true Spirit,
living, lifting
creation upon creation,
the glory of the flowers
in every face uplifted,
the bird songs in every voice,
the mountains and the snow capped peaks
the place to which we climb now
in our upraised thoughts.

And above the mountains
the stars

and above the stars
the Morning Star,
the one, true light
of our new world.

Author Notes This is the conclusion of Apocalypse, a celebration of the New Jerusalem, the new world we will gain in Christ after the end of this world and this life. I wanted to create a sense of transcendence through these images of mountain peaks and stars, birds singing and flowers blooming, capturing our inner spirit released from the physical bodies we are in now. Also a sense of timelessness, in these images of sea and sky and stars. An eternity of joy. I hope the long journey through the darkness was worth it for you. This is my favorite part of this series, and I think one of the best poems I have written in a long time. I am curious to see what you all have to say about it. estory

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