This poem is like sex: it comes and goes in spurts and gasps.

The lookout yells, "All's Well!"10.

; the bell sits snug, doesn't ring, and thus quietly the world ends. The odd thing is how the universe can be destroyed, annihilated and still people carry on, souls continuing meaningless tasks, alternately digging ditches and filling them in, pushing stacks of papers - not noticing that they pass through walls, increasing in efficiency when they one day notice that they've left their bodies, physical evidence of their old lives, behind.

Then the world is destroyed all over again in the realization. Problems, the only problems really, arise when your world doesn't disappear at quite the same time as everyone else's. The idiosyncrasy can be marked in fractions of seconds - that distance between two heads, for instance, or the events can be weeks apart. The only constant is that sooner or later, everyone's life does end. Unfortunately, it eventually starts over again, and we all have to deal with that unseemly transition.

    2. Human beings react in much the same way to shock, tension and stress. Many become dependent. They want to talk, to be comforted, to be given something - a blanket, a cigarette, a cup of coffee - anything that conveys the feeling of being cared about and looked after.

I don't realize it at the time but idling at an intersection at three in the morning watching the Pocky truck improbably zoom by may well have marked the destruction of a man's world. I didn't know that Pocky, that candy-coated breadstick, made emergency housecalls - but I guess the need for a social symbol of security was great enough to warrant one. Can the difference between the destruction and perpetuation of a paradigm be maintained on such a wafer's breadth? I would have thought that I was dreaming when I saw it, but I had a witness and I am very stingy in the sharing of my dreams.

Someone once said that people spend half their lives dead - this was pertaining to sleep, but after having found an implacable wound on my shoulder a few nights ago I'm starting to think that I am only alive when I'm asleep, when I dream; not only do I not remember the cause of this wound but I can't even conceive of what would have caused it, an ugly red ring around my right shoulder. I think that my body is having a much better time without me, while I'm asleep, while I'm dead. Someone once said that people spend half their lives dead.

I think, only half? I want to know these people. How many days in a week do you spend actually alive? What about writers, we who spend our living hours trying to fake death, to live the dead lives of people who may never even have existed?

    People who don't write, create, look at the world as anything more than experience, who don't try to do anything to the events they witness, just floating along in rapids being tossed around by forces they can't control but just try to deal with from moment to moment, trying not to be dashed to bits, not to be pulled under, struggling like this constantly until they eventually hit a waterfall . . .

    . . . the experience of a writer is not significantly different, only in that their analysis of the world gives them one oar which they can use to turn their skiff around, still going in the same direction but oriented backwards. Non-writers, non-creators can just see up to the next bend ahead but even this is denied a writer who can only see where he's been - the perspective is different and though the inevitable end is ultimately the same, it is certainly conductive to a different philosophy of life...

    A monk asked Master Haryo, "What is the Way?"
    Haryo said, "An open-eyed man falling into the well."
    8.

---

    Many case histories show that that stubborn, strong willpower can conquer many obstacles. One case history tells of a man stranded in the desert for eight days without food and water; he had no survival training, and he did nothing right. But he wanted to survive, and through sheer willpower, he did survive.1.

It is never asked if this man's life was worth continuation. It does not mention how many days he went without love.

    The first angel blew his trumpet, and there followed hail and fire, mixed with blood, which fell on the earth; and a third of the earth was burnt up, and a third of the trees were burnt up, and all green grass was burnt up.

    The second angel blew his trumpet, and something like a great mountain, burning with fire, was thrown into the sea; and a third of the sea became blood, a third of the living creatures in the sea died, and a third of the ships were destroyed.

    The third angel blew his trumpet, and a great star fell down from heaven, blazing like a torch, and it fell on a third of the rivers and on the fountains of water. The name of the star is Wormwood. A third of the waters became wormwood, and many men died of the water, because it was made bitter.

    The fourth angel blew his trumpet and a third of the sun was struck, and a third of the moon, and a third of the stars, so that a third of their light was darkened; a third of the day was kept from shining, and likewise a third of the night.

    Then I looked, and I heard an eagle crying with a loud voice, as it flew in midheaven,
    "Woe, woe, woe to those who dwell on the earth, at the blasts of the other trumpets which the three angels are about to blow!"
    2.

To some people, this is how their world ends. This is how mine ends:

No fire, no Wormwood, no mountains, just... a mechanical motion at regular intervals. I have food and water but I could use a competent technician.

    A young woman was deathly afraid of touching anything made of rubber. She did not know why she had this fear; she only knew that she had had it as long as she could remember. Analysis brought out the following facts. When she was a little girl, her father had brought home two balloons, one for her and one for her younger sister. In a fit of temper, she broke her sister's balloon, for which she was severely punished by her father. Moreover, she had to give her sister her balloon. Upon further analysis, it was learned that she had been very jealous of her younger sister, so much so that she had secretly wished that her sister might die and leave her the sole object of her father's devotion. The breaking of her sister's balloon signified a destructive act against her sister. The ensuing punishment and her own guilt feeling became associated with the rubber balloon. Whenever she came into contact with rubber, the old fear of the wish to destroy her sister made her shrink away.3.

Doesn't life make more sense when we can see that our fears have logical reasons like that? This woman's life was destroyed but she found a better one to live in thanks to the benefits of modern therapy.

    For Enlarging Yourself

    Exercise 1. Stand before the mirror and stare at your image. Keep staring at it and imagine yourself growing one inch taller, right before your eyes.

    Practice the exercise for several minutes until you "grow" faster and faster right before your eyes.

    Exercise 2. Stand before your mirror and stare at your image. Keep staring at it and imagine yourself broadening one inch at the shoulders, one-half inch on either side, right before your eyes.

    Practice the exercise for several minutes until you "broaden" faster and faster right before your eyes.

    Sit down and rest when you are tired; then, do these exercises again until you can grow or broaden instantly.5.

Doesn't life make more sense when we can see that our fears have logical reasons like that? This woman's life was destroyed but she found a better one to live in thanks to the benefits of modern therapy.

Me, I only live when lives are being destroyed. Gives me something to put in my poems. This braid going down my back is worth more than its weight in gold because it's part of an encapsulation of life in the modern age - when a part of a person can mean much more than a whole person. The poet may strive to write of more than they are, write words which are bigger than they'll ever be. I can't destroy my world but maybe, just maybe I can destroy someone else's.

When the world is over, that's all that will remain of humanity; not a tear, but words, broadcast from where Earth once was and streaming out until they hit the end of the universe. People are only words' way of making more words - the first phrase was an invocation of sex. Language works with evolution, and in man language has a potent minion indeed.

Inferior indeed: a word could never be coerced to get on stage and recite so many names of me.

    All religions urge us to learn more and more, and to continue our learning. And in our religion, the first time God Almighty addressed the prophet Muhammad -- blessings be upon his soul -- through Gabriel, God said to Muhammad: "Read," and that was the first instruction. So, reading and learning is the fundamental thing in the life of a person, and we know what it means.9.

We know what it means. Well, we'd like to. Words make or break lives more than anything, more than violence, more than social forces. What does it mean that I am up here and you are not? This is what I live for; what do you live for?

    The purpose of a fish trap is to catch fish,
    and when the fish are caught,
    the trap is forgotten.

    The purpose of a rabbit snare is to catch rabbits.
    When the rabbits are caught,
    the snare is forgotten.

    The purpose of words is to convey ideas.
    When the ideas are grasped,
    the words are forgotten.
    8.

Anti-climax: this is the gradual or sudden decrease in the importance of the impressiveness of what is said -
the opposite of climax. It is often used for ludicrous effect or for contrast.
6.

    Where can I find a man who has forgotten words?
    He is the one
    I would like to talk to.
    8.

This is what I live for; what do you live for? I life for this but is this the end of my life? This is the end of this, the end of this poem but not the end of my life, unless I stop living when I get of the stage and stop communicating, the divine wind that fills my mouth and fingers emptying from my body and the kabalistic rune on my forehead changing from "truth" to "death." The last words of a dying civilization can only be followed by the song of the phoenix.

---

Sources cited in this work include 1. Basic Course in Emergency Mass Feeding, August 1966; 2. The Bible; 3. Sigmund Freud, Totem and Taboo; 4. Henry N. Pontell, Social Deviance: Readings in Theory and Research; 5. Frank Rudolph Young, The Laws of Mental Domination: How to Master and Use them for Dynamic Life-Force; also 6. a dictionary; 7. a thesaurus; 8. a book of Chinese poetry; 9. a UN report on protocols observed by Iraq up to the Gulf War II; and 10. a painting described in the first paragraph, all of the above selected from the library of Josh Broyles, who also accompanied my reading musically on sheng, bells and jaw harp.

All indented-and-italicized text is sampled from outside sources; all unindented text is an attempt by me to draw connections and impose theme to the randomly-chosen fragments.

The end of the world is an actual place on the campus of Bennington College in Bennington, Vermont.
The way the campus is set up, there is this beautiful lawn with the student houses on either side of it. At the head of the lawn is the building known as "Commons", and at the opposite end is the area known as the end of the world. It's breathtaking. It truly looks like you could be looking out across the edge of nothingness, the way the lawn drops off sharply, and with all the mountains around.
Common activities one may find going on at the end of the world:
... and the list goes on ...

The end of the world is commonly believed to be where many very powerful lines of energy cross, and hence some extremely strange things have been known to happen off the end of the world where no one can see (unless you step over the stone wall and see that there is indeed actual ground there, albeit at a sharp angle).

Very Brief Overview

(Elvis Costello sang about it.}

For more detail see Christian Eschatology

The End of the world is probably the most misunderstood, and joked about serious subject besides God, Hell, and sex.

Though other sacred writings, including Old Testament Prophets mentioned such terminology (pun intended), the most noted source of this subject is the Book of Revelation, (Greek = Apokalypsis} {where we get Apocalypse) which refers to the "unveiling" of Jesus Christ's Return. In Matthew 24, Jesus gave an answer to the question:

Tell us, when will this take place, and what will be the sign of Your coming and of the end (the completion, the consummation) of the age? (The Amplified Bible}

The disciple's question -- the way that it is in the King James Version (another reinforcement for the common usage)-- is translated: "... and what shall be the sign of thy coming, and of the end of the world?." Jesus' answer forced Him to explain a future historical and environmental string of events that must take place before He comes back and sits on the throne of David and His Kingdom on earth. The Disciples were aware of Jewish teachings on a Messianic Kingodom, and they believed He was the One, but the timing was the element in question. The "wars, and rumors of wars," earthquakes, and false messiahs were to come like birth pangs, until the Tribulation comes, where "...unless it was cut short, no flesh wold survive..." (Certainly those words were not looked at carefully, as especially around the First Millennium folks got all freaky and stuff, considering plagues and invasions seemed to coincide with the date.) First, also, the the Anti-christ's (also called the Beast, and the Wicked One) comes on the scene, but his reign ends with Jesus' appearing, and the "Dragon" and his followers are destroyed.

The world that ends is the <Kosmos, (from Phythagoros' ordered system), the same world/cosmos we are warned not to love -hence this term does not refer to the astronomical planet - full of people, because among these we are taught to love everyone, including our enemies. (See 1 John 2:15 and 1 John 3:15).

Only the evil part of the world that Satan has contaminated is purged, and there will be a New Heaven and a New Earth out of the old.

So we see that the sinister version of the New World Order will have to make way for the Millennium Kingdom Age. (See prophecies of Daniel {especially 12:1-13}, Ezekiel, Isaiah, Joel, Malachi, Zephaniah, Zechariah and writings of Peter and Paul.)

"End of the World", a three act play by Arthur Kopt, stars Michael Trent, a playwright facing a low point in his career. One day, Trent is approached by Philip Stone, a rich powerful man in his sixties, who offers him a hefty sum of money to write a play for him. Puzzled by the man’s ideas but dazzled by his offered payment, Trent accepts Stone’s offer as a change of pace and a way to jumpstart his career. However, the play that Stone asks him to write has no plot, two characters, and no happy ending. Stone’s scenario deals with the end of the world, but he will not reveal to Trent anything beyond that.

Trent asks Stone why he has chosen him to write his play, but Stone will not answer this question either but gives Trent five thousand dollars as a token of good faith and leaves. Left with all questions, no answers and five thousand dollars, Trent consults his agent Audrey for advice, but to no avail. Audrey calls Stone and asks why he is so anxious to produce this play. Stone replies simply, “I want to produce it because I believe the earth is doomed.”

Even more confused then before, Trent is invited to Stone’s 40th floor apartment and faints after looking out of the window down onto the streets below. When he wakes up, he and Stone discuss why anyone would want to produce a play that is doomed for failure. Trent believes that no one will want to see the play Stone wants him to write, but Stone insists on produces the play. He tells Trent that even though the scenario is implausible, it is based on real world doom. Of course, Stone cannot tell Trent anything beyond this, or even what the impending catastrophe he speaks of is.

Trent attempts to investigate and research the usage of nuclear weapons, the only thing that Stone has hinted at that seems to be even somewhat plausible subject matter for a play. Trent interviews General Wilmer, one of the President’s chief advisors on nuclear policy. General Wilmer reveals a horrible contradiction involving the time to use nuclear weapons. In short, nuclear weapons are needed to prevent the usage of nuclear weapons. Trent is puzzled by the idea that the first strike must be considered defensive, and continues on to talk with a man named Stanley Berent, a Russian scholar.

Berent does little but confuse the matter even more, naming the defensive first strike that Wilmer referred to as anticipatory retaliation. Frustrated, Trent leaves Berent and proceeds to visit Jim and Pete, who are both experts in military scenarios. Jim and Pete explain how difficult it is to actually start a nuclear war, but conclude that if one does begin, it will not happen because of greed, power or money, but because both countries fear the other will perform anticipatory retaliation, and the first to strike is always at an advantage. The only way to get out of this paradox is to find a break in the system. An example, Jim says, is when Sadat left Egypt for Jerusalem when he saw nuclear weapons being the inevitable future for Cairo and Alexandria. By doing what no one anticipated, he created a sort of discontinuity. However, Pete tells Trent that extraterrestrials and the rebirth of Jesus Christ are the only things likely to interrupt the cycle now.

After talking with General Wilmer once again under the guise of The Shadow, Trent learns the illogical conspiracy he thinks he has discovered is actually common knowledge, there is just no way around it. Frustrated once again, Trent retreats to his house in New Haven, Connecticut. His vacation is cut short when Stone shows up at his house claiming that Trent has breached his contract by not telling him everything he had discovered and for not producing evidence of any work on a script. Trent tells Stone that he is sorry for his lie, but he is indeed working on a script which involves the story of a puzzled playwright approached by a man very much like Stone who is faced with the same obstacles and conspiracies as he.


"End of the World" was first performed at the Kennedy Center in Washington D.C., on March 28, 1984 and originally starred:

  • Michael Trent John Shea
  • Philip Stone Barnard Hughes
  • Audrey Wood Linda Hunt
  • Paul Cowan Richard Seff
  • Merv Rosenblatt David O'Brien
  • Stella Elain Petricoff
  • General Wilmer David O'Brien
  • Stanley Berent Jaroslav Stremien
  • Pete Peter Zapp
  • Jim Nathaniel Ritch
  • Ann Elain Petricoff
  • Trent's Son Wade Raley

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