My brother, in the hospital, gravely ill, a vigil

My brother, gravely ill, in the hospital, a vigil at a distance, two thousand miles away, he in Houston, I in New York, and I say, shy and fragile, feeling like a fraud," It’s your big brother, it’s Johnny."

" Who?" he asks, playfully, as he is on the happy drugs," Where are you? Where the hell have you been? It’s been twenty years." We are both laughing nervously, “Man, I have missed you…”

And we try to reconstruct the something very precious that got broke, searched for a happy time when we were kids, Daddy was crazy, he knew I had to get away from Daddy, he said I had it worse because I was the first, we are trying to find an explanation, for a long absence and he says, dreamily, " You are so sweet…"

After I hung up the phone, remembering a vague sense of something in a box in my mind… what was it?.. a birthday party for him and his twin brother, my two rivals for Mama’s shattered attention, she wasn’t into birthday parties, … I never had a birthday party…and there we are as the box springs open, like an old jack in the box, we are in a sunny room, myself at three and half, the twins were half my age, one with dark brown hair, the other with red hair and blue eyes, we thought the red haired boy didn’t belong to us, he looked so different, the two little ones, still in diapers, squatting next to each other, communing as toddlers do, cooing and babbling, gesturing, with chubby little hands, to another something in the space, just above their heads, a something invisible to me.

I, alone, sitting at a small table, with hot chocolate, want to start trouble and pour the hot drink in my lap, and the Big Mama, appears out of nowhere and mops up the mess I made, me screaming at the innocent brothers, with accusing finger, and she believes me, she is on my side for a change…

Yesterday, they closed the park at the East River, and I put on a mask so that I could go into the laundry mat. We are not allowed to congregate. The thought police are everywhere. I must learn new kinds of boundaries, which you may not cross. There is a thousand dollar fine if you get too close.

I relaxed in the vibrational state, last night, and lifted into the subtle and recited the 23rd Psalm…and felt the surface structure of the poem and the deep structure merge… And stabbing, ecstatic sensation in the root chakra…and I asked for something human…and around my ‘subtle body’ I was held by the memory of human arms…like a big, peaceful, octopus,with many arms, we floated together in the astral…liberated from the spinal column, and the need to stand upright is forgotten…the burden of gravity melts away…and then 'I" dropped back into ordinary space.

Daemon or Demon?

I asked my brother," And what do want to have happen?"

And he said," I don’t know…I really don’t know…"

I want us to go home. There are no more 'I’s that I need to get to know…it is time to go home…it is time for all of us to go home.


Thank you for sharing this very personal—and, perhaps, transtragic?—slice of life and death and reconnection in this zone between worlds which is the Corona interregnum.

I am reminded that we dedicated our Paradise Lost reading yesterday to your dear brother, and that you shared your story about the hot chocolate during our discussion of the war in heaven which the angel Raphael describes.

Godspeed, dear brothers (and sisters) everywhere! Where is our home now? What alien arms of the lucid deep will hold us now?

Let us rest in those arms, rest in those arms… witness the pain and the beauty that surrounds us… let go of the weight of the world and rest.


Thank you, Marco, for a beautiful idea that brings me great comfort. And yes, it is the great Miltonic epic that moved me to touch the personal and the trans-tragic overtone. My brother is still wrestling with his Daemon, that wild child that he was, has ten grandchildren, now, a wise man, a good man. And we have become so kind to one another. Thanks, Marco, fora beautiful word. Keep those beautiful words coming!


HI Johnny and Marco. I can pray with your brother from this distance. Thanks for sharing.