I don’t like what’s about to happen to the United States. I’m scared. But when I look at it, at the great arc of history, I have to admit that there is something deeply on target about Donald Trump coming to the presidency. It is only what could be expected. And a phrase keeps popping to mind: the Gatsbyean Doom. Trump is the Gatsbyean Doom. There could be no other. There are no ifs in history. All of American history has been aimed at this. The Gatsbyean Doom. Like a bobbing styrofoam cup at the brink of Niagara Falls. There could be no other.

I will say this: in 1990, with the ending of the Cold War, America lost a raison d’etre. We have not yet managed to find another one. We have wandered in malaise. In Trump we find a thicker, richer, new & improved malaise.

The New Dems were in power in Manitoba. The election changed everything and nothing. So sick was Harold of Winnipeg, of this company. Everyman a liar. The petty bourgeois of little Canada.

Well the girls are out to bingo and the boys are gettin stinko
We think no more of Inco on a Sudbury Saturday Night

“Goin’ south, then?” said Sam, his hippie friend. Sam sucked up acid by the handful, smuggled across the border—he knew all the draft dodgers.

“Maybe.”

The grain company, the railroad—one more mile for progress, one more dollar for the company man. He’d get his paycheck and have another beer.

We’ll drink the loot we borrowed and recuperate tomorrow
‘Cause everything is wonderful tonight-we had a good fight

Slip across the border to Chicago or Minneapolis. Lines of jobs out to the suburbs and back. Kiss a little ass and make your fortune. Go on down to Miami and Fort Lauderdale, get the sunshine, let your cares burn up with your sunburn.

“You know why Canadians don’t make trouble, don’t you?” Sam was high as a Manitoba wind.

“Because of the fucking British. Got to bow to the Queen.”

Sam’s mouth curled into an acid-laced smile. “No. It’s the cold.
Can’t tell the boss off. Half the year you’d freeze. Got to be polite, got to keep warm.”

From the top of the building, Harold look out past the Winnipeg
limits. To the prairie, the infinite flatness.

Any sane man would go South. To America. To warmth.

Harold descended the building. Started the car. Already it complained. Stompin’ Tom on the radio.

The songs that we’ll be singing They might be wrong but they’ll be ringin’
But all the lights of town are shining bright-and we’re all tight

Drove towards Grosse Isle. Drove further.  Out to where it was cold, it was hard, but he’d know who he was. Not south. Never south.

North. To the Shield.

Lord, keep us from the time of trial

But should the time of trial come, keep us strong in it.

Lord, give us Christmas cheer

But if the age should prove cheerless, give us Christmas nonetheless.

Lord, grant us Christmas peace

But if war should ride over us, let us have peace within us.

Lord, let the holi-day be a real thing, above us.

Let it not be tethered by what we do.

And if we are silent, Lord,

Let the stones sing.

Helen wasn’t looking for a new job. April of ’95 marked thirty-four years at Shady Glen Rest Home; she was a nurse supervisor and thinking about retirement. But when a man called and offered her twice her pay, she figured she should at least talk to him.

The new rest home was at the edge of town, all by its lonesome in the corn fields. The first thing she noticed was the wall around the place. The second thing she noticed was the soldiers.

The man she had spoken with on the phone turned out to wear a uniform, with stars on the shoulders.

“Mrs. Wisteria, this is a somewhat unusual establishment,” he said as he led her through the hallways. “This nursing home has been built for one patient, a very special patient. He suffers from advanced dementia. Until recently, he was being cared for at home.  The facility will be under the supervision of the U.S. Army, but the staff will all be civilians. We don’t want our man to feel…threatened. That’s why we’re looking to hire you and other experienced nurses.”

He stopped by a door, a door that looked typical of every other nursing home door Helen had ever seen.

“Why don’t I introduce you?”

Inside an elderly man sat in a wheelchair, thin, wrinkled, wispy-haired. He was watching “Gilligan’s Island” on the television. He looked up with a scowl.

Helen gasped. The general shut the door again.

“Isn’t that–”

“Yes. That’s Henry Pearson. Captain Wonder.”

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God loves us, more than any human we can ever know.
God does not give the tiniest shit about us.

But make no mistake.

God is the Ancient of Days, gray-haired and venerable. God is not the Ancient of Days.
God is the Law, the Logos, the dharma. God is not the Law, the Logos, the dharma.

“In my Father’s house are many mansions.” So shall we tour all these mansions, guided by our brother and friend Yeshua. Without his guidance we would be eaten by the worms outside. We cannot imagine what shall come at the end of the tour. Mansion after mansion, further up and further in.

.

Then the stars resolved themselves in petal, titanic petals, and I realized that the world was contained within a flower. But what kind of flower I could not tell.

“A tulip,” the angel told me. “For the tulip is a chalice and the world is properly contained within that chalice.”

And I saw then that the angel’s head was itself a tulip, of red petals tipped with orange. Whereupon the angel seized me and carried me aloft, higher than I could think.

Looking down, I could see great fields of tulips, graduating in color, blue to violet to black to red to orange and back again, stretching into infinity, the fields gridded and bounded by canals.

“These are the fields of God, and all of this is by and for God’s glory,” said the angel, holding me aloft over the uncountable worlds. As we flew ever higher, the angel’s grip began to slacken, as we grew closer to the Gardener of that place, down to the very tips of angelic fingers, until ultimately I began to fall, towards the infinity of tulips, feeling my own limbs become a stalk and my head petals. Whereupon I continued to fall.