Paganistan: Notes from the Secret Commonwealth

In Which One Midwest Man-in-Black Confers, Converses & Otherwise Hob-Nobs with his Fellow Hob-Men (& -Women) Concerning the Sundry Ways of the Famed but Ill-Starred Tribe of Witches.

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Kingdom of Silence

 Centuries-old gravestones returned to Rhode Island cemetery | WPRO

 Halloween Guy



My neighbor looks deeply troubled. I go over to see what's wrong.

He's been up all night. His wife of 60-some years has just died.

I listen to his story, and say the things that one says.

My neighbor is a good man. His life has been one of undeserved tragedy.

Years ago, a motorcycle accident reduced his son to a permanent vegetative state. His daughter struggled with cancer and eventually overcame it, only to die recently of a sudden heart attack. Now, with his wife's death, everything that this man has ever loved has been taken from him, everything.

It's mid-October, and the guy next door—every block seems to have one—is the Halloween Guy. His front yard is mocked up as a faux cemetery: gray styro tombstones spiked into the crisp autumn lawn with glib little ha-ha inscriptions, skeleton hands erupting from the soil, plastic bones strewn between.

I'm struck by the gap between this silly cartoon of death and the immensity of the real thing. It seems, simultaneously, a mockery and, in its sheer fatuousness, utterly beneath notice.

Overlooking the Kingdom of Silence, I stand in silence with my grieving neighbor, sharing the things that cannot be said.




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Tagged in: death season of death
Poet, scholar and storyteller Steven Posch was raised in the hardwood forests of western Pennsylvania by white-tailed deer. (That's the story, anyway.) He emigrated to Paganistan in 1979 and by sheer dint of personality has become one of Lake Country's foremost men-in-black. He is current keeper of the Minnesota Ooser.


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