by HP


Dearly Unreal (In No Particular Order),

Tammuz. Compulsion drives these words over the edge of a flat earth, falling forever into night, rising forever into darkness without end. That is the plainest I know how to say it. Listen to this, Tammuz. Did you not once tell me that the Romans got the idea for crucifixions from none other than the T in your name, and in fact stole it from you outright because they saw that it was the perfect shape to hang a body from?

Krishna. I am disoriented from a sudden (though not isolated) onslaught from the most unlikely of places. My pious bride. She has devastated me with the truth of her words. She knows me better than you do, I’ll gamble, yet a tender word from you may go far in calming her tumultuous waters. Though you came at least a hundred years too late, promise me you’ll try.

Budha Sakia. You, I feel certain I have met before, perhaps at the zendo on a wall-gazing Saturday afternoon? No matter, you are far away at present. And I am far away from you. Which has strayed from which? All attempts at profundity or levity aside, a bout of indigestion from some tainted meat hardly qualifies you for this list. Still, you did bury it out back after it had wrought its appointed work, so surely you have the compassionate eyes that have steered you into the proximity of the light?

Alcestos. Sometimes, when I am sad, I focus on the point my eyes happen to have landed upon and imagine that sight is truly blindness. It’s not hard; try it and I’m sure you’ll agree. A true prophet does not discriminate when it comes to subject matter. Anything will do, really.

Quirinus. Individuals with your name seem predisposed to martyrdom, if the Martyrologium Hieronymianum is to be believed, and quite frankly the question is still an open matter as of the present moment. Still, time flows and things change, so who, O Quirinus, can say?

Wittoba. Speaking of martyrs, the namesake of the lot, and by this I mean of course Justin Martyr, has leveled a very serious accusation against thee and thine. How pleadest thou? Silent after all these centuries, I see. Well, I’d expect nothing less after the supreme embarrassment you must have suffered as a result of misinterpreting the sacred prophecies so spectacularly. Still, existence was sweet, was it not?

Quexalcote. I do hope I’ve spelled that correctly. Dear me, what an awkward spot you put us all in a couple of years ago when it dawned on us that we had all marked our calendars incorrectly and found ourselves all dolled up in our finest apparel, but alas with no ball to attend that night, in fact no ballroom.

Atys. Please, I seek your advice, for there are times I feel that I scarcely exist, as if being “born of a virgin” meant having no one notice you except to poke fun and belittle. Lonely Atys, it dawns on me that we are perhaps more alike than either would care to admit.

Bali. The nauseous sensation in my esophagus. Matter or spirit. Please advise.

Indra. Like lightning that flashes in the east, and fills the sky even in the west, I hope this letter finds you well. Everyone seems so sure of themselves these days, though their opinions vary wildly, so they can’t all be right. The one certain thing is that they are all so certain. It is the only way for them, the only way they know to resist the fate of the lightning flash, brilliant one moment, then nothing. O Indra, I know you know what I mean.

Crite. At times I feel so insignificant, as if I had no agency, as if I were only empty bamboo reeds clacking in the wind, only seeming animate. As I have mentioned to dear Tammuz, compulsion drives these words, so bear with me.

Hesus. Because your name, in its romanized form, resembles that of Yeshua’s, in its romanized form, you expect preferential treatment. I know, I am blunt. Let us be honest with ourselves, this game of linguistic taxonomy, of grouping like sounds with like, though originating from the most far-flung and diverse epochs and kingdoms, has really made this whole exercise appear rather “serious.”

Mithra. Hope springs eternal. Tell yourself that it does, and I, gladly, will share comfort in your consolation.

Thulis. We are all alone in this universe! Myself, however, sees this as a tremendous boon. An individual who stands before God. That is the definition of ‘alone,’ so thus you see that it is truly the greatest gift of creation itself from our blessed creator, this ‘alone.’ Be of good cheer!

Iao. Were you made of the same stuff from which you ignorantly emanated, or was the stuff plucked from your backside against your will in paradoxical fashion for the sake of preemptive comfort, a cushion of evil? Ask Lilith who the gardener is today, and how he is underpaid by your stingy boss.

Prometheus. I know you feel you had no choice in the matter. Your unquenchable compassion actually got up and walked off on its own, handled the torch with flame-retardant hands, and hot-potatoed it off to shivering man just when he needed it most. I feel a perverse sort of sympathy in that we are both sinners, and fall into stupidity quite easily. My advice to you: there is liberation in this admission!

Dearest Sixteen, we all face the future Judgment; when eternity commences may we not go the way of the dodo!



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