June 30, 2008
By Michael Reinhard, Hallowell, ME

Michael Reinhard

A delirium is reeling everywhere. The carvings of ancestral origins are no where to be found, and without reminders of who they were, they are doomed to repeat the same mistakes. They have become savages.
Everyone has gathered, far and wide, to worship, violently. They want change and they will get it. They yearn for him to govern everyone, he embodies their hope. They yell the name of their leader.
His name is change, so they scream it.
His hope is change, and again, they scream it.
His game is change, and again, they wildly scream it forever.
They have smeared themselves with red, swirling around their face. They have wiped blue on their fronts; masquerading their true emotions. They finish their masks off with white sparkling their faces. As the people before them, their ideologies and customs have been warped into other things, other colors. The assemblage has been painted with three colors; only one appears. It is the red that shows against their harsh skins, appearing to drip down from their mouths. It is that foul crimson color that streaks their. It appears as blood, but they will tell people it is not blood, and do not be mistaken; it isn’t.
They will steal if they have to.
They will kill if they have to.
They will change if he says they have to.
Their leader is change and like change, he is mysterious. He’s caught in the crossfire between two coteries, and although his followers number the largest, he is trapped. Caught like Beelzebub between two sides he can not fight, he changes. He changes, and nothing about that will change.
And here! And here of all places, is a stranger that has come to visit; what a trip he will have! As he peered at these savages, he could not understand a thing. He saw their hate, their camaraderie failing each other and aggression being their form of communication. He wept. He wept for his own brothers that he has lost and he will be lost too. He wondered how they could be this way; how they could abandon each other for spiteful actions, and yet he interacted with them.
No longer do they have a name, they used to call each other nationalists, but no more. They have forgotten their name; they have forgotten their purpose. They gather as if they had one. They gather around a picnic table, despising the other two encampments. Everyone wants change. They yell as if everyone doesn’t. All the coteries want change, but no one has changed enough to realize, they are all united. They enounce against each other, unintelligibly and violently, assuming the worst of each other, while the tree burns. The tree founded them all. It was responsible for everyone’s nativity. It birthed their leaders, their men and women; to all, and yet it burns. It burns for carelessness. It burns for liberty. It burns for change.
Water does not enter the tree’s roots, but a drought has not occurred. Instead, it is used to quell the temper of the crowds. The tree can not speak, it is a marionette, its strings are controlled by the crowds, but no longer do the crowds care enough to man them. The herds of people have alienated all of the others, the exiles, who have spoken of the ill-fated future of the tree.
The people don’t listen.
They don’t care.
They want change.
The people water their gardens all the same, disregarding the tree. The water used to flow down a hill into the roots of the tree. The water would have produced a torrent; torrents so powerful that it would extinguish all flames. Instead, they have built irrigation ditches that stems the water around the elm. Exiles are forced to lie beneath the cindering tree. They become ignited and remain so, until their skin smolders and the scent of human flesh curdles the imagination of all, and the ever burning bodies are swept into the brushfire, where their ashes only give more life to chaotic genocide. The people only watch; they blame each other for the tree burning. It only fuels their aggression.
The Stranger starts to understand them, he shakes his head and wonders, how dare they! This foreigner knew nothing of their language, and now too speaks in all of its insanity. He pounds his fist in faith for he knows the pain of suffering and what has been lost. He doesn’t understand the truth, but again, like all others, he yells change.
It is no longer an elm; now it is the central authority on breeding death. The tree provided justice to all; taken for granted. The branches provided shade to all, equally. Everyone could sit behind it, cloaked from the cruel intentions of the world. Yet, as they started moving on to other things, other reasons, other callings, they left the tree. They became more nomadic, hopping from place to place, forgetting of their once central focus, the elm; burning every obstacle in their way.

They have forsaken this tree, and no longer is it their serenity, now they are caught in a living, burning, contemptuous cesspool, and it is perfect for this occasion, as everyone’s tempers boil, it lets the flames increase. No one would or could do anything, this was all forsaken.

The Stranger understood completely, and the insanity drove him to every action he committed. He charged for liberty. They all ran to the tree with strength. He knew the troubles of everything; the troubles of all. With every step he took, he knew their anger. He was transformed by them, unleashing every burden he’s ever had because it was everyone else’s fault. No blame was on him, he wanted everyone else to change.

They wanted to enact the demise of the others; so they would hunt them and forever until they got what they wanted; change! Their leader yelled for them to gather their spears, and yet again, they did, yelling his name even louder, blindly following, blindly trailing, blindly dying. He told them his real name was blessed. They believed him because he was. They were oblivious.. He promised change and led them to the same fate as the burning elm, and they praised his demagoguery.

The Stranger’s comrades charged for those they detested. He knew what to do. He charged the tree. He was not able to articulate why it was the tree’s fault, but he knew the blame was laid upon it. He was committed to reaching the tree. He ran as long as it took. He never stopped, he didn’t need to; this was for change. And he charged! He charged! And again he charged! And he stopped. He gazed against the tree and asked why the tree had failed them. The tree could not respond and he beat the tree, punching it with every ounce of cruelty he could muster. The fire raged all around him, incinerating everything he could see. He stood there for a moment, perfectly at peace. This was fine, until a branch erupted from the tree. The branch fell very fast. The bigot only looked up. He knew his fate. He did not accept it, but he did not move; he sat there staring. The branch landed on him, and he combusted into the flames. His last words were changed

Everyone gathered, watching this foreigner. They did nothing and in their hearts, it was apparent they still wanted change. They sat there watching their kinsmen smoldering in the spewed venom. The cinders of the tree sparked fires amongst these men. Only now do they know the horror of their deeds; what change was accomplished. They know what it is to fester in the purgatory that they have created. As they fester, they forget their mistakes, clambering for change, spinning in their own deliria; forever. And their God gave no pity or regret to these men, he had wanted change too.

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