Megaton Muse II

by P.J. Pappas, Art by Peter DiIanni

World affairs have long since left common folk far behind in the haze of their ruff and tumble dust. We peer out of our two-bedroom eyes at anonymous city streets & anachronistic country roads, scenes somehow as humble, even, as our own one-in-billion lives, somehow of a different reality than the tides & times of our "ever smaller growing" home planet. Never-ending images and info-bytes from the monstrous & seething global reality of what is happening right-this-moment, yesterday, and last week tumble & cascade into our living rooms through the television screen & roar their cacophony over the airwaves, even as loud as deafening rush hour. People, become refugees, are put to the gun as leaders pontificate in spotlight, behind cordons of new age praetoriae; untouchable, demigod superstars stare back at us with bedroom eyes from gilded screens, which we mistake to be our dearest dreams; gladiatorial sports heroes grimace and scream, shedding blood in roaring coliseums; and children are martyrs caught in the cross-fire of breaking newsflashes, at prime-time. All the while, the wars & lives, mysteries & revelations of the historical past, which we find in books, on the TV, and through hearsay are a great 'tale', oddities we can mull over, though they lack the brilliant sight & sound effects of the present-day cutting-edge, newest news stories & far-flung esoteric dramas. Where do we fit in? We might wonder. 21st century beings, packed with all the miracles & power of this overwhelming creation, yet seemingly completely insignificant in the face of all that has happened, all that is going on, ...nevermind what lies a few years, or even days, over the horizon. Even if the camera eye of time, of history, should rest on us for a moment, or find us in the background at some earth-shaking event; chances are we will never see the tape, even if we do get caught in the media blitz of popping bulbs & questions.

And yet, there is a most revelatory crux: as we reel dazed in the intoxicating buzz of this world-explosion, there lurks, in the lowly folds of our humble selves, a being, another entity, mysteriously and slowly trodding beside us, as we wend and strive our various ways through life. We might think it a ghost, this Megaton Muse, beckoning to us, though we cannot exactly say from whence. Blinking, and trying to pay correct attention, we stare at pictures and video footage that seem to be saying something to us, ...some encoded message we cannot quite decipher, vital in its import, a clue perhaps to the mysteries of our existence. We realize, in some elusive sense, that this other part of ourselves, of life experience, is an invaluable unknown which we must continue to seek. It is the sweet strain She hums in our ears, her promise to win a wager we cannot afford to refuse. Contrary to the-whole-wide-world-out-there, untouchable and overwhelming, this Megaton Muse hints at the manifestation of the most real, suffusing legend of our days in this world, not the Hollywood and CNN-concocted formulas we are meant to suck on from the safe distances and confines of our windowed cubbyholes. All the passive information, and imagery, and hype, ...and over-reaching illusion, that is the manna of our culture, the fake-reflection of our lives, ...would ultimately fall short of a vivid, and infusing, experiential meaning to our real lives, particularly on that dire day when the time comes for us to meet our maker. If we could only find it, if we only knew in which direction it lay, within the echoing jungles of our minds, or even just around the corner on 5th street, past the pizza joint. ...Where, ...and how, can we find ourselves? this apocalyptic deluge of digital imagining and cyber-code that threatens to drown all the world.

The Megaton Muse hums a whisper to us in white noise, in contradiction, in what is unnewsworthy, in spaces between the lines. First it says, "Don't believe your eyes, your senses... humanity thinks it smells a rat, but doesn 't realize the fragrance is our own dirty laundry. I want you to open your soul now, ...and feel, instead of trying to figure it all out." But, mostly, we are unable to transcend the luminescent blue mists that enshroud meaning, and the message is garbled in the kaleidoscopic special effects of aching moralizing and subjective ethical hogwash, in bill payment demands, in lovelorn tugging at heartstrings, in the abacus tictac of statistics trying to count flying bullets, double helix genomes, and re-routed absentee ballots of wanton desire. The Megaton Muse would love to break through the post-post modern morass, and slap some good sense into our heads... but that's not her style, it's against the rules anyway, ancient rules imposed by illusion, and washed away only by a penetrating iconoclasm of non-compromise, tempered by the hallowed traditions of healthful cynicism. This is all she wrote, at least—another desperate hint in the stardust memory of what is to come. She murmurs, "...don't miss my legacy for the play of light on mayhem, and lust masquerading as God. . . please, my children..."

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