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Issue 10 - A Journal of Letters and Life
After the Bypass
Robert Sward

Author's Links
     Palm Springs, CA

i. In The Hospital

"Don't trust the world, son. It's filled
with holes. The best thing is to love…"

                         "Love what, dad?"

"Emptiness. I've been meaning to tell you…"

                         "Tell me what?"

"There's a giant scroll suspended below the world
     and it says this world
               is made from letters and numbers
and every number is infinite.
Anyway, I'm invisible, son.
You have two fathers,
     one you can see,
one who looks like me;
     and one you can't,
the father you'll never see."

                         "Dad, I can see you."

The invisible                         
invisible. Of course you can see me;
that doesn't mean I'm there.
Besides I need to make a living."

                         "But you're invisible."

"I'm a doctor, nu? When people need to see the doctor
I need to be there. What good is a doctor
if you can't see him?
Don't look at me like that. I'm still a Jew.
It's just some days all I see is roses and crosses.
Did you know the human body has nine holes in it?
Seven of those holes are in the head. So there you have it.
The world is a leaky boat, son. I just want you to remember:
Only the invisible survive. But
I'll tell you something…
You're still gonna need some money when you die."

ii. Checking Out

Rosy cheek father in a wheel chair.
He pulls out a toothpick. Makes little sucking noises
with his teeth. Something good… he's tasting it again.
Guesses what I'm thinking.
"Hospital food. Not as bad as they say."

Lights a cigarette.

"She's against it."


"Who do you think? She's against
the invisible."

Throws away the toothpick.

"I've fallen into a place where everything is music.
You know, if people could take a pill
and become invisible
there would be nobody in sight. It's true. The world
     is made of love,
of our love for emptiness.
Ach, what the hell! Visible, invisible,
     it's all the same.
Still, the world you go round thinking you can see
is filled with holes, and for every hole
     in this world
there's a hole in the other. All you have to do
     is look,
and you can see through the cracks.
I have a treasure now, it's true,
     but no body.
And you, you meshugge, you have a body,
but no treasure.
You should take the year off and spend some time
at the Invisible College."

iii. The Invisible College

Lesson #1

"The stars ejaculate. That's how the world
     came into being.
From sperm. The Sperm of the Stars."

Lesson #2

"There is no place empty of God."

                         "What does that mean?"

"It means Darkness is a candle, too."


"So open the window in your chest
and let the invisible fly in and out.
Better that than all at once jumping out of your skin.
That's good, son. You're becoming airy."

Lesson #3

"The invisible is more existent than all the visible things.

Talmud says.
Still, when you leave your body there's not much to stand on.

                         "So what?"

"The invisible's not all it's cracked up to be.
And there's a crack in the cosmic egg.
Truth is, this world is just one side of the nothing
that's on the other side."

Lesson #4

"Now I'll tell you about death.
Life has an eye to see, says Torah,
                    but what do you think Death has?
Death is made of eyes. That's right.
I've seen her, dressed in fire,
     wrapped in fire.
And when she comes, she comes with a knife
     in her hands.
And you go through the wall and it's all a flaming word.
Death is what happens when all you have left
     is the life that was there all along.
But remember: you're still gonna need money
     when you die."

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