Thursday, November 26, 2015


And the little angel forgot about attaining flight for a while. He'd sit on the roof of The Alt-Neu Schule in the midst of Prague (Josefov district, if you know it.. where they made the Jews live), studying people down on the street. He whispered in ears, telling them things that might help them. He told Mrs. Grossman that willow bark (aspirin hadn't been invented yet) would help her arthritis. He told Yankel the Lame to buy that art set and paint. He told Lana from Above The Butcher Shop to marry Nathan and not Eitan. They didn't know who was saying these things. Angels don't announce themselves. Well, not all the time. And every message was channeled through him by an even Higher Authority. He whispered things to people from beyond the district too, for during the day, when the gates were opened, people from all over passed through the ghetto. He told a hardworking farmwife where to place her market stall. He told a barrister fearful for the life of his client what to say and who to seek out so that his client might go free.

The angel attended services, comforting those who mourned. Sometimes he told rich men to help poor, struggling cobblers. He did what angels do and he did it well. Occasionally a little child would wave to him. He'd wave back and go 'shh.' They'd smile and nod.

Winter came. The cobbled lanes grew cold and icy. People wrapped themselves in whatever they had... layers of shawls... old felt boot liners... cloaks.... worn,. cast off, military great coats.... wool caps, sometimes a coachman's hat.

Days were short and sunlight hid from the narrow streets of the quarter. Wives kept old copper tea kettles boiling on the grate for endless cups of warmth. Little boys read school books by the fire and little girls rocked babies and embroidered whatever the mama told them to embroider.

Market stalls opened early and closed early too, for streetlights were few and far between. Mostly the women went out to work the stalls. December was coming and ruffians from beyond the quarter were less apt to gang up and molest older matrons than young girls or men. Tragedies were rare, but they did happen.

The little angel sat on his rooftop and looked at the stars. Some of the grander heavenly guardians and messengers, Seraphim and Arch Angels and beings of that sort, occasionally flew out to the stars and told tales of exotic worlds that raced 'round foreign suns like moths 'round a flame. But our little being knew nothing of that. Soon it would be time for him to walk the walls of the ghetto, paying special attention to the gates, whispering to vandals and telling them to mind their better side and leave the world in peace. Then he visited those with troubled dreams and helped them find peace too.

Time passed. Years went by. Generations. The 'life' of an angel is one of service. He never complained. He never would. But one year a sweet little girl... a light to all around her... passed away. Although he knew she was safe, the people of the quarter were broken and few lit candles or made provisions for the Festival of The Rededication... for The Hanukah. December was exceptionally cold that year.

The angel spent nights in the sanctuary staring at the small, steadfast, Eternal Flame...Then, on Seventh Light (though few observed, or at least failed to make a big thing over it) there was a knock at the rabbi's house next door. Few came by at that hour, so the angel passed through the wall to listen.... It was Beryl the Barrel Maker. He said - Rabbi, the lights in the sky, have you seen the lights in the sky?..... The rabbi said - At this hour and on a cold night like this? No, I do not watch the sky.... Oh, I am of a similar mind - said the barrel maker, but Greenie, my cat (she has such vivid eyes you know) wanted to come in. So I unlatched the door and went out into my tiny rear yard. Rabbi, I saw. I saw them. High overhead they were. A straight line of silver lights, each in the form of a flame and slowly descending from heaven to earth.... The old clergyman thought for a bit. Beryl said - Come, rabbi. Let us go out into your rear yard ( a similar tiny space like the barrel maker's).... So they went and they looked. The angel went with them. And there in the firmament were eight tiny glittering flames, arranged in measured precision, as if held in a great  invisible, celestial menorah. One for each night plus the 'sexton' used to kindle the rest. Each of them stared transfixed, as the wondrous spectacle slowly moved down the sky.

In those days, few would have known they'd witnessed the break up of a small comet, or asteroid. Perhaps a learned man from some venerable academy might. Who know? And as he watched, so slowly he did not notice, the angel rose up from the ground, till the roofs of the ghetto shined in the moonlight below him.

Was he afraid? No, for he heard the voice of his stork-mother friend from long ago. She'd flown to The World To Come and just as she said, had come back to share her wings. Spirit storks can do that. The angel, flightless for so long, was quite pleased. But as he was such a caring being, he asked after the sweet, little girl who passed on and the words of the stork were very reassuring indeed.

News of the 'menorah in the sky' quickly spread, till many people came out to see it. On Eighth Light they had a celebration with crisp edged, piping hot potato pancakes, sweet applesauce, nuts and small gifts for the children, plus dreydles and games ands songs.

That's how it is. That's how miracles happen. Life goes on, both here on earth and 'up above' as well.

No matter how you observe The Season Of Miracles, have a good one.


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Sunday, November 22, 2015



Our regular post will come later. This is 'extra.'

The Biblical story of Joseph is a parable of forgiveness and the universality of the human condition.

The words to the song were written to reflect that... Joseph, who has suffered much at the hands of his own brothers and others, is now in a position to help his starving brothers.

When he 'dreams' he 'sees' humanity as a whole. Indeed,, his 'coat of many colors' means he 'sees' for all of us, no matter what group. He knows that those who do wrong also have wrong done to them. Not necessarily for any divine reason, but that's just the way society is.

So he returns hateful acts with blessings. He saves his family and deals with all in an understanding, accepting loving way.

He 'saw' from a loftier vantage point during his 'dream' or state of higher consciousness.

He was open to the truth.

If you like, click OLDER POST at the bottom and go back and listen to the song again. Or just scroll down to it if your page is set up that way.

Thanks --- Billy

Friday, November 20, 2015

Any Dream Will Do ... Our Angel Knows ... 11/20/15

Sometimes our special angel would leave his post at The Alt-Neu Schule and pass through the town. There were other angels there. Some promised to 'God Houses' as he was and free lancers delivering 'letters' from The Lord' or just seeing the sights. Baroque era Prague was a very happening place. One saw beys and pashas on errands from Constantinople. Rome is forever, you know. Whether the empire is ruled by imperators or basileuses or sultans, the realm never ends. One saw German speaking merchants from the city-states to the west and Muscovite boyars from their own nascent empire in the cold plains and forests to the east. The whole world came to this city of spires and towers. Chimes and church bells filled the air with music. Matrons hurried home forcing troublesome geese into large, wicker goose-baskets. Neck wringing happens later. One gander saw him, the angel, I mean, and yelled - Angel! Angel! Save me! Save me!..... The angel said - Alas, that I cannot do. But I bring you tidings from a Better Place and know this, as your flesh goes in the oven, the core of your being will glide 'cross a Heavenly Pond with all your kith and kin..... ALL of them? - asked the gander.... No, just the dead ones - said the angel. I got that part wrong..... Well, that's good enough for me! - went the gander and he stopped trying to bite the fat matron's hands. Animals believe with a sincere and perfect faith. And when it was time for the matron to wring his neck and crush the bones, she did it in an efficient, practiced manner with a minimum of suffering.

Our Angel walked home, following two gentlemen from his congregation. That's how he knew it was time to return, for the gates to the ghetto were locked from the outside at sundown. Such barriers were nothing to him. He could pass through walls, floors, ceilings, root cellars, locked chests, just about everything, but the congregants, if caught outside would have been very roughly handled indeed. Split noses and severed fingers were a specialty in those parts.

A bit later, during evening service, the angel looked at the people at prayer. Almost each had a dream... a deep desire either for themselves, another, or the great wide world. And he thought about the people on the other side of the gates too, for they also had dreams.

Some prayers were answered. The book seller's daughter found a fine husband and the vintner's widow, severely short of funds and reluctant to burden the community, discovered ten lost bottles of a  rare and costly Alsatian vintage eagerly snapped up by the captain of the guard (he guarded the ghetto) for a price mutually beneficial to both of them.

But the cantor's little boy could still barely walk and Mr. Amshel's lungs grew worse. And they weren't the only ones.

The angel thought - Who am I to ask for flight when the world is as it is?

Later that night, when prayers were over, the angel passed into the old library, took a book from the shelves and sat down to read, accompanied by the soft tick-tock sound of an old wall clock brought back from a synod in Speyer. He needed no light. Angels, when need be, can give off their own illumination, sometimes white, sometimes cream, sometimes a pale, pure blue.

One passage stayed with him --- Every misfortune that we observe is an opportunity for a good deed.

Now angels instinctively know that, but even they forget...

<more next time and hopefully 'next time' means tomorrow>


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Wednesday, November 18, 2015

Matisyahu "Miracle" // SiriusXM ..Our Angel Still Waits to Take Flight... 11/18/15

And the stork mother and her mate raised their chicks in the nest atop the Alt-Neu Schule. Summer came. The waters of the Vltava River grew silvery-warm under a bright Czech sun and the red tiled roofs of the city shone like candy.

The flightless angels sat by the great birds. He watched their graceful movements and smiled at the hungry, downy babies. They were good babies and they had good avian parents.

He sang songs to them, the angel did... old hymns and folk tunes played at weddings. He told them stories of each and every person passing on the street below. They knew the baker's wife and the silversmith, the old clothes man and the other rabbi from the other schule down the way.

The angel from that other schule would come to visit. He'd float down onto the shingles, fold his wings ( he was a winged angel... not all are... but that doesn't mean they cannot fly) and tell tales about all the places he'd seen. He told about caravans along The Great Silk Road and reverent crocodiles tolling their prayers, as they waited for sustenance ( who may or may not have also been reverent) to drift their way. The storks listened and told tales of their own. Storks see many places too.

This mad our angel sad. He grew silent. The mother stork knew why and said - Your time will come. I will keep my promise and you will fly, for I will bear you up...

But our story will not end this time. You see, the teller stayed up too late watching news of Paris and the tragic things that happened there.

So let him rest and rise refreshed to spin the tale anew.

<more next time>


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Monday, November 16, 2015


Far away, in the picture-book city of Prague, stands an old enduring Gothic house of prayer. Travelers and townspeople know it as The Alt-Neu Schule... the old-new 'schule.' Schule means school. Centuries ago synagogues in Central Europe were called that, for that's where the faithful went to learn the faith. The interior looks like what you'd find in a rustic Quaker Meeting House, though it dates from the mid twelve hundreds, four centuries prior to the founding of that creed. Like prayer houses everywhere, it has an angel.

Some chapels have grand angels with silvery wings and fine, shining robes spun from sun beams, moon beams and the occasional leftovers from fleecy, white clouds. They whisper in the ears of the congregants, reminding each one that they are God's Hands on Earth. Sometimes the rouse sleepers. Sometimes they let them sleep.

After services, after the morning call, the afternoon call and evening call, the angels flew free to visit other heavenly messengers all around the world. They sang hymns in the ornate temples of India and inspired monks on windy, Celtic shores to create vivid, illuminated texts.

But the angel of The Alt-Neu Schule could not do that, for he had no wings, nor any other way to fly. During the quiet times he watched the rabbi study and whispered ideas for sermons. Did the rabbi know they came from him? Well, not directly, but he certainly felt the inspiration.

On clear, cold nights, he'd pass through the timbers and shingles and sit on the pinnacle of the high, sloped roof watching the stars. Sometime another angel would pass over head. He'd say - How go your travels?.... They'd tell him of old, wood churches in Norway that creaked in the wind and the ornate calligraphy of blue domed, Turkish mosques. They spoke of enduring synagogues bright with intricate mosaics and pious little children with good hearts, lost in their dreams and studies.

But the little angel still could not fly. And so the centuries passed. He sat with the children as they prepared for their Assumption of The Faith (bar mitzvah), whispering scripture in their ears so that they could remember.

One spring, storks came to The Alt-Neu Schule and made their home on the roof. He watched them build the nest. How careful they were... How precise. They knew he was there. Animals are good that way. They just are. And how like dancers they were. Such graceful beings.

Our little angel sat with them. The mother let him see her eggs. How smooth and white they were. The father whoomt his great wings and soared off to find food, both for himself and his mate. When he came back, the mother had her turn. Prague was new to them. They're usual nesting site was in a country town a bit farther south. So she glided over the city, marveling at the red tiled roofs and intricate clock towers.

The angel watched their comings and goings. He wanted to fly so bad. Why was he flightless?... Who knows? No one ever told him.

One night, after the city was quiet, save for fussy babies crying here and there, or maybe barks from an agitated dog, he went up to the roof and sat by the nest. The majestic birds were sleeping... a yin and a yang over their trusting eggs. But the mother felt his presence (she's always on guard) and opened her eyes.... She saw him there and whispered - Tell me your dreams, angel..... He said - You know. I do so want to fly..... She said - Are you a good angel?..... He nodded.... She said - I knew that..... They sat in silence watching strangely bright clouds pass over an ivory-white moon.  Spring nights can be like that.... Then the stork mother said - One day, you shall have wings.... How? - asked the angel.... She said - One day my earthly life will be over and I shall come back and bear you on my spirit wings.

Then she fell back asleep. The angel sat and thought, before going back inside to sit in The Sanctuary and stare at The Eternal Light.....

< the conclusion comes tomorrow night. then back to newborn vampire, Danny and his problems>


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Friday, November 13, 2015


We couldn't drive up in our special taxi cab.  No one rode cabs around my way. Cabs were strictly for emergencies, like if somebody was dying in the hospital and there wasn't any other way.  And they only used the bus to get to the elevated train stop, which rattled them along to the subway, Center City and work. Everybody in my old neighborhood drove cars and parking spots were at a premium. The houses were mostly either 'rows' or 'twins.' Some blocks had old singles from before World War 2, but only some. And all the houses, whatever their type had neat, little 'lawns' punctuated by rose bushes, azaleas and red leafed Chinese Maple trees. Red brick too... Almost all red brick. Some stone trim down toward the basement windows... slate roofs and that was it. Actually, very cozy in its heyday, what with oak lined streets, snug little patios and a few walkable commercial streets people would kill for today. This all started in the late forties. My parents came up just before my birth in fifty five... maybe fifty three... fifty three and a half... something like that. People called it 'the semi suburbs.'... A quiet refuge from the teeming city, though still within municipal limits.

I liked it. I used to like it. There was a neighborhood movie house maybe four blocks away with great Saturday matinees, like The Seventh Voyage Of Sinbad, or The Nutty Professor (the Jerry Lewis version). Bright 'luncheonettes' that also served dinner plus waffles and ice cream after. Conventional families... Decent cars... Big P.T.A.'s.

And now I'm a vampire. Remember, this was nineteen seventy one. Nixon was in The White House. They were still sending space ships to the moon. And dads put on little, vaguely 'alpine' looking hats with small feathers on the side when they went to work. All the kids my age were taking their S.A.T.'s and beginning to write away to colleges. Almost everybody went to college. It was just what was done. And I knew how to tap into a vein and drink blood, plus all that stuff I read in those old books at the library. Quite the iconoclast.... and a nervous iconoclast too.  My parents were sick, or at least one of them was. I didn't know what was wrong, but I knew something was going on.

Please don't think I just showed up. I wanted to, but too much has happened and there was no way it could play out that way. First I wrote a letter. Then I mailed a photograph of myself taken in a pinball arcade. You know those old booths that took a strip of four black and white pictures? Had to be black and white. I was afraid color shots might highlight to much of the vampire traits and I didn't want to shock them. Look, the average person might not notice that much of a difference. But I could see it and it bothered me...

Finally I called them on the phone. My mother picked up. She was real scared. She said - Who are you?! Who is this!? ... She was crying. My father grabbed the phone. He said - Who the hell are you, you God damned son of a bitch. I'll kill you, you God damned bastard!!

I could tell that they knew my voice. But they wouldn't let themselves believe.... I was crying too. I told them about my fifth birthday party. I described the clown and all the Flintstones decorations and the shiny, green pedal car I got and the whiny kid from across the street who sprained his ankle. I talked about all the old family pictures my mom had in three big albums..... (sigh) They knew it was me. But they were afraid. What if it wasn't?... Well, maybe they were right?

My dad said - Come to the house. Just come to the house...... My mom yelled - Where is he?! What happened?! Come now. Tell him to come now!! Get a cab!  Just get a cab! We'll pay for it!

I said I couldn't. I just refused. I had to. And they got very quiet. They didn't know what was wrong. But they knew something was wrong. From an abducted kid I became a runaway. I could tell how their minds worked. I hated for them to think that, but what could I do?

I told them I knew about the doctor. I told them I saw. My mom said - And you didn't come over?.... I didn't answer. She cried. My dad took the phone. He said - What's this all about? What are you talking about?... I said - When do you go back to that doctor?... He said - Wednesday, for some tests..... I said - Stay over in a hotel. I'll arrange it.... He went - 'Arrange it?' How will you arrange it? You're sixteen years old.... I didn't say anything. He went - Danny, are you OK?... I said - What time's your appointment?... He said - Four thirty..... I told him I'd meet them outside about five thirty. If they got done earlier, they could sit in the waiting room. He agreed. I said that I loved them. He mumbled something similar. We hung up and that was it.

Wednesday would come soon enough...

<more next time>

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Wednesday, November 11, 2015


This is Danny speaking. Please excuse any typographical errors. It's late, even for a vampire. The sun will begin to rise in two hours and I am sensitive to light. Once in a while I'll endure a snippet of violet dusk, but only once in a while. My resting place is not grand, like those other vampires. There are no specially designed and luxuriously furnished sleeping cabinets. I make due with what I have. So let me begin.

I desperately wanted to see my family. Heidi knew. I told her. She didn't think it was a good idea. Now she was a runaway. Her familial estrangement was discretionary. I was abducted. Mine was not. We rode around the city, snug in the back of 'our' big checker cab. I say 'our' because we always had the same driver... a familiar of sorts. A Jamaican, who considered himself fairly adept at 'Voo Doo' and the African-European-Native mélange that is Caribbean Witchcraft. They say the term 'Voo Doo' comes from the French words (and Gallic spelling is not a skill of mine) Veaux Dieu, which means 'Old God' or 'Old Gods.'

There are many Voo Doo 'schools.' Indeed, the symbols, services and accoutrements are merely a means to concentrate and focus  the natural abilities of the human conduit. Some incorporate West African, Native American and Christian divinities. Others feature ancient Celtic gods. One often overlooked 'school' practiced by a line of 'Wise Women' among the old Jewish families of Charleston and New Orleans calls on Scriptural Arch Angels and Seraphim. Saints too. A particularly flamboyant early nineteenth century practitioner, Margaleet De Montoya, from an original Spanish Jewish family come over on the Saint Charles in 1654, held court in her Low Country rice plantation, Evermore. They say she had a vampire 'familiar' of her own. I bring this up, because that Jonathon, also known as Tomas, whom regular readers all know, was said to be a friend of hers. Though I don't know if he was actually the 'familiar' in question. One night, if we meet, I'll ask him.

Excuse these digressions. I know you expected to read about my return home. But it did not play out as I expected. I'll tell you. Just give me a little more time. Vampires have souls you know. We're not mortal, but we are human...

And a self-taught specimen like I am is more human than most.

I'm sorry. I can't tell you more tonight.. I'm sorry... Please let me sit here and stare at my movie... THE ROSE, from 1980... Driven artists are a lot like vampires too...

We need so much... but get so little.

< more next time >


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