I awoke to the song which begins, “There May be Trouble Ahead(67).” Like the wings of the butterfly(68) that tremble, as they shake the off dew of their chrysalis, so too my eyes fluttered and opened onto a great white stone room with a high arching roof.
I lay upon a round golden couch. Wesley was standing in front of a white board next to a small Lady with great masses of hair. They were writing in strange symbols on the board. The Lady said, “I wonder if, given that the Celestial Spheres vibrate at a constant frequency, if we modulate the exponential here so that it becomes logarithmic(69)” she made a few changes on the board, “…you see?”
Wesley looked down at her, his face shone with approval and the poetry of his heart that he offered her was this. “That’s very interesting. However, I don’t believe that we can assume that t and t' are anti supplementary values.”
“Oh, but look,” said the Lady, and she touched his hand and then pointed at the symbols. The Lady was filled with such energy, such Spiritus, that the sun shone in her face and gleamed out her eyes. This was so, for not only was Wesley transfixed, but I saw that Gunn, standing to one side, pretending not to look, stare also at her eyes, which shone forth fire for the mathematical world.
I turned away from them and I saw Angel or possibly Liam, his face now human in appearance and filled with brooding splendor, was standing with another Lady, sharper in her beauty than the first. Angel was saying, “It was that demon that I met in that hell dimension. You know Skip.”
“Oh, I so totally know who you’re talking about.” The Lady held up her hand. “Big guy. So, tall. Spiny.” Liam smiled like a child who has been granted a sweet. The regard with which he held the Lady was apparent.
Equally apparent was the Lady’s obviousness to his regard, for her reply was such, “So, he’s like the champion’s champion. Rescuing the not-so helpless.”
Like Icarus(70) falling into the cool waters , Angel’s face descended. “I wouldn’t say that he rescued us. I had everything under control.”
“Uh, huh,” said the sharp Lady. By tone and smile and shift of brow indicating her thoughts as clearly as if they were written in a book.
I felt awash in the flood waters of misdirected(71) or at least unspoken love .
I turned to the right to look for my Teacher, who was talking with a green man in a suit, bright yellow as the breast of the canary that sings sweetly at the Earth’s Meridian. The green man was holding a small infant, who to my eye, which has seen four of my own children held in my arms, had been crying. “You know, I have to say this,” said the green man, “but it’s not every man that can carry off that kind of fashion statement. I just love the way you have the fabric draped. I’ve never quite gotten the hang of togas. They just look like sheets on me.” My Teacher smiled and nodded and then took a step back. Seeing me watching them, the green man said, “Oh, look Sleeping Beauty is awake.”
The sharp Lady turned to me and said, “So, I get that he’s a poet. But why is he wearing grass for a belt?”
“Well, some scholars say that the smooth reed symbolizes humility(72),” said the softer Lady and as the fawn who wanders away from the protecting trees, starts at a sudden noise and in then in silence dips its head, she turned and smiled at me.
“I’d be humble too if I was wearing grass for a belt,” said the sharp Lady and then at the silence said, “What, I can’t be shallow and help the helpless?”
Longing to thread the needle of my desire, I said, “What is this place? May I know how you are known? Most particularly I wish to know who was singing that song that is of the sweet new style.”
“That would be me sweet cheeks,” said the green man, “And this unhappy boy is Connor, son of our fearless leather wearing Angel. Leather pants not included.”
Wesley stepped towards me, “We’ve brought you to the headquarters of Angel Investigations at the Hyperion hotel. It’s a little the worse for wear at the moment, but quite adequate for our needs. Ah, yes…this is Cordelia, Fred and the song bird is Lorne.” He pointed at the sharp Lady, the fawn Lady and the green man each in turn. “Can I get you anything?” he said.
“No.” I smiled. My thoughts tumbled as kittens in a basket. I considered investigating Angels spinning in the Eternal Love that moves the sun and the stars. I thought of Hyperion(73). I thought of the singing of the spheres. A tear came to my eye and I could no longer hold back the canto that had been in my heart since I left paradise. And I sang the lines which begin,
“O soma luce che tanto ti levi,”(74)
“Take the kid. Take the kid. Take the kid,” said Lorne, as he handed the child to Angel before slumping against a marble counter top.
“Lorne, what’s wrong? Did you see something terrible? It was an apocalypse right?” said Cordelia, who had moved forward with swift steps to help Lorne as a mother who seeing that her house is on fire, moves to snatch her child from danger.
“Girlfriend, that was so far from bad that it’s not even legal. That was divine,” said Lorne, his teeth startlingly white in his green face.
“I didn’t think it was all that good. It was opera right?” said Angel, bouncing the child in his arms as he looked at Lorne as an old hound looks at his master who has returned home with a new pet.
“No, big guy, I mean literally divine.” Lorne looked me in the eyes. “You were front row center weren’t you? I mean I’ve got a bit of an idea, but that…that’s what I call, well not really mano o mano. Mano to Powers that Be.” Lorne pulled a purple scarf from his garment and fluttered it against his forehead.
“I’ve spoken with the Powers that Be,” said Angel as he put Connor into a small crib near the couch and fussed with the blankets, as the Spartans were wont to fuss with their hair before going into battle.
Like a glass of wine filled by a man who has over-drunk his fill, I over flowed with a desire to discuss my experiences. “Did you see the Primal Love that binds and moves the universe?”
“Wait a minute,” said Gunn. “Beyond the whole I see dead people vibe, are you saying that you saw God. I mean God. Powers that Be.”
Wesley gave a weary shake of his head. “Yes, Gunn. I believe I mentioned that in my phone call this morning.”
“Man, you call me at 5:00 in the morning; you’re lucky I don’t hunt you down and shoot you. But we’re talking a whole resting in the arms of sweet baby Jesus kinda God right?”
“I could tell you my story,” I said, as the memories of light and song swelled within me like a chorus of birds maddened by fermented berries.
“There is no time for that,” said my Master. “Soon the sun will rise in the lands of the east, hastening its way to Jerusalem. And the dawn shall never rise again upon this day.”
“Don’t worry,” said Fred to Gunn, “I’ll lend you the book.” Gunn smiled back at her and for a moment, the Celestial Spheres rang with the synchronicity of their accord.
Angel began shifting from foot to foot, “And I met with the Oracles, who were really kind of annoying. And I went to hell. More than one of them.”
“I would agree that time is of the essence,” said Wesley indicating in a long string of words that I did not understand, that like sand slipping through an hourglass, time can only go both ways for long spiritual journeys of divinely ordained enlightenment.
“So, how come they’re speaking English. They don’t even have Italian accents,” said Cordelia.
“I speak Italian,” said Angel.
As the shy sparrow tilts it head to one side and then bursts into a flurry of song, so Fred paused and then spoke, “Well, they probably aren’t speaking English at all. The PTBs have probably created a localized field that filters how the speech recognition centers within our brains perceive what they’re saying into recognizable speech.
“Sorta like a cosmic universal translator,” said Gunn, “Cool.” Once more Gunn and Fred’s gaze caught and in the warmth of their regard, I turned away and spoke to Lorne.
“So, you are the demon of whom Wesley spoke that reads the future in the songs of men. It is fitting that in this place of the angels that you should have skin the color of hope and eyes the color of Caritas.”
“Hey, Caritas. That was the name of my club. Although, not so much on the reading the future. More like guidance. I was the host-est with mostest.”
“Of course, indeed, what else could you have named the place where you carried out your divinely inspired correction of misdirected souls? For as you know, Caritas is the act of turning towards good through the natural love that wells like a sacred stream within us all.”
“Whew!” said Lorne, “Is anyone else getting hot in here?” Lorne sat down closely beside me at my left. “So, you’re an Italian poet who’s seen the Primal Love. Do you write a lot of poems about Caritas?”
And here I smiled, for there is no subject that greater warms my heart than to discourse on the nature of love. “Yes, of course. I am he who, when loves breathes in me, take notes, and in the manner that Love dictates within, I go to set it forth in the sweet new style.(75)”
“That’s what I like to see," said Cordelia, "Well, not those clothes. But a man not afraid to take notes from the Dead Poet’s Suicide. Language is for wooing she who walks in beauty like the night and all that.” Cordelia moved to sit at my right.
“I read poetry,” said Angel, turning to us as does the sunflower that yearns towards the light,
“Really, do you also write poetry? Perhaps as you fight the forces of darkness?” I said wishing to fulfill Angel’s desire for attention.
“Ummm…no. Well, there was this one about a Lady from Cork, which yeah, umm…I’m a Champion.”
“Oh, I’m so sorry,” said Cordelia. “I forgot. We probably shouldn’t be talking about love poetry in front of Angel. He’s under a curse. Well, actually that’s why he has a soul, but there’s a little clause that pretty much puts an ixnay on the lovay.” Cordelia sighed, “Not that any of our love lives are much to talk about.” She leaned back on the couch, “So, should we, by which I mean Wesley and Fred, be doing some research. I mean, if they’re under a time limit.... What we need here is a bit more of the Deux Ex Machinaaaaaa.” She closed her eyes. “Incoming.”
“Well, that was rather easier than I expected,” said Wesley, “Where do they need to go?”
Puckering her brows like an old tailor glancing on the eye of his needle, she said, “Actually, it had nothing to do with them. 777 Park Place. There was a man being attacked by a big slimy demon with antlers, who was wearing this powder blue polyester suit.” Cordelia shuddered as one who has looked into the darkest maw of hell, a subject on which I am well qualified to speak.
Angel picked up a sword from a cabinet and said, “I’ll go.”
“Ummm…Angel, it’s daylight,” said Cordelia, as she looked high above at the lances of that star which leads men straight on every road.
“Not a problem. Just let Can Never Have Moments True Happiness Angel take the scenic sewer route to go fight the chaos demon. Have a great day reading love poetry with the Italian poet.” Angel ran from the room.
“Okay, we need to get him out more,” said Cordelia. No sooner had the chorus of nods and agreements faded, when there was a knock at the front door.
A tall young man, a straight and true perfect knight like he of the cart(76), came into the room. “Good morning.” He said and pulling out a wallet, flashed a piece of identification. “I’m Agent Riley Finn. I have orders to escort your guests to their next destination.”
“No way, man. I watch X-files,” said Gunn, who moved to stand between us and Agent Finn.
“No, it’s okay,” said Cordelia. “That’s Riley.” She whispered like my great aunt Judith when she is overly in her cups.
“Yeah, I got that,” said Gunn.
“No, Riley as in Angel’s ex-girlfriend’s ex-boyfriend.”
“Huh, well that’s the sorta thing that almost makes you believe in a higher power,” Said Gunn.
“Or that God is an atheist," said Cordelia and at everyone’s glances. “Well you know, free will and all. Can’t choose who you love or bad breakups.”
We all nodded with great sagacity like those who do not understand of what another speaks, but do not wish to speak and reveal their ignorance. Then my sage Guide and I bid farewell to our new friends and went with Agent Finn on the next leg of our journey. Of our travels and of the fantastic things that I saw, I cannot speak for I have been bidden to secrecy on behalf of the government of the United States of America, whichever land that might be.