In cold and reckless dreams, I wandered, searching for the old spirit – he who comes in the night. Twisting and turning through fallen branches I came to a grove where a great and resplendent light emanated.
This voracious light spoke to me and said,
“You have searched for me and your quest is done. At the rising of the sun and the morning prayers echoing through the woods, the birds will sing their song under a gentle brittle rain, so too, like the transient rain will you fall and be buried in the Earth. Worry not, kind soul, just as the rain, you will serve another purpose in the service of the Earth”
It was a rather unfortunate thing to know but one has no control over such events. When the time has come, your race to be run, what else can be done but accept such news with grace?
The light hovered and closed the distance between it and I, and in its hallowed waltz, approaching me, it said,
“You have been a kind soul and for your kindness you will be granted a wish before you are set to pass. Before you dissolve into effervescent bubbles and are one once again with the magnanimous universe, to nourish and continue its existence, make your wish.”
“I wish for only one thing. I wish to see what will be done with the greatest gift I can give after my passing: my body. Show me my legacy and how my fine instrument will be used”
Since my request was a simple undertaking of observation (and most people ask for much stranger things at the appearance of this spirit) my desire was granted.
This was an age of vast and ambitious medical undertakings. Before, we gave our hearts and kidneys, hoping it would be a match. Now there was no limitation. Before the decomposition of our bodies, everything was extracted and redistributed into the world. As was the case with my body, everything indeed was extracted, from the last strand of hair on my head to overgrown fingernails on either hand, nothing was wasted.
“Very well then, what shall become of my hands, oh great spirit?”
“I will show you”
The sacred grove turned to darkness and we were taken to a gray and unforgiving building, far away into lands unknown to me. It was a factory, the arm of a productive economy. Inside was potential yet unachieved, forced to labor under the harsh and cold boot of subsistence. The little ones worked away, tirelessly, making, crafting, using their nimble fingers too old and worn for their age, the fruits of their labor exploited by the men in suits far away in a land more known to me. A girl had been working under the peering lights late into the night and at the tender age of nine was the sole provider of her family. She worked hard and after so many excruciating long nights, now her tired eye lashes struggled to keep apart, they longed for the embrace and the darkness and rest, but she tried to soldier on. Under the watchful eye of the wealth of nations, through gritted teeth and worried scars, she inevitably fell into a bitter and tragic sleep. Her hands drifted and slipped under the cold machines, unaware of who was friend or foe, and chopped up her working hands, those providers.
I saw it all unfold while the spirit stood behind me. I saw when the box came. I saw when my manly hands from thousands of miles away arrived. She was one of the factory’s best employees and for her productivity she was rewarded. She leapt for joy, exalting in the labors of modern medicine, and believing in magic. She tried on my light brown hands, they fit like oversized gloves and the color did not match for her skin was pale always under the roof of these blinding lights. What was once mine now belonged to her. So, at least, it seemed, they would make better the life of one soul on Earth. The spirit bade me to leave, to move on to the next place, the next sacrifice of my body, but I stayed. When those men, the landowners, the exploiters saw she was once again fit to work, they wasted no time in placing her back under those toiling lights. The girl accepted, for what other life had she ever known but this one? The burden was placed once again on shoulders too young to be expected of such mighty feats, but still she soldiered on. How long would she stay, imprisoned in such a place, despite these miracles of modern science, I asked the spirit. It turned its light away from me and left the place, beckoning me to follow. Perhaps if spirits could weep, the light of this spirit would dim, and tears would replace light from its wise and all-knowing skin.
Now we were taken to a busy street corner, a modern metropolis, a beating heart, fastidious, fast-moving, demanding, a soulless colorless corporate place which was sometimes called the central business district. It was my eyes which had now been given. The gift of sight! What a privilege to be able to see the delights of this Earth. To be able to feast on the magnificent colors, the sublime shapes and figures of this earth was certainly one of this land’s most noble pleasures. What now, would my eyes be used for?
It seemed that the powers that be, that representative kleptocracy, had purchased my gift of sight. They placed them under this busy street corner, during the day it kept a playful eye over the men and women in the bars, and the street performers singing their merry songs. Here were also the banks, the agencies, the places the men in suits called home, tipping the scales ever in their favor. When night came, my eye was no longer playful but watchful, surveyor of the night. Those who came during the day to enjoy the city, now had their homes, their four walls and warmth under roofs. The eye that was taken stood watchful, now looking at those unfortunate souls, those with downtrodden luck, who called the corner stores and sidewalks their homes. All their belongings fit into paper bags and they set down their blankets on the hard cement, huddling together behind the giant towering buildings. The eyes that were taken alerted their system and the men in blue came with their blaring sirens and their metal sticks, defenders of the law. Whose law where they defending? They came unto those street dwellers and said,
“You have no right to be here”, and moved them along with their heavy menacing badges and corrupted hearts.
“Where then can we go?” they asked.
“Anywhere but here. Amongst the civilized, you are not welcome”, the message was clear.
So, I had given my eyes for this?
I had gifted the wonderful miracle of sight to those who were most blinded of all.
The spirit beckoned me forth to the next place.
I was taken to a reflective and discreet place full of glass casings and showrooms. It was to my horror that I saw, in the casings, were displays of human skin, some of it my own, on full display. Now, humanity has conquered the visible effects of aging.
There she was, the old woman, that crow, picking out a suitable skin to replace her own. Perhaps, I thought, skin could be used for those who suffered burns that scarred them irreparably or to those who had skin conditions that worsened their quality of life. But no. The economy serves the highest bidders. And now, the woman felt the different textures, stroking the fibers of skin, deciding which would match her own, with no respect or understanding of the death that had come before to please her earthly delights. That is the sickness – greed. A greed that comes to those with money and power, a disassociation of reality. She saw my skin and picked it from the shelf. The old woman who defies the laws of nature, who values nothing but her own gain, felt her decrepit spoiled skin against the youthful pleasant stolen treasure and was happy once again.
Now the spirit took me a desert field, an army barracks, the sandbags riddled with bullets and the sad mixed with blood. A lost young fellow, fighting in the war, the battle that held no meaning except for that greed. Not for heroism, not for liberty or freedom, nor for the rights of peoples, no admirable values, but more human greed, that desire for excess.
He had lost his foot on patrol in the village that was not his. An explosive was left planted in the ground by those evil owners, those who occupy this land. How dare they resist our peaceful occupation of their land, he must have thought. Now, his misunderstanding compounded with anger by his brutal amputation, I saw how my foot was carried over to the man and placed neatly on the stump and how he was whole again. A foot regained to wage more war. The war he enlisted in, not for values, but for subsistence, and now corrupted by state lines and old men that died hundreds of years ago. That man went on to kill many enemies, win many medals, and celebrate many victories for his country’s conquest, all thanks to my amputated foot.
I had been completely torn apart, turned to scraps, shipped into neat boxes all over the world, and now discover that my legacy was for the evil of the human will. I saw what had been done with my body and could not help but weep. What wonderful things could have been done with the gifts I had to give but where now so terribly corrupted.
I wished to see no more, Oh Spirit, I said.
Take me back and let me die now, for there is nothing else to see. I know now the legacy of me, and I shall weep and wail to know what will become of humanity.