using the arrow buttons.
by clicking on the page.
the page around when zoomed in by dragging it.
the zoom using the slider when zoomed-in.
by clicking on the zoomed-in page.
by entering text in the search field, and select "This Issue" or "All Issues"
by clicking on thumbnails to select pages, and then press the print button.
displays sections with thumbnails and descriptions.
displays a slider of thumbnails. Click on a page to jump.
allows you to browse the full archive.
about your subscription?
Lions Roar : November 2008
SHAMBHALA SUN NOVEMBER 2008 87 through the flat windows. Squares of sunlight that floated. The place was almost empty. One coffee drinker with a burn- ing cigarette hanging from his lips—a man so old and frail that he must no longer be living his life in years, seasons, or even days, but in moments, each one long and perilous—and the alarm- ingly thin proprietress, smoke escaping her mouth, sat close to the wood stove at the center of the large yellowed room. They didn’t talk. It was as if everything had been said, and there was nothing left to say. Nothing left to do, but wait. It was painful to watch, this quiet waiting for death. Even now, when I think of them, a sack of bricks fills my chest, pressing down. The priest, a man of punctilious discipline, took his coffee in that café every afternoon, at three, af- ter his nap. While waiting for him, we each had a coffee. Aristotle had a candy bar with his. There was the rich odor of coffee, sweet chocolate, and tobacco. There were silences filled with secrets, stories I ached to know and tell. At three, on the dot, the door to the café scraped open. Dressed in priestly black, Papa Christos, a dark knight, made his entrance, cut the air, commanded and filled the space. His heavy, black, bulbous-toed working man’s shoes were dusty, the leather cracked. He was a heavyweight. Defrocked, he would have passed as a dock worker or a hit man, a bully or a mean drunk; a hard-looking man except for his soft eyes. He had an enormous permanently reddened nose with the branches of broken capillaries that heavy drinkers get. His fingers were crude, thick and spatulate. His face—fierce, passionate—was square cut and not exactly coarse but close; his neck thick and muscular. He looked as if he’d slept in what he wore and he smelled unwashed, as did his crusty hair and beard. They kissed the hand he held out limply, an oddly effeminate gesture, I thought. They kissed it in turn. When he offered it to me, I shook it. Papa Christos sat heavily. He blew his nose, a vigorous honk, lit a cigarette and inhaled greedily. Grabbed his cup of coffee, en- veloping it in a meaty paw, chugged it, slapped it dramatically down on the table. He began speaking straightaway, staring into me with unblinking blackbird eyes. I stared back not sure if I liked this guy, loathed him, or both. I am suspicious of anyone tied too closely to God. I have no use for the orthodox, bowing their heads before authority. I love what Lucifer, the most beautiful of the an- gels, loves in man—his independence, his courage; his desire for knowledge, for beauty, for freedom. If God wanted obedience, he should have created man in the image of a hard drive. Aristotle translated. It was an odd conversation from the beginning. “Papa Christos say you have many problems.” I thought, what else is new? I said, “Yes.” “Papa Christos say you are a leader of men.” “Not that I’ve noticed.” “Papa Christos say you are charismatic. That you are a four- point-nine.” I couldn’t hold my smile. “What does that mean?” “Means you are very high. Most people only two-point-seven, at most.” I pointed. “What’s Papa’s number.” Aristotle nodded slowly. With obvious pride. “Papa Christos, he is five-point-oh. Highest.” I nodded back. “I guessed as much.” “Papa Christos say you are writer. He would like to know what you want to write.” I had my pat answer ready. Accommodating to all interviewers. “A great book. Failing that, a damn good book, an honest piece of work or, a least, a book that wouldn’t make me shake with shame on reading it.” Aristotle took a long time with his translation. Now the priest was nodding. Very serious. “Papa Christos say your books will make history.” I snorted. A snowball’s chance in hell. “Fat chance,” I said. “Yes, Papa Christos say. Very fat.” The priest paused long enough to slug down another coffee and take a deep breath. His teeth, I noticed then, were yellowed and held the detritus of his last meal—something green, a bit of sausage, a load of gummy masticated bread. The priest suddenly leaned across the table and jabbed two fingers at my midsection, on my left and right sides, speaking very fast. “Papa Christos asks, do you have very much pain here?” “No. None. Never.” “Papa Christos say you have rocks in your kidneys.” “I don’t think so,” I said, my hypochondriac self discomforted His eyes were fixed beyond my head at some celestial pinpoint where millions, no billions of angels, archangels, seraphim, cherubim, and beatitudes, along with all the mad gods of the underworld, the buffoons, sex-crazed goat men, the witches riddled with warts and carbuncles, devils, and daemons must dance. NOV 84-105.indd 87 NOV 84-105.indd 87 9/1/08 12:24:43 PM 9/1/08 12:24:43 PM