Just Another Bug Bangin’ Around a Lampshade

It’s four o’clock in the morning – par for the course for this insomniac – and I’m sitting on a chair staring numbly at the floor waiting for the coffee to brew.

I see upon a nearby candle a kamikaze moth in ever-closer swoops and dives flirting with the flame, zinging in and out of it, his bold wings fluttering with excitement, near burning on the fringes. Divine wind.

When I blow the flame out, I hear the hapless fellow banging around the inside of my lampshade, frustrated at having his destiny denied.

Oh Icarus! Do you not know that if you fly too close to the sun you will die a fiery death?

(I used to think immolation had to do with incineration, as in Buddhist monk, Saigon street, circa 1968. Actually the word is worth a study: immolare – to sprinkle with meal before sacrificing.)

Moth to the flame: what an awesome metaphor. And just working with the image you can get a black hole metaphor, a magnet, an electron and proton. What else comes to your mind? Certainly a femme fatale and her suitors, no Comrades? Or me with hot chocolate chip cookies coming out of the oven; or for that matter, hot anything coming out of the oven.

If you haven’t read Don Marquis, a marvelous New York City writer, editor, columnist and playwright in the 1920s, please look him up. He’s worth your time. He created Archy, a cockroach poet; and Mehitabel, an alley cat claiming to be Cleopatra reincarnated.  www.donmarquis.com/life-and-times. A great and wonderful whimsical poet, he writes of an interview with a moth, and he asks the moth: Why do you fellows fly into the flame? The answer is fascinating.

Donald Robert Perry Marquis lived from 1878-1937. He was a wonderful writer and I’m glad to keep his good name alive by mentioning him this day, July 9, 2017, a peaceful full moon Sunday morning here on planet Earth.

Such good stuff! I love a good story. Who doesn’t? And it’s vitally important we keep telling stories, because a culture without story is a dead culture. Long ago a Persian king said seize what sweet things you may because soon you will be ashes and a song. Look, wind will blow the ashes away, but the story – set in the minds of others and told by descendants – lives forever.

As I wish you good reading and writing this coming week, permit me to ask this question, if I may: Are you the moth … or are you the flame?

I normally sign off as “The Depressive Insomniac from Omaha,” but you can see today that the proper sign-off is:

Just Another Bug Bangin’ Around a Lampshade.

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