6:30 PM THE END OF THE WORLD — late by 1/2 hour. God either overslept or isn’t really interested. A pint of cold beer on a rooftop terrace overlooking the canal, uninterrupted. Animated, bare-chested men sit in the sun with large plastic cups of light Belgian beer pumped out of taps by big smiling women who ask if you have exact change. Maybe the world ended long ago and this is it. But what is it, the Rapture or Satan’s Eternal Barbecue?

The heaven and hell of human imagination exceeds the efforts of any God or Lucifer. It keeps no company in this indifferent universe except the emptiness too great to bear, time wasted on boredom, bourbon, anxiety, fear, beer, loss, frustrated desire. We never seem to have exact change. Usually too much or not enough. Our pockets full with little to buy that satisfies at an affordable price, sometimes easier or necessary to settle for the cheap knock off. Another beer, a retainer for services of convenience, a down payment for the bookie.

Only I understand the language I speak. It seems to me we’re all scrambling up the sides of the Tower, missing the point of the whole endeavor. The Rapture is easy to miss in a beer by the canal, the hand of your child, the orgy in a beggar’s eye. The realm of one’s own unspeakable reality–to be swept up into its heaven and hell.

Who knows better than our own catastrophe? No need to be swallowed up by celestial vapors or yawning fissures in the Earth. The world ends at every nanosecond between breaths. From where I sit all heaven and hell is within reach.

Text and photos (c) BonnyFinberg