Mesic 3

Wherein jerry fears for his safety after gaining
anonymous notoriety for his book of poems called Moon


The little book was reproduced in numerous underground samizdat editions and made the rounds through all the classes in that classless society.

The first ones to take an interest in Jerry's poems were the Party hacks whose job it was to break down texts into their component parts and reassemble them to fit their theories, projecting their own preconceptions in much the same way that professors of literature tailor their evaluations of texts to fit their own agendas. If they'd only known that the book was nothing more than a collection of mathematically precise love poems they might have left it alone, although love was in that place and time considered a dangerous emotion, which is why poetry was so important and the book caused such a sensation.

Because it was denounced by the unpopular people in power, the book's popularity skyrocketed. It became emblematic of everything anyone at the time was feeling. It provided the words for all the things people wanted to say. It was open-ended enough to meet anybody's interpretation.

To the politically oppressed, it was obviously about overthrowing the regime, the yearning for political freedom, the boundless opportunities of liberty.

My father saw that the moon was about spiritual transcendence, that getting to the moon was about breaking the bonds of mortality, of shedding the human form, of ascending to that sphere brimming with the luminescence of departed souls.

My mother saw it as being about flight to America, a new world where Jerry would be crowned with laurels a respected poet and they could live in the rarefied light of a literary life, dustmotes swirling in the sunlit rooms of ivy-covered libraries, and elegant cocktail parties where emigrees were welcomed with toasts and embraced as members of the international community. These are the passions Jerry's poems, and more importantly his increasing stature as a poet, aroused in my mother, who waited for the first opportunity to uproot the family, my father already dead in her daydreams.

Jerry was so convinced of his own importance that when Warsaw Pact tanks invaded Czechoslovakia to put an end to liberal reforms he thought they were coming specifically for him and fled in terror to my parents apartment where he found my mother on her usual perch blowing smoke out the window. "They're coming for me!" he announced breathlessly.

It was the only time he would ever hear my mother laugh. It was contemptuous at first, and even though it softened after a few derisive snorts it went on altogether too long. "Well, it's something to know that if you were wanted you'd come here first so we could all have the pleasure of going to prison together." She flicked her butt out the window and waved sweetly to the students who were barracading the street with cobblestones and an overturned bus. Shots rang out and Jerry urged her to move away from the window. "I'm not lucky enough to be shot," she smiled, and then her face went dark as if the gravity of the situation was finally sinking in, but it was only something she remembered. "Anyway," she said, suddenly composing herself and looking sternly at Jerry, "where are my flowers?"

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