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by David Sparenberg
2022-04-24 06:26:57
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The grand plan for remaking the world in his image crashed down around him. Yes, he had believed himself irresistible – an irresistible force with his destiny writ large on the pages of history. A shard from the glass ceiling of reality lodged permanently in his ice-cold heart.

Because he could not be God, he became the Angel of Death.

cal0001_400He demanded absolute obedience and yet could not dominate the spontaneities of life and chose the obscenity of mass graves for his enemies. He had enemies, nameless, faceless foreigners and neighbors – among minions and throughout millions – and nobody was to be trusted.

Those who disobeyed his orders, disappeared.

Because the iron curtain of ideology was taken from him, and without that armor his unbreachable security was calamitously lost, he chose the brass knuckles of crime, imprisonment, and poisoning.

A pedagogue from the get-go, the Boss took it upon himself to teach the world brutalizing subservience and the paralyses of fear. “This is no power of control without the exercise of terror.” This precept he would live and kill by.

The emperor commanded his diminishing inner circle: “Now Centurions, let the decadent West dare brag and boast of democracy. Mine is the purest democracy – mass equality of the murdered dead!”

Despite setbacks and events to the contrary, he was convinced, unequivocally, without question or compromise, that fate was his to have and hold. He remained determined that the entire human world should recognize his face and tremble, should listen to his voice and cower. Behind his voice, little people everywhere, would yield to the echoing footsteps of executioners.

He was, indeed (in fact), the Angel of Death. The tyranny of death was to be his legacy. Outraged, inconsolable, his will to power, akin to madness, become the final flickering of life inside him. Depriving others of everything – sans breath, appendages, and spilled blood - he defied mortality.


*A mad and murderous emperor of Rome; Albert Camus’s play by the same name.


David Sparenberg is author of CONFRONTING the CRISIS: Essays & Meditations on Eco Spirituality in the new Earth Spirit. He is a dedicated peace activist, essayist, and eco-poet. David lives in the Pacific Northwest of the United States.

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