Between the Storm & the Serpent in Tampa

As I sat along flooded brick streets, a messenger approached and gave me a fine cigar which he told me to light and draw deeply. With the inhale I felt bitterness and pain in my chest, and yet as I exhaled the smoke, I saw a whole scene open up before me in that cloud.

Behold, from the south a menacing storm pushes nearer as lightning crashes, the temperature increases, and the streets flood with tears. To the north still lies that old serpent, slithering through our city and feasting on the forgotten as it grows fatter and fatter. It has divided communities and continuously stares menacingly at neighbors to either side through its two hundred and seventy five eyes.

It was there in that mist, between the storm and the serpent I saw that the streets were flooded with crowds chanting demands and crying. As though standing upon them all, I saw a large beast with horns upon which sat a Red rider. The beast was violently bucking against this Red rider who seemed to be trying to subdue or tame him. The Red rider was taking a thrashing and feeling a pain, not unlike that so many before him had felt riding while Black. The horned beast, finally bucking off the tenacious rider, rose on his hinds with a legion at his side and clumsily began swinging kangaroo marionettes in the faces of those who were dying. He smiled and said you are welcome as he had offered what, judging by their reaction, could only be a mockery of the thing which they most needed. Beneath his hooves, in the streets, there was weeping and gnashing of teeth. Cries of the Green’s among many other colors were heard, united by want and outrage. They are crying for their lost ones, fathers and brothers, crying for justice and fairness and mercy.

Then I saw the Red one, who had been thrown, gathering his council enthroned in their hall where they murmured and prepared their next move.  It seemed that all values had a price and only worth had any value as unappreciated treasures had been swallowed.

Then from the streets I saw a swarm of masses, uniting into a single being growing larger and larger. This mounting presence dwarfed all players that had been seen before it and it stands tall and strong as it rips the strings from the hands of the one who had held them. The marionettes then lie lifeless and drenched on the ground.

As I sit enthralled on the edge of my seat the smoke dissipates like a vapor and I cannot see the scene any longer. Once again I draw deeply of that cigar and somehow its bitterness has turned sweet in my lungs. I exhale in anticipation...

(BTW the context of time and place matters. If you live in Tampa today and this meant nothing to you, may I suggest you click some links and start paying attention.)