Tonight I went to the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul. Three weeks before the Pope’s visit and already electric with excitement.
In attendance were the Chief of the Vatican Police, the head of the Pope’s own Swiss Guard and the #1 consecrated nerd who presides over Roman Catholic Liturgy. Also present was the head of the US Secret Service, who is a good Catholic guy from Philly.
The Archbishop said Mass and, from beginning to end, it was absolutely divine. With a 25-year-old female singer, young enough to be a virgin, plucked from a music academy to solo and lead communal song. Her voice was deep and voluminous yet feathered and tapered with femininity. A violinist added an edge of precision to the thundering organ, and played notes of exquisite sadness over silent prayer. Incense, meanwhile, hovered over the altar like heaven’s cloud.
Mea culpa. Mea culpa. I repeatedly diverted from the liturgy and prayed, “Father Forgive me for counting the number of non-Whites in the pews.” Probably, they were my moral betters, but that’s not much of a metric. Welcoming a penance, I put enough cash in the offertory basket to make it hurt.
The Papal Warm-Up Mass was spectacular. Dare I say unbelievably spectacular? It was the full Goethean bloom of a grand Roman opera with a donkey riding and meta-moralizing Jew at root. No wonder the Pope’s favorite saint is “Mary, Undoer of Knots.” I need knots undone too. But as a Polish-Irish pug it would be disingenuous to remake my inner-wick with distant threads of paganism. Nasty knots or ideal strands of Judenfrei whatnot is the Whiteman’s choice with time running out. The Mass hints at the answer for those born to the script. Which is to say that the spectacular ceremony was completed with a blessing followed by a resounding anthem to Christendom that was disguised as a humble hymn to a merciful Lord. The old European sleight of hand. The old European winkmanship that reminded me of Catholic Conquistadors marching for one thing, and Nietzsche’s great love for a great hypocrisy for another thing. I am, if nothing else, a wildly sentimental Catholic. It brings me to my knees.
The Archbishop left the altar with an honor guard of priests and 50-year-old altar boys. A gold cross and measured step made it regal. I winked as the stone faced archbishop passed down the middle aisle. “We’ll show these prigs from the Vatican,” my nod said, “what’s up.”
I took my girlfriend to a post-modern Mexican restaurant. Its facade, including the crooked and missing letters on the overhead marquee, reminds me of a dump that I frequented in the Latin Barrio of Detroit. But instead of being greeted like a slumming INS agent, I was greeted with a smile. There’s not a leery busboy or bar back in the joint. The true Mexicans are kept in back, washing dishes and listening to ranchero on a crappy radio.
We were seated by slick little Korean girl. Exotic enough for the Ivy League crowd. Every table packed with students from Penn Medicine, Penn Law, and Wharton School of Business. A multi-racial elite squeezed together like kiddies at Disneyland. All of them enjoying a theme restaurant that’s more Mexican than Mexico except for one essential ingredient.
This is the crowd with their forks in White America. It’s also the crowd that will pack their designer poodles and leave Philly before the Catholic peasantry arrives with their irrational epistemology. I snuck my best girl in before the exodus to Brooklyn and the Jersey Shore. Just to introduce a model cracker with dirty blond hair and blue-green eyes. A high-school dropout. An ex-stripper on the circuit in the hills of Pennsylvania. Too bad that she regards the Pope as The Great Satan. But that’s what happens when you turn to barefoot Jesus as a hyper-lonely girl with a GED and a heroine habit. You simplify. You delete ceremony in matters of life or death. I’m flattered, most of the time, to be in the company of such a nicely preserved femme with a pit-bull’s grasp of struggle. She has little art. She has tons of conviction.
“The Roman Catholic Church is the Racket of the Ages,” she says. “They own the 90% of the world’s gold. They’re the world’s largest real estate holder and real estate speculator. But they’re above taxes! They bribe like the mafia. And what’s with the Latin bullshit that kept the faithful from understanding Jesus’ plain and simple message?”
“It was a kinda universal language for White Europeans across borders.”
“Just what the monopoly needed.”
I got a Bible-thumping lecture on idolatry. Saints and symbols were a detour around a direct knowledge of God, just as thousand years of Latin liturgy was an encryption and rationing of God’s Word. When she complained about money spent on cathedrals for fornicating bishops, I thought of St Francis of Assisi and the big things that he accomplished with very little. But why rush to an understanding? That was for White “geniuses” from Penn who couldn’t wait to give the game away to baffled foreign babes. Their chivalric motto: better to surrender the flag than risk a spat at the table. I defense of jewels and marble, I quoted Abott Suger, “The dull mind rises to the truth through that which is material.” For added argument, I remarked that Heinrich Himmler was an admirer of the Jesuits and incorporated their organization genius into the Nazi SS. She shut-up. She shrugged and laughed. You don’t get that worldly bounce from prissy cunts in college.
Later, we went to Mass. Too bad that it was the B-Team. A parish priest was delegated to explain logistics from the pulpit. Ticket availability. Seating. Transportation and parking during the Pontiff’s visit. My side-kick knelt, genuflected, and bowed in sync with the faithful. She has the mimicry talents of rootless cosmopolitan and the grit of a territorial hick. The complete package and more. Which is to say that I don’t have to do more than put the toilet seat down at my apartment to honor her ladyship. That’s it. I can rant against Zionist zealots who, in order to push the Promised Land to its chosen borders, are pushing Syrian refugees onto Christian chumps in USA and Europe. I can say the N-word with whatever inflection that good verbal rhetoric requires. I can use all the déclassé licks that are in a petty WN’s argot just as long as the toilet seat is up and there’s a fresh stash of coffee shop napkins in the toilet paper dispenser. When I do lose favor? It’s enough that I wash the dishes.
Like I said, she aced the mass. We left the sanctity of the cathedral and were greeted by the stars, the cool September air and the birch leaves rustling in the wind. In the distance were the lights of a stage, in the pubic precinct where Pope Francis would soon be saying Holy Mass. We heard the amplified sounds of a B-Act from a Fall blockbuster concert. An Afro-American rapper was riffing “something-something fuck this. Something, something fuck that.” The emphasis was on a self-cannibalizing glory. Succinctly “Satanic.”
Who’s sponsoring this? The devil was in the air, and I had a David Duke moment, experiencing the cosmos in terms of Media Mogul Jews on top and angry asphalt Blacks on bottom with the average White churchgoer in the middle. But I didn’t utter a single racist word. I was at peace with my vision.
Today I saw an US Army truck with three jigaboo reservists in the front seat, gawking at the spread of females on the downtown street. They didn’t look tough. They looked stupefied. Maybe it was the same when Gomer GI’s arrived in Paris to wolf-whistle and pour ketchup on steak. Directly behind the troop truck was a civilian van driven by beefy White officers who needed adult company. They weren’t looking for ass. They were looking for the odd terrorist in the mob of panhandlers, fugitive dads, crippled seniors, dopey whiggers, transexual art students, street fightin’ bitches, and veiled Muslim virgins slowly morphing into sassy American dick-bait.
I don’t police. But I do look for the anomaly in the crowd. When I saw a smartly composed brunette with figure-hugging dress and a long hem that hinted at modesty, I took notice. It registered. Like a cop I said, “She doesn’t belong here.” Too much class.
There were Pope Francis trinkets in the window of the Hindu boutique where I once bought a candle from a charming Peruvian girl. In the end, she wasn’t allowed to work the register. You see the same racism in the Indian dollar stores with their counterfeit cologne and soap. I ducked inside the Right Aide drugstore to cultivate a friendship with a boney nerd with frizzy blond hair and pink-rimmed glasses. Barbie’s hard-luck twin. She reminds me of a shaky valedictorian I met while teaching school in Detroit. Another left-behind of White Flight. Another painfully shy nerd from a broken family and, to counterbalance the dirt poor outer life, a dream-rich inner life. But instead of creating science fiction comics, the Right Aide clerk is studying music composition and violin at Temple University. When I told her to, “show those Asians what-what,” she blushed 5 shades of red. Obviously, she had just that forbidden desire. She has yellow teeth and a jobber’s jerky gait. Still, I think she’s a jewel.
She’s used to snarky banter. In return for my steadfast respect, today she shared the inside news. Three or four banner franchises in the neighboring mall will close for the Pope’s visit. They’ll pay the fine, written into the lease, rather than endure the “bullshit.” I mentioned that the homeless were being swept from the street and stored in shelters. She skipped the show of compassion. Instead, she groaned that the Philly Police won’t be answering shoplifter calls during the Pope’s visit. Philadelphia had been declared a Free City.
Sophisticated enough for a youngster, she directed me to the sale aisle. Not so I wouldn’t grope for street intelligence. But so I wouldn’t grope for dearer things. As I followed her through the maze of merchandize and the rush of customers, I noticed that there was lots of timely Halloween junk on the shelves but no timely Pope junk. That’s what happens when economies of scale impose uniform tastes on the public. When in passing need, people conform to what’s offered. And if you’re talking about deep inner-need, then Pope Francis shares my gripe against Globalism. When the clerk stooped to police litter from the floor, I asked, “Is it true that Richard Wagner never overcame his childhood Christianity? I’ll bet a thoroughly objective Jew, putting facts in proper order, has written the standard text on the Pagan-Christian split in Wagner’s soul.” It was a slander, alright. It was a slander of mass-market junk in school. “No divinely touched artist” I continued, “aligns with his star until he’s seated on his own cursed toilet. Thinking as a Universal World Citizen leads to generic crap. Look at Wagner. He wasn’t a human being. He was a German.”
This would be something for a creative type to ponder if it didn’t seem racist. Especially if the creative type was a nerd trapped in a White Trash profile, trapped in a rote job, trapped in “culture” that regarded her as a pathetic joke. But she’d rather I pulled out my penis than the Wagner model of self-realization with fizzure intact. When a carefree Black clerk passed and called her “Cheez-Whizz” while bopping along, she followed fast.
Cheesey White bitch and math-whizz. It had a lost ring to it.
This afternoon, a “tourist” took pictures down the length of the alley that I share with a slick new apartment building’s cargo dock. A slick new liquor store’s cargo dock, too. It’s a thoroughfare for trucks, cabs, and upscale drunks. It’s also the first “open” street outside the security perimeter. The tourist wore a golf shirt and, probably, a firearm. He had the flair of a vacationing Fed with a photo hobby. Half-artist. Half-technician. If he had a wide angle lens, he captured my stare.
Ron Paul rallies introduced me to the surveillance biz. Ten years ago I had an undercover Philly cop, a cocky Irishman, give me a stunning love-tap in a Dunkin’ Donuts. He told me I exactly where I’d been standing 10 minutes earlier in Independence Mall. Probably, I reminded him of a highly idealistic but accident prone uncle. We had a flash of kinship. After which he suggested the door. “You can leave now.”
The Papal Pilgrims are in transit, but Feds have arrived with their largesse and more. There are cement barriers, like lane markers in highway construction zones, piled along the streets. This weekend’s cattle chutes. As an aside, I routinely passed through security checks while selling language learning software at the Philadelphia Airport. Bells and whistles in a high priced box. My boss woman was the squeamish grand-daughter of a Wehrmacht officer. “He was ugggg!” was all she’d say. She was a perfectly insincere saleswoman who pawed like a sex-kitten regardless of race, sex, creed, and origin. But she lacked the finish of a decent whore. Being from Maryland, she applied to the CIA. She had the IQ for intelligence work but was otherwise inane. After I quit the airport job, we met for drinks. She repeatedly complained about her Indian fiancé’s father who came from a long-line of international merchants who, like diamond trading Hassidim, needed blood surety along the way. “He hates me,” she pouted while nuzzling closer. “He refuses to attend the wedding. I don’t know why. I’m not racist!”
I slipped her the tongue just to shut her up. Ha. Ha. Good riddance. She’d flirt with every swarthy baggage handler and leafy effete in the airport. She even turned the most evil Moroccan gigolo, a heartless fucker with killer grace, into just another amusing gay boyfriend. My smarmy Caucasian colleagues also affected an immediate bond with all humanity. I stood apart. I only connected with the older Arab guys. They had families to feed. They had manly contempt for anything that came easy. Rooster protocol demanded a period of sneering from a distance. Once separation was established, I borrowed and returned a pen. Finally I introduced myself as Whiteman with a problem. “You think those Security Checkpoints are for you? Fine. I’d think the same if I were in your skin. But they’re just as much for Whites who have to be worked and reworked into submission. Can we agree that terrorist threat is a bit exaggerated?” In return for my race-o-centric vision, I got the inside story of life on the run.
Like I said, the pilgrims are in transit. But the cops are present en force. Bike possees. Foot patrols with desk jockeys a step behind. Fat guys. Waddlers. All the motorcycles have been taken out of the stable for show. The Black and White riders, self-segregated at curbside, have the same cowboy swagger, and maybe that’s an argument for The Fraternity of Man. The cops who fight crime and raging stupidity in the far neighborhoods must regard their stint downtown as a kind of paid vacation. They’re deployed so the Feds won’t be impeded in their own, differently recessed, work.
As law-enforcement agencies go, the Philadelphia Police don’t have much glamour. That’s because, as low-enforcement agencies go, they’re closest to the community. Their strength is their weakness in this toilet of best intentions. A landmark city packed with beastly Whites, as scary as they are tattooed, whose grandfathers were confined to an inner-circle of work, church, and bar. Perfectly stabilized Catholics before the liberating arc of the ’60s.
Walking home at sunset I passed an Army Reservist, a non-entity with neither badge nor gun, at his post on a remote corner. “Hello sir” he said with homesick drawl. He has to be here because Philadelphia is always on the brink of “urban unrest.” I had the idea that for embarrassing Uncle Sam, bombing an under-protected utility hub would be much better than martyrizing an over protected Pope. I felt dirty for considering it. What was wrong with me? Unable to sleep, I took a moonlight stroll. The remaining homeless, who’ve dodged the bait-and-net, were on edge. Exceptionally pleading and hostile. Extra-bereft bums. The loners smoking cigarettes outside of bars were pleased to be left alone. Such was the balance of things while cop cars prowled and secret-service agents met in luxury suites high above the stink.
I entered the drugstore and limped to the camping section that might as well have a Whites Only sign on it. I finally broke-down and bought a National Geographic brand bucket of freeze-dried grub. The emergency rations, already covered in dust, have shelf life of 15 years. What the heck.
The Pope is in New York. He’s getting closer. The pace and the crowd have quickened. The afternoon I turned a corner and bumped into two young priests. Tall and blond and stiff as Prussians. Their apologies didn’t fit their stature. In the swirl of autumn wind and traffic noise, I couldn’t place their accents.
“You guys from Mexico?” I asked to orient them to Philly. It didn’t register. “Yooz from Mexico?” I said with added bluster.
“Poland.” It was a firm correction without humor.
Oh God. I felt like the very idiot I pretended to be. I threw in a Polish phrase or two. The priests were polite, true Christians under duress, but I’d been marked as a blabbering American fool and outside their dispensation. They walked ahead to the Cathedral. I followed behind and mugged for the Black schoolgirls who were marveling at the transformation of their bus-stop. I knew from teaching high school that they enjoyed the frown of a tyrant without stamina. First the scalding stare. Then the howling laughter. It was different with the furtive pilgrims from Latin America. They assumed I was a vicious Donald Trump supporter and, believe me, I held character every step of the way. I had the same mean urge when the Feds profiled me as an Angry White Male but nixed the temptation.
There was a crowd in front of the Cathedral. Atop the steps was a tall Fed in sunglasses: new sheriff in town. Not being a janitor like the Philly cops, he didn’t care about the Latino hawking Pope posters on the curb. Neither did he care about the burly Whitegirl offering commemorative coins in a cupped hand at her hip. Obviously, she wasn’t used to selling anything that’s not stolen. Maybe the coins were stolen. She moved like a model prisoner, on a weekend pass, selling drugs at a rock concert.
As God would have it, the Polish priests passed nearby. I addressed the sturdier priest, built to take the brunt of punishment, as I contradicted Pope Francis’ pronouncement on refugees. “Don’t take the Syrians, I said plainly. “It’s not your fault. Washington and Tel Aviv have taken over the civil-war and created the refugee dump to depopulate The Chosen Land. Their plan is to fulfill the promise of the Old Testament which, you know, was replaced by the New Covenant brought by Christ.”
I felt a connection building. “It’s their dirty-rotten business to create Eretz Israel. It’s not Poland’s business. Don’t take the refugees.”
“I agree,” he said in a heartbeat. “Of course!”
We shared a Polish Revelation. A spell of racial-religious kinship. He shook my hand then tapped his colleague on the shoulder. He was excited to have found what I’d call a “a true Pollack.” A term based on the hermeneutic that my high school students used to separate the “real niggers” from the “fake-ass niggers.” I pump my fist. It was almost a miracle to have made fast-friends with words that could get me black-listed or in Philly. I walked inside an aura of love. I felt free inside my ethnically tailored silhouette. In Newtonian terms, following “things” to their result, that’s what happens when there’s zero chance of morphing into a generic Catholic dripping with pathos, piety, and all that sticky stuff.
There’s not a seat at the coffee shop/tourist center outside the Cathedral. I’m quickly offered a spare chair at a table. Just as nicely as a solitary old man, with a properly beat-up but gentle face, is offered a stool in a crowded Irish bar. My table mate is a fat blonde with a silver police shield, as goyish as pork-sausage, on her necklace. Sure as shit, she’s Irish and married to a cop. Her daughter is playing solitaire with holy cards and other Big Event paraphernalia. She was talking to herself, in preparation for adult life, while testing one organizing principle after another.
“We got tickets, as a police family, to see the Papal Mass at the Cathedral tomorrow. But my husband won’t let our daughter go. He doesn’t trust the crowd. He’s got the some inside info on all the choke-points with their security regulations between our house and the church. What he doesn’t know and what he does know worries him. I tell him that now is the time to take a risk. Seeing the Pope say Mass, right here in the Cathedral, is an event our daughter would never forget.”
“The Feds are keeping everyone guessing.”
I sniff free tickets. I don’t have to be manipulative. If they’re not taken by a relative or neighbor, I’ll get them as a weathered Catholic. My new friend proceeded to tell me that her husband will be working 16 hour days during the Pope’s visit and sleeping at the precinct. A drill similar to the nurses at Presbyterian Hospital, which will be the Pope’s fort in a medical emergency. “The nurse’s will be sleeping on air-mattresses, probably in conference rooms. It’s already kind of military operation,” she says, “with shower trucks parked outside. Judging by the stores of food, there are field kitchens packed into the mystery trucks.” From my experience, White nurses with their default bosomy sugars and their default Christian empathy run the local 5-Star hospitals. You won’t read about it US News and World Report ratings. They’re a blood-caste. They’re the products of Catholic schools though the line might be withering.
Like a gentleman, I stood as my blonde “cousin” prepared to leave. “I like this Pope,” I said. “He’s an authentic people person. I just don’t pay any attention to his bullshit on immigration. It’s not the White Man’s Burden to save the world.”
“Of course,” she said while her daughter watched. Still quiet, she was a wide-eyed student of adults. Holding mom’s hand with a willowy sway back and forth. Not a tug to leave. Just a tug of happy attachment. Mom laughed and looked at the pilgrims all around. Racism was their great moral crucible. She was over it. “Send the sorry souls from Syria somewhere else. We got more than enough pain in Philly.”