Perhaps the prophecy foretold a writer’s birth
“Yesterday, I spent the entire morning reading. Early in the afternoon, for no clearly ascertainable reason, I experienced a sudden desire to read all of the letters sent to me by editors (12,000 rejection slips and four or five letters) in connection with my poetry. I ran across the first letter postmarked Feb. 9, 1962. In these five years, this was the first time I had paid any particular attention to the postmark on that letter. This, in turn, caused me to recollect that my first poem had been written on the spur of the moment, mailed, and that letter received in only four days. My first poem must have been written on the fifth of February 1962. Idle observation? I thought so at the time, but — well, let me not digress.
“Later that evening I was idling in front of my neighbor’s cell, and casually inquired about the titles of some of the paperbacks on his shelf. After rummaging around, he handed me A Gift of Prophecy. I accepted the book and ended up spending the rest of the night reading about the clairvoyant Jeane Dixon. It turns out that she has predicted all types of catastrophe which have later come to pass.
“Toward the end of the book, she narrates a vision she had: a desert with a blinding sun on the horizon. To the left of the sun was a pyramid. Then, out of the sun walked a Pharoah and Queen Nefertiti. The Queen had a baby cradled in her arm, and she could tell by the knowing look in his eye that the kid had a lot on the ball. In the orb of the sun she could see Joseph ‘guiding the tableau like a puppeteer pulling strings.’ The date of the vision was Feb. 5, 1962.
“Jeane Dixon interpreted the dream to mean that a child was born in the Middle East shortly after 7:17 a.m., Feb. 5, 1962. This person is of humble origin ‘but he is the answers to the prayers of a troubled world.’
“After hours of meditation, another interpretation offers (at least to me) a more life-giving promise (remember, it’s the symbolism not that exactness that counts).
“The Mideast setting could have been a clue to the word Midwest. The baby does not necessarily signify a physical birth, but could mean the Birth of a Writer. The vision of Joseph (my name is Joseph) would complete the following picture: The birth of a writer named Joseph in the Midwest on Feb. 5, 1962. We must not forget the pyramid — a large stone structure erected by the Egyptians as a place to put the dead. The poem I wrote on Feb. 5, 1962, was written while I was a prisoner in the Missouri State Penitentiary — a large stone structure erected as a receptacle for the living dead. For, I am you see, civilly dead.
“On the basis of the foregoing I am led erratically, but irresistibly, to the conclusion that I am this person for whom everyone has been praying.
“Then, after more hours of meditation, I began to wonder. They may not be praying for a savior at all — they may be praying for a scapegoat; they will not hug him with reverence, but hang him with relish. Look what happened to Christ — and he didn’t even have a record!” –- J.J. Maloney
Excerpted from “In such ways as this are prophecies borne out,” FOCUS/Midwest (March-April 1967, Vol. 6, No. 4). At the time he wrote the satire for the magazine, Joseph John Maloney was in his mid-20s and serving four life sentences for murder, but eventually was released thanks to the concerted efforts of Thorpe Menn, book editor of the Kansas City Star, and others. Maloney, who died in 1999, became an acclaimed investigative reporter for the Star.