In hard-packed craters, when water ran foul and my heart was still small in its progression from slave song to symphony, I watched for your seed in sand, saw spring limp into summer.
Truth and dust in my face, with my books and all the bones of Joseph, I renounce my country (a hailstorm of welts) and search the complete evening of my life for a hillside of crops.
These things still nourish me: olive, peach, corn, cactus, orange — and a fragile sense of a god who has lost control of his bladder.
In my child mind, a furrow…
In the afternoon, Luciano and I walk above town from one low hilltop to another. We speak of the breath in our lungs. It’s a gift, he says. It’s a gift, I say. The breeze that slips in from the ocean agrees. It’s a gift.
When the sun dips, we go down to the cove where waves lap the fishing boat planks. From there you can see all the way to the horizon, and — if you close your eyes and open your imagination wider — the other side of the world. They say the world is pulsing with people…
Sometimes I wonder if the world will come to its senses.
In my lifetime.
Would be nice, but it’s starting to seem unlikely.
Eventually, yes. Humanity grows.
But real progress is not measured in years. Nor in centuries I’m afraid.
But look back. Study how the world was two millennium ago and you’ll see that we have progressed. We have grown. That at least gives me hope for the long run. A long run I won’t see and my grandchildren probably won’t see, but the fact that I may not experience it personally doesn’t mean that it isn’t there.
They come with dark bravado for him on their faces crippled
moonlight limping through the trees.
From scabbards of their hearts the ballad of blades
incites the night awake — and into this terrible history marches.
The fate they build with hammers is forged with a thousand blows
of blood —
and he receives their rage:
“My glory is overripe and in places rotting. My wisdom has aged.”
Thanks for reading. I do this three-sequence sometimes when things get stuck in my head. This the last one. Here’s #1 and #2.
Also, I have a web site with more stories…
And so he comes (as he knew someday he must) to despise the tsunami of thoughts and stories that wash over him, drowning him in an incessant procession of celestial bodies, forests, street cafes, beggar faces, oceans and ships. Each rock he harbors, rising as they do above the tideline of voices, touches his silence only briefly before he sweeps once more into the magnificent phosphorescent churning of creation.
A man hates what he needs because it binds him to his unspoken desires, and imprisons him deep inside his life. He considers using the knife to slice an arterial path…
He hadn’t thought to die so imperceptibly. He always imagined he would cross a dark river of mist in a splendid boat, but he rises early as usual, dips bread in his tea, puts on his autumn coat, swings his front door open toward the south, and greets the ambling daylight in the street.
At first, he cannot see that he is dead. His town is transformed from one of modest bricks to a metropolis of giant sculptures and statues. He walks down a great boulevard, up wide entrance steps, and enters an echoing hall.
“God?” he asks — and…
You thought we wouldn’t care if you washed your lies with blood. You thought we’d be busy with apathetic conversation.
It’s different now. We’ve grown taller than your sermons, larger than your madness.
Go ahead. Seize your market share, your trinkets, your video diversions. We have a better way of living. It starts with the wonderful magical beings we have become.
Return to your fossilized slumber. Dream of money rubbish and sound bites.
Yet we must give thanks. You shipped home bodies of mothers, fathers, daughters and sons, dressed in bloody bomb debris and desert fatigues, to awaken us.
When we emerged from the forest and beheld that endless column of towering dead gods trapped in their motionless march over the shallow hills, our breath became their plaything to seize with impunity from our lungs.
And ours was a deathless parody of life as we stood shock still and horribly shrunken in their shadows.
Their phlegmatic world had long endured the insidious erosion of time well before we crawled down from our frozen womb onto the flimsy stage of man. Even the smallest thimble of their history was to ours an enormous cauldron.
Yet — touching the stone toes…