There is a fault line running between my shoulders and the base of my skull. This would not be a problem, it is not active; except for the many people living alongs its invisible divide, setting up homes, planting trees, playing cooperative games; except for those times I stomp from this place to another, hand shaking, dancing, falling down thump thump in the street; except for when it rains. You might think, then, it is safer to sit still on a park bench and watch others pass by, or stand before a window wondering at the weeds. But what if that person wanted to speak with me, or if the window broke? Because then I would have to make room for something new, and one side or the other is bound to slip eventually under the stress of one more crack or stomp. No, instead I will put on this sleep mask, plug these ears, close this mouth, and lie still under this down comforter. That way, certainly, we will all be safe.
A staircase always goes down, never up.
Winged bats and books snatching up dreams as they pass by
And you would think it was a hunt
But it’s not.
Accidental destruction, we have to make up stories
To tell us otherwise.
Stories, fiction, blurry tapestry on blank walls all around.
I hear the huat huat of tiled feet always forward going
Or stop or go, nothing else,
Why is there nothing else?
Those crystalline ornaments I knew as a child
Don’t cover up anything in this dry, hateful heat;
No merry-lolling in these streets—
Somewhere, a deep-throated warbler, insatiate, sighs.
This is what I was told would happen —harbinger
Of clogged cloaca and those unfinished nightmares
That disappoint and leave one bare
Before new day’s start and endless pointing fingers—
Even Plath could see the muffle and mute it gives
To blues and reds, but here there is no renovation,
Just the steady deterioration
Of a weary mutt holding on stubbornly to life.
All of these religious men hanging upon walls. Without words, lines, splashes of colour what legacy, what greatness is theirs? We err. Impacted by the loud, the colourful, the luminous; stoneflies; we have no say.
A philosopher is a harp lulling us to sleep. A priest, a splinter of flax. And I, well, what am I?
I am nothing at all, or perhaps a leaf fallen from a great tree, carried by the wind to a forgotten gulley, here lay down and fading. A better fate than these poor men, no peace at all in museum halls.
As a man, I cannot compare the revelation of a character to the giving of birth.
As a father, however, I can speak of the joy and pain of watching these characters grow up, a piece of myself woven into each one. The seed of the world around me, the people close and far that I have copulated with all engendered in these men and women, boys and girls – they are our children. What after all, after death, is the difference between these, my literary, and these, my literal, offspring? Will not both continue on in our memories, written and otherwise, and in our own characters? Much is spoken of physical genetics, and what of narrative genetics? What of those Ivan Fyodorovichs, those Mersaults, those José Arcadios that have, in their own way, fused their personalities, their very attributes, with our own? Of character then, I can speak of hope and pride and love.
I can also speak as a voyeur, a curious onlooker into the personal, private struggles of people, real individuals exposed through story for all to read, mock, and lust after. Poor victims towards whom the reader is free of all law and moral to prey upon, vicious judgment and rabid ravish, with absolutely no retribution except, perhaps, its effects on the soul. And yet, in an ironic twist, a voyeur actor, a Peeping Tom puppeteer, with the dangerous power to direct the scenes into which I, the author, am looking in.