We will now blow our brains out
celebrating the beginning of the end.
Everyone knows holidays kill people.
The goat path goes along the edge of the canyon where the Sphinx could see. Is it a he or a she? Legend has it one way; history is never involved, the way is too narrow, the steep air makes you dizzy, you haven’t even been reading, your habits are changed from the days when your heart rebelled, then acquiesced thirty years and now, forty years later, what does it say a drum doesn’t? The woman inside the city’s walls was waiting, she said. The news reaches her before he enters the gate. A price is on his head, though no one knows whose head. You don’t kill your father without regret, even if you don’t know it’s him when he staggers and teeters on two feet falling under him on the goat path. He has a guilty conscience not knowing who the man was, only that he was threatened without cause, much less reason. The city is made up of those who go about their own business as long as it does not implicate others. The law is the law, life is not lived until it’s over.
The Fourth of July. The Concord Bridge.
If you believe the people’s biblical priests,
it is here the dinosaurs finally vanished.
Sophocles can have his story back. I could at least have looked into his source. Promiscuous? A lady without a gent has no reason to be otherwise unless she is living in the open, and Jocasta never has exposed herself to the fellaheen (to cop a word Ishmael learned from Queequeg and Melville learned about, finally, reading Ahab’s journals–what was left of them in the coffin the kid was riding when the Rachel came back days after first meeting the Pequod and now . . . Holidays are for blowing your brains out, he said. No one suspects suicide on a holy day. Only the undoubting believers comprehend the gravity a body encounters when God says, Go ahead, get it over with, I’m open all day, all night, and if I’m not here an angel will be.
I was aghast. He said he knew the word
would mean nothing if anyone listened.
He didn’t even want to think about it.
The sun glinting off the surface of the lake. Birds know how to fly upside down to measure how far they’ve come. Those who don’t look back never seem to be able to see what’s ahead. The Greek music is as old as the amphitheater carved out of stone, filled by those who already know the story and are curious how this performance will justify its existence. The sound of cars. A cacophony of voices. Some semblance of the power of sanity to prevent the disappearance of souls from sight. Be grateful, the judges of all actions decide to say, then turn it into a threat. Don’t bother to appear before us if you can solve the riddle yourself. We have so little time.
(1 July 2011)
copyright 2011 by Floyce Alexander