Walking down the helical road, untwisting as you go you discover places you never imaginged visiting, nothing like the path you thought you knew well.
Stop and claim your new heritage, find yourself on an alien map, bury yourself in books of new and ancient history.
Pause here and consider a King of Scotland, knights and lords, in the far distance know that you claim a link to a man so honored that he died by hanging, but was then beheaded and drawn and quartered.
Too late to unswab your cheek, so simply enjoy your ride.
What I most want to do now, locked in by something unseen, is to wander the streets of cities here, Europe, it hardly matters, and find statues whose plaques are worn away or gone missing, now nameless souls of once lesser fame meriting a bronze or of such ego as donating their own image to the town.
They are forgotten souls, often rightfully so no doubt, but even the forgotten deserve a name merit a history and higher purpose, and I would offer those, with Banksy-like labels, this old bearded man, now Ignatius Fatuus, best remembered for inventing the pyramidal bread pan, where each loaf is uniformly burned on top, and there Shoshanna Chesed, who pointed out that if we were created in God’s image, it is likely God is a woman given the planet’s gender distribution, before the zealots stone her for blasphemy, insuring their own ultimate, eventual ticket to hell.
But perhaps the virus will grow tired of us, mutate, and go after one of the myriads more intelligent species we have not yet foolishly or greedily rendered extinct.
First appeared in The Poet: A New World, Autumn 2020
She walks slowly, the streets she once knew well, so much changed by time and memory released into the fog. It is hard going back when back is no longer there, where the store you owned, a place where you spent countless hours is now a sandwich shop, and so many others gone altogether for modern brick, concrete and glass. Still there is a T-shirt which she will wear as a badge of what was, a play she will never forget, as I remember the park in Salt Lake City were mescaline and blotter acid made the maples float above the ground and we sat in the summer rain and imagined golden butterflies but that too is gone as are all of the coconuts that once filled this grove.
Between now and eventually lies all of history. We are unable to see it though it lies in our field of vision. That’s the problem, we only know how to look backward. We are barely able to see where we are. It isn’t that we don’t want to be here, merely that here is difficult to see, for we have a tendency to block our vision. Imagine a map with an X or other marker saying “You are Here.” Yet seeing that we know we are not there for in that instant we will look down and see where we truly are. But the better statement to the “you are here” sign is not to call it wrong, but rather to simply ask it, how did you know. It will answer, your visit was history lying between my now and my eventually.
The real question, the true heart of the matter, is whether this is the first day of a new year, as she believes, or merely the day after the last day of the year, as he would have it. They have this discussion once each year, and they never resolve it for eventually they grow tired, and the day is gone before they do. They promise to conclude the next time around, but by then they will have forgotten most of their history and will grasp the novelty of the old argument anew.
What they simply cannot understand is what his take as a vinyl disc is a moment in a life, a memory encased, over which a dancing stylus bleeds dreams and a history of time is written on the back of its sleeve. They cannot grasp that music doesn’t fit neatly in your pocket, that your neck can grow tired from the weight of the headphones bringing voices and instruments to life. They want all of life portable, we only want to sit, to be anchored and watch the disc and our lives spin slowly around, in a musical kinhin.
When it all ends, just what will you being doing the moment before. Of course you cannot know, for you have no idea just when it will end. And if it ends as a result of your actions, then you won’t know that it is your action that is ending it, so that is no winner in this game. And before you get lost in thought, ponder this simple concept deeply first. Since I haven’t told you what it is, you can’t know even when it ends. And by the way it just did.