How do horses smell water? What makes the bluebird sing? They just do. The smoke drifts up from the stovepipe. The leaves tremble in November’s breeze, the few that remain. All the passion in the world does not change the idle passive ways of creation’s past.
The small rain down can rain. Tomorrow’s morn will come. A love note unwritten remains to be sent. A sleeping giant may sleep for all eternity. Hope unlasting can in abeyance remain. A world uncaring may orbit the Sun, in tow the shining Moon.
To do nothing at all. To become as near to zero as possible. To have had as little effect upon another as I can. To have been the velvet grown around the moose’s antlers, in winter fallen from its head.
What strange impossibilities become these days. To have been the architect and the architect’s father. The shoe and the shoemaker. In natural equilibrium as though it were no more in this clouded luminous standing than to be, nothing else.
Already forfeit. Already surfeit. Already too much. Beyond the nail once driven in the wood. After the ashes from the stove are carried out. Beyond the knapped tool no less than more murder, perhaps.
A pileated woodpecker drives its bill into a dying ash. The spider’s geometric magic deceives the flying insect next swaddled to death. Children, too, die by the school bus corner in the morning darkness for no purpose.
And in that time since Bethlehem no change at all. The leap ahead ‘to love’ slipped back to bloodshed, possession, and the commonality of war. Our evolution became one of longer lives, less sickness, better weapons, and Neil Postman’s hours and hours of pointlessness to kill off.
The burlesque thumb-nosing of Frank Gehry’s tin foil chewing gum wrapper buildings became la mode of international culture. Instead of who might have been another Henry James ruing the shuttered beauty of Venice, the puerile onslaught of Mark Zuckerberg. Rather than a minstrel wanderer full of song, rather than the murderer-thief-genius Francois Villon, here cameth the melted Emperors of Ice Cream, with wizard tricks, Jony Ives & Steve Jobs.
Once, as a child, I sculpted a human head made out of clay, put a band around his brow, and named him Caesar. My fourth grade teacher offered me fifty dollars to buy it, and even though I loved her, I declined. I darkened my heavy bust with brown shoe polish and hot-glued it to a wooden block.
I do not wish for a return to an age before movable type. Am no Luddite. Nor a eunuch locked in the safety of an Ivory Tower. Nor am I like Franz Kafka seeking to counter-propose a world of noir tradition, as evinced in The Great Wall of China. Rather more like a half-pedantic Jew in the tradition of Walter Benjamin, sans morphine.
I know the error of seeking the life pastoral, a willful negation of a world no longer simple (though once pure) which, no longer in existence then, so in turn, so pursued, becomes trite and sentimental. Not to be a quaint, landscape painting hanging from a nail on the wall.
I also know the calling of the wolf who when chasing a sleigh throughout a winter’s night can later convince the men escaped from death to drive themselves like wolves to avoid ever again the same plight, and quite merrily take home handsome profit by selling to others both fear and fast machinery to escape their imagined doom.
As I was forced to dream last night, I dreamed a dream I never dreamt. And in this dream I dreamt, the one I never told, there was a lady stopped by birth, who gave the world straight from her womb a hairy clumped and bloodless thing, which borne away by nurses horrified, had to another’s hands been sold, slouching towards another holy land.
(read more & play @ egbertstarr.com)