Bleak times, these, what with the sky misshapen and the responses in the newspapers lackluster and off-topic. The harbingers fly low over the dried creek bed and fail to differentiate themselves from the plovers which make an off-putting racket there morning and night. I wouldn’t mind trying again, relaxing my grip on the handle and trying to squeeze my way between the turnstile and the brick wall before any of the custodians might notice. But that would mean dropping another ten pounds and staying up half the night reciting verses I have committed to memory ahead of time just in case this very opportunity should present itself. The monk motions for me to follow him and I mistake the gesture at first for a proposition, an attempt to turn my expectations on their head and have at them with a cheap plastic replica of a well-known instrument of torture. One with what looks like tentacles attached loosely to its business end. An implement legendary and notorious in the land of its origins, which can no longer, unfortunately, be precisely pinpointed. We walk two or three blocks in total silence, the city sliding by in its casing and armor, smelling at times like something that grows on the skin and is the color of tree sap, something with a name in Greek over thirty characters long. Eventually we reach the river where D --------- is still sitting on the concrete retaining wall watching the carp spawn. She can’t get enough of the violence; the black beasts splash and frolic in the shallow channels as if they would like nothing more than to take flight. To take to the sky which hangs tantalizingly close above their heads. The monk is obviously in love and I feel sorry for him, the way he stares at D ---------- in the moonlight, all but weeps at the sight of her flesh turned silver with the advent of the moon and the lust-tuned flashing of the fishes’ scales. Maybe we create what we see so as to ensure it gets destroyed at some point in the not too distant future. We can’t stand the thought of anything being allowed to continue after we are gone and so we strike preemptively by creating, by pulling shape and color and contour out of the void and promising it a future we have no right to promise and no intention of delivering. This is what makes us such lousy lovers. And brings the fury of the heavens down upon our heads. Whenever, that is, the citizens of the heavens can be said to pay proper attention. When they do not, when we are left to operate as we see fit (which is, of course, most of the time), we are threatened by nothing much more ferocious than the occasional rain shower. Or the faint glow of a meteor passing by overhead before it disintegrates somewhere over Montana, to our infinite regret.