Sunday, January 13, 2013

From deep in those backwaters, those dark cypress eddies, rumors emerge regularly concerning birds that have no business being there, that were last seen in grainy newsreel footage from the 30’s and that hold within them a slightly bilious promise we have yet to completely articulate. Something of amorphous shape in the breast where otherwise nothing whatsoever would be – blank space, silence, a turn like that in the proper sonnets. The memory holds nothing particular of his face, no discerning marks in the brow or eye color, something to match up with the present when we come in contact but that fish scale patch visible now for the first time in years, as good as a signature and sudden root cause of my stalking him at a distance from whatever bodega or Macy’s I first spot him in. This part of town moves with a semi-reptilian shudder, the streets pocked occasionally day and night with people possessed of glassy stares and a penchant for calling out to unseen compatriots ostensibly walking a block or two ahead or behind them, as if they are forever just out of reach of that happiness that comes of being part of a loosely defined social entity, though an integral part at that, the one who delivers whatever cohesion exists  through his use of secret knowledge and ritual, through spells cast with words few others in the group are familiar with unless they too have been studying Latin grammar and the archaic shamans of the arctic. The sharpshooters and amateur scholars with a missing incisor or two. I should feel a sense of dread here, a pain drudged up of conscience like that which robs the soul of breath just when it is about to reach the far shore and set up house in neighborhoods overrun with Canadian geese, but the rage is too great and ancient, something that, when it emerges, does so in colossal fashion, with a shuddering of the earth and boulders flung skyward at the same time the rain comes down in impenetrable walls and the wind carries on it beasts stunned into immobility, antler and horn. Beasts otherwise relegated to the firm terra of forest where they are spoken of in whispers when they are spoken of at all. We know there are moments when the past intrudes upon the present in forms only the present can recognize, in careful disguise in other words so that it will be admitted. And we celebrate this stealthy admission with lengthy toasts and a dancing with abandon, with a promiscuous ladling out of the previously carefully contained self, all the while knowing that the consequences will likely be the same as those when any other intruder is allowed to make its way beneath the skin. The list is too long to repeat here in its entirety, but suffice it to say it includes debilitating fevers and an overwhelming desire to melt away into darkness, into a kind of annihilation, or conversely (should one be oriented, for whatever reason, outward, away from the vital, if not altogether glorious, center), to lash out with heavy implements honed at their edges by innumerable hours of sanding to a fine, dispassionate glint.

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