First published January 2008 in Backbone Mountain Review
Song for the Peasant-Minded
It was dolphin weather when I sauntered out of Knossos, the labyrinth consumed in flames, all my old possessions cut loose, adrift in memories I had no taste for anymore, and there I stood, or went, rather, leaving catastrophic horror behind for the peasant-minded, not for me, no, for I was on a path heading out. Until then I'd allowed the past in its bothersome splintery way to wedge its fragments into my blood, under my tongue, and behind my peacock eyes, but now I was blind and dense, as smooth as sculpted gray stone that water runs over, to which nothing adheres, for which there is no day or night, just the ugly stump of being, a thing, dalliance, recklessness, the need to burn down the whole fucking thing, and the ceaseless desire to throw oneself down on top of it all. It was noon and it was midnight, at the edge of a dying stream where an old dog (my only loved one really) once swam to cool herself and chased bones flying out of the bull ring, while a cold snake coiled through my bowels and my head swelled with desire for the taste of thighs and asses, across that stream and up a hill, my back to the pet cemeteries, leaving the angry bull with his cock cut off and a ring in his nose, the dung piles, the very idea of the minotaur (all cock and bull like god talk always is), and the labyrinth made of plywood, tar paper, canvas, rope, and cheap-ass particle board I burned down, and would have pissed on, had it not been morning and a fine one to start a journey. The power lines hummed my name and every detail of my fate, and I talked to the animals as I went. "Are you the child we threw away?" the whirlwind asked me. "No, he's the one who came out backwards, a fox-cub she-fed until he learned that most things aren't clean and handsome, weak-kneed, always flinching at the sight of bloody entrails," answered the feathergrass, chasing a stink bug's jag across the sky. Well. Yes, well. What has it gotten me? To be so soft, always wanting to be silent, I would like to go alone and ask shelter from some fisherman in his rancid hovel, or at some mountain farm sharing myself in a kind of dream orgy where it all works out just fine, then floating off, borne on the ocean's foam, or cudgeled in the dark and fed to pirates, or nearly any fate other than my own, that of my own fucked ancestry of boring violence, stupidity and drunkenness. At some point I'll turn again, emerging from olive groves, my dead father's deeds, blood, and semen hosed down, dried and forgotten on a barren plain in the low country, and I may touch a rusted hinge or dry white bone and think it an heirloom. Perhaps emerging from cedar groves, tanned and steady, taller than most, my dark brows like the wings of a hawk, I'll begin speaking, for once, and the stink of always hiding will flit away, my shadow flat before me, the comfort of a hillside, new thoughts springing out like little foxes, and a green ocean sparkling on the horizon.