First published May 2008 in CRIT Journal

The Thousand Drunkard Suicides

On a bicycle horse of straw wood, made weaker by the only scent I track, that of falling, be it tree limbs or tears, or the stubborn hairs of the beaver's jowls, I sniff it out, the falling, collapsing, imploding glories of isolated suffering. Down the oak-lined ridges I came at dawn, sussing out the only thing that's true, that we cannot, we must not harm is the innocent, we must allow no harm to the innocent, to the dumb beasts and stupid brutes. You laugh at animals? You laugh at humanism? Then come kill me. So down into the scrub pine oak valley my sole lost lame vacancies guide me. More than anything, I am nothingness, so that nothing gets to me. Madness is borne in on the legs of language. So speak silent to me like the chestnut oak sings. Madness doesn't exist until the experts vocalize, ushering words forth that kill, the madman's enemy is language that knows no silence, and silence is never more than a hiding place, the only escape is the final silence where we hang, the chariot, the map, the garden, and the book-lined den all gone, only the sound of horse hooves on gravel, someone stopping up to find us there, our secret revealed. So madness knocks about the hallways, the stairwells of my mind, the empty spaces where I turn and find myself at precipices, bound to the burden of tears, wherein even the suffering of bugs grins down my tissue-thin defenses, and then there I go or lie or crawl across a kingdom of sadness, a black forest of dampness and hollows, so down this slanted ridge, the snow and ice my bearded comfort to rest a while, for I may be some time within the igloo, entranced upon the glory of the notions of not being, of having never been, of being but not knowing, of not knowing of knowing, of the going of not going and doing of having never done, and there to transmigrate the icebound for the nothingness of silence where the shaman leads me, and there, again, to hover at precipices, not knowing where the next oak-lined ridge beyond me has been, nor where it will demand I place my thoughts. Did you, that whoosh, did you hear it? The soft gliding fan-tail red of the hawk up there, now waiting, now keeping all the strain of a lost mind besotted with indecision, for surely that must explain much, this lack of confidence about what it is to be done, for all I know is the Coo Coo is a pretty bird, she warbles as she flies. So through this forest on a hunch, that by going in and going on there will perhaps be a glory, no, not glory, but a smallness, surely, a smallness of all that is, and in that, or on it, or with it, I will not be anymore, but only the totality of smallnesses, though never changing, though being nothing but change - and then I clung to the sassafras tree, holding it dearly as I slid to the ground, my legs quaking, palms damp, and then a thought, like a breeze from a forest fire came upon me, for I know this is not the way I intend to follow.

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