That episode between the scenes
is where we begin, rustling
in our seats, uncomfortably
twisting our programs, tearing slick
triangular wedges of paper with our teeth.
Recollect: a solitary figure, shambling
amidst gray stone, a miasmatic ascension
that is ridden by ghosts; a wrestling match in a shallow grave
wherein his people lay crumbled and twisted,
having been denied knowledge of their ultimate fate.
Be aware then, that this figure
has washed his hands of the contiguous past,
has walked between isolating walls
until all of the darkness is safely behind,
and the road in front is newly paved.
Now he stands, a kind of singularity
upon the stage. The curtains are drawn.
The notes he has sung and will sing
are characterized by an arrogant complexity.
Even as we listen, it is going to change.
New questions evolve almost as quickly
as they are asked. To what extent is the audience
a participant? When the lone and melancholy
note finally stops, shall we be made aware
as to when to clap? or to wait for more?
There is a curious etiquette involved.
Training is requisite. An almost separate
species, we sit in the world’s theater,
absorbing this very special equation for reality.
Call it an ostensible truth; call it a quantification of existence.
He knows this too; waves to us,
fully aware that we are symbiotic.
No artist can function without his audience.
Think of the gladiator, of the Emperor Commodus:
flinging net and trident, the rhythm of battle.
Thus each man finds his arena,
becomes the Hercules of his own imagination.
How do you live otherwise, crumpled
into a ball, twisted like a skein of threads,
a wildly woven patchwork of colors and texture?
Imagine the various manifestations
of this megalomania, a monody of sound,
An Ide enshrined, a gravitational mirror: in darkness!–out photons!
blazing in all directions, an act of auditory creation.
But what a fantasy, that love could so conquer!
Instead the surfaces of the universe
crackle beneath us, a featureless
jigsaw of eggshells, the despair
of philosophers. Sunk in the entropy
of values and cognition, it is an inconceivable reconstruction.
O where do you commence
a journey into immensity:
in the underworld? side by side
with Dante? guiding the hand
of Virgil? downwards and upwards to dissolution?
Lacking friends, family, compatriots,
he cranks back the curtain without assistance.
Observe, my children, the ionization
of the elements. It is a goose-step
into a world of roastings and human sacrifice.
He holds on to the curtain’s tassel, smiles
like Punchinello, tries to observe
the audience’s reaction in the darkness.
You fools. Do something. Laugh
at me. Vomit. Piss in my direction.
That was prologue, set somewhere in the middle
world. After the chiding, the bitterness, the ejaculatory
phrases, the lights were turned on
permitting the audience to evaluate
themselves and each other. The principals mingled.
Perfumed petals of paper, painted
to resemble flowers, snow gently
between the chandeliers, dazzle
the spectators. They shout, “Author, author”.
But incognito, he wanders. Changes faces each instant.
That which cannot be said aloud
must be borne in silence. Try
as you may, feet cannot be crossed
indefinitely. It is impossible to return
spilled ink to its container. Some stains are forever.
Thus the path between the old world
and the new is irrevocable.
Exhausted, fingers in carpo-pedal spasm,
he knows he is Ahasuerus, catholicized,
a new fore-skin grafted to his penis.
So we live in deception; dream
of self-fulfillment: create a science
of mass psychology, build arcane bridges
of hope and happiness across the ocean.
But if you admit to satisfaction, you die on the instant.
Then, in the afterworld, a jungle
of free spirits intermingle. Words
are the tapestry wherein loneliness
is negated. Atoms fall together. There is a reincarnation
of instinct, and like animals, we howl at the moonlight.
O Audience! Be Now Thou Participants! Observe
as the Promethean monster gets chained
to a rock of his own creation. Too soon
he’ll call for the birds, and be eaten.
Take Pen! Wield your Erasers! Only you can save him.