The Second Fall of Man is in the Quotidian
Which one is worse? They all
make me dizzy: getting up quick,
too many of those beta blockers I took
for my hypertension, or fasting
too long too much,
to lose some of that weight I’ve been
putting on, or even this glass of wine
after my wife said I ought to stop.
So here I am
at the top of the stairs.
Just take a step, I say,
just don’t look down.
It’s like the parapet of that tower
in the movie Vertigo. You look,
how long it would take to reach the ground?
Then again, at the Pyramid of the Sun
in Teotihuacan, watching kids
playing tag on the irregularly irregular steps,
me at the peak, trying to look up at the clouds,
never at the more sensible tourists looking up from below;
then creeping down at a crawl,
like some insect in a state of shock,
wishing there were some kind of a rail,
maybe a white cane, a helping hand
from some almighty god, or one of those kids.
But when you climb to the top of a mountain,
do you think, instead of “Oh Joy!”, of the crazy stupid
impulse that got you to come?
Who does not remember those apocryphal tales: the racer
who stumbles within reach of the finish line, that messenger
of the gods who, delivering some momentous proclamation,
leaps from his horse, only to land on his ass.
Still, off in the distance is Matsu Picchu, is Shangri La,
Is the priceless porcelain pot at the end of the rainbow;
and who has not aspired to these formidable consummations?