"Know thyself. The author must die so the reader may live.”

––Ancient Greek meets a wandering deconstructionist

Prologue. Events No one can rightfully remember…

Decon­struc­tion along the vines of high­er learn­ing has been well on its thorny way since Her­mes took note of slim odds on per­son­al sur­vival in a God v. Man piss­ing con­test. Try­ing to keep up the ancient façade was trou­bling enough, but when God quit talk­ing and human­i­ty wouldn’t shut up, even the trees in the for­est knew they had iden­ti­ty prob­lems. From his thor­ough­ly patched cor­ner of the bright blue plan­et gone green with envy in stark mad­ness of the half‐​lost and per­mis­sive­ly bleak soul, where dev­iled steak thor­ough­breds pep­pered the land­scape like lilies turned fruity inside straight unspec­tac­u­lar races, autumn fell this year like mus­cled rain and mar­velous bul­lets bloody with fear, afraid of atone­ment not by the sword, but by the exclu­sive invin­ci­bil­i­ty of a sin­gle drop of blood which had been shed for the… He had always thrived on learn­ing and label­ing and loathing the fero­cious fire and exhaus­tion of men unmask­ing the cause of his­tor­i­cal the­atre, giv­ing it the good col­lege try, the shot heard not around the world but against the back­board of the sens­es in a blaz­ing sad­dled up effort to recon­fig­ure the lost caus­es that reap­pear on the scat­tered scenes, over and over again, like a klep­toc­ra­cy of locusts fes­tive to a cloudy mind. It had always been his eas­i­est sub­ject in split infini­tive school, but then he tend­ed to show bril­liance in near­ly every­thing he need­ed to do when faced with the face­less dull ser­vice of just get­ting by. Espe­cial­ly in the ear­li­er years of a life well‐​earned by par­ents he could bare­ly put into words. But that was anoth­er time. Anoth­er era. Anoth­er crash course extrem­i­ty, although he would occa­sion­al­ly fon­dle the rep­re­sen­ta­tive tax­a­tions of the past fond­ly and with fin­gers stiff and imag­i­nary, clench them like holy mem­o­ry beads as if secret his­to­ry itself were yesterday’s bush ax felling the fall­en weeds and sum­mer rush­es of an illus­tri­ous gar­den that nev­er was too much for any­thing and nev­er too lit­tle for every­thing but a bushel of bet­ter day toma­toes, a blush­ing hand­ful of fan­cy okra, a few squash­heads, and a camp sal­ad or two worth of dwarfed bell pep­pers and cab­bages to wring glo­ry from most brit­tle of rela­tion­ships encrust­ing the bleed­ing heart lib­er­als spooled inside a con­ser­v­a­tive trump. Clear­ly, there’s some­thing wrong with the nation’s soil, but it test­ed well, and eager split‐​fingered blame is always spread around with a fork and an inside fast­ball like bit­ter seed these days. It’s the new col­lec­tive thought process­es, you know. Sssh. Look, stern warn­ings have been issued along the Pike, no farm­ing. The spot behind the old slave shack blocked the after­noon sun with too much angu­lar shade and not enough whistling Dix­ie while we worked…

This is the Late Great Com­mon­wealth of Vir­ginia. Too many folks have nev­er eat­en okra. Seems like such a shame in culi­nary terms, but like and dis­like goes on. Mak­ing house and stu­dio in this once grand his­tor­i­cal old fortress, the log cab­in por­tion pre­sumed to have been erect­ed cir­ca 1740, with what is now the base­ment, the under­gird­er, the promise of a bet­ter life through sci­ence and free­dom and the slave house near­by, the ante­bel­lum ele­gance of the per­pen­dic­u­lar wing an unnec­es­sary nod to a high­er stan­dard of liv­ing a hun­dred years lat­er, accord­ing to Marx, the Belanger farm­house yet, for­mer­ly the pet and the peeve of beget, and beget­ting anoth­er Lord Fair­fax tract run­ning sim­pler guns across the Loudoun and Shenan­doah val­leys with its three lev­els a go go were a cru­cial key to dis­lodg­ing the wob­bly foals of its colo­nial past and his own parak­let­ic para­dox of know­ing just how to deal with the wel­fare of the liv­ing with­out giv­ing way to the beast busy doing coun­terther­a­putic back­strokes with­in one’s own neck, bounc­ing checks ten inch­es inch­es than the last pic­ture show and his pride of pulling purs­es­trings in lazy pur­suit of hap­pi­ness seek­ing the bal­ance.

Who am I kid­ding? There is no pro­logue. I am writ­ing this as true as fresh deer tracks glaz­ing the south pas­ture. There is no he in me. I am, dammit, I am. I gave up long ago try­ing to piece togeth­er a strict buz­zline for hazy folks who read too fast for their own good and mine, for sophis­ti­cates who bide their expen­sive time nam­ing genius and tak­ing fat­ter and fat­ter bribes to do so in a rather secret fash­ion in groovy expec­ta­tion that no one can tru­ly claim how much pol­i­tick­ing is real­ly going on in the mod­ern board­room of hearty lit­er­ary cir­cles, and hard­ly a wall 12 inch­es thick between them any­more, forever­more, quoth the not so rare Bal­ti­more raven. Sam the Butch­er shot sev­en of them dead just the oth­er morn­ing.

But what is 12 inch­es thick are the walls of the Belanger farm­house, and the fact that mine and hers entire past twen­ty or so years have been famous­ly pro­tect­ed by brick and mor­tar home­styling, and it felt good, good as plat­ed armor on a muse­um sol­dier with­out a war to beat the odds of dying in the buck­et or liv­ing like a frac­tion of one’s for­mer self nev­er a whole num­ber again but an hon­or­able if not spec­tac­u­lar con­trac­tion of com­bat­ants, heroes, hooli­gans, clan­des­tine philistines, creeps, lil­liputians, and oth­er sim­i­lar restraints on time keep­ing mem­o­ries close to the vest, quite unlike the hon­ey bee lib­er­al pol­i­tics that run rabid on feel­ings, as I’ve been drilled to under­stand them, but walk­ing away as fast as I could with­out being noticed for the pachy­derm aggre­gate stim­u­lat­ing my skin, the largest organ of my body, by the way, and yours too, of course. My chest wound.

Pro­logue? Hmmm…

Being born, he not being born is a busy dying man. The poet nailed it with that one, he thought, because even he had real­ized soon enough that some­one must reclaim the notion of cor­po­re­al life with­out the hang­outs, hangups, hang­overs, and the hard­ly well hung, that some­one must stand up and shout to the heav­ens and the stars them­selves that this high falutin’ event of being born is good, you know, good with a cap­i­tal GEE, no sub­script. And that’s the way it’s always been. Where did we lose it? Now it’s just on old TV. But the baby killers have always been among us too. Head­line news. Fetus snatch­ing became the stormy norm for many of my man­age­ment peers and post­dat­ed preda­tors, becom­ing code for the cure to every­thing under the sun it seems when cir­cu­lat­ing in the spi­ral of a civ­i­liza­tion tak­ing a leak by piss­ing it all away for a chance to fear again. But don’t get us wrong. Mere­ly, mere­ly on the wall, even a half‐​formed opin­ion has a chance to taste the fall. Tom Pyn thinks the rest will come lat­er, come lat­er, come lat­er, or else nev­er come again. In any case, I need to rest now. the soft­ware con­tin­ues to bug the gar­den. Eve is call­ing me for more fat­ten­ing. My skin is crawl­ing with efforts I will nev­er under­stand. At least Her­mes is in the book already, nev­er to mes­sage us again. But I will nev­er stop. They can hurl names and accuse me of dither­ing, but as in any great com­pi­la­tion of thoughts, nobody knows how to kick them out­side the Gates of Eden.

And think­ing of breasts, I saw this pic­ture: enor­mous liveli­hoods, men draped in sus­penders and braces stand­ing idly among heavy, heav­ing breasts, not so much naughty or obscene as nat­ur­al, as nat­ur­al as the damned unath­let­ic pen­guin gait, twist­ed ver­te­brae, and deep‐​rooted razor sharp crooked rows of teeth I inher­it­ed from my booze soaked nadir, gam­ing the ample stir in the com­mon loins of fig­u­ra­tive mat­ri­mo­ny with its own salut­ed ver­sion of field‐​tested patri­o­tism, men we dec­o­rat­ed as the Great Gen­er­a­tion once, but now we no longer bank on the pow­ers of the well‐​girded. We have suc­cumbed to Gideon’s dilem­ma. In telling Her­mes there’s a rea­son for all that brash think­ing, hold onto your hors­es, the season’s nigh upon us. Encoun­tered by enfi­lad­ing pro­logue, the entire world will be ordered to rest sore eyes upon us at once, will pay us with all due respects, and then hang out their own “Closed For Repair” sign to wink at both Man and God. The ques­tion is, who among us will remain stand­ing at the close of busi­ness that great and ter­ri­ble day.

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