“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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