We knew we would die and we didn’t care. When we discovered we were already dead, we reckoned we’d been conscripted.
For several millennia we walked the outer wall, which was not the same wall if one thought of it as, say, an inner wall, which is not to say that we ever knew where we were or who we were, if we were us or if we even knew each other.
At first–in a remnant of maybe someone’s old neighborhood or maybe some coastal sort of place where we were maybe born–there was only one landmark: an iridescent oil slick, left behind, someone claimed, by a factory of former ones plying furtive somethings in remote and desperate locales. Well, hell, someone said, is quite remote, but others disagreed, saying hell was usually located rather close to where one lived and thus, given that we were dead and all, probably was not the remote we were in.
You could see where it was shifting
if you looked down, they didn’t want
to look down they said
they said here now
jumping around to demonstrate
to stop all saying.
Shortly after one could have said but didn’t
told you so
such cold satisfaction when all that
dangling and lurching
was going on
and so much more digging and sorting
was left to be done.
we had reached the summit
We moved all together
in a ragged line since
all landscape was precipice
We’d lost all words
for subtle or minute variation
that is to say
there was only undulation
and time and
even less to say only
commenting and captioning and
we got there rather fast.
Marmoset cubicle errata.
combustion and speculation.
But it didn’t matter
that you recognized
soon everyone looked like a friend,
subsequent falling in love.
What a relief
the dismantling of former lives
the only disarray the
increasingly distant past.
Which is just to say
we went toward
whatever drew us and
anywhere we were
In the city of truth we now repose
in stances so stiff we look decoupaged.
We pose also with our manuscripts
and perhaps leftovers from last night’s
plantain stew. We are accompanied
by the dead we loved and knew
though you’d hardly know that now
for even love cannot translate their words.
We recognize of course that beckoning–
but what could they want, what can they have?
We are prepared to rope things for dinner.
Meanwhile our sturdy panther excavates
the scene of militations so frequent they
have their own special hats and pomp, no longer
merely the populace as are we
the vulgate in airy ellipses above
our heads. We don’t know what comes next.
Perhaps some dance involving sticks. Our
most penetrating misfortunes are stowed
in the crypt-like fissures of a nearby cliff.
Hey, she says, we got another letter
from that crank. Oh how we love things of the moon
all lunar topics lunulae and
lunatics and men. Someday perhaps
you will sail by our little shore and
from that distance think we’re beasts or trees
but this is the city of truth where we repose
anticipating your arrival
with our empty hands and hasty feet.
detail from Del Bene, Civitas Veri sive Morum c. 1609 via magictransistor.tumblr.com