Antebellum

by dschapman

Mockingbirds, where I love them, loving, in the gentle way of the living, gracefully – borne on the wings of humility, humorless, and happy.  In the conciliatory light of early evening, in every lapse of happiness, laughter in the boughs above, bowing through the skies like electrical lines – not lightning, implicit, but lasting, patient. Gildings keep the birdcage gold, I keep the birdcage in the attic. Across the valley the houses are covered in mist. The street lamps humming through the air, loud and constant re-assurance – moths around our heads, harmless – a city on its haunches, at ease beneath the willow tree, shaded by complacency. Pages and pages billowing past. A fate as sure as any other, the listless ends of history; like unbound books, manuscripts left in the sun, dried up into nothing – discreetly. In a chair, with a cocktail, patiently awaiting; standing, pacing, gazing out the window, humming to myself, opening my eyes to the imbalances of the outside world – walking onwards, I walk with bearing like no other. Every step is a sacrifice, a challenge to my very well-being; but I take them, and I bear them, and on I walk towards the ending, evening-time descending, beautiful and acquiescent. Acquiescence is the order of the day; to achieve it, lacerations, twine around your heart. The institution is an easy game to play; the metaphysical, a fruitless one. But the insular self – the true confrontation between self and elseness – a brutal display, and challenging. Holdings hands – it has already begun the fall – the foundations were strong, but never strong enough – holding it up against all odds, silver in your veins, a barking and whipping of pride, a knife in the back – a knife in the back – and twisting. The dear and the dead descend upon us only to ascend again; a cyclical sense of the rhythmic, intrinsic, and working, re-working, within us. Remembering the way the sun once set – you can never see the same sun set twice – you are not the same man – and as for the sun… Muleskinners – man and superman – creation and criticism, a critique of the cogito – leather and wood in an automobile – whether I like it or not – and I do!

My heart is wandering, 20th century, American – I give it due breadth; I like to watch it wander. The intuition in its ways; the way it hums its soulful tunes, and guides itself by the light of the stars, impartial, so delighted – so at ease. A song comes in from the seaside, you can hear it on a windy day, when the wind carries it far across the continent – if you leave the windows open, the doors swinging free – sweet, sweeping harmonies – and all the people of the city, cheering.

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