Claudius is a name from the Latin claudus, meaning lame or crippled. I, Claudius, I, crippled. I explained my intention on building a mound. “Imagine a cripple building a mound. A regular Roman emperor.”
Kintsugi is the art of repairing broken pottery with gold. A broken vessel can manifestly not be made as good as new; but it can in some cases be made better.
I cut my ankle grafts on a rusted piece of rebar and almost fainted from unease. I lost my spirit for mound building and retired to my bed in the warm chambers of the terrace. An ancient prophet called me there and told me, “Listen to the radio.” I remember the beautiful songs that I heard on the radio.
Pyramidal terraces. Totem poles.
Blood streams out of the black ragged wound on my ankle. Near-dead tissue grasping for life, tissue like an underwater sponge, fragile, and dying of thirst in the sunlight.
The sea rises and splashes against the faces of the children, laughing playfully against the morbid eternity of depth and plankton. Hysteria overcame the people of the village when the wandering mushroom god led them into the forest, sacred places of darkness and carnality. Two-faced hermaphrodites and hairless heathen androgynies beat their dripping hands against his back, speaking vespers of mildew and fire.
Orange julius in a plastic cup. Plastic spoons and plastic straws and plastic pads on our knees to protect us. We were then with the wind in our hair, always blowing, always playing with our hair.
I dropped my drink.
Purple faces. Leather manners. Clothed in skins within skins like a king and luxuriant. If you wanted candy, you would have candy. If you wanted to consume kerosene you could receive kerosene from your neighborhood merchant.
That was the last Roman emperor. He was a handsome man, and they spoke kindly of him. I loved him like a father.