Current/Recent Reading List

23 June 2009

Summer Sketch #1

A man who has lived a life of rot has been death’s companion day by day, and yet finds a way still open to him. He knows he can take it, and follow it back towards those he has blown apart. They see him, have known him, looming there all along, even as miles and mountains and widest rivers separate them. He will come, and they sense it, because a way is still open to him, and like all but the truly damned, he still glories in life.

Small talk will be his only possession until he earns something better, but he may use it as a weapon, they know, or as endless shelter. For a time it will be his only means of saying what he can’t say - they know this too, but know it may end up being all he can say, and the hidden words may never spring to the surface, so that all may remain dry, and worse than that, dry with no promise of hope. His daughters , for this, will shun him and accept the moments they cross his shadow only as discomfort to be endured. His sons, for this, will spy him as he walks across distant hills or passes them on county roads, but will mention him not at all.

So he knows what he must one day speak , but it is long past the time he can approach such words as empty gestures, simply means to get by. There also lies death. If there is a last start at such speech, then the words will hold him to the course, to the open way. To cut the words from the way, this time, will close it forever; to start down the way is to realize it will never offer itself again, that the words and the way are one - for his children will not listen, will not wait anymore for a ghost of a man. Is it not better to keep off of the open way, to let it tantalize a little longer so that he will at least know it is still there?

He packs his belongings, meager though they are. He looks like hell, he notices, with a quick glance in the mirror, but even amidst the gray hair and sallow cheeks he sees a hint of the boyishness he‘s always recognized. Death has been his companion for so many years, and will always welcome him back with open arms. That is not the embrace he seeks, but why go, only to fall again? For a brief moment, the words flash at him - that is a boy’s question, a boy’s thought, a boy forever a boy. The open way offers nothing but a chance that depends on the strictures of truth, but it is a chance. And he knows they see him, and have known he is coming all along.

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