Traffic moves like blood cells, and grainy smoke filters everything. Forest fires blaze afar. The ardent pack gathers by the edge of the cliff face and we sense it's time.
I'm watching the burning edge of the sibilant bush and waiting to see how this will evolve, whether a spike-heeled lover will emerge or a stone-cold killer in work boots, one releasing its feminine musk or the other hissing its unfathomable rage.
Scorched orange. Knowing grimaces. A bright fury. A drop into oblivion. Wait a while and the truth will squirm in calico kitten ecstasy at your feet, reveling in its freedom to broadcast the words no one thinks they want to hear.
"Speak to me," you say.
Right. I want. I would spend a full day worshipping at the hot moist core of you, O my woman.
"Is this speech?" I ask, and you damn near moan—blooming, dreamy, anticipatory.
You almost understand me; I almost think I get it. Deliver to me your brimming, shimmering chalice. Grok me, absorb me, breathe me, drink me. Which is something rare enough to stop me in my tracks.
"It says good things, and for that we should revere it," you say.
Yes. Yes. You are serpentine. Oceanic.
I hate the sound of my narcissism. You not me are godlike. You glisten while I merely listen. I said I want. How respectable are we? Are we mortal? Confused? Intoxicated? Horny? Ghostlike? Puzzled, alien, and acrid as raccoon tears. Thirsty for salted rims and the sour wild tang of margaritas. Following highways and negotiating solemn guards. Blackish humourless sentinels. Brackish and hidden wonders hearing mordancy in salt flats and tasting the loosestrife arpeggios of minor chords. May we relax and feed brown-paper dime-bag peanuts to fat and homey prairie dogs, while both Dakotas—recent domesticates, and therefore diminished—wheel around some troubled and tawny fulcrum?
Could it be love? Could it? It's possible.
"What will survive of us is love," said the long-dead poet, adding, “Irony is the song of a bird that has come to love its cage.”
We stumble over arcane tales of love dreamed and recounted by flapping garments on clotheslines in purple alleyways at dawn.
I follow the ragged, steaming pack up through the dry, gap-tooth foothills and into the precipitous drop-offs, snorting their glorious life-death and crotch heat. Keen as goat trails carved into precarious ridgelines. Portentous as a ledge of desecrated nests. All braced for a holy war.
What are we, that we believe absurdities? What do we know? At what point do atrocities begin? Perhaps where we admit—as was once spoken aloud in Cambodia—"To keep you is no gain, to destroy you is no loss." Perhaps where our loving and kindly neighbours are now named inyenzi. Inexplicable enough to shred the hardest of hearts.
After we shake our heads, releasing the dust of bewilderment, what in fact do we know? Perhaps only this: that awful things will arrive in the blackest hour of the night to utterly annihilate our lives.
And one other thing we also know, another desolate thing: "By iron, iron itself is sharpened." — Proverbs 27:17