Tuesday, November 15, 2011

museum piece

The song plays out long before the song is over, the cluttered track and the worn-through voice. All this singing despite the bird on the wing, despite the words buried just below the earth. All this music despite the gear tooth clatter, that grind of bone into blood drenched bone. Each break placed just so, club to gut and limb. Each bruise another rainbow claiming skin while the soldiers do the work of the world.

All these kings and bishops, these fatted moon-calves and desperate potentates. They slash and burn and strike all around them, they thieve and scheme and invoke gods they cannot name, then cry fowl at the first sign of resistance. Money talks, people talk back. We know the story before it begins. We know the brutal truth. Forget the crowns and shepherd's crooks. Every stone will have its say on these long dog days.

The tale is simple, once it is sealed behind the glass. The fable is always founded upon some hard sharp truth, the heart of the telling all the proof that language will allow. It becomes a museum piece, safe from dust and change. It becomes part of our journey and a road we think we will never travel. Then one day the guards all raise an alarm. The tale is gone, the case left empty and open. Forget the crowns it goes, take back the kingdom.

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