a work of metanoia fiction


Sit with the-man-not-angel Michael on barn-red Cow House’s front porch with the sweep beyond the Rojan River of the Catskills as far as eye there cannot see being night—night but the stars in their frost and beauty and distance blowing through space and a fine yellow sickle moon new and low on the horizon—and he allows sitting there in the half dark in an Adirondack chair as there are certain subjects the delving into which will hurt you—do a psyche damage—which for him is one thing and for another another—though all avenues of such interpenetration—reckon—share a common root structure: Gnome crouched in lap of corpse singing.

Ergo I make a mark on paper—a circle inside a square—not quite a word yet but someplace for something to go—a thought or bullet.

Or a man does something. He lifts—say—a stone.

He came over a dun sage-bush plain that shot behind him clear to the base of a distant range of mountains the sun hung back of diamond-cutting their jagged peaks into violet-hued relief. A man in a seersucker suit and white shirt with dirty cuffs—black knit tie loosened at neck—hatless walking stiffly on broken brown shoes until he came to the cliff edge and stopped. Down some hundreds of feet spread a sunken world of crooked and straight streets—ochre-tile roofs and pink-dabbed walls—radiating off a green where the square was the temple rose above with its spire. Fires burned—blue smoke hanging in the cool under arroyo lip that the crakcrakcrak of a cart’s iron wheels on the road caught and sharpened. All the roofs were flat with doors cut into their backs. From a clutch of tamarisks at the base of the cliff started a boulder-heaped stream bisecting the town as it wove appearing and disappearing between walls. Where the first sunrays would hit along its course a vein of silver would soon gleam a path past town to the tilled fields and orchards that patchworked the plain beyond.

Three children ran in a lane that hugged a wall below. Ran and stopped falling laughing into the wall. Only to run again. Only to stop. To see a dog hook and hobble after them.

The man wiped his neck and forehead on his jacket sleeve and adjusted his sunglasses.

Absurd—the man thought—and came on. On down into Uxtal.