Opportune stain. One can hardly sense the aberration, it's so carefully absorbed. Eratosthenes and Hipparchus were dumped in a sewer to be washed away by one or another dogmatic flood, half drowned in the consecrated waste of Cosmos or Isidore. Wide-eyed adventurers of information defiled. Holy gluttons stalking across history like rapists in the park. The doors of tradition stand open, inviting, absorbing you and your resources into its tissues of granite and marble; and tradition overwhelms you in the halls of voodoo, passing snakelike through the curse of inquisitors and the benediction of saints.

Somewhere between the basilicas of Rome and the pagodas of Anuradhapura lie the boozehounds of Times Square, consuming their Sangre de Cristo by the quart and throwing up His consecrated flesh in the places they sleep. The Salvation Army slogs on.

Rarefied theologies, still reeling from the implications of Galileo and Darwin, bag and bind their low realities and ship them out like the Monday trash. Precedents exist for every maneuver, shock-waves from the past. Amenhotep IV struggles against Egyptian currents to reach Aten, his one god. The emperor Julian revives the fabulous deities who die with him in the Persian campaign.

The enemy is cause and effect. Between the fear of freedom and the fear that there is no such thing, lie interrelated possibilities, as one moment's improviser inspires the next moment's pedant; as one generation's words of comfort wield a bloody axe for another. The grave of Husayn is destroyed. Renegade to the Umayyad. Martyr of the Shia. No one rests. No judgment is final.

Cross the river of the dead where your ancestors crossed. Be greeted by angels of light and angels of darkness, and fall into the arms of Lazarus who once was poor. Mother of wounds, have grace for your damaged children. Intercede for them. Relieve them of the weight they carry. Help them cross the river.

On a sacred morning within earshot of the choir, someone is surely hanging around the house, lounging in long-johns, sleeping till late in the morning, dreaming with bullets.


© Ragnar Kvaran 2003