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I make plans.* A coach has many collars. I will refute the pull proposed by each succeeding statement. My leather-soled foot steps out upon the boards. Deliberate speed, fast nor slow, a man stumbles in his own mind. I will not stumble. I will inhabit the low bush, expect less. Random struts the ambient hubbub once intrudes upon the dream, or twice. I am more worthy than my portion. This certainty descends toward me from the distant heights. The horse has no rider, the car is empty. A voice issues from inside the tiny room. I must make myself small. I have embraced my deformity. I and I will not by the din the spectators unfurl be deterred. I stand at the lectern bluish-white in a light which dilutes all features, my eyes turned up, my forearms crossed below my neck. Isolated catcalls. Doubts. Spur me on. It is a matter of rhythm and alignment. In short, of grace, which cannot be acquired. Seek at all points the thinnest crevice for my denouement. Confidence and deceit ripping off another bit of flesh and chewing. Coin ye rosebuds at vespers. A ring of fire descends into the general gloom. I am chosen, but I refuse the assignment. The end of the world is no concern of mine. Whose world? An echo knows no master. In this way so much thought flows like a skirt about the hips of what? What I cannot avoid I will avoid. The hammer, repeatedly, respectfully. Faith and discipline at odds, rise in my throat. Mundane panic where my senses rove. Stem attention to husk, seed, feces, the prayer once it has been uttered. Standing mute before the tower the highest window opens while the door before me stays shut. I will meet a shadow. Ignorant of my blemish, I force myself on the acquaintance. My friend excess and belly up the smoke. Blame follows loss. To say nothing crushed opportunity, however cyclical. I take notes, calculate, stay up late and alone. I wait my turn, maintain calm and dignity. Through the open window the anti-musical surf subverts attention. I will walk, I am walking the wreck that is the strand. Think it, and it is used up.

* Franz Kafka, 5/29/14.




If the past possesses me, I can at least lay hold of the future.

gil ott