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A Day In A Dying Empire: An intimate fable on current events

By       Message Phil Rockstroh       (Page 1 of 3 pages)     Permalink    (# of views)   19 comments

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"Now, from America, empty indifferent things are pouring across, sham things, dummy life. . . . A house, in the American sense, an American apple or a grapevine over there, has nothing in common with the house, the fruit, the grape into which went the hopes and reflections of our forefathers ... Live things, things that lived -- that are conscious of us -- are running out and can no longer be replaced. We are perhaps the last to have known such things."
--Rainer Maria Rilke


This morning, as with so many mornings, as of late, I had to undertake an agonizing, intricate procedure to pull myself together, simply to extract myself from bed to face another day.

Television, cell phone, computer glowed before me: The media nimbus boiled: its hypnagogia-like flux of imagery, its counterfeit immediacy and proffered flummery insistent to drowned out auras of extinction rising from veritable nature; the earth's warnings rising like musical notes ... swelling, reverberating, enveloping us. In the Gulf of Mexico ... literally falling to earth as chemical rain.

I stood dazzled before the scintillating doomscape of the Anthropocene Epoch. It has entered me ... It has made me and undone me. It tells me who I am; it holds me near, enclosing me in the thrall of the false intimacy of its endless spectacle.

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Some mornings, I don't think I can compose myself to face it.

But, most days, I make a start: Gathering up and patching together this tattered flesh-garment of DNA. Then: I call to order my swarming termite-cathedral mind ... take a head count of this aggregate of disparate personage deemed me ... attempt to quiet this nattering self nettled by formless dread ... console this besieged I who awakens in redemptive bed ... torn from reverie with dreaming-ocean cosmos to shuffle to toilet for Newtonian piss, to sink for anti-entropic teeth brushing, then commit to wave-particle duality decision of dressing ... in order to meet the manifold machinery of the empire's manifest death-urge revelry.

Awake, dressed, and partially reconstituted, I left the house:

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The age of insistent junk rose to meet me: junk groaned and snarled past me on roadways; junk words -- mouthed into junk cell phones; junk pixels -- texted and twittered into meaningless air.

So many enchanted by junk incantations, staring at glowing, tinny appliances like idiots entranced by shiny objects ... giving over the fleeting hours of finite life in the service of Lord Junk -- as sky and sea choke in the miasmic wake of our joyless binge -- and the earth's entropic furies gather.

We stare at our glowing appliances while exquisite things are extinguished, forever ... mistaking configurations of pixels for the breath and brilliance of the world.

I thought of Lorca; in truth, preposterously, I attempted to pray to Lorca who advised that one should listen for the heart of god beating within the monster of the world.

But I am losing heart searching for the monster's heart. Thus far: finding only my own spleen. For this reason: our collectives striving and private equivocations seem the thanotopic dream of destroyer gods: The nightmare manifested before us as strip malls and shopping plazas ... constructed of bones of extinct species; interiors of suburban subdivisions shuffling with resentful phantoms ... estranged from the libido of culture and communion; dead zone freeways ... the air shaken and riven by the roar of its death-enamered fury.

Before me: Atlanta Georgia, USA ... glazed in asphalt inferno of late-June.

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Yet, held in the heat-pummeled air above, I saw fuchsia mimosa blossoms hoisting defiant flags above the misery of traffic.

The effrontery of those spindly blooms of fuchsia, its colors as raw as my own nettled heart. It hurt deep within my chest even to gaze upon such a shade of unconquerable pink.

I want to shake branches of flowering mimosa in the faces of the ministers and minions of junk ... to see ... if they become stricken as I was -- as tickled pink as I am.

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Phil Rockstroh is a poet, lyricist and philosopher bard living in New York City. He may be contacted at Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/phil.rockstroh

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