By Brian George
Symbols were not supposed to have been difficult; no, not at all, each metaphysical conundrum was almost perfectly designed to allow for public use. Objects were as interrelated as the branches of a tree. To dream was not to be other than conscious. Space was transparent. Stories were as continuous as the Platonic Year was long. There was nothing that was not hidden in plain view by the Eight, but, once the black waves of the Deluge had subsided, a race of duplicates destroyed and buried all but a few fragments of their work. It took years for the light of Sirius to hit me. As I watch, from the roof of my new studio at 31 Piazza de Spagna, Rome, even now it continues to radiate, like the double star that it is, in order to project an image of what happened long ago.
Who in the future present sees me looking back? I am not sure, but it dares to regard ME as its shadow.
Out of brontosaurus bones the ancient birds built stadiums. The early race, whose hearts were as wide and generous as the yolk-like sky at dawn, whose tongues were as articulate as the wind, and within each of whose eight limbs 10,000 eyes blinked open, was content to allow each spectacle to follow its own course, and yet, with each millennia that floated past, they became more ill at ease. Although their long-term strategy prevented them from acting on their vision, they had, in the wake of a series of premature decapitations, become more than a bit ambivalent towards their friends. A plague of opaque symbols served to justify their paranoia. The gods would soon prove treacherous. Species would forget from whose body they had come. As humans strove to perfect the zipping and unzipping of their DNA, which allowed for four of their eight limbs to be temporarily removed, the gods had darker plans.
If time were then in existence, one might say that it was running out. Narrow pink and green pennants snapped on the then still topless towers. Stars were visible underneath, as well as up above, and a sun could be observed at the center of each stomach, moving back and forth with each citizen as he or she wandered, hand in hand, perhaps, through the streets of the non-local city. The creation of a horizontal plane was, at that point, still very much a work in progress. To this end, they had set up reproductions of a number of ancient factories, complete down to the last detail, with vacuum molds and blast furnaces and great ladles for the pouring of hot iron, which would function as museums.
As I have said, out of brontosaurus bones the ancient birds built stadiums, and these, too, were being continuously updated. The most important one, where the Aeonic Games were held, was located on a glass hill just a bit left of the city. At its center was a keyhole, into which the five traditional contests fit like keys. So, time flew by, and, as a steadily louder ticking sound approached from the horizon, the translucent crowds grew hungry for greater and greater excitement. To add an unpredictable element, set an inch above the keyhole, the City Arts Council had decided to install a white tornado, which, if the pontifications of its architect were correct, would tilt at occult angles. The gods played; their thoughts acted, in order to bring about the full gymnastic tension of each contest. So far, so good, this was the way that things were done, but, once they met and copulated with the potsherds of past worlds, they began, more with each year that went by, to spiral out of control.
They spread the myth that their human predecessors had been created as their subjects, that a debt had somehow been incurred, on which interest must be paid, and other such sick and almost incomprehensible jokes. In fact, humans were the gods courageous enough to jump headfirst into death. Their superabundance created the immortals, and thus, to this day the immortals respond to the human race with fear.
Arc upon intersecting arc, complex geometric patterns were projected onto history. We explore on foot their ever lengthening shadows. Was the horizontal axis still firm enough to step on, or would one’s foot tear through? 26,000 years is not too great a length of time for the voyager to be haunted by nostalgia. It never does grow less, and, to a great extent, this strange emotion was quite unexpected. It was not an officially sanctioned means of coming to terms with distance, or the fact that one’s home, now many light-years away and on the far side of an ocean, quite probably had ceased to exist. No, this was not how the glyphs had instructed that we should act. No memory lapse was to be incurred as the soul put on and took off incarnations. Early man could live for several thousand years, although not necessarily in one body or as himself. It was planned that vatic speech would exit from each baby's mouth. To breathe was to create. To lose one's head was to perpetuate the prehistoric lineage. Severity now stalks the station where once the Eight were exported to Ionia. The blind seer dreams that he doesn’t wake up.
It is possible, however, that our ignorance is a hoax, a strategy that the Double has instituted for our safety. Without it, it is possible that our enemies would destroy us, and quickly, for our supernatural weapons are in storage. The years have rusted our battle skills. We have lost the subtle art of bi-location. Yet, should our memories return, our egos would again be transformed into spheres. At the factory of prosthetic limbs, there would not be any workers. Row upon row, the fluorescent lights would fail, and the silence would be louder than any imaginable noise. In mid-turn, every crankshaft would be frozen. My mind, as though not moving, stops. It came from nowhere: enough energy to resurrect the dead.
(Illustration: Giorgio de Chirico, Gladiators)