the game is always afoot

the game is always afoot

public domain photo by Lynn Grayling

You’ve got to keep pace with the fox when the game’s afoot. And the game is always afoot! You’ve got to crack your knuckles and pound the keys like a drowning man struggles towards the floating ring. The waves are shuddering down, like mammoths made of green jade. But you must save yourself. For there is no other mind, no other voice, no other screeching lunatic who can put these particular pieces together.

So, there, washed up on a dredge heap of gray rubble, you can’t even take the time to smoke and stare at the sky. That star winking for you in a cold gray ramble of chrome will have to stuff it, because the fox is half way to the pine barrens and your shabby trousers are still sodden with bilge.

The fox is going to grow a long Fu Manchu mustache by the time you find him and pin him to your canvas. You’ll have to circle round him in a hawk’s gyre, you’ll have to sniff the ravine from the highest stone lookout to lowest busted box spring. There’s no going back, and there are no prisoners to lean on for answers. Only you and the electric noodle. The light bulbs that appear above a clammy brow are diversions, not ideas. They never get to the heart of things. To the heart of darkness. You have to be Kurtz, unrelenting, unfazed, as the belly-up crocodiles bob against the hull of your boat, and as the purple rain hushes the jungle. You’ve got to always dig deeper, flay your own sensibilities down to nothing. And then some more. Until there is less than nothing. Because anything, any tiny crumb of a thing, is pretense. Only in the pit of absolute nothing, where hope evaporates faster than acetone, does the pacing come together. In that empty showdown at high noon, when the crickets go silent and grass stops bending in the wind, that’s when the protagonist and antagonist finally throw their best punches and spin with their best roundhouse kicks. You just ain’t going to find it any other way, carajo.