Ash ascending the altitudes of dawn— and all along these tarnished clouds have refused to accept our suffering. Down a side street, the wind goes on tuning its violin, a pizzicato off the thin strings of hope, a melody of dust. If you knew anything as true as a bird's magnetic heart, where wouldn't you be instead of here, looking out on the blank grey measure of another year, a street lamp at the outpost of dusk? All the old failings circling in the moth-spattered light, ones you've held on to so long now they just about shine, like the sparrows in evening's rusted trees— almost the same birds above Rincon or Malibu, the trees still simmering in that '60s, slow, Pacific sun, the glassy waves repeating their incomplete sentences about the present, and the past—surfboards spiked upright in the sand like totems for the last city of gold. And looking off in that lost direction, back that far west, the string section in the palms picks up, and who's that on Coast Highway One, blond as Tab Hunter or Sandra Dee pulling up to Trancas in a convertible Chevrolet? If there were angels, why would they come forward now to acknowledge another complaint? And what small comfort could there be in their terribly bright memories of everything? It's the same future waiting there regardless, unthreading through the blue eucalyptus—your guess as good as the birds', singing their hearts out for nothing but the last crumbs of daylight pinpointing the small space of their lives? What use asking what more you could ask for. You might as well look out there to where they said the big picture was and watch the credits roll before the bandages and plastic bottles arrive on the tide with the grainy underbelly of industrial light. What's left to contribute to the dark? The echo and chum of the waves? Only that to confirm the eternal at your back. So why not pick up this dust-colored feather, carry it to your rented room and open the glass doors above the river, unclench your fist and let it float out in the and direction, as unlikely as luck.
From Star Apocrypha by Christopher Buckley, published by Northwestern University Press. Copyright © 2001 by Christopher Buckley. Published 2001 by TriQuarterly Books/Northwestern University Press. All rights reserved.