we break bread over the fire. old women, leathered and quilted, keep the story. the stealth cat shoulders keep the rhythm, the hyacinth keep the time. the hope waves are a gunnery, they pulse and lap, they are the war of love. stalking higher than the pygmies in the drypaper bush, beige, is the giant spindle of Hammerman, his skin sepulchral, baked in the sun, his lower lip pooched-out, the medicine man bone in his nose. the cat bones in his belt pouch. the crouched cats in the lower stalks, where they are sienna.
we move the deck chairs on the titanic for better feng shui. we tinkle glass and bauble, and wink in the diamond’s brittle sun. the real royal sunstar cracks the mortar and fires the engines and caresses with a loving touch. nothing lives inside, but man. to live outside is ecstasy. to live inside is enstasy. there are a hundred synonyms for heaven, and one word for hell. unless it is gehenna, which precedes the devil. unless it is the dark, which precedes the light.
so there was always a place.
and still the hope waves crash in the turquoise and azure spray against the biting, happy rocks. the chintzy, formica grin of the rocks, eating the ocean. there it is; relentless. and that sun rises again, touching each different face, painting each different place, and beats back the night with its ribbon-hot fingers, and beats back speculation with its puffed chest, and envelops all suspicion with its unassailable power.
and we beat the old, rotted porch with leather; like the old women story-keepers, now the men belt out their blues. “ain’t no sunshine today, the clouds ain’t gone away, but it’s up there on high, my big bright blue sky.”
and charlie, the man with the wide grin as full as the flatbush cemetery, he says, “bruddah, it hep ta sing.”
and they cackle into the night, and their laugh rolls like clouds into the distance, over wet, fecund places where the Hammerman rattles his bones.