Missive the Forty-Seventh
DATELINE: Friday, January 5, 2001, at 2330 hours CDT.
Conway, Arkansas, USA
By D. Ebenezer Baldwin Bowles
CornDancer & Company
I resolved to give away my harem, deed the seventy brides to the thirty eunuchs — and let the delighted chamberlains fight over the distribution of shares.
I resolved to map the oasis by turning measured circles in the sand. I staked my rounded claim despite the dizziness. I never realized I'd be stranded there amongst the trillion grains of sand.
"In its origin, motivation and practice, esteem for virginity was something entirely new. It owed nothing to pagan example or the 'mood of the times.' It became a distinguishing feature of Christian life, where it created its own forms of organization, and has survived ever since where the faith takes root," Robin Lane Fox wrote in Pagans and Christians. "It inspired its own poetic imagery, using the symbols of whiteness and transposed erotic desire: in a church in the age of Augustine, we would have found the virgins seated apart, screened behind a balustrade of chill white marble. To become a Christian was to live with this constant evidence of the striving for perfection. Striving, however, was not attainment, and the majority did not strive at all."
I resolved to let it slide, be like the green mallard's back in the rain.
I resolved to levitate at your command.
The Dog's Bark and the Whispering Wind.
I resolved to refine my discernment of the meanings and clues embedded in the cricket's song, the dog's bark, and the whispering wind as it passes through the wounded sycamore and the young oak.
"Thus, as the slow withdrawing tide of divine voices and presences strands more and more of each population on the sands of subjective uncertainties, the variety of technique by which man attempts to make contact with his lost ocean of authority becomes extended," Julian Jaynes wrote in The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind. "Prophets, poets, oracles, diviners, statue cults, mediums, astrologers, inspired saints, demon possession, tarot cards, Ouija boards, popes, and peyote all are the residue of bicamerality that was progressively narrowed down as uncertainties piled upon uncertainties."
I resolved to adjure viruses, flying insects with venomous stingers, middle-aged women with military titles before their names, and all familiar obs discovered escaping from Elihu's uncorked bottle.
I resolved to tend and nurture the flower and the fruit of the tuber and the vine.
"The light has entered the cave. Io! Io!
The light has gone down into the cave,
Splendour on splendour!
By prong have I entered these hills:
That the grass grow from my body,
That I hear the roots speaking together,
The air is new on my leaf,
The forked boughs shake with the wind."
Ezra Pound, Canto XLVII
Catch-Up, Recover, Restore, Recalibrate.
I resolved to gain ground on the front-runner, yap at her heels; to catch-up, recover, restore, and recalibrate. In the gathering cloud of my trail dust, I heard the heaving, coughing lungs of my foes.
I resolved to worship the Lord at the altar of abject supplication and give praise to counter the sad-eyed lady's recital of a cryptic dirge. I could hear her moan from a cavity in the vestry. I resolved to sing a song of restoration to accompaniment of lyre in the sepulchral chapel. I resolved to ignore my 300-pound aunt when she said I'd rot in hell because I carried my musical instrument into the sanctuary.
"I gradually stopped painting and took to arguing instead. Arguing and reading and drinking; politics, philosophy and pub-crawling; all the things chaps do who can't do anything else," Joyce Cary wrote in The Horse's Mouth.
I resolved to suspend a third wind chime from an ideal branch in the garden and enhance the orchestra of the spheres.
Repair the Walls and the Attic Stair-Steps.
I resolved to be hard and fast, stout and long, recalcitrant and notwithstanding. From the point of view of the soul, I resolved to let you fill in the blanks and plug the gaps, repair all breeches in the walls.
I resolved to properly inflate tyres and cylinders, maintain the machinery and machinations to the best of my ability.
SABINA: "That's all we do — always beginning again! Over and over again. Always beginning again. How do we know that it'll be any better than before? Why do we go on pretending? Some day the whole earth's going to have to turn cold anyway, and until that time all these other things'll be happening again: it will be more wars and more walls of ice and floods and earthquakes," Thornton Wilder wrote in The Skin of Our Teeth.
I resolved to crack the whip, loosen the chains, and purchase for the dominatrix a new pair of high-heel shoes. I resolved to repair the broken stair-steps leading to her attic room.
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