On the deck of an aircraft carrier, somewhere along the Nile, a stork delivers Hell to Caesar in a hand basket: The Fall

Mom says there’s no way they left me alone up there with the news on. “We would never have done that.”

“Really?” Dad asks.

The school administrators had washed their hands of it too. Everyone seemed to pass the emotional-political baggage that comes with the end of the end of history down the line.

> “Tell the kids.” “Tell the kids.” “Tell the kids.” No one told the kids? Somewhere Catherine O’Hara screams: KARL!

So at 6pm, there had been a pack of ten year old wolf-children running around on asphalt somewhere in America without a clue about civilization. And later that night, Mom and Dad had let NBC raise their feral son with backlit shadows—I who emerged sleepy-eyed into the blue light of the 21st century for dinner, the silhouette of the falling man afterimaged into my nascent political conscience. My phantom twin, the son of Mars, bled the beasts whilst I was nourished in the Lupercal.

> If you give a wolf a house of cards, he’ll ask to play fifty-two pick up. If you give a pig his iron, he’ll build a cauldron of steel. If you give a curious George a vial of invisible ink, he’ll draft figments for your lying eyes.

It embeds a Truman Show-like latent anxiety—an historical dissociation—what, a world capable of both fomenting and caching events while the cosmic soup around these instances inflates. Just who did the Patriot Act put behind the TV screen to watch us watch the world? Through the fossil record weaves temporal subterfuge: a “Rip Van Winkle” effect, a “Time Enough At Last” trope, a just-missed bus… such monumental FoMo far exceeds the damage done by finding out your favorite cat died a week ago while you were at summer camp. They tell you in the car. Actually, on the side of the road. On the way home. A full six hours after they had picked you up. They knew all this time? How far had they planned to drive?

Maybe it’s closer to learning that the pilots of downed planes rarely put out distress calls. Frogs. Water. Left the kettle on. Hypoxia. Coma. Black?

> Icarus dicarus dock—A Bush ran down the cuckoo clock. The clock struck twelve—and all the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists and all the top brass couldn’t bring us together again.

For centuries, empires passed through Afghanistan, without villages ever knowing their rule had changed hands. And on the day we watched the Saudis sack Rome on television to pundit poetry written in chyrons with not panacea, but panic—I had finally caught the rerun as a remedial grunt in the culture wars. What had been a Tuesday for me turned out to be, all along, the day an Empire fell in the shape of a waiter from on high—a hanged-man tarot premonition of surrender, and sacrifice, but more importantly, suspension in time—a limboed a-history animating a body that passes through/between/among/despite this and other worlds, unaware until at once expelled from the Garden and forced to face its reckoning.

In this way falling dreams that end in a shout and a reverberating mattress look less like the inherited trauma of monkeys in trees and more like the cynical tauntings of a god who will one day reveal one’s waking life had actually just been sleep. This, I swear, is scarier than simulation theory. E pluribus punctum. Quit selling me lies; I’m sick of waking in empty houses.

> It’s a world of laughter, a world of tears. It’s a small world after all, it’s a small world after all? It’s a fall world after all… though the rings are deep, and the layers divide, a golden bough is not an olive branch but an invitation down.

At the fall, what shape will my body take? Perhaps that of the Ouroboros.

— 2020