PART THREE

Walking No Place Special


(1)


In all the world there is nothing more greedy than that vital force which is responsible for animating all the world – life itself.  The irony of course is that life is dependent for its continuance upon the processes of death:  from human beings on down to the most elemental organisms, all things gain and further their existence by making use of the materials produced by the disintegration of other living things.  It might be said that all of life is parasitic by nature – even the one-celled plants use energy produced by the burning of the sun to carry on their activities, and although the sun is not "alive," it too is governed by similar forces of decay and rebirth:  one star's death eventually contributes to another's formation.  The cosmos bears abundant witness to the transference of energies from one form of matter to another through the processes of disintegration and reintegration – processes which, given enough time, eventually engender that stuff called "life."

It's only the self-reflective quality life acquires via human beings that imbues it with any moral capacity; it has none on its own.  Nature's greatest law is essentially an amoral one:  it states that energy can neither be gained nor lost, but only changed in form.  Yet there are many who believe that it's only by the decisions we make using our moral faculty that human beings have any real hope for survival.  Without the proper exercising of that faculty, they say, towards the earth and towards each other, we shall surely perish.  Then again, there are those who believe this faculty to be of little importance; of the many decisions we might make, such people say, it's impossible for any of us to predict which may ultimately prove to be the right one.  The capacity for moral reflection is thus revealed to be little more than a sophisticated form of vanity:  when all is said and done the life-force will be shown to have had its way with us, regardless of how we have tried to direct it.  Should some devastation to the human species occur, it will result in nothing more than a minor reordering of nature – which, like the phoenix, suffers obliteration only to rise from its funeral byre once again.  There are also those who, by substituting for the life-force some humanly created symbol or metaphor for that force – most commonly, a god or gods – would find a kind of glory in devastation, for in its calamitous wake they would see an extinguishing of all vanity, by which they mean the belief in any and all moral precepts which are not their own.  In the eyes of such a man and such a woman do the fires of another's hell burn bright.

Throughout history there have always been diseases which, being sexually transmitted, bring death where a celebration of the life-force would otherwise have been intended.  The most recent of these has, over the past several decades, swept the globe and left tens of millions dead in its wake.  It's been particularly devastating to the homosexual community, whose sexual practices give the disease one of its more widely traveled avenues of transmission.  There are those religious zealots who proclaim this to be a form of "divine retribution," for they believe homosexuality to be a sin, punishable through the vengeance of a wrathful God.  There are even those homosexuals who, in the shadows of their hearts, may agree with them, partly because they have been told of their sinfulness so often that they have come to believe in its validity themselves, partly because of the fact that they have sought their sexual partners not in their opposites, but in their twins.  And this, they may believe somewhere in the shadows of their hearts, is vanity indeed.

But life goes on, regardless.  Life will always go on, regardless.  Here, in my own small town, spring has given way to summer.  The days grow slowly hotter; the nights begin to lose their cool freshness.  The trees are now fully leaved and heavy with green.  The slow ripening begins.  Already the spring flowers have gone to seed.






PLAGUE


the bath water is warm
as another me
the summer night air is warmer
and sticky
it is not indifferent
as i walk down the street
it feels like a swarm
of a thousand flying beetles
biting my skin

sweat prickles me
my arms are heavy with years
my phallus is heavy and drippy at my thigh
young men, young men
where are you, where are you?
i want your mouths, your tongues, your assholes
now
now
now








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