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artifacts of wayfinding
(a visual play in three acts)

Act I

The Plot to Kill the American Rooster

Roosters crow at all times of the day and night apparently. I should know, I’ve lived through it. They don’t care that their crowing offends my sensibilities, disquiets my mind, interrupts my thinking, they just keep on crowing and crowing and crowing. Growing out of this perceived intrusion on my peace and quiet, this destruction of my tranquility, I searched for a resolution, an agreement possibly, a treaty, anything to stop the incessant noise. I admit contemplating many solutions, many of which I am not proud. I began gently. Send a letter to the caretakers of said roosters, yes, be civilized and polite, follow protocol. Nothing happened, the Longcrowers practiced on. Slowly the quicksand of discontent slid into more nefarious considerations: How to kill the rooster. Hitchcockian perhaps? Ringing by hand, my grandmother used to do it. Swing from a rope? Gun? Poison? No! Too immoral, illegal, too personal, too presumptuous, I could not live with myself. Maybe nature will take care of it. Where the hell are the coyotes that fight my dogs, the owls that bark in the evening, the snakes that I pull from the bush while they eat baby cardinals?…how long does a rooster live anyway?

Of course, roosters have no self -awareness, no sense of social agreement, they are fucking roosters, doing what roosters do: crow. No respite from my foul fowl nemeses. Patience was waning, American after all, irrational, impetuous, rash. Nevertheless, I waited, listening to the crowing for years and years and years, lamenting. What lament? That I did not give those roosters free range to crow all they wanted, all they needed? That I failed to adhere to an egalitarian viewpoint held for so long? That roosters need to crow, just as much as I need to breathe? So, I let it go. I came to an understanding within; the roosters were gone from my worry. Oh, there is still crowing and crowing and crowing to be sure, but I left it all behind. I listened with resentment no more. Contentment was once more my daily companion. Reflecting on the years of crowing, the perceived offenses, all that wasted time, all the unfortunate conflict. Over crowing! Absurd! Now I see that I should thank the roosters, because without them I may never have rekindled my internal kindness towards everyone and everything. And so ended the plot to kill the American roosters.

Act II

Definition, Admission, and Metaphor

The Hippocampus is that portion of our brain that is principally responsible for navigation, orientation, and memory. We store episodes of our lives and organize them into sequences that become our identities, a construction of self, our autobiography. The hippocampus is our compass, it permits us to find our way through the lens of our history. With that, and only with that, can we imagine the future.

There is mustard on a blue hippocampus.
An indelibly stained autobiography turned poignant,
like an internal tattoo that he would like to erase.
Stains fade in the sun though.
Stare long, blink, blink, blink again,
after-images of deepest violet
edges of fluorescent orange, chartreuse halo,
like a temporary tattoo

An echo of stains earned over a lifetime
decorate interior life as he zeroes in
without a compass, polaris, or forecastle bell,
only dream recollection.
Awaken to the regret.

And herein lies the lie.
And here stands truth to the truth.
A boxer by sensibility turned in on himself
fostering internal conflict
gifting no quarter, no standing count, no neutral corner.
Believing in the staggering evidence of man’s dignity,
A boxer bobbing in the Socratic ring of self- inspection,
bludgeoning, mauling, jabbing, haymaking, corkscrew, uppercut
opening skin for escaping sweatblood/sweetblood,
No cutman here though, he’ll bleed, no cold enswell, only hell swell
Until the glassjaw blinks.
Internal body blows bruise bending to low esteem,
Low headbutts depend on medulla dumb determination,
ringing echos of nature’s rabbitpunch.
Society’s lowblow.
The lie of Edward Hicks, sonuvabitch!
No Eden, too late for that,
no societal agreement held high,

What has been taken cannot be returned,
only replaced, with gifts of good deportment.
Reminders of years’ and years’ weight.
Truth lies,
lies truth between the absurd and the myth.
And the bell rings
for the bleeding boxer.


Contemplation, Acceptance, and Appreciation

Your house will be overtaken by weeds.
Look, your windows are broken,
roof meeting floor
falling into dirt damp.

Days deepen,
waning to the dark night’s
finished phase, then rouse to a
sliver of newness.
More to do.
So, prepare yourself to begin again,
empty closets,
all the useless tchatchke,
clean attic bones,
forget the terrible ludibrium.
Dumb duplicates tossed,
doubt and his diffident brother

Wax the remnant skeletal frame,
the cold witness.
Polish the scrimshaw memory
over and over until it warms.

Rescue what you will keep:
ambitions of scouthood, a favor
deliverer, gentle sympathizer.
Value the decent things you have done,
seen, and been.

Artifacts of Wayfinding (text)