in Tall Tales

Three Ways of Dying

And, in the end, we talked affectionately and laughed a little. What else could we do? I was on my back in the hallway wondering at the song that filled the silence. It spoke of a beauty that would not remain broken, and a fire that would not be quenched.
I went to work and watched a woman lurching and flailing in front of the window. One of my coworkers made a comment about how junkies — at least those whose bodies are riddled with the drug — move like zombies.
“It’s like Shaun of the Dead out there.”
I can’t help but think that she is dancing, her body pleading with God for mercy; dancing, dancing, dancing, desparate beyond hope, he must take notice.
“Look at me, God. Here I am. Here, here, here. I am dancing for you. Dancing and dying, and you are nowhere to be found. Look at me, why won’t you look at me?”
There is something so sacred here that it knocks the wind out of me. I want to join her dance.
Instead I head upstairs and find one of my girls crying.
“I don’t know if it was rape or sexual assault. I said, ‘no’ and he said, ‘you know you want it.’ He used protection though. Is that rape?”
We know that there is no promised land
or promised stars.
We know it, Lord, we know it,
and we go on working with you.

We know that a thousand times over
we will hitch our wagon anew
and that a thousand times over
we shall erect anew
our old shelter.
We know that for this we shall receive
neither ration nor wage.
We know it, Lord, we know it,
and we go on working with you.
And we know
that over this dwelling
a thousand times,
and a thousand times again,
we must perform the same tragicomic trick
without praise
and without applause.
We know it, Lord, we know,
and we go on working with you.
And you know, Lord, that we know,
that we all know, all of us,
(Where is the Devil?)
that today you can lay a bet with anyone,
a safer bet than with Job and with Faust.
~Leon Filipe, Versos y oraciones de caminante

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