Thrumbeat of the Rat Brain
A 21st century soliloquy
And so here we are again, Mr. Flood, dead drunk this night on this high hill
beneath another autumn moon, and winter coming, winter coming,
Winter coming, soon.
I see again below us there, again asleep,
the town which lives and laughs and loves and dies and rests,
damned and blessed by brutishness and elegance.
I am old and hoarse from shouting at them from this high hill on these fine nights.
Let them sleep. I will speak my truth to our old bones,
And lean upon our dead drunk love to hold me up ‘til I am done.
Tonight, dear brother, I chose to speak
Of left brain, right brain, and the beat,
of the paleo-mammalian
And furthermore! I will endeavor to perform –
in words, not substance, mind you,
but merely form
pressed and shaped into a soliloquy of oratorical ham –
an entertainment to delight and amuse
and not be worth a damn.
So here I go. Attend me Gods, and weep!
Below, in the town spread out like islands upon a grid
sewn together with fiber-optic web,
a maiden sleeps in moonlight, a huntsman tosses in darkness.
She is no-mind, he is mind,
She is yin and he is yang and each is yet the other.
She is the sensor, he the processor,
She is global, he is local.
She is right brain, he is left brain;
She dreams not as he; she is awake though sleeping,
He dreams not as she; he is asleep though waking.
In daylight she will hold the child and stroke the face and kiss the eyes.
Straight and clean-limbed and graceful, she will glide
in garden, kitchen, hearth, and tide,
asleep and yet awake.
In daylight he will plot the hunt and map the ground and take the spear and ride
And as the poet says, when he is wrong,
the providential gazelle he seeks will not be real and he will find
himself instead, chased by himself,
Chased by a hog for meat.
Yet if he persevere in seeking he will find at hunt’s end
himself, awake and yet asleep.
And in daylight the rat brain screams on, screams on,
Out of the throat of the dying rabbit, screaming,
loss and gain,
pleasure and pain,
light and dark, warm and cold, life and death,
food for hunger, water for thirst,
of not being…
This is thirsty work.
I believe I will have another before concluding.
I find myself coming to the end of words…
The jug, please.
Thank you very much.
To you, Mr. Flood!
To the moon and the stars and the sky above us and the town below!
To the maiden and huntsman, to their rivers and roads!
I wrap us in my arms and I love us all!
May we all have what we need
and nothing more
I am done now.
Let us walk beyond all this troublesome oratory,