Focus as if prostrate flat on your back looking up into the rays of sunlight falling through the branches of a tree,  a Texas Mountain Laurel.  You hear the song of katydids.  Now follow up through the branches into the direct sunlight a horizon that pans away from the sunset to the Sabine River flowing in the distance.  The river comes into focus and then a close-up of the water’s threads over submerged rocks like you’re standing on the shore and you hear the water the current over the rocks mixed with the song of katydids the croak of frogs.  You see a bridge in the distance—a train bridge.  You hear a far-off whistle.


You follow a hallway from the day room where tables are strewn about with half-finished puzzles and playing cards some face up and some turned down a TV in the corner with bad reception of an afternoon soap opera.  You pass doors the rooms some of them empty two beds in each and some occupied by patients in hospital robes and slippers each peek into these rooms revealing a different dementia.  A different sadness to each of them like no God that answers like all the dead Christmas trees of the world and you know it’s Christmas for there are decorations up.  In the hallway and in the rooms and in the day room—a Christmas tree there.

And then a regression.  Like a peek into the inhabitants of this place is a regression.  You not in a psychiatric ward.  You’re in New Orleans at night in a torrential downpour on Rampart Street—a slow hurricane moving over.  And then you see Marcus in a room back in the ward Christmas music playing on the radio at a table and chair a bible opened before him.  He’s tearing out pages.  And then you hear a chorus.  Not from the radio playing Christmas music, but a Greek chorus like in a lament to the House of Atreus and what began with Tantalus.  Marcus in fact drawing on the torn pages from his bible an image of his torture—a man standing in a pool of water a fruit tree the branches ever out of his reach the water receding from his thirst from his fear of drowning. The word Tantalus written in bold across a page from Jeremiah heavy with ink.  Then again you see a levee breaking in New Orleans at night—the water first but a trickle in close-up and then a torrent over the crumbling earth.


He stole the ambrosia and the nectar too.  Feeding his son to a Demeter distracted by Persephone.  A divine sire and a mortal one.   Descendants of slaves then sharecroppers.   A great-grandfather of Agamemnon known as a husband to a granddaughter of a man called Papa Frenchie.  The boy a twin revived. This the house of David.  An artist but a poor lover in the reenactment as artists can only love themselves and see as what they see fit.  For it takes two to look on a thing.  And three to divide…