WHERE THE FAMOUS WISH THEY HAD LIVED
Parmenides of Elea
Where his influence could accumulate, where the horizon might retreat, where the basilisk smiles and the necessary arrogance of desire lingers into evening while yet hiding among the hieroglyphs. But I like it this way, he said to himself. Here shall I close my trustworthy speech and thought about the truth. Henceforward learn the beliefs of mortals, giving ear to the deceptive ordering of my words, he said. He watched stars move a certain way, the small sprinkling of the past he walked beneath when he was out late and lingering.
In a land of ha-has and paths of desire. Where Nothing hovers invitingly above the closest horizon. Between the angles of incidence and of reflection. Among the agonies in the garden. Elsewhere.
“If his lips are silent, he chatters at his fingertips; betrayal oozes out of him at every pore.” And yet looking into the mirror otherwise known as morning otherwise known as night was not a revelation to him. He had a path, strewn with candy wrappers, or flowers, and lined with stones, which was a comfort to him when his throat ached and his head betrayed him. Still wouldn't it have been good to stop in at some familiar coffee shop, to order in a childhood language a childhood treat, something with chocolate and a little something to soothe the guilt which follows from having hoped too fervently and made all those promises. A place where the libraries do not contain your own books and the children are not afraid. Memory, remember, is a dynamic process like the eloquence of birds and the kinds of cancer which affect the jaw. The cave of the mouth from which words emanate, and breath. “I am still out of work and cannot swallow,” he wrote after the first of his thirty-three surgeries.