Locate

If all the dead exist in the underworld, does the underworld occur outside of time, what does that mean for your father, through what magic will you locate your father who has only just arrived, has always only just departed, only just deported, did you don a suit and loiter on the highway your hands gripping a giant gilt-framed photograph of him and what questions did you interview at all who passed those vampires and angels you encountered, can you state for the record the moan you heard the ghosts emit across the nation-state,,, wuaahh buu,,, did you perform three miracles for a virile hag a witch with universes for eyes and did you request in barter a single boon his location or did you unlock his location using a skeleton, are we all a line assembled from white keys of death and is this song the sonata we hear when we press those keys, was your tool to search for him a wishbone, did you slice the wishbone from the breast of a monstrous old god, who was the god, what was his username, was it one of the ghost-giants you fled from terrified that he may have glimpsed even a shred of you, was it the famished god who grabs small ghosts to its mouth and slurps down their marrow, was it a devourer whose fingerprints leak out red tears in hysterical shame, was it Francisco Pizarro, was it King Leopold, did you see Joe Arpaio levitating each leg borne aloft by flying police cars, did you see Winston Churchill that infant-faced faminist turning loose new Emergencies, was it Andrew Jackson mounting a scorpion across that moist trail this pilgrimage for creating new ghosts, did the ghosts cry out wwuu wah,,,,,,,,, how did you kill the god, is revolutionary politics the name for deicide,, a wa wa,,,, is the translation for that moan “god grief!” did you slay the god with smallpox or pistols, hemlock or Maxim, London debt or land grants or fantasies or plague blankets or kryptonite, was it patricide, did you pry your fingers into his rib cage, did you hold the bone’s moist handles up into the sky and poke that plump cloud with your dowsing rod, did the stick sniff out your father from this city of ghosts until this wet rod twitched, until the witching stick tugged you through hell’s alleyways, until you arrived here at this modest house, what category of building is the house that contains your father, until you found a prison, until you found a shadowless space where he waited underneath a star, is death the story of until, is death the story you came to untell, did the light emit a silence like hssssssshs, this light the star wept—was it a message from the past strewn across black heaven, an emergency beacon from a plague universe calling help help from masters and money, what sound do you hear arrayed against you (here the ghost chorus leaps and screams keke keke!), did the star halt above that house like a police chopper spotlight, basking its blue heat on your skin, was this when the star’s strange beams obliterated your shadow, did you cry no please my shadow is all I have here, did you say without my shadow I am a ghost, without my shadow I have no history, how did you feel when the star cried and wailed down its weep-light in fragile pink lineaments, did you see the star throned above where your father may be waiting, is your father the king who sleeps in a cave beneath the city or does his life continue in this mute house, is he washing the dishes as we speak, is he talking on the phone in that loud way of his, is he watching a K-Drama while eating 牛 肉 麵, did he clip the soup’s recipe from that most authentic of sources Gourmet magazine, had you bought him the subscription for his birthday and was his reply to you months later, “Fine, these French can cook but take away butter and they don’t know how to do anything,” (hahahahaha say the ghosts) was that many years ago now in fact probably a decade, did you just glance down at your wristwatch to show how many days are left in your very own life, do the manic watch hands ratchet around like helicopter blades chuh chuh chuh, were you given this watch from your future self that renegade timelord, do you have the time, is time something one can possess or does it soar away from us on outspread wings, but doesn’t Dōgen say that time does not fly since it does not exist outside of us, is it impossible to exist outside the underworld, did you open the front door to the house and see the living room from your childhood, the white Naugahyde couch preserving the dark halo that he cast when he dozed off during his hair dye, the cubic light of a TV luminous solely from VHF, and framed by the window: a blue Honda, car of his youth!,,, these nostalgic recreations do they make you wonder if you had somehow time traveled to a coordinate outside of the underworld, traveled to the past, or would it be more accurate to say that we are already inside the underworld, that the apocalypse is not a spectacle but what elapses as we speak, what does it mean to speak,, ha ha blah blah blah,,,, did you tour the house of memory saying nothing, did you find the doors to each room shut, all handles locked, is this how your waking brain prohibits all fantasies, is it true that they have outlawed dreams, who is they, did you come to your bedroom door and open your wallet to take out your key, did you see on a dollar the face of an evil god, did Andrew Jackson wink at you from the currency and bare his fangs hsss sa sa,,,,,,, was this when the five dollar bill singed you, did the sign of the apocalyptic populist ignite and burn out the grooves from your fingerprints, how loud did you holler shocked, did your wallet keep falling into the floor and never stop, did the floor wobble like a trampoline, did a menacing voice laugh and say on god’s intercom here is your shadow catch, did you fall through the hole in the carpet, did you land in one of the old sewers and in the distance see someone sleeping on a stone slab, was it a body curled to the side uncovered by any blanket, did you talk on the phone with the woman from the ambulance, was it true that your sister and your stepmother saw his body covered only with a sheet, did the woman tell you what she had seen and do you remember telling her “You have a terrible job—you must tell everyone that the one they love has died,” did you recognize her when you entered this place and saw the Recording Angel, is the occupation of that archivist of prayers: writer, did the sleeping figure roll back as though on an airport conveyer, do the walls of the cave inch closer to strangle you, is the underworld a prison since those who enter it have no right to return, who will rescue you, who will rescue you now that you have lathered yourself with cave, is it true that you have forgotten how to breathe, did you aspire to be as breathless as the ghosts who populate this place or did you just have a bad day, would you like to stop, would you like to stop and catch your breath huh huhh huh, did you simultaneously call your expression narcissism and your restraint self-loathing, doubly self-damning, have you been given permission to forgive yourself, shall you ask the mirror Uncle what ails thee, what about your dowsing rod, will you wish for water, wish for air, witch for heir, did you tap your bone wand to the gray rocks repressing you, did the earth and its baroque caverns transpire into the simple night about you, did you look down through the wind from a ship sailing dark heights, did you find the ship’s steadiness strange given that nothing supported you above sky and city, well is the air nothing, was it the Maya who said that soul was simply breath, is the soul nothing, what if you crept into the airship’s spacious caverns and saw not helium but a palace of flowers, what if the entire vessel had been borne up by the exhalations of flowers their breath tasting sweet into the air, what if this was the world, what if you lived on a planet that had grown itself from the souls of flowers, did you once believe that grief was the philosopher’s stone whose touch silenced all spacetime into dark matter, on Sunday did you meet a man at the market who had returned to Haiti the day before the earthquake, did he tell you what that taught him, was the lesson to quit his job and love his daughter and begin afresh, did he remind you that you imagine the world for your child, is the poet what we name the vocation of love and freedom, on that first summer day in March did your child’s grandparents text you Christos Anesti, did you sit yourself down in the airship’s aisles unsuspended by clouds and float in the silver air, buoyed by nothing so magical as resurrection, did you take a deep breath and accept an in-flight complimentary beverage, did you gaze out the window at the spill of stars and think no not stars, the lights of the city, each one lit by a soul below?