Of the Myths and the Ruins (2018) deliberates ancient archetypes concerning war and loss in re-invented scenes from Greek mythology as encountered in the museums of contemporary Athens, plus an accompanying poem.
Of the myths and the ruins––
And of the uncertain visions with which we address the future––
Of the Jew with the name “Healer”––
And of the oracle, clung and clinging to the arid rocks––
Of the ancient priest not appearing, and the vanished processions––
And of the ceremonies, the treasuries, the vapors and the sacred way, all disappeared––
Of the listener without trust or premonition––
And of the blood no longer offered, no longer pardoning the supplicants––
Of the heart for yearning and the bones for caging the soul––
And of the earth that loses love, and the wind that sweeps away losing––
Of the house and the childtouch of the leaves––
And of the lone universe that suffers the falling rock––
Of the lightning that strikes without seeking, and the branches that move––
And of every hour flashing loneliness from the unpolished surface––
Of the nothing that confronts the image––
And of the nerve, the living thread that vibrates the mothertongues––
Of the tent and the woman in the tent, the ancient mother––
And of her descent and the eons of her hiding––
Of the sheer cliff at the end, and the savage face on the shield––
And of wings unfurling, and the cry that turns the wild green brown––
Of the unlit room in which miracles are judged––
And of the appalling poem that wakes us from summer sleep––
Of the present, even when we speak of the abyss––
And of the abyss, burning its way through transparent day, making lamplight––
Of the single direction, which can only be called through––
And of the martyrs who fail to manage excessive talent at dying––
Of trees in bloom and in filth, and feathers caked in dirt––
And of gardens too dark to find, not fooling me with their blossoms––
Of the hungry ghosts which keep finding their way––
And of the seed, and the homestones less and smaller than home––
Of the earth that drags me, bears me forward––
And of the words too straightened and meaning-smoothed, newly cast into pictures––
Of the strangers and their monuments, which our fences fail to enclose––
And of the angels, whose saturnalia seems like bone joy––
Of the soul that is pure when given and impure when given back––
And of the ego that mistakes the pure soul as its essence––
Of the sea that is not mine, toward which I keep swimming––
And of the deep that is only mine, into which I sink––
(From porchlight there are neighbors and wandering foreigners––
And thinking is enough until low noon, whence only memory––)
(And from six thousand couplets only one survives, or one half––
The same with tears not quite born into weeping––)
Of the underground where no sun rises, and of its moon––
And of the dry place of dwelling where so little is said of love––
Of the promises taken from the drawer, and returned––
And of every month in the solitary room, no matter where I end up dying––
Of the ill sight of my body reborn into this world––
And of my pictures not created to burn in fire, rather to burn in oblivion––
Of the fissure and the destitute age––
And of the earthmusic in the dark music––
Of the whole of this world in its totality of zero, though counting for more––
And of whatever lasts from nothing to nothing––
Of the nuclei blinking, and of suddenness––
And of the hands holding the eyemind loose and high into seeing––
                                                                                     Jason Francisco, Athens 2018

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