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Wayside Fragments Concealed by the Order of the Fathers

I. You were armed with a bridled tongue, contaminated with bookshelves, garbled rumors of a fight, of a life that blazes. But you cringed when serious people spoke about how they spent their money and their days.

II. Born like Pallas Athene but to a dead father and a dead destiny. Centuries of the empty dugs of hollow witch-mothers muttering in the sleep of the grave.

III. Pity for other women. Separation from other women. Yearning for other women. An arrogant and ugly yearning, like a boy’s, only fainter.

IV. Fear of a world that runs on heavy high-speed rails. Every breath is dollars, lives, the almighty schedule. As to joy, we can’t afford it. Addicted to seriousness. Dry resentment for nomad hearts, for the oasis of youth and the secrets of women.

V. Yet you know you would have picked the apple that led to this, that you wanted too much, always too much.

VI. “She’s fine, I don’t have any problem with her, but let’s be honest, no one’s paying her to give lectures in Europe, and you can bet he must have plenty of opportunities, if he was that kind of guy. I don’t know, she’s fine, but we have nothing in common, I just don’t really feel like talking to her about her kids or whatever.”

VII. Country women in bars with bruised honey voices, yearning and bitter. A transparent woman yelling slogans at a rally, with dark passionate eyes. A wall of reasons-disagreement-fear. Women like that are always in trouble - not good girls.

VIII. Pride at how father makes so much money and is so important. A man, a company, a country - it doesn’t matter. Fear of life without father. Toxified and empty and lonely. Filling up with bile, falling, shattering. Waiting.

IX. Some say the fathers also fear life without the nullity of needy daughters. Some even say the fathers are not fathers at all.

X. Clinging to bruises against an antiseptic world. Retreat from words wearing clogs, deveined objects. Princess in perpetual exile. Yearning for rescue by men driven too fast for thought. Those stories wouldn’t be archetypal and true if they weren’t archetypal and true. Always already disappointed and deceiving.

XI. Little mother-wives multiply in the schools and churches. “Smile. Be kind. That’s what enlightenment is.” Reasonable and absent. They and you will never grow up.

XII. Love, like freedom, an obsession, a dream, an elsewhere. Men who are nowhere and not for you.

XIII. “The day comes when you get tired of reading all this post-structuralist shit about capitalism and patriarchy and logocentrism, or whatever. Like that’s going to help you get laid, get paid, do anything with your life. And you’d have to be crazy to think things are any better outside capitalism. Look at, you know, all of history, or war zones, or anything anthropologists know about. You’ve got to be realistic.”

XIV. Hard irritable women full of critique, resentment, self-importance. Fake mothers. Fake mentors. Cul-de-sacs to be lost in. The mirror of ice, in which one sees now and then a lost joint smile like an ancient memory of royal hospitality.

XV. A glimpse of your one and only, death. Not the death spread out in every moment’s anxiety, driving one to the embrace of the fathers. But the one that captures this every irremediable moment. The impossible cameraman. Without hope or reason, you straighten your spine and gaze off at the horizon as a mangled tune drifts from your lips.

XVI. The company of imaginary women. Seeing what is not there. The heart resonating after a long slumber. The ocean summoned by thirst. Now you too have bitten into the apple that they say brings ruin.

XVII. The order of the fathers is the order of ersatz fathers. The substitute into the actual, the actual into the real. Your only father is in your womb, in your tears, in the space behind your heart, in the place to where every absent kin and all the magical world have retreated.

XVIII. The order of the fathers is the suspension of midwinter. The silence between torch songs. The arid vigil.