Building churches on temples, and then building shopping malls on churches. Foxes living in the ruins at the heart of the city.

Ghosts living in the hearts of the foxes, and other ghosts living in the hearts of ghosts watching foxcubs play among the ruins.

(You watched foxcubs play among the ruins.)

The time to polish and perfect, and the time to let fall and move on, is the same time.

(You moved on.)

We were taught what to value. Then new rulers came to us (no matter their guise, they were rulers) and we were taught to value different things.

Either we were flexible enough to kneel to the new rulers, or we died.

(They came in the guise of friends.)

What should we call the inflexibility of those who refused to kneel?

Were they stubborn? Were they idealists? Did they lack imagination? Were they loyal? Foolish? Naive?

(We knelt.)

Building temples on the ruins of shopping malls, and then building schools on the ruins of temples. Foxes living in the ruins at the heart of the city.

Making notes on form in small notebooks, and then using the pages as kindling to light fires after the war came.

(Notes on the form of pine cones, feathers, snailshells.)

In the library where I first met her. Her hands and the shadows of her hands on the pages of large reference books. The persistent clinking of the bracelets on her wrists.

In the book, the philosopher had written: Eternity is always at the mercy of a moment. All things, the great, the small, the fragile, the enduring, life, death, and above all, the moment itself, are always at the mercy of a moment.

(We knelt.)

Building hospitals on the ruins of palaces. Building barracks on the ruins of hospitals. Foxes living in the ruins at the heart of the city.

Creation and destruction are the same process. Create and destroy as you are taught: the sum will be the same, the end will be the same. Nothing will happen.

(We built fortresses on the ruins of graveyards.)

Laying waste to the old system, taking down the proud, leading them to the ditches and the dams: taking their spectacles from them, teaching them, for the first time in their lives, to work.

(We valued living above all things, even ourselves. What we had been, what we had cared for, or had believed we cared for, we let go.)

In the library, we had been taught to value romantic love. From the books, powerful ghosts taught us the value of bombs, the value of caresses, the value of wealth, of sacrifice, of cerise lipstick, of liberty, of guns.

Building furnaces on the ruins of prisons, and then building farms on the ruins of furnaces.

(We did not kneel, we died. Or: we knelt, we died.)

Foxes living in the ruins at the heart of the city.

 


from the series construct (2012–present, ongoing)

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