Tag Archives: Stone Song of Geroges Diode

Stone Song of Geroges Diode

7 Mar

A note in the margin I am reading The Gift Economy by Charles Eisenstein. I think he does a great job of contradicting the idea that destruction of ecology, wars, and poverty are inevitable due to human nature. Self-destructive usurpation of the collective commons is actually institutional and woven into money itself. Usury ensures that money will continue to mean that “more for me is less for you”. I am reading this book partly because it extends the ideas of Small is Beautiful and Cradle to Cradle Design, both of which I talk about with my students. Cradle to Cradle makes the point that “design follows intention”. I feel that artists tend to follow a bad design in that they believe in a process whereby success requires a Herculean struggle for a sliver of pie. The process that determines whether one deserves the sliver is not related exclusively to the quality of the work. For example, nobody is going to anthologize Amiri Baraka’s most effective poems, because they run counter to the interests of the powers that be, as he points out.

Stone Song of Geroges Diode

(from an ongoing novel)

*** Holes in the cistern lid permitted three dim, spreading beams, and Izati woke with his head on his bent arm, swamp mosquitoes whining and lifting heavy from his skin. Fat drops plonked the gutter beneath the spigot, and from the prison farm, roosters koockaroooed. Blasts indicated count then breakfast. Gates boomed and echoed. Mules beat the earth, and the wagons rattled and groaned, the lightspears dying and stabbing beneath their bellies. A work detail stamped and faded. In dusty radiance of morning marshes, politicos and bandits took up spades, shoved wheelbarrows over grassy causeways. The camphor trees would be dripping. The screws hollering halfheartedly or cupping cigarettes. Izati patted along the straw mat until his palm closed over the juggler’s ball. He shook it, and the glow awakened, green and vibrant and strong between his fingers, lighting up his arm and the glistening concrete wall. Who then among the screws, the chortling and pigheaded and supercilious, had dropped a juggler’s ball, this christchild of luminescence?

Izati rolled off the concrete shelf, concrete gritty and wet under his feet, and he hobbled to the gutter hole in time to squat and relieve himself. The spigot handle squeaked as it turned, and the water tasted clean and felt cool in the bowl of his hands. Izati lurched back to the straw mat and lay on his side and under the damp blanket shivered.

Three spears of light moved down the wall. For a while, chickens produced desperate squawks diminishing to ill-fated croaks. Izati lay with his arm stretched, ball in hand, the sweating concrete brightening and fading, brightening and fading. He slipped in and out of a soporific and difficult trance—interrupted now by a tumbling, a dumping of logs. His teeth chattered. His injured leg was glowing beneath the cover like pig iron from a kiln.

Within his belly still was the lump of desire, fevertight, grointhreaded, rooted like reed grass in black scrud—a yearning to pass through the desert reaches and fill his mouth with their juices and locate in untrammeled space the ineffable and rumored and to make himself someway in its legroom. And then? To moor himself, who knows, to a cottage, a pond with speckled trout and banana trees.

Three spots of light widened and moved within reach of his hand. He shook the ball, and it glowed and dimmed, a central nugget slowly extinguishing. The darkness behind produced flashes, uncertain vistas, soft and puffy ridges, horned and blackened burnscapes, transmogrifying, gelatinous, bubbling palaces. He held tight to and shook the woodhard ball. On the brick wall, a savage mask was chalked. The main prison gate crashed. Screws hollered.

So that was it. All flounder and doves were clapped in stone and became themselves fossils. The hardness of everything triumphant, gathering unto itself driftwood and beachgrass and camels in the raiment of childhood and light and even the famous killer who had drowned in one of the cisterns when the water rose. Geroges Diode. Stone laid claim to him as its own. He was taken, but his spirit remained to vibrate in brick and concrete, to partake in the recall of everything. He died and his demon remained to invite, to tempt, to repeat like a mantra, I am Mighty—I am storied and stone—I am the Bloody Bondsman.

Each veteran of the cisterns has heard this song.