Story Review: The Dead by James Joyce
From December 2008
Man staring up at his wife on the stairs: secret life together — no — Conroy loved her, or loved himself, the great lustiness — “I don’t want to live.” Similarly, we have Penelope’s tapestry, that she sows by day and unplucks by night, the tapestry magically telling the story of Odysseus’ long wanderings — Odysseus who is Sinbad who is an Ancient Egyptian lost at sea —
“Will I return?” he says, speaking to the Goddess Calypso who will not die (fearing the cold hand, his love — true — taking her and not him)
What else did Odysseus find? (Written by Homer’s daughter?) Tale told by an … his death foretold (My death — I can see it — either the quick surprise or the long goodbye) //
The Mad King Time, charmed by Scherazade who spins her tale and leaves it hanging from a cliff — weaving and unweaing her own nightly tapestries — after the touching of soft flesh, the secret glimmer — Oh Conroy — clownish lust? That is your love — the desire to see her breasts — and to steal next to her while she stares out at the great abyss of time, as the cliffs of this world crumble beneath them (beneath us) — looking into her eyes — eyes that will remain the same even as our bodies change — “It was not the face Michael Furey died for” — Oh, but it was — snow falling on the universe — the Pope’s poem, in Latin, about the photograph — write me another about the telephone /farsound /
Like Dante, in the Inferno, we tread on a dusty road made from the ground up bodies of those who came before — no, grass covered, green flowers, bury me in a foot of a tree — when I am sad, I drive on Kerper Street, and stare at the tree my uncle planted, before he passed away — euphemism — say it without saying it — the automaton’s response — jam on — into the next thing — beat goes on — Redneck Charlie and the digital remix, playlist shuffle, shake your iphone, baby, shake your iphone — a Latin poem — Infallibe Popery — Love / Leader / Celebrity / Stars // Stars // Stars // Impossibly far — impossibly far — but out there, somewhere real.