How long is the day they argue through?---a week?
is it a year of a day? is it the abrasive, millennial haul
of a glacier of a day? It leaves enough ground-down, mysterious
debris in its wake to be as slow and thorough as a glacier:
a powder of grievance, with the occasional undigested
choke-bone sticking out. How endless is this? Her ire
with the stone by stone authority of Chartres
(if its rose window were replaced by the secretive face
of the Sphinx)...how many generations does it take to build
this monument to choler? It couldn't be dismantled
even over a lifetime. And his own vendettas,
unveiled today: they must have required all of the spleen,
all of the hardening gallsores and conviction, of the forty years
of wandering the Sinai desert, under the watch
of those living pillars scribbled inside with a writhe of fire and dark.
What would the unit of measurement be for such contention?
Not a stroll around the block. A pilgrimage trail, maybe;
maybe Lewis and Clark. We think the hands are the tools
of a scribe; but certain stories are told by the feet,
and by a weariness in the third eye. Alexander brought
-in addition, of course, to warriors and generals-"steppers"
with him on his expeditions, to count the paces, and so
add to our topographic knowledge. Every day...
the dust of Asia Minor caking in one's hair.
All night, for 1700 miles of nightsSąthe cold slopes
of the Hindu Kush against one's cheek,
until the flesh takes on the feel of rock. Some
never returned as themselves. This
is evidently what needs to be done
if you're going to conquer the world.