What did the sky look like before it became man’s domain? This sky, I mean, the one that is stretched a taught blue over this open field. How did it appear before the contrails and the satellites and the pajama-clad passengers in a drug-induced doze cut through the firmament? Generations ago, what did they see on a cold May morning when mountains towered small on the horizon? Did anyone think to photograph it, something as dumb as a man-less sky? (Or record the sound of a quiet café on a street when a long evening’s conversation was entertainment? Or the creak of the front-porch swing and the mindless chatter of a boy as his grandmother listens?) The sky belonged to the gods in those days and the imagination. Now, it is the people’s sky.
Have you ever seen a bird fly? This bird, I mean, the red-chested proud bird sitting high on this chain-link fence. He stopped and whistled for me. We gaze at each other for some time. His whole little body shudders when he sings and his head darts in nervous, paranoid jitters. The Cherokee tell of a time when men understood the animals. I hear a lot, but I don’t understand the bird. Now, he flies away. His flight is a dappled thing, worthy of praise. He will tell me his secret wisdom some other time, maybe.
Have you ever seen the muscles on a jogger? This jogger, I mean, the one who just passed me with his toned arms jutting out from his tank-top, glistening. He gave me a sideways look and furrowed brow. Was I talking to myself, I mean, was I talking out loud to myself? I do that occasionally, just for the pleasure of hearing the words roll in my mouth. Did you notice how attractive he was? (I’m sure you did, you perverts.) I can hear the bad dubstep in his ears. In these days, in this domain of man, nature is the people’s workplace. They never take their shoes off.
He runs past me, probably annoyed that I’m standing still in the middle of the trail, looking up at—well, hell, I don’t know what the fuck I’m looking at anymore. Did he?