Promise and Proscription

by Michael Faia

While God hath never known divorce nor, in full paradox,
entertained ever the sacraments of the birthing room,
She does walk processions of love and death;
each entailing a march, a wedding march,
a funeral march, each its own musicals,
threnody, lovesong—and flowers, the flowers,
catafalques covered in flowers, wedding barrows
covered in flowers transporting the dead,
or the living in comfort covered in flowers;
each a procession, each with unique, mandated colors
everywhere, each enfolded in rituals of escape:

Honeymoon, moon of honey, luna de miel,
demanded days of seclusion, processions toward seclusion;
all paraphernalia of marriage and death: something old—
something older than any still living among the living;
something new—the lying words, the casket, the monument,
the crystal-crumbled social structures; something borrowed—
the friends not friends, family not family, eulogies prefab;
something blue—the last of the list, the matrimonial promises,
that the brilliance of these colors will now subside,
that these colors indeed will run, that these colors already have moved
toward darker edges of the spectrum that, in the end, will hang
its own black and purple and bluish bunting bluely everywhere.

When, you ask, will I ever give you a wedding ring?
And this I promise: I will give you a ring for our marriage
on the day when you give me a ring for my funeral.
These rings will have two sides: an inside, an outside.
Neither, therefore, will be true. I also demand rings
for birth and divorce, the rings of Möbius:
They will have only an inside. The solitude, the rectitude inevitable,
inescapable. These rings, in the very form of them, will cut:
one toward the heart, one toward the grave.

Musical composition by Victor David Sandiego

Michael Faia has served as faculty member at various schools (California State University, University of Southern California, Tongan Royal Institute of Technology, University of Toronto (OISE), La Universidad Veracruzana, William & Mary, Whittier College, University of Wisconsin at Madison). His vita and many of his academic articles and books can be seen on his homepage. Faia's best known book is Dynamic Functionalism: Strategy and Tactics…

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