All my life I’ve dreamt of gods. There’s a constant Decameron in my soul of spiritual raconteurs passing stories around a fire of cosmic wars and the self’s dislocation from its greatness in that content to the banished realm of 9-5. I’m a teacher. During class, delivering the notes that I can recite somnambulantly, so unconscious are these unheroic days, a mythology is staged inside me that veils discretion from reality and for an unaccountable duration I’m lifted from a dull mortality into the throes of a Zoroastrian conflict. Night is run amok. This is not the Dionysian Night of inspiration. No lays are being sung in the shadows to lovers; no ecstasies are staged in the woods; no power is imbuing the lives of artists with numinous blooms for them to plant the world with and thread the Apollonian weather with the incontestable value of Chaos. No, this is not the Night of our origination, when Chaos, very motherly, sent us off to Eden to go play. Before god fouled it up. Bullied us to life. No, not that Night. This is the Night when the beautiful gods fell, the gods that bedeck our hearts with aspirations, that light the mind, that are scored across the centuries in grand displays: frescos, pages, songs. Something Evil turned the lights off, and all of life began to grope about. All my life I’ve felt I’ve been crawling around the bottom of a bottle on a shelf. Tithonus in a Beckett play. Pirandello. Life withering away while I languished on the stage, the lights undimming, my role undiminishing; the whole audience of Time focusing on me while I stammer, choke, oblivious to all my lines, why I’m there. Why I’m dressed in chivalric garb, Don Quixote, though fully cognizant that I’m ridiculous. Divested of the charm of the mad adventurer, and the mindset needed to adventure. No. The inscrutable awareness of practicality and all of its dimensions is the parching sun hounding me through the desert of my life. There are no mirages that can save me that I don’t immediately identify as a mirage. O if I could only fall for that hopeful trick and wander over to illusion just to see! No, the dream leaves. The students return, staring at me. What did I last say? What I said last year at this same time.
S.T. Brant is a teacher from Las Vegas. Pubs in/coming from EcoTheo, Timber, Door is a Jar, Santa Clara Review, Rain Taxi, New South, Green Mountains Review, Another Chicago Magazine, Ekstasis, 8 Poems, a few others. You can find him on Twitter @terriblebinth or Instagram @shanelemagne.