Cloud Faces

“The gods up in the clouds again are laughing: yet another human city has fallen! Yesterday Atlantis, today Baghdad, tomorrow – who knows! Was it statistics and studies that convinced the warriors to march? Or an argument couched in their names – the names of imaginary friends? Next it might be a giant wave, a jumbo loaded with plutonium, on fists of fire bolting from an open sky – who knows where, how, or why! But bets, for fun, are still placed – on vast ranges of volcanoes, the cracking of continents, on the unnoticed error of some well-quiffed architect; on New York, London, Paris; on Cairo, Jerusalem, Athens; on Tokyo, Moscow, Manila. O there is much laughter up in the clouds, as on they spin, without end, around and around.

“Hilarious, says some immortal, gazing at a blurry telly, that still it happens! The praying and lovemaking, the handholding and hoping! All those builders and all those bombers: What belief they have in rumours of us, and whatever remnants they’ve dredged up from the past! How hilarious, that on they learn about family planning – planning! And that they have just paused, for that swirl of sweat designated ‘dancing’ – for it has arrived again, the first day of May, that arbitrary date. And with such different maps and mausoleums to the last! Ha ha! Their eyes, how they still admire stretches of steel and concrete, the museums, and their luxuries of office space! Still they tend to the cities of gravestones, ridiculous!”

“It is true,” answered some mystery part of him, “that like you, ticklish little toe, curled up in a cloud of hair, travelling teller of tiny tales, that on your non-existent gods run, babbling and laughing. Also that we, fated to be here, with fists raised, or standing side by side, with all our homes to be undone by unknown hands, with all our deeds unready for the next deluge of the tide, with all the others as secure as scattered sands – that still we uniquely go on, doing and thinking and doing and thinking. That is to say, living.”