Imagine a Caravaggio. This is the style: black subtropic night
with a mouth of grey opening to a white scream in the center. Red.
The ochre tongue of a headlight. Three bodies skewed and all sinews,
contorted. The muscling of religious-based guilt. The glutton grounded,
facedown in the dust road of an outskirt, a place with the appearance of
not having ‘regular’ time. Not red but wine in his gashes.
A white T-shirt up around his shoulders. Pixelated depths in his lighted flesh.
One hand on the body, a woman half smiles for the camera,
for the morning newspaper, and the jump-suited vendors who will peddle
this rendering of tragedy to rush-hour drivers:
stalled, guilted, famished. This woman. She is the focal point, the left of center
star that understands us, here in our cars, and grieves in way that skirts death.
This woman loved this man. She did not love this man. It’s all there in
dark and light. Then, in light and dark. An overhead brightness hauls her bare shoulders
into blindwhite, casts her form against the wall of the night. Throws her.
The third figure, gaunt, is collapsed over the body. Why love, we ask. Thinness stark
in a tight tank top. A gaudy, knockoff belt drags at his core. The belt is some kind of
symbolism: doused celebration, the failed talisman of consumerism, sobered
playfulness of brothers. The uncanny-ism of violent ballads: money, whichever vice,
Gucci, Gucci, Prada, Prada, and death. Boy, keep your head down.
Keep the stalkers of the morning news out of your eyes.
Here at the interminate red light we count the ways
we’ve not died. We remember the one who loves us and doesn’t love us all the same.
We recall the law of the land. A fresco. The chiaroscuro of our childhood church.