On the Pageant Faded 

Beyond Whose Bourne - Circle, Period, Dot



One day I’ll look at everything I’ve written here

and my 93 year-old mind won't be able to make any sense of it

instead, it’ll look something like the angel and fish

I took a picture of several years ago in a Brussels museum

The long web pages, the cloud-captioned photos of me

under the arches of some quixotic portico in Guanajuato

The gorgeous girls I dreamed about, Scarlett and Nina

Scarlett Johansson  at the film premiere of  He's Just Not That Into You . Photo by  Angela George , source at  https://www.flickr.com/photos/sharongraphics/3296455558/  (Wikimedia Commons)  Nina Zilli, 27 February 2010, Photo by  Monelle Chiti , transferred from  it.wikipedia  (Wikimedia Commons)

Scarlett Johansson at the film premiere of He's Just Not That Into You. Photo by Angela George, source at https://www.flickr.com/photos/sharongraphics/3296455558/ (Wikimedia Commons)

Nina Zilli, 27 February 2010, Photo by Monelle Chiti, transferred from it.wikipedia (Wikimedia Commons)

girls fantastic and real

poems to the sun

the solemn temple of agnosticism -- yea, ryc.space itself

and all those therein that it inhabit

shall dissolve and leave not a period behind


Of course, the bard said it much better:

And like the baseless fabric of this vision,

The cloud-capped towers, the gorgeous palaces,

The solemn temples, the great globe itself --

Yea, all which it inherit -- shall dissolve,

And like this insubstantial pageant faded,

Leave not a rack behind. We are such stuff

As dreams are made on, and our little life

Is rounded with a sleep. Sir, I am vexed.

Bear with my weakness. My old brain is troubled.

                                                   (The Tempest 4.1)

We’re all but shadows, de-based versions of the bard 


What light from yonder window broke?

It was the West, and Shakespeare was the sun.


We write on the cave wall that Plato turned to metaphor

we project ever more fantastic versions of ourselves

fancy ryc dot websites

books of faces and pages of names

chosen to impress

we project these onto paper or screen

faint copies of the patterns imprinted

in the deep currents of neurons

that are themselves projected

onto the stony interior of our skulls

while, outside in the reborn air

the bard whispers sonnets to the stars


One day, under the stone arches of a memory-laden sky

I’ll enter that tunnel in Guanajuato


and delve into the secrets of the earth

where I’ll find the narcotraficantes

and the curved blades of ill-mannered ladrónes

mal educados todos

on Calle Jésus María de Compostela del Cielo*

or I’ll watch as Beatrice Portinari sips from the Fountain of Youth

which scientists will have finally proven sits invisible still

in some luminous square in Firenze

and I’ll ride with dragons and valkyries

drink the tortilla soup of the soul

of the Bardo that awaits**

when I have shuffled into the cavernous coil***


The entrance of the tunnel blown to smithereens

beyond whose bourn



Narcotraficantes = drug traffickers, ladrón = thief, mal educados = badly raised, and todos = all. As I recount at the beginning of My Green-Eyed Mexican, in Mexico City I was robbed in a market -- ironically on a street called Jésus María. Compostela alludes to Santiago de Compostela, the famous pilgrimage site in Galicia, Spain. Del Cielo = of Heaven.

** In Buddhism, the Bardo is the realm through which the soul travels after death.

*** Hamlet speculates about that sleep of death, when his body shuffles off its mortal coil, and he enters that country beyond whose bourn no traveller returns (Hamlet 3.1).




Isn't this what we all want

something to leave behind

some dot


some period that says, This is the end

my friend

This is the end, beautiful friend
This is the end, my only friend, the end
Of our elaborate plans, the end
Of everything that stands, the end
No safety or surprise, the end
I'll never look into your eyes, again

(The Doors, 1967, lyrics by Jim Morrison)

There may be no safety

and there may or may not be some or surprise

but Jimmy was right about the final point:

there'll definitely be an end.


If it be now, ’tis not to come. If it be not to come, it will be now. If it be not now, yet it will come -- the readiness is all. 


But there’s also something else

something to mark the period of time

spent on this spinning globe

(itself a dot in space)

once the pageants have all faded

and it’s not necessarily baseless

this being

this dot among millions

forming lines

from genetic codes to family trees.

We feel.

We scent the air.

We form meaning

and new ways of seeing;

collecting and gathering

ideas and emotions,

linking the invisible missing bits

(32-billion-bit encrypted inside us somewhere):

beauty, compassion, and awe.


Next: All Those Things the Wise Men Say

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