The magnificence is in the darkness in the hills. At first light, once estranged, then launched upon the earth in quick breaths, the dawn erupts, a magnanimous and tender despot, lynched each evening by jealous and haunting cries and rebirthed so soon, so early, in hibernated strength, oh, painless pregnancies--and yet, the setting moon neither, never, aggressor nor coward. Ah still, the magnificence is in the darkness in the hills, between the death and the rebirth, in the strange lone and lengthy shadow against the mountain, the sleeping soldier island, encased in his tomb, breathless, in rest, now not tempted to turn and uncross his celestial embrace of home, sword, god, earth. We raised ourselves amidst the darkness of the island. First occupied and led by duty in yellow sunlight, then unleashed into the wounded graveyard in cold black. I knew not myself apart from the triggers of the island midnight, the sporadic dance of starlight on the bare rock. We had been taught to starve the eye sight, unveil the sense that did not operate in market empires. There is no empire in the sleeping soldier. The somber, mild village, would succumb at last to rest and out of the attics and basements, now fleshed by skin, we rose and raced into the moonlight, up the steep earth path into the heights of the soldier island, a sanctuary for the last breath of man to make, a man who plunged, not once, but twice, into fire and brought back light in the darkness hills. We unclothed at nightfall. Deep into the midnight hour, the skin will tempt to abandon the uniform of cover, brought out to know its shadowless face and undo its habitual awkward crawl. I did allow--at least when I first removed, with great care, my pajama top and placed it by my night stand--I did allow myself to tremble. And, lured erotic by a forbidden deal, I slowly walked out of my pajama bottom, stood in the black of my room and stared at my naked body in the mirror. There was a pause, then, a pause I remember quite well. Ended by a call, a scream into my lungs. The sleeping soldier rises in the darkness in the hills and calls the heart out of the cellar, she whispered, only whispered once, at lunch, and kissed, perhaps, by the feel of the wetness in the air. The uninhibited mind was only once tempted to return and did not. I was outside, below my house, then, this the first time: barefoot, the earth is loose, cold, and my skin is not so protected, my organs are unleashed and my manhood is no longer bartered between futures, failures. The magnificence is in the screams to the precipice of the soldier island, alone, naked, hunting my skin in alleys, streets of a dormant village—there: even the animals have become the day. We are not alone, convinced to blindness, on occasion, in the black, told to let the skin erupt and foil the protectors, the guard. Told to launch the skin into wet air. We are chasing ourselves into the heights of the island we guardians of myth, of legend, of the supernatural. Yes, I am the possessor of new sense, the occupier of virgin soil, ready, within the muscle contortions and the exhibitors of faith, a new promise, in principle, un-readied and explosive. We are found, harbored by the mud, dried across the chests of llama fed pilgrims, dripped. Blinded and un-caught. The sea is a moody man, she says once, smiles, and without sight I am thrown into the whirlwind of an earthquake. I gasp, lynched, the body nailed to its own position, and like a worm split and re-birthed, and returned into the entrance of its father, too a worm, his mother, too a worm, his ancestral patterns, yes, yes, too were worms, now uncloaked in the basement of the sky, the attic of the mountain, ripped into the pieces of adolescence and maturity, remade like a manikin and left to linger, drown, in the waters of the soldier island’s highest peak, the cellar of the ocean. The magnificence is in the darkness in the hills and brought into the completeness of identity, remanded for structure and piety, permitted the excuse to exhale the human, the man, the organ brought into being and owned, encouraged to expansion. From birth, she yells, in each life! For birth, she whispers now, is truly acceptance of expansion. There is no more skin than this skin, she says, later, breathless in sweat and exultation. All this, this here, is acceptance of expansion. And I, in willful disobedience of the daylight protector, climbed unhampered into the midnight black, and there, in jubilation we lived our humble and sweet expanded acceptance. The magnificence is truly in the darkness in the hills. I no longer needed to see, not then, not after that.

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