Monday, July 9, 2018

Diary of a Rogue Ant in Manhattan

by QMS, June 2018

It's an anthill!
The first revelation hits so hard that I say it out loud,
and the second follows immediately and inevitably upon it:
and I'm an ant!

But I'm a rogue ant,
who has eaten the ergot on the grain,
and who stops to wonder at all this.

Did some sinister magician in pre-ancient times
get a vision from an anthill
and cast a spell to shape humanity in its image?
The queen/goddess replaced by the king/god
replaced by the fetish/gold replaced by the infinite/number!
Here the apex of all anthills, we the apex of all ants!
And it is noble and wondrous to be an ant,
but do we wish to serve this queen/king/fetish/infinity
which towers on the shore?

It's anthills all the way down –
What we call history is the story of anthills,
and this the most majestic ever conceived.
We are the most industrious ants in history
because we believe that we are free.

But the pheromones here are tightly monitored and policed.
Don't weep or laugh too much or the warrior ants will be alerted and will come take you away.
Above all don't try to stop the worker ants as they build their leaning towers on rotten foundations,
don't tell them that it's all hopeless, or that it's all brim-full with hope –
in fact it's safer if you don't speak to the worker ants at all,
or the warrior ants will be alerted and will come and take you away.

See the worker ants on vacation,
industrious even at leisure, piling up things and moving them about.
On their phones, on their bicycles on their phones,
before a miracle on their phones, before a murder on their phones,
always on their phones,
and it seems the only thing that can tear their eyes away
from the small screen, is a bigger screen,
and how big must the screens become to satisfy their escape
from what and where and when and who and how and why they are here and now...
and I wonder and pray what will become of their spirits
when death the biggest screen of all falls over their hollowed eyes...

But keep moving, even when exercising or entertaining yourself,
stay in line; never stop; don't disrupt the flow,
for when a warrior ant recognizes a rogue ant, it is too late.


This is the diary of a rogue ant
and its search for meaning in the anthill.
You wouldn't know me from the others.
I look just like them on the outside; the rogue element is within.
For I have eaten the ergot on the grain
held in the palm of William Blake
and so I swallowed infinity,
and so eternity became aware of itself;
I am a membrane slipped into itself; I am inside-out,
and so I close my eyes and still see the bright day.

Yet see how I am still an industrious ant,
piling up words and sorting them by meaning!
But I would not serve this queen nor carry tribute to this anthill,
and so I search for meaning in the labyrinth;
clues to the world it left behind,
so before I grow wings and take flight I may learn enough
to truly escape the planetary paradigm whose pinnacle rises here.
Have courage comrades!
It is still a noble thing to be an ant,
and there is more function and fulfillment in your smallest ligaments
than in these mightiest of towers.


I am not the only rogue ant here...
indeed, rogue ants here are revered!
This city is in constant celebration of them!
Their individual freedom
is the master pheromone
which binds all these workers to their queen's capital.
So sing, scream, stare, rant, rave, rage,
wave and weave and wonder at strangers –
that too feeds the colony.
Just do not speak to any other rogue ant!
Because what is not tolerated even for an instant -- 
is a swarm.
The warrior ants here have centuries of training
in the elimination of rogue swarms;
in stabilizing the flows of pheromones;
in getting everyone back in line to labor upon their freedoms.
This city is built on a mastery of the swarm –
this is the mastery of this city.
Witness “The Immigrants,” molten and melting, sculpted and sculpting
down by the harbor in bronze,
their poverty literally turning golden with wear and time –
and yet it is not gold, and neither could gold buy
what they believed they came in search of.

But if this is an anthill and we are ants,
then our hill is far beyond these buildings;
this whole city is only its outward appearance.
Most of all we labor upon language itself;
ceaselessly sorting and stacking and
building and rebuilding mental structures;
words the building-blocks and meaning the secreted saliva that binds them,
language is the body and the breath of the colony –
and here is where rogue ants can be most dangerous of all.
(If you fuck the pheromones, the colony ain't shit.) 


The History Mystery of Architecture
First the circle, then the square
(Stop right there! All of history, in that snare!)
The first boxes were made beautiful,
they remembered their mother.
Then they abandoned and forgot her,
forgot beauty and built to match their brutality,
and reveled and raised it to scrape the sky.
But see! Look at the boxes trying to escape from themselves!
Yet without any grace; like a crime trying to escape from itself –
that is the poisoned harmony of this skyline,
model and metaphor for many others.
And now see the whole species poised
on the precarious lip between circle and square
and who knows how many people and planets
must bear this burden, until an answer is found...
First the circle, then the square,
Who cares? Who's there?

PS. The synthesis of circle and square is spiral,
And we only await its queen to assemble her workers
and build buildings worthy of the great mystery – said the snail.


Cleopatra's Needle”
Who knows what Ramesses did in the house of his father,
that no one else could?
Only the sands who kept the secret know.
And could they have known, or can we know now
what they prefigured when they rescued this needle from the dunes
and carried it across the ocean
and planted it here upon iron claws
and fulfilled its prophecy?

Contented-with-strength-who-smites-the-rulers-of-foreign-lands-who-attack-him, according as his father Ra has ordained for him victory against every land and strength in his efforts to extend the boundaries of Egypt, the son of Ra, Thutmose, granted all life forever.”

Look in your pockets!
Pull the dollars out of your wallets and
find the kingdom of Egypt,
inside you and all around you!
The pyramids are in our pockets
and our minds and our hearts –
and our souls too!
Yes, that's what it's all about actually:
In God We Trust –
granted all life, stability and dominion like Ra forever.”

This is a cosmic propaganda beacon!
The colonists and their collaborators could not have dreamed
the PanAfrican paradigm they inaugurated
when they planted it here upon the lay-lines of the Atlantic,
to lead the metropolis through its eye
into the kingdom of heaven.
(Or at least that was always the dream of rich men,
from the Pharaohs to the Federal Reserve,
which is why there is such a wild prophetic justice
to find it erected here, in the uppermost story
of the planetary pyramid.)

Yet this rogue ant too worships Ra!
This rogue ant too is given life like Ra!
This rogue ant kneels to Ra,
This rogue ant finds more mystery and mastery in this needle
than in this whole haystack of a city.
But this rogue ant prays to where she points
and to where her eye rests hidden underground;
Oh Ramesses, beloved-of-Amun, if you were
granted life like Ra”
then who, or what, granted Ra life?
[Here the rogue ant begins to pry at the pheromonal foundation stones of a world-system...]
This rogue ant seeks also the service of whatever and whomever gave Ra life,
as the raindrops fall,
before the storm begins.


The fireflies are flaring and the words follow,
swallowing whole the enchantment's soul.
When people are daring the worlds follow,
opposite poles transpose the glow.

Why not another? But not like any other,
You never know where the next glow will appear.
Why not now? But not like any other
Time before now, to roar, and disappear.


And a final thing I must transcribe,
before the ergot goes and pheromonal hegemony is restored –
that we are not ants!
And it may be important to reflect on the ways in which we differ.

Most obviously of all we are mammals,
born alive to one mother and one father.
If there is a place to break the cycle of the anthills, it is here.
Mothers and fathers: Do not raise your children to serve this queen.
Daughters and sons: rescue your parents from this queen.


Thank you and let us all thank
whomever balanced these stones on the Hudson
just South of its great metal bridge,
let us all thank the initiator of this
mystical climate resiliency program!
For the native Kapsee called themselves the guardians
of pointed rocks, which used to stand
far out in the harbor
keeping the storms from shore.

And in the meantime, the birds love your works!
(More than can be said for most artwork,
or any work of man for that matter.)
They fly from perch to perch, singing and playing.
And thank you to the sparrow who taught me:
Be careful where you perch!
And are these stones more or less precariously balanced
than the skyscrapers that pierce the horizon?

Thank you mighty river and a prayer to you mighty river,
May you cleanse this city of its physical and spiritual poisons,
May you carry them far off to sea
to be purified as raindrops
to redeem and resurrect the soil.
May your currents cleanse us,
May your ripples reveal forever
to whomever searches them
the secrets of all time and space.