The elephant in the room


YOU FLING your soul as you throw the dice on a last-ditch bet, chancing the children’s school fees against the mortgage payment and the Christmas presents, and you hold your breath, waiting for those little cuboid firetruckers to bounce off the wall; two or three seconds as long as forever when everything is riding on them; you don’t have to go to Vegas to know an everything-or-nothing risk is never a thrill for anyone but Maverick.

You brace yourself for sevens or craps and you remind yourself, perforce, of how little you need, in truth; but you will always forget, except at these heavy little moments, when you watch those dice like a month in jail, and you’re praying for everything… but your gut has already told you you’re going to come up with nothing.

When the rains don’t stop and the rivers come down, just like the Assyrian came down, like a wolf on the fold, and his cohorts were gleaming with silver and old fridge and old stove, water licking ’way everything, like it want to teach people the real meaning of “home invasion,” only then do you plug into what really matters: a roof over your head; the earth firm under your feet; and your loved ones unharmed; and you’re overjoyed to take the wing, so your old man and little boy could get the thigh and drumstick. Macaroni pie is foie gras and clean water, champagne, and a candle flickering lights up everything that matters.

And you hold your little girl and tell her everything is going to be all right.

And you know the essential is always there, no matter how invisible to the eye; as any little prince could tell you.

And there are nothing but gifts on this poor, poor Earth (as the poet, Milosz, tried to tell you).

But the wolf is always at the door.

Did you really think you could bet the soul of the world on these firetrucking Americans? Two years ago, people were angry enough about being ignored by the fat cats in Washington to give a particularly fat fat cat, and a vainglorious, racist, mysoginist and vindictive one, to boot, his famously rigged system-path to the White House – but where have they been the last two years?

Once is mistake, twice is habit.

“I write to find out what I think,” said – or, rather wrote – Flannery O’Connor, the great American short story writer. “I have no idea what’s in my head until I see it on the page.”

And, in writing, could you really have come to this?

And wasn’t it a long way down?

You throw the dice and you fling your soul and you hope the Americans can catch themselves, and us, in the rye, and your dice will come up sevens, and we won’t all go over the cliff and into the abyss.

And there’s a five.

No, it’s a six.

So now it’s down to one.

And isn’t it always down to you?

Tilt your head and the Leaning Tower of Pisa looks fine.

The audacity of hope is the single candle in a vast, cold, dark, indifferent universe. And this is the nature of light, said Fr Harvey: that it cannot be extinguished by darkness, no matter how tiny the light, no matter how great the darkness. It is always the light you will see, never the darkness.

Only thing you know for sure: the only thing that can defeat hate is love.

Has it come to this? And hasn’t it been a long way down?

“Four o’clock in the afternoon,” sang Leonard Cohen, “and I didn’t feel like very much/ I said to myself, ‘Where are you golden boy, where is your famous golden touch?’/ I thought you knew where all of the elephants lie down/ I thought you were the crown prince of all the wheels in Ivory Town/ Just take a look at your body now, there’s nothing much to save/ And a bitter voice in the mirror cries, ‘Hey, Prince, you need a shave’/ Now if you can manage to get your trembling fingers to behave/ Why don’t you try unwrapping, a stainless steel razor blade?/ That’s right, it’s come to this, yes it’s come to this/ And wasn’t it a long way down?”

You write to find out what you think and what a shock it is when it comes: you know one thing only for sure: that only love can defeat hate.

And so it’s come to this; and isn’t it a long way down?

Can you love Donald Firetrucking Trump?

BC Pires is throwing his dice in the air and acting like he just doesn’t care about the GOP elephant in the room


"The elephant in the room"

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