“Lament for the Maker” by Alvin Malpaya

Alvin Malpaya


I don’t think of good wills and possible worlds
like I used to, but arm twisted unnaturally or

gun to my head, I might give it another shot, and
like it. I can hallucinate with the worst of them,

conjure a team of demons whose dirty little fingers
are tied to every object that has ever moved. Or I

can watch the holy Pollyanna get swallowed
by a fault line, only to rise again with just a scraped

knee and elbow. The curse of being conscious is
all the possibilities—and what a rough way

to spend a lifetime: a traveling magician in the land
of magicians. The last trick is to make the magic

vanish altogether. Saw your girlfriend in half, get
hauled off to jail, don’t escape, and they might call you

an original. By then, you won’t care. Ay, there’s
the shrub, the gushy one on fire whose deep,

sexy voice can make you melt. And how liberating,
to realize at last you only felt alone and wretched,

but never were. Such bombshells are enough to
make you confuse yourself with the universe, think

things happen according to painstaking calculations,
then throw your arms up and scream, Okay! You do

exist, you bastard, you do, so now what? Carry on,
I guess, that’s what most of us do, despite an inner voice

saying make like a tree bleeding in hell and dwell on
how you can’t leave, a pair of hungry, hungry harpies

licking your earlobes. The most atrocious part is
still being alive, or at least conscious of having died.

The only thing you’d need then is an un-Maker
to pray to, someone who can make the words in the book,

if you will, disappear one by one as they are read,
so that life is truer to life, and the live-forever fantasies

can last only the length of a subtle sigh that barely passes
for an exhalation. And, no, not some toe-stepping god

meant to steal God’s thunder, but a god without glowing carrots
and ever-growing sticks, for whom the best possible world is

beyond imagination or one in which imagination itself is
impossible. Did I just say: Steal. God’s. Thunder? I kill me.

from Rattle #33, Summer 2010

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