The boy in the labyrinth bends to the darkness. Closes his eyes. Imagines that it lies to him. Because it is full of lies. Because at the center of the darkness is a man who is also a bull. And he is curled up at the hub of it all. The boy thinks about the man-bull padding his way along the slick corridors, rubbing his sides against the hewn edges of basalt. Here and there a tuft of fur snags, yanked out in patches. The minotaur nudges along the way the sightless fishes swim up with the waters of the underworld, pulled by the current, the waters sucked their mouths and on through their gills. To the fish, it’s as if the current were a thing with a mind. It enters the mouth and leaves it according to its will. And in the labyrinth the will is forever wishing to be let in.
The boy in the labyrinth leans into the dark’s sweet kiss. Cave-ins from somewhere in the tunnels send gusts of wind into the boy’s face. The boy imagines a wheel spins in his brain that makes the cavern shake. The rhythm of it turns in the spirals of the boy’s ear. Sound made thicker in the dark. Sound, absolute—and pitch heightened by the boy’s hunger. The fury of his mind honed from the underground, he thinks he hears wind through the pinnate wings of gulls far above the tunnels. Imagines a cart above, heavy with fruit for the afternoon bazaars. His dreams his teeth piercing a plucked grape’s skin. Incisors splitting in half, the soft brown seed. His mind stretches beyond its elastic point. Bends to what the dark gives.
In an alternate universe where Charles Ramsey never gets five minutes of fame because he mentions slavery instead of McDonalds. Charles Ramsey did five years for beating on his wife and read Battle Cry of Freedom, Destruction of Black Civilization, some bell hooks, some Sonia Sanchez, some Fred Douglass, this book list he got from a feminist woman who came in to speak to the fellas about domestic violence and the ramifications of abuse and got serious counseling while confined.
Even tight, feared spaces can expand, morphing from the past
into the fuzz of nostalgia, which I’ll try to avoid here,
e.g., #1, me at 16, looking for the “model studio” listed
in the Manhattan Yellow Pages. Toting a portfolio, I climb
the stairs of a West 40s walkup worn as another century.
“Models?” “No, that’s Cheekie, 2 flights up,”
one red talon points to heaven and off I go.