Only The Dust (from Letters To a Postmodernist)

Dear Mr. Postmodernist,

Come back! You’ve run from me but dropped your text. I picked it up, but it’s really the living author I care about, as you sprint out of sight, your little legs raising dust behind you until dust is all I see, as if, in your vanity, you were ashamed you had paused time.

But the living can stop nothing. We can only observe. Only the dead can stop history.

The text is underneath my robe, if you want it back, to hide it from Socrates because he speaks of Truth and we are both Atheists.  So in a secret place, so Socrates can’t see, I’ve unrolled the scroll and I’m asking the text to speak, second-hand, about you. It showed me a map that led me to two stone feet in the dust and a plaque, “I am Ozymandias”, with your byline. Someone had had a party in that dust that was left of the disintegrated statue. Songs lingered in the air “I’d like to change the world” but you weren’t there. You were lost in the Labyrinth, the text told me, chatting with Dick Cavett.

And here – as I stand amidst the dust of this broken monument, the only evidence I have that this was once something great – is your text. But that was not what you meant. So now all you will write about is the dust the monuments have left behind.


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