Charles Hayes, a multiple Pushcart Prize Nominee, is an American who lives part time in the Philippines and part time in Seattle with his wife. A product of the Appalachian Mountains, his writing has appeared in Ky Story’s Anthology Collection, Wilderness House Literary Review, The Fable Online, Unbroken Journal, CC&D Magazine, Random Sample Review, The Zodiac Review, eFiction Magazine, Saturday Night Reader, Cha: An Asian Literary Journal, Scarlet Leaf Publishing House, Burning Word Journal, eFiction India, and others.
Much has been sung about the land of opportunity, this America that seemingly infinite choruses herald up as the God blessed one. I don’t know whether these songsters really believe that or whether they just enjoy hearing themselves sing. Either way there is a lot of it that goes on and it takes only a drop of the hat to get it started. I suppose it all depends on where you are coming from. If you are coming from somewhere over there, out there, or almost anywhere beyond the hallelujahs and amens, you kind of wonder how can they honestly do that. If you are coming from among the songs and waving flags then I expect it’s just your special kind of opiate and it just feels too good to matter whether it is true or not. Bring it on for you are ready, you think. Hell you’ve always been ready. This is America. But even here the clock of existence has changed. No clock remains set in place.
I know it has been with great confidence that this America was built with a devil may care brand. The things that were read and seen were served up especially designed to compliment that confidence and thereby easily tweak a little piece of the action. But suppose we were to bring together where we have been and where we are going. Not in the sense of a history which they say can be rewritten at any time. Nor in the sense of the experts for they are almost always fixed. But in the sense of the marginal, the less blessed, those outside of the fix and unlike us. It is a consideration that all good patriots of the hunt must do in their search for the truth.
The fixed promises of the hunt which we must lay aside in order to do this will resist this temporary retirement, for these promises are built upon the rule that they must always figure in when it comes to the perceptions that are necessary to really see. Our songs are always quick to demonstrate this principle with their anthems of moving heroism, where the hero, who diligently adheres to the principles of the promises, performs glorious things. To abandon these promises and travel awry will raise voices of Gregorian admonition and emergency instructions to return to that well trod trail and it‘s accompanying muzak. Many are the institutions built to house these structured forests of provision. Laws are handed down, in the name of civilization, to avoid the unsightly bypaths that we might lightly reconnoiter. But laws of structured promise can not contain the truth of the unsightly real if we deign to look. In an honest and necessary hunt, to see all that can be seen is required. We must see the eyes cloud and the being fade as well as the bullet strike. We must feel the melancholy hollow in our breast as we stand at the abyss. We must know what we have done, without the tutor of singing voices and structured promises. We must see the kill as it is and allow no further insult to visit it. We must be.