MARIGOLD WOMAN: All these words are clever disguises for the genuine article

The Marigold Woman sits on a broken-down rusted-out jalopy, balancing herself on the hood like a bruised and bleeding gargoyle, and she reflects on the tall grass at the edge of the swamp, the light of her scarecrow thoughts winking off the dry yellow wintery fringe. What thoughts are these, my filigreed carousel-horses?

I think we have had enough of the Marigold Woman’s thoughts, my friends. Some days I think we have had enough of thinking. Words are unnecessary, the poet said. There being nothing to learn.

That which the ghul of the black land had torn from her is still missing. She puts a hand to her head and utters a disgusted noise.


In the swamp, the moonbuggy and the writer sit together in that ramshackle walkabout house. The moonbuggy instructs the writer in the making of little origami stars, and they string these on threads to make chains that they then hang from the ceiling of that little room.

It is on a strip of paper that the moonbuggy finds the word, all written out in thick black ink. She can make nothing of it, and the writer’s stammering tongue cannot pronounce it.


The tallest of the tall squirrels takes it, letting the moonbuggy’s rabbits continue to munch on sweet timothy and alfalfa, safe in their hutches from the dry air that cracks the skin and lets in wicked little thoughts through the fissures in the knuckles. The squirrel runs along the tops of the trees and under the ground. Not even a broken heart can stop that squirrel from running.


The prophet receives the squirrel at the corner of two places on your private map, far from the garden shed but far also from the black land. Taking the strip of paper from the clever little paws, bowing gravely before the squirrel dashes off to some other part of the branching and thrumming world.

The prophet unfolds the strip of construction paper, and a smile creases the dirty face.

To lie is to destroy civilization, and to love is to oppose lies.

Who can discern this? The prophet only smiles, and smiles, and smiles; and tucking the unconstructed origami star into a back pocket starts the long walk to where the Marigold Woman sits under the unkind sky.