A Sage Approaches by Alec Ontiveros


       A Sage Approaches⸺There I see it happening in the dark moonlight, just now as the sun begins to rise again from its valley, a sage solemnly walks into the town.  Few remain awake—except for the thief and the jester commiserating with each other beneath the old clock tower—that garrulous relic of the golden age, built proud with its byzantine facade that only seemed to obscure its labyrinthine interior—that cold truth that time is bottomless and thus it is in all ways unbecoming.  From the shadow of this truth emerges the sage, asking peacefully, “What is time? Do you know what is time?” As the jester did not long to know the hour any longer, for time is only confusion, it was confusion that wrang out, “Perhaps it is just past midnight, for I somehow feel the urge to do this all over again.” Through a sieve of reason, the thief aptly rhymes, “Morning sun, if midnight is past felt, the day is now dealt, your first conscious memory, will be time’s soliloquy, it is One.” Gleeful by the easiness of having believed a transvaluation occurred, the sage rests calmly next to the companions.

“Why have you emerged from the night, do you not know that god is dead?” the jester cries out, unsettled by the cold brought by the sage’s arrival. “There are no morning sacraments for you to declare, all that is left to till from the earth is that which falls off, unrooted in its accelerating spin, for with no god any longer the earth is not fixed to itself, for nothing holds it back from accelerating to its end, for we have nothing left to confirm, you and your wisdom, perhaps, arrived too late,” the thief promptly chants. “Too late? I thought you said that time is One!” reflected the sage. “One?” the thief said, no longer hiding behind the guise of stolen phrases. For which the pride of the jester so gallantly emerged, “I have heard this statement before, that time is One, I have heard it so many different ways that I almost forgot what it means, the ‘new’ historicists used to say before the moment arrived when god was killed, the wise and the pious all agreed, that there was only one time, but now we know that to be an illocutionary fable, you surely have arrived far too late!”

Immediately the statement vanished within itself for at that moment the clock bellowed as it called again the bells of midnight, and with it the thief and the jester began to kneel before the sage, for they too far strung from the daylight had forgotten about this old facsimile of humanity’s ancient error, to think that time owes itself to revision as passively as the rooster will soon not crow in the yet still dusk. And before their prostrations and adorations, the sage began to laugh, “No, get up you wandering souls, I choose not to become a conduit for time, for time is rotten and beset to decay! Time is rotten because it fulfilled its purpose at the beginning yet it still lives, thus life is the evaporation caused by its bottomless gravity. It lives not but is for its own conclusion! It always was but never is until it finally will be! So it has been thus becomes so it never will be! All is obscured by its massive void of nothingness, for when it was so it is, so it always will be. Ever fleeing away from the fixity of itself. How too this illusion gripped us with madness, it taught us to see a zero as a circle rather than as a spiraling staircase, and thus we thought everywhere we could build this sense of our confusion, this part of us that would one day become our understanding. Yet we did not realize how in doing so, we would lead all back to nothing, for rather it is from nothingness that comes everything, thus all is included in the nothing. Yet no thing is not the thing that is its thing-itself, for itself is its thing that is not yet no thing.”

Here the sage fell silent as the thief begins to etch a counterfeit rhyme, “Fiction, rhythm, holy rhyme, god’s corpse is rotten, and thus so is time.” “How you have stolen the music from my heart, but what you have played for me is all of the dissonance the harmony transcends. For time is not rotten for nothing after all, it is rotten because it is withering away as from it emerges the exuberance of all things fixed that become eternal.” The sage exits the market square humming an ancient tune, as an old lamppost perched in a tenebrous shadow shakes with life and the festival begins again.