WARRIOR in the WINDOW
There’s a warrior in the window. Some Chinese gift
shop in South Charleston, West Virginia. I’ve just had
my back adjusted down the street, because, well, shite,
age happens. And I am feeling slightly better, yet not
warrior-esque. Like this guy. Who maybe was a
warrior, now a king. He certainly has a kingly beard.
I run my hand through the stubble on my chin. I’ve
within the year given up on shaving. These days, I sustain
a mossy patch of stubbly beard in order not to have
to undertake the busy rigamorole of the morning shave,
razoring down to the pores this endless chia-pet growth.
I submit to it just this much. Buzz an electric razor,
quick-shave the neck so I don’t look neanderthal-ish down
there (in truth, it has been awhile since a kiss was aimed
that direction). These are the little emmendations in
our morning ablutions, as we still-vain older generations
seek solace in these damn fading looks. Yet this ancient Chinese
warrior-king has aged well! I will have no such ruminative beard,
they itch too terribly. Yet he wears it well. What is he thinking?
Has he just issued an edict so the castle is in an uproar?
War! Or perhaps: Peace! A race for the swords! Or the
ploughshares. Or perhaps he contemplates his life, the
few successes, countless failures. The approaching loss of
his kingdom. For they all fade, kingdoms do. ‘Look on my works
ye mighty and despair…!’ My bearded king knows his
uncle, Ozymandias, lies face down in hot and distant sand.
Perhaps the warrior-king has just seen his own impressive
visage, the steles commemorating his magnificent –
magnanimous even! — reign, tumbled into heaps of segmented
stone, like the sliced sausage brought him for his breakfast.
Have I fulfilled this other ablution, writing some prose
for yet another day in another decade of this life? I see, in
variants of my warrior-king photos evidence of the
shooter in the frame. Look! The shadowed fingers, the wisp of
hair. We are intermingled, this king and I. He, long forgotten,
yet residing behind glass in remote North America.
Face and eyes scrunched. Perhaps in benevolent far-seeing?
Or maybe he is managing the torsion of memory inside
the aging man, who sits in all his kingly glory and sterling, fearsome
reputation — and yet still can twist his ankle in recollection of
regret and paths not forged or not forged yet. Perhaps he is meditating
on the only thing that will bear him further through his days.
What does the warrior-king awaken to today?
~ douglas imbrogno | westirginiaville.com | click photos larger