SALT HILL 20, Winter 2008
Letter to Plant from Easter Island
Dear Robert, Once upon a time this island was the End of the World, and right now, as a man claiming lineage to its ancient people preaches about misunderstood Polynesian belief, I’m reminded of a photo I’d stare at for hours in my youth of you peering over Phoenix in 1971, arms spread wide on your 3rd American tour, only 22—a year before my birth. You yelled, “I’m a golden god!” Sometimes, I can’t help it, I still go back, turn up the volume, and imagine a glory of golden locks blossoming like a wild garden from my head, bracelets rattling, and a resonant wailing rising from the depths of my divided soul. If only I could topple the totems of my dream like the monolithic Moai and let the lineage of the truth’s traceable ancestor erase the lava rock of the past. Robert, I really only know you by your wailing. You’re like Zeus—not a god but a story—looking down on a brave world, lightning bolt in hand, with nowhere to go but down. We want to believe our gods will fail so we can prove they aren’t any more joyful than we are. You once sang, There are two paths you can go by, but in the long run there’s still time to change the road you’re on. Is your shadow still taller than your soul? I wish mine were bigger than it is. My version of the White Lady is that she’s preposterous, posthumous love; love that leaves a bruise in the shape of a rose; love like a distorted amp rumbling through the suburbs of my past.