Friday, September 3, 2010

Lineage of Desire

The family continues. Or it, as an organism, desires to continue. Despite murder, after betrayal and retribution, after an affair stained with indecent thoughts, the family continues. It is a lineage that travels though blood, mingling and marrying, sharing saliva and mucus, eventually forming other, smaller life forms, who in turn, reach out with tentacle-like arms to find those with a slight taste for blood and reflexes that can easily pull a trigger.
The family continues. It is the desire and impulse, not only of two-legged mammals that claim dominion over the earth, but in every creature that fucks and dies. To continue on, to multiply, to produce more. It is programmed so deep we don’t need brains, even single cells divide and divide and divide, creating more of themselves, not all too different from the warm blooded beings we call offspring. And though our babies cry and smile, it is nearly the same movement through generations, each new life engendered by the one preceding it.
In an old story told to me at a young, open age, it was Abraham who was asked by God to take the life of his son. It was a child hard to come by and with a quick slice of the knife the boy would die and the lineage might end, which would be the greatest of tragedies, but Abraham was willing to make the sacrifice.
My parents told me that story, and now they sit it their marble house, waiting as the clock ticks and no grandchildren are born, it is the greatest of tragedies. For when I die, they will die. The little branch will end, snubbed out, finally, after dozens of incarnations.
In my immediate family, the entire younger generation is female. There are six cousins, all female. Two of my cousins have children, all three of them are girls. Growing up, it was assumed I would have children. But as a minuscule deviate, I always imagined they would carry my last name. In my name I felt all the generations before mine and as a tribute, as a way to preserve them, I thought the most important thing to do was continue the family name, to insist that the next generation not assume the names of their fathers.
It seemed so important. I wanted the family to continue, not just in bodies, but in name. In name as a symbol.
It is different now. Entire species of animals go extinct under the hand of an indifferent man that uses the earth’s plants and soil for profit. Races of humans are taken out, babies are killed for preemptive retribution, one name seems to make little difference.
Is it the wish of every being to keep living? A life eternal, maybe not in their first body, but in the smaller bodies that come after them. Can my child take what I have not finished and redeem me? Can they carry on and change what I have failed? Is this the hope of any parent, that their failings will be altered, the dark memories of their lives changed for the better?
I sit on the edge of this bed and look at the white wall, there is no one who will redeem me, my failings will be my own. Each jealous outburst, each painting left undone, they will be mine. Those are the curses of the invisible generations and their echoes will reverberate through time, just as I carry the unfinished goals and dreams of the generations who never saw me, the ones that exist in faded photographs and memories that I can no longer retrieve.

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