His wife left him, and took with her his son, his daughter, his wines.
He mourned them as he would the dead.
He left the country, left the hemisphere, sought alien climes, ancient culture.
In northern Europe he sought peace among the Fjords.
The long winter night scabbed over memory, but fresh bled the wounds at the rising of the sun.
He plunged like Peer into the mountains, scrabbled at boulders, bayed at the moon.
He would have been an animal.
Spring came and he survived.
He moved south, into La Belle France, into Italy, into Naples, into Greece.
He drank strong wine, warm blood, salt water.
He ran the earth through his fingers.
He builded him altars in the high places beneath the sun.
In Greece he slept at Nemi, and dreamed of Diane.
The leaves crisped and burned away and the mild winter began.
His heart sore within him.
He plunged east.
He followed the Spice Road, rode camels through high dunes, learned Arabic and Sanskrit and Hebrew.
He stank like a drover and drank like a lord and mourned, always mourned.
He drove his beasts and his men away and fled into the desert.
He was a wild ass, and lived on thistles and locusts and wild honey.
He beat his breast and blackened his skin in the sun.
He went to Mecca, city of Death for unbelievers, and nodded while the muezzin wailed.
He walked the long road into China, where Byzantine crumbled, to the roof of the world and down again.
He found opium, but no peace.
He drank the water, breathed the air of jungles, caught tigers and monkeys and rubies.
Scattered to the four winds, buried under ground.
He took two lovers, a man, and a woman, one dark as coffee, one pale as the sky at dawn.
They burned through his veins.
He fed them chocolate and liquor and hashish.
For two years he wore clothes of nothing but black, ate only black foods, sought not shelter from the rain, but sang,
“Water is the Sakvarti song.”
The birds and the beasts came to him with fruit, with choice meats, with wild dreams, and spoke with the voices of his lovers.
He looked into pools and saw the eyes of his wife.
He came home with the mark of seven lives upon his face.
The mark of Cain, the violent, the betrayed.