In Brief

The Density of the Crowd, During And After the Spectacle by Patrick Pattillo

Matador and bull on brick wall

I knew I had to respect Hemingway when channeling his eyes.

I shot a male rhino from 70 yards, as it was grazing—with a high-powered Browning rifle.

I brought his head home.

I drank heavily as I watched Matadors in tight, shimmering clothes.

They grimaced and struck artistic poses. Their thick hair looked like wet coal.

I regaled with the wild crowd, the slow killing of the outnumbered powerful bull.

I am a foreigner in this audience’s pastime. I’ve joined them in their pastimes.

I watched picadors thrust spears into the frustrated behemoth.

Seated next to me were 5 diminutive Madrid-ian nuns in black and white habits.

They were eating marcona almonds, dried sardines, and quietly cheering the men in the ring.

They poured me red wine to share, into an offered paper cup, and commented on my foreign accent.

They were as mysterious to me as other Spaniards, or Masai, or Americans, or myself—

There is often a contradiction if you are expecting an icon, notwithstanding the clarity of what we see.

We are not obvious in beauty and evil.

We are obvious as a mystery.

The almost-dead bull choked blood from the punctures into its lungs.

Blood spurted from its nose in exhales. Blood drooled from its mouth and hanging tongue.

Collapse is natural before the end.

Horses dragged the paralyzed creature across the tan sand, leaving behind a red grit trail.

And by now, I feel I should know why I must shoot myself in my head.

I don’t believe it is all connected, or of course it is all connected. I love pastoral Idaho. I could confess

for years about its daily beauty. There is everything natural in what I’ve left, or what I’ve witnessed

as exceptional. Beauty is fair and unfair.

Living a life given to its fullest might be a disgusting false pablum.

Full of what is a non-curvilinear rainbow. And self is eventually dragged out.

Being the killing of myself—it’s worth a full nomenclature of exploration.

Which means we are, and are not on our own.


Patrick Pattillo
Patrick Pattillo

Patrick Pattillo lives in the Jamaica Plain neighborhood of Boston, and he was born and raised in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. He spent 8 years living and traveling abroad in Asia, Africa, and Europe. A good bit of his traveling was on long, long bike trips. He works in the real estate field, converting multi-families into condos.

He feels the craft and practice of writing is like a beautiful range of mountains, and he is dedicated to learn the secrets of climbing.

The Flexible Persona was founded in 2013. We are an independent home for emerging and established writers and poets.