From Walking Backwards...
It is better to be a gladiator than either a cowboy or an Indian. Wear the vest, hang the banner, commit humble obeisance at the feet of the polished trophy.
It is better to be a gladiator than either a cowboy or an Indian. His favorite tea is the mint juniper berry of delicatessens. The gladiator makes his unformed literal statements of ordinary feeling almost every evening, alone. From within his prison cell he wonders, when are the desert flowers most in bloom? Some believe that his lament is too wretched for their hero to sing.
It is better to be a gladiator than either a cowboy or an Indian. Those barren eyes are his swollen fingers, our brave solemn hero-man. All he wanted was to live long so that he could claim to have seen something, at least, occur and recount it, too. What are his prospects? He so wants to go, like Virgil, to his farm. Cuttlefish protein has blessed him with long life and now he’s getting ready to exit Earth orbit for Andromeda.
There’ll never, he tells me, be another Rome. Never. And he should know for once he fought in the coliseum. Later, he rode bareback herding doggies in amber grain, shot turkey beside Chingachgook and Uncas before they came so early to obdurate, ill-natured death while Natty Bumpo stumbled along his happy trails. The coliseum, he tells me, had more class than the plains: death in stone, more resonance than in prairie grass, alone and nameless in Nebraska or Vietnam.
He wants to be a poet, not a gladiator.