Thursday, January 29, 2009

The Rope Dancer

The very next day. The very next day the sun shone like a sizzling red onion, layer upon layer of dazzling radiant sparkle. Awaking from a swelter, his hair spooled into a topknot, the shamble leg man sat on the edge of his cot musing, his thoughts on broiled onions and whitefish swooned in seine wine. From his window he could smell the sea salty pong of netted fish, gum soled boats and rubber gloves. His da’s friend worked hauling nets for 30 years, the tendons of his hands stretched taut as piker string. His da’s friend, Dobele Dobeles, fell overboard, bobbling like a toy boat, his body washing up three years later, a cowl of net lassoed round his neck.

Every other Saturday and third Wednesday the El Palomar sets sail from Buenos de Alamance for the Church of the Perpetual Sinner, her belly full of sweater wool and women’s haberdashery. The ship’s first mate, a loutish swine with a boar’s hair back and half shorn ear, recites from a book he keeps stowed in a canvas sac slung over his shoulder, “Then, however, something happened which made every mouth mute and every eye fixed. In the meantime, of course, the rope-dancer had commenced his performance: he had come out at a little door, and was going along the rope which was stretched between two towers, so that it hung above the market-place and the people. When he was just midway across, the little door opened once more, and a gaudily-dressed fellow like a buffoon sprang out, and went rapidly after the first one. "Go on, halt-foot," cried his frightful voice, "go on, lazy-bones, interloper, sallow-face!--lest I tickle thee with my heel!”
[1] When he’s done reading he stows the book snuggly back into his canvas sac and goes back to hauling and heaving, his boar’s hair back bristling with sweat and sea salty water. Men such as he are an anomaly among seafaring men, as reading and first-mating are not generally found together in loutish swine.
[1] Friedrich Nietzsche, Thus Spake Zarathustra

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"Poetry is the short-circuiting of meaning between words, the impetuous regeneration of primordial myth". Bruno Schulz

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