Sunday, February 22, 2009

Beyond the Coppice

That morning the sky was ogre blue tinged with azure. ‘…today I will eat nothing but vegetable ends…’ thought the legless man to himself. ‘…and should I run out of them, I will eat pickles stewed with oil and vinegar…’. ‘…regimiento tropa can-boiled with organ viands and periwinkles…’. The legless man had odd notions, connives, of how one should best feed oneself, preferring stinkweed to pokeweed, iceberg lettuce, a stool softener, was best left to the incontinent and hard of hearing, cabbage and kale were the devil’s horns, spinach was for the least of the least, those with troubled pasts and little personal restraint, garden salads were a waste of precious time, all that washing and shredding and picking, time better spent spying on the alms man or the harridan’s sister, as time goes by quicker than a five-legged hare. Beyond the five-mile fence (beyond the coppice) where his da took him on Sunday afternoons, he pushed leafy boats onto the waves of the aqueduct, no finer acquit could he imagine from the world, nor a place where time runs backwards from mouth to delta. The Baia Mare sisters stole away on a scow belly-filled with thugs, felons and robbers, the ship’s name was the Maramures’, known for its brigand cargo and leaky hull. He imagined his tiny leaf-boats were rogue scows transporting villains and poor folk to island lockups far, far away, where baddies were kept in dark foul holes, fed suet and grave dirt and forced to atone for their unseemly sins. Once the sisters reached the island brigand, which took two fortnights and three days, they set to whoring, all three sisters wearing silken gloves and tight-fitting bodices with bone stays, the better for bending over foul smelling monsters and toothless apes. In his thoughts the legless man could imagine anything, stowaway sisters and island hoosegows, two sturdy legs and a bellyful of pokeweed and periwinkles, things that made sense when sense didn’t make any sense at all.

1 comment:

Pearl said...

mm, pickles. always a good idea. :)

kale as devil's horns. curious.

sins, often unseemly except when by a tailor, doncha find? ;)

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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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