Saturday, March 21, 2009

Bouvard et Pecuchet

He awoke staring at a spot on the ceiling until the spot, spreading out along the ceiling and onto the wall, took over all his thoughts. Next to the window sat a vase, the marker Lugansk Donets'ka Oblast' embossed on the foot. Next to the vase sat a bowlful of flowers, dahlias and peonies, carnations and bluebells, the flowers slake. Next to the vase and the bowlful of flowers, dahlias and peonies, carnations and bluebells, a painting lay face down on the windowsill, the name Jeungpyeong Ch'ungch'ong-bukto coming to mind in the beauty of the artwork. Sitting, he opens a package of crisps, the proprietor of the crisp company haling from Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, a place he has heard of in stories and dramatic pieces but never had the opportunity to visit.

He stares at a box of raspberry faille, his thoughts reeling back to the spot on the ceiling, the bluebells squealing with delight. In a book, which he picks up, cradles in his arms and fingers through, he reads the following: “A blue steel rainy day, a marrow bone simmering in the pot of the sky. Mister Thompson’s wife had podiatry problems, corns and peapods, a Braille of flora growing in the nooks and crannies between her toes. She used pumice stone, scrubbing the hard nubs with vinegar and Epsom, but to no avail, as the corns and peapods persisted and continued to flourish in defiance of her lavations”. His thoughts flying he stands by the window next to the vase and the bowlful of flowers (carnations and bluebells, dahlias and peonies) staring at the spot, the spot having grown through the window and into the garden. ‘…my goodness…’ he exclaims, ‘…what a mercurial blue sky...’.

Staring sternly at the congregated, his eyes two black pips, the Witness proclaims ‘…everything is permitted but nothing is allowed…’. Taking in a gulp of muddy air, his eyebrows twirling like caterpillars, he continues ‘…and those of you who believe that I am mistaken are the lowliest of sinners…’. A Barger with an apple red face stood cleared his throat and announced, ‘…I am the Argil Gardener, and I have an audience today with Bouvard et Pecuchet for the job of le Gardenia Deus Plenteous de loess…’. Throwing his arms into the air, infuriated, the Witness says ‘…my dear man you are an ass…’. ‘…perhaps so, but at least I have no quarrel with them…’ says the Barger pointing at the dogmen. The Witness, his face as red as an autumn apple, turned tail and fled, the congregants hissing and croaking after him. ‘…swindler…’ yells one of the congregants. ‘…mountebank…’ screams another, her face red with fury. ‘…stinking rat…’. ‘…off with his head…’ hollers a congregant with a blind eye, his good eye widening with anger. ‘…leave him be…’ pleas the Argil Gardener, ‘…his sins will soon enough catch up with him…’.

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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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