Sunday, March 22, 2009

The Dry Brown Earth

That morning the sky was a blue ocean, the clouds splashing against the dry brown earth. The man in the hat sat on the edge of his cot laughing, the morning sun gleaming on the battlement of his skull. An old-time Barger from Galapagar Madrid ran into a wet-behind-the-ears Barger from Surabaya Jawa Timur, both men, Barger’s by trade, exchanging suspicious glances. ‘…what brings you here…?’ asks the old-time Barger, his eyes flicking. ‘…certainly not the weather…’ says the wet-behind-the-ears Barger shivering. Both men look at one another, the old-time Barger clearing his throat, the wet-behind-the-ears Barger stamping the cold pavement. ‘…see you then…’ says the old-time Barger. ‘…and you…’ replies the wet-behind-the-ears Barger, his lips bluing.

…more oft than oft (more so oft) the world spins and whizzes, dodging in and out of traffic, the trees begging for water. A lapdog without a lap, a muleteer without a mule (gunmetal hooves clip-clopping), a blue sunny day without a tear in the sky, the world picking up speed like a whoring dervish. I know you know he said. Know what he said? That the world will spin whizzing out of control he said. Your soft in the head he said. So I am so I am he said. The slap of Quaker boots on wet cement, pebble by pebble they march single-file past the Church of the Perpetual Sinner, the littlest sinner keeping tabs on the fattest, the sky blacker than misspent youth.

That evening the lamplighter lit every second lamp, leaving the path leading to the aqueduct in darkness. It was here, in the quill-black darkness, that the dogmen danced round a burning maypole, the littlest dogmen keeping rhythm with a trashcan lid and a fichus branch, a cock’s tongue of smoke corkscrewing into the night sky. ‘…i e i e…’ yipped the littlest dogman, his eyes red with smoke. ‘…e i e i…’ yapped the biggest dogman, his face clenched tight as a fist. Together, the ash covered earth quaking under their feet, they sang ‘…e i i e i i e e…’, the lamplighter, crouching behind a stand of fichus trees sighing ‘…cunts don’t know the difference between a maypole and hedgerow …’.

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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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