Monday, March 09, 2009

Father Rheinland-Pfalz

Her belly hangs in slough, carrying the weight of her infidelities. Lela stands naked in front of the window, the glass reflecting her unhappiness. Vejle and Jelling sing lullabies to birds and lost children. Thursdays and Saturdays Stefan Stambolov and L.J. Lovech play checkers on a wooden door balanced on two sawhorses; Sundays they play pinochle; Wednesdays and Tuesdays they sharpened sticks; Sundays are for sleeping in past the cock’s crow; Mondays they play checkers with Vejle and Jelling, the sisters having tired of lullabies and birds.

Collapsing, his bedsore eyes teary, he sits looking at the birds. He remembers his first visit to Nuevo Laredo where he saw a blind man walking a gibbon (Hylobates) on a leash, and in Tamaulipas where the sun was so blistering he fell faint for 27½ days, father Frankenthal of Rheinland-Pfalz offering him a cool damp cloth on the 28th day, and the one-legged beggar in Cartagena who claimed he worked for Bolivar Under Secretary and was on the job spying on tourists and the no-good. He saw the bear he fought for a half-pint; the bear taking him down twice before he could lay the piker into its skull. He saw his mamma arguing with his uncle over a misdealt hand, his mamma throwing her cards in his uncle’s face, her eyes blacker than tar spit.

He had so many memories he thought his head would implode, time running backwards, gushing, stop. He remembered his granddad saying ‘the early worm gets the bird’ and thinking, ‘sad cunt’, and that the air was porridge thick with bluebottles and cob smoke. He tried to remember how to forget, thinking that even if he could he’d remember that he had and have to start all over again. The sun fell from the sky, the moon pricking it like a child’s balloon. ‘…if I could only sleep…’ he said to himself, ‘...and awaken with the sun on my face, if only…’. He stared at the sky and whispered, ‘…its never too late to learn a new trick…’, then putting his best foot forward walked away, the birds caw-cawing well into the night.

1 comment:

Joanne said...

wow. no eloquent praise this morning, just wow.

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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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