Thursday, June 18, 2009

Pressing His Eyes Open

The alms man, watching from behind a heap of trash-tins, his alms cap full to busting with pennies and train flattened nickels, said to himself:

"O God! is it possible I have found a place that may serve as a secret grave for the weary load of this body that I support so unwillingly? If the solitude these mountains promise deceives me not, it is so; ah! woe is me! how much more grateful to my mind will be the society of these rocks and brakes that permit me to complain of my misfortune to Heaven, than that of any human being, for there is none on earth to look to for counsel in doubt, comfort in sorrow, or relief in distress!"

Pressing his eyes open and shut, he picked up his cap, and weighing the day’s take, enough to buy a tin of sardines and a bag of scrap bread, slipped darkly into the night, the OAS guard floundering round in a nudniks’ circle. ‘--why are all these characters suddenly appearing in my life?’ he asked blandly. Not having a good leg to stand on (his legs having given up years ago) he sat on a bustard in the Waymart parking lot, the bird having fallen from a nearby tree. Curiously he looked between his legs at the bustard, the bird looking up at him, both he and the bustard giving one another the once-over. ‘--strange animal, and not a good leg to stand on’. The alms man called every living thing that wasn’t a man, woman or a child an animal, foregoing the bafflement of remembering names for things and objects which he had no real interest in, not personally at least. Hoisting himself up, the bustard wheezing and spitting, its eyes turning in their sockets, bloodied, the alms man went his way, curious why such a colourfully plumed bird, and with such bandy sticklike legs, should find itself laying flattened into the Waymart asphalt.
[1] Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote.

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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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