Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Shoreditch Bridge

Having forgotten how to tie his shoes he went about barefooted, the soles of his feet firebrick red with calluses. Shoes, boots too, were a nuisance and best left to those with dainty feet and soft hands. His da wore wingtip hobnails with wraparound laces and copper eyelets. In the winter he wore galoshes bootstrapped round his shins and ankles. He wore his expensive shoes on Sundays, spit-polished with stout and coal-black.

On his twelfth birthday, the year he grew hair on his chin, his da bought him a pair of Warwickshire Rugby boots with money he’d double-crossed from the Warwickshire women’s auxiliary. The boots came in brown and black with ribbed sheathing on the sides. The ones his da bought with swindled money came without laces, so his da fit them with dressing-string, bits of chicken skin and guts oiling the eyelets. The Porto Alegre brothers cobble fine Moroccan leather into bravura shoes; their small two-person shop hidden away in the mountains overlooking Rio Grande do Sul, a place of deep prayer and sullenness.

No one of importance came to see the coffin off. The alms man and the littlest dogman stood over the casket hooking rocks off the lid, the coffin builder and his driver deciding to skid the box onto the back of their truck and send it off on the next train, the burial scheduled for the following day in Shoreditch Bridge. ‘--bet’cha I could wing one off the padlock’ said the alms man, the littlest dogman looking fixedly at his cap. Pressing his fingers against the splay of his chin (his jaw having been replaced with the jawbone of an ass) the coffin builder’s assistant shushed the two coffin thugs ‘-shush you ruffians shush’.

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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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