Sunday, July 26, 2009

Sickly Boy

He felt a deep unrest. Without his hats and caps his life would be meaningless. Meaninglessness, he discovered, was far worse than meaningless, as the ‘ness’ suffixed at the end signaled a true sense of despair, and despair, as he’d come to learn, was something he wore like a tight-fitting suit, the cuffs frayed and in tatters. ‘--vomit’, he taunted, the black bile causing him to burp and eructate like a turnip-fed ass. ‘--were I a muleteer I’d drive my cart down the centre of the street laughing all the day’ he said jeering. ‘--were I a barroom brawler I’d brawl all night, knocking down all who dared get in my way.’

The cornerstone on which he stood squat was the very one on which his grandmamma made her water that day then. She often made her toilet on the Waymart keystone or the limestone casement surrounding the Greek Deli, ‘---astride the battlement’ as she would say, when she was too tired to make her water in the trap at home. Howard Laërtius’ teeth, milled from an old cistern, clack. When he eats they clap like grindstones. Poor sot bastard.

His grandmamma wore her skirts hitched round her belly to hide her birthing scars. After 27½ hours of grunting and pushing the midwife puncture her waterbag with a hatpin, a red liquid matting the hair on her thighs and belly, her son taking his first breath like a sailor astride her quisling thighs, Doctor Flensburg proclaiming ‘-goodness me what a sickly boy’.

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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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