Saturday, August 08, 2009

Efflagitasti Convicio

Howard Zweig fell from such a great height he broke his collarbone, three knuckles and a tooth. Had he not been in such a hurry to get where he was going he might not have fallen from such a great height breaking three knuckles, his collarbone and a tooth. But on that day he was in a hurry hurrying to get a glimpse of the missing whore’s glove said to be in the possession of a frail weakly man staying in a room above the Greek Deli. (On the wall facing the five-mile fence, the plaster pale-ashen, was written the following: “Thoughts---- Thoughts are the shadows of our feelings----always darker, emptier, and simpler.”)[1] On the wall opposite, beneath a framed facsimile of the first page of the Bible, was a handwritten note, “Anselmo, hidden behind some tapestries where he had concealed himself, beheld and was amazed at all, and already felt that what he had seen and heard was a sufficient answer to even greater suspicions…” {Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote}. After reading the handwritten note, before which he took a wide-eyed glance at the facsimile, the man in the hat said to himself ‘--ah yes, the missing whore’s glove, suspicion does as suspicion is’.

The last time he’d seen a framed replica was in Buenos Balcarce in the nineteen-fifties, the page torn from the book of Los Conchas de Putas, owned by the Dundee Bros. of Dundee. The Dundee Bros. sold the replica page to the Allerd City library, the facsimile placed on the wall next to a duplicate replica of the Frederiksborg Book of Laughter, chapter 27 revealing the proper technique for belly-laughter and chortling. ‘--I sure could use a feast’ said the man in the hat, ‘…its been months since the Feast of the Thirsty Boar… the harridan’s sister flying off the handle and making a damned fool of herself’. Peeking from behind the bust of King Olaf, the King’s nose whitewashed with tern (Sternidae) shit, the littlest dogmen tittered, his pockets weighed with river stones and pebbles. ‘--if I had a nickel’ said the man in the hat weighing his words carefully, ‘--I’d be a rich man, nickels being what they are… prime real estate in a bunkers’ market’.

That summer feasts were a rarity, few churches and women’s auxiliaries having the chairs or time to put on a banquet, those with a craving for formal meals having to settle for tinned vegetables and canned meats, under-ripe cheeses and hard boiled eggs, the sort of trough one found at the Greek Deli or the Seder Grocer’s, both of which were closed Saturdays and Wednesdays after one (the proprietor of the Greek Deli spent Wednesdays eeling and Saturdays reciting Homeric poetry; the owner of the Seder Grocer’s paid his mother a visit every Wednesday afternoon at two, Saturdays he baked wafers for the following week’s communion, non-salted from eight to noon, salted from twelve to five-thirty).

‘--out of my way, can’t you see I’m in a hurry?’ cried the Witness, his arms overburdened with pamphlets and jars of ink. As today was the day before the Quintilian he was fit to be tied, his thoughts baying in the pulpit of his head. In his right hand he held the first oration, ‘Efflagitasti cotidiano convicio, ut libros, quos ad Marcellum meum de Institutione oratoria scripseram iam emittere inciperem…’
[2] and under his left arm a duplicate replica of the first page of the Mormon Bible, the words bleeding one into the other, the printer having used cheapskate ink and discount paper.
[1] Friedrich Nietzsche, The Gay Science, Trans., Walter Kaufmann, New York: Vintage, 1974.
[2] Marcus Fabius Quintilianus, The Orations.

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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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