Monday, August 10, 2009

Girolamo Fracastoro

This wasn’t the first time he’d had his fetters with the Mormons. A few years back late into the evening he fell upon a Mormon wingding in a circus tent on the outskirts of town (the Mormons not being allowed within the five-mile fence) the head Mormon scolding ‘--be gone heathen… you are not welcomed here!’ The South Shields Mormons and the South Tyneside Mormons are in cahoots with the Brayside Episcopalians, forming the Church of the Greater Scientist, know for its pig-knuckle competitions, held the second Sunday of every month, twice during the month of Lent. Not feeling the faintest bit faint he stood his ground and stared bulls’-eyed at the head Mormon, his knuckles brandished at his sides. ‘--I assure you, my dear man, I am no heathen…’.

When he was old enough to burn ants with a magnifying glass his da bought him a telescope with silver dials. He burned small black dots into ash, spiny legs like fake-eyelashes disappearing under the hedge, his mamma screaming ‘supper!’ at the top of her lungs. ‘--if it’s a fight you want, dear sir, then so be it… I will show you no mercy, I assure’. (Dear auntie hadn’t the faintest why the gonorrhoeae visited her on Wednesdays and Friday’s after fish, just the damndest thing).

In the village of Wolverhampton, under a jaundice yellow moon, the Wolverhampton apothecary dispensed a tincture of flea salve to the man standing at the head of the line, the queued fuming like a nest of angry mud-wasps. Girolamo Fracastoro, professor emeritus at Padua university, handed out copies of his epic poem ‘Syphilis sive morbus gallicus’ to those gathered, men, women and children alike applauding with enthusiasm. Skulking in the shadows, his pamphleteer’s cap pulled over his brow, the Witness pointed his finger at the eminent professor of medicine and proclaimed ‘--you sir are a crackpot and a phony!’ His face calm and unwrinkled, the eminent professor replied ‘--the educated classes… who consider themselves the brains of the nation. In fact they are not its brains but its shit… do not waste yourself on the whining of decaying intellectuals’
[1], the sun disappearing into the brown dirty earth.
[1] Vladimir Ilyich Lenin to Maxim Gorky

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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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