Wednesday, March 03, 2010

Hotel de l'Univers

The Eastleigh Hampshire boys snort like ox’s. Hooking stones off the grocer’s awning he fell cock and barrel into the street, his face smeared into the blacktop. Says who, he said? ‘says us’ they said, faces blackened with blacktop. I prefer blackstropped molasses, makes the panfry go down like a shucked oyster. But not so swelled so as to cause me any discomfit. I see no end to this nonsense; none whatsoever. He believed in something greater, and the words made it so. Every morning before setting out he spit polished his boots, bringing out a shine that drew the blood out of the whites of his eyes.

His father lived at the Grand Hotel Corneille, rue Corneille 5, 9 rue de l'Universite in a hotel, 5 rue de l'Assomption, 5 Boulevard Raspail, 71 rue du Cardinal Lemoine, 9 rue de l'Universite, again in a hotel, 26 Avenue Charles Floquet, spent time in London and Bognor on holiday, then moved to Hotel de l'Univers, and from there to Victoria Palace Hotel, then 6 rue Blaise Desgoffe, 8 avenue Charles Floquet, 2 Square Robiac and 192 rue de Grenelle, relocated to London where he took up lodging at 28b Campden Grove, Kensington, then back to Paris and 2 avenue St Philibert and Passy, 42 rue Galilee, then a short stint in Belgium, Luxemburg and Switzerland, where he stayed at The Hotel Carlton Elite (now Carlton Restaurant & Bar, Apero Variante 2 near Bahnhofstrasse), Zurich, returning to Paris where he leased a walkup at 7 rue Edmond Valentin, a two room bedsit at 34 rue des Vignes, then a suite in Hotel Lutetia, where he stayed through until the Spring, moving to 43 Boulevard Raspail, (In Saint-Gerand-le-Puy and Vichy, both of which are communes in the Allier department in Auvergne in central France) in June to avoid the inclimate weather he abhorred so dearly, then in August to Hotel Powers, 52 rue Francois Premier, La Residence, 41 avenue Pierre Premier de Serbie and Hotel Belmont et de Bassano, 28-30 rue de Bassano, Champs-Elysees where he stayed until moving to Hotel Lord Byron, where he was treated for over-exhaustion, the treatment including sulfur baths, low altitude walking and Shiva massage, and finally to 5 rue Chateaubriand Paris 75008 (a three-star hotel located in Champs Elysees, close to the Arc de Triomphe) where he stayed until he moved to the quadrangle behind the aqueduct, where he remained until his death of violent whooping in 1957. His body transported by oxcart to the Grand Hotel Corneille, rue Corneille 5 where he was laid to rest in an unnamed plot behind the aviary.

He remembers very little else about his father other than the on-suite room they shared at Hotel de l'Univers, the rest a faint blanching in his memories. It was there, amidst the thunder and lightening of his father’s life, that he first met the legless man, with legs, who was working as a bellhop and collecting ideas for a memoir he was never to write nor give a second thought to.

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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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