Sunday, March 14, 2010

di Folco Portinari

She spent her honeymoon at Nolan Falls backcombing crablouses from her hair. She bucks and heaves, my uncle riding her like a furlong mare, her tungsten crown clanging off the headboard. The duck-liver paté swells her stomach, my uncle snorting like a soulless dog, hips tuning the bedsprings. There were four paintings in the room, a nude by Sutra Slupsk, a pastoral landscape by Sviland Rogaland, a pointillist water-scene by Prague Lavin and a still-life by Mesto Praia, the pastoral landscape and the still-life of particular interest to my uncle, who felt most art was childish and obscurant. His uncle preferred portly round women, even though, with his flabby legs and a fleshy sagging belly, he found it difficult to ride them from on top. That summer his uncle succumbed to yellow jaundice, the folds of his sagging belly sweaty with lye and calcium. His mother serving him notice ‘either you do something about this monstrosity or never set foot in the house again’. The following day he paid a visit to the Moorcock Bordello, where the fattest whore rubbed castor oil and iodine into the folds of his belly, salving the yellow jaundice, thereby freeing him of his mother’s curt admonition.

1. Tommaso di Folco Portinari (1428–1501); probably 1470
Hans Memling (Netherlandish, active by 1465,
died 1494)
Oil on wood. The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
2. Maria Portinari (Maria Maddalena Baroncelli, 1456–?), probably 1470 Hans Memling (Netherlandish, active by 1465, died 1494) Oil on wood. The Metropolitan Museum of Art
.


Lola Fresán-Restrepo and Juan Pedro-Gutiérrez stood shoulder to shoulder admiring their reflection in the motel window. It rained that day. It rained until the sky couldn’t hold itself back, until the clouds, split in halves like melons, watered the ground and stars, it rained until her eyes and mouth filled up with water, until every step she took took her one step closer to the ocean, until keeping her head above water was all she could think of, all she could do to keep from drowning. It rained until it could rain no more, the sky bled empty, the moon a love-struck whore smitten with her reflection in the water. The following year his uncle returned to Nolan Falls, his eye on the chambermaid who had cleaned their crablousy room the year before.

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