Monday, May 03, 2010

Ivory Castanets

Once seated the assistant to the rector’s assistant passed out the hymn books, those seated at the back waving trying to get his attention. Across the aisle from the Witness the legless man folded his stump-ends under his buttocks, the smell of after-shave stifling. A man seated across the aisle started humming, the small girl to his left pulling at his coat arm. ‘the deaf leading the blind’ said a woman in a raccoon coat, the woman next to her smiling charmingly. ‘the mute leading the unvoiced’ said the gentleman next to her picking a scab off the end of his thumb. ‘the sightless leading the hard of hearing’ said a woman wearing a cowlick bonnet with flowers, ‘sounds much more formal’. ‘its all a matter of taste’ said the little girl tugging on the humming man’s coat arm. ‘I do believe you’re correct’ said the woman in the cowlick bonnet with flowers. ‘yes absolutely’ said the woman in the raccoon coat her eyes gleaming. ‘right you are my dear’. ‘shush!’ shushed a woman, ‘this is God’s house not some speakeasy’. ‘miserable old cunt’ whispered the girl tugging on the humming man’s coat arm.

A willowy boy with freckles helped the vicar to the altar, the congregants standing to attention. ‘the deaf leading the blind’ said the woman in the raccoon coat, ‘miserable old cunt’ whispered the small girl yanking, ‘shut your scab holes’ hissed the shushing woman, ‘this is not some speakeasy’. ‘for the love of God, enough!’ hollered the vicar, his face reddening a pint. ‘I told you’ said the hissing shushing woman. Gulping air the legless man began hiccupping, a balding man to his right laughing to split a gut. ‘quiet now!’ said the man picking a scab off his thumb, ‘have you no respect for God’s house?’ ‘mind your own business’ hiccupped the legless man, ‘your own business’ mimicked the little girl, her teeth clacking like ivory castanets.

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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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