Friday, August 06, 2010

Ter Titica na Cabeça

He jumped off the back of the oxcart two miles shy of Co Offaly, his legs aching, the back of his head matted with straw. No matter how hard he tried the muleteer couldn’t avoid the runnels and undulations that littered the road, the back of the oxcart kicking like a foaling mare. ‘by Christ I almost ate my tongue’. The station attendant walked along the dirt path to the livery, the muleteer following behind him like a stray dog. The last time he saw the station attendant he was wearing the same squalid redcap. The lacquey Tosilos came up from the cellar carrying a pickaxe and a shovel, behind him the judges of the field and the appellant duennas, each carrying a rake and a tar pot.

Oliver Etnad stood two feet shy of the field judge, and judging by his posture he was none too pleased to be sharing the same shadow with the judge and the lacquey Tosilos. The sun, sitting higher than usual in the sky cast a shadow twice the size of a well-kept orchard. That day “Myles Crawford appeared on the steps, his hat aureoling his scarlet face” (Ulysses, James Aloysius Joyce), his forehead anodyne pale. (Coclé Pennon and Gerald Og, no relation to Jerrod Og, met under a broiling hot sun outside the Co Offaly station, neither man aware that the other had booked passage on the eastbound oxcart scheduled to leave at noon). The field judge and the lacquey Tosilos stood two-astride the biggest runnel, neither shovel nor tar pot seeming immense enough to fix the frottage. ‘good Christ, what a runnel!’ exclaimed the field judge. ‘we’ll never get this thing filled before the noontime’ said lacquey Tosilos. ‘not with these shovels and tar pots we won’t’. The field judge shook his head up and down and back and forth, grinding his teeth until he could taste them at the back of his throat.

Holding his alforjas out in front of him he walked cobbling to the station, a supremely happy look on his face. That morning the field judge offered him a modest purse with two hundred gold crowns, enough to pay for his ticket home. He refused the gift, saying he’d rather starve than accept alms from a cheat and a scoundrel. Trifaldi, standing abreast Coclé Pennon and Gerald Og shook his head back and forth; he too wanted nothing to do with rogues and villains. ‘who’re you calling a rogue, Pisón?’ grumbled the lacquey Tosilos, his armpits dripping like hanging laundry. Two of the judges of the field and the appellant duennas stood their ground, refusing in kind to have anything to do with cutthroats or cold-cockers.

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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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