Friday, October 08, 2010

Feast of the Rapture

‘...I killed sleeping flies, turning my back to him and whistling’. (Juan Carlos Onetti, Goodbyes and Stories).
The man in the hat met J.M. Gutierrez at the Feast of the Rapture, neither man recognizing the other. Years earlier they met at the Feast of the Lamb, acknowledging one another with a tacit nod of the head. He pulled her across his torso, the hard coils of her breasts digging into his chest like dirks. The smell of her own sex making her sick, his hands despoiling her empty flesh, she lay like a frightened child unable to feel the simplest emotion. Her noviciate last three years; two hanging from the rafters in a horse-sling. They called her Lorelei,

1. I cannot determine the meaning
Of sorrow that fills my breast:
A fable of old, through it streaming,
Allows my mind no rest.
The air is cool in the gloaming
And gently flows the Rhine.
The crest of the mountain is gleaming
In fading rays of sunshine.

2. The loveliest maiden is sitting
Up there, so wondrously fair;
Her golden jewelry is glist'ning;
She combs her golden hair.
She combs with a gilded comb, preening,
And sings a song, passing time.
It has a most wondrous, appealing
And pow'rful melodic rhyme.

3. The boatman aboard his small skiff, -
Enraptured with a wild ache,
Has no eye for the jagged cliff, -
His thoughts on the heights fear forsake.
I think that the waves will devour
Both boat and man, by and by,
And that, with her dulcet-voiced power
Was done by the Loreley.

(Heinrich Heine, Die Lorelei)

Swaying, trembling, the horse-sling cutting her in halves, she surrendered to his pow'rful skiff. ‘I cannot determine the meaning’ said the man in the hat. ‘I think that the waves will devour the fading rays of sunshine, but I could be mistaken’. Fearing that he might be forsaken, or worse, abandoned to the jagged sea, he walked out into the sunshiny bright day, his hat proudly atop his head, the smell of starchy laundry assailing his sense of balance.

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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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