Saturday, October 23, 2010

Obadiah

Tiring of the befuddlement that cursed his being, the man in the hat sat under a mighty elm and counted the stars in the noontime sky: 2. He had no other recourse than to admit defeat; his life having become a peccadillo of disappointment. Were he but a farthing, a boy called Poldy who’s worse fear was his ma’s uneven temper, wading knee-high in the muck behind the woolshed spearing frogs with arrows his da’s da gave him, the sucking noise his boots made when he unstuck his foot from a grave of squashy mud, his arrow a spit of frogs, garlands of roe and green things, three frogs impaled with one pull of his bow, his piss yellower than the buttercups they held under their chins to see who liked butter and who didn’t. {His best friend Obadiah was keen on oleo}.

“(He smites with his bicycle pump the {mudbug} in his left hand.)” (James Aloysius Joyce, Ulysses). His da wore his shirt back to front, affecting a backwardness that followed him wherever he went. Woolshed frogs, his granddad smiling broadly from ear to ear. ‘never admit defeat my boy’ thinking what he really meant was deafness, but his upper-plate slipped and got in the way. Pumping he went about the day, his unstuck boot making a sucking noise. Un-tucked he strode into the day, his cudgel dangling betwixt his legs. Knuckling his bicycle sump he set off into the world, Obadiah at his side. ‘never overestimate the forces of nature’ said his da’s da jawing his upper-plate. Time and again he lost time of time; the hours and days fleeting by like scat through a goose. Up to his waist he went about the day never-minding that at noontime he had a meeting with Dejesus. He wondered: who likes butter and who doesn’t? Maybe Dejesus. Who knows? “(He smites with his bicycle pump the {crawdaddy} in his left hand.)” (ibid). Maybe not. His da taught him how to make a cudgel out of worthless metals, the blacksmith’s apron cutting into the partial bones in his hips. That night his grandmamma served whitefish, his da rescuing a crumb of bone caught in his throat with a thump on his back.

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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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