Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Laggardly

The truth has its own weaknesses. The day he was born his mamma screeched at the top of her lungs, God forgive me, I have given birth to a monster! He was born Poldy Magyar, his mother changing his name to Japheth on his eleventh birthday. Then on his twelfth birthday, realizing that her son had no competence for shipbuilding, she began calling him ‘my little man in the hat’, as he wore a cap whenever and wherever he went. "Woodshadows floated silently by through the morning peace from the stairhead seaward where he gazed." [U.1.242] she said in a soft lilting voice, her ‘little man in the hat’ tugging aggressively at her skirts. I did say at your birth, dear boy, that I had given birth to a monster; but that, I dare say dear son was a mistake: that morning, the morning in question, I had slaked my thirst with Sloe Gin Fizz, thereby corrupting the hole you were hatched from. I beg your forgiveness, my dear lovely child. So that was how it began: from Poldy to Japheth to ‘my little man in the hat’. But mamma why do you feel such shame; a boy is a boy even if his name be untilled.

Laggardly, slowly, he pushed sleep from his body, his eyes trapped shut like the jaws of Nepenthes rajah. The pigheaded four: Death, judgment, heaven and hell. Never underestimate the wisdom of the dead. These his da told him over cold mock chicken sandwiches and warm raspberry Kook-Aid. My son, you must never forget, the world is a sham; life is lived by the stupid, not the wise. Off in the distance woodshadows floated silently across the horizon, his da tugging on his coattails, coaxing him over the five-mile and into the dustbowl of the future. It isn’t your fault mamma; some boys are born monsters. Written on the ceiling, the ink bluing into the corners above his head, was the following: “The Alçada of the village came by chance into the inn together with a notary, and” {the Witness} laid a petition before him, showing that it was requisite for his rights that” {the rector’s assistant}, …there present, should make a declaration before him that he did not know” {Japheth}, also there present, and that he was not the one that was in print in a history entitled "Second Part”” {pamphleteering by way} of {colportage}, by one”{pigheaded Dutchman}… {also known as Buachaill Báire}…" (Cervantes, Don Quixote)

Poldy Magyar awoke from troubled dreams and winched himself out of bed, his legs giving way to inertia and a lack of exercise. The {pigheaded Dutchman}… {also known as Buachaill Báire}, stood at the foot of his cot counting the tiles on the ceiling. Earnestly he proffered him a cigar, offering to clip the prepuce for him with a nod of his gigantic head. ‘roll the clipped end round in your lips, that’s it, like a lolli’ he said holding the extinguished matchstick between his thumb and forefinger, the sulfur smarting his eyes. ‘the Jesuits prefer a soaked end; the Franciscans less so’. The clipped end fell to the floor like a spiraling autumn leaf, the tip frayed and scrimmaged. ‘I’m sure you’d be better equipped to understand what I’m getting at if you weren’t such a good-for-nothing. And good-for-nothings, well they seldom understand a thing; not even their own thoughts, simple and contrived as they may be’. He could fell the earnestness emptying from his body; disgust overcoming his sense of magnetism. ‘dare I say you’re a scoundrel… a cunt, sir, were I a man accustom to using profane language’.

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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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