Thursday, December 16, 2010

Bullwhip Black Porter

That morning the sky broke like an egg, the sun filling the horizon with a yolky glaze. Lela walked the battlement that crossed the aqueduct and met up with the path behind the Waymart, her eyes fixed on the yolky yellow sun. She heard that the dogmen slept three to a bed, four if they shared with the littlest dogman who slept at the foot curled up in an eel-basket. She dug in her heels, the straps and buckles of her shoes creasing the skin around her ankles, and watched a clamshell of gray clouds move across the blue sky. A swan swam across the surface of the aqueduct, its neck twisted into a Midshipman's Hitch. You can see the funnels from here... there, out beyond the breakwater she said pointing. A man kicking a hedgehog, the hedgehog curling up in a ball, the man kicking it again and again, crossed in front of her, the man hollering ‘that’ll show you! Never underrate me! Never!’

Lela felt sad for the lowly hedgehog, the man forcing it, underfoot, to walk a faster straighter line. She thought of her great uncle, his ham-fisted grip on the sledgehammer, swinging it over his shoulder and across the head of the cow; felling it as it stood, a mass of cowhide and hamburger spreading out on all-fours on the switch-room floor. Her mother said it was man’s right over Nature: to kill or be killed; to eat or to starve; to go around coatless or to be dressed in the finest leather garments. Her great uncle was doing us a great service; maintaining the lifestyle we had all become accustom to. But what of the disservice to the cow? Was it not deserving of life and limb, a trough full of hay and leather coat? If it was her great uncle was doing the cow a grave disservice; treating it as a means to an end, not an end in itself. But really, she could care less; cows were ugly bovine brutes, and as her mamma said, open season for well-dressed fat people. As for her great uncle, well he had other things in mind; things so ugly and ghastly he never spoke a word about them, in polite or impolite company.

Meisce’s tavern drafts Bullwhip Black Porter, the aleman’s wife, Euryclea, scurrying from table to table, her apron, on back to front, revealing a bony white shank of knee. Her great uncle drank tankards of molasses thick Black Porter, the space between the tip of his nose and his upper lip frothy with head. The well-dressed cad at the next table, next to the commode, a two-seater with an onionskin seat, drank his cups like a man once denied a good hearty slake, his beard birdied with biscuit crumbs and salt, his nose up to the hilt of his tankard. ‘by Jove yes!’ exclaimed the well-dressed man. ‘you’re that fellow who likes sweet nutmeat biscuits’. Lela’s great uncle swabbed a moustache of frothy head from the space between the tip of his nose and his upper lip and said ‘you must have me confused with someone else, for you see sir I despise biscuits’. An angry-looking man with a broken arm got up from his stool, and turning to walk away said ‘perro cuerpo, hond se liggaam’ huis voice follón bejina hiñe lique a bar ámel. ‘by Jove what an uncouth fellow!’ said the well-dressed cad. ‘comes here every night to use the pisser. Always has something nasty to say on his way out’.

No comments:

About Me

My photo
"Poetry is the short-circuiting of meaning between words, the impetuous regeneration of primordial myth". Bruno Schulz

Blog Archive