Sunday, January 30, 2011


Laying under a fichus swatting midges with his hat O’Rourke reads the Organon, the sun hardly climbing above the treetops. “So much at least is plain on all these points, viz. that the faculty by which, in waking hours, we are subject to illusion when affected by disease, is identical with that which produces illusory effects in sleep. So, even when persons are in excellent health, and know the facts of the case perfectly well, the sun, nevertheless, appears to them to be only a foot wide”*. Swatting a midge, his hat flopping side to top, O’Rourke reads on. “Now, whether the presentative faculty of the soul be identical with, or different from, the faculty of sense-perception, in either case the illusion does not occur without our actually seeing or [otherwise] perceiving something. Even to see wrongly or to hear wrongly can happen only to one who sees or hears something real, though not exactly what he supposes. But we have assumed that in sleep one neither sees, nor hears, nor exercises any sense whatever”. *(Aristotle, On Dreams 350 BC, translated by J. I. Beare) ‘I dreamt the dream I was dreaming was dreaming me. Greeks, always mixing up one thing for the other’. Standing, his legs buckling inwards then out, O’Rourke threw the book into the bushes behind the fichus, the sun scaling the sky like Japanese ivy.

Poldy first met O’Rourke at the Bleeding of the Lamb, both men standing to the right of the altar. O’Rourke, engaged with a transubstantiated crack in the ciborium was watching dewdrops of Divine Water drip onto his unshod foot, the rector eying him with disgust. Čerenkov the dwarf, great-nephew of Čerenkov the Giant, pulled down his trousers and let go with a trumpeting fart; a fat woman midway through lighting a votive candle fainting like a malarial missionary. ‘the woman has no sense-perception’ whispered O’Rourke. ‘everything appears to her as if it were only a foot wide’.

Chiming like a tinsmith’s anvil the church bells clanged throughout the night and into the morn. The mob disbanded, some southwesterly some northeasterly and some down the middle of the street like cows to the slaughterhouse hammer. Her head bobbing from side to side like a ragdoll Glostrup marched up the sideways, her defiance matched only by her heartless reproach for anyone or thing that got in her way. Earlier that day, well before the mob arrived in the streets, Ms. Glostrup, toting a pike festooned with nails shouted ‘Be there any man, big or small, who thinks he is stronger than I may he stand forth now!’ A freckle-face boy holding a top raised his hand and shouted ‘I will’. A Hetaerist, his Midrashim’s cape flapping, pushed past the boy and stood eye to eye with the almighty Glostrup. ‘Stand aside; there’s no need for a boy to do a man’s job. I will thrash this despicable whore!’ Looking on with a mixture of terror and enthusiasm, as they were well-acquainted with the Hetaerist’s ruthless demeanor, having witnessed him tear a man limb-to-limb for calling him an encephalitic, which he was, his head three times the size of a man of matching deportment, Cinecittá João, Ubaldo, Ribeiro, João and Guimarães Rosa took cover under the Seder Grocer’s awning, Ubaldo cowering like a frightened child. With one blow the Hetaerist brought Glostrup to her knees, Ubaldo yelling ‘stupid cow…that’ll show you!’ Straightening the hem of her skirts the harridan’s sister let out a sigh, safe in the knowledge that today she would not have to fight off the vagrants and Nair-do-wells that followed Glostrup like pilot fish or worry about the sky falling, plummeting onto her head.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

I marvel at your inventiveness, Stephen. Your great capacity to turn language around in a fresh, original way.


About Me

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

Blog Archive