Wednesday, January 05, 2011


He met Maribor Brezovica in a cattle car heading north into the grasslands. As the cattle car rattled headlong into the night, doors clanging, the floor shifting beneath their feet, the two men stared at one another. Suddenly, as if awaking from a yawning slumber Maribor Brezovica said ‘rattling ride’. ‘what?’ said the Witnesses’ father. ‘rattling’ said Maribor Brezovica. Wendell L. Espuma sat next to the Witnesses’ father picking at a scab on the heel of his right foot, his left foot taken by gangrene years previous. ‘death’s door’ said Maribor Brezovica pointing at Wendell L. Espuma. ‘pick pick pick, soon he’ll have no foot at all’. An abattoir of viscera (entrails, bowel and tripe) lay festering stacked like cord wood in the corner, a disease that needed slaughtering. ‘it stinks in here’ said Maribor Brezovica holding his sleeve against his mouth. ‘it’ll get worse’ said Wendell L. Espuma rolling a crumb of dead skin between his thumb and forefinger. ‘the death of us all, you’ll see’.

The Witnesses’ father had been summoned by the standing council to bring an end to an outbreak of smallpox that had killed half the townspeople. Long before he devoted his life to the Church the Witnesses’ father was known far and wide as a conjurer. Long before the birth of his son the Witnesses’ father lived the life of Reilly, concocting harebrained schemes about how the world could and would be if people only paid heed to his outlandish ideas and notions, some of which verged on the abyss of outright madness. He fell in and out then in again with an unsavory mob of hooligans, many of whom wore stockings on their heads and went about shoeless; all the better for kicking the crap out of anyone who mistook them for snivelers or creamery workers. This was long before he found God, leaving behind the life of Reilly for a life of faith, fidelity and sacrosanct devotion.

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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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