Saturday, February 26, 2011

Mother of Swine

Never did Poldy think that one day he would raise a Bible threateningly over his head or find himself standing toe to toe like common pugilist with Slocum Connolly. Life sometimes holds things in store for us that we never dare to imagine could ever come true; like living one’s life in the belief that this one is but a staging ground for the one to come, ever mindful that this one, or the next, could be the last. He tosses down a goblet, a tail of maenads’ milk whale whitening his chin, ever cautious that one wrong suckle could give him diarrhea, or worse another clubfoot.

He remembered the mossy stench of the cod cave where his grandpappa took him on an outing to find his grandmamma’s missing earring, the one made from pearls of swine and the brownest shiniest garnet. He worked as a buyer for the swine and poultry division. ‘cocks and pigs’ his da said. ‘pigs and cocks. It doesn’t really matter’. ‘who?’ he asked. ‘why your great great grandfather my boy, the one with one leg’. Volutes and spalls, archivolts and dolmens, an intricate façade of architecture and trigonometry, the world unfolding like a Gaudi superstructure, his da standing in the middle paring the grimy half moons of his fingernails with a pocketknife. ‘why your great great grandfather my boy, the one with the peg leg’.

Thinking back over his life he realized that he was living it over and over but each time with smaller and smaller changes, each making an impact on what he had already lived more than once. Mother of swine his gargantuan granddad would hiss, his grandmamma, gargantuan in her own right, throwing pebbles off the rain shutters. Mosfellsbær Ólafsdóttir, known far and wide as the man mostly likely to die from chronic whooping, and his diminuire friend Sólrún, known to only a few squinting cross-eyed freaks with dreams of working the circus circuit, sold pearl of swine cameos and bracelets out of the back of a 1938 suburban sedan with bucket seats and a lay-around dash. ‘cocks and pigs’ said Mosfellsbær Ólafsdóttir grumbling, his jug ears redder than Ultisols clay. ‘next they’ll be asking for a layaway…then what? We’ll have to pawn everything and go back to working the concession stand’.

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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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