Thursday, February 17, 2011

Helotage

He struck a matchstick and lit the tapered end of a cigarette, the yellowy sulphur stinging his eyes. He smoked the cigarette down to ash, snubbing it out with his right foot. Dropping in a coin he sat over the pay-as-you-go bidet, a fountain of lukewarm water finishing off what paper and hand couldn’t. A runny yare of egger rum trickled down his leg pooling at his unshod feet. He squished the yellowy cordial between his hammertoes and smiled with leviratic ecstasy. He reached into his breast pocket, for you see he he’d fallen to sleep in his suit of clothes after a night of drinking and poaching kisses from the aleman’s wife, and retrieved the poem he was to recite at the Order of the Helotage later that day.

children play
in the burins
kicking the ashes
for stomped tins
God lives in the
razor wire

Not sure how they would introduce him, as poet or sot, he read the poem in front of the hoary mirror hanging over the washing table. ‘children kicking in the burins’. Realizing he’d placed children before God he repeated the poem a second time. ‘God kicking children kicking ashes’. Feeling that he was making a mockery of God, which given his strict Presbyterian upbringing he was loathe to do, he recited it a third and fourth time. He threw the poem onto the floor and sat down on the edge of the cot, his foot aching like a hoof.

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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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