Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Carnival of Animals

He hasn’t eaten a dog in years. Not since an outbreak of rabies culled the strays to a few runt lapdogs domesticated to fulfill the needs of lonely spinsters and friendless children. “…one sees every day priests and monks who, leaving an incestuous bed and without so much as washing their hands soiled with impurities, manufacture gods by the hundred, eat and drink their god, shit and piss their god”. (Voltaire, Philosophical Dictionary) was written in a swirly calligraphic hand over the doors to the Pig’s Head. The chalkboard menu read: ‘Tartar lamb (Agnus Scythicus) with mint jelly and sprig marjoram’, and under that ‘if the meat doesn’t flake off the bone your supper is free’. Please shit and piss in the restrooms. Disobeyers will be sodomized.

He shook a dash of Lot salt on his leg of Tartar lamb, ‘brings out the flavor and juices’ he said ‘and softens the gristly bits’. He remembers his da hogtying him with his mama’s clothesline, leaving a crease round his reddened belly, his arms weigh-laid to the corner post. Gets easier the older you get; the red marks fuse with the lashing welts, the soreness with satisfaction, the bitterness with acceptance. Sodomizer’s will be stopcocked and left to rot from the inside out. Many was the time he felt the world creeping up on him, his feet nailed to the Melamine terrazzo, an oily smeary odor picricketing his nose. It’ll make a man out of you his da would say slapping him hard upside the head. Then you can call yourself something other than a boy. His da made him listen to Saint-Saëns’ ‘The Carnival of Animals’ over and over again, slapping him hard upside the head if he flinched or winced.

The restroom was a place of inexorable filth and squalor, a dispatch of grunting disobedience. Unbuckling his trousers he straddles the devil’s bowl, a beard of shit tarring the porcelain, the smell of other men’s dirt brachiating his nostrils. Grabbing hold of the cistern chain he flushes, speckles of indissoluble shit floating rebelliously to the top, a swirling eddy of foul effluence circling the dunny trap. The rector’s assistant unbuttoned his surplice and stood astride the reredorter, the trough spilling over with yellow coopery piss. That night the friar cook boiled up a pot of tripe and oxtail stew, the brothers eating until their bellies ached.

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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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