Wednesday, June 01, 2011

alle Gott sind tot

As summer neared so did his encroaching madness. The fenland blossomed into an abundant garden full of beautiful flowers, each with its own pollinating bee. His thoughts deepened until all he could think were sordid awful things, thoughts out of sync with the rest of the outside world. The bees, each to its own, barbed legs carrying sun-rich pollen, Nature’s nascent blood, hurried buzzing from one flower to another, dropping their motherly load into waiting mouths. Nectary to anther, stigma to ovule, they brought lifeblood to Nature’s garden. His thoughts whirled round and round, the fruit of his nature thrown into the streets like an upended cart where they were crushed under foot and wagon.

Tattooed on his forearm, just above his broken wrist, was La Morte Accidentale di un Anarchico, and above that, where the bicep meets with the shoulder, alle Gott sind tot. Each told a story: La Morte Accidentale di un Anarchico about the time he was arrested under suspicion of being a terrorist, tortured, then let loose, his torturers claiming that he was the spitting image of someone on their rendition list and thinking they had nabbed the right man, and proceeding with no little enthusiasm, acted in an overzealous manner; the other announcing his mistrust of polytheism. When he was a boy his father cautioned him against taking a stand on anything; saying that a boy who believes in gods is as foolish as a boy he believes in ghosts. And ghosts, he said, are just as likely to grant you a wish as a god would. Anybody can wear a sheet and make booing sounds, he said, but only a man can wear a sheet and denounce others. His father and his father’s father, going back as far as his father’s father’s father, all wore bed sheets with cone-shaped hoods, set fires in front of people’s houses and danced round a maypole made to look like a cross. The god they believed in wore an iridescent white sheet with an over-elaborate cylindrical hood and spoke in tongues with a syllabant lisp. They drank themselves’ blind, their god stuffing his mouth with entrails and viands, his teeth clacking like castanets, the others, using their heads as piñatas and brass-knuckled fists as weapons, splitting each others’ skulls into cordwood, flays of scalp flesh, some cut in tonsures, others bristle thin, quartered and dressed with an anatomist’s eye for precision.

Long before he knew about his da’s Chinese whore, before his great grandfather’s love for bare-knuckle fighting and quart bottles of Stout sent him to an early grave, his great grandmother spending all their savings on insulin and linseed oil, his great grandfather always griping about his wooden leg and the jabbing pain it caused him, long before he learned how to ride his second-hand bicycle with no hands and smoked his first cigarette behind the locker-room with a boy who ended up hanging himself for no reason other than he felt like it, long before any of this, before the sky fell for the first time, only to fall every year, like clockwork, leaving people without roofs over their heads and frustration in their voices, he had no idea why anyone would want to listen to anything a boy like him had to say. Ro Gallegos Cruz, an encephalitic, stands in front of the Seder Grocer’s admiring his reflection in the window, his goutweed jaw working a stick of peppermint chewing gum. His booted feet kicking clumps of earth Jesús Juventud stood staring at his reflection in the window, the grocer swiping at him with a broom. ‘shoo or I will smite you with my broom!’ cried the grocer. ‘malcontent!’ A man in a feathered cap with a goutweed jaw, staring idly at the hole in the roof over his head, exclaims ‘”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”’*. Long before the Dogmen set up camp behind the aqueduct and took to sniggling and dancing round a blazing bonfire, his father took up with a Chinese whore with raven black hair and tiny delicate feet.

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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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