Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sooty Tern

In the end no one will remember a thing. He came down with and suffered from the following aliments and abnormalities: Sebaceum, Mental Insufficiency, Photophobia, and Gastrula Distress. The insufficiencies he could managed; the ailments, he learned to live with, seeing them as a stain from Above, the acceptance of which made his suffering all the more heroic. His great grandfather left the family fold and took up with a band of Anarcho-primitivism living in a Stone Age village in the mountains overlooking the city. Anarcho-primitivists were expected to abandon the ways of the Modern World, forsaking the comforts and extravagancies of an Industrial Society.

Accustom to the mammon afforded a person of Bourgeoisies’ upbringing, his wet-nurse suckling him like a baby goat, the downstairs maid drawing his nightly bath and scrubbing him pink, the upstairs one pulling the covers back and fluffing his pillows, his great grandfather found it difficult to give up the comforts and privileges he had all but taken for granted since childhood. Long before his great grandfather severed all familial ties, taking up with the Anarcho-primitivists where he remained until his death of Mental Insufficiency and Gastrula Distress, hastened, the coroner said, from a diet of mealworms and alfalfa, before the family opened its first fishmongery, long before the Dogmen took over the Greek Deli, before the rector stole his first gobbet of transubstantiated wine, an unknown seamstress working for an anonymous haberdashery made a pair of red whore’s gloves, the only pair in the entire world.

Manly astride the Gatestown bridge Phibs Glasnevin bowls bread crumbs across the surface of the roiling green water. His eye on a Sooty Tern he aims and bowls, pegging it in the head, the bird disappearing into the roiling. Phibs Glasnevin lives with his ailing mamma in a walkup bedsit in a decrepit tenement overlooking the Waymart, his mamma stone-deaf from the chiming bells and unruly children who play in the streets below. His great grandfather, upon hearing about the poor woman’s imposition, sent her a Get Well card with a picture of him mounting a Bradlees mare, the mare bucking like a drunken whore, the Anarcho-primitivists cheering him on encouragingly. Penned in sterling ink Over the portal door to the Gatestown Repository, was:

But the strangest thing happened. Backscuttling for the hop
off with the odds altogether in favour of his tumbling into the
river, Jaun just then I saw to collect from the gentlest weaner
among the weiners, (who by this were in half droopleaflong
mourning for the passing of the last post) the familiar yellow
label into which he let fall a drop, smothered a curse, choked a
guffaw, spat expectoratiously and blew his own trumpet...
(Finnegans Wake, 470.22-28)

‘surely as I’m standing that’s the first time I ever seen a trumpeting droopleaflong... makes a man want to pull out!’ droned Phibs Glasnevin, a knot of spit collimating his throat. Repocketing his comb, bits of broken loose hair speckling the front of his shirt, he nudged his mamma in the ribs, her breath expelling damply from the shrunken bellows of her chest. ‘the Church of the Eternal Scoundrel is having a dinner this Wednesday evening. Shall we attend? You and I mamma? Shall we?’ Gasping for a air, her lips turning eggplant blue, his mamma rebuked her son. ‘you’re such a scoundrel’ she said crushingly.

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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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