Sunday, January 29, 2012

Los Graveda Grasa

He sat four feet to the right of the bust of King Olaf, just enough to ensure an unobstructed view of the sleeping prince. The sleeping prince, his eyelids aquiver with torturous dreams, had fallen asleep while awaiting the arrival of the circus. Feet unshod and sockless, his oxcart tethered to the lamppost unsteadily, he fell in and out of sleep like a drunken chump, the sort of sap men of good measure avoid at all cost. Vigo Darzere struck a match against the sleeping prince’s oxcart, and holding the flame jittery over his hatless head intoned ‘always loafing on the job those crazy Jesuits’. Tossing the extinguished match onto the ground Vigo let out a long drawn out yawn, the back of his throat scabbed with nicks from the stick he used to clear his throat. Rapidly he shoed the oxen and hightailed it northward, the oxen’s dung-scabby tails trailing behind them. As tomorrow was the day the Deacon gave his perennial exegesis on the Icon Rasputin, everyone was in a rush to get home before dark, even Vigo Darzere who had no interest in iconography and Russian sexpots.

‘if the sky doesn’t fall tomorrow I’ll take a stroll over to Middletown to see the new jakes… I hear it’s got a sparkling glass seat’. Long before it was unpopular he was reading books about magic and alchemy, folios and scholarly texts on miming and unconscious reasoning; he read until his eyes bled and his nose ran, he read and reread until he couldn’t feel the tips of his fingers, he read upon waking and before retiring for the night, reading in between appointments and school trips. He was well into his thirties before he realized that all that reading had ruined his eyesight, his eyelids twig-brittle from uncontrollable blinking. ‘nonetheless even should the sky fall tomorrow I will still make my way west to Middletown, stopping only to refresh my memory and slake my thirst’. Whenever he recalled these times he couldn’t help but laugh; all those wasted hours counting to one-thousand backwards, measly matters of choice and faulty reasoning. He’d much rather have spent his time eating or spotting turtles with an upturned rake.

(You might ask why so many characters, so many troubles, so much confusion and madness? Because I can and I must and nothing more will do).

Having no legs the legless man had no need for shoes or boots. He wrapped his stump-ends in cheesecloth, applying an oil when the chaffing became unbearable. The alms man suffered with Podiatric Dystopia, both feet pointing in the same direction (to the left) his toes barnacled with corns, some the size of plums. Molaño de Salamanca shoed his oxen and set out for Borgomanero y Lombardia, Castilla the fool close on his heels. Castilla would rather be at the heel of a fish cart eating ox tongue or spotting turtles with an upturned rake, anything but in the service of Molaño de Salamanca. Molaño de Salamanca and his abet Castilla were never seen or heard from again, Borgomanero y Lombardia enveloping them into her ivory bodice.

They whored for a fortnight and a day, backs bent double like lowly sinners. He was feeling blue moldy for a fight, all that bucking and her throwing back her head and the reek of boiled onions and unwashed clothes encouraging his ire. “Restitution of conjugal rights”
[1] he said loudly under his breath. ‘I heard that somewhere… on the bally it was, chappy bastard laid the comeuppance on me’. Daisy’s clap prêt near slew her, all her hair and eyelashes falling out. Never can tall wend nor hew. Last time she all muss lust hen eye. …whores its cruel out: coal enough fur kittens and a cat. Pull the ole muffler ova your knows bye Jesus. When he started to think like this, in circles and strays, he knew that the jig was up; it was only a matter of time before the wind would hearse him willy-nilly home, back bent-double staring starry-eyed at his shoes.

He found a letter in a coffee can outside his leaning lean-to. Still feeling blue moldy from the night before he put the letter in his breast pocket and went about his day. On cold days he sniffed sweet ether from a takeout bag, holding in the vitriolic gas until his neck muscles bulged.

The harridan came down with Scrub Typhus, ‘serves you right’ scolded her sister ‘you should be more careful with your mouth’. The apothecary agent dispensed an anti-agonist, cautioning ‘this is a cunt to get rid of… so keep your legs closed and your mouth shut’. Pull the ole muffler ova your knows bye Jesus. She made a poultice with Crum’s bleach and an old washrag. Placing it on her forehead she lay down lengthwise on the floor, her arms folded across her breasts. Daisy’s clap started in her shoes and moved end-to-end into her shinbone. It lay dormant for a fortnight, the chills and fever subsiding, then progressed into her sternum. On the second fortnight it moved from her breastplate into her jawbone, where it stayed for another fortnight and a half. From her jawbone it transmigrated to the crown of her head. And after another fortnight it escaped through a borehole drilled in her fontanel, the yellowy vile substance collected in a kidney-shaped saucepan held aloft her ear by the apothecary agent’s wife. ‘that’ll teach you to keep your mouth to yourself’ scolded her sister.

He glanced through the ‘Anniversaries and Gladtidings’ page of the Weekly, his eye fetched by the wedding announcements: Burchel, John and Driscoll Mary Castletownbere, Costello, Augustine E. O'Driscoll and Kate (or Catherine) Castletownbere, Crowley, John Driscoll (Minihane) and Johanna Castletownbere Driscoll, Jeremiah Harrington (Caobach) and Mary Allihies Finch, Brendan O'Driscoll and Ann Castletownbere, Paddy O'Driscoll and Katie Allihies Gortahig, Joe O'Driscoll and (Abbey Philomena) Kelly, Pad (or Patrick) O'Driscoll (Minihane) and Honora Cahirgarriff Lynch, Tade O'Driscoll and McCarthy, Edmund O'Driscoll and Catherine Adrigole, Patrick O'Driscoll and Patricia Castletownbere (owner and sole proprietor of the Grocery Shop, Fish Tackle, Radio/TV) McCarthy, Johnny and (Murt) O'Driscoll (Minihane), (O'Driscoll), John Houlihan and Mary Eyeries Cummeendeach wed in a group service at the Gorman Filing House just outside the Five-Mile Fence.

He walked from Appenzell Innerrhoden to Appenzell Ausserrhoden stopping only to eat the sandwich he’d packed that morning. After consuming the sandwich roll, delighting in the sharp cheese, he began walking again. ‘what a day’ he said to himself, ‘banal yet satisfying just the same’. Wrapping the crusts in the Gladtidings Weekly, Patrick O'Driscoll tourniquet to Honora Cahirgarriff, he retied his shoe and set out for home.

The Gorman’s Apothecary carry Dead Sea facial scrubs for the woman who needs a leg up in the morning, throat lozenges, ten-penny nails, syphilis tablets, one per customer, and bunghole mallets. The morning he was born his father fell from a great height. He fell into the street below, the draymen catching him in a blanket.

What more can one say when one has said nothing? He fell into the day from a great height, the draymen nowhere to be seen. Unaware that they were being watched, Aarschot and Brabant stood admiring the Admiral’s Duffy. ‘perhaps I could interest you in a lozenge’ said the person watching them, Aarschot staring at him suspiciously.

The morning he was born his da threw himself headfirst out the hospital window. The Seder Grocer, noticing a slumping in his awning called out ‘my God an angle has fallen from the sky!’ ‘sure enough’ said a man picking through a bushel of apples. ‘and straight as an arrow’ said another man, his hands shaking uncontrollable. Rolling himself off the slumping awning his da brushed off his jacket and hurried down the street, the grocer yelling ‘stop thief… you have an apple in your pocket!’

Not one to underestimate stupidity Dejesus threw prudence to the wind and asked for his money back. ‘surely you can’t expect me to accept this?’ It’s practically torn in half?’ ‘muerte blanca. Si hará el truco’ replied the agent. Not having the faintest idea what the agent was saying Dejesus again demanded his money. ‘you, sir, underestimate my fury’. ‘y usted, subestime mi mañosidad’ said the boldfaced agent. His removed his shoes and lay them on the mud-spattered ground in front of him. Breaking a twig from an elm tree, its canopy stretching as far as the eye could see, he dug the mud from the bottoms of his shoes. Clapping his shoes together like castanets, clumps of dirt falling onto the mud-spattered ground, he craned his neck upwards, the sun bathing his face in warmth and bliss. ‘tomorrow’s the 10th’ he mused. ‘the day before Boat Day’. Stretching out under the yawing elm, canopied beneath its chartreuse arbor, he said a prayer ‘God forgive me for I stole an apple from the grocer’s bushel’. Hearing nothing he recused himself, and basking in his ungodliness set out once again.

“Fiume and Abruzzi stole away in the guts of a scow, eating mangos and salted meat and singing as loud as their lungs would permit”
[2] was written on a piece of white tunic. Next to the piece of white tunic sat an elfin man, his eyes as black as coal. ‘I say’ said the elfin man, ‘who goes there?’ When no one replied the elfin man with coal-black eyes cleared his throat and said ‘Well whomever it is best keep to the other side of the road! I’ve killed a man for less!’

The sign over the door to the apothecary read ‘Quite Por Favor Sus Cauchos’. The sign over the lavatory ‘y, estaba por favor la esperma de sus manos’. ‘Gracias los caballeros y las señoras’ said the cigar store Indian propped up against the register. Of a sudden a parade of younkers and squibs stole in passed the dispensing counter, the apothecary assistant trying valiantly to oversee the oversight of having left the front door unbolted. Every year without fail the day before Ship’s Day fell on a Sunday. The sign over the cotton candy stand read ‘la esperma de sus manos’, anguishing those who hadn’t bothered to wear gloves and those who suffered from Quinsy’s Chill, known to grieve a man to pots, Dejesus among the unvanquished. ‘have you no mercy?’ cried out a man with a fine-looking cowlick. ‘shut the door and sit down’ quipped a woman, her ears turned out under her bonnet. ‘surely this isn’t happening’ said Dejesus, the cigar store Indian staring at him mockingly. ‘surely we are mistaken. Ship’s Day falls on a Thursday not on a Sunday’.

Marušić carried a picture of his mamma in a blue dress wearing a pair of the Vincennes Co’s. finest gloves holding a twisted nosegay. Alex Degrande and Simon Drogue tend to the animals, feeding the horses and oxen from nosebags. The Antinomianist’s congregate behind the Waymart. Marušić jacked the ball and called in nines, the fattest Antinomianist yowling ‘give it back you scoundrel’. Not one to be batfowled by simpletons Marušić let go with a resounding fart. ‘the library is closed’ announced the head librarian sternly, ‘so do go home please do’. The last time this happened the sky almost fell. The horses and oxen ate from nosebags, the dogs from plastic bowls laid out under the starlit sky. Alex Degrande and Simon Drogue congregate behind the Waymart, the Antinomianist’s having gone home. ‘Ship’s Day falls on a Thursday not on a Sunday’ said elfin man. The day had taken its toll on him.

Blattzinn & Stagniol stood under the Waymart awning counting clouds in the gray sky. Counting they recounted those they saw twice, but in different configurations and places in the sky. They wore tin-foil caps punched out and folded to fit snuggly on the crown of the head.

The Amazonas sisters dress in cockleshell blouses and ruby red shoes. Unlike the Kallisto sisters, Oreias and Erinyes, who sleep under a blanket of stars, the Amazonas sisters sleep underneath scratchy horsehair blankets. Dearest Aunt Alma makes the most delicious raspberry tarts. 25 pea a half-dozen a dozen a half-crown. Aunt Alma dear tucks the edges with the whites of her fingernails, curbing the bottommost crust with a straight razor. Her tarts are know far and wide for their oozing red berry filling. He sat puzzled and wet under the mutton gray sky eating sweet mouthfuls of raspberry tart. ‘tomorrow is Ship’s Day surely’ he quibbled, ‘...or the day after tomorrow or after that or...’. He offered the sisters a bite of red berry tart, the sisters giggling like schoolgirls. ‘--no thank you’ said the sisters, ‘…our stomachs’ are about to burst’. Upon awaking he reached for the last morsel of tart, his lips smacking. ‘bursting stomachs. I best keep my distance surely’.

The night came and went, leaving behind a skeletal trace of darkness. (Los Boyos abhor Los Détentes). Néstor Tolosa and his bride to be Elizabet Fernández live in a one-room walkup over los Partido Justicialista. Los Mambos De Rastreó, a well-received pantomime group, came and went, leaving nothing behind. ‘bursting stomachs. I best keep my distance surely’. ‘Giulia!’ shouted Néstor, ‘your stomach is bursting’. Giulia glared sternly at Néstor Tolosa, betroth of Elizabet Fernández, her eyes red as bloodshot. ‘how dare you sir, my stomach is none of your concern!’ The sisters giggled like schoolgirls jiggling their auburn tresses. Ships Day began, children queuing for funnels of pink cotton floss, the priest, his surplice in a knot, winking at his assistant ‘Mauris condimentum nisi in libertate filiorum captionem Candy’.

‘Ŝi estas ensorĉo graveda grasa’. The Seder Grocer hired a pale skin girl to wipe down the butcher’s counter. Her belly, swollen with new life, sagged below her hips, the grocer’s stomach pinched with beans and lentils, his wife having left the pot on the stovetop to simmer. She slept with her backup against the stars, a nosegay clutched in her hands. ‘my but you have such pale ashen skin’ said the grocer gaping at his new hire. ‘and such beautiful red auburn hair’. ‘ensorĉo graveda grasa’ said the pale auburn new hire. ‘yes I see’ said the grocer, ‘and what a beautiful swollen belly it is’. On her hands she wore goat skin gloves, and on her feet fish shoes. Unsheathed he wielded his epee “which the buckler could not protect against the clownish assault”
[3] and slew the monstrous ogre. Chiclana sleeps beneath the moon-filled sky. The Mulhouse sisters sleep with both eyes open. The Celbridge sisters of County Kildare fish for chub behind the Monument Creamery. The Stoutly Buckler sat beneath an apricot yellow moon, his awl sheared down to tin-ash. ‘ensorĉo grasa’ whispered the new hire, ‘estas graveda’. The congregates pelted Los Violadores with stones and broken bottles; expecting Los Graveda Grasa they were itching for a punch up. The Feast of the Redeemer ended with 27½ men downed by pelting and kicking, the ½ felled halfway to his knees and onto his back. A woman in fish shoes cobbled past, her hair pulled back into a straight-pin bun. ‘my my what pale ashen skin you have’ said the Stoutly Buckler. ‘Ŝi estas ensorĉo graveda grasa’ bellowed the Celbridge sisters of County Kildare, the moon-filled night aglow. On the 27th day of the 7th month the Sisters of the Immaculate Deception arrived for the Feast of the Redeemer, the congregates welcoming them with outstretched arms, a child with a nosebleed holding out a nosegay of marigolds and daffodils.

“…whether he was cured of his madness or still suffered from it, and then begged leave to continue his journey; in short, they all separated and went their ways, leaving to themselves the curate and the barber.”
[4] The carter yoked Catullus (who suffered with mono-onomastikos) to Cratylus, Dario and Argento bridled to the muleteer’s wagon. Giallo and Mulock swam the Guadix Channel backwards, Yolande Rose and Joséphine Cardinale inflamed over a lost glove, pilfered, so they believed, by Sergio Ferzetti who took off in a gallop on the back of his faithful Rocinante. ‘we have no time for this nonsense’ preached the Witness. ‘in times of strife and pestilence a man must find his cantor, not gallop off like a woebegone ass’. Awaking from his dreams he found a summons pinned to his lean-to flap. ‘The rector’s assistant requests your presence immediately. Please come quickly’. Throwing the summons into the rainspout he lay down and forced himself back to sleep, hoping that he could revisit the dream he had awoken from a few minutes earlier.

[1] Ibid
[2]Abruzzi et Fiume, Tales of Intrigue and Folly, 1889.
[3] Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote
[4] Ibid

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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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