Friday, March 1, 2013

(the rain, it always starts when you go away)

            We are the prayerful and are among the least forgiving of the heathenish instructed players in splatters of trouble-in-the-making. We give out cookie-shaped business cards to most. Sometimes they are just cookies. There is telling what’ll occur soon, but who’s here to listen to it be told? Not the flint collectors. Not the sunbeam sellers. Not the wheelie riders or the hoop-of-fire singers or the beer-keg hiders. I am only barefoot one foot at a time.
           This is what was said to me by the sad ranchers: "Pelt the hardest part of her with soft tosses of iridescent stones, nacreous fillings, mutton tallow, and pieces from the private collections of Don’t-It-Yourself-kit hoarders. It takes no time to have the time to do whatever it doesn’t take to not take apart, lint by dust mote, the brine-washed structures in the chemistry of her avoidance. Leap into favor with the splash-sad throwers of after-dinner mints. Trust all the nothings you’d ever wish not to contemplate, at least where the asteroids are controlled by hydrogen bombs, if you must or can or will or possibly even should."
            Soon after I was bussed to north South Dakota. My eyes were covered with patches made of moth wings, which were removed (the patches, not my eyes) as I was hustled across the southern border of North Dakota by tire-slashing missionaries from Turkmenistan who would stop at nothing to barter leveler playing fields, even pull out their own teeth and rob candy stores before succumbing to the ecumenical plateau-making of society’s willful obliviousness. They were hardnosed but fairly easygoing in matters of smuggling. I had my choice of conveyance, and chose tractor. Wiser things have been done, sure. But I’ve always been for playing it eccentric.  
            “That place where your moustache used to go, I can see it in my dreams.” This was something said to me by a Moravian scout. He was a fellow who placed little blame on ulterior trains of thought, and instead patterned out new jests daily in his rococo workshop. I am not sure how he came upon me. It was very dark at the time, and I was muddling around in a thicket of imitation coachwhip, trying to avoid the trichomes of some stinging nettle while stomping flying cockroaches with my hog-flesh boots. He had a small hound with him that he called Ginger. They both smelled of burnt shards stuck in a vacuum cleaner.  I was in the middle of talking aloud, telling myself, “I’m not the sort to make eyes at strange girls. I’m not the sort who smiles back either. It’s just my nature.” This might have scared off most takers, but this scout was of the flagrantly mild type, and we subconsciously signed a subliminal nonaggression pact on the spot. It took, luckily, but that was only before it didn’t. Our separate ways became the norm, and eventually we licked our splits and ran on without them. Fondness steals the grime from what I used to remember about our times then. Moving on got the worst of me, I guess.
            While Canada loomed on the horizon of my thoughts, I made time for breakfast. Maple syrup drowned most of my sorrows; I drenched even pickles in it, and sometimes raw broccoli stems. I felt that certain foods needn't be excluded from certain meals just because of custom. I wanted a rearrangement of my senses. I wanted to be baffled at all times.
            I called my mom. She let the phone ring 14 times before answering and promptly hanging up in one resilient swoop. I am not sure what I would have said anyway. It was best for the all, or something similar.
            Soon all the phones were sold to dice makers, who needed them desperately to stay in touch with the always-finicky dice buyers. Maybe I shouldn’t have let this bother me. Maybe a lot of things.
            Teaching the trees to dance took most of my afternoons, that and the hurling of origami rocks at melanistic grey squirrels and American badgers. The trees were nothing without wind, it turns out, and it was mostly only their leaves that cared about dancing, and leaves don’t last through much of a season. I gave up and broke free on a Wednesday afternoon, just after dining on peafowl steak (a rare if almost unknown delicacy of this region) and mashed raisins. Perhaps it was something in the air, for much was afoul in my gut afterwards, and so I was left to my own doings to mull in the stink of my bowels. I held my breath and made a dash for it.
            A ribbon-cutting ceremony is the next thing I remember. I tend to block out most events that don’t entail non-risk capital involvement. A mayor type was wielding what seemed to be a giant gold Bowie knife. I wondered about that bastard Jim Bowie for a moment, and then was glad he’d died at The Alamo. It turns out, from most ear-witness accounts, that the knife was really an Arkansas toothpick, so there was little, really, to be excited about or moved by. The ribbon was cut. A new multiplex showering facility was opened. Hot water was at last made available to all. And there was music in the bodies of the audience, though they didn’t dance-- not a one of them.
            For the next 45 years I made a living robbing the homes of burglars while they were out burglarizing other homes. It was a decent enough way to be getting by, and I figured why kiss the feet of oil billionaires by harmonizing with the usual rhythms of pecuniary promise? I was already sandy enough with feathered loss, and when I said, “I don’t mean business,” I meant it. So, it came to be that I had stockpiled a great deal of others’ possessions by way of second or even third-hand theft. There wasn’t much room left in my home for even me. I took to sleeping outside on my porch, beneath the bullwhipped stars that blotted and jostled in the sky’s fluttering cape. The tymbal song of cicadas was like spittlebug forth to my ears. I melted into the night’s symphony and threw hugs at attackers in my slumber. Nobody else mattered. I was alone, and thriving in the ways of normal life was the least of my concerns.
            Today I awoke to a praying mantis on my doorstep. It had its raptorial legs grasped around an acorn. Jackal flies and biting midges were attacking it, but it didn’t sweat that; it just kept on rollicking around with the acorn. Soon I realized that it was in the midst of dancing. Acorns make great dance partners for mantises, it turns out. I watched them in this delicate display of dexterity and harmonious accord; the mantis performing rond de jambes and soubresauts like nothing that I’d ever seen. The finale of all this was a wide-sweeping sissone ouverte tombé, which left the mantis flattened out on the boards while the acorn tumbled away and dropped off the edge of the porch. I held my breath. The mantis rose, didn’t bow, fluttered its wings and flew away. Afterwards I thought, ‘Today will most certainly be the last for me.’
            There is electricity in my soup.