Thursday, August 27, 2009

A creekside flower

Porch used to be creekside, and the holm oak
shade matched wraparound vines, dark green, the
willows' weeping soft to the listening
stream, and tea with sweet cane sugar,
lemon slice, in the summer cracked ice. He was
nice to the widows who roamed down the lane, their
moaning like a melody now and again. Now it's
only more silence and invisible men, the
blessing of sneezes before they begin, in-
fectious diseases that "the devil's sent in to
tempt lassitude: that fancy science ain't
no substitute for standard-issue" (cocked,
loaded, and clean) "and the right attitude. Don't
care where a fella's from, or shaped like a
big ol' bean. One shot between the
eyes" (no matter their saucer-plate size and
number) "he'll die. No matter his blood runs
green. Now listen. Ain't no turf-war, like a
few bloody fists and drinks after all's been
done. Son," his voice like the path from
house to garden and back, the gravel and
carbonized dust, "you must", his doddering
head, "a man's enemies are best all
dead. Like weeds. They'll choke off the flowers." As
if there were flowers. He tried to spit,
coughed, got a sputum like synthetic oil,
thick like the habit itself. Crow-colored. He
swug on the bathtub ale, eyes pale and
slack, and mouthed some sunflower seeds. He had
seen him hack at what passed for their throats, a
hand in the guts for no reason soever, just
feeling the alien innards "like biscuits and
crawfish jam", and laugh like a loon. Long a
hot afternoon, the land belly up to the
sun, they came from Mars. Dog days. They
brought heat rays. "Son, see that hedge needs
trimming? Fetch my shears." His mother
speared in the garden, a moldering beam from a-
bove, from the curdling sky. She thickened like
sweet potato pie in the oven, her skin like
unclotted cream. Out of season. A creekside
flower of blood-red steam.

(Edited 27 August 2009, begun 25 August 2009. It seems that, while I slept, I was visited by a range of squatters and their strange preoccupations, viz.: John Milton (master of English prosody), Flannery O'Connor (mistress of southern mystery), and Mr. H.G. Wells (right ideas; wrong country).)

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