(continued from 11/22/19)
31 pieces of the auto-sedition quilt
(xiii — xvi)
“I’m from the northern part of the state, and we don’t see this kind of nonsense up there. It’s just not done this way where I’m from.”
Milton Sosquade, the boy’s father, removed his hand from inside the cow’s rectum, and turned to look at Alan Tenter. “Well, Alan,” Milton said removing his arm’s length glove cover, “you do what you like to your cows, and I’ll treat mine my way.”
“My friend, your notion of what is correct is sheer madness,” Alan said. “You can’t go rummaging up in your cow’s intestines and pull out appetizers for the evening. You can’t feed us that. We don’t do that upstate, mid-state, or downstate. Friend, it’s just not done.” Alan took off his glasses and placed them in their clip-on case and clipped the case into his left breast pocket and raised his fists. Milton picked up a cow chip and tossed it at Alan’s face. The chip grazed Alan’s chin and careened off his ear.
“Listen, bub,” Milton said, “what I do in my seraglio is my business. These girls here love me, especially this one,” he said pointing at the guernsey he’d just inseminated with his stuff of life. “I am god. Here in the southern highlands of the state: I. Am. God.”
Milton’s wife, Lucrecia, had her eyes checked and the man told her she had mycobacterium leprae of the retina. She said her eyes started feeling “flammable” sometime in the past month and she wanted to have her left eye removed and replaced with a ball bearing painted with an iris and pupil. The doctor said, once replaced, the eye had to be patched during the day, and then manipulated and slanted into her nose in the evenings, for 30 to 45 days. He told her she would see wonders after the convalescence. Her eyesight would improve, and she’d woo an army of suitors with her new look.
She told him she was newly married.
It was avant-garde now, sure, but it would soon become the trend and eventually everyone would be clamoring for this look. He granted her that her vision would suffer initially, but with time her sense of smell and hearing would improve.
“It sounds a bit extreme, Dr. Sobrenada,” Lucrecia said, never taking her eye off herself in the consult office mirror. “Is it reversible, Doctor?”
“Hell no, it’s not reversible!” he said. He sat behind his desk and threw a paper clip at the eye chart. “Who ever heard of replacing an eye with a ball bearing and then putting the eye back in at a later time? Are you insane, woman?” He pounded his desk with an open hand.
“You’re an Ojonaut! An astronaut of the eye. The first and the foremost. You make me envious of the path you are about to blaze. Come here and be my bride.”
“I’m married,” she said.
She decided that in his dotage he’d not only become genius, but more attractive to her. The loose skin on his arms, his wattle shaking like badly set jello, his drooping earlobes — he made her think prurient thoughts.
“Milton the cuckold,” she whispered.
She felt as if she were ovulating, for the first time in fifteen years — some sebaceous moisture in that place below.
She said, “yes.”
The twelfth day of the month was Copperhead Wednesday. Serpentine was the look we were going for. Beatific upper register notes is what Maria was reaching for: “Ta da la ta da la dao,” was what she sang to a supper club of adoring mengeese eyeing a pair of lady rattlesnakes. Midnight. Thursday morning. Applause. Thunderous.
Savorous twistings of moonglow hairs into chignons and much dispensing with shoes and underthings. There was nothing like a cobra line dance to make it libertine-free and parsimonious-lite.
I, the author, heard someone order a chocolate stout. “Not served here,” was the reply. Vehement — something akin to buzzards on parade: wing-wide, convection current surfing, loafers — something free, not imagined, not paid for, not patented and surely made to disappoint.
Asseverations to “live fully and create in the midst of the desert” notwithstanding, Maria went home alone.
On the thirteenth day Maria wrote this poem:
Mauve and meager tendrils of the morning
Roaming in your eyes and in your suitcase,
Something supple this way washes
Over my consciousness and yours,
Atavistic and Paleolithic.
What if a nocturnal sprint across the sky caused panic?
What price peregrinations and pantomime?
What does the pilgrim do for succor?
Where the lightning divides the sky in jagged shards
You check the reliquaries for theft.
The evidence provides no solace, only a lack thereof.
This excresence, an abscess of a rising sun maugre
Rain and intermittent meteor showers render
Media towers mute.
Inoperable inoffensive inconclusive incendiary.
Try to frame this feeling and hang it on
Yourself, as you hang yourself —
On this tendril of your family tree —
On another morning of meager maudlin mauve.
She titled it Writing 39, and copied it into her notes application on her phone; her thumbs unhinged pistons, stabbing furiously at gorilla glass.
She was spiraling again, unhappy to have written the worst poem in this worst of all possible worlds. Pangloss had nothing on Martin. Fuck ‘em both anyway, she wrote.