behind the mule

Strongman Plow

The mizzle was the type of drizzle that drove him batty. Forever speckling his glasses, so that he had to take them off, wipe them, and replace them every few minutes. This was daft, he decided. Nowhere but here does it mainly rain.

Nowhere but on the Spanish plains do they lament the death of Franco—the laying-on of paternalistic hands—hands missed at the moments that one is being confronted by liberal foolishness, he thought, in an atypically illiberal instant.

He heard his father’s voice again through time and space: we need the return of the strong man—he of the gentle but firm hand guiding us, occasionally tapping us on the head when we veer off-course. Deliberate. Stolid. Of course we need his guidance, for we are nothing without it. Without him.

He had the insight that his father was sin and mental illness incarnate. A burr of incessant commands. A fuzz of violence. A spritz of acid walking.

His father once said, “get behind the mule and plow for the state. Plow for the caudillo!”

He told his father that the good lord knew he tried, but he wasn’t going to move a foot. Not behind the mule, the plow, or his father. “You are not the boss of me. Boss men are a thing of the past,” he said, and spit a wad of bubblegum out. “No sir, ain’t doing it. Get yourself some other flunky.”

His father didn’t take kindly to that, and set off on a pitched run toward him, and as he appproached and reached out for him, the son, for he was his son…

(I thought it was obvious. I tagged his father as “father” … if not, forgive me for the incomplete scene setting and half-constructed world … I gave you drizzle, but really not much in way of landscape, no … you see, there have been problems, issues you might call them: bomb cyclones to endure, debt ceilings to fret about, desperate measures to consider … did you know that … sorry, back to this other thing … humbly … sorry)

… He deftly took a half-step back, tilted up his boot and caught his father at the base of his leg, and off his father flew—the impulse of his own weight and gravity. Gravid gravity—

(though neither had ever been pregnant—it’s merely a secondary definition of gravid at work here—but they’d often been under the effects of centrifugal force, which really if you think about it might be the most effective way of rendering this … sorry, again)

Five feet later his father came down with a mortar shell thud, and an exhalation of breath that sounded closer to a pig’s squeal. The father knew he was beat before he even thought of getting up. The wind had left him. His fingers bent up to the sky, the same crooked talons that grasped his neck and shook him violently as a child.

He now chewed a new wad of John Cage bubblegum—

(NOTE: All music is currently being composed by chance operation. There is no sound. Not yet…)

What I’m Reading:

“There are many corpses on the back of this country, and we will continue to carry them until we have the right tools, the right words, to bury them, so that the fertile human field of becoming can flower with justice and equality.”

— Joy Harjo / Catching The Light

About istsfor manity

i'm a truncated word-person looking for an assemblage of extracted teeth in a tent full of mosquitoes (and currently writing a novel without writing a novel word) and pulling nothing but the difficult out of the top hat while the bunny munches grass in the hallway. you might say: i’m thee asynchronous voice over in search of a film....
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