Saturday, November 26, 2011

Fools 'n Clowns

Sunset in Kickapoo Center


Only a fool forces awkwardness upon himself.
 Rahul Bhattacharya
from
The Sly Company of People Who Care

Before I awoke, I'd been struggling with fitting the town chairman's wife into an old fashioned, wood and tin steamer trunk. She was dead in my dream, but I guarantee you, she's alive in real  life. The symbolism puzzles me.  The town chairman told me in his perennially gruff voice, crusty from throat cancer to take out her extra clothes, "so ya ken get the lid down." I was packing her things for the long journey along with the body. Strange. What did I eat for dinner?

A young woman is dispensing orange juice / lemonade from inside a clear,round plastic ball which turns upon a couple of rollers, like a rock tumbling machine, sloshing the ingredients so they don't settle to the bottom. We're at an old-folks home.  She offers me a slice off the tip of odd looking plant, actually, a long thin stem with a bulb like a rat's nose at the end.  We cut the bulb end off and sniff the contents. Woo.Very strong. Very potent.

The smell's a combination of very old cinnamon you'd find crusted on inside of the lid of a spice jar and a whiff of the smoke stack from my American Flyer train which belched white puffs of smoke from a tablet I'd drop down the chimney.  The steam engine smell, I learn, is powdered copal, the same thing priests used in their incenser.  In my distant memory, a white bloused, black skirted kid who played hardball with us behind the church, carries the brass incenser hung from a chain following Father K moving the smoke to and fro.

Copal is the resin from a tree in central America, mesoAmerica as Google says.  Most Colombian copal actually comes from the Andes in South America. Aged copal resin becomes amber, a color and a name.  When I was a peddler, I sold copal in cloth bags from a company in Taos.  People bought it for the sweet tang when one dropped a small boulder on a glowing charcoal ember.  It was said that the smoke took prayers to the heavens. People would come into the store asking, "What's that smell?"  The wag in me would tell them,

Musta been Leroy, the UPS driver.  He eats too many beans.

The young thing offering the slice of heaven tells me it's an aphrodisiac.  She wears a thin yellow sundress with spaghetti string straps. I hope she's telling the truth, because I'd love to...

Only a fool forces awkwardness upon himself.

In the novel Rahul goes to a medical office for a yellow fever shot.  The receptionist he once trysted with is no longer there.  He briefly considers looking her up, then reconsiders, thinking.
 
Only a fool forces awkwardness upon himself.

I've been telling myself to get off my ass and continue the story of Rainbow and Rosie. I grow weary of the hundreds of detective novels in an alphabet or number series. I cannot find anything but another stereotypical tale of  Harry The Hammer, private eye, which take up whole shelves at my local libraries. The literary diarrhea enables the author  to spend the winter in Tuscon, have three horses, five dogs, three chickens, and ten cats. Look at the slow progression of pictures of Stuart Woods on the dust jacket of his novels.  He's one of my favorite authors(?) who includes a note at the end of his book telling readers basically- he doesn't need any more ideas from his adoring readers. Then I run across a novel like The Sly Company of Strangers Who Care. The imagery is exotic.  The prose beautiful. The language, stunningly so foreign that you repeat the words out loud to be able to understand them , for example,  bai is boy.  Nuf said.

Only a fool forces awkwardness upon himself. 

I'd like to describe Rosie's famous topless haircuts.The eye strain is excruciating as she tells you, " Keep you head still, brudda."   Or make up more lies about Rainbow's carelessness sitting too close to a campfire when someone tossed a river rock into the fire which explodes sending out shrapnel. She was and is a gorgeous brunet. Then I'd have to tell the whole story.T he good , the bad and the smutty.  No one would believe it, unless I'm rich, famous, a drunk, liar or politrickan or all. One is actually provable.

When one writes for public viewing, every Tom Dick and Harriet (Rosie's real name) has an opinion.  Some I value for their insight, humor and honesty.  You know who you are, so don't stop.  Others are like the comments I read in a news blurb in which the Mexican government decided to kill 50,000 feral pigs who sleep in the U.S. and roam across the border to feed. When did the news media feel it important to include the vox populi in reporting the events of the day?  Is it because it is no longer news?

Discounting the LOL's scribblers out there who cannot capitalize an I, substitute U for "you", C for "see" and lapse into a teenage electronic version of patois, because Mrs. Ladwig didn't stress grammar or usage in middle school. My grammar school English teacher was Ophelia Spargo, bless her 80 year old heart-may she rest in peace up there with the other English teachers in heaven along with my mother.  The only thing I remember about Ms. Spargo is the coughing fits that forced her to leave the classroom.  Sad.



What else is there to do on a rainy Saturday morning?  

3 comments:

snoringdogstudio said...

I'm making note of your book recommendation, Gavrillo. I'm reading The Bluest Eye for my book club right now and though I read it ages ago, I'm enjoying it again. There is something about Toni Morrison's use of language that is part poetry and part song. The rhythms are there for even someone as unmusical as I am.

Please go ahead and write the book or the short story - whatever it will be. Let it be real for you at least. If you don't, you'll just keep dreaming about it.

Hope you and your wife and the pets had a wonderful, cozy, peaceful Thanksgiving. It has come and gone. I hope you have much to be thankful for as I do.

Gavrillo said...

I am thankful for the community of writers out there, such as yourself, who make life more interesting, care about humanity and take time from busy lives to share their thoughts. I'll check out Toni Morrison.

Snoring Dog Studio said...

You sweet man. The world needs more of you in it. I'm thankful for the readers and writers I've met as well. I can't believe how much my life has been enriched by them.