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Monday, April 24, 2006

Rearrangements, revisions, & progressions: My Life with the Runaway Bride continues.

I changed the order of the beginning, and I just finished Part 3. Here are snippettes, including a bit of my protag's essay on turning 10:

My Life with the Runaway Bride

1. Belief is the bud of love

Comes a dry, quiet Sunday right for reading Leibniz and counting Monads at the edge of the field when I first see the runaway bride rising out of the flat planet, nearing fast with veil and train, and she puts her finger to her lips, maybe thinks I'm going to tell my dead daddy he should rise from the mud to get a shotgun. She's running so like desperation that her left off-white shoe takes off from her right foot, landing on a goat's ear. I hear the constipated yearning strains of Wagner and surmise that the cops are almost on her heels 'cause she's a bit dark complicated and in these parts the cops are always chasing whoever doesn't look like the underside of a hamburger roll. So I roll on my back, making like a tailless dog with my paws in the air to show her I'm not in attack mode and she smiles suddenly and totally which tells me everything I've ever wanted to know about my unexpected glorious future. And she sees right then and there how smart I am despite my issues with set tables; she grasps my hands to lift me up, floats a dewy caterpillar kiss on my little boy lips, attaching me like magic to something surprisingly elegant beyond myself. Says Spinoza: “All happiness or unhappiness solely depends upon the quality of the object to which we are attached by love.”

So I've been living with the runaway bride in the tornado cellar, but the cop says he doesn't believe me 'cause I'm only 9. Says boys don't go for girls until they hit puberty, I'm full of sheeit. He classifies, insults, taunts and practices a variety of three menacing looks. He interrogates, searches, curses, scratches his crotch, yawns, spits on his boots. And that's all just fine with me, as long as he doesn't find her.

The bride happened to me shortly after Daddy had walked out the back door into a hurricane mud hole 'cause he couldn't take the heat or Mama's crazy nagging and praying. So I could grasp that bride couldn't take any idiot groom. I don't mind the bad press over her 'cause I don't mind the press, don't believe a word of it. So you can say anything, like the press said the groom said she cast a spell on him and took off with his Rolex. I don't believe. I say, as Spinoza recognized, more rather than less: “Be not astonished at new ideas; it's well known that a thing doesn't cease to be true because it's not accepted by many.” And then, of course, one could always add that God is dead, thus spake Zarathustra. I say let's cut to the chase: belief is the bud of love.They from this corner of the county say, always they, ya know eenie miney moo joe and mo, all the same like a Greek chorus they say: you're a loopy Lew; loose in the head from a gaggle of grits. Hardy har har. They jump up and down, think if they think at all, well all collective like one big brainless smirky scarecrow in the middle of a pile of manure, anal they're to be sure watching out for birds, they with their rifles. This is my land , they all say, not mine but theirs of course and they say you can't own anything 'cause you're only 9, you lackadaisy looney as a titmouse without a tail. But at least born in the USA, which means somewhat safe 'cept for a bunch of crazy Arabs and patriotic bombers; so they go lackaday lackaday, hardy heart har, you loser there aint no alien runaway brides or even stick in the kettle girls for the likes of you they say, specially as how you keep flunking New Math. Nyeah nyeah, whinge Freddy the Fart and Whiskey Amos and their volunteer firemen daddies in their Order of the Moose and Rotary ties and helmets like those Bobbies and Brandons who do kitchens and bathrooms and icons so well you could weep with joy. Well, some could and do.

So nyeah nyeah I'm 9 stuck in second grade forever and the boys think I'm real weird quoting dead philosophers and writers to my self, but as Kant remarked: "If man makes himself a worm he must not complain when he is trodden on." So I make myself a tyrannosaurus rex with feet that could trample the entire county if I cared to bother. There is nothing outside of the imagination, someone probably said. If not, I just said it.

Lucky for the tornado cellar. It comes in handy when Mama comes after me with the vacuum cleaner. She can scarcely walk, more like rolls on her thumbs and toes, and she can't get down those cellar stairs for sure. So all I have to do is wear ear plugs to stop her from upsetting my equilibrium. Speaking of which, she's on Librium or maybe it's lithium. Could be Thorazine, doesn't much matter. She's pretty much out of the picture after the bride arrives. Mama doesn't mind, sits all day watching the busted T.V., laughing at jokes she can't hear, damning people she can't see.

You're trying to trick me, cop. Asking me what kind of mole the bride has on her right thigh. Is it shaped like an artichoke or a horsefly? you ask slyly, sitting at the kitchen table, set with the faded old yellow and white squared plastic cloth ripped in the middle two years ago when Daddy attacked the table instead of Mama. Mama refuses to trash it, in fond recollection of yet another escape from near death.
I know intimately the lima bean shaped mole on the bride's left breast, right below that wondrous Oreo nipple, and the flounder shaped mole on her belly that swims when she laughs. Of course I don't answer. Even when the cop extracts his gun and twirls it, I say nothing 'cause it's not his business. Nothing is --- not the Spanish poems she recites or the way she strokes her sex with the wet wash cloth every morning, crouched above the basin. Not the sound of her weeping or the sight of the deep welts the groom etched on her back as if she'd been his horse.The cop asks if the cat's got my tongue. I only respond: “The world would be happier if men had the same capacity to be silent that they have to speak” This truth doesn't set the cop free. Spinoza merely serves to enrage him further. He narrates the official story again, slowly, as though I'm too dim to form a lucid memory. "A good citizen known to the police says he saw you with the illegal Chicano bride by Cocaunau Bridge. We're trying to keep an open mind. Not everyone's eyes is on straight," he adds, with unexpected generosity. "And you know, son, we have to know the truth for your own sake. That's one nasty, tricky, mean criminal element, looking like a mocha ice cream sundae on the outside, strychnine on the inside, if you know what I mean."I tell him, "Yes yes, we've been through this and I've told you I live with a runaway bride, but is it my fault you can't find the one you're looking for?" I yawn, imagine the pain Bishop Berkeley experienced when he kicked that stone.

I really want to know if I am therefore I think or I think therefore I am. Will I ultimately attach myself to Descartes or to Sartre? I imagine Sartre will win out in the end, which is strangely comforting, though a greater burden. Thoughtful responsibility is appealing. I've learned that from my bride."What do you think?" I ask the cop. Do you think you think because you are, or do you think you are because you think, or do you suppose it's half a dozen of one and two dozen of the other?"The cop shoots a blank look, gets on his cellular pacifier, and tells his wife to cook the chicken before it spoils. He twirls his gun again and grins like a 9 year-old. He revs the engine of his motorcycle for as long as it takes my bride to find her way back to the cellar. . . . . .

2. On turning 10, a withering bud

At the more or less precise moment that I allegedly turned 10 or the allegedly precise moment, 3:43 a.m. on the 19th of February, Mama was enjoying a rare spree of reality clarity, teasing similes out of the air like blackbirds as fatal omens and persistently urging me to enlist with the Marines to win the war in Libya. My big Lewee, she would coocheecoo, forcing a makeshift war cap made of Soap Opera News atop my head, then standing back and saluting. Mama had formed a wayward notion of son as war savior replete with gold stars, silver crosses, and zirconium rosary beads. In turn, I formed a wishful, albeit impotent intention to replace her new psycho-tropical medication with Hemlock, despite the scarcity of such plants from these parts. Lucky I was a couple of years too young for enlistment and there was no war with Libya, but those trifles were no considerations for Mama and of course there was Iraq in bloody shards, always rising from the dead like a ghoul, and also factor in Iran about to be nuked. Understandably I was quaking.

It was during that angst-Ritalin period that my bride disappeared, a moist Friday dense with airborne nuclear waste after my return from what was passing for an educational institution and on the heels of a disgressingly disagreeable oral molestation by the Principal about the alleged absence of my motivation meaning that my motivation was deemed absent and I was in arrears for being present. And of course, I'd have to pay somehow, take more classes in modern mathematics and English composition and the biology of frogs, which I'd already failed twice. . . . I realized that Mama and the State were against me, of course couldn't expect any less or actually more and I never have up till now though not really.

What I found at home that late afternoon was the bride's left shoe by the bottom step beneath the trap door. The shoe looked pathetic and I wept hard, not even thinking of any poet in particular, and I immediately transformed my murderous thoughts from my mother to the cop, surmising that the Federal Immigration Nazis had arrived at his bidding. I wished upon him many melanomas and worse.........

Nevertheless, I felt compelled to record the historical coming of the age of 10. Naturally, I didn't forsee the bizarre and faintly apocalypic demise of the entire county, so I can only offer this remnant, discovered recently under a dead cow.

On Turning 10
By Lewis R. Lewis (writing posthumously as René L. Levalier)

On turning 10, I came to the startling revelation (aren't revelations always startling?) that dead philosophers and writers could not possibly teach me what I needed to know, and that what I needed to know was precisely without mincing words what I needed to know. I decided that this revelation was progress, defined as an intrinsic element in my ongoing process toward ontological awareness and putative effectiveness in regard to the transitory scheme of events on this planet, my self being a work-in-progress, the process being a publishing of self in portions some rigid types would want me to format as chapters or eras or even as references to back in those days parts 1, 2 and so on, so I pledged from that point on till at another point it might otherwise not make sense to quote only my own articulated revelations, such as: "On becoming 10, one must forego revering the words of others, as though the others were gods.. One must recognize that one's parents are not gods the sooner the better. When one realizes one's parents know no more than one would hope to ever know and one's teachers are not gods either of course and neither are presidents who are great deciders or llamas or even Einstein then one realizes there are no gods and it follows that faith in the words of others is fundamentally senseless or at least irrelevant in the long run and there are no must's which leads to the escapable conclusion that all I have said can be unsaid and all that I know can be unknown and all of this is perhaps very profound or is not profound as it is possible that time will tell or will not as dust turns to dust and ashes to ashes and all that and I am but a fool, I choose to add with modesty." ...............
3. Meanwhile, the Bride: This is not my story

It is I who speak now, Conchita that Chicano chickadee on the hit list of the Immigration Polizi. No, my real name isn't Conchita. It's Blanca, as in blank slate tabula rasa, as in I could've been born anywhere on this creaky old planet, with any skin, mouth, maybe fur paws and claws, maybe like the cookarotcha gotcha with feelers like metronomes, operating on pure instinct. Maligned cookarotchas, maligned Chicanos. Could've been conceived anywhere but it happened to be Mexico and you want to know about my life in good ol' Meheeko, yeah bébé, you know the father who drank cheap liquor and toiled in the fields of barren CEO's, poor worn Mamasita Carmelita making the tortillas for her 11 poor ninõs, tortillas and burritos and tamales at the local factory to export to take-out Mexican restaurants in Texas and beyond, so poor, none of us kids could afford aspirations. Get your hot tamale, get your hot tamale. We all don't got no ego down there, no senõra you think, so sympathetic. We just mass produce like Ford Motor Company 'cause we don’t know nothin' about the control of the seed and the need and children are gifts from God we think, so dumb, under the Bishop's thumb. We can't help it. Blame the Church.

So I, Blanca with my honey ginger skin, plaintiff chihuahua eyes, body like a new guitar, oh yes with breasts like mutant mango's, I am hiding inside the desert the boy knows. He knows it was a key I left him, the left shoe our code. If he wants to find me I am here, but I hear the dogs hunting for me. I scraped the soles of my feet to erase the smell of me so the dogs will go astray.. Do they know my blood, the precise scent of my DNA?

You want to know about the bridegroom, you are so curious to know how did it come to be that this leetle Chicano girl she comes to meet a factory owner over the border and leaves him. Use your imaginations, this girl says. Aren't you social workers? What does this big white guy American think when he sees this delicate leetle Chicano girl reading Pablo Neruda and Isabel Allende in a field by the border instead of working in his daddy's factory or cooking tamales for the laborers. . . . .
Is this my story? Blanca asks herself. Or is it one I made up because it is expected?...................

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