A “Nearly” Thought, A Charming “Picture”

By | 1 August 2014

Here’s something: a first
whir, the next step…a few

feats more. I’ve “already”
retched…reached, I mean;

taken the jump so to speak.
It seems right. And so

the so-called story as it exists
in the so-called here-and-now.

That to mount his defence Sidney should with one hand palm like a little oiled apple
the pommel, so to speak, of one of Pugliano’s stabled stallions (besaddled “I knowe not
by what miſchance”) while with the other (polite nod, heel-of-hand-to-face, downswept-

doff-like-wave) announce himself logician first (“peece of a Logician”—crumb enough
of one, syllogists being a sort of dry biscuit, to’ve resisted the temptation to wish himself
a palomino or Percheron, the captivating flame of Iohn Pietro’s equine ardors aside:

the tear-stained hay bale homilies (…and whilst lifting to the lips of my beloved Lippizaner
an infusion of honey and essence of orange blossom in a little silver finger bowl once
as it chanced to happen, by her ladyship, the Duchess of Malfi…
), the vivid troughside

sermons (…with but a tin of custard and these two tiny castanets, in a little alley behind
a public stables near the docks of Swansea, I once soothed a skittish Andalusian, bless
her dear sweet delicate soul; she belonging to the captain of a Spanish schooner (la belle

of the lot!) I’d met that afternoon over a game of draughts in a booth at the back of The
& Rudder…
), the tender tack room recitatives (…and now, if I may, my first eyeful
of an unbloused bosom, that of my boyhood milkmaid Genevieve gigglingly bent to groom

the foreleg of a big bay mare (or was she a chestnut?) with a Grecian loofa and mohair
brush, grandfather seated before her on a little wicker chair grinning ear-to-tufted-ear;
I having one rainy summer Sunday by chance chased from the barnyard into the stables

a pair of fatted hens only to behold there the pater of our familias (humming all the while
an old sea shanty of which he’d always been fond) extract through his undone fly the
pink mass of his privates, select the chief part, and in full view of that poor unknowing

animal start to rub his glossy shaft like Aladdin his magic lamp (soon abetted, no less,
by our befreckled milkmaid! the little German hands of whom had, like the gentle jiggle
of her name itself, worked their rhythmical magic on every udder in the barn, a simple

fact the sobering significance of which I fully grasped (Gesundheit!) in a sudden flash
a decade hence, upon falling to the floor of a brothel in Hoofddorp, overcome by madam’s
house specialty: with one hand “the fist of ecstasy,” with the second “the fist of bliss,”

a nifty twist the like of which is seldom met with, I can assure you), the scene then ending
with a snort (grandpapa? horse?) and two laughs (mine of disbelief, Ginny’s whinny-
like titter, of surprise), the one, as luck would have it, in chorus with the other, and so,

gift of that timely eclipse, I remained undiscovered (hidden away between a forsaken
horse blanket and overturned handbarrow) and with me the secret shame of my own
unsaintliness: how my innocence was lost that day, taken by my own hand, as it were,

atop a pile of hay; stirred by the leathern frankincense-like fragrance of bridles,
browbands, saddle pads…provoked by the sight of throatlatches, breastplates, halters,
whips, crops, girths…inflamed by the calambac-like perfumery of dry straw, turnip tops,

fresh dung, horse sweat; “…the ill-effects of an unfortunate fall…” (per mother (stage left)
atop a taboret to assembled servants in the hall, she being but the height of an ornamental
hedge of holly) summoned, as it so happens, my dear nonno that very noon to eternal rest;

The wisest men do not lose their
jest even in the hour
of death, so let us be merry.
For here lieth Lorenzo beside
his beloved junipers, done unto
his end from excess joy.

his pale, dimpled, plump-faced playmate (an orphan from…Strasbourg, if memory
serves) I saw again only once, softly singing to herself at a little table beneath the kitchen
window one morning wearing only slippers and a bonnet arranging poppies in a vase,

whom soon after which was sent to a distant cousin’s country estate (near Padua? Pisa?
Parma? somewhere beside the banks of the Po deep in green Piedmont? no matter)
where she disappeared one winter whilst crossing a frozen pond to deliver a basket of eggs

to a neighboring farm, departing behind a clump of rushes into a cold but colorful coda
by way of an angler’s innocently un-marked hole in the ice…
), the enthralling little patties
of horsy hyperbole placidly pinched off atop a pinto or painted pony while roaming

shamrocked pastures, little green paddocks, long country lanes (…how now! to tame
an Appaloosa with a tambourine is but the work of a wet nurse…
), the somber soliloquies
delivered in the midst of calming a finicky filly, fawning over a colicky colt (…to “marble”

at one’s misfortune, as if to pulp oneself into the endpapers of a bad book, may we presume
to know better…
) or hissed through a split lip (…for surely this is but love or friendship,
or merely a ray of sun that gleams in the eye of this beast…
) while fending off (…not ill will

for me…) with a horsewhip (Fermo!) and suddenly headless hayrake (Attento!) the wild-
eyed kick (Ecco!) of a foaming Arabian), poet second (“my vnelected vocation”), so too
I’ve “ſlipt” (whoops): having “this”—say, bamboo bookmark, fauxly kanji’d to boot, iron

weathervane in the shape of a pair of napping loons, split muskmelon, lettuce leavings,
moldy bolt of muslin, chisel-and-wooden-mallet’s phit-phit-phit, little blue dish of caraway
pips—as much a delphinium or daisy or aster or asphodel its turning-toward-sunness.

Like this, and I would put up not down—not
because of tempo, because of sound—a map
of my own movement: from a simple journey
a few stone’s throws away to what shapely
manifold of dovetailed doublings and wrinkled
rabbets, dadoes, mortises and miters I fantasize
the so-called trek might knit me into if only it would.

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