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Leftover turkey Finlay, Michael 1972

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\  LEFTOVER TURKEY _ Michael F i n l a y B.A., U n i v e r s i t y o f B.C., 1970  A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS  i n the Department •of CREATIVE WRITING  We accept t h i s t h e s i s as conforming required  to the  standard  THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA April,  1972  In presenting this thesis in partial fulfilment of the requirements for an advanced degree at the University of British Columbia, I agree that the Library shall make it freely available for reference and study. I further agree that permission for extensive copying of this thesis for scholarly purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department or by his representatives. It is understood that copying or publication of this thesis for financial gain shall not be allowed without my written permission.  Department of  CREATIVE WRITING  The University of British Columbia Vancouver 8, Canada  - i i -  ABSTRACT  If  the turkey i n the t i t l e o f t h i s t h e s i s  i s the  author, then what i s l e f t  o f him - f o r the time being,  a t l e a s t - i s t h i s work*  the meat c l o s e s t to the  bone, b i t s o f l i t e r a r y f l e s h which t h i s somewhat carnivorous society  f a i l e d to s t r i p away.  I offer  i t now f o r consumption and become a new animal. This t h e s i s i s divided  i n t o three u n i t s :  p o e t r y , t r a n s l a t i o n and s h o r t s t o r y . section the  The f i r s t  comprises a s e l e c t i o n o f e a r l i e r poems and  beginnings o f a book t e n t a t i v e l y t i t l e d  East.  Somewhere  From random impressions i n the e a r l y work,  a more s o l i d p o e t i c n a t i o n o f Quebec.  analysis  develops around the  The c e n t r a l theme here i s one o f  struggle. U n i t two i s a s e l e c t i o n from f o u r books by the French poet G u i l l e v i c , rendered here i n E n g l i s h translation.  From e a r l y work i n Terraque  (Paris:  Editions  G a l l i m a r d , 19^2) and E x e c u t o i r e  Editions  G a l l i m a r d , 19^8) to more r e c e n t poems i n  Carnac ( P a r i s , E d i t i o n s (Paris, Editions  (Paris:  G a l l i m a r d , 1961) and Avec  G a l l i m a r d , 1966), G u i l l e v i c ' s view  - iii  remains simple and  -  sympathetic,  h i s poems the v o i c e  of one a l l i e d w i t h the n a t u r a l but oppressed  by  the r e a l i t y of h i s s o c i a l c o n d i t i o n . The  t h i r d u n i t c o n t a i n s three s h o r t f i c t i o n s  i n prose which experiment with the f a n t a s y which may  be our own  particular reality.  These are  lies  about o t h e r " t u r k e y s " , about the t e n s i o n s , s i l e n c e s and v i o l e n c e which d r i v e them towards r e b e l l i o n before they have n o t h i n g l e f t a t  all.  iv -  TABLE OF CONTENTS  Poetry  i  SOMEWHERE EAST  2  RIEL  5  LAKESHORE  6  OLD MONTREAL  10  CITADELLE  12  ABOVE QUEBEC  14  HARBOR  15  BATTLEFIELD  16  1837  17  ILLNESSES  20  DISAPPEARENCE  21  RAIN  22  ASPIRATIONS  23  SHELTER  24  NEWSCAST  25  WINTERS  26  LESSON  27  GUN METAL  28  REVOLUTIONARY FRIENDS  29  STRANGULATION  31  WOMAN IN BED  32  CREDENCE  33  GRANDFATHER  34  PICNIC  35  WE ARE ALL VICTIMS  36  STANDARDS  37  DIARY  38  NIGHT  39  WHAT YOU MAKE IT  40  HACKLES  42  THE STUDIO  43  STATUE  45  A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION  46  ADVERSARIES  47  OX-CARTS IN THE MORNING  48  AFTER EFFECTS  49  IN CAPTIVITY  50  Translation From TERRAQUE  by G u i l l e v i c  WINTER «  .  MONSTERS I f some day  51 52 53  . ..  54  But to die . . .  55  CARNAC  56  - vi-  FLAYED OX  57  THINGS  58  Walls without  59  trumpets . . .  He o f t e n walked  60  . . .  The b i r d he beseeched . . .  61  To l i v e i s to l e a r n  62  . . .  They have no need . . .  63  From EXECUTOIRE  64  by G u i l l e v i c  65  Noon i s the s t r a n g e r . . . When he had looked c l o s e l y Yet when i t was c l e a r Speaking  66  . . .  67  . . .  68  to the d o l l .-..<?.•'  SONG  .69  SONG  70  We go, as best we can . . . .  71  I f i t were not i m p o s s i b l e . . .  72  Yet i f they immediately  73  . . .  74  Where i s the wound . . . Which o f us . . . From CARNAC  '  75 76  by G u i l l e v i c  At l e a s t you know . . .  77  S i n c e your o v e r t u r e  78  What do you say o f t h i s blue  . . .  79  - vii, -  W i l l we never play . . . Sometimes i t seems to me . . .  80 81  When you appear to sleep . . .  82  Your father . . .  83  A l l the landscapes . . .  8k  Without body . . .  85  An entire arithmetic . . . .  86  I f i t i s true . . . From AVEC  by G u i l l e v i c  87 88'  LEAD  89  AT LAST  90  RECIPE  91  A BOX  92  SEPULCHRES  93  ENQUIRY NO. 9  9k  I f I had to speak of you . . .  95  Learn the wall . . .  96  DEAD TITMOUSE  97  CHERRY TREE  98  COPPER  99  I t i s almost calm . . .  100  Short Stories.,,  101  - viii  -  THE CAFE  102  THE EIGHTH LEVEL  109  THE GLASS CONFESSIONS  119  POETRY  - 2 -  SOMEWHERE EAST  Somewhere east of Ste. Therese, The bus warms l i k e an animal Chased across plains Where only i c e grows. Eyes surround, glare Like the memory Of a muzzle f l a s h And the breath Of every passenger Heaves slowly, Waves trying to scale Something When there i s no beach. One by one, Pages of p o l i t i c s Turn i n my hands. (Limousines r o l l Through the streets Of Sarajevo).  Closing on the border, None can say who w i l l cross  - 3 -  And when t h e r e i s no  crossing,  There i s the best f r o n t i e r Or none a t a l l . (A new-chancellor Is p r o c l a i m e d ) .  Three  soldiers  From the Van Doos, Two  nuns,  Acadians s t i l l moving, They have reasons: The nuns to shop In M o n t r e a l ; The gunmen to work In the back yards Of m i n i s t e r s ; The Acadians To push  on.  (Something moves Across the Y a l u ) .  The language makes me I w i l l be d i s c o v e r e d .  fear  Behind t h e i r eyes Is the knowledge. Of t h i s road, That  town  (Not C a i r o , not Saigon, Not y e t ) And behind the smile Of t h a t young boy Is the v o i c e , The word  fired  From the t i p Of one  fingerJ  "Anglais."  Somewhere o f f t h i s road, The L a u r e n t i a n s grow s t r o n g e r . Somewhere beyond the r a i n , Railways and j u n c t i o n s That h i s t o r y books s h a l l l e a r n . Somewhere west of S t e . Therese, Another R e i c h s t a g t b u r n s i r i my hands.  - 5 -  RIEL  When i c e melted, And  leaves scattered  And  e a r t h "broke open,  Sun and wind and s a p l i n g Stood  t r i a l f o r high  treason.  They whispereds Every  c o f f i n can be a  scabbard.  - 6 -  LAKESHORE  On a day l i k e  this,  The l a k e i s a r e s t l e s s . Spoonful o f ocean. W a i t i n g f o r the sky, I t r o l l s over i t s e l f To t e s t  this  shoreline  As i t must be t e s t i n g  others;  And when i t d e c i d e s to move, Waves o f foam and wet .noise W i l l evidence a madness, The s h o r e l i n e s Reasons.  themselves  Stones w i l l  roll  Dead to the sand and the wind W i l l w r e s t l e w i t h beach g r a s s . The sky w i l l c l e a r  i t s throat.  Another time, you might know That s h i v e r i n g here i s b e t t e r Than your animal p a c i n g . See, the t r e e s o f the f o r e s t A l s o tremble, say: This i s a day f o r the worms and us.  - 7 -  The lake,, you could l e a r n from i t , How  i t approaches now  a l i t t l e closer  But never s c r a t c h e s The smooth f a c e o f the sand And how  i t w i l l draw back .  To a l l o w the beach i t s whiteness too, The whiteness of broken s h e l l s And bones, not yours. Perhaps, i f you could meet i t half-way, Where l a n d . l i e s nowhere but below, You would understand.  But now,  the sky makes up i n b l a c k .  The wind d i g s i n beyond the t r e e s And t h i s becomes a b a t t l e f i e l d , Where g u l l s a r e as s i l e n t as s a n d f l i e s And the l a s t d a y - s t a i n i s sponged From the a i r too soon. The swells; rumble,  One by one  cobra-curled,  From the centre and c r a s h . Shotgunned,  The sky,  opens i t s e l f a t l a s t .  Yes, there i s v i o l e n c e here, But t h i s r a i n , a t l e a s t , i s f a m i l i a r  - 8 -  With c l o u d s , t h i s storm w i l l only Rearrange.  When i t i s done,  The wakes o f the b i r d s w i l l  pass  Over the same sandbars And water-bugs w i l l b u i l d Once a g a i n f o r the  targets  fish.  I t should be the same w i t h us.  The r a i n , now, In  the d i s t a n c e , c r i c k e t s no l o n g e r scream  And  s o i l runs over r o c k s and weeds.  The branches I  has t r a v e l l e d to the f o r e s t .  o f the elms applaud.  can r e t u r n now  and  Once more to your That now  listen  fearst  those rocks w i l l  riase  T h e i r heads above the calm; That now Is  the l i n e where the sky  sewn to the sea w i l l u n r a v e l ;  That now  your heat w i l l be  seized.  I t i s warm here, yes, and the l a k e Is  cold.  But i f i t d i d not move,  I t would burn l i k e  the dead  When they decompose.  Listens  - 9 -  For i f you f o r g e t you Wind and water and May  sound l i k e  The  roof,  eyes,  stone  fire.  L i k e the p a n i c of a thousand  feet.  - 10-  OLD MONTREAL  Old  men  w i t h dogs i n h a b i t t h i s park,  Walking,  one leashed to the other,  U n t i l i t i s time to stop. They have not grown o l d , these But shrunk i n t o  age.  They w i l l remember f o r you ( I f they can, i f you  ask)  F i g h t wars,.drink wine, Go hungry f o r you. They w i l l  exhume t h e i r wives,  Recall toothless  children  Whom they l e d , l i k e dogs Through t h i s park. They w i l l walk backwards Into the dead  end.  North of here, Wolves are shot from aeroplanes Because they are wolves. Between snow and  sun  There i s only c o l d And  sounds t h a t move too s l o w l y  men,  - 11 -  For animals to hear.  In  the c i t y , here, i n s t r e e t s ,  In  cellars,  Are growing.  the c h i l d r e n o f o l d men They remember.  They have stopped And t h e i r  suckling  mouths are f u l l o f b l o o d .  They know:  The wolves run south;  The c i t y f i l l s with wounded animals.  - 12 -  CITADELLE Quebec  Above the i n s t e p Of the  cliff  Black swabs Absorb another And  century  the g r o c e r Legrand  Watches one-eyed A wind from the west Push clouds e a s t .  A d u l l sunrise. The  sky descends  L i k e a dying hand Toward the  cobblestones.  Legrand, the g r o c e r , Watches. Clouds  reflect  Across h i s half-eye.  - 13 -  B u i l d i n g s and memories here Are stone And the d i f f e r e n c e Between heaven and cement Is the d i f f e r e n c e Between g r e y s .  An e y e l i d f a l l s s l o w l y . Legrand  imagines'  Beyond the w a l l s That clouds a r e s t i l l Nuages, That the sky does not Wear boots.  - 14-  ABOVE QUEBEC  Two c e n t u r i e s o f stone w a l l s Have kept the edges o f the wound Cauterized.  Inside, Someone r e b u i l d s a church And a woman down the road Has been dying  s i n c e December.  - 15 -  HARBOR  A s h i p s l i p s p a s t the gunwatch. Steam w h i s t l e s groan. The E a r t h  sinks  Below a p l i m s o l l i n e of sun.  For the s t e e l c r o c o d i l e , The p i e r i s a b i r d Daydreaming a t n i g h t .  The handhold of the sky Stretches And l o o k s l i k e smoke.  Caught between the moving edge And l a n d , Water p a n i c s And washes up d e b r i s s Us.  - 16 -  BATTLEFIELD Quebec  Beneath you, The roots of the tree are searching For buried dead.  The earth i s soft as carrion. Through eyes and r i b s Tentacles twist Into colder ground.  From branches, A slow confetti f a l l s .  1837  Up here, the- wind has l e a r n e d To t u r n on i t s toes, For  we a r e heading west now  And f r e e z i n g ,  slowly,  Like b i t s of p o l i t i c a l Decembers In  thought.  the season hangs  c r y s t a l s from our beards,  Winter f o r e s t s from which we breathe E x p l o s i o n s without heat. The t h i n g s we s t o l e , boots And muskets and food, Are as heavy now as the memory Of S t . Denis. L i s t e n to our marchings We move i n time w i t h animals, Not armies.  We a r e a company  Of wolves, w a i t i n g f o r the deer To a t t a c k .  A few more m i l e s  And the b a r r i c a d e s w i l l r i s e a g a i n , T h i s time a few m i l e s n o r t h And west o f M o n t r e a l , At  S t . Eustasche.  - 18 -  W e t h e r a l l , Colborne or Gore, Which one approaches beyond the wood, Which butcher l e a d s h i s army o f dogs? Through an open church window, A s p o t l i g h t sun pretends to warm While arguments s p l a s h from b o t t l e s I n the s t r e e t .  Paquin,  The s e l l o u t p r i e s t , i s under a r r e s t And v i l l a g e r s are packing up. Around the f i r e , V i g e r remembers S t . Charles f o r us, How  we fought i n the f o r e s t  L i k e the weasel and the bear. But today we are not animals And s h a l l stand. L i k e music  The sun descends  settling  On o r c h e s t r a  chairs.  We are three hundred  men.  Morning, and something c r a c k l e s L i k e bacon f r y i n g .  I t has begun.  A c r o s s the r i v e r , a c r o s s the hard snow, We a t t a c k Globenski's v o l u n t e e r s , Running l i k e stampeded horses  - 19 -  Into the c r o s s f i r e ,  scattering  L i k e ants when the f i r s t man  falls.-  Colborne, the governor h i m s e l f , Has moved i n behind, h i s army More then two m i l e s l o n g . Thousands o f sun-tipped bayonets Laugh as we f a l l back to the church. We are t h r e e hundred no more.  I remember the c r a s h o f canons That s h a t t e r e d our f o r t r e s s , S p l i n t e r e d our hopes, And how the v i l l a g e shrank i n flames And the smoke, l i k e a f o g from  hell,  That made our eyes b l e e d . I remember Chenier*s window-leap, His  f i n a l dance on a r e d bayonet.  I remember s m e l l i n g the farms All  burn  the way back to M o n t r e a l .  And I s m e l l i t even now, as I wait For  you, f o r o t h e r s , i n t h i s  Another century.  - 20 -  ILLNESSES  When plague "broke out "before, We i g n o r e d i t And  i t passed  L i k e a g u l l over water.  But the sun climbed Over the mountains And kept on moving.  When the b l i t z k r i e g  heat  Rumbled a c r o s s our sand, We swam f o r days In a s c h o o l o f sweat-water f i s h .  Then, on the f i r s t You h i t c h e d a r i d e And I was a d o l p h i n Heading  inland.  breeze,  - 21 -  DISAPEARENCE  Beyond the window, A b u l l d o z e r s a t l i k e a toad On r u b b l e from which no dust r o s e .  I t l e f t i t s tongue o u t s t r e t c h e d And  waited.  I t answers no q u e s t i o n s .  - 22 -  RAIN  The elm passes the wind To the maple. Leaves drop Like colored  sweat.  The sky chokes. Rain.  ASPIRATIONS  Her mouth has become The l i n e o f a draughtsman And  bends only  When her p r a y e r s get out o f hand. The  ears o f the c r u c i f i x  listen.  At c o n f e s s i o n , Her head droops l i k e m e l t i n g candy Toward the absence o f her s i n s . There are no shadows i n t h a t corner.  And when she runs, She  h o i s t s her s k i r t s  abovefher  And  l e a p s puddles wider than  That f o r c e you and me To stop and b u i l d b r i d g e s .  knees  those  - 24 -  SHELTER  A c o l d wind Turns the sky b l u e .  Waves g e t no chance To l e a v e the sea But f r e e z e  trying.  Now the wind w i l l l e a r n To t u r n  corners  And I am a l r e a d y  colder  Than a wrong number a t n i  - 25 -  NEWSCAST  Between bodies and h e a d l i n e s , Between s t u p o r and death, Is  the space t h a t a l l o w s me  To p i l o t my  toilet  J u s t over the t r e e s Or f l i p my deodorant On a u t o m a t i c - f i r e Or a l e r t  the squadrons  With a d o o r b e l l .  Because I read the papers While p u f f i n g v i l l a g e s In my p i p e , I t doesn't mean I am immune To e x e c u t i o n .  - 26  -  .WINTERS  All  the w a t e r - b i r d s  P l y from the  lake.  One  more, s n o w f a l l  And  i t w i l l be my  You  forgets  Your edges a l s o  time.  freeze.  - 27 -  LESSON  It's colder now Than when I started writing.  I f my feet r e s t On the frost-carpet I cannot f e e l i t And i f my face Is any more now Than two eyes, Black coals, I cannot t e l l .  The walls alone Give me time And they are The l a s t things l e f t to burn.  Against i t a l l I am able to l i s t All  the ways of saying  I am dying.  - 28 -  GUN  METAL  This s t e e l i s blue, Cold and w a i t i n g For  the heat o f one  finger.  My notebooks are n e r v e s . I wish wounds.  The thought i s cocked And r e s t i n g on my  knee.  - 29 -  REVOLUTIONARY FRIENDS  Yess  You a r e c o r r e c t .  Cobra, w i t h your eyes i n f r o n t Reflecting nuclear  light,  Blinding, Blinded, And your s p e c t a c l e s i n back, Your h i n d s i g h t G r e a t e r than Your f o r e .  M a g i c i a n , w i t h your words Tied together L i k e the h a n d k e r c h i e f s o f a clown And your r i g h t - h a n d photograph Distracting From your l e f t - h a n d  dagger.  P r i e s t , w i t h your p o s t e r - s a i n t s And music o f chants-  -  30 -  And the c r a c k l i n g o f wind On banners sounding So much l i k e So much g u n f i r e .  And I would borrow your buttons And p a i n t your s i g n s And feed your magazines, Magic, holy snake -  But you a r e c o r r e c t And i s n ' t t h a t enough?  - 31 -  STRANGULATION  In the smoke-space between two sleeps When night and day square o f f Like ends of an argument:  In a station f u l l of hats And news And the smell of steel on steel»  In a neck-deep ocean Of churning s a l t And eyes:  You see i t And sleep again, almost. You touch i t . And unavoidably escape. You speak i t And duck under.  While beneath the floorboards I t i s growing.hands And searching f o r the, s t a i r s .  - 32 -  WOMAN IN BED  In  r e t r e a t , the mattress i s c l e v e r .  I l i e awake to prove I am more so.  The s p r i n g s a r e constant echo Of the constant sound I don't want to make.  The sheets r e v e a l where I am l e a k i n g .  The p i l l o w i s a c o n t r i v a n c e Designed  to r a i s e my lowest p a r t .  The b l a n k e t s a r e h i l l s Containing  hills  Where wars occur Apparently with  impunity.  -  33  -  CREDENCE  She  has t r a i n e d her memory  To f e t c h imaginary a b s o l u t e s And  drop them a t my f e e t .  She  believes  she i s a sermon  On the madness t h a t she gave.  Soon, She  will  And  I w i l l pose,  Smiling.  carve my  skull  - 34 -  GRANDFATHER  My g r a n d f a t h e r was The Depression: Streaked from neck to base With memory l o s s Of w i f e - b e a t i n g s And  carpet s t a i n s ,  He r e e l e d a g a i n s t years U n t i l they hooked him Like a f i s h And poured  h i s d r i n k on swabs  And  rolled  him i n t o  One  final  stupor  That f o r c e d my grandmother, For reasons o f h e a l t h , To have one beer With every meal.  35  -  -  PICNIC  The Is  present past  Or t r i e s  We  now  to  be.  crowd i n t o minutes  That should  be  centuries.  Dead t a b l e s p o i n t At the muzzle overhead.  We  l i s t e n to a  Of  heartbeats  And  I am  By  the  Of my  drumroll  frightened  violence yawns.  36 -  -  WE ARE ALL VICTIMS  Alone i n t h i s  field,  My language i s suddenly s t o l e n By t h i e v e s who l i v e  on bookshelves  And behind imposing rostrums.  My b r e a t h i n g confesses To the c y l i n d e r s and p i s t o n s That operate w i t h i n And I c a l l i t to a h a l t .  Even i n my f i n a l  thrashing  My l e a t h e r becomes those damp ropes That moan on the g a l l e o n s That t e l e v i s i o n  created.  The s o l u t i o n l i e s a moment from now When my body w i l l  disguise  itself  As a lump o f animal excrement And decompose.  - 37 -  STANDARDS  I f I say I am l o o k i n g For a f i s h to make l o v e to I t i s because you a r e s c a l y But n o t s u f f i c i e n t l y .  - 38 -  DIARY  Sky  dry as sunburn  Threatens to p e e l .  The grass  perspires  And the dew i s s a l t - W h i t e .  Tides  ebb c o n s t a n t l y .  Grey, f i s h s t r a n g l e f a r i n l a n d .  These notes, I f i l e them While time remains.  Mark f o r r e f e r e n c e During the passage Of another f u t u r e .  - 39 -  NIGHT '  The  space between my f i n g e r s and darkness  Cannot s h r i n k : I have t h a t much c o n t r o l , That l i t t l e  choice.  I breathe b l a c k , Swallow sounds Concealed by w a l l s , Metallic And  vomiting  voices of shrapnel.  I move only a c c o r d i n g to myself. Now, through a i r t h a t cannot be s h o v e l l e d , To a b l a c k l i t  place  Where dogs and hunters Are t r e e d  together.  - 40  -  WHAT YOU MAKE IT  A very educated  man  Wore his glasses i n the night And saw the c i t y naked. He bought the morning paper And read of who  had died.  He saw eyes bounce o f f a darkened screen And watched the evening news.  Beyond the walls, Mandrakes grow between mossy stones And the grass that bowed Beneath the rabbit's foot Springs up again.  A very educated  man  Lives i n an iron lung. He thinks Stravinsky i s an Egyptian And says The Rite of Spring Sounds l i k e a song The slaves would sing.  - 41 -  Behind the w a l l s , He gasps and  drools.  He takes a b r e a t h And  whispers  Warnings to the world.  - 42 -  HACKLES  The watchman gropes the tower's h e i g h t And rubs the p a n t l e g o f the wind. He c l o s e s h i s eyes Half-way.  Still, He hears the t a l l grass And t a s t e s the r a i n t h a t A continent  upwind.  gossip falls  - 43 -  THE STUDIO '  In here, sounds are cold r e p t i l e s Slipping through my hair, A whisper of flames Burning without f u e l .  Beneath the s t a t i c Of the tree Leaves I record perfectly  Gars i n other streets.  The wind i s monotone. Water s t i r s Where the moon "bends And silence i s only A heavier drones Foghorn over foghorn.  In time, My eyes transform the sky  _ 44 -  Into a c c o u s t i c a l  Before the  tile.  jail-break,  I w i l l become The h i s s o f p l a n e t s p a s s i n g .  - 45 -  STATUE  I am a t t h a t p o i n t Where I hear our n a t i o n a l anthem Locked i n s i d e the a m p l i f i e r s Of a p s y c h e d e l i c band.  I s i t i n a corner L i k e congealed  dirt  That c l i n g s to the crook Between t o e s .  I form l e t t e r s From detached f i n g e r n a i l s And destroy them with my  breathing.  I dislodge floorboards And d i g up white bones With b i t s of broken t r e e s .  The anthem p l a y s over and over. I can only r a i s e my eyes And s t r u g g l e to stand up.  - 46 -  A STEP IN THE RIGHT DIRECTION (for a man chopped i n h a l f when he f e l l into "the hog" at a plywood m i l l ) .  After twenty-four years i n the m i l l He decides to improvise.  A f t e r twenty-four years i n the m i l l This i s understandable.  Even symphonies need some interpretation.  - 47 -  ADVERSARIES  The  i n s t a n t before you speak  I p i c t u r e herds o f white-eyed  oxen  Thrashing i n r i v e r s o f t h e i r own blood And  choking as they t r y  To mouth your name.  - 48 -  OX-CARTS IN THE MORNING  The wanderer kneels i n the holy sand, Prays, Pays h i s premium And walks away.  He does not know The sand i s i n h i s shoe f o r e v e r .  - 49  -  AFTER EFFECTS  The moment we are f i n i s h e d I would cleanse myself.  But the bath i s a room Too provocative And  f o r morning  the hair from your cold legs  Clings to the porcelain walls And makes me  retch.  -  50  -  IN CAPTIVITY  The symmetry o f my room Is c o n t r i v e d  disorder.  I employ effeminate  couturiers  To s c u l p t the f o l d s In my unmade bed. r  Surveyors v i s i t me twice a week To measure the d i s t a n c e Between socks on the f l o o r .  I know a man who s e l l s me Used p e n c i l s With machine-pressed t o o t h marks.  At n i g h t I occupy myself By bending i c y book And m u t t e r i n g  jackets  accusations.  From TERRAQUE  by  Guillevic  -  52  -  WINTER  I w i l l a r r i v e i n the evening In a warm room And you  You w i l l be there Burning and s o f t .  -  53  -  MONSTERS  There a r e some very k i n d monsters Who s i t "by you, And  eyes c l o s e d with  tenderness  upon your w r i s t  P l a c e t h e i r shaggy paws.  Some evening When a l l i s p u r p l e i n the u n i v e r s e And  the rocks resume t h e i r mad t r a j e c t o r i e s ,  They w i l l awaken.  -  54  -  I f some day you see a rock s m i l e a t you, W i l l you say  so?  -  55  -  But to d i e Some  evening  Could be a g r e a t weariness  And  a confession.  - 56 -  CARNAC  When the b l a c k  giant  Who s l e e p s among the f o s s i l s o f the ocean f l o o r Gets up and l o o k s .  The s t a r s i n the hollow o f the sky become c o l d And go warm themselves s i d e by s i d e .  The dead eyes o f a hundred thousand dead F a l l i n t o the r i v e r s And  float.  - 57 -  FLAYED OX  T h i s i s meat where b l o o d flowed, Meat where the miraculous Incomprehensible heat o f the bodyTrembled.  There i s s t i l l In  something o f a gleam  the depths o f the eye.  You could s t i l l  caress t h i s  flank,  You could s t i l l p l a c e your head And hum  to ward o f f f e a r .  there  - 58 -  THINGS  The cupboard was made o f oak And was n o t open.  Maybe corpses would have f a l l e n from i t . Maybe bread would have f a l l e n from i t .  Many c o r p s e s . Much bread.  - 59 -  Walls without trumpets What shouts You h u r l i n t o the room.  - What s i l e n c e And what h o r r o r .  -  60  -  He o f t e n walked In r a i n and wind  And when he r e t u r n e d He looked a t me In order to f i n d my t h r o a t .  - 61 -  The b i r d he  beseeched  Never consented  To come to h i s hand To be h i s w i t n e s s .  - 62  -  To l i v e i s to l e a r n To p l a c e your hand On a woman's b e l l y .  And to know how to h o l d In your h a l f - o p e n palm A pebble t h a t l a y On s o i l paths.  -  63  -  from The Rocks  They have no need o f l a u g h t e r Or drunkeness.  They do not burn S u l f u r i n the dark.  For  they have never  Been a f r a i d o f death.,  Of f e a r They have made a guest.  And t h e i r madness Is  clairvoyant.  From EXECUTOIRE  by  Guillevic  - 65 -  Noon i s the s t r a n g e r That feeds i n v a i n On the expanse o f f i e l d s And the rage o f i n s e c t s .  When the homeland i s i n c e l l a r s With the slime o f s l u g s .  - 66 -  When he had looked c l o s e l y a t a l l the monsters And seen t h a t they were a l l made o f the same s t o  He was a b l e to s i t down i n a b r i g h t room And see space.  /  - 67 -  Yet when i t was c l e a r That the c i t y was i n flames In the crash o f bombs,  He dared speak f a m i l i a r l y For the f i r s t  time  To the t h i n g s t h a t he touched On the t a b l e and the w a l l s .  - 68 -  Speaking to the d o l l Whose eyes  recalled  Those he could not f i n d  And whose t a u t arms Had been broken By him, another evening.  -  69  -  SONG  At my f a t h e r ' s butcher shop There a r e t u r t l e  doves.  There i s no o t h e r meat. There a r e t u r t l e  doves.  There a r e t u r t l e doves Who have no more to b l e e d .  - 70 -  SONG  With hemp one makes C l o t h s and ropes.  With hemp one makes The l a s h o f whips.  With hands t i e d One endures the whip.  - 71 -  from The Charnel Houses  We go, as best we can, To separate them.  To put each o f them In h i s own h o l e .  Because t o g e t h e r , They make too much' s i l e n c e A g a i n s t the n o i s e .  -  72  -  from The Charnel  I f i t were not  Houses  impossible,  Absolutely,  You would say i t was a woman G r a t i f i e d by l o v e And who  i s going  to s l e e p .  - 73 -  from The Charnel Houses  Yet i f they immediately became Skeletons,  As neat and hard As r e a l s k e l e t o n s  And n o t t h i s mass One w i t h the mud.  - 74 -  from The Charnel Houses  Where i s the wound That answers.  Where i s the wound In l i v i n g b o d i e s .  Where i s the wound So we can see i t .  So we can h e a l i t .  - 75 -  from The Charnel Houses  Which o f us would l i e down Among them.  One hour, one hour o r two, J u s t to pay homage.  From CARNAC  by  Guillevic  - 77 -  At l e a s t you know, you, ocean, That i t i s u s e l e s s To dream your end.  - 78 -  S i n c e your o v e r t u r e On the rocks o f Por en Dro Toward the open sea and the h o r i z o n ,  I have taken you backwards To the s a l t y marshes  Where I don't know i f I should c r y At having no more o f you Than these p i l e s o f white s a l t .  -  79 -  What do you say o f t h i s  blue  That you become i n the a t l a s ?  Have you sometimes dreamt Of l o o k i n g l i k e  that?  -  80  -  W i l l we never p l a y I f only f o r an hour, I f only f o r a few minutes, Solemn ocean,  Without your  appearing  To be busy elsewhere?  -  81  -  Sometimes i t seems to me That between us there i s the confused memory Of shared crimes.  Here we are thrown f a c e to f a c e In o r d e r to understand.  - 82 -  When you appear to s l e e p , Conquered by the sun, Your f a t i g u e p r your thoughts,  Then the s e a g u l l Shouts h a r s h l y  f o r you.  - 83 -  Your f a t h e r Silence.  Your dutyj Movement.  Your d e n i a l Fog.  Your dreams  - 84 -  A l l the landscapes That needed to be  And  seen.  the landscapes  Where you never were.  And t h a t accused  you  Of not b e i n g t h e r e .  - 85 -  Without body, But dense.  Without But  belly,  soft.  Without ears, But speaking l o u d l y .  Without  skin,  But t r e m b l i n g .  - 86 -  An e n t i r e a r i t h m e t i c Is dead i n your waves.  - 87 -  I f i t i s true That l i f e began i n you  Is t h a t a reason to t r e a t Like  accomplices?  us  From AVEC  by  Guillevic  - 89 -  LEAD  Someone who r e t u r n e d From s c u l p t i n g  silence  On the o u t s k i r t s o f the n i g h t Told me:  You  " I know you,  look l i k e what I have made.  - 90 -  AT LAST  Day g i v e s i t s e l f to day, Space to d i s t a n c e .  An a s t o n i s h e d sun Contemplates i t s power.  -  91  -  RECIPE  Take a r o o f o f o l d t i l e s S h o r t l y a f t e r noon.  P l a c e q u i t e near A lime t r e e a l r e a d y  tall,  S t i r r e d by the wind.  Put above them A blue sky washed by white  Leave them. Watch them.  clouds.  - 92 -  A BOX  I t ' s a copper box, Open, deep and round.  Taken i n hand, Looked a t f o r a long time.  There's a bottom to b l o c k - y o u r view. Under your gaze i t remains the same.  And t h a t d i s t u r b s you.  I f t h e r e wasn't a bottom, I t ' s f e a r then, That r i s e s i n t h i s o t h e r space Where the hollow l e a d s , Where time  falls.  - 93 -  SEPULCHRES  We a r e gone l o o k i n g f o r stones To cover the corpses I s o l a t e d i n the e a r t h .  As i f i t were n o t h i n g For those who a r e f u l l y  And  as i f being p r e s e n t  When the bodies decay In t h i s  earth  Were r e p a r a t i o n .  alive-  - 9k -  ENQUIRY NO.  9  When you see the sky Watching our days  Haven't you thought I t would have b e t t e r t h i n g s to do?  - 95  -  I f I had to speak o f you I would imagine cemeteries.  -  96  -  Learn the w a l l , Caress the w a l l , Look f o r i t .  - 97 -  DEAD TITMOUSE  Does someone s t i l l  speak o f you  Somewhere among your f a m i l y ?  Does someone speak your name?  - 98 -  CHERRY TREE  Here you have become As i t was dreamed,  Only t h i s whiteness F r i g h t e n i n g the h o r i z o n ,  Only the f i a n c e e Prepared f o r the marriage.  Who w i l l take you? Who must come?  - 99 -  C O P P E R  The l o n g i n g s of the e a r t h Are there i n my  My very  reflections.  silence  Is only a form of h e r ^ v i g i l .  - 100 -  I t i s almost calm: The weather must l i v e Beyond the c l o u d s .  SHORT  STORIES  THE  CAFE  ( A Short S t o r y )  - 103 -  There's a h a l f - f i n g e r s t i l l p i n k when he sees the c a f e .  E v e r y t h i n g e l s e i s f r o z e n white.  The  s c a r f t h a t had covered h i s mouth i s now s t i f f and t w i s t e d around h i s neck l i k e a squashed snow hasn't stopped and i t ' s windy.  eel.  The  He s t i l l  tries  to keep the snow from squeezing i n s i d e h i s overf l o w i n g boots. the wind.  He can't hear h i s boots crunch f o r  But he sees the c a f e .  I t ' s a s m a l l b u i l d i n g w i t h a v e r t i c a l wooden s i g n t h a t says* front. lights  Cafe.  There a r e no gas pumps out  There i s n ' t even a road.  But t h e r e a r e  i n s i d e and smoke c u r l i n g from the chimney.  He keeps walking, l i f t i n g h i s l e g s h i g h .  He's  gone f a r enough t h a t he can t u r n and not see the trees.  He f l e x e s h i s hands and the glove l e a t h e r  i s l i k e an animal hide l e f t i n the sun. He t w i s t s h i s f a c e and f e e l s n o t h i n g .  But c o l d .  He s m e l l s  the smoke and stamps h i s f e e t and opens the door. A b e l l r i n g s and the warmth i s an animal, breathing. floor, inside*  He pounds h i s f e e t a g a i n s t the wood  shakes h i s head.  There a r e f i v e  people  a man behind the counter, two t r u c k d r i v e r s  - 104  -  at a t a b l e to the l e f t , a g i r l s i t t i n g a t the and a man  i n the corner to the r i g h t .  the gloves and unzips h i s coat. counter and  s i t s two  corner  He p u l l s o f f  He walks to the  seats from the g i r l .  She's  r e a d i n g a L i f e magazine t h a t i s m i s s i n g i t s cover. The  t r u c k d r i v e r s are t a l k i n g about hockey, New  and Boston. The man  The man  behind  York  i n the corner i s d r i n k i n g c o f f e e .  the counter walks toward the  new  customer. "What*11 i t be?" with a d i r t y  He's  a b i g man,  balding,  apron.  "What do you  serve?"  "Coffee." "I mean to e a t . " "That's to  it.  Coffee.  haven't got  anything  eat*" "What do you mean? "Nope. "Nothing "We  in  We  We  You must have something."  do sometimes.  to eat?  got c o f f e e .  How  But not  now."  can you c a l l t h i s a c a f e ? "  That's what cafe means.  Coffee  French." "I know, but i n E n g l i s h , c a f e means r e s t a u r a n t ,  where they serve food." "In E n g l i s h , the word f o r r e s t a u r a n t i s r e s t a u r a n t .  -  105 -  That's French, t o o . " "Yeah, I know." "So do you want c o f f e e o r n o t ? " "Yeah, g i v e me some c o f f e e . " The man behind the counter wipes h i s hands on h i s apron and walks to the c o f f e e urn.  The g i r l  reads the L i f e magazine.  talk.  The t r u c k d r i v e r s  The man i n the corner d r i n k s c o f f e e . i s s t a r t i n g to melt.  The s c a r f  He puts i t on the counter  where a puddle forms.  The c o f f e e a r r i v e s and he  takes a s i p . "How f a r i s the road from here?" he asks the man behind the counter. "Not f a r . " "How  far?"  "Down a ways.  Keep walking and y o u ' l l h i t i t . "  He takes another d r i n k from the c o f f e e . I t ' s not very good.  He blows h i s h o t b r e a t h on h i s hands.  "Cold out, i s n ' t i t . "  The g i r l doesn't l o o k up  from the L i f e magazine when she speaks. "Yes," he says. "Yeah, i t u s u a l l y  "Yes, i t i s . " is."  "Do you know how f a r i t i s to the road?" he asks.  -  "Not v e r y f a r . " l i t t l e unkempt.  106  -  She's a p r e t t y g i r l ,  but a  There's a p i e c e of t r e e l e a f i n  her h a i r . "Could I walk i t ? " "Oh,  sure.  I f you wanted."  He takes another d r i n k from the c o f f e e . warmer now.  The g i r l  t u r n s a page.  behind the counter stands behind the counter.  The one i n the corner d r i n k s coffee.. "Do you l i v e around "Yes," says the  here?"  girl.  "Like i t ? " "No." "This i s a strange c a f e . " "Uh-huh."  She's r e a d i n g the L i f e magazine  editorial. "They don't serve f o o d . " "No. " "That's strange, i n my o p i n i o n . " "Uh-huh." "Do  feels  The t r u c k d r i v e r s have switched to f o o t b a l l ,  Los Angeles and Minnesota. The man  He  you agree w i t h t h a t  editorial?"  "Probably " L i f e i s p r e t t y r i g h t wing."  - 10? -  "You  mean the magazine?"  "That's r i g h t . "  He d r i n k s from h i s c o f f e e .  The man behind the counter washes d i s h e s . t r u c k d r i v e r s argue about b a s e b a l l . corner d r i n k s . day  living,  The  The man i n the  " I d i d n ' t mean t h a t l i f e ,  day to  i s r i g h t wing."  "No, I d i d n ' t t h i n k you d i d . " "Life isn't p o l i t i c a l . " "You  mean day to day l i v i n g ? "  "That's  right."  "I thought t h a t ' s what you meant." "It's of  just l i v i n g .  I t ' s not a subjective  thing." "Uh-huh." "Do you agree?" "Probably." "It's s t i l l  snowing o u t . "  "Yeah." "Have you read t h a t magazine "Yeah." "Like i t ? " "No." "This i s l o u s y "Yeah."  coffee."  before?"  kind  - 108 -  "Db you want to screw?" "Uh-uh." "Have you n o t i c e d something?" "Probably." "It's  still  snowing o u t . "  "Uh-huh." "And everyone i n the cafe i s i n t h e i r  shirt-  sleeves." "Yeah." "And there a r e no coats on the coat r a c k . " "Uh-huh." "Yeah. "I  Could I buy you a c o f f e e . "  guess."  "Two more c o f f e e s , p l e a s e . " counter f i l l s  The man behind the  two o f the cleans cups with c o f f e e .  The t r u c k d r i v e r s argue about l a c r o s s e . the corner d r i n k s c o f f e e .  The g i r l  The man i n  turns a page.  THE EIGHTH LEVEL (A Short Story)  - 110 -  " H e l l o , A r t h u r , what a p l e a s a n t  surprise."  At the time o f the a s s a s s i n a t i o n , A r t h u r was s t a n d i n g a t the hack o f the l e c t u r e h a l l ,  lighting  h i s p i p e and l o o k i n g n o n c h a l a n t l y d i s g u s t e d . furthermore  . . ."said  the speaker  "And  b e f o r e being  slammed a g a i n s t the w a l l and crumpled to the f l o o r . A r t h u r dropped h i s p i p e i n the scream t h a t f o l l o w e d .  Bernard was i n the l i b r a r y ,  on the e i g h t h l e v e l ,  wearing a toga and r e a d i n g h i s t o r y .  "You  look t e r r i b l e , A r t h u r .  S i t down and t e l l  me what has happened."  Two p l a i n c l o t h e s policemen immediately  i n the audience  rushed  to the f r o n t , leaned over the body f o r  a moment, then rushed  back behind  the crowd.  One  r a n to the f r o n t a g a i n , spoke to a man from the audience  and watched the man r u n to the back.  Arthur  - Ill  -  r e t r i e v e d h i s p i p e from the f l o o r and turned to the exit.  A policeman  where he  stood, gun drawn.  A r t h u r stayed  was.  Bernard had s p e c i a l p r i v i l e g e s : out f o r meals and was overnight.  he c o u l d send  allowed to stay i n the l i b r a r y  The keeper gave him these p r i v i l e g e s  when i t became c l e a r to both of them t h a t f r e q u e n t breaks f o r such t h i n g s would i n e v i t a b l y c o s t Bernard y e a r s , p o s s i b l y c e n t u r i e s , i n terms of h i s r e a d i n g . Bernard on t h i s day a t e p i z z a because i t was Tuesday or a F r i d a y .  Otherwise  Chinese food or f r i e d  chicken.  he would have eaten  "A l i t t l e more s l o w l y , A r t h u r . l i s t e n i n g to people  a  I am not used  to  talk."  More p o l i c e and s e v e r a l ambulance attendants arrived.  Photographers  around the body.  and d e t e c t i v e s converged  A r t h u r l i n e d up a t the door to  be searched b e f o r e l e a v i n g . said a police o f f i c e r . two p i p e s examined.  "Raise your arms,"  A r t h u r was  f r i s k e d and h i s  Outside, h i s p i c t u r e was  by p o l i c e and p r e s s photographers.  taken  "Did you see i t ? "  - 112  asked a reporter.  -  "No, I was l i g h t i n g my pipe,"  Arthur r e p l i e d and walked on.  "Shocking, Arthur, simply shocking.  But I am  pleased, just the same, that you turned to me i n t h i s time of need.  I t used to he l i k e that, didn't  i t , when we were good friends and companions?  Before  we decided to go our own ways."  The national c o l l e c t i o n , The History of the World, i s the pride of the 'town.  Conceived by a l i b r a r y  director some time ago, the idea met with tumultuous public enthusiasm and popular f i n a n c i a l support. Historians, scholars, l i b r a r i a n s , researchers, stenographers, recorders, binders, a l l were hired and set to work on the f i r s t volume.  When, a f t e r  considerable time, i t was completed, i n t e l l e c t u a l s and simple t o u r i s t s came from around the globe to stand i n awe of the book.and the massive organization that had produced i t .  The name of the town found i t s  way immediately onto the pages of academic  journals  and international encyclopedias. But that was some time ago.  Bernard, he enjoyed his privacy.  - 113 -  Once o u t s i d e the b u i l d i n g , A r t h u r walked away from the p a r k i n g l o t where he had car.  He  earlier l e f t his  s e t out on f o o t f o r the c i t y , f o l l o w i n g the  s i d e r o a d s and secluded  paths.  In the beginning, Bernard  could cover a century  i n a matter of hours, read an e n t i r e age months.  in a  few  But as, i n h i s books, the u n i v e r s e slowly  moved i n t o h i s t o r y , as knowledge was  recorded  sources became more r e l i a b l e , he was  f o r t u n a t e to  read i n a day  the events of a s i n g l e week.  l e a r n e d to read f a s t e r . extended r e s t p e r i o d s .  He l e a r n e d to l i v e He  He without  concentrated a l l of h i s  energy i n t o h i s eyes f o r r e a d i n g and one f o r t u r n i n g pages.  and  Completion  finger  o f each volume  was  marked w i t h a s c r a t c h on the edge of h i s r e a d i n g t a b l e , t h e r e on the e i g h t h l e v e l of the  "But o f course you Arthur. style.  Shooting a man  c o u l d not have been r e s p o n s i b l e , down i n c o l d blood i s not your  That i s one d e c i s i o n you would not have made.  There, you see. i s why  library.  Decisions again.  You remember t h a t  I came to the l i b r a r y i n the f i r s t p l a c e . I  was  - 114 -  very l o g i c a l then.  I t was reasonable f o r me to s e t  out, with the weight o f a l l my l i f e ' s d e c i s i o n s b e a r i n g down on me, to educate myself. at  That way-,,  l e a s t , I would become capable o f making  decisions.  educated  Whether, to step i n t o the s t r e e t and  be s t r u c k down by a c a r o r to stand on the sidewalk i n the path of a runaway t r u c k .  Such d e c i s i o n s a r e  important."  A r t h u r d i d n o t go home t h a t n i g h t .  He began to  l i v e f a r from s t r e e t lamps and the moon.  He a t e  i n dimly l i t r e s t a u r a n t s and found no o p p o r t u n i t y to  bathe o r shave.  He s t o l e through dark parks  to  snatch o l d newspapers from l i t t e r  pails.  In time, and w i t h p r a c t i c e , "Bernard  achieved  a p o i n t i n r e a d i n g speed a n d ' e f f i c i e n c y such t h a t a very minor e f f o r t was r e q u i r e d to d i g e s t v a s t amounts of m a t e r i a l .  He took to commenting to the keepenon  s p e c i f i c p o i n t s concerning Java Man o r the H i t t i t e s . He would make o c c a s i o n a l a p h o r i s t i c remarks, s u p p o r t i n g them w i t h the f i n d i n g s o f v a r i o u s c u l t u r e s .  As h i s  need to e x e r t h i m s e l f and concentrate became l e s s ,  - 115 -  Bernard  b e g a n t o amuse h i m s e l f w i t h h i s hands  he  read.  He  w o u l d s e n d o u t f o r m a t e r i a l s so  he  could carve  ships while  r e a d i n g of the  o r c o n s t r u c t a p e r f e c t s c a l e model o f the pyramid Egyptian several  complex w h i l e  of  saw  he  Three:  had he  Giza of  Notches soon s t r e t c h e d  One:  he  had  every  been a t the  edition meeting.  been s t a n d i n g a t the back of the  had  disappeared.  T h e r e was  the  subversives  t h r e a t o f m a r t i a l law.  a t e from garbage cans,  emerged o n l y  in  became wary o f p a r k e d  darkest a l l e y s .  He  hall.  also speculation  a b o u t p h o t o g r a p h s b e i n g m a t c h e d , known being questioned,  Bernard  chair.  h i s n o t o r i e t y grow w i t h  t h e newspaper.  Two:  Phoenecians  a r o u n d t h e huge r e a d i n g t a b l e and  b e g a n t o mark h i s  Arthur  that  s t u d y i n g the development  civilization. times  as  Arthur  i n blackest night, cars  and  dogs.  "No,  I'm  sorry, Arthur,  smoking y e a r s A  ago.  strange place.  I naturally  It isn't  I don't. allowed  When I d e c i d e d  came h e r e ,  I gave i n the  to educate  to t h i s h i s t o r y ,  the  up library. myself, most  -  116 -  d e t a i l e d c h r o n i c l e o f mankind.  And there i s never  anywhere to s t a r t but a t the beginning,  i s there?  A l l t h i n g s c o n s i d e r e d , I t h i n k I have made remarkable progress.  I have reached  l i k e my toga?  the Roman p e r i o d .  I made i t myself."  When the keeper d i e d , Bernard mentally while reading. papers,  Do you  began debating  He composed s c h o l a r l y  complete with f o o t n o t e s , aloud and without  s t o p p i n g h i s eyes.  With a book i n one hand, he  carved f r e s c o e s on the t a b l e with the other. developed  He  h i s own s t y l e .  Lampblack on h i s f a c e , A r t h u r s l i d along the sidewalk,  stomach to the cement.  He g r i p p e d the  lowest p a r t o f the f i r e escape and p u l l e d h i m s e l f up.  He began to climb.  Bernard door frame.  made h i m s e l f a m i r r o r by p o l i s h i n g the He s a t behind  the t a b l e and read to  himself.  " H e l l o , Arthur,.what a p l e a s a n t s u r p r i s e . "  - 117  -  Bernard s a t behind the t a b l e , t r a c i n g the l i n e s of h i s f r e s c o e w i t h the f i n g e r s of one hand. was  a s u r r e a l i s t i c p o r t r a y a l of The  It  Fall.  " T h i s i s indeed a t e r r i b l e predicament you have found y o u r s e l f i n , A r t h u r . are not unusual.  Take my  But such own,  predicaments  f o r instance.  I have  made such tremendous p r o g r e s s , but, do you know, I have always been d r e a d f u l l y bored here.  You  see,  t h e r e comes a p o i n t when you r e a l i s e t h a t every f o o l i s the same.  One's d e c i s i o n s are always as  and as insane as the next fellowf.s.  brilliant  You n o t i c e , i n  t h i s r e a d i n g , the emergence of c y c l e s , f a i n t  identical  waves, the g e n t l e r o l l i n g o f a ship:'s deck under your feet.  L i k e the Roman p e r i o d .  I have read i t a l l  b e f o r e , f e l t those same r i p p l e s .  I t ' s j u s t another  wave, coming from nowhere, causing n o t h i n g .  There  comes a time when you must stand and be counted w i t h the r e s t of the f o o l s or d i e of ennui. be changed.  Nothing  Besides, those p a r t i c u l a r f o o l s  can  upstairs  are p r o d u c i n g t h r e e volumes a day and I can o n l y read two. Arthur.  I am a f r a i d I w i l l never f i n i s h the There i s not enough time.  collection,  The b a r b a r i a n s are  -  118  -  a t the gates."  Bernard l e f t the l i b r a r y t h a t n i g h t .  I n the  f o l l o w i n g weeks, t h e r e were many a s s a s s i n a t i o n s throughout the country. f o r months.  A c e r t a i n turmoil reigned  I t was o n l y g r a d u a l l y , a f t e r the death  o f t h e a s s a s s i n , t h a t o r d e r was r e s t o r e d .  A r t h u r , i n t h e meantime, was unaware o f t h i s . B e r n a r d had t o l d him he would be s a f e on t h e e i g h t h l e v e l and he s t a y e d , a l o n e t h e r e , h i s o n l y  distraction  i n o c c a s i o n a l r e a d i n g s from t h e n a t i o n a l c o l l e c t i o n .  \  THE GLASS .CONFESSIONS (A Short S t o r y )  - 120 -  I d i d n ' t answer, n o t then.  Things had gone badly.  The attempt had proved to be n o t h i n g more.  I was  upset. "Why?" Pablo repeated, t o u c h i n g h i s forehead tentatively. "Oh,  shut up.  T h i s i s n ' t what was supposed to  happen." "So I gathered." I t was a bad gun, o l d and r u s t y .  A s o u v e n i r my  u n c l e had l i f t e d from an I t a l i a n o f f i c e r i n North Africa.  Such weaponry.  No wonder the I t l a i a n s had  made such a poor showing.  Yes, y e s , the p i s t o l was  a l s o too s m a l l to do the job p r o p e r l y , I know t h a t now.  Once more I searched the s l i d e and g r i p f o r  some i n d i c a t i o n o f make, model and c a l i b r e .  Nothing.  I f I had known, I could have bought f r e s h ammunition. But now. . . "Why?" Pablo i n s i s t e d . "I don't know why. before.  " I s i t too much t o ask?"  Because I had never done i t  Because i t would be an e x p e r i e n c e .  I would l e a r n something.  Because  Now be q u i e t and l e t me t h i n k . "  - 121 -  The q u e s t i o n , a c t u a l l y , was a good one and bothers me even now.  But there was no time to t h i n k on i t  then. "Aren't you going to f i n i s h the job?"  Pablo's  v o i c e was a mixture o f f e a r and a c c u s a t i o n . "The  gun's jammed," I s a i d .  Breech too r u s t y ,  ammunition too o l d , I don't know the problem." "You  could beat me with i t . "  frozen.  The words,, c o l d and hard, dropped  ice-cubes "No. I've  H i s v o i c e had like  from h i s mouth. That's no good.  blown i t . "  And i t ' s too l a t e now.  I looked up to h i s f a c e .  "How's  your head?" " F e e l s k i n d o f strange.  Stings a b i t r i g h t  here."  He p o i n t e d to the t i n y h o l e i n the c e n t r e o f h i s forehead, visible looked  j u s t above the eyes.- But f o r a b a r e l y  r i n g o f a l r e a d y c r u s t e d blood, the wound l i k e a t a t t o o o r r e l i g i o u s marking.  Pablo  w r i n k l e d h i s brow and the h o l e changed shape f o r a moment.  "What now?" he asked.  "I guest  i t ' s up to^you.  Do you p l a n to t u r n me i n ? "  A f t e r a long moment's wait, he r e p l i e d : 9  yet.  "No, not  I t h i n k we should t h r a s h the whole t h i n g out.  - 122 -  I t was a p r e t t y s t u p i d t h i n g to do, you know." I shrugged. "Let's go f o r a beer and t a l k about i t , " said.  I nodded and we  he  left.  I t was n i g h t and the neon s i g n s o f shops and b u s i n e s s e s s i g n a l l e d a n g r i l y a t oneanother.  Icicles  grew down from the eaves though a l l  paralysed  by c o l d .  e l s e was  A c i t y s i l e n c e , the l o u d e s t s i l e n c e ,  crowded  around us. "I wonder about these s i g n s , " I s a i d , not r e a l l y wondering.  "They're so u g l y . "  Pablo spoke knowingly. a t t r a c t people.  "They're not meant to  F o r one t h i n g , they f l a s h a t n i g h t  when the shops are c l o s e d . to f r i g h t e n us away.  We  A c t u a l l y , they're designed  are the people the shop  owners don't want to meet." We walked on i n s i l e n c e and I was  soon pushing  open the heavy door to the beer p a r l o r .  My  glasses  fogged as we entered and I would have s a t anywhere, but Pablo s p i e d A r t h u r , Bernard and C a r o l a c r o s s the f l o o r and we moved towards t h e i r  table.  C a r o l had an accent as e v e n l y rugged as l o g c a b i n  - 123 -  corners.  She knew how  flat-chested.  to w i t c h water and was  I t h i n k she was  very  German, but w i t h  Jewish h a i r . " H e l l o , " she s a i d p r e c i s e l y .  "Please s i t down."  At one time, A r t h u r and Bernard had both been communists but Bernard had r e c e n t l y p r o c l a i m e d h i s homosexuality. had t o l d me: "Hey,  One n i g h t , a t t h i s same t a b l e , "You  s e t me  on  he  fire."  Pablo, what's the matter, somebody s p i t  on your forehead?"  A r t h u r was  smiling,  slightly  drunk. "No,  t h i s i d i o t shot  me."  Our t h r e e companions leaned over and looked c l o s e l y a t the wound.  "So he d i d , " s a i d  Carol.  "So he d i d . " "Hmm,  yes, yes, hmm,"  said  Bernard.  "Why'd you do t h a t , " A r t h u r asked s o b e r l y , but still  smiling.  I e x p l a i n e d b r i e f l y but wondered to myself a t the same time. the pub, mind?  In the f a m i l i a r surroundings of  the episode seemed absurd.  I f so, was  Had I l o s t  my  i t a temporary or permanent l o s s ?  There were many q u e s t i o n s .  - 124 -  "Oh w e l l , no harm done, a p p a r e n t l y . " as i f answering some o f my doubts.  C a r o l spoke  She ordered more  beer. "Do you know what I l e a r n e d the o t h e r day," Bernard s a i d , n o t a t a l l  interrogatively.  "The  Prime M i n i s t e r and a l l the members o f the f e d e r a l c a b i n e t a r e gay.  I knew most o f them were but  f i g u r e d t h e r e had to be a token s t r a i g h t i n t h e r e somewhere.  But t h e r e i s n ' t .  I found t h a t out  from a guy who has a c t u a l l y been screwed by the Prime M i n i s t e r . " "I know l o t s o f people who have been screwed by the Prime M i n i s t e r , " A r t h u r r e p l i e d and we began a l o n g d i s c u s s i o n o f unemployment. More beer l a t e r , C a r o l asked a g a i n f o r d e t a i l s of the s h o o t i n g .  "I t o l d you b e f o r e , " I s a i d .  "Don't you b e l i e v e me?" "I suppose I do," she s a i d . the way to l e a r n .  "But t h a t i s n o t  That i s n o t the way to f i n d  knowledge."  Money began to r u n low and we emptied our p o c k e t s . A button, s e v e r a l keys, a pen, two k n i v e s , a comb, a notebook, some worry beads, a condom and a few b i t s  - 125 -  of  lint  "beers.  soon l a y s c a t t e r e d around our s h r i n k i n g No money.  A r t h u r suggested t h a t  Carol  w i t c h some beer f o r us and we a l l laughed, a l l but Pablo who "I'm  was  c a u t i o u s l y wiping h i s forehead.  l e a k i n g , " he s a i d .  grey d i s c h a r g e was  A steady p i n k and  o o z i n g from thte wound and  t r i c k l i n g down h i s f a c e .  We  leaned over and  examined the h o l e . "I wonder why  i t ' sstarting  j u s t now,"  said  Bernard. "Maybe the beer loosened t h i n g s up," A r t h u r suggested. "We  must f i n d something  to p l u g the c a v i t y , "  C a r o l s a i d and began s e a r c h i n g her purse. P e n c i l p o i n t s , wadded napkins, hunks o f c h i c k e n , t e r r y c l o t h and o t h e r a r t i c l e s were c o n s i d e r e d . F i n a l l y , I a r r i v e d a t the s o l u t i o n . "Another b u l l e t .  I t would f i t p e r f e c t l y . "  Everyone agreed and I took the gun from my  pocket.  A f t e r some d i f f i c u l t y , I r e l e a s e d the magazine from the ' 1  b u t t and squeezed out one round. it  i n t o Pablo's head, l e a d p o i n t "Perfect," said  Bernard.  I carefully first.  inserted  - 126  Indeed, now  -  Pablo had a r a t h e r d e c o r a t i v e brass  c i r c l e i n the c e n t r e of h i s forehead.  Anyone n o t i c i n g  i t might e a s i l y assume i t to be a new.trinket o f f e r e d by a l o c a l h i p p i e c u r i o shop.  I was  "Does i t r e a l l y look a l r i g h t ? " Pablo "Magnifique,?  Arthur i n s i s t e d .  being pleased.  asked.  "And  no  leakage."  " I t does look r a t h e r q u a i n t , " C a r o l agreed. "I should take a look a t i t , " Pablo "I'll  said.  be back i n a minute."  As he walked toward the washroom, I had f a i t h i n my  sanity.  new  I f I had done something s t u p i d  i n the f i r s t p l a c e , t h i s b i t of b r i l l i a n c e had it.  offset  I watched Pablo's hand reach f o r the washroom  door handle. missed  But the door swung suddenly  h i s hand and s t r u c k h i s head.  toward  A drunken l o g g e r  emerged from the doorway j u s t as the b u l l e t and Pablo crumpled  to the f l o o r .  him,  exploded  The l o g g e r s c r a t c h e d  h i s head. L a t e r , as we walked home, I remarked to C a r o l t h a t from where we looked the t r e e s seemed h i g h e r than the mountains. "Yes," she s a i d .  "And  perhaps'one day you  know what the b i r d s t h i n k of t h a t . "  will  

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