I relive events as likely as this narrator who says it couldn’t have happened the way he remembers, what disappears in the writing. It is just as simple as remembering grandfather. Caves and spirits, Orpheus and Cerberus, subtexts done to others as they did. I look for validation nobody got. Imagination runs down the lunar mount off the hand, writing his life after his death to retell fiction, stain cobalt squares.
To get below I start again when all the universes, especially corn above the shoulders, desert to the street, overhang gold white balls as if two were dancing out of the flood! I found the gold, I met the gardener and the story of the world the way hobbits come home to meet Borges, who at last goes back to mere Borges, the spot in the real that he thought irreal, found shabby and small, waking in a dark room before dawn with the universe streaming.
I went out of respect for the snugness of the box, laid a space under the floor to walk, before that put in more duct. I left a bag of silver there, forgot it ten years. He kicked it with his foot he said. There must be trap doors where treasure is hid, an arts and crafts lodge on a lake, compartments filled with sculptures and prints. I dreamed a sculpture of my mother’s head, ebony and Abyssinian as I saw the heart.
No artifacts of the past swim in the oak sawn now. Go back or go on. Plant oak on a whim to rival the electric line. Light and dark, not to fear the dark, not to deny in my seventieth year the elder abyss, deep pits, caves where metaphor denies the real Jonah. Hercules turned the rivers to clean Augean stables not from cattle or manure, but imagination in the depth. Living with stink breaks down lives neutralized by denial, selection, amnesia, drugs. In other words every vice begets a pain, lost innocence changes the appearance. In the end salvation unmakes what doesn’t take and that leaves faith.
Wind is greater than water, greater than memory and identification of pain. You know that on the mountain. On the plain, at sea level, humidity swallows without a fish in sight. Swallowed by a fish, wake in the belly earth. Darkness, humidity, forces. Subject to forces and denial makes Jonah stay on the beach. You get to be a hundred, two hundred and start to edge from shore. Three hundred and light dawns in Bilbo.
The trouble is himself. He doesn’t come without a past even if he doesn’t know. He doesn’t come without a present even if he doesn’t feel. If it weren’t for friends, women who save his life, he wouldn’t survive. He doesn’t account them though, he wants to face dark rays, but light doesn’t blind. Dark does. He gets to be compassionate about the pain that tiles hallways of cement. This is no dream. He comes out of the grave with memory. Unless you say the innocent are oppressed and what is done to the kindred, their torture the fault of one enemy, is done to him. Forces. They will be named. So he looks three hundred in the dark getting light. By then he lived ten lives. By then light had filled the halfway belly. They were all still there, but without the power, the river diverted in the midst. This river he could float. He went down the center of the hall like the first. What did the boy see but what we know? They could not touch, had to wait for that. That hadn’t happened yet. Now it has ended.
What was it like in Jonah’s childhood? Too much water? Playing at the wharf with pelicans and shells in a bag? Oh do not call them back who kick. The fish is their life. How far to the rock? We go down to get his body as we go down memory with stretchers and chairs, the finished work of comprachicoes along the sides misshapen. There was no lack of disinfectant then among the feeling. It had no smell. The drugs pumped skin. That was before they were common pains. Palsy took drugs. Rage took Valium. Lust had a pharmacopoeia. Hatred must have eaten. Sicknesses, diseases, rampant in the hall found a species of Jonah. The enemies inoculate with pain. Redemption is not a flash, or a flood. It feels more like a plant.
If water is the pain there are different sized vessels. That should not indicate great or less, the water from a kitchen spigot compared to a thunder storm on a mountain. When the run off collects the vessel feels more like a slicker laid on the ground. Jonah was this kind. He had to be sunk to make an impression.
One Response to “Jonah’s Childhood” (post new)
An impressive piece. Worth reading several times. Thanks for publishing this.
This note appeared in 2014:
Due to personal circumstances, I am choosing to cease publication of Orion headless. It has always been intended as a way to expose interesting work to a broader audience. It’s been a good run!
I intend to renew the domain hosting for the journal for another year, so that work can continue to be archived online.
After I’ve published all promised work, I will let go and observe as Orion headless breathes on its own for as long as it can for the sake of the art it ferries onward.