Sunday, October 10, 2010

Call Me Ishmael

Ishmael was walking into a restaurant where the walls were plastered with clocks.  A pair of PF Flyers.  A crabapple tree beneath which someone’s sitting skinning an apple with a paring knife.  Alice is far away on a steamship sailing for Turkestan.  Ishamael felt certain he was wearing a turban.  A mischievous stop sign.  A cup of lukewarm latté served by 1 of the dozen anonymous gals he thinks about at 3:00 a m in lieu of smoking cigarettes.  The gobi desert seems so empty: nothing but dinosaur bones & sand dunes & a hot dog stand rising with its weiner dog sign grinning crazily in the orange & gray sunrise.  A white hand was reaching thru the sky— as if she’d busted it open with her fist as she reached for this morning’s new bottle of milk & the newspaper.  It wasn’t as violent as all that.  Just a rupture thru the azimuth between True North & Modesto.  True North/True West.  A piano rising awkwardly off the lawn in the midst of Hungarian Rhapsody No. ? in ?.  Ishmael is unhappy just now.  Ishmael has a tootsie pop & a cup of coffee.  There has to be more than this.  The Royal Palms on Cumberland Island, GA were fucking the thunderheads.  Lightning bolts scratching the black sky all the way to the ocean surface.  The night sky as usual could be just abt anything: a time machine for instance.  Ishmael could walk into it without scarcely getting his brown oxfords wet.  It could be said he needs a shave.  The night sky black as the skin of a Royal manual typewriter that’s black as the skin of a pit viper coiled in the mud in the Okefenokee swamp gorging itself on screaming mice.  An alligator marching into the Winn-Dixie in Ocala as if it knew how much we love parades.  The ticker tape raindrops, the glass busting kersplash as her hand busts thru the sky’s picture window.  Makes me think of fisticuffs on St Pat’s in the Mill bar in Winooski, VT, Ishmael w/an infected set of stitches swelling his left wrist as he wallowed into the 3rd year of a 3 week binge.  It was like leaning off the same bar stool 3 weeks running.  Ishmael in a knee-length navy coat falling smack off the curb into the street onto his kneecaps.  Somebody playing sweet jane from Rock n’Roll Animal & Ishmael gonzo in the bathroom trying not to drown in a urinal: I know a man in Christ who, 14 years ago, whether he was in or outside his body I cannot say, only God can say— a man who was snatched up to the 3rd heaven.  I know that this man— whether in or outside his body I do not know, God knows— was snatched up to Paradise to hear words which cannot be uttered, words which no man may speak.   & so forth.  A Royal manual typewriter spitting out obituaries in the alcove back of a bay window & outside the winds getting especially frantic, the hurricane of ‘38 with its flipped out pea-green houseboats scattered across the Fenway— the sky which could be a time machine so dark it’s spitting out rutabagas & eggplants etc.  Ishmael walks into the future with wet feet.  He’s standing in slushy snow on a street corner in Washington state just outside a Rexall drug store.  The ghost in the machine.  An american chestnut bookcase.  Emily drove a blue car.  Jane reaching thru the sky to snatch the milk bottle.  A rupture.

Jack Hayes
© 2010

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