Quick. My heart quops softly and my breath, breath! the flutter of my breath is coming forth in short sighs. Just act real. Stay in the shadows. Keep back from the lamp. Pretend to be writing something. My heart! Be still my beating eyes! I smell as if I’ve made a trumpet of my ass. Stay back. Try not to waft close. Maybe they won’t notice. Get my bearings. Listen to the kid. Listen. Seven is dear indeed to the mystic mind. Threw that one out for me to catch. Ho ho! Good. That sounded like a real laugh. I can make sound! Indulge the kid; wait to speak. Let my particles and molecules complete their formation around me. Wait. Oh no. Look at me. Look at me! Look at my typing hands! I don’t know how to say this but I think I’m soft. I’m soft. I’m out of focus. I don’t know why. Is there anything I can do? I can’t adjust for this. I need to sharpen up. Well, I expect the world will adjust to the distortion I’ve become. Now focus on the kid. Hamlet. Ok, talking Hamlet. Lyster speaks the obvious, Hamlet unfit for the job. Eglinton: today’s youth not up to creating another Hamlet. My turn. O I have much to say! The mysteries I can reveal. But how, how? Must be careful.
Whether Hamlet is Shakespeare, or James I, or Essex, or the historical Jesus or any other mortal shade softens in focus when we think of the true purpose of art, which is to reveal to us spiritual realities, formless spiritual essences which are the truth of eternal existence. Art is art when it comes from a soul who Knows eternal wisdom, who has visited eternality and has returned filled with truth, who has eaten from ideal forms of tables, and has communed with Plato’s world of ideas. Mortal, I mean to say, academic speculation is the pastime of schoolboys.
There, that should hold them. Pretty good I’d say for my first appearance after reincarnating. Plant a seed. Now, if I could just sharpen up.
I raced the wind to get to Myles after having to kiss Keyes’ ass over the ad renewal and he blew me off. He was on the street talking with J. J. O’Molloy, they came up together you know, started off together back in the day. I don’t know, maybe I interrupted something. O’Molloy had a long face. Seemed a bit defeated. More than usual that is. Sad. Tried to get to Myles fast before he’d be too far gone but I pretty much missed that window. Ever brief. And he was on the way to the bar behind a few of them, arm in arm, off for a drink. Lenehan in front but I suspect Stephen Dedalus was the prime mover. Wearing better boots today; last time he had holes in his heels. And I saw him on the way to funeral, wonder what he does down there? Weighing a bit on me. Wanted to breeze it by Myles and I was so out of breath he didn’t get much more than Keyes would give the ad, but only for two months and if we put in a puff peace. I can get the image at the library, House of Keys. Keyes, get it? Two crossed keys. I must have interrupted something. Myles turned his eye on me as best he could considering and said I should tell Keyes to kiss his ass. Ths loose flesh of his neck shook like a cock’s wattles. Kiss my hairy white ass. He can kiss my ass he said, got that. Kiss my ass, ok, Póg mo thóin. Got it? And for me kish mein touchess and more formally shakli b’tahat. With heart. Tell him any way you like. Then no break red faced riffing gaand chaat mara besa me culo tel’has teezee kyss meg i raeva isskay ymay assay qabula izinga honi ko’u ‘elemu fila mou to kolo. Ama kwana mwach ka boro too koonam cui mi gaza. Soen my boudt. Cusano fy asen. And that’s straight from the horses mouth. Tell him.
I saw it. I was present. I saw with eyes that were no less amazed than his. I was good but he was all their daddies. Psha! you say. Psha! Well, it has been centuries and he is still the one who makes our gaze more ardent. I see your mouth twitching, unspeaking in nervous curls of disdain. Who would wish that mouth for any kiss? How do I know? Well, why did I write it then? Oh but what he does with words. He writes about eternity using a temporal art and how? By twisting it, entwining it, tossing in numbers and ratios and divine proportions. He uses circles to move time into eternity and more impossible to move eternity into time. He speaks the ineffable. And then he serves it to us on a peaceful golden flame and we eat and drink and slurp it yum into our souls. Oh we are all in the middle of the path of life, locked into a moving now between past and future and elsewhen. Now is real, all else is a feature of imagination. No matter our age, we are all in the middle of the path of life. He knew this. And he mimics this in his rhymes. Here are some line endings:
Mouth / Womb / South
Tomb/ Time / Bloom
Rhyme / Now / Sublime
Rhyme now sublime. Catch that movement? Oh feel it move you. Forward and backward. The middle word of the first becomes the outer words of the next. Forward and backward and forward and backward. Whenever we are in our temporal trajectory, we are always in the middle. Three by three, his words are female forms entwining. His words are like a boat that, starting from its moorings, moves backward, backforeward, so he may move us forward. Ah my friend, take no more from me, my eyes are all amazement. Look at us now, old men. Penitent. Dressed the same, looking the same. Await no further word or sign from me: your will is free, erect, and whole — to act against that will would be to err: therefore I crown and miter you over yourself. And when I said this he looked at me, his sight becoming pure, and he let me know that will is free, to a point. And what’s the point? The point in which all times are present. The point that sent forth so acute a light that anyone who faced the force with which it blazed would have to shut his eyes. The point on which depends the heavens and the whole of nature. The point that has no extension in space or time. The point indivisible. The point that is the start of all geometric possibilities. The one point all whens and wheres end. The point that seems enclosed by that which it encloses. The point that is both circumference and circle. The point which says that separate things can be the same thing. The point that says our own existence in the middle of the path of successive time necessitates these distinctions. Oh my God, the point.
I, Hedges Eyre Chatterton, being of sound mind and body despite the indifferent care given me by the inflated windbags and weathercocks amongst my nearest and most dear relations hereby declare this document to be my last will and testament thus nullifying all previous versions. The Angel of Death nears and on this the occasion of my ninetieth birthday I note the meanderings of some purling rill as it babbles on its way, tho’ quarreling with the stony obstacles, to the tumbling waters of Neptune’s blue domain, and my thoughts, fanned by the gentlest zephyrs, drift towards a meditation upon this our mortal coil and as I meekly resign my soul to its Creator in the humble hope (thro’ the merits of Jesus Christ) of its future happiness as in the disposal of a Being infinitely good. My body I direct to be decently buried with no damn cross or any other bloody instrument of torture at my tomb but instead at the discretion of my Executor hereinafter named as to such temporal estate wherewith it hath pleased God to bless me, to provide from said estate a suitably sized angelic statue in pensive posture which shall be placed at my final bed of rest to remind those sad mourners particularly amongst my dearest family that although they might subscribe to the charming principle that all blows over and this too shall pass they ought rather dwell on the far more apt verse from our most holy book being as follows: they who sow the wind shall reap the whirlwind. As I have left no issue from my certainly most capable loins, and am unlikely to do so as the vernal green of my youth turns toward the the transcendent translucent glow of mysterious twilight, I hereby bequeath the following mortal possessions from this my earthly life to my most dearest ones, and once they get wind of my passing may they trample each other to death with pulling hair and biting to get their filthy hands on it thus consigning their wretched souls to burn forever in the fiery gales of miserable hell in their lust for a windfall the bastards. To the relations of my departed first wife Mary Halloran, because I promised the dear pitiful creature on her dying bed as she lay ‘neath the shadows cast o’er her pensive bosom by the overarching leafage of the giants of the forest to remember her family upon my own sad demise, I hereby remember you. Agonizing Christ! how could I forget such a miserable batch of high falutin bladderbags, and in addition to a reminiscence of your kindness (as most certainly I love you as you love me) to each and every one of you I bequeath a pustulating heartburn on your arse. To my niece Jane Chatterton Steer I leave one dollar for the kindness and love she never showed me. To my nephew the Reverend Eyre Chatterdon I leave ten dollars to buy a book on manners. Make that twenty. To the Mr. Bell who married my niece Rebecca Chatterton Bell I leave my collection of antiques for the service he has done the family in taking a woman no man of taste would have taken. To Mr. Garcia the husband of my niece Susan Chatterton Garcia I leave my collection of aged scotch and other spirits and my crystal collection so he may drink therefrom to comfort him under the affliction of a slatternly wife. I leave my silver tankard to my grand-nephew Abraham Eyre Chatterton, son of my nephew Abraham Chatterton. As the representative of the family I ought to have left it to Abraham himself, but he would melt it down to make temperance medals, and that would be sacrilege — however, I leave my big horn snuff-box to him: he can only make temperance horn spoons of that. I leave all my landed property and furnishings therein to my nieces Mary Chatterton Berry and Martha Chatterton, the former because she is married to a man whom (God help him) she henpecks. The latter because she is married to nobody, nor is she like to be, for she is an old maid, and not market-rife. I wish peace and affluence to all my friends and a piece of effluence to all my enemies. And last and most certainly least I leave the entirety of my monetary fortune to my great-nephew Edward (Ned) Lambert under the condition that he touch none of it, not so much as a penny, but instead hold it safefully for the personal use of Jesus Christ, when He returns.
I do hereby constitute and appoint J.J. O’Molloy to be the executor of this my last Will and Testament. In witness whereof I have hereunto set my hand and seal the twenty-ninth day of February in the year of our Lord two thousand and twelve.
Molly caught me writing to Martha. Almost killed the whole thing. I wrote the wrong address on the envelope I used to cover the letter. I hope it’s not in a dead letter office somewhere. In the midst of life we are in death. Like John O’Connell. Life among the tombs. Keeps it well, trimmed edges, nice grass. Corpse manure best for plants. Mastiansky said Chinese cemetery poppies make the best opium. Could be a decent trade. Carcasses for gardens. Dig them under when they are green and pink still, decomposing. Then they become a kind of a tallowy kind of a cheesy. Then black treacle oozing. This must be what the plants like. Then dried up deathmoths. How did O’Connell get a woman to marry him, come live at the graveyard? Try dangling that in front of somebody. Courting death. Is thrilling I expect. Love among the tombs. Tantalizing for the poor dead, though, like smell of grilling meat for the starving. Fields of them out there, ground honeycombed with them. More room if buried standing up. Except wouldn’t want a mudslide, head might come up with pointing hands.
Why do you tear at me? So painful. It is a pain that releases pain. You don’t look like a harpy, what are you? What do you want? I can’t tell you anything but what I see from my rooted prison. When I tore my spirit from my body I landed here, sprouted and now I am what you see. Poetic, no? I gave up my body and now I am unable to move. There’s a word for that but I’m running out of time. Oh! There’s some blood on you. Is it my fault you chose a branch right above your head? I’m clotting already. So I should wait all day here for you to bleed out a question. Spit out I mean. Arlgrlarraa. Ouch! Are you without all sentiment of pity? That’s your question, what do I see? What do you see you ask me? Open your eyes! Graves and graves. What do I see. Must be twenty or thirty funerals every day. Funerals going on all the time all over the world. Everywhere every minute. Thousands every hour. Shoveling them under by the cartload; too many in the world. Argblle. Why do you break me off?! I hadn’t fully clotted that time. That day? I saw a leanjawed harpy and her hatchling, dirty face, stained with tears, crocodile. Mutes shouldering a coffin. First the stiff, then the friends of the stiff. That’s it, the pomp of death. Arglulgrr. Fine. And my son moving soap from one pocket to another. There. You happy? Now go.
I’ll tell you all about it but first I have to sit down, empty the dirt and stones out of my boots. Woof my dogs are barking! Jesus fucking christ that was a long ass trip. And what have you been doing while I’ve been gone? Lazy ass. Look at this dump. Shuttered. Tenantless. Unweeded garden. Whole place gone to hell. Wow I’m jet lagged. So I’m thinking of writing the whole thing up as a travel guide for tourists. They’ll love reading about it. And I can make a little money too and won’t have to spend my life subsisting on the bitter taste of other’s bread, how salt it is. Do you know how hard a path it is for one who goes descending and ascending others’ stairs? Here, listen to this: My journey to the afterlife took me off the beaten track where wildlife abounded. I met up with Beatrice, an old flame who hooked me up with her tour guide friend Virgil. Discerning travelers would do well to enlist his guidance when exploring this picturesque land of contrasts. We began with that hidden gem, Hell’s capital city of Dis, where we took a charming boat ride ferried by a quaint local who charged us a fraction of the price you’d pay at home. His dock was bustling with friendly locals crowded on the spit of land and as we waited silent shapes appeared, colorful characters holding out calm hands and pointing. The vibrant culture we found in Hell and its sleepy backwaters are an unspoiled holiday destination well on its way to becoming the next Tuscany. For adrenalin junkies don’t miss the crawl up and then down Lucifer’s body. Only then can you experience Hell’s best kept secret — the rustic road to Mount Purgatory. At its end the reward for your adventures will be breathtaking vistas, and the golden beaches at your feet will wash away your cares. Stay a while; you will feel quite refreshed. Once you are rejuvenated by the tranquility of the pounding surf you will be more than ready to explore the bustling markets and lively nightlife that color the charming hamlets nestled along the slopes of Mount Purgatory. At the top of your soul-cleansing climb up the mountain your reward is Edenic gardens and an exotic parade of folk life. Next prepare yourself to be whisked onward and upward! There’s something in this divine place for everyone, and for those of you who enjoy the comforts of air travel your next stop is a paradise rich in history and filled with friendly locals. Enjoy the music of the spheres along the way! Your journey culminates with a must see destination, the experience of which will leave you saying to yourself how incomplete is speech, how weak, when set against my thought! What. I saw that look. Tell me. No good? What’s wrong with it? I suppose I should recommend a hotel or two, maybe some restaurants. No? Shit. You sure? Well, maybe it will make a good poem.
That drive to the funeral, Paddy Dignam emigrating. Think of him in there, in that box. What if he fell out? Paddy rolling all over the place. Would he bleed if pierced by a nail? Better bury him in dark red. Suppose wouldn’t have blood anymore. What would leak out? Bury him in puce. Mouth sewn closed. Eyes too. Sphincter. Seal it all up. Take him from Harborview, where old Mrs. Riordan died They take the incurables there. Encourages them. Bee stings too, went there then. Morgue on site, convenient. Need to put the cemetery next door and it would be one stop shopping. Would speed things up. Make a mall of it. Take care of paperwork, wills, last rites, pick out the coffin or maybe urn. Efficient. And not just for the emigrants. The living would have their conveniences too. Mourning clothes, bar for after they relieve the hearse. Have a little elixir of life, extend your stay.
So I came home. I went to Paris, starved, feasted, starved some more. I sent pathetic messages to Nother, persevering self-pity, today I am twenty hours without food, your money was very welcome as I had been without food for 42 (forty-two) hours, spells of fasting are common for me now. And from her position prostrate before the door she would sell furniture, rugs so her suffering boy might eat and buy magazines and a blue condom. Once I missed her money order by two minutes. Encore deux minutes! Ferme. See what I mean see? I had nothing when Dad’s message came and had to pretend to speak broken English to avoid tipping a porter. Inhabit the obsequious manner of a foreigner. O, that’s all only all right. And home. Now I march over the piled stone mamoth skulls. Proud, though it is not a task to take in jest, to show the base of all the universe — nor for a tongue that cries out “Nother.”
He calls America’s Jews sowers of schism. He suggests that Jewish members of the Bush administration pushed the United States into a middle eastern war so they might steal the Jewish vote from the democrats. The theory: the nearly half of the world’s Jews who live in America would support a war against anybody who threatens the nearly other half of the world’s Jews living in Israel. Oh his paranoia. His signs of the nation’s decay. His government in the hands of the Jews. His Jews at their work of destruction. He stood within a sunbeam and pushed with his eyes. They sinned against the light his eyes complained. And his eyes said look, you can see the darkness in their eyes. His lantern eyes projecting. He sees threat in Jewish money. He complains of a new anti-Semitism damping his lantern jaws from speaking in the old ways against Zionism. His predicament, what’s so new? His eyes have sniffed out a new Jewish problem. I say it’s all two in one and one in two, and however you divide it from itself it stinks of an anti-Semite problem. And greater than this a human problem. We are all condemned to wander the earth. Time will surely scatter us all.