Bio Note: Born and raised in Coney Island, I'm a Coney Island patriot. And a squash racquets fanatic. My headstone is to read, "One More Game?" I am the author of Collected Poems 1954-2004 (Schocken Books 2004) and Usable Truths: Aphorisms & Observations (Waywiser Press 2019).
Come look at the girls, said Edward from the window, rue Gît-le-Coeur. We ran to look. Stories down, some black queens stood shrieking in the street. Then the burble of Paul's tolerant chuckle accompanied their disfigured joy; then two Arab boys drifting through the flat as through remembered desert, it was as dry almost, as dusty as that. At noon another --- ex-student of the medical fac --- could be seen waking in a farther room: some swarthy figurine washed up among the dingy rivulets of a sheet, rubbing sleep-sand from his eyes with fragile dirty fists. Half old pasha, half mamma, Edouard pottered in a tattery robe, emptied ashtrays, vaguely dishragged a table, childlike handed 'round bits of Dada curios in polyglot, clippings, photos, collages of outmoded monsters, broken, twisted limbs. Someone said it made him think of shreds of Greeks hanging, heaped in the cyclops' cloaca-eye-and-maw, the roaring cave's dark doorway. Speaking of Greeks, Paul, tamping his pipe with a scorched thumb and puffing, explained about the war between the gods of earth, the gods of air, the former smoldering, blasphemous, full of spite, the latter quick, arrogant, deceitful, thundering. Was this place a pinnacle or hell? Babel, perhaps. Hell on high. Now we could smell the darkness in our light. At two, the psychoanalyst from Łódz came in, years and years out of Auschwitz, a neo-nihilist loaded with matches from the holocaust. Little flames leaped from his coat, from everywhere about him, his eyes gleamed, his forest hands rubbed cracklingly together and he laughed, certain that nothingness would be preceded by fire, and every brilliant horror have its utterly dark sabbath. In that faith, he glanced around the room and rested.
©2021 Irving Feldman
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