Sunday, September 09, 2012

Me and Old Wolf

Pre-dawn Capitol Metro bus ride: sleepy faces faintly lit in fleeting shadows, we're flowing with the Headlight River down rush-hour Lamar into the ragged northern edge of Austin … body shops and discount furniture stores dark and dusty … 7-11 lit up and gas pumps pumping … Dan’s Hamburgers already serving breakfast for the fatbacks … Mexican construction workers already sweating under white movie-lights … college kids and office workers lined up inside Ken’s Donuts … and the funeral home lit up bright inside where they’re polishing the caskets, getting the Dead ready for the day … I’m trying to recall the fragments of a dream …

But like a drunken night badly remembered … (something about a circus and a storm) ... only fragments remain: the ragged remnants of the show blown away in the howling night (after epic hilarity and riotous fun), and now only tattered pieces of tent and colorful pennants remain … and trapeze wire and clown shoe, and sparkly ball rolling in the mud … evocative of what? … I dunno’, but it was Epic, and these few pieces of memory only vaguely reminiscent of the Greatest Flea-Bitten Show on Earth … a storm so terrible … but what went down? … was I to blame? … distressing not to know in the Headache Hung-Over Dawn, yet a few stray clues remain:

So different did she look now. She
had a harelip and feathery scales
down the side of her face … "You
don't like me any more," she said,
and turned away. "Why of course
I do,” I said, and tried hard not to look
into her tortured soul … (pages in the book
are brittle old newsprint, dark and brown
and fall apart to the touch
... "What are
the Pretenders doing here?”)

Then came the Wise Old Man out of the
Cold North looking for His Son ... and walking
the leaf-strewn tall-house streets of Bartlesville
at bursting dawn, forlorn and lost, he sadly said,
"Me and Old Wolf could go two months without food ...
but those … were better days”