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Thursday, November 17, 2011

Bird-Wolf or A Lovely Child

I've done this once before, and I'm going to do it again. I'm going to tell you all a story.

-

It was a time and place different from this one, but not necessarily distant, simply different. The sun may have been closer to the earth, the moon farther: the passion of man tangible as the heat of his hearth, and his distant respect for beauty was even more distant. The nights were darker to balance the brilliance of the stars; fate was relevant still.

Consider, first, the delicacy of a snowflake. The water vapor inherent in the clouds crystallizes wholly and immediately with a firm finality, surrending itself to the cancerous tug of hydrogen bonds, abandoning wind-like freedom for the gentle subjugation of a solid chemical state. And then, like so many prophets of a spiritually repressed era, they fall to the ground - their chains greater than the weight of their emaciated bodies.

As with air, so with man.

There was a girl born, in that usual manner, to a usual man and an unusual woman. She came into the world with a soft cry on her lips and a sorrowful look in the grandmotherly wrinkles of her freshly constructed infant skin. The intensity in her eyes and in the painfully slow movement of her fleshy limbs marked her as different from her first moments of life. And yet, she was weighed and tagged, watched and coddled, spanked - just as any infant. And then she was wrapped in a standard pink blanket and taken home.

She spent her childhood in an apartment in the city. It was made of bricks. They were bloody-color, she'd decided. The apartment looked out on the busy street below, mournfully watching the bustle of lives that had not surrendered themselves to immobility, but, rather, moved swiftly and with that great audacity we attribute to those things with beating muscles affixed to the left sides of their chests and legs upon which they may enact great conquest of their own little gardens, their own little universes. They were bees and many ants, she'd decided.

They'd named her Pulchara; she was, indeed, lovely, even though she had the distinct look of a gentle child or a wolf, which was terrifying in its implications of dichotomy. But no one paid it mind, for how impolite to suggest that the child of the quiet couple in your supper club was fiercely canine in spirit, a howler rather than a gazer. No, they said nothing. But still they thought these things, and brilliantly circumnavigated the globe of polite conversation, fingers crossed that little Tierra del Fuego wouldn't cath their galleon unprepared.

And she didn't. She just watched them.

Pulchara did not speak often, and when she did, her large eyes watched intently for the reactions. She measured each moment with the reflexive agitation of a caged animal, wondering futilely at its present situation, at the impossibility of metal bars. Her father would answer her questions; her mother would just stare.

Her mother, Linda, was a lost beauty, a sunshine clouded over by age and the unreasonability of fate, a mad thing, rage of the rose beneath the boot. She spoke less, even, then her daughter, living almost entirely in a studio in which she painted her deepest and most primal thoughts and emotions.

Pulchara's father, Destin, was a business man, a priest of the numerical corporate god of the netherworld of economic damnation. He was distant, cold. He looked to each situation in terms of silk and net gain. His eyes were a piercing blue.

And so she raised herself, teaching herself reading and writing, those two necessary pillars upon which greatness may rest its head for slumber or formulation. She kept journals of her thoughts:

wind and the greatness of bird-kings; i, too, may own the skies; show me the blue of the venetian mystery; yes i yearn for ocean foam; let me have your hands, gods around me; we shall dance; this is only the beginning of the golden; the twilight has not yet come; high is the noon!; remember my strength when i have gone; i will go, go, go - flying.

Pulchara awoke one evening to the din of a thunderstorm beseiging the city with its intrinsic fury and hatred of all that makes its own heat, aiming - with wind and torrential downpour - to extinguish the lights of the human experiment, as all water and sky-stuff may seek to do. But we resist. She awoke and walked to the window, gazing at the ladies, dressed in white, which flitted through the sky with the cruel grace of queens or concubines.

The lightning was so lovely.
And, yes, the moon was distant.

Her heart, avian in its speed and dexterity of emotion, thrummed beneath that wolf-like structure of her ribs. The little Pulchara thought back to streets and markets, to venders and dancers, to all things which move beyond the sanctity of bloody bricks and she smiled with the beginnings of a plan. And falling to her tender little knees, she offered up fervent cries to Loki, the thunder-hater, the raven on wing. Grinning, madly, she climbed to her little feet, threw wide the window, and stepped up on the large sill.

And then Pulchara jumped, her little nightdress whipping about, her own torrent - queen of a little destiny, a triumph over or with gravity. The air rushed past her limbs and extremities, lifting only her mind to the transcendent level of madness or joy. Leaving the apartment behind, this unusual child soared through that time and space specifically alloted her and then beyond. The violent aurora tearing itself from that universal womb above us lit the mad longing of the wolf in Pulchara's eyes as she fell down and farther down still.

Sometime during the following morning, the rain became snow that solidly blanketed the city. Knowing flurries of wind picked it up and tossed it about, playing games with the frozen thoughts of yesterday, freedom in the breeze's rollick.

There was no body to be found.

-michael

1 comment:

  1. I CAN LITERALLY NEVER FIND GOOD ENOUGH WORDS OR A GOOD ENOUGH ORDERING OF WORDS TO DESCRIBE HOW MUCH I LOVE EVERYTHING YOU WRITE AND ESPECIALLY TODAY!!!! THIS IS WHY I AM USING EXCESSIVE CAPITALIZATION AND ENTHUSIASTIC PUNCTUATION FOR EMPHASIS!!!!!!!! I LOVE THIS!!!!!!!!! I'M GLAD SHE DIDN'T DIE!!!!! YOU SHOULD WRITE MORE SHORT STORIES I REALLY ENJOY THEM!!!!!!! I LOVE YOU!!!!!!!!

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