Monday, July 06, 2009

Olson, ii

Househunting, Mina Loy

A red polished toenail in an open-toed black pump. Urgently, earnestly poking Olson’s ribs. One eye opens to taut unhosed white calves, a black dress, and the face he traveled more than just eighteen hundred miles for. God, the men who burned for her. From the stinking rat of a first husband to Marinetti to greasy Pound to Titanic Arthur at the bottom of the Gulf and all in between and beyond. Behind her stands an Asian man brown as the two grocery bags he holds to his chest. If he, too, burns, he wears it well.

“Sir, this will not do.” The voice unsurprisingly patrician, while the littered road behind her is anything but. “Will you stand, or must I kick you again?”

Olson gropes to sitting, then stands. Towers above them, oak tree in the doorway. Even as he lay, she could see he was a long man, though frail. Worried eyelids behind dark horned rims, nicotine- and ink-stained hands, fingernails cracked. Battered brown shoes, frayed khaki pants, a jacket more thick shirt than winter cover. Oak, perhaps, to passing gawkers – old men are never this tall – but, to her, no more imposing than when sprawled at her feet. She for whom empires have crumbled.

She sniffs up at him. “I suppose it was you pissed on my door.”

He responds, but not to her assumption. He stares at her face. “How can it be?”

“Not a stretch. I kick assholes like you out of here every day.”

He snaps out of his grog, eyes wide as he devours her face, as he has devoured Gloucester back roads, the Atlantic, Melville, the Yucatan, Pound’s Cantos, the Popol Vuh, anything with the longing of the dead.

She catches the thought behind his eyes, monstrous behind thick glass. A quick smile, almost relieved. She’s been waiting.

“Oh, that.” Takes in a moment to feel the sensations of being caught. For the first time the smell of piss on her door doesn’t take her breath away. The koosh of the bus stopping behind her sounds like Brooklyn, her apartment in the Heights by the bridge, the river, boats booming and sounding in her dark dark nights, all in a flash she’s no longer stranded in South Texas desert wondering why.

Olson, surprised, sees and feels it all.

“Come now. Stranded?”

Jesse two doors down, out for his 10 o’ clock smoke, breaks the spell. The smell of flour tortillas spills out the door with him. She catches the holy scent. No. Not stranded.

“Hola, Mina!” Meena, says this one. Olson remembers leering Ez, the other way: like the bird. The talking one. What feathers to crush.

The brown grocery man answers for them. “Buenos dias, Jesse.” Extends a bag Olson’s way. “My name is Van. Won’t you come in, Mr.—”


“Won’t you come in, Mr. Olson.”



Blogger Teresa said...

Very, very interesting, Murat. Not sure I like the brown Asian as just a grocery boy lackey, but I may be prejudiced that way. It certainly has hints of promise. A gritty, grimy romance??? Not at all what I was expecting.

1:20 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

T: Trust me, Van is no lackey. We'll see where he takes us.

1:26 PM  
Blogger Teresa said...

Okey dokey. I'm partial to brown Asians, lackey or no...

4:00 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

T: I completely understand. Van, if memory serves, is Vietnamese. I'm partial to him, too. And so is Mina.

4:04 PM  
Blogger Dee Martin said...

I was hearing Hotel California playing in my head at the end of this one. I'm on the edge of my proverbial seat waiting to see where this goes! The image you placed with this is arresting.

10:56 PM  
Blogger murat11 said...

Dee: I guess that would fit now, wouldn't it? Mina Loy was apparently the fo' shizzle to the modernist boys back in the day, and an awesome poet in her own right. Check out her Lunar Baedeker for more.

8:52 AM  

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