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Thursday, July 1, 2010

Excelsius (Parts One-Four)--Hugh Fox

They’d known each other for decades, what seemed like centuries. Poetry meetings, you know the Somerville-Boston get-togethers, the Bards and their readings, and then afterwards little chomp-chomp parties where he’d hang around with Doug Holder and Sam Cornish and Lo Gallucio, and she’d always manage to end up at another table with other writers, painters, singers...wangadi wang wang wang...bang them guitar boxes and twang them strings.

Always reviewed her poetry books. Age 64, 43 books:

Life for a wife,
what am I, a fife
to be blown at your whims,
who swims away when                 there’s no where cash
and I’m willing to take a bash
now and then.

Not that he’d ever met or even heard of her husband. Some retired anonymity who never left the house, but just ate her spaghetti and ravioli and baked squash and pancakes, oatmeal cookies food and drank loads of decaffeinated coffee? An M.D., n’est pas, hadn’t she mentioned that once. Mr. Irish exodus lost-everywhere anonymity.....


Alone today in the Je Ne Sais Pas Gallery in Somerville, just the two of them, this little coffee clunk-out place that was stuck on the edge of a gallery of purely Boston-area (nowhere else!) art, all sorts of post-you-guess-what-it-is paintings, stick you fingers into the paint heaps and then scramble them all over the canvases...although there were some older paintings too, down by the Harvard river, or down by the sea, an old white-haired aristocrat from the just-settled-in-Massachusetts days. A place he loved. The way he loved her....and the owner of the place, Sam Niemandstein.

Both of them with their decaf lattes and bingle-bang carrot-blueberry-chocolate chip muffins and Nagasaki mustard shrimp-wraps. He’d always finish his first and then she’d leave a scrap-piece for him, “You have more weight to keep up than me!” ha, ha, ha, ha, ha...

Although it was never a real-time, real-fang laugh, somewhere between amateur theatre and desperation.

“The point being that everything has to begin at some time. Sperm and egg, cantaloupe seeds, mango seeds, storms, graveyards. But (pointing to the full moon out in the sky, filling the already-nicely-lit up streets and time-to-time cars with a subtle overlayer of magic whiteness) OK, the universe has to begin. So god/the gods create it? But how does he-she/them begin. God/the gods have to begin


too, but just think of the immensity of it all. You can travel millions of light-years, a hundred and eighty six thousand miles a second....millions of light-years and then you get to the ‘edge’ of the universe. But how can it have an edge, it has to be contained in SOMETHING? Or is it infinite? Only how can it be infinite, unending? And how can it begin? I can see a mango-tree beginning, but the universe....? And how can there be an Anything that can create infinities of matter and space...and us? And where is He-Her/Them NOW? All the talking to mankind in the biblical past....why no more appearances now? Silent Sinai! And an afterlife? Ghosts? Great inventions, but le realité? I’d like to have a heaven of hell or something, but all I see are graves, and the sun wearing out, the earth cracking apart. How much weight does the earth lose every minute, just with petroleum-use. Not that the sun is eternal,” turning to the empty table next to them, starting to talk to an empty chair, “Hello Henry the Eighty, how’s Anne Bowling do? Much bowling last night? DO...., I’d like to invite you over for the Fourth of July....”

Starting to cry.

“Come on.”

Louie moving his chair over to her, putting his arm around her skinny shoulders, feeling all the right-wrong impulses-needs. Her pulling away from him.

“Please! No! We’re just literary friends.”


Louie feeling like getting up and just leaving. Three dead wives and kids everywhere all over the world but HERE....allein, allein, allein....but his inner butterflies whispering with their wings, “Stay, stay, stay, if you leave she’ll walk out in front of a car and kill herself!”

So he pulled back, chomped on his muffin wishing that they just had plain chocolate or plain blueberry or plain anything instead of all this smorgasboardish gaming around.

“So…ooooooo.....the answer is.....”


“I want you to drive me home. I’m.....I’m....j’ai peur....”

“Jay Purr? What are you, a cat?”

“I’m afraid of driving home. All those crazies out there.”

“What about...?

Trying to talk his way out of it, happy to just be, be there, be hair, be legs, be a kind of airborne copulation of two Rocky Mountain eagles in the middle of a squint-eyed summer afternoon, re-feathering the world in beak-peace.....

“Forget it!”

Getting up. Stalinishly grave-faced, walking out toward her car.

“Wait! I’ll do it, for god’s sake......”

Stopping, turning, almost Pax Eterna.


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