(For Jeff & Karolina; and also for Magdalena, Chris, and Anna)
“When you live in a place, you must eat the bread of its people.”
Will the Mad Hatnik ever relinquish his hoary grip on our hearts? He is a fickle fiend who desires his own undoing above all other enterprises. He met the Devil at the crossroads—Zürich, by chance, when his flights were rerouted—and had no need to sell his soul, having recognized in himself his own only single double indemnity policy’s sole beneficiary.
Hitchhiking back to Algeria, by way of Abernathy, he consoles himself with erotic daydreams and vodka suppositories. However, even in this he is not alone: for Alhambra Akhmatova, his accomplice, has laid the road bare by vanishing again and again into imaginary existence. The very trees tremble at the power of the misadventures that they silently vow never to effectively have.
And lies? He could tell nothing else, not even time, and yet his cell phone bloomed yellow and blue in the sun through cracks that led, all too predictably, to the underworld.
Yet suicide might actually be a way, so say I (and James Hogg), of rooting out the Devil’s truffle. However—no, not “but,” anything but “but”—however, descent was unnecessary for this, our own land, turned out to be that of the dead—a salvific portal to all places, a Slavonic city of the central plain, so necessary to the nomads of the steppes and the rioters of ’56, a place of heartening renewal, where union is celebrated from the bottom of a beer glass up: where love cannot matter and, devoid of matter, is ever so lovely.
Craven indeed is that helpless double who cannot look himself in the eye, buy at least half of his own soul, ring his imaginary lady’s finger, smile at the camera, doff his hat, and save his own soul through the suicide of a lady’s man.
Lee Foust is an author and performer from Oakland, California who has lived in Florence, Italy since the mid-1990s. He
teaches for various US universities abroad and is the father of one. Lee is the author of Sojourner, a collection of short stories and poems about the mystery of place, and Poison and Antidote, 9 Bohemian tales of San Francisco during the Reagan era....more