Monday, October 25, 2010

Mud Love

We each of us brothers each take into each one of our hands a hammer and a handful of rusty, bent-back nails, and we run around town one night nailing and hammering all of the unnailed things that we see around town: boots and buckets, baseball gloves and fishing rods, bikes and kites and rowboats that no longer float, sandboxes, fish nets, little girl dolls without any clothes on, garden hoses, swimming pools, lawnchairs and barstools, baseballs, basketballs, horseshoes and stacks of magazines, books, typewriters, boxes filled with birth certificates, baby pictures, postcards and poems, love notes scrap-paper-scribbled by the hands of faceless names, baby strollers, rollerskates, knapsacks and sleds, dusting brooms, spare tires, chairs that rock in the wind: one by one we each of us each take these things into the hands of us brothers, and we nail these things, and other things too—dog houses, barbecues, sleeping bags and tents (have we yet mentioned fish? fish heads? fish eyes that never stop staring?), milk crates, wooden ladders, mud-crusted shovels, frayed pieces of rope. Get the picture? And last but not least, us brothers, we take hammer and we take nail to the each of us brothers. We take each other by the hand. We take our hammers and nails and we hammer and nail all of these things, one by one at a time, we hammer all of these things into trees and into fencing posts, into backyard telephone poles and into the shingled sides of houses. But first, before we do the hammering in, we cover up all of these things with mud—this, to protect them, this, so that when somebody else comes into our town all that they see is mud. Us brothers, what we see, what we know, is everything that is under the mud: any thing and every thing in and of and from our dirty river town that might be up and picked up or taken away to some other place to be got rid of—some other place without all this mud and smoke and rust, a town, a world, without a muddy river running through it. And so, because of this, up against this, us brothers, we do what we can to stop this from happening. So this is what us brothers do. What we do is, we raise back our hammers. We line up those rusted nails.

:Peter Markus

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