Sunday, April 20, 2008

Joyce Imitation of Cyril Sargent

Whack of the stick, he clumsily opens the door, spots his herd nearby. Shouts, Yelps, Thuds. Inevitable, inescapable. Looking down, his feet too large to be agile, Cyril de Bergerac makes his way to the field. Barely noticed, fly on the wall, he waits near the edge until –

- Here Sargent, you be on our team. Take this, Talbot said hurriedly, thrusting a hockey stick towards the ugly boys limp, pale hands.

Grasping the wood, he shuffles into the game, hesitant, uncertain. Entering into the world an unsure mass of limbs and joints, waiting to be formulated by a phrase. Numbers, equations merged into incomprehensible lines and shapes move through his mind. Numbers eleven through fifteen incorrect. Shame. Numbers sixteen through twenty also. Mr. Deasy’s eyes upon him, rose spreading through his face, down his neck, an emblem of embarrassment. Mother’s sympathy the only one. Waiting by the door at three, plump pale arms embrace and console, Mother Mary waiting for her one and only, offering soup and salvation, empathy and eternal life. The Holy Church of Mother Sargent, bow down on the alter of her bosom and send your prayers u.p: UP. Ball whacks against the wood, reverberating up into his hands and sliding down into his lanky body, escaped from the feet. Trembling flesh, quaking skin – shaking like the volcanoes they learned in last week’s class. Mount Vesuvius, eruptions create destruction. Priests agree. He lines up his stick and swings, the ball scuttles away slowly, clearing itself from the incapable player. Frailty, thy name is Cyril. Comyn hits, the ball sails. The game resumes, balance restored.

He pauses to feel. The tremors have dissipated, leaving behind a vague feeling of disappointment and regret. Its only him inside now. Hands reach up, up, up to his face, fingers clench around the metal of his glasses, his eyes his mother calls them, and pulls them off his head, releasing the metal circles that secure them to his ears. Reduction of the whole, splintered into parts. He holds his eyes in his hands. His mother bought them for him last month, walked to the store hand in hand, made it a trip, she always knew, carefully selected the perfect pair, gave him his sight. His mother, the creator. Prodigious birth of her one and only.

Long grass reaches up to him, inviting. The green of Erin. Longingly he stares at the long grass, longing to lay in its lushness. Perhaps, he thinks. He imagines the way the blades would caress his bare legs and tickle the sensitive palms of his hands. As a baby, they would stroke his palm with their fingers for hours. Infancy is bliss.


The ball whizzes by. Red as the lava in the pictures. Grabbing his stick, he will this time, lines up, swings back, connects. Connection of the ball to the body through the stick. He has become part of the game.

No comments: