April 1, 2013

Passage from Mopus by Oisín Curran


William says, While stapling MISSING DOG signs to a telephone pole on Jade St., I saw a little boy toting a saucer of milk. He knelt by a grating in the sidewalk, put down the saucer and walked off a few steps.

Moments later a tiny paw stretched out from the grating, dipped into the saucer then withdrew. Next, the owner of the paw, a tabby kitten, squeezed through the iron grating, intent on the saucer. But no sooner was it out than the little boy grabbed it and kissed it madly as he slipped inside a doorway where a woman waited.

The saucer of milk remained. Around a corner came a big dog. Not mine. It bent to the milk and lapped it up with a single sweep of its tongue, then padded away. I crossed to where the sun burnt the sidewalk.

It was an omen, but of what? I could make neither head nor tail of the signs that troubled my sight that day. From the plaster of a streetside building a pattern of bricks stood out, spelling some message in a script I’d never seen.

In this part of town, laundry was slung between houses. There were little bridges arching over the laundry. Above me two men stood on such a bridge, smoking. One asked the other if he would be attending the meeting tonight. Of course, said his friend. They looked down at me as I passed. One flicked the ash from his cigarette and it fluttered to my feet. I picked up my pace.

At the arena I found a bench and sat, pulled out my book and read that classed among the impossibles are those things that neither are nor were, nevertheless the impossible thing exists, if only as a thought. A thought too has breath, organs, wind comes from its system, thus if an impossibility takes shape in one’s mind, one is exhorted to quell it at once, for it may possess the mind, wishing to have material existence, feeding on one’s capacity to do the impossible. In this way the gods desire themselves into existence, so too buildings and revolutions, ghosts, cars, pickled zebras, toaster ovens and all the excresences of humanity. All classed at one time into the impossibles, now thriving, impeccably empirical, swanning across our landscape, not merely possible but even more real than we are.

At this point I raised my head to gaze across the arena, a fawaway look in my eyes as I pondered the above. In the arena children played in the dust, kicked balls against the stone walls and took whacks at each other.

Someone lurked in a corner of my eye, I turned my head.

On the other end of the bench a woman had seated herself. She was looking at me. I smiled and turned back to my book which was saying that the origin of impossible things is not known, it may be that conscious thought itself is another life form, a type of parasite that inhabits the ether, bores itself inside the receptive skulls of human beings and organizes society into means of production of impossibility.

I stopped reading. Without turning my head I could see that the woman was still looking at me. Not surreptitiously. No, she had turned in her seat and was staring at me. I didn’t dare look back. Who was she? I could feel her gaze on the side of my face. It was not kind. Nor was it unkind, but it prickled my skin.

- Oisín Curran, Mopus


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