May 1, 2009

Explaining the world

The man had a skinny little mustache and a voice of corroded brass. He said that's right, said, that's right, and he talked and kept talking.

He said elephants are the hardest to hunt, not like lions like he thought. He said elephants know fear and rage and they rage like gods that've been forgot, all flashes of trumpet and clashes too wild to hear and here he said, here they fear with their eyes and scream through the nose. Not like lions who sleep in the sun like lizards. He said elephants age to old age and the oldest elephants were baby elephants when Uylsses Grant was president. He said Grant was a good man but he got brought down by his friends and he drown in tea. Tee-tee-teapot tea. He drown in tea and he couldn't see and he didn't know it was his friends. When he was a boy and the old elephants were babies he rode a mule backwards and he hung on but he couldn't see and you have to see, but he hung on and you have to hang on to get old.

The people passed the old man like they couldn't hear him. They passed the him like he was asking for money. They bunched up under their umbrellas, moving quickly through the spotty rain, quickly through the falling evening, quickly past the funny-looking man who talked like a flag flap-flapping without color.

He sat on the bench by the bus stop and said that's right, said, that's right all right and he just talked and kept talking. He said Mozart meant it and Gene Debbs was Jesus and Bugs Bunny laughed and the trash at Disney is all underground. He said hurricanes don't answer to names and neither do places on maps or things in the past or lovers who don't love any more.

He said, that's right, and said, that's right, and he nodded and nodded at the potted plant in his lap and he kept on explaining the world.