Sunday, June 24, 2007

1. Thou art that

Hardly daily. Barely weekly. Possibly not monthly. But could be handy.

My friend Lee called from New York the other day. She was at the zoo - I forgot to ask why - and couldn't find the exit; the call was interrupted at one point by her asking a staff member for directions.

A couple of minutes later she said to me: "I keep circling the baboon reserve and saying where the hell are the peacocks."

Later again: "I passed the lions they were roaring like crazy."

I wrote the lines down because they tickled me pink. They will most likely make it into my next book, "The Interferon Psalms". I don't often write that way but how could I resist this? Is that what's called "found poetry"? Not any more.

Lee said if she could just find the peacocks she could find the subway entrance. She had worked at the zoo briefly once but had been in Madagascar more recently and perhaps memory played tricks.

Then I heard a commotion on the line. "That's a lovely sound," I said.

"That's a bunch of peacocks squawking," she said. (I had thought it was a group of schoolchildren running past her, screeching with joy. It was an odd experience, transferring the visual image when she said "peacocks".)

In the interests of brevity, I will finish with something from Eduardo Galeano, "Walking Words":

"The Church says: The body is a sin. Science says: The body is a machine. Advertising says: The body is a business. The body says: I am a fiesta."

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