the post-opera is too insincere

by dschapman

margherita rode a plain white horse without a sense of time. when she stops to paint the paper’s edge starts to curl and she flattens it across her knee. she begins to pin them to the plaster above her headboard. in the morning her bedspread is crumbled to the floor where it lays all night while django or tito puente – tito puente! what a laugh – croon out romantic little gestures with a do or a re mi fa, so while the words are on point the kisses are immaculate. margherita lemon pizza, her hair of olive oil, margherita dinamita from the sea. jack hammond moves like a knowing wildcat outside of her scent. but he moves with langour and over-oxidation, like three-quarters of his limb is exhausted, and maybe it is, and so his speed is somewhat surrea. but his lox and leeks are in his gut, his ralph lauren black thrown down the laundry chute, his bowtie leaking kerosene to blow the whole scene skyhigh at the casual light of a cigarillo. margherita finds herself looking at him. jack hammond knows who he is and he knows that he is a character worth knowing. either you are disinterested because you do not understand him or you understand him, or understood that you misunderstand, and either way he is an interesting character. it is in the beholder from there on out. what would margherita think? would she recognize his irony, but sympathize with his sincerity? what most people didn’t know was that jack hammond could play the saxophone, that jack hammond had a copy of the anarchist cookbook, that jack hammond was an excellent lover, in short that jack hammond was a renaissance man, that he could bake apple tarts, that he could play a mean game of hearts. but who can’t play hearts. who isn’t an excellent lover. so you understand or you don’t. and margherita is coy. she’s a sawed-off under her nun’s habit and a lethal dose of mdma under her wimple. she’s from albania, or croatia, or misssissippi. there are some grand establishments down that way, down the mighty mississippi, along the mud and catfish heads, the oil and the smog and the kudzu, etched here and there between the undergrowth, places like memphis, like new orleans, and the lost little country that can be found in between. sometimes the roads are bad. but the gravel is warm. there are men without a shirt on their back dragging crucifixion crosses down the interstate onto their way to salvation, their destiny – and there are honeybees and mosquito bites. in the hilly north just shy of appalachia they have the soul salesmen and county crooks. for a nickel a string they strum their broken instrumentals. and boy, you should see the heroes, lined up like in an old bard’s fairy tale, in the streets and in the country, gentlefolk like billy faulkner and that wizard george washington carver, old g.w., crossing the great divide in a jesup wagon… but there was something else, too. some sort of tragedy. a great battle once upon an inglorious time, when the rabid imperialists from the north, their blood frozen still in their veins, their eyes bulging like ice bulbs, descended in a barbaric wave of feudalism upon the natives. no, that doesn’t sound right. but jack hammond hasn’t read a book in years. he’s built himself a mighty collection, cut pages and everything. maybe margherita would like a read.

emma had picked apples just the other night. she picked enough to go around, enough to spare him a few to make a tasty apple pie like mama made. but no can do. he’s got a handful of ecstasy to go through and hasn’t got the time. maybe come sunday brunch he’ll sober up and glisten. stand dressed in wool over a stove rubbing the steam from his watchface that lofts off the top of his teacup. some night after that he’ll cook a rump steak. or a country fried steak and mashed potatoes. butter beans. but it’s all too good to be true… always is… the apples are bruised. they need to be fiji anyway. the whole deal falls through. time to hit the docks. wrap yourself up in dopamine… maybe tonights a melatonin night. a margherita night. he is going to paint a watercolor, using his blood as a pigment, and hash or bone ash for black. the pigment in his black paint is the carbon essence of charred animal bones. the act is chronic and primal. i bash my head and make cave paintings on the wall.

anyway… it’s time to be charming again tonight. go get ’em, jackie hammond.