discourse no. 01 (the carpenter)

by dschapman

-come have a sit with me, carpenter. they say you fashion crosses for the romans to crucify jews. is it hard to wash the blood from your hands? do you too say your hail marys and bloody graces? are you on your knees begging with your mouth wide open? are eggs breaking atop your head? i suppose you fashion coffins as well. have you ever buried a borborite? i smell a petunia not far away. let’s snip it at the roots. show the bastards who we are. this isn’t the end for us. it isn’t even the beginning. we have quite a past, and we’ll go down in history before we’ve even said farewell. lend me your ear; i’ll build a tomorrow. the hyenas stay in their shadows. skin them if you get cold this winter. they will cower before your club and wail helplessly while you beat them. you are that which beats and you have been beaten. i beat you with my tongue in your mouth. if you don’t mind, it’s time to play it cool; it’s time to play with fire; it’s time to play a different card.

-listen to me, carpenter, when i tell you that you won’t make it out of here alive. neither will i ; i will die like a saint, unknown, and without a sound… you will die an ornament on a bathroom wall. they carve you out of plaster and mahogany and oil. i remain dead and anonymous. i drift between the shifting layers of gaia’s core, gorging on the oil deposits, lounging in the engulfing veins of gold, swimming in the magma channels all the way out back into the world, where i boiled over in tyranny and swallowed a village whole. the dogs barked on the way down. they always bark and they don’t stop barking until they’re dead. the children go easy. the women scream like women. still, in the morning, the world is going. you can still feel it stinging. and the muslims will still call to prayer. and the end will look eminent.

-listen to him wail! he’s got the devil in him. he needs someone to suck the venom from his wounds. he keeps a harem of boys and listens to the whispers of a witch doctor. his horses are the fastest in the land and he’s never lost a race. have you heard of him? you can hear him now – just listen to those wails! are they wails of pleasure? wails of abandonment? wails of pain and misfortune?

-listen to me, carpenter, and i’ll show you eutopia. a place where butterfly wings are threaded in the hymns we sing and doves coo sweetly in your ear to wake you up.

-but not before ripping out the rooster’s throat with those big, sharp claws. i’ve seen the blood dripping from them on the pillow case. i’ve seen those claws on your shoulders at church. you are evil men, and have murdered those in power before you to attain your position. what do you know of love? of justice? have you grown okra lately? i wouldn’t think so. so think; and be miserable. if this were a tragedy you would die. but it is not; so you won’t. you can dream it up all you want. but go on living, you bastard.

-i am the brick wall and i am immune to your hot flames. you cannot burn me down. you cannot touch me. i stand in your midst and see right through you and will watch when you die and writhe in agony and maybe i could help you but i don’t.

-listen to me, nailbiter, while i wail.

and on the socialite wails, glittering balls and fancy things twinkling over the river like twilights, the whiskey thick and balmy, the carpenter bleeding out his eyes. when there is that much blood all you can do is wait it out, or drink it up, or leave a few glasses under the streams and save it for later. you could sell it to a pawn shop for twice the price its worth, or trade it to a crooked lawman for beans and coke. there’s always someone in the underground you’ll use it for lube or tomato paste and needs an extra ounce or two. and they pay with the most splendid things. someone wraps the carpenter in a cold, wet towel and pees on the back of his head. a good man in a black overcoat pushes the crowd aside, slugs the socialite in the gut, and tends to the carpenter. he strips the cold, wet towel off, uses it to rub down the back of his head, and then drapes his overcoat over the trembling back of the carpenter.

-look at yourselves, you miserable bastards, look at yourselves. i hope you break your mirrors with your cruel, infamous faces. letting a carpenter die in the cold the slow, brutal death of blood loss… and the good man draws his handgun, closes one eye, and shoots cleanly between the carpenter’s eyes. everything is quiet again. blood has stopped rushing to the ground and now is only puddling. the crows and kittens come and lap it up. the water level is rising. soon it’ll wash everything away.

poor boys from the city; they never did learn their manners.