Waiting for Gavroche

by dschapman

Oh I miss you baby, oh I miss you so much, it tortures me when you’re away, I never want you to leave me again, oh honey, oh babe, oh darling, come hear to me, call me yours, touch me, touch me close; the ten-thousand fingered centipede, the ash-and-soot abstraction that pounds from underneath the floor at night, the deep-seated reduction of evil; the young ones, they were always loose, and in their fear they found their freedom, and they sold each other back into slavery to the slavers from the East. Monsoon season soon, and the farmers are ignorant. The snakes and the boars have already all fled from the wilderness and into the heartlands. This is the return of time, the mutiny, a collapse of a piece of existence, a lapse at the tidal wash of life, and no man, nor even I, can handle it. I beat my chest like a monkey and fire a round into the air to draw up courage. But I am not John Wayne or Montgomery Clift. I have wrist pain and a speech impediment. I am like Clift but with ten years on him, and not even a chance of improvement. Time rushes on through the fathomless void and the angels of the gods grace us with their gracious gifts discreetly, and we throw them away in disgust, as children raise pathetic tantrums, and kick up the dust in the face of the sun; block out the sun, lose the vast glow of life, and the basking lizards on their rocks will freeze to death, and the basking children will put on their clothes and wrap up into blankets, and then they will die.

“You know I wear continually a belt containing 1—— dollars in gold; it weighs around eighteen pounds and keeps giving me dysentery. I have to spend the rest of my days wandering in hardship and privations, with only prospect of a painful death… But Mother dear, rest a little and take care of yourself. Believe me, my conduct is irreproachable. Whatever I do, it’s always the others who take advantage of me. The life I lead in this place, I’ve said it often, but I don’t say it enough, and I have nothing else to say, the life I lead is difficult, cut shorter by being bored to death, and by endless fatigue. But I don’t care! I only want to hear that you are happy and in good health.”