Monday, January 24, 2011

Aimless Reading: The M's, Part 17 (Peter Markus)

The Singing Fish
Originally uploaded by Michael_Kelleher
Markus, Peter
The Singing Fish

Given to me by the author when we read together in Detroit on 11/14/05. Inscribed. This was my first reading in Detroit. I've read there three or four times now. Peter Markus, as I recall, read some very funny, very rhytmic stories out of this book. He was tallish and thin and had longish, black, wavy hair. He read in Buffalo not long after that.

Our reading took place at a bar/gallery called the Zeitgeist, which was on Michigan Avenue, just up the street from the ruins of the Detroit train station. I remember there being an exhibition up that may or may not have had something to do with comics. My memory is a bit faulty. There was a moose head hanging over the bar, and all kinds of eclectic works of art dangled from the ceiling.

After the reading we went to a music club in Downtown Detroit. It was very loud and I couldn't hear my friend James talking over the music.

from The Singing Fish

When It Rains It Rains A River

Other boys, when it rains, they run inside to be with their mothers, but us brothers, when it rains, we run outside to be with ourselves. Outside, in the rain, the dirt beneath us turns to mud. Us brothers, we love mud. Mud, us brothers, we can't get us enough of mud. We like to make mud, in the rain, out of the dirt, by doing what some boys might see as two brothers running in the rain. But us brothers, in the rain, this is not us running around in the rain. In the rain, us boys, this is just the way us brothers dance. We dance, when it rains, and us brothers, in the rain, dancing like this, this makes the earth turn to mud. The rain, when it drums on top of our heads, the sound of it falling, it makes music in our ears. We lift our hands, our mouths, up to the sky. Like this, with our hands held high, our faces facing the rain, us brothers, we start to sing. We sing and we sing and we do not stop singing until the rain stops drumming down. When the rain stops drumming down, us brothers, we drop down, onto our hands and knees, down into mud, and begin to eat. We eat until our bellies are big with mud. We take what is left of the mud and we make Girl. We start at the bottom and we make our way up. Girl’s knees, they are especially muddy. They make us want to stay forever kneeling. If it looks as if we are on our knees saying our prayers: look again. We are watching Girl wake up. At night, when we look up from the mud with our mud shot eyes, we see that the sky, the sky, it has floating up in it not one, but two, moons. These moons, they are what Girl uses to look at the world through. When Girl looks down to see the mud that she comes from, us brothers, we look up into Girl's eyes to see that each moon, it is a mirror. Inside of each mirror we see a girl, other than Girl, gazing back at us boys. These girls other than Girl, these other girls, these girls are Girl's sisters: there's a sister, we see, for each of us brothers. And so us brothers, we raise ourselves up off our hands and knees, out of the mud, and we dive inside. When we dive inside each of these moons, each moon shatters into a billion pieces. Each broken chunk becomes a star. Look here, Brother says. He points up with all ten of his stub gnawed fingers. The stars! he says. The stars are actually fires. Who says? I say. I shoot Brother this look. You see, us brothers, we have this look that we sometimes like to look at each other with. It's the kind of a look that actually hurts the face of the brother who's doing the looking. Imagine that look. Says me, Brother says to this. Yeah, I say. But who said so to you? And what Brother says to this is he says: Girl. I don’t say anything back to this. If Girl says that this is so, then, yes, this is so. The sky is on fire. And so I take back that look. Look at us now. Watch us brothers reach out to these fires with hands mittened with mud. We stick our hands, unfisted, into this fire. We feel around, inside fire, until we find fire’s star shaped heart. This fire, it is sharp to our fingers’ touch. It is five armed, fifty fingered. We pull back hard on fire's sticking out hands. Until rivers and wicks start sparking with fire: until fire is all that we see. See us pull, see us pull, see us keep on with this pulling, until our hands explode in our face.

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