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This is part two of a multi-part series on the subject of childhood. For part one, click here.
by Will Hubbard
There is a sense to which I take objection that the private stirrings of childhood are distant and become more so. Surely the garden hose and the black night ocean are a sort of refreshment, but they are only a sort and we think of things as constituting a series, fatally. The felt taxonomy grows in us until our elementary knowledge of Latin is exhausted, and then ceases, stunts. But if one could only return force to where it comes from—that is, to the first stories that alter more slightly as one life elapses—then a greater force comes into being, which tells meaningful stories to an interested crowd.
There is much to be noticed and enjoyed about Mr. Gruen’s first experience of sudden death, not the least of which is the humor remembered in his father. To a child, a day of fishing after the family discovers a dead woman is no regular day of fishing. The water is a divine temperature, even in Texas, and the body of a clicking fish is fertile, foetal, with overtones of the womb. The worms are gummy if you chew them, which you do not, stifled in the heat of the auto, staring at your name written in childscript on the blue plastic tackle-box. It is your most valued possession, your name, and it comes from somewhere.
In the time of hermit crabs I found a large dead horseshoe crab on the beach behind a jetty so my grandmother could not see. It was fetching, the way it eyed me through the ecstasy of dry oblivion. There was an air of Goliath—we were downwind—or was it a centaur coaxing me through the maze of an elemental morality? I began as any boy would, testing to see if the armor would burn my flesh, or taint me, or lead me into a sand-cave of Capri-Suns and exposed tits.
Coming over the rise, there is a boy holding the head of a Medusa. She is a spined cornucopia of white snakes, a lover for men but not for a boy. Of course this is too far ahead, there is formerly the decision that no one will see, that the ocean talks but of things far graver than a boy’s need for a talisman, his own skalp. Anatomically the horse-shoe crab is an open book. It is a crab, with compartments, and moves in a pattern indiscernible from the patternings of the sea. A wave moves effortlessly through formal gardens of kelp. The barb of the horseshoe crab joins the body through a series of pearly ligaments, uncooperative and refined.
The day is late and a shower-head hushes, eager as ever. This I knew as the cracking deepened, the carapace shifting at my desperation. There are some that give up, try to salvage something from a losing effort. I was never one of those people. I decided early on that all sales were final, sensing but not ‘knowing’ the mockery it would make of me. As ever, practice makes perfect, but not in the sense we understand it. Repetition allows for observation, but the end must be clear and attainable within the exploding phantasmagorias of the ego. This would seem to encompass all things but really only encompasses a few things. And these few things, accomplished on the very brink of exhaustion, are true measures of the human body and spirit, making a frame, a memory.
That day I extracted the spiny barb of a deceased horseshoe crab after considerable strain and duress. There exists no word for the feeling of killing a thing already dead, but that is what I did, was doing. The sounds it made were dead noises, pure physics. You want to break metal but have no shears, so back and forth you bend the pieces until they warm up. Friction between the molecules, a pushing of bonds to their limits. Duress is warmth. The same applies to formerly animate carbonic materials, though on a summer day in Georgia one needs no extra heat to break apart what should not be broken. What should disintegrate in its own time. I worked it to a point, like an oar.
With the rupture came the smell like birds caught years back in the chimney. It was unclear whether I had honored or failed my maker, disgracing him by proxy of the other bodies he had forged.
I imagined a giant crab ripping the legs from a dead boy-child, parading them over the land, which was pleasant enough. I began running with the thing, sure now I could not keep it because of the stinking ligatures. I did one battle with the gods, pointing the dangling, noodley side at them and reserving the dangerous end for myself. It went down in the twilight hour, and rising from the dunes was the sound of my name, distinct as ever, and all they knew afterwards was that I was crying and smelled to high heaven.
Will Hubbard is the editor-in-chief of CapGun Magazine. He lives in Williamsburg. You can find his other writing on this recording here. His high school superlative was, “Most Likely To Have a Replica Of Himself In A Wax Museum For Funsies.”
New York Review of Books is having a sweeeeeet summer sale. Trust us, you want this:
I know posting what people search to get to your blog is the dumbest thing in the world but these were good ones. Who searches for “There will be blood” — twice. I don’t even want to know what a brammaltram is. I don’t even remember writing something about Susan Minot, maybe I mentioned her book that takes place during a blowjob.
there will be blood 2
Susan Minot 2
nine inch nails fist 2
tegan & sara 1
mp3 blog joy division 1
tegan and sara 1
sibling sex 1
“molly birnbaum” 1
knocked up 37
criss angel 10
Knocked Up 7
Ewan McGregor 5
tegan and sara 3
paul morris knocked up 3
2 Rhythm bizarre love triangle 3
“kish song bear” myspace 3
baby knocked up movie 2
gods girls 2
This proves a longstanding point of mine, which is that Knocked Up = traffic.
Thanks to Indietastic for these tracks, which I repost. This is a hot band yo.
The Maccabees myspace.
Cable and Tweed breaking out the sick awesome posts.
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