reclination (chair man)

Posted on September 12, 2009


I’d completed my chores. Mother said I could go play with my beard now. I was one-hundred and twelve years old and she still ordered me around like a busboy. I was going to go to my room upstairs: there stood my lounger, a comfortable chair with a foot stool. Its cover looked vaguely Victorian. It was like a large vagina I could settle in and nothing could touch me anymore. This was a curious notion, I knew that. The chair stood by the window overlooking Dwindlestreet. I could watch people go in and out of the bakery. I could rest my arm on the sill when the sun, our sensible star, came out. I could climb a rainbow if only I wanted and walk away, though I never did in all those years.

I took my boots off outside the room. Slimy mudcake snails clung to the soles. I abhorred soil or sand on my own floor. I noticed a hole in the sock on my left foot. Or was it the right foot? For a moment, I couldn’t remember. That scared me. But since there were two feet, one was the left, the other one the right. As far as I could see, nothing depended on my knowledge of their handedness. (“The handedness of my feet”, what an odd expression that was.) Unlike on board of a ship or a road vehicle where left or right could mean life or death: cliffs on the left, open water on the right. An abyss on the left, a welcoming tavern on the right. Or in politics, though I never thought those on the right much different from those on the left, at least not once they tasted the sweet, gluey juice of power. Politicians were men with many words, and they talked in many tongues, few of them truthful. Perhaps that’s why people didn’t vote anymore, because they couldn’t keep left and right apart.

With such thoughts, which were typical for the way I was, enough time had passed to forget the hole in my sock and I now stood in my room: it was blissfully disordered, an asymetrical artistic antipode to mother’s space, which filled the rest of the house like a vacuum, while in my room gravity still worked as it should. Down was where my feet were, up where my head was, except when I laid down, which I avoided as much as possible for fear I might not be able to get up again. Hence I slept in my chair instead of my bed, which was covered with an ugly spread that mother had chosen and put on the bed in my absence. She had stitched the coverlet herself: it showed Manet’s Déjeuner sur l’herbe: a naked woman, quizzically looking at the viewer, sat on a lawn among trees having breakfast with two bearded dressed men. It was a peculiar painting that had once defined a new way of looking at painting nature and helped people of that time avoid looking at nature as such. I figured it also was pornographic in a way, with the woman being hot as a daughter of hell – I would’ve had her, before or after breakfast. These were considerations that made me hold my breath whenever I looked at mother’s work, which surely was spying on me: the eyes of the woman were mother’s eyes. She was always out to confront me in order to keep me engaged and stimulated. She didn’t want to be left and who could blame her.

My chair stood by the window and that’s where I was headed now, without even looking at the bed or at the cover’s oedipal summoning. Don’t shuffle so, mother said all the time. But I know she was just jealous because she hadn’t left her bed downstairs in years. She was so fat that I could only turn her with the help of a small crane, and I had to turn her twice a day – because of her sores, she said, but I knew it was because she got bored with one side of the room, then the other. I was not like that: I never got bored with the view out my window from the chair I longed to sit in.

When I’d reached it, I sat down, put my feet up on the stool, moved my toes a bit to make the blood rush back up my legs into my genitals and further up past my hip, up my chest, where hair still grew in the unruliest way, white now. It grew, fed by my blood, grew up from there, bushier even at the neck where the chest fleece turned flat and wiry and became: my beard, which was my proudest possession in the whole world. I stroked it, I made love to it, bent the hairs upward tickling my nose. I wasn’t totally in control of what was happening, that was the fun of it, the terms of touch. I felt like an old tiger now and I groaned with the pleasure that a plan well planned and processed brought his rightful owner.

© 2009 finnegan flawnt

Posted in: arthur icarus