Arriving at last in Vowelville we were greeted by the Vole. At least he said that was his name. But Felsenfeld said to me later when we were at the Vowelville Motel, where we were the only guests, That man is not the Vole, the Mole, or even the Bole. It was all the same to me. That night I was startled out of sleep by a startling sound. It was unsettling and indescribable, like restless leg syndrome. What was it? Felsenfeld was no help—he just slept on. But something had changed in the world. Something, perhaps in the atmosphere, had been rent, and would never be the same. Many years later, after I learned that Felsenfeld had died, I read about the Great Vowel Shift. Swineherds who said potato now said potahto. Churlish barbarians would tilt their chins up and say rahther, rather than rather. Now I know what Felsenfeld had known all along. Something that night had changed and would never be the same.
Characters for an Epic Tale
Meanwhile sat with her legs crossed at the Bajofondo Club. With her black net stockings asking for it, concealing revealing. She said she was not The Next New Thing and I would have to be content to rip my way into the net sacks of cold oranges at three a.m. I thought nobody knew about the oranges. Martín the Dancing Bear had heard about The Next New Thing. The Next New Thing, he said, will be here and gone and no one will ever know. The Next New Thing will be the smallest of all The Next New Things ever. I said I was the Next New Thing but The Inquisitor did not believe me. Meanwhile was only mean for a while. Then she showed me her collection of tangerine tango pumps. She showed me her tattoos of Celtic marauders. Finally The Next New Thing arrived disguised as The Nurse with our three o’clock herbal tea and medications. O Next New Thing, you could not fool us gathered around the credenza. You could not fool Hugo the Strong. You could not fool The Magic Cow. You could not fool The Escapist nor The Hat. Next New Thing, you are so small and we have waited for you so long, even The Apparition, if he could cry, would cry for you.
The History of Umbrellas
Like the yo-yo and the boomerang, the first umbrellas were created as weapons. Naked warriors, their bodies painted with streaks of blood, would dance, holding their umbrellas in threatening positions. They would point them at the sky, flapping them open and closed, and stab the air with their umbrellas; however, they soon learned they could trip on their umbrellas during the confusion of battle. Or, as they charged the enemy, they would waste time trying to get their umbrellas open. Worse, as they approached the enemy holding their umbrellas like parasols, like tightrope walkers or ballerinas, the enemy would laugh at them. It was to be centuries before anyone thought of using umbrellas in the rain. Even today, umbrellas lie abandoned at airports, train stations, waiting rooms, hallways, and porticos.
Richard Garcia will have a book of prose poems, The Chair, published by BOA in October 2014. He can play the jaw harp.