Sunday, March 20, 2011
An Edifying Fable
When Benifacio De La Cruz Felix Von Straubhauer wakes,
The sun itself reaches in through the yellow, tobacco-choked blinds
Trying to touch the hem of his garment.
Benifacio De La Cruz Felix Von Straubhauer knows
That he is a larger man than his circumstances have allowed him to express--
He is a colossus on a postage stamp stage!
A universe seen by sliver through a keyhole at midnight by a blind beggar!
Benifacio De La Cruz Felix Von Straubhauer is already exhausted.
He turns off the tiny, ridiculous black-and-white portable television on the floor,
Which has spent the night stunting Benifacio's dreams with offers of:
Stackable storage containers,
Extendable grabbers for high shelves,
"Today," he promises himself, using his fingernails to scratch a shoulder on which several wild black hairs have taken root,
"Today I bloom."
Benifacio De La Cruz Felix Von Straubhauer places last night's (entire) mushroom pizza on his head,
The air filter from his 1979 Renault around his throat,
(He once sang Verdi at the Met!
Yes, it was closed, he had slumped to the rainy sidewalk outside, obliterated on tequila,
But art may appear at any hour! Beauty may claim any venue as her own, just like that!)
His filthy gray bed sheets around his body as if he were a mighty Roman senator,
And goes out the door,
Down the seven flights of stairs,
And into the streets, his canvas, like a three hundred pound, bearded tube of paint.
Benifacio De La Cruz Felix Von Straubhauer is in love with loveliness!
He is a poet,
And a mystic!
Why is his name not on every pair of lips?
Why is he not celebrated, feted, festooned with gifts and gew gaws from donut waitresses and heads of state?
Why do his feet itch?
Why has he no girlfriend, no boyfriend, no pet?
Benifacio De La Cruz Felix Von Straubhauer stops at a news kiosk.
Everything is about some minor sitcom celebrity who claims to be a warlock, but looks like some sort of self-important but very ill buzzard who lives at a landfill and mates with old discarded automobile tires.
"This?" he squeaks.
"This is what people want?"
Benifacio De La Cruz Felix Von Straubhauer immediately turns to stone.
The world should weep,
But the vendor says, simply, "Hey, not in front of my stand, man!" He throws up his hands. "Fucking shithead!"
A policeman arrives and, after debating whether to call for a tow truck or a crane, arranges for Sanitation to come and remove this new unauthorized statuary.
Before they can appear, though, a white bird floats down, seemingly from Heaven itself.
Could it be,
The very Messenger of God, a divinely entrusted living symbol of everlasting care and mercy?
It craps on Ben's head,
So probably not, Hopeful Cherubs,
for One Shoot Sunday
photograph by James Rainsford