Monday, December 12, 2005

A Shower of Winter

Outside there is snow in the courtyard. The scene is banal, overwhelmingly so. But still, still - there is an element of that summer winter magic.

Marie, Marie, you hold on tight. You hold on tight you hear?

They took the turn elsewhere. There was a grotesque snowman at the bottom of the hill. A grotesque snowman with a golden carrot for a nose. Black diamonds for his eyes.

The grotesque snowman threw out his scarf. He said: Marie, hold on tight.

The stern Bargersee. He had crosses for eyes. A nose on his face. His eyelids tied tight. He squinted through pince-nez, peered through the nook. He said: Marie, you will fall if you don’t hold on tight.

They lived together, the stern Bargersee and Marie, in an evil, empty flat. Mudlarks in the flat below, their early morning starts. Broken necked evils strewn on the stairs. Repellent plastic twine and the first snap of frost. Marie said: Please, turn the radiator on.

It was a Moscow hurricane. A snap of spikes, the cold deaths below. Broken necks below. Bodies in the snow. The young prince, the young prince said: Everywhere I look I see things I shouldn’t see. I can’t get my eyes closed. I can’t get them not to see.

Winter had arrived. The summer too. A grey scrape against the walls. They lined the streets, ripping apart white bread, dropping crumbs for their way home. Through the spotlights their snow floated bigger than it had ever floated before. The cavalry said: We can see evil as far as our eyes can see.

The grotesque snowman stood at the bottom of the stairs. In his mind the perfect picture of Marie. His breath melted his chin. His carrot sank into his face. His tears burned channels from his diamond black eyes. He said: Marie.

The prince, at the top of the stairs, picked up the discarded pince-nez. A stricken look to her bedroom door. The muffle from within. The prince whispered: Marie.

The stern Bargersee, his hand over the thermostat. Marie beside the radiator, fingerless gloves running its length. She held herself from the snow that came in through the open window, from the courtyard below. The stern Bargersee said: Marie.

The mudlarks gathered, apace with the snowman’s sighs. The prince, pince-nez held tight, led them forward with a cry. A battle cry. He cried: Marie! Marie!

Broken necks at the puddled dawn. Whose was the broken glass, the scorch marks, the burns and the chill? The mudlarks flapped, the snap of capes as they flew on their way. The pince-nez, caught in the trap of the sun, melted a sure spot of surprising ice. Kick it away, kick it away.

Between the posts, between the banisters and the stairs, a voice was heard to say: Marie, Marie, you hold on tight.

And Marie. She held on tight.


Blogger Molly Bloom said...

This piece is so utterly sad, it justs leaves a dull ache in the heart. So very painful. You just want to gather Marie up in your arms and take her away.

The tiny details, such as the thermostat, make it even more poignant against the back-drop of the fairy-tale snow. A real delight of a read, which left me speechless, especially with the 'hold on tight'ending. Brilliant!

6:23 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder who the snowman is and also the girl, Marie. Do tell.

9:25 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

as any fule kno, marie, marie and holding on tight can be found in Eliot's The Wasteland, and the inspiration for the 'stern Bargersee'. this is great stuff, keep it up!

12:57 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

fule? Well, smell her!!!

1:41 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Even if it does come from Eliot, I'm interested in the snowman's melting face. Could it be Paul getting his own back on the whistler perhaps?

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