Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Ancient dreams, dreamed-What Peter Paul Markin Learned About His World- Magical Realism 101

A young, very young not ready for school young, tow-headed boy, Peter Paul Markin by name, fiery blue, ocean-spooned blue eyes, bulging out of his small head (later in frantic romantic times they would be called bedroom come hither eyes or, in bad times, also frantic romantic, Rasputin-like evil eyes or some such thing but just then they were just fiery innocent blue eyes) watched the still accumulating snow falling out the front window. His nose, childhood cold sniffling red nose, flattened against all caution on the frozen front window pane watching the snow fall as he wondered, and wondered. Cursed wondered. Although he did not know it then or if he did he could not name it except as gnaw, lifetime curse wondered what everything is this blessed universe was about and why, why to distraction, why. Maybe it was something sunken deep in those homeland ocean blue eyes, but there he was wondering.

Wondering, young as he was, why he was cooped up, and bundled up, quilt covering him (funny word he thought, all q-starting words were funny then except when he had to utter them which he had the devil’s own time doing and was constantly getting laughed at, laughed at by brothers and playmates, even Ma, jesus even Ma, to establish wonder hurts and maybe a clue to those Rasputin evil eyes). And under the quilt a blanket and under the blanket a sweater to cut down on precious heating expenses as he sat in front of that frozen front window in that cold-water flat down in the Adamsville Housing Authority apartment complex. (The “projects” that even as young as he was, too young for school young, understood and called the place and understood, and was made to understand, constantly understand, by a fuming maternal grandmother across town that it was no place for Mayfair swells, if he had known who or what those people were then.)

And wondering why, when it came right down to it, the projects or not, that he had to share a small crowded room with his brothers who shunned him over into some scarecrow corner and made him “like” it, or threatened to. And why his mother and father were always bickering (or what he thought was bickering because they sure were not happy when they were talking about not having enough money for this or that, especially for kids’ treat stuff like going to the Paragon Amusement Park up in Olde Saco like they did last summer).

But this day, this snowing January day, right after the New Year and just after one of his older brothers, Prescott, had returned to school, the first grade, over at Adamsville South Elementary School at the close of Christmas vacation he was wondering most about what it would be like when he is chance to go to school. There was no hint of the madnesses or crazes that he would later have cause to wonder about once he actually got there it was just wonder. Just brother kinship, brother gone loneliness, about it wondering. And about the great big world of books, and crayons, and pastes, and drawing, and learning letters (although he knew a few already) and singing songs and well, everything that Prescott told him about, with an air of “know it all” but also an air of “it is not all that it is cracked up to be.”

See what Peter Paul was wondering about really was not so much about what Prescott had to say when he came home from school each day and he peppered him with questions about what he did, or didn’t do, or about being a “know it all” or even about the shortcomings of knowing it all but when he would, counting the days in his head, be able to see for himself what it was all about and then be able to wonder some different wonder. Maybe some of that sing-song wonder or book wonder that he had heard so much about.

Oh maybe there was just a little hint of madness after all, or of crazes beyond that sadness, brother kinship sadness, sadness and not understanding of time marching as he, that older brother, had gone off to foreign places, foreign elementary school reading, ‘riting, ‘rithmetic places and, he, the nose flattened against the window brother, was left to ponder his own place in those kind of places, those foreign-sounding places, when his time came. If he has a time, had the time for the time of his time, in that red scare (but what knows he of red scares only brother scares), cold war, cold nose, dust particles in the clogging air 1950s night.

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