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Language of the Blind - Spoonman Files 001

Language of the Blind - Spoonman Files 001

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Published by Mark Petrakis
Spoonman tells you how it was with his parents. He was born in big mountains that separate east from west.
Spoonman tells you how it was with his parents. He was born in big mountains that separate east from west.

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Published by: Mark Petrakis on Sep 23, 2010
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09/26/2010

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Language of the Blind (Spoonman's Parents)
Look around. Everybody here was once baby. Everybody here began as burningdesire that rocked loins of dear old mum and dad. Everybody here was once littleturtle muffin that slipped its way into life and began to crawl, to get world awayfrom fleshy cage that was mum and dad. And maybe you get pretty far away, butthen one day burning desire comes to call and pretty soon loins are rocking, jointis jumping, doors are flying open, and suddenly new little turtle muffin, or two newlittle turtle muffins slip out and begin to crawl to get away from dear old mum anddad, except this time you are mum and you are dad. Oh irony of ironies.So it is that quick hare-brain thinks itcan some how escape slow crawl ofturtle muffin advance. For short timeperhaps, but in the end, turtle muffinalways wins. Spoonman knows thisbecause he is father to Teaspoon. Heknows that one day Teaspoon will burncircles around Spoonman's fuzzy head,and his once proud Spoonman call willfade like tired old joke.I will tell you how it was with my parents.I was born in big mountains thatseparate east from west.My mother was of Finno-Tartar people, sometimes called "Yak people". Not toomany left. Beautiful place it was, but winters were cold, and snow did not meltuntil June. My father was not of Finno-Tartar people. He was born in SouthCarolina, but for many years had roamed the Middle East trading in counterfeitHittite and Babylonian artifacts. Many men whose business dealings went sourwould pass through our village. He was one of those. Many strange people withdifferent customs and ways would pass through our village, and many a travelerwould become an uncle or a father before snows would melt. He was one ofthose. He was not kind man, but still I have fond memories of him. My mother was funny woman. She had laugh for everything and for everyone.She would take me up into low hills and let me feed magic mushrooms toreindeer, so that we could watch as they danced and pranced and pretended tobe humans. She would take me to market and we would eat goat cheese andpickled dandelion while we watched rug dealers rave and rant at each other. Iremember her standing by fire, stirring bony soup, filling our house with good
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warm smells. I remember voices singing in old church, and smell of frankincensethat clung to candle lit walls. I remember sleds and warm animal breath in coldair, fat women in colorful babushkas, and tired men whose eyes, flush withArmagnac, would light up as the slender fingers of insistent balalaika playerscarried them all off to place of jovial agreement.From these days, Spoonman learn to speak language of the blind. All thoughtsand words touch us in different ways. There is soft touch, words that hold andcomfort, and tell us that love is like warm fire. Come closer little one, rest here bymy side. These hands will hold you, protect you, and bring you good fruit andcheese. And there is hard touch; words that scold, that steer, that drive on yakand that fight over right way to live. Words that nibble at your ears like hungrylover, and words that slap side of your face like deceitful friend. This is languageof the blind, and in the dark cold winters of childhood, this was our native tongue.I would have been happy to stay in those mountains and be friend to reindeerand yak, to eat good goat cheese, and to watch my mother grow old, but thatwas not to be. I was taken, at age of six, by my father; first to Krasnoyarsk, thento Ulaangom in Mongolia, then to Chengdu in China, to Burma, to Rangoon, andfrom there by freighter to Djibouti, up the Red Sea, through the Suez toDamascus and back to his world; a world of cut-throats and thieves, full ofdisease and addiction, all because his knees were bad and he needed me to puton his socks, to bring him his opium, and to listen as he rambled on... stories ofancient glories.I stayed with him for nine years. We traveled together - Morocco, Istanbul, Cairo,the Sahara, the Congo. We knew streets and landmarks, better at night than inthe day. We stayed in brothels, tents, once elegant hotels, becoming friend toprostitutes, opium sellers, traders and shopkeepers, foreign journalists far fromhome and corrupt little bureaucrats with bad teeth and oily hair. And always thestories, the stories he would make up to accompany each artifact that he wouldsell. He would say, "When the story is perfect, the sale is made." I rememberthem all, their shape and smell, those Hittite and Babylonian artifacts that werethe toys of my youth.This was our life, the only life I knew, and though he was not kind, still he was myfather. I think he knew that he needed me more than I needed him, but still I didlove him. The part of him that was of this world was pathetic of sorts, and smellylike all bodily functions, and weak like alcohol in the bones; but the part of himthat was not of this world, was mighty and pure, like a high mountain bird thatsaw all there was to see, and spoke in tongues of what he saw to his fellowphilosopher kings, who were in fact, a bunch of drunken lunatics - but still I hungon their every word.
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