I wonder what people did in New England before television and Facebook? I guess they read books to pass the slow winter hours… or wrote letters… or practiced the piano…
Where are the others? said Pablo. They’re inside, said Blurtso, sleeping off the pumpkin pie. Yes, said Pablo, not many animals have the constitution of a donkey. That’s for sure, said Blurtso. How’s life in Cambridge? said Pablo. Fine, said Blurtso, I saw an amazing jenny three weeks ago. Really? said Pablo, What’s her name? I don’t know, said Blurtso, I think it’s Lizzy. You think? said Pablo. Yes, said Blurtso, I’ve never spoken with her. Why not? said Pablo. Because I don’t know what to say, said Blurtso. Why can’t you say whatever comes to mind, said Pablo, and just be yourself? Because I want her to like me, said Blurtso, and she might not like me for myself. Why would you want to be with her, said Pablo, if she didn’t like you for yourself? Because she’s incredible, said Blurtso. That doesn’t make sense, said Pablo. No, said Blurtso, I suppose it doesn’t, but maybe I could convince her to like me. That would be the worst thing to do, said Pablo, because then you’d have to spend your life continuing to convince her, and you’d never be yourself. Perhaps, said Blurtso, but at least I’d be with her. Maybe not, said Pablo, she might eventually realize you’re a fake. Yes, said Blurtso, you may be right. So, said Pablo, what do you think you’ll do? I’m not sure, said Blurtso, I think I’ll do everything I can to convince her to like me. Yes, said Pablo, I thought so.
“Another day,” thought Blurtseau, “and another night. The king is dead, and those who killed the king are dead, and Napoleon consolidates his power while those who would kill him wait in the wings. And the once-full moon that illuminated my vainglorious victory now wanes with a warbling light. Tomorrow the fighting will begin anew, the British, French, Spanish, Dutch, German, Italian, Sardinian, Greek generals… and all the world spins with the bones of the living and the bones of the dead, so many dead, those who pursued a borrowed or inherited dream, white bones in the soil, white bones in the surf of the sea, bones as white as the flickering tail of the waning moon, sparking and submerging among the breakers, flickering water reflection of fleeting sun echoed upon half-eaten moon, half-eaten moon half-eclipsed by the globe it now reflects down upon… half-eaten glow that grows dimmer each day… until the moon, the day, the night, and all our blood-urgent exploits fall dark upon the darkness of the sea, and vanish in the low laving sound of the waves eating the rocks with their dance of disintegration.
“And when the moon goes black, the stars will mark my path to Montecristo where Echo, alone on her island, watches the same silver flicker on a different surface of the same sea. And the light that flickered in her heart? Has it fallen prey to the same dance of deterioration? Will I find the moon already extinguished in the sea of her breast? Eclipsed by the vainglorious sphere that was my haste to depart? The misguided course of this star-crossed corsaire pursuing a sinking star? Yesterday’s hero is the dark side of the earth facing the dark side of the moon, is darkness double, two-faced night’s faceless faces, an echo of existence which touches no ear, a shout across an infinite expanse, an unreciprocated smile, a source without destination, a word from the heart that never arrives.”
“My heart is an echo of the disintegration
of the heart of the universe
that penetrates and disintegrates my own heart.”
Everywhere you go, said Blurtso, people are talking about the economic crisis. Do you think we should be worried? Worried about what? said Harlan. About our university, said Blurtso. How are we going to continue offering the services we’ve promised? What services? said Harlan. Our world-renowned classes, said Blurtso. The classes are free, said Harlan. What about our books? said Blurtso. The books are from the library, said Harlan. What about our Thursday evening pumpkin pies? said Blurtso. The pumpkins are from Pablo’s garden, said Harlan, in fact, everything in our university is absolutely free. It’s hard to believe, said Blurtso, what we’re doing isn’t against the law.
Why aren’t you painting? said Pablo. I ran out of paint, said Bonny. I guess you’ll have to go to town, said Pablo. Yes, said Bonny.
How much for this one? said the tourist. This one? said Bonny. This one is eight tubes of paint and four canvasses. What? said the tourist. Eight tubes of paint and four canvasses, said Bonny. Don’t you accept cash? No, said Bonny. American Express? No, said Bonny. Where can I get eight tubes of paint and four canvasses? said the tourist. In the Arts and Crafts store around the corner, said Bonny. O.k., said the tourist, I’ll be right back… Hey… what colors? Two Winsor Lemon, said Bonny, two Cadmium Red, three Quinacridone Magenta, and one Ultramarine. French Ultramarine? said the tourist. Bien sûr, said Bonny.
And the people gathered before him and said, “Blurtso of the sacred space, teach us.” And Blurtso replied, “Teach us?” And the people echoed, “Teach us.” And Blurtso replied, “Teach what?” And the people explained, “We do not love all who are among us. We do not love all others. And we are ashamed.” And Blurtso replied, “What will thou doest when thou seest a tempest in the offing?” And the people replied, “We shall seek shelter.” And Blurtso said, “And what will thou doest when thou encounterest danger in thine path?” And the people replied, “We shall pursue a new path.” And Blurtso said, “And what will thou doest when thine well of poison smellest?” And the people replied, “Drink we shall not.” And Blurtso said, “Just as with nature thou wouldst, so with one another thou shouldst. For each one of thou, in beingst thineself, is for some other a storm, a danger, or a poison. And another for thou shallst be these same things too. So feelest not ashamedst that thou revelst not in the company of all, but rather recognizest the right to existest of the poison, the danger, and the storm, and rejoicest in the natural wisdom that wouldst lead thou unto safety and keepest thou from harm.”
Ahhhh, thought Blurtso, drinking the water the sprinklers had left in the gutter. What a lovely morning! Let’s see… what shall I have for breakfast? The grass looks tasty. Mmmm, juicy and fresh, and a little bit spicey! Hello officer, said Blurtso when his friend walked by. Hello Blurtso, said the policeman. Have a nice day! said Blurtso. You too! said the officer. And as the day passed, Blurtso became more and more enamored of his space, chatting with the people, watching the cars, and enjoying the grass beneath his nose. This place has everything! thought Blurtso, settling down for the night. Fresh water, green grass, friendly people… and warm pavement to sleep on. No wonder people love California!