Sunday, April 22, 2012

April Fools

Childhood memories are the hardest to interpret. It is hard to fathom why a certain scene stayed with you, while other, probably more significant events, didn’t make it through your memory's natural erosion.

 The younger ones are measured with springs. They blossom; they shed petals and secrete pollens. They are yet to develop into something strong enough to stand alone in the middle of a storm. They have that fragility of childhood. But they are perfectly legal. The old geezer of a poet with pedophiliac tendencies wrote about them. He measured their age with springs and leered at them under the pretense of remembering his childhood sweetheart, her being no more than 13 springs old when they stole their first kiss.

 The scene from my childhood that I remember the most is set in my grandfather’s farm. In a small clearing by the over-ground water tank, there my uncle used to park a tri-motorcycle. Green, battered and caked with dry mud. Used for freight and transport, her open box in the back witnessed every kind of substance related to farming: from pesticides to animal blood to rotten pomegranates. It didn’t have a hand-break, so my uncle had to turn the front wheel to the left as far as it would go (which is 45-degree) and then lock it in place. The “Trella”, as we called it, would then go round in the farmyard. Leaving heliocentric tracks around a walnut tree. The ruts would get deeper as my cousins and I pushed her and shoved her through ditches and clumps of grass. In the spring the ruts would grow even deeper. The yard would be overgrown with green except these ruts. They’d become like tunnels dug through the undergrowth; skillfully engineered tunnels, with their curves drawn by the perfect circularity of a wheel turning.

 Till this date, the site of that front wheel locked in place fascinates me. Everything about the “Trella” oozed with femininity, except that front wheel. It had a mysterious masculine power. The handlebars stuck out like buffalo horns, connecting with the wheel itself through two massive steel tubes, with two rusty, coiled springs that did nothing to absorb the rugged terrain. The mud guard, its inner side collecting and accumulating a layer after layer of dead insects, entombed in sand and earth material carried along from all over the region where her travel took her. The single headlight mounted on the front, its bulb stark clean. No one dared driving that vulnerable thing with the light covered in mud.

 I remember that masculine front wheel now. I want to lock horn with it, to challenge it to change its course. I want to ask it how it feels to be captive to your own lock-mechanism. To go round each year experiencing April in the same determined doggedness that you experienced it with the year before. Leaving those grass-less ruts. Invisible tunnels where your deeds disappear or, better yet, get ignored. I want to jump in the driver’s saddle seat, feel the vibration of the damp earth through my groins.

 I want to ask April some questions. I want to interrogate it, debrief it. I want to know everything it is willing to tell me. But I know it won't tell me the truth. Its short-lived freshness, brief vivacity of color. They won’t last. The only recurring theme is its mendacity and annually celebrated excuse for a lie.


Mich said...

So good to have you back! Have missed your writings :-)

poshlemon said...

I also like reading (most of) your writings.