Louis E. Bourgeois

Crushed by purple

Candle light and a Ouija board in the thick kitchen darkness; a fat lady sits across from you telling you what to think: there is no future or a possibility of a future; I’m three, a boy hidden somewhere in the adjacent room; chants from the table continue and I close my eyes playing Yes and No, it’s a Jack of Clubs and a Two of Hearts—water is falling outside, it’s raining hard and it fills my heart with sadness-glee—three boys shirtless and shoeless are descending into the sewer to watch the rats struggling to stay afloat in the fast moving drainage water; there is a secret window somewhere and I’m trying to find it but my maternal grandmother says Don’t go there, that’s a place you shouldn’t go, she says this in broken Greek and Spanish and English and I don’t understand the message—on the wall, the plains of Madrid; three white stallions are pummeling at top speed against a mauve and ochre sky—the fat woman has said something else which I can’t repeat for fear of losing my sanity; I am a gar now, resting at the bottom of a lagoon, hoping small fish will pass before me for an easy kill—I’ve become so many things in my short seven years of life and anti-life, I’m too passive to be truly human—old fire dying in the room—a man collapses on his lawn and a crowd ensues—hail the ambulance as they take him off to die—at night in the white projects there are fantastic circle jerks, both boys and girls, and demi-rapes of little boys and girls under the light of the ghetto—deck of cards, dike, bingo and week old macaroni still on the stove—everything is spinning round to the way it was when Olga had a severe stroke, she took on a different language, Greek and Spanish, and something else, too many tongues in her world competing for just a few narrow thoughts like which way is left and which way is right and why do we have trees in the first place? Just a few words, like, this is my body, eat it, this is my blood, drink it—you are feasting on my destruction, hope you’re having a good time—you come here wanting language and all you walk away with is my fleshy mind, mind-flesh, and you are greedy—why would you ever assume there was language? Olga—nuns, veils, cryptic codes in very bad Latin, and good old fashion darkness, for sake of clarity—we are stranded in this pit waiting forever to be relieved from the terrible blackness in our minds—but no one ever survives here, no one ever makes it into the light here, damaged, before ever knowing, before ever feeling, it wasn’t fair to do this to a child—it wasn’t fair to give him a name and then take it away from him because you were bored and confused and afraid—obscurest most lifeless thought that only wanted a place to be, that only wanted a home—Olga, my nightmare and Joy, my Crown of Thorns and Cross, etc…

Louis E. Bourgeois’s books include, Through the Cemetery Gates, The Distance of Ducks, The Animal, Cora Falling Off the Face of the Earth, White Night, Fragments of a Life Thirty-two Years Gone, OLGA and a forthcoming collection of short prose, The Gar Diaries. His poetry has been included in Scribner’s Best American Poetry 2007. Bourgeois is also co-founder and editor of VOX, an independent experimental literary journal based in Oxford, Mississippi.