hit by a halal truck / Marcel Duchamp (where is he?) -
La sonate, Marcel Duchamp, 1911
by Bobbi Lurie
isis – ebola – obama
hit by halal truck
(where is duchamp?)
“she’s awake!!!” someone screams.
“do you know your name?”
remember. duchamp. spring. don draper.
duchamp obsessed with don draper ~
~ darkness again. …
“my phone,” voice says.
nurse hands me something square i hand it back. “here,” she says,
hands me leather sack. “this is your purse.”
~ darkness ~
waking wetness face … pain …
… “help me!” someone comes. “the pain,” i say. “the pain.”
“you’re due for an injection in an hour …”
isis – ebola – obama are the sounds.
sound of rain … out a window: leaves starting to yellow. remember spring. pink blossoms. duchamp. “don draper was a deserter,” i told duchamp. “don draper deserted his identity as dick whitman to desert the korean war …”
“i was a deserter,” said duchamp. i should have worked for le resistance”
the words isis … ebola … obama …. on intercom
a group of good-cheer otherworldly godly beings come to teach me to walk.
my right leg numb.
i remembered walking in the spring, in new york, with duchamp.
duchamp pointed to another gluten-free bakery; he insisted i go in, on my own, to face deception inherent in every shop
window on this earth …
i said. “i will not leave you on your own.”
marcel duchamp was flexible. he changed the subject, going on and on about his lover, mary reynolds, working for the resistance, staying in paris. palpable admiration flowed from the gentle precision of his words.
“i should have been in le resistance,” he said, again, before demanding i go into the gluten-free bakery.
“but you will desert me,” i said.
duchamp hit his fist against the brick wall beside him.
“let’s not talk about it. i don’t know anything about it, i don’t understand anything about politics, and i say it’s really a stupid activity, which leads to nothing. whether it leads to communism, to monarchy, to a democratic republic, it’s exactly the same thing, as far as i’m concerned. you’re going to tell me that men need politics in order to live in society, but that in no way justifies the idea of politics as a great art in itself. nevertheless, this is what politicians believe; they imagine themselves doing something extraordinary! It’s like little notaries, like my father. the politician’s style is something like the notary’s. i remember my father’s legal papers; the language was killingly funny; the lawyers in the united states use the same language. i don’t go for politics.”
duchamp’s anger allowed me to lose my fear of his leaving. but then he said, “i feel shame, not for the wrong things i have done, but for the right things that i have failed to do.”
i handed him my flip phone.
darkness again …
yes. another gluten-free bakery, the refrigerator section, my ambivalence about leaving him
a woman with long gray hair approached me with a basket filled with circle-shapes wrapped in pastel shades of tissue paper.
“these are gluten-free fortune cookies. please take one.”
i turned away from her.
i remember her insistence, tapping me on the shoulder, thrusting something violet in my hand, like a fist.
“these are not only gluten-free,” insisted, “these fortunes are organic; they are not factory-farmed. they are exact descriptions of a future which has already happened.”
i turned my face away but she pulled me back, gently on my chin.
…. darkness again …
… a man … with a sign around his neck “vietnam vet. hungry.”
“do you remember me?” he asked.
“you gave me $27 for your flip phone.”
“i sent you across the street to buy me a meal from the halal truck.
you were hit by the halal truck.”
flip phone by my bed.
i put it back in the sack, coming up with a something wrapped in a violet shade of tissue paper.
the gluten-free fortune cookie said:
“may you live in interesting times”- chinese curse
This is a working chapter from an upcoming book.
About the Author:
Bobbi Lurie is the author of four poetry collections, most recently “the morphine poems.” She writes for Berfrois. Other essays on Marcel Duchamp can be found here.