Sunday, September 16, 2007

The Horse

The Horse



Many times the size of a man, the horse has flaring nostrils, round eyes under half-closed lids, cocked ears and long muscular neck.

The tallest of man’s domestic animals, and truly his designated mount.

Man, somewhat lost on an elephant, is at his best on a horse, truly a throne to his measure.

We will not do away with the horse, I hope?

He will not become a curiosity in a zoo?

…Already now, in town, he is no more than a miserable substitute for the automobile, the most miserable means of traction.

Ah, the horse is also—does man suspect it?—something else besides! He is impatience nostrilized.

His weapons are running, biting, bucking.

He seems to have a keen nose, keen ears, and very sensitive eyes.

The greatest tribute one can pay him is having to fit him with blinders.

But no weapon…
Whereby the temptation to add one. One only. A horn. Thereby the unicorn.



The horse, terribly nervous, is aerophagous.

Hypersensitive, he clamps his jaws, holds his breath, then releases it, making the walls of his nasal cavities vibrate loudly.

That is why this noble beast, who feeds on air and grass alone, produces only straw turds and thunderous fragrant farts.

Fragrant thunderisms.



What am I saying, feeds on air? Gets drunk on it. Sniffs it, savors it, snorts it.

He rushes into it, shakes his mane in it, kicks up his hind legs in it.

He would evidently like to fly up into it.

The flight of clouds inspires him, urges him to imitation.

He does imitate it: he tosses, prances…

And when the whip’s lightning claps, the clouds gallop faster and rain tramples the earth…



Out of your stall, high-spirited over-sensitive armoire, all polished and smoothed!

Great beautiful period piece!

Polished ebony or mahogany.

Stroke the withers of this armoire and immediately it has a faraway look.

Dust cloth at the lips,feather mop at the rump, key in the lock of the nostrils.



His skin quivers, irritably tolerating flies, his shoe hammers the ground.

He lowers his head, leans his muzzle toward the ground and consoles himself with grass.

A stepstool is needed to look on the upper shelf.

Ticklish skin, as I was saying…but his natural impatience is so profound, that inside his body the parts of his skeleton behave like pebbles in a torrent!



Seen from the apse, the highest animal nave in the stable…



Great saint! Great horse! Beautiful behind in the stable…

What is this splendid courtesan’s behind that greets me, set on slim legs, high heels?

Giant goose of the golden eggs, strangely clipped.

Ah, it is the smell of gold that assails my nostrils!

Leather and manure mixed together.

Strong-smelling omelette, from the goose of the golden eggs.

Straw omelette, earth omelette, flavored with the rum of your urine, dropping from the crack under your tail…

As though fresh from the oven, on a pastry sheet, the stable’s rolls and rum balls.

Great saint, with your Byzantine eyes, woeful, under the harness…



A sort of saint, humble monk at prayer, in the twilight.

A monk? What am I saying?…A pontiff, on his excremental palanquin! A pope—exhibiting to all comers a splendid courtesan’s behind, generously heart-shaped, on slender legs ending elegantly in high-heeled shoes.

WHAT IS THIS CLACKING OF THE BIT?

THESE DULL THUDS IN THE STALL?

WHAT’S GOING ON?

PONTIFF AT PRAYER?

SCHOOLBOY IN DETENTION?

GREAT SAINTS! GREAT HORSES (HORSES OR HEROES?), OF THE BEAUTIFUL BEHIND IN THE STABLE,

WHY, SAINTLY MONK, ARE YOU WEARING RIDING BREECHES?

—INTERRUPTED DURING HIS MASS, HE TURNED HIS BYZATINE EYES TOWARD US…



—Francis Ponge

4 comments:

Scott Savage said...

Matt,
Sorry, this is totally unrelated to your post. I am thinking about teaching a class here at Trinity during Lent based somewhat loosely around the theme of a book by Merold Westphal called Suspicion and Faith. I wanted to get your critique of his understanding of Karl Marx. I know you probably have a ton of things to do so if you can't get this book its no problem. I'm sort of just trying to get my bearings on the subject. Thanks for even reading this :)

Peace,
Scott

Matthew said...

Hey Scott, I'd be honored to help you out. I just requested a copy of the book from the library. I'm really busy at the moment, but hopefully things will slow down soon so that I can take a look at the book. I'm certainly no Marx scholar, and I usually get my Marxist fix through later writers like Althusser and Gramsci, but I'll do my best.

If you want a pretty quick intro to Marx in his own words you could get Karl Marx: Selected Writings and read some important points, like the selections from Jewish Question, German Ideology, Communist Manifesto, 18 Brumaire, and Grundrisse. Reading the first chapter of Capital would be very helpful, too.

Scott Savage said...

Matt,
Thanks in advance for any help! I'll take a look at your suggestions here real soon. I'm hoping that with Lent still three and half seasons away (give or take) that I'll be able to read a bunch. Westphal actually goes through Nietzsche, Freud, and Marx (yikes!). So, I have some work cut out for me. Anyways.

Peace,
Scott

Matthew said...

I'm guessing that the German Ideology would be most important for your purposes, as it is the place where Marx deals most exclusively with, you guessed it, ideology, of which religion is one example.