Ian Keenan


Of Objects

I asked them for my horse back and finally, with emphasis they obliged
me, pacing my cell with me on its back. Oats and a toilet, drums I
can't reach. The candles glow unlit but increasingly while I'm
sleeping. Statues of Changó, perfumed soap, Laser Disc players, live
chickens, dirt roads leading to the farmers' market, compasses, orange
peelers, a soccer field covered with plastic bottles, college students
wearing Hard Rock Café shirts, concrete blocks that weep in the
evening, tin soldiers of my army before Algiers, prepared harmonicas,
abstraction and what's eating it, the boxes they came in.

Objects connected to the taking of the port town, all those lofty
motives like wanting all the driftwood parallel, the clocks to slow as
you ascend the mount, the children to have the names of fruit, the
fertility goddess' hair to fill the back alleys, and most of all an
imagined relation between policy and your imagination without actually
doing anything or observing the effects. I wanted it this way for the
outing to go as planned, the locals and the folks from home would see
how it's done. All this accumulates as the centuries change, creating
an effect akin to objects from the previous taking of the port town, made
more quickly now in accord with my notion of progress.

Her horse has been stationed outside my window. The attendant said it
waits for a mineral spring. That would be good news were it in accord
with my instincts. When she tossed me in the trunk 'for,' she said,
'the sound it makes' she gave me her coat which still had the animal's
head on it. We rode over a bump and I noticed my head gone and my
skin covered with fur. When I arrived they asked if I was a butcher
and I said no. Some cold stares, but I knew that none of them were
butchers either, in fact, some of them were dinner, which is why I
came. One of them was caught sketching the girl and was jailed for


Of Objects (2)

I wanted him to know but he couldn't tear himself away from the horse
racing papers. I put diagrams on the table instead of breakfast and he
ate them, ditto photos, ditto cardboard models. When he got onto the
airplane he kept walking and walking and the airplane never ended. I
held up another chart and he kept going, looking at his feet, stopping
only to ask the stewardess if she had Racing Form. Giving up, I put
everything into two suitcases no one was using, and set them for a
moment against the wall. While I was startled by a gown that changed
colors, the suitcases were loaded into a storage compartment. Everyone
arrived but him and the suitcases. Finally I got a phone call from him
and he thanked me for packing so neatly. I asked him where he was and
he said he ate my maps and the lake smelled so much he was initially
wary of the local fish, but later it was found to be the smell of a
dead horse at low tide that had swallowed a suitcase.