Snowing – From Salamanders, by pd Lyons


The black bird skims the tree the river the rocks and into sky is gone. It is snowing in May. The other day 80 degrees, now, since this morning a strange and beautiful sight, delicate greens of spring – lilacs in bloom, maples in red and the powdery puffs of sparkling white white snow so white. Among the deep rich earth colours of spring – a winter thief. Birds singing snow falling. Its snowing in May and we have to get down to the shop and buy a battery for the car so we can try and sell it. Snowing in May. The car that since we bought it months ago probably only ran right for a few days was fixed and still not right was fixed again and again so to sell it we have to get it jumped hopefully make it to the shop buy a new battery and get it running long enough to sell it so we can get some cash towards buying another with. The baby is sleeping. I wanted to paint today; so far nothing has come of that. I wanted to do a water-colour dancer wet down the paper let the colour mingle disperse, vanish and coagulate, to dance into a dancer. I did not expect snow in May in fact I expected it to be sunny that’s why I planned to paint I was not ready for this day and am in no mood to paint unless the sun comes out, especially with this car thing hanging. My wife tells me all I do is waste my time; all I do is write, paint, read, fish. What else is there to do? And oh yes always want to make love. My wife says all I do is a waste of time. Maybe if I worked fifty hours a week and spent the rest of my time watching TV she’d be happy? I don’t know though sometimes the girl strikes me as one who will never be happy. It’s snowing in May, my wife doesn’t talk she doesn’t know how. I ask her what she wants, she doesn’t know. I ask her why she’s unhappy and what we can do to fix it, nothing. She says she isn’t unhappy. When I ask her then why are you always mad and complaining she gets mad and complains that it’s just the way she is.

It’s snowing in May and I wish I wasn’t married to someone who doesn’t know what they want and I wish I could be gone even dead. I wish it wasn’t snowing and I didn’t have to live in constant tension. I wish I was free and in a new met lovers arms and I wish I had someone else to tell my dreams besides this machine of type. This type of machine that has heard more of my voice than any human ear. So does this machine make me one more victim of the modern age? If not for the invention of the cigarette and the typewriter, I would have no one to talk to!

It’s snowing in May and the machines are winning and the type of machine doesn’t matter only it’s a machine, the only dreams are told to a machine, my only intimate a machine, the only peace is the sound of machine pounding order, pounding everything into order, the order driving me insane is shorting my circuits, is making me die – I wouldn’t be surprised.

I am pouring cocaine into the nasal opening of this machine, cocaine the perfect lubricant making all run smooth smooth smooth no grinding smooth no squeaking smooth no pressure pounding, smooth cocaine cool soft so perfect lubricant. Not like the machine dehumanizer, cocaine the humaniser, cocaine the bringer of dreams, dreams no machine can dream.


It’s snowing in May and the baby is in his walker playing with a magazine while I am having black coffee. We take turns the child and I. He comes over to my work table, finds the basket of papers and water colours and is pulling on a picture that looks like an Indian Chief but at first was going to be a young woman, he chews it the background of ultramarine blue smears across his little face leaving his saliva splotches in the upper left hand corner makes it our painting. Now he is playing with my cigarette pack which he is always attracted to … so anyway that’s the story of how my son became an artist before even being able to walk, his very saliva worked into the painting.

It’s still snowing in May the whole world gone crazy, the flowers, the birds, my wife, the motorists in the highway, the whole river-fish-animal-plant-mineral thing is hay-wire and me and my son are having a ball making each other laugh painting writing laughing even at the snow, forgetting everything we ever learned I become the infant and he remains infinitely wise. We are having orgasmic experience here and now – being human, being working here and now we enjoy the good work of being alive. He with his water-colour blue beard, brave little fingers grabbing with delight the bells, the beads, the cigarette pack, and the paint tubes of the world. Me cigarette in mouth fingers cracking away grabbing too at my own life as he is as we are as the rest of the world isn’t quite as absurd anymore since it’s snowing in May – still.

( 1977 )


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