Sean Brijbasi: {god 23 (she)}

by SF

bikefrom the 

god 23 (she) I remember remembering—as I stood on the train platform, waiting for the train that would take me to Prague and my new life as fifth violin for the Czech Symphony Orchestra—of an advertisement I placed in Le Monde, looking for a woman (of rare beauty) who, unfortunately, had but one arm. I remember remembering that I had never seen such a woman but that I was searching, curious to know that if in all of Paris, in that great and teeming metropolis, such a woman existed.

I don’t remember remembering Anna but I would like to, so that next time I remember remembering, she is placed in that memory as if she were always there. Of how I looked down to the tracks and thought of her irrational death and of how it related to my search for a woman with one arm (of rare beauty), whose name I wished ‘with all my heart’ to be Helen.

So that next time, perhaps on my return to Paris, I shall say to the person sitting beside me:

In the belly of Les Halles I stood, waiting for the train to Prague, remembering the advertisement I placed in Le Monde, looking for a woman (of rare beauty), who, unfortunately, had but one arm, when the image of Anna standing where I stood came to me. I imagined watching her as I descended the stairs and of how she looked to the right and then to the left and as the train moved into the station, she plopped down in front of it without a fuss and died violently. 

Irrational because of its apparent discontext in the grandeur of an escaping universe—a capitulation to the disjecta membra of trace concepts regarding false notions of Helen, Anna, and that famous matador, Nathan. The woman with one arm, comprised of a combination of two odes. The first, a blacksmith’s tale. The second, a lament on the death of the—a, fore, mentioned—matador who turned his back and lowered his head (as if the woman he loved danced too intimately with another man) and was lifted to the sun. A slow and sagging parapluie as the audience spied from beneath their hats, raised their arms, and made circles with their fingers (in that moist air my friends) to tell the bull comenzar.

The matador fell (silently) and blossoms thrown but not this blossom that was so unaffected by the wind and that, in turn, turned into a blossoom, unplucked until plucked by me, a gift for my Helen should I ever find her. One lonely blossoom growing atop the coliseum, from where I searched the city while all manner of cape undulated behind me.

Oh Helen, I shall find you. I shall find you and give you this blossom. But he who sat beside me on my trip to Prague stumbled in his understanding of my remembrance and, in the convention of all that is modern, I explained the symbolism behind my remembrance and that in lieu of vocabulaic understanding he should, in all earnestness (tapping my eyelid—pop pop pop), extricate his cornea.

You see, I snapped, my pink-you erect, Anna and Helen drank tea in front of a fire and prepared the great cape of the matador as a gift for the daughter of God two (he) and God eighteen (she). God six (he), the death in man’s eye god, and God seven (he), the minor philosophical texts god, recalled the life of God one (she). God one (she), the suffering of lesser beings god, met her end by the doings of God three (she), the god of collective beneficence and God two (he), the god of tamable animals. God three (she) and God nine (she), dry places beneath a tree when it rains god, conceived but miscarried. God eighteen (she), god of unremembered faces, and God two (he), god of water poured from a vessel, were banished and had a child, God twenty-three (she), god of rare beauty. 

I concluded by unfurling my arms but he was crisp with me and punctuated his curiosity with the stunting of his wrist, though bouncy and slightly to the left. Moving about the train, I endeavored to convince others of my dilemma. Sad, sweet Helen, prisoner of God twenty-three (she). My melancholy made its way into her seams and curled beneath her dress into the shape of a spiral that once descended gave no hope of return. I thought if I were to play my loin for them, so sweetly and in such fine tune…the freight cars…the wheels…the smoke.

Oh! Le train! 

Christmas last I related it thus: standing in the train station I waited for the b,l,a,n,k to Prague. A woman, whose name I wished [hello] to be Helen. Yes? I found her arm and Anna strewn—nay, frolicking with the Gods. I remember remembering how they frolicked when a few days after I placed my advertisement in Le Monde, I received a phone call.

“Hello, I’m answering your advertisement,” the woman said.

“You have one arm?” I asked.

“Yes,” she said.

“And you are of a rare beauty?” I asked.

“I have tried,” she said. “My mother was beautiful, but my father–“

“–and your name?” I asked. “What is your name?”

Before she answered, I thought what if her name was Anna? Would that be okay? I remember remembering Anna. Poor disillusioned Anna whom I wished ‘with all my heart’—no that was Helen. I thought no, her name had to be Helen.

“Your name,” I said impatiently.

“Nadine,” she said.

“Oh that’s lovely,” I said. “I am going to Prague but we must meet when I return.”

I remember remembering that I was eager but composed, and that I ratified our future union with a pop of the wink-wink aluminum. After my stint in Prague, I would return a recaptured man. Oh the memory. It was all there. It came over me in a wave of something I had no idea about. I had so many questions for her. Which arm? How? I could hold her closer I thought. By my side, she would feel a part of me. And oh, how my shoulder would tickle as I felt her nerve endings through her skin.

I stood proudly.

Dear passengers, I orated, pick up your feet and run in happiness with me. I have lived many a life of experience and know this to be a good and measured response. Do not show (I paused to find the right word) conjecture. Run with me.

I ran through the train, away from its destination and toward happiness, reflecting on the matador’s lover who danced so intimately with another man that the pain the matador felt at seeing their intimacy was like the horn of the bull, stuck between his ribs and puncturing his heart. Oh, I felt it myself. But if I were to dance with this beautiful woman, I would pull her very close as well and holding her from behind, probe the soft, sweet nape of her neck with my very sensitive nose.

I returned to my seat and rested my head against the window.

(Are we not weary men Caesar?)

I sighed. Such a long string to fiddle I thought, and me out of practice. Will it be Smetana or Dvorak? Now, they were pretty girls with big lips and long eyelashes. The train stopped to pick up more passengers. Through the window, I saw the small brick building with a sign that read ‘waiting room’.

(Not so weary that we cannot find our rest in chaos.)

colors, shapes, and everyness


Copyright©Sean Brijbasi 



Discarded moments. Unfinished gestures. Lived [not lived] in London. Resident of Sweden [no more]. Lives in Washington DC [near]. In East Berlin before the wall fell. In Russia before glasnost. Jazz in Copenhagen. Switchblade in Paris. Lost in Helsinki. Bar fight in Auckland. Awake for 3 straight days in Reykjavik. Bored in Brussels. Green light in Amsterdam. Red light in Hamburg. And more…