Saturday, July 2, 2016

McKenzie contemplates St. Patrick's day.

Jesse S. Mitchell

thumb tacked to the wall in a rusty corner, thin pale yellow outline on the discolored paint, a postcard of St. Patrick’s.  the edges so ragged, chipped and pulled, almost fuzzy in spots, the paper coming undone, untangled, returning to the earth in the form of tiny flecks of decaying dust.  Let it rain.  Here it pours and I can’t take my eyes off the picture, still glossy, still slick after all these years of dangerous pulling apart, falling apart, tearing and tearing, crumbling.
Wonder what the namesake would think of the cathedral.  Not really a monument to him at all but to us, we like to think of the name, makes us feel ways about ourselves and our pasts.  Good ways.  Fun ways.  Wholesome and complete.
Nothing is really further from the truth.
Ol’ Patrick was just a rich colonial kid walking the Bristol beaches when he got Shanghaied and tossed in chains, made to row fields for his Celtic masters.  Boy escaped and got back home, probably sweating it at first but then fuming, angry.  They said he got religious.  I think he got brave, mad and brave, and decided to go back and teach those slave drivers a lesson.  He drove the snakes out of Ireland.  The great snakedriver.  Now, when you piece it together, you realize snakes means pagan and pagan means Irish and Irish means guffawing whipping kidnapping monster…at least, to the dear old patron saint’s mind.  And so the rich Roman kid, living it up villa style in Britain, went back one day and taught those fuckers a lesson that we’ve never forgot.  Never forgot but have since gotten completely wrong.  Totally wrong.  The Irish and the Irish inspired, all love this guy.  After a while, we always seem to lose our minds, Stockholm syndrome writ large and we start building snakedrivers cathedrals, pirates get mansions, and murders get to be on t-shirts and coinages.  Columbus days and first-born-massacre-Passover days.  Celebrate.
 Happy St. Patrick’s day!
Shamrocks and green beer.  New York City parades.  Goddamn leprechauns.
Brutal life is two seconds from a charming story, always.
And so we tend to sit in the middle of the hot ashes and watch the cinders fall and pretend they are stars and we are caught in their orbits.
I would take the postcard down but I’m afraid of leaving the clean stain on the wall.  It would look naked.  And it would make me feel guilty.
And feeling guilty makes me sick. 

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