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Saturday, December 13, 2003

Jerome’s Compass
Copyright C D YORK 2003


He is East and West hands. Southern feet. And his solar plexus rests forever at the Equator. West, east, south, middle: muscles massed on bone, tied to it. Pressure comes through the mass. So do warmth, cold, wetness, weight. And the pain of a paper cut on a finger or a blister on one foot from a shoe that slips and shunts on heel skin. Or the tang of an elbow hit at a certain vulnerable spot. The penis engorged, draws a Tropic line; disengorged, draws a different one. Knees, stiff from kneeling in the mud too long, are southern knees. Long muscles and transverse ones make a net of latitudes and longitudes. Striations, warp and weft, ley lines.

He is more. Up. North.

A pulling compass point lies within his head. North: where the needle falls to rest.

Here the skeleton heaves to the outside and true North lies inside, in convolutions that mimic coral formations. But this mass is not the solid exo-skeletons of dead sea animals. Its folds and gullies and mounds are as soft as unfurled anemones.

He embarks northward like an ill-prepared nineteenth century explorer. Hopeful. Ignorant. The wind in that region is wild, yet he is dressed for a calmer place. He has not been warned that pack ice and icebergs lurk, that they are shape shifters, voodoo men, who do one thing while they make him think another. He spins in cold memory tunnels, or wanders, hands extended beggar-like, in the halls of yet-to-be. Crevasses wait for him. Sometimes, infrequently, the aurora borealis flashes like a lighthouse beacon in a trackless night. It is then that symphonies rise; these he sings.

He has named the place Goliath-Methusaleh and claims it in the name of the crown. He believes that North is the width and breadth and depth of everything. All began and all will end with his North.

“Some days are better than others,” Ruby says to me. Then she turns to shout at her brother. “Jerome! Quit day dreaming and come on.”

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