Wednesday, December 22, 2010

pablo dillinger, on registering a birth




A knife. A fork.


And the forceps not so small,
nothing remotely tidy,
or encircling in pentameter.

Two feet and a long syllable;
drawn out, redly yawning.

The cerci of an earwig.

This is not what immediately
occurred to me, or even after
the fact. The blood still
drying on my hams. The wailing.

And the young doctor's face:
contorted with the exertion
required to change a tire.
A 4x4. Something heavy hurtling.

I did not think to thank her until
much later, back in the corridor
between soda machine and bins.
Fearing the worst and hindsight.

A knife. A fork.

Not to spell apple, but application.
Raw, dispassionate intervening force.

I do not remember if I did - thank
her - at this late stage. Not formally.

A smile. A nod. That is properly
the size of it; wan, if not quite
hostile. The fleeting discomfit of a
husband discharged. Discarding
gown and overshoes in sanitary
fashion. Dishevelled. Irritable.

And yet. I threw my arms around
the midwife while they weighed
my son, thankfully she did not
think to escape. Imagine the
effrontery. The potential for sheer
awkwardness; "you crazy fool !"
my wife chiding, from the stirrups.

A knife. A fork.

And the forceps not so small,
but my son a rosy bundle,
scalded and petulant; mewling.



illustration from Picasso's "pichet t
ête"
(1953); partial glaze on white ceramic.

10 comments:

Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

Are you trying to tell us your new family member looks just like you or that he is an abstract little guy?

ib said...

Well. He has my horns, and something of Pablo about him, too. Although the same might be said for many a querulous infant.

Or maybe I am merely looking for the excuse to buy him a tiny Breton Shirt. Clear of the accusation of Floyd the Barber. In the mildewed mirror.

Actually. I had just telephoned the Registrar of Births after it dawned on me we have just a few days left before falling foul of the law. In Scotland all births must be registered within 21 days; across the border the pace is a tad more leisurely.

I rather fancied naming him Pablo Dillinger, but it occurred to me he might not thank me for it in the mid to long haul.

said...

I think pablo dillenger is the sweetest sounding name I've heard. Or it just might be the bourbon.
Sorry to be the bearer of bad tidings per the Captain. I've got an ashtray heart.

ib said...

Could just be the bourbon. Maybe it will stand as his - none too secret - secret name.

Sad to hear about the demise of the Captain. Ashtray heart, yes. Some words from Mr. Cohen:

"the captain he was dying, the captain he was hurt, I took the medal from his hand and pinned it to my shirt."

From memory, at least, convoluted through various positions.

Holly said...

Lovely prose! Happy first solstice to the little one.

ib said...

I've passed on your best wishes to him in the shape of a kiss, Holly. Thanks.

uniplmr1 said...

I wish I named my kid Pablo Dillinger now. Good work. Blessed be.

Anonymous said...

The Modern Lovers praised Pablo:

Well, some people try to pick up girls
And get called assholes

This never happened to Pablo Picasso

He could walk down your street

And girls could not resist his stare and so

Pablo Picasso was never called an asshole

---------

Sometimes a name feels like a burden, or a bad joke from the parents - but also to be worn with pride.
Still Ano...

ib said...

Tim and Still Anon:

Had only my second name been Dillinger, it would have had a ring to it. As it was it didn't sit. And this time around, I - we - determined to do away with the baggage of middle names entirely. My own haunts me still like the sandal from some ancient Greek, or, worse, a dusty ancestral heirloom.

Still. It was a close call.

ib said...

For the record, my given surname - like my first - is very short; monosyllabic. Like a snort. A grunt. A slap.

Never cared for it much at all.