Flora & Fauna
Are you a world citizen? Put aside your papers, your honour. Put aside, your linked ladders, your heavenly stilts. Utah lived alone, for a time, in a hotel called Diamont, two or three stars, under communism, a phone booth in the corner for secret missions. He taught English in the villages, canned tuna in the evening, the broken fan of his laptop rattling into early mornings. Are you lonely in a foreign country? The sandpaper sighs into the rusted tongue. The blows of his chisel, which hurt us so much, are what make us perfect. Our hour of the wind in a dusty park full of hotdogs. Our hour of the wolf in flannel trousers. They picked up Utah at Diamond Hotel, living alone, teaching English in the villages. Come with us, they said. Come with us. Dublin sucked beer through a straw after being jumped by hooligans. Canada, the hairy chested weasel, spoke the language of rocks and cabbages. Manchester was a totem pole of energy. They lived together in an old kamienica, taught English in the city. The river ran between Austria and Hungary, but now it is one country. At the Milk Bar, 2 euros for the four food groups, plus kompot. At Mr Hamburger, after late night drinking, with the riff-raff of the city, Dublin pulled over for intoxication on a bicycle. Manchester sprawled on the floor, a puddle of puke around him. Canada, washed up, unable to read anything. What is the relationship between your environment and well-being? If you can match the solution to the problem it’s sorted. A man is like a flower. He needs to breathe. Utah is here, many years later, his life partner. On the train to Krakow for Easter, they made a life together. Clacking their suitcases down the old streets of Europe, their annual summer holiday in Poland. Creaking the floors at Massolit, sucking sentences like fruit drops. The Horse has Six Legs. The Devil’s Lunch. A heavily populated solitude. Pope John Paul had a window and he spoke to the people. They look up at the window. It is painted over with his picture. The fall of communism. No more meat lines and Maluchs. They leave the smog filled centre of culture and enter the alpine soul of Silesians. Everyone is a doctor. Homemade remedies. Wild mountain minds. Grilled meats and Oscypek. An incredible amount of cabbage. Their flora and fauna are flourishing.
About the writer:
Born in Portadown, Northern Ireland, Marcus Slease has made his home in Turkey, Poland, Italy, South Korea, the United States, Spain, and the United Kingdom – experiences that inform his nomadic surrealist writing. His writing has been translated into Danish and Polish, featured in the Best British Poetry series, and has appeared in Poetry, Tin House, and Fence, among others. Currently, he lives in Castelldefels, Spain, and teaches high school literature in Barcelona. Never Mind the Beasts, a hybrid novel of flash fiction and prose poetry, is forthcoming from Dostoyevsky Wannabe in April 2020.
Image: A Home in the Mountains by Eliana Rodriguez. Print of unspecified type on unspecified medium. No size specified. By 2018. By permission. Eliana Rodriguez is a senior at Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina. She currently is pursuing a BFA in Studio Art with a concentration in Printmaking and a minor in Dance Studies. Her work explores theses of culture, identity and heritage. This piece was inspired by the Appalachian Mountains in the Boone area and her relationship to nature.