The tale of the infinite man

December 30, 2016

The infinite man hid nothing from her. He flung opened all his doors….even the one’s that he hid from the world in darkened corners….everything that was his life was right before her like a luscious tapestry.

As she reached out to touch a flower on the tapestry of his life. Miss D cringed momentarily. Then as if impelled by an undercurrent she could no longer deny, not even to with all her powers of refrain. She ran her finger along the rich folds of the flower.

She felt a small tinge that radiated and swelled deep within her – a delirious sunburst….only to realize later that her finger had been pricked by the thorns of the flower.

How is that possible she asked the infinite man.

He merely smiled knowingly and kissed her hand.


‘In the fields she saw the way I worked alongside the farmhands. I told her, I am like Levin. Her eyes sparkled with understanding as she exclaimed, Tolstoy….Anna Karenina.

I noticed she had a dog eared copy of the Twenty Love Poems and a Song of Despair by Neruda. She could tell, I knew his work intimately. In the evenings when the sun dipped over the brow of the distant blue mountains. I told her in a whispering hush – the great poet wrote only in green ink, which was his personal symbol for desire and hope. She asked me why he the great poet who believed so much in hope never ever once used that word. I told her the story of Tentativa del hombre infinite and explained to her as in the novel El habitante y su esperanza, hope need not be expressed….not at all, it merely is….One day when the sun was like a disc of fire, she saw the farmhands chewing on sugarcane…I told her, chew only the narrow sections…it’s sweetest there….she asked, is it true…the rumours… that I once fought in the Ascension wars in Nicaragua…I merely told her I don’t remember that man who once stood on a rock promontory with a rifle slung on his back….I only remember the aching beauty of the Cordillera de Los Morbeilles set against the crimson sunset….I told her, I counted only six…though everyone said there were eight..she undertood…as that was what Neruda’s infinite man had once exclaimed just before a duel in the Ascuncion chapel in Leon. She wondered whether it was true that the Chinaman sugarcane planter once did same for the hand of a third generation Matizto’s landowner’s daughter in Managua….I told her it was very hard to tell.

On the fifth day when I told her how the swiftlets would fly ever so higher and in tighter circles as they instinctively knew it was time for the wind to shift the other way and they were preparing for their long marathon flight across the straits… she asked about the man who once wore flared ridding breeches, mirror polished knee high boots and always sported a shouldered holstered revolver…the Chinaman Cocoa planter…I told her, he must have been enamoured with Idi Amin, she laughed and mentioned…Uganda..I shouted ‘Uluru!’ She asked what is that, I merely mentioned that’s what the Matabili tribesmen would shout out when they spotted a tiger in the brushes….she said explain…. I looked her in the eye this time and told her… I counted only six…though everyone said there was eight….it was what Neruda’s main protoganist had mentioned just before he was betrayed in Santiago. She undertstood and looked down and shame swept across her face.

On the sixth day when I told her the Mai’a in Southern Sudan believe two cardamoms went put into hot tea could stop time dead in it’s tracks and the mythical door of secrets would swing open – it all spilled out…the beans…the girl told me slowly, she was actually sent by my enemies to find out about my plans…..there was no interest free loan…it was all an elaborate lie designed to entice me into an elaborate trap.

And at the end of it all, she merely expressed in a tone of abject resignation… I counted only six….though everyone said there was eight…after she finished, she looked up to me pleadingly and realized then and there…. I knew it all along…from her expression I realized it could only have been the face of Neruda’s infinite man looking back at her.’

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