Thursday, February 21, 2008

Clop. Clop. Clop. Clop. Never since The Battleship Potemkin, that moment in film on Odessan stairs: soldiers, civilians, blood and a baby carriage rolling unattended to its fate - never had such a scene of revolution presented itself, albeit in the category of humoresque. Three donkeys on three stone steps, each clopping from one end of the step to the other, meticulous tick-tocking, a synchronized trio. As the donkeys reached the end of their walk, invariably at the same moment, they twisted around with a flurry of hops and clops, landing about-face and beginning again the slow clops to the other end. Synchronized swimmers are less of a marvel, lacking, as they do, elongated ears, furry tails and the shaggy fuzz of burro bellies.

A crowd built as steadily and rhythmically as the beasts of burden paced their narrow gangways. These were pack animals, so it wasn't surprising that the movements of the creatures held up and carried the pulse of time, became the new ticks of time, the space between clops defining the new second, and delineating these new seconds from other, subsequent seconds, the turning-in-place defining the minute. Faces watched and continued to watch, not without impression. Hours slipped past. Then it happened. A birth. A zeitgeist carried by lightning not seen but felt in the mind. The next day throughout the land, the new way of fashion was there, the result of instant incubation. Fabric was thrown off. Discarded. Passé. The mysteries of bodies male and female gave themselves from breast to pelvis through shaggy fur pasted in place, ears like big furry almonds, a bushy tale hanging behind, and shoes that went clop.

Story #418

Banno, whose site is called Banno, Dhanno and Teja, invited me to borrow one of her photos for a story. Not this one, actually, but I just fell in love with this picture, taken by Teja.


C Merry said...

No one could catch them, trick them or trap them. It was as if invisible hands fed them and led them to water. The other thing that did not make sense was their habit of standing on the stairs and gazing into a window. Only a child noticed that they watched a mapmaker at work. When his map was done and displayed .. they disappeared. To the adults it was logical to assume finally someone caught them. To the child it was obvious they waited for the directions to a paradise where they would be free, and it was pictured on the new map. The adults argued about how much the mysterious theif might have gotten for them while the child cherised the memory of them filing out of the gate and onto the coastal path into the sunset, the map rolled in the lead one's mouth. Of course the grown-ups never solved that other pesky mystery as to who broke into the mapmaker's shop..

Lorena's Blogbilingüe said...

Hi Indy,

First of all, thanks so much for your comments on my Valentine's day blog entry. It's heartwarming to know someone out there actually reads what I write!

About this photo of the burros...oh, sweet memories of my time in Mexico. Actually, these burros can't be in Mexico because they are not all loaded up with big bundles of firewood or garden soil to sell from house to house. Yes, even in this century many people make their living doing just that.

I'll post a photo of the burros of San Miguel de Allende one of these days. Watch for it.

Take care,


Anonymous said...

Middle donkey: I still don't see him, do you?
Highest donkey: Of course not. I TOLD you, the Spanish Steps are really in ROME.
Lowest donkey: Ay, in the very temple of Delight
Veil'd Melancholy has her sovran shrine,
Though seen of none save him whose strenuous tongue
Can burst Joy's grape against his palate fine;
His soul shall taste the sadness of her might,
And be among her cloudy trophies hung.

Gone said...

"Dontcha just hate these auditions"
"Yeh and those Three Billy Goats were no better than us, just because they got horns, jeeesus".

Anonymous said...

Hi Indie, a note to say hi and reconnect. I'll be optimistic about my resurrection this time...

Kevin Wecker said...

Since killing all those damn, dirty apes, it seemed like forever for the pesky humans to reappear for a final showdown.

Until such time, only the real asses ruled the world!

Irene Grumman said...

Three asses on the stairway,
Through the sunshine how they glow,
Just one donkey can be chosen,
Which one will do the Tonight show?

Asses to asses, dung to dung,
All that spring must come unsprung.

They are gentle, and they need to be near each other. How beautifully the light, the colors of the brick, and the colors of the asses coats combine.

You may find some of these at the zoo. When I was a child, the zoo even had a camel ride. Enjoy your family time. I think the first story here is great.

Sandy said...

You know something the difference between me and horse is just one gene. And you call me DONKEY!!!!!!!!!

Banno said...

Hey Indy, This is one of my favourites too. It's actually a photo taken by Teja. Can I link to this post on my blog. Am waiting for your story.

The Mushroom said...

The three American tourists in Rome admired the architecture of the square for a moment before heading for McDonald's. "When in Rome, do as the Romans do," they said, yet the could not escape their nature... they were still a bunch of asses.

DBA Lehane said...

"The Assassins of Kubulaz" by DBA Lehane.

Once upon a time in the great desert city of Kubulaz there lived three brothers: Aziz, the oldest, Shaiziz, the stupid one and Jayziz, the youngest and brightest one.

Born into poverty, like most of the good people of Kubulaz, they grew up knowing nothing but hunger in their bellies and hatred for the King in their hearts.

When Aziz turned eighteen he decided that the evil King’s latest punitive taxes were the straw to break the camel’s back (if there were any camels left in Kubulaz that is! Camel meat had long since become a rare delicacy to the impoverished folk of the city. Instead they got by on donkey meat, even if it was gristlier and less palatable!)

“I say we go to the palace to tell the King we have news of an uprising, then when we are brought before him you two grab a hold of him and I thrust a dagger into his black heart!” said Aziz gathering his two younger brothers together.

“Would it not be wiser, older brother, to join the uprising instead?” asked Shaiziz scratching his chin and looking confused.

“There is no uprising, my stupid brother,” sighed Aziz.

Shaiziz shook his head. “Then why are we telling the King there is one?”

Aziz often wondered if his middle brother was of the same father as he and Jayziz. “It’s a ploy! It’s so we will be taken personally before the King and can kill him!”

“Oh!” said Shaiziz.

“Not a good idea!” said Jayziz looking concerned.

“It’s the best idea I’ve ever had!” countered Aziz. “The people will no longer starve to fund his extravagant life and we, my dear brothers, will become national heroes. We would never want for anything ever again!”

“But we will never get away with it,” replied Jayziz. “The King is too heavily protected. His bodyguards will be watching us like desert hawks watch for wild guinea pigs! One suspicious move from us and they will pounce upon us. What will mother do then with her three sons locked away for life?”

“Maybe we could go disguised as donkeys?” offered Shiziz looking mightily pleased with himself. “They wouldn’t suspect donkeys as much.”

“Good idea!” said Aziz looking surprised.

Jayziz shook his head. “You mean to say the King would think nothing unusual of three talking donkeys? Besides, we wouldn’t get anywhere near the palace disguised as donkeys. The people will rip us hungrily from limb to limb and devour us whole!”

“Good point! No we go with my original plan,” said Aziz emphatically. “Leave all the talking to me. When I nod, you two grab the King and I will do the deed.”

Jayziz shook his head. It was still an unwise plan, but he hurried after his two older brothers – they were flesh and blood after all.

At the Palace the three brothers, and would be assassins, were brought before the fat and sneering King, surrounded on all sides by dangerous looking bodyguards.

“So why do three brothers like you wish to bask in my royal gaze?” asked the King chewing on a fat and plump camel thigh.

“There is an uprising planned in
the ghettos, your Royal Kingness. The people will march on the Palace and kill you,” said Aziz as confidently as he could.

“An uprising, you say?” chuckled the King.

“Don’t worry,” said Shaiziz looking hungrily at the camel meat in the King’s hands. “There isn’t one really. We just said that to get in here to kill you!”

Before Aziz could angrily kick his stupid brother the King’s guards had jumped upon the three brothers.

“You are traitors!” roared the King, spraying camel meat from his mouth. “You will feel the full wrath of my laws against treason!”

“Your law is an ass!” cried Aziz.

“You are an ass!” shouted Shaiziz.

“We are asses!” sighed Jayziz, shaking his head.

On the steps outside the palace Aziz looked angrily at Jayziz or, at least he thought he was looking at Jayziz, it was hard to tell the three of them apart now! “It’s all your fault, youngest brother. If you hadn’t had called us asses he would never have got the idea! His private Sorcerer really enjoyed giving us that wish!”

“At least we are still alive, even if we are asses now!” snapped Jayziz. “And besides, the spell will wear off after a year!”

“It might be fun being an ass for a while,” added Shaiziz looking down at his four legs.

“I doubt it!” said Aziz looking up at the crowd people gathering at the top of the steps, their mouths watering and knives sharpened!

Ariel the Thief said...

Great photo!

April's Place said...

The donkeys felt so out of place standing there on the ancient man-made steps somewhere in Spain, was their best guess.... They wanted to find themselves across the world in the Grand Canyon or some other natural staircase! Boy they really like to climb.

Anonymous said...

The election was over. All the votes had been counted and the results were in. The Democrats had won. Three of the parties top leaders posed for the news media. They stood on the steps of the convention center in a triumphant triangular formation. Ahh, what a race it had been and right down to the wire too. Who would have thought these animals would run on the Democratic ticket and somehow manage to win?


neverenoughtime said...

A link to the site you inquired about. Neverenoughtime.

Unknown said...

"Oh hell," cried Olveg the Ogre. "Those blasted jackasses are back. They're always asking for hay and going away with such gloomy expressions on their faces when I tell them 'no, I have no hay. Not today, not tomorrow, not next week, never. I am an ogre and do not eat hay!' But oy, they make me feel ever so guilty with those disappointed expressions. I suppose I ought to get me a bale of hay. Just for the jackasses. Maybe they could come in and keep me company for a while. I seem to recall seeing a film about an ogre who has a jackass for a friend. Now if I had three jackasses? Well, who would be the better ogre then, eh?"

La delirante said...

Hi there! Interesting blog and cool pics :)

Mindful Mimi said...

Ten donkeys on the steps were running,
One looked up at a girl so stunning,
tripped and fell
down into the well
and donkeys left were only nine.

Nine donkeys on the steps were sitting,
tanning in the sun that was hitting,
One stayed too much
got burned as such
and donkeys left were only eight.

Eight donkeys on the steps were lying,
at the passers-by they were prying,
one looked too deep
and fell very steep
and donkeys left were only seven.

Seven donkeys on the steps were singing,
with the locals, dancing and swinging,
one swirled around
never to be found
and donkeys left were only six.

Six donkeys on the steps were drinking,
getting a buzz and hardly blinking,
one drank over the top
and his head went plop
and donkeys left were only five.

Five donkeys on the steps were reading,
Stories about hearts that were bleeding
One got so sad
That he went mad
And donkeys left were only four

Four donkeys on the steps were riming
Up and down the words were climbing
One lost a word
Never again to be heard
And donkeys left were only three

Three donkeys on the steps were blogging
The synchronicity site they were hugging
Asking for a story
All for the glory
To remain three donkeys on the steps.

Cassandra said...

Just stopping by to drop a line... I actually wrote a little bit about this picture earlier, but then I don't know what happened to the comment. Ah well. There will be other times. =)

warm regards,
dark-hearted rose

Karina Falcón said...

Ok. these beautiful meal is going to be ready very soon! We've been told "yes" by a lot of great writers from Latin America and Spain, also! Oh my! Im so proud of this hard work, thank you very much Indie, i'll send you news!!

Diane Dehler said...

You do have a wonderful community of bloggers in Indy land. -One of the most eclectic group that I have seen anywhere.

Hobbes said...

Indie I'm sorry, but the people in your story seem like a bunch of asses to me ; )

Indeterminacy said...

Aww Hobbes, don't be so pessimistic. You're beginning to sound like Eeyore!

Indeterminacy said...

Cmerry: Such a poetic story, a wonderful fantasy. Thanks for sharing your inspiration. I want to follow the mules!

Lorena:;-) I think these burros are Indian!

Mrs. Weirsdo: You could turn a mule into a poet. And that's what you did.

Grocer: Your story made me laugh wickedly! I loved it.

Nitoo das: I'm happy that we are both back! :-)

Irene: Yes, I think even half an ass could replace Leno. I'm loving all these stories as I read through them. I think the donkeys look sweet too. I can hardly bring myself to call them jackasses.

Sandy: I think I have to look up exactly what a donkey is - it's the offspring of a horse and whatever else but unable to bear its own children. I must sound really ignorant now.

Mush: Sometimes tourists make that impression on me too.

DBA: Very entertaining story, with a rather dark ending though. Amazing how much detail you imagined out of this single photo. I'm also thinking I haven't used the word ploy once in all my stories to date, and most of them have some ploy or other going, too.

Ariel: Of course!

April: Now that is a cool thought. They are so in love with climbing they go straight to the strairs. Maybe they could be steppendonkeys.

Sniffy: That's such a natural inspiration from this photo - I never would have thought of it. They do kind of suggest politicians, don't they?

Neverenoughtime: Thanks for the link! It's an interesting article. I think it's best to KISS - if you can say complex things with simple words, it's actually much cleverer. So many people say nothing with complex words.

Lily: Nice play on Shrek! I enjoyed it.

La Delirante: Thank you! By the way, I enjoyed your blog - I think you are my first reader in Malta!

Mindful Mimi: It's the perfect song for donkeys! I enjoyed what you did with it. Now we just need music so we can start singing it.

Dark Hearted Rose: I'm sorry, I suppose your story got lost. I never got a comment. I always copy my comment before submitting, just in case something goes wrong with blogger. You can tell if a comment "took" by the message after you submit, that the comment was submitted (at the top of the comment window).

Karina: As soon as the journal is out, I'm going to tell everyone about it. *smiles cryptically*

Banno said...

Loving all of it, so far.

Indeterminacy said...

Banno: That makes me very happy. I hope there are more stories, but usually it slows down after the first flurry of activity.

Cooper said...

ha, that was great, nice to see you posting again.

Indeterminacy said...

Thank you Cooper - I miss being able to come up with stories on a daily basis, but at least something comes to me once in a while. I think it's the nice visitors that keep me going.

Crafty Green Poet said...

This post is excellent, great imagery and ideas

Indeterminacy said...

Thank you Crafty Green Poet! Who would have thought that donkeys could be so inspirational to everyone?