The Sorted Confessionals of Mr. Bananas
By Will Bulka
* Note to the Reader
The Sorted Confessionals of Mr. Bananas is a compilation of journal entries found in apartment # 49 on the corner of Lake Street and Portland Avenue of Detroit in April of 2002. The police were called after the tenant had not paid rent and according to the land lady, she "hadn't seen the weirdo in half a year." Upon knocking, Officers Weiland and Hanson were greeted with no response. Officer Weiland then proceeded down the four flights of stairs to the police cruiser where he located a bolt cutter. Officer Hanson passed the time by singing "Conjunction Junction" in G, the key that he believed suited the song much more applicably than the standard C tuning broadcast by the ABC radio network. Weiland returned to the door with bolt cutters in hand. Upon breaking the lock the two officers casually walked into apartment #49 expecting to find it empty. The room consisted of a torn leather chair, dirty windows and a CD player repeating Annie Lennox's 80's hit, "Sweet Dreams are Made of This," the European techno re-mix. The officers were next confronted with a foul odor. They followed the odor to the bathroom where they stumbled upon what at first appeared to be a bear skin rug but on closer examination was found to be a dead monkey. Officer Weiland threw up. In the bathtub was an array of notebooks canvassed with poorly drawn stick figures. On top of the sink was a mid-sized jar of toe nail clippings. It was 8:45 A.M.
The journals found were later proven to be those of a Mr. Bananas. Many of the journals were found to be unreadable due to water stains, burn marks, ripped pages etc. The readable entries were compiled in no particular order and sold at Officer Hanson's yearly garage sale the following summer. A profit of forty three cents was rumored but never confirmed. The man who purchased the journals sent them to a multitude of publishers across the country. An investigation was launched to see who had in fact written the journals sold in Officer Hanson's garage sale. It was concluded by a network of experts on experts that the content of the journals, along with the suspicious circumstance they were discovered in, pointed only to the mistaken bear skin rug. These are the Sorted Confessionals of Mr. Bananas: [↑]
Darcy Stremphka was a Russian poet I met in Berlin two nights before the wall came down. She came from a lineage of gypsy astrologers who made their way across Europe for 400 some years. She often told me that she could never completely understand me since I had no real idea of when I was born. I had always written astrology off as an indulgence of the ignorant until I met Darcy. She explained to me that science had proven astrology to be a legitimate enterprise. She spoke in detail about bizarre theories and ideas I had never heard of. At the moment of conception our chromosomes form in certain patterns which determine our biological structure. Now, depending on where we are in the world and what cycle the moon is in, the gravitational pull on those chromosomes determines the manner in which they are arranged. From that point on our bodies are intrinsically tuned to certain dimensions of gravity. Variations of moon cycles can in fact alter our body's natural tuning. Like a guitar that will lose its tone when put in a hotter or colder environment than it's adapted to, animals also become out of tune. "It's as simple as the tides," she'd say and laugh, throwing her arms up in the air as if she had no control of their destination.
Darcy lived her life like this. She followed the gravitational pull of the moon; it had arranged who she was, so why not trust it to lead her where she was supposed to be? It led her to me that night. We stayed up late drinking Absinth and fought with equilibrium over who was in control. I found myself wondering who Darcy's grandmother was. Where had she gotten the necklace that Darcy now wore around her neck? Did she squint her eyes and elevate a brow like her granddaughter did? Did she inebriate strange monkeys, in strange places to pass the time as well?
We discussed the laziness of squirrels, the Kennedy assassination and the irrelevance of the Disco movement. Darcy obsessed over the beauty of rooftops until I agreed to venture outside the establishment we sat in. The moon summoned her through the foggy streets and floating lampposts of a city once defined by Swastikas and blue eyed ghosts. We climbed a fire escape up three stories, her talking me through my fear of heights, (me acting more cautious than the Absinth had left me). She reached the top first. She stood up throwing her arms back once again in a sacrifice to gravity. She spun around in Absinth induced circles shouting out words in Russian. Her language sewn together with the lights from the streets below drifting in echoes down the alleyways. She stopped suddenly as if something or someone had either abruptly fell out of or into her thoughts. Still dizzy from the chemicals, she bent down towards me with one levitating eyebrow, "Liebe, sie sind eine Roma Gypsy jetzt." She laughed at my confusion and reached for my hand to help me up. I stood on the rooftop and looked out on Berlin. I could see the wall and I could feel the Absinth coursing through my veins. Darcy's hand led me across the rooftop, above the politics and under the tunnel of stars, exactly where the moon had told her to. There I stood in Berlin, 1989, on an unknown rooftop, holding hands with Darcy the gypsy, rearranging chromosomes underneath the moon. [↑]
Confession # 56
At night I used to scale the fences of zoos to look at the monkeys. I wanted to understand what I had left and why they were still there. I would wait outside the fence until darkness sedated the guards enough to become still. The cuts inflicted from the barbed wire bled from somewhere that I could no longer feel. I was numb from the rush and the addiction. The beautiful freedom of a cage is often underestimated. After the fences I would stroll alongside the various cages with a book of William Butler Yeats. I carried it to remind myself of the differences between them and me. To remind myself that I existed between the two worlds, between the realities, between instinct and intellect, between what I was and what I wasn't to be. I would lean over the railing staring at all of them. Looking down at where I was to have lived my life. I would cry. I would sing. I would think. I would be at peace, comfortably between.
In France I visited a zoo in Paris. It was summer and I was on sabbatical. I had recently cleaned up again and finished my third dissertation, this one from Yale. Somewhere I thought I would never study after belonging to the Delta Ki Delta fraternity at Harvard. We missed nationals by three seconds the year that I was rowing. I titled the latest dissertation "Toe Jam." It examined the relationship between cleanliness and godliness. It was a think piece that no one really understood. Some of the professors called me crazy. No one ever found out about the toe clippings in Quebec.
I again climbed the gates of yet another zoo and made my way to the monkey cages. With my copy of Yeats in hand I peered over the edge of the containment. I looked deeply into all of them. I was trying to understand. As my eyes followed their curiosity I stopped at a deeply brown colored female. She was looking back at me. Not simply looking back at me but seeing me. She was contemplating me with her eyes. She knew. She was like me. I had broke into so many zoos and seen so many monkeys that I could tell she was different. No thoughts of why or why not entered into my mind until I had left. I was still as the guards. There was nothing to think about. All I could hear was Nina Simone. I hummed along with the slow jazz of "You Will Never Walk Alone." It was as if I was being baptized out of some sort of deprivation tank. I felt comforting forces standing at my side. We stared at each other for a period of time that is impossible for me to estimate. I threw my book of Yeats through the cage and turned around. I didn't go back to the hotel that night. I boarded a train without checking the destination and fled. [↑]
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