Title: Sport 19

Publication details: Fergus Barrowman

Part of: Sport

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Sport 19: Lightworks

Chris Pigott

Chris Pigott

page 172

The Mule

What takes place is the mule
leans one ear up on the wall
and brays. Then he pushes the other ear
and his head too, heaves, so his hind
legs are muscle tight, but no dice,
the wall stands. He brays. It is too quiet
with this wall and besides it is ugly
weatherboard and the creek continues
to run and run it's maddening! So turn
about and push my donkey-arse against
the goddam shaft and crap on it
he thinks. Nix. Bray, a good, low-high
mule sound the real thing. Sweat.
Then sleep and after he has woke
walk around the wall where there
are seventeen hundred mules braying
and betting at the window some catch
the sun and in the corner is a troupe,
singing and dancing and kicking up
their hooves, free of charge. Under
a tree is even one mule eating
fish cake and reading a catechism
to his girl! The noise! He brays, leans
one ear up on the wall, then pushes
the other ear and his head, too, so his
legs strain and are muscle tight.
Brays. That's the sum of it.

page 173

The Mule

This bus is very large
in comparison with yesterday.
On that bus was a woman
three rows in front who
owned a mule. Contrary to all
other mules this mule was
not stubborn at all but yellow.
It is like this she says, if there
is a stream to be negotiated
or a load of brick to carry
this mule is the number one.
But if it is say a fire
or a gentleman requires
attention following an automobile
incident this mule is back of
the pack. I name him she says
Yellow Fred as my husband
that would be Bill asserts him to be
Fred the mule. But to me
he is Yellow Fred good-for-nothing-
only-the-everyday type of mule,
sixty-nine ninety-five at the mall
on Super day but some kind of
intuition about these matters required
to coax him down the mezzanine
without crapping, the law how it is
regarding such things. There's that,
her companion, blue hair but I don't
imagine eyes or any other particulars,
says conspiratorially. This is in traffic
not quite late all of us for class
or coffee break at the office, like the three
page 174 at the lights on High Street already
lit out on a cigarette break trying
to look non-interesting, just for me.
So as an example one morning
Yellow Fred and I are taking a walk
in the park this fine day in
April when out of nowhere
comes an ice-cream truck, careening
about on the track like the driver
is some godawful finking freak
and what is he to do? Nothing,
only to chew all sullen on the green
like he is wronged and
there is no ice-cream truck at all.
Yellow, says the companion. I have
heard nothing like this, a yellow mule
such is sure for the cannery.
My! not to any cannery but my
man friend Bill is to train him
up, he says the potential to be the
finest yellow mule in this part, maybe the
movies even, imagine. This is the
lady three rows up, yesterday, the
bus not quite the size of this one about us.