by Brenda Coultas

Directions: This is a very easy film to make as the hogs are predictable in their behavior and limited in range by the pen; however, they are deceased, and I took part in eating them, thus this is a most difficult film to make. Build a three-room shed out of wood with a tin roof and flathead nails. Plant thistles and pigweed. Dig a wallow and fill with water.

Narrative: The pig shed is gone and where it stood are green grasses. A neighbor bought half of the land and put up a stable of goats (says they are the main ingredient in pepperoni). I can remember our pigs without the aid of hypnosis or memory drugs. There's Pearl, the mama. Rusty with his reddish patches (my pig), and Dogfood (Peggy's pig).

Can you capture the sound of my hog call?

We stocked the wallow with tadopoles, who died despite our efforts.

Film us (four girls) in the wallow, deepening the hole.

Can you film us thinking "If we could only float a boat in here then we would truly have everything: water, mud, and navigation."

Shoot a close-up of nose rings and film us scraping out plates into a coffee can can, turning dinner into hog slop. Can you film the ghost of Pearl? Pan out to the humans, on bicycles and foot, rooting in junkyards on the old Moore place, rooting in ravines full of abandoned cars.

I try to ride my pig but fall off. I pet my pig. Lay my head down on his rump. I am a small human, so small that my underpants come up to my armpits. Bust Weatherholt's dog, Old Blue, always sat down when I tried to ride him. I sat on his back, then he sat down on hind legs and I slid off.

We wanted machines or animals for transport: swings, merry-go-rounds, and maypoles for flying. We tried to ride everything our size, living or not. Ponies were too high up. We considered a wooden wagon with wooden wheels; we could take to the prairies in this, but we needed a team. I dreamed of so many treasures buried in the earth or of just bones, all the bones buried by time, nature, or natives. Given eternity, we could find marvelous bones.


This is from page 87 of Brenda Coultas' collection The Marvelous Bones of Time: Excavations and Explanations, published by Coffee House Press in 2007.
Coultas lives in NYC's Bowery. She began to autograph my copy of Marvelous Bones -- Melissa, Happy days -- but the pen started to leak out by the y, and she gave up, and I've never asked anyone to sign anything again. I wonder what she was going to say.

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