James Beach: “Votiving”

(for A.D.P.*)

Mel Ankh builds votives for a living. These votives are unusual in that they’re handmade. Using ready pieces of nonflammable refuse.

Glass pieces slide in, metal soldered, an occasional box of treated hardwood. It’s all Green, to him. Boxes mostly are what he can think of to make. Occasionally a rusty round from a car engine, the odd diagonal fitting together of. These sell best in summer, when folks place them on their patios, to keep citronella or night light candles out of the wind.

Green aside, it’s the strangeness of each votive, catching buyers’ myriad brains. Each neuron in each of their heads connected to similar neurons for sight yet unfamiliar neurons for taste. Ugly candleboxes sell better near the winter holidays, he’s noticed. He is shy about figuring out why. A lone most days in the shop. His cramped office filled with receipts, books, hastily drawn diagrams for the gov’t, should it request to see. His income. A paltry figure.

Off-season he lets go the rented table in the park. Then it’s too high of a price to offset sales. The disability checks cover minimalist vacations. Seeking more materials wherever. His shop is always low in materials fall, spring. A paying repeat customer or bum or stranger may donate on Tuesdays.

© 2009 James Beach

*A reckless poet, A.D.P. befriended me on the street and then dumped his peculiar writings in my lap, as if in anticipation of the seminal issue of my magazine, Wood Coin. I lost touch with him but kept publishing his work until I heard he overdosed on heroin, at which point I published the Last Post from his MySpace page, as an impenetrable objet d’art… What else could I do? I missed him. The inspiration for this “Votiving” is his piece “Hibernation” [http://www.woodcoin.net/wssi.xeuszenon.html], which appeared in Wood Coin around the time of his death in 2009.

James Beach’s credits include Antique Children Literary Arts, Blue Monday Review, Counterexample Poetics, Danse Macabre Magazine, The Exhibit Literary, Mad Hatters’ Review, Paraphilia Magazine, Smokebox Commentary, Warhol Stars UK, Wood Coin Magazine, and others.