‘But I am,’ Paul says, ‘we are filling up what is lacking in afflictions.’ Again, he ties his shoes. Again, they knot. ‘Filling with the largest spoonfuls we can.’ I watch Paul, he sits, bowing out his gut. ‘We pull everything in, in these scoops, with the ugly.’
‘We are spoonfuls of ugly,’ Paul bends to his toes, ‘the ugly.’ I think about it totally confused, are we breath-taking (mouthfuls, I don’t know) because everyone gasps- drips liquid from every opening. No. You are not suppose to do that. Say that. Word that. Live that. Swallow… then spit.
‘Every story from Abraham to Job, and on, is about the ugly.’ I watch Paul pick up a tennis ball, he throws it against the house. My dog chases it. ‘Every narrative, that little arbitrary beginning of every word, sits on the ugly.’ Paul picks the ball from my dogs mouth. Drool spills on the concrete. ‘Everything was said, fed, at the right time. The right amount.’
‘Jesus is a little bit, a little bit, ugly.’ Paul’s hands drip with saliva. He laughs, no, he is choking, Jesus, he says. ‘Why didn’t you stop me?’ He looks at me with his hands to his face. ‘If he is anything, he is everything. Do you see God in his complexion? He is the definition of ugly.’
‘The hair in the eyes, the drips of blood beneath the finger-nails, it had to happen as it did.’ He stops. ‘Have you ever thought about how ugly it is to see God with blonde hair, fine, any hair. Nothing could have happened differently.’ I watch Paul as he begins to squeeze the ball, my dog watches, piles of browned saliva dripping and all. ‘It was perfect.’
‘Perfectly ugly.’ Paul’s eyes turn from the dog to me. They redden. ‘Imagine the power behind pleasure, imagine that power behind pleasure through the ugly!’ Paul clicks his toes at the side of the car door. ‘You ask me how can Jesus find satisfaction in the ugly?’ Paul just leans against the car door, like a greaser, ‘a better question is why are you so offended, if he doesn’t seem offended by it?’
‘He is everything human,’ Paul muscles, ‘you should find your pleasure there. He was a spoon catching vomit, he is vomit.’