Tuesday, July 13, 2004

The Toreador Takes a Bow Holding a Sunflower

The Toreador throws his hat in the ring. It is a gesture
to the baderillos and picadors and the men holding
the fuschia capes, it says: the bull is mine. We are
sitting in the shade, drinking champagne purchased
from a man with a tin bucket on his shoulder. We are
sitting on green plastic cushions, in the cement
stadium in Pamplona. We watch the picadors leave the
ring, mounted on their blindfolded horses, the horses
looking mediaeval in their wicker vests.
The Toreador steps over to his hat and turns it over
with his foot, so the inside is not exposed. There is
applause. The bull looks bewildered.
And then a pass. The flourish of red cape, the bull
leaps, the bull has caught the toreador, the toreador
is butted by the bony head, the horns on either side,
the toreador is lifted, the crotch of his knee hooked
on a yellow horn, the crowd is on its feet, the toredor
in the dust, the bull is puncturing his legs and groin,
the men with fuschia capes arrive, the toreador holds
his head in his arms, the others lure away the bull
with the glorious capes that look like open vulvas,
the toreador tries to get to his feet and collapses
in the arms of his comrades. He is carried off. A second
toreador arrives. He is on his knees for a pass.
It´s a sport of tempo.
All that bull weight in delicate high heel shoes.
Because of the rain his cape is heavy with dirt and now
blood from the wounds on the bull´s back. Wounds from
the banderillos´ blue and yellow barbed sticks.
The bull is so true to his nature. He cannot be anything
except himself.
His yellow horns streaked in his own blood.
The toreador wears him down, the bull´s head drops,
the toreador stands over the head of the bull and
thrusts. The bull is down. The bull is up. The bull
runs to the side of the ring and collapses. He rises
to terrific applause. The bull is coughing, his large
tongue drags in the dirt, and his legs buckle one
last time.
And up stand the little brass bands, and in come the
three mules to drag the bull out by its horns.
The toreador takes a small tour, holding a sunflower
and a rose. He salutes the royal box. The brass band
is now playing, oddly, a Gary Glitter tune. The toreador
picks up a dropped sword, by bending his knee.


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