Saturday, October 29, 2011

Dark Passages: Something Wicked This Way Comes

Ray Bradbury's poetic powers of description have never been put on better display than when detailing a carny's full-body tattoos.  So here's a Dark Passage focusing on Mr. Dark--The Illustrated Man, annotated:
Mr. Dark came carrying his panoply of friends [he is legion], his jewel-case assortment of calligraphical reptiles which lay sunning themselves at mid-night [fitting image for the proprietor of a nocturnal carnival] on his flesh. With him strode the stitch-inked Tyrannosaurus rex [notice how Bradbury personifies the tattoos, creating a sense of ani-mation], which lent to his haunches a machined and ancient wellspring mineral-oil glide.  As the thunder lizard strode, all glass-bead pomp, so strode Mr. Dark, armored with vile lightning scribbles of carnivores and sheep blasted by that thunder and arun before storms of juggernaut flesh [a convoluted but evocative metaphor]. It was the pterodactyl kite and scythe [assonance par excellence] which raised his arms almost to fly the marbled vaults.  And with the inked and stencilled flashburnt shapes of pistoned or bladed doom came his usual crowd of hangers-on, spectators gripped to each limb, seated on shoulder blades, peering from his jungled chest, hung upside down in microscopic millions in his armpit vaults [the embodiment of Gothic architecture] screaming bat-screams for encounters, ready for the hunt and if need be the kill.  Like a black tidal wave upon a bleak shore [similes don't get more ominous than this], a dark tumult infilled with phosphorescent beauties and badly spoiled dreams, Mr. Dark sounded and hissed [a verb choice intimating a Satanic nature] his feet, his legs, his body, his sharp face forward. (158-59)

Work Cited

Bradbury, Ray. Something Wicked This Way Comes.  New York: Simon & Schuster, 1962.

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