Like some…

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He lives in a room above a courtyard behind a tavern and he comes down at night like some fairybook beast to fight with the sailors. (5)

 

The sun was just down and to the west lay reefs of bloodred clouds up out of which rose little desert nighthawks like fugitives from some great fire at the earth’s end.  (23)

 

Then he waded out into the river like some wholly wretched baptismal candidate. (29)

 

The ground where he’d lain was soaked with blood and with urine from the voided bladders of animals and he went forth stained and stinking like some reeking issue of the incarnate dam of war herself. (58)

 

He found a clay jar of beans and some dried tortillas and he took them to a house at the end of the street where the embers of the roof were still smoldering and he warmed the food in the ashes and ate, squatting there like some deserter scavenging the ruins of a city he’d fled. (63)

 

Itinerant degenerates bleeding westward like some heliotropic plague. (82)

 

The judge sat upwind from the fire naked to the waist, himself like some pale deity, and when the black’s eyes reached his he smiled. (97)

 

He looked like some loutish knight beriddled by a troll.  (107)

 

The nearest man to him was Tobin and when the black stepped out of the darkness bearing the bowieknife in both hands like some instrument of ceremony Tobin started to rise. (112)

 

They crossed before the sun and vanished one by one and reappeared again and they were black in the sun and they rode out of that vanished sea like burnt phantoms with the legs of the animals kicking up the spume that was not real and they were lost in the sun and lost in the lake and they shimmered and slurred together and separated again and they augmented by planes in lurid avatars and began to coalesce and there began to appear above them in the dawn-broached sky a hellish likeness of their ranks riding huge and inverted and the horses’ legs incredibly elongate trampling down the high thin cirrus and the howling antiwarriors pendant from their mounts immense and chimeric and the high wild cries carrying that flat and barren pan like the cries of souls broke through some misweave in the weft of things into the world below.  (115)

 

Far out on the desert to the north dustspouts rose wobbling and augered the earth and some said they’d heard of pilgrims born aloft like dervishes in those mindless coils to be dropped broken and bleeding upon the desert again and there perhaps to watch the thing that had destroyed them lurch onward like some drunken djinn and resolve itself once more in the elements from which it sprang. (117)

 

They had but two animals and one of these had been snakebit in the desert and this thing now stood in the compound with its head enormously swollen and grotesque like some fabled equine ideation out of an Attic tragedy. (121)

 

The squatters stood about the dead boy with their wretched firearms at rest like some tatterdemalion guard of honor. (125)

 

Like some ignis fatuus belated upon the road behind them which all could see and of which none spoke. (126)

 

Under a gibbous moon horse and rider spanceled to their shadows on the snowblue ground and in each flare of lightning as the storm advanced those selfsame forms rearing with a terrible redundancy behind them like some third aspect of their presence hammered out black and wild upon the naked grounds. (157-8)

 

The dead lay awash in the shallows like the victims of some disaster at sea and they were strewn along the salt foreshore in a havoc of blood and entrails. (163)

 

One of the Delawares passed with a collection of heads like some strange vendor bound for market, the hair twisted about his wrist and the heads dangling and turning together. (163)

 

Glanton was first to reach the dying man and he knelt with that alien and barbarous head cradled between his thighs like some reeking outland nurse and dared off the savages with his revolver. (165)

 

All about her the dead lay with their peeled skulls like polyps bluely wet or luminescent melons cooling on some mesa of the moon. (181-2)

 

They passed along the ruinous walls of the cemetery where the dead were trestled up in niches and the grounds strewn with bones and skulls and broken pots like some more ancient ossuary. (182)

 

It was raining again and they rose slouched under slickers hacked from greasy iralfcured hides and so cowled in these primitive skins before the gray and driving rain they looked like wardens of some dim sect sent forth to proselytize among the very beasts of the land. (195)

 

The riders pushed between them and the rock and methodically rode them from the escarpment, the animals dropping silently as martyrs, turning sedately in the empty air and exploding on the rocks below in startling bursts of blood and silver as the flasks broke open and the mercury loomed wobbling in the air in great sheets and lobes and small trembling satellites and all its forms grouping below and racing in the stone arroyos like the imbreachment of some ultimate alchemic work decocted from out the secret dark of the earth’s heart, the fleeing stag of the ancients fugitive on the mountainside and bright and quick in the dry path of the storm channels and shaping out the sockets in the rock and hurrying from ledge to ledge down the slope shimmering and eft as eels.  (203)

 

A mile further and he came upon a strange blackened mass in the trail like a burnt carcass of some ungodly beast. (225)

 

He too had lost his hat and he rode with a woven wreath of desert scrub about his head like some egregious saltland hard and he looked down upon the refugee with the same smile, as if the world were pleasing to him alone. (228)

 

The other heads glared blindly out of their wrinkled eyes like fellows of some righteous initiate given up to vows of silence and of death. (230)

 

The judge was standing on the rise in silhouette like some great balden archirnandrite. (285)

 

The judge in the floor of the well likewise rose and he adjusted his hat and gripped the valise under his arm like some immense and naked barrister whom the country had crazed. (296)

 

The idiot squatted on all fours and leaned into the lead like some naked species of lemur. (298)

 

When he raised his head to look out he saw the expriest stumbling among the bones and holding aloft a cross he’d fashioned out of the shins of a ram and he’d lashed them together with strips of hide and he was holding the thing before him like some mad dowser in the bleak of desert and calling out in a tongue both alien and extinct. (302)

 

This troubled sect traversed slowly the ground under the bluff where the watcher stood and made their way over the broken scree of a fan washed out of the draw above them and wailing and piping and clanging they passed between the granite walls into the upper valley and disappeared in the coming darkness like heralds of some unspeakable calamity leaving only bloody footprints on the stone.  (326)

 

The candles sputtered and the great hairy mound of the bear dead in its crinoline lay like some monster slain in the commission of unnatural acts. (340)

Been re-reading this in audiobook format, blowing my mind like some mind that’s getting blown.  Those page numbers, from Google books, are from the hardcover, not that paperback.  (And don’t think I’m braggin’ with all those post-its on my copy — that’s the condition in which the book was returned to me after being loaned to a scholarly friend.)

Don’t miss Mills on the topic.  Always worth rewatching:



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