Saturday, December 31, 2005

ID-EOLOGY4


A Subcutaneous Abrasion of Some Sort or the Other
(Dec 31/05)
It is 3.27am, and I have just discovered a mastoid, perhaps the makings of a goiter, in the anterior meniscus of my head, or what I take to be a head, my head. It is tender and edema-like, or a close approximation of an edema or a wen-ish thing should I know what one looked like, which I don’t, of course. Perhaps the makings of an on top of the head subcutaneous abrasion or distended kartoid or a bulge of some sort or the other, hopefully the other, as I don’t think I could handle the other, other, not just right now, nor ever, I suppose. Perhaps a cigarette would help; at the least do no further harm. Suppositions are for mental cases, so I best stay clear of them, or else, you know, off to the asylum for me. It seems strange that one should be smoking a Matinee cigarette during the evening or early morning, strange in deed, very strange. Perhaps it is I that am strange, and not the strangeness itself. An idle thought at best, pure nonsense at worst, idle thoughtless nonsense, even worse, perhaps. I will buy cigarettes today that can be smoked at anytime during the day, evening, late evening, into the night, and morning. Best to be prepared for all the variables that life can throw at one, especially one who may or may not have something growing inside his head, or what appears to be a head, one’s head, his head, my head, should I have one, a head, that is. I suppose I could have someone else’s head, and not know it, not be conscious of it, that I have someone else’s head, not mine. Idle thoughts, idle head.
It is now 11.32am, and I have just now awoken from unhelpful dreams, mercenary ones if the truth be know, which it must, from time to time, this being one of those times, I suppose. Just remember to leave me out of it, out of the story and fibbing and all, I just couldn’t handle it, now, nor ever, I suppose. Last night I started Cormac McCarthy’s No Country For Old Men, and after reading the first 7 or 8 pages, am pulled in, something McCarthy does with an ease to kill for. Its comforting to know that there are still those masters of the novel, John Hawkes being another fine example, who dare push the boundaries of fiction. Mastoid, wen, subcutaneous or what have you, I am most pleased, pleased in deed.

ID-EOLOGY3


Odiouspus
(Dec 30/05)
So Oedipus stubs out his father’s eyes with a pointed stick, post coitus, having put the gears to his dear mother, Jocasta. Jocasta, realizing that her lover is in fact her long returning son, and not her dear Theban husband Laius, gets all fucky and falls swooning to her knees. This patricidal, post coital mother/son-incest, vanguards the beginning of Freudian psychopathology. The Oedipal complex, or triangulation, or, as I much prefer, strangulation, pits son against father against mother against father, son and mother, hence, the triangulation, or strangulation multiplex. The little sister gets her due, ad-inversion, in what Freud referred to as the Electra complex, or father/daughter-incest. Of course the incestuous part of the Oedipal/Electra complex is moot, as sexual commerce, or coition, is not the driving force behind the compound, but rather, the onset of a co-morbid psychopathology. Establishing one’s place in the triangle, or family constellation, or mosaic, if you like, is the motivator. Snuff out poor old dad, then put the gears to dear, sexually charged mom, all the while claiming infantile moral status, which means being neither moral or immoral, as all acts are the acts of an infantile psyche, and there you have it, Oedipal Jihad.
I hate writing. Or is it writing that hates me? Either way, the abhorrence is a mutual one. This phantasization of repressed sexual energy is most disconcerting in deed. More so, neutering. More so than so, dare I say, incorrigibly emasculating. All writing, or at least my own, scribbling at best, is a reenactment of the primal scene, mom fucking dad, fucking son’s head up. Moms and dads don’t have sex, fuck, for goodness sake, they make babies, and that’s stretching it. Perhaps erasure, or defoliation. Or an Agent Orange that stymies and atrophies the testes and labia major and minor, not good-natured fucking. No, certainly not that. This, of course, is where the advent of masturbation raises it’s prepuce-head, all hand gestures and palming the coin, the coin being the currency of an ill-spent adolescence. Dad’s photography magazines, and the ubiquitous National Geographic, more aptly renamed Irrational Pornographic. Sagging paps and Brownstone nipples, and codpieces and hastily slung fig leaves. What more could minor Priapus desire? His mother perhaps, or a sharp pointy stick.

Thursday, December 29, 2005

POEMTRY, ETC


Transit Fucks
(Dec 29/05)
All I can hear is the flat, monotonous gibber of her voice. The bus is relatively empty except for two Jamaican women, three or four student types, psychology majors or anthro’s, and me. Fucking nuisance, fingernails on a chalkboard sort of nuisance. I don’t even like this, this writing nonsense. Writing is the real nuisance, not bus riders or gibberers, or students too young to now the difference between Jung, Adler and Klein. The difference being there is no difference, they’re all not Freud, enough said. Perhaps it’s the psychopathology I’m after, the mechanism that makes the cogs engage with the wheel. I could, of course, try my hand at technical writing, like this new Canadian poetry, what’s it called, minimalism, or some such nonsense. Too close to algebra and logarithms for my liking, which likes very little, not even my own postmodernist crap.
Sodomy, perhaps, with nouns and adjectives and the odd pronoun thrown in for good measure. When poetry becomes indistinguishable from metaphor, the whole shit-house is out of order. I, for one, should know, as I write most of my excrement flat-assing the toilet seat, or with a disjunctive thumb up me bunghole fishing for a good assonance. Minimalist, post postmodern poetry, and prose, for that matter, has become a breeding ground for malcontents with nothing better to say than, look at me, I’m riding my bike with no hands. The idea is to master the use of the hands, opposable thumbs and fore, before trying to let go of the handlebars. T.S. Eliot, although somewhat of an intellectual bore, certainly knew how to conjugate a verb or punctuate a proper sentence, grammar aside. The WasteLand is an opposable poem; it can be read from left to right, from right to left or stern to prow. Even upside-down, should one be so disposed.
I fear my writing is like an unclipped fingernail drawn down a postmodern chalkboard, all that raucous noise with no substance or algebraic certainty. Best to keep both hands firmly on the handlebars, than risk a blowout or a header over the mudguard. But for the time being, time being a lousy judge of characterlessness, I’ll keep to my Wastelands and old schools, perhaps a few moments of pleasure with Kanto or that incorrigible Deride, or a day off lounging poolside with a Houellebecq or a Heaney. Enough said.

ID-EOLOGY2


Two Teenagers Taking About Freud
(Dec 29/05)
I’m all jammed up; fucking dreams are kicking the shit outta me. Latent or manifest? I dunno, the first one I think. Well of course the latent shit’s always the worse, it’s the shit that’s never quite the way it is, but seems like it is. Maybe I’m condensed, or displacing one thing for the other. Could be. And that sublimation shit, it’s a real kicker, always pointing you in the wrong direction, just when you figure you got it all figured out, and shit. Yeah, once I sublimated a dog’s asshole for my mom’s tits. Figure that, fuck, way too fucking weird, thinking your mom’s tits are a dog’s asshole and all. That’s nothing, once I thought my dad’s cock was one a those battleship guns, the big fuckers with the long, narrow barrels. Fuck, man, you must a been jammed like fucking ninety. That French fucker, what’s his name? Lacan. Yeah, he said that the unconscious is structured like a language, something to do with signifiers and signifieds. Tame shit, man, when you think of Freud’s concept of the unconscious as a storehouse of repressed early childhood memories, traumas and shit. Yeah, but it’s all understood, or interpreted, through language, right? Yeah, so. Well then, language, then, wouldn’t ya think, is the true unconscious, the only way we have to understand, interpret all that shit. A fucking baby can’t fucking speak, for fuck sake. All it can do is roll it’s fucking eyes and make stupid fucking faces. And shit all the time. Yeah, that too. But remember what Freud said about shit, it’s a representation of money or power, or some shit like that. You can either shit the fucker out, or hold it in. Meaning? Meaning, even when you’re a little fucking baby, you got control over things. Yeah, I suppose. Fucking a you do. I remember my mom haven to pull a shit outta my fucking asshole, when I was four or five or something. Fucker just wouldn’t come the fuck out, not on it’s own anyways. Needed a little prodding, did it? Fucking a it did. I bet you’d still like it if someone’d pull a shit outta your asshole, your sister or that chick with the flabby ass. And maybe you’re fucking mom? Fuck, man, she’d do it just for the fucking fun a it, for fuck sake. Fuck, man, now you got me thinking about your mom all naked and shit, her tits like a dog’s asshole, for fuck sake. That sublimation’s some weird fucking shit, man. Weirder than shit, man, way weirder than a dog’s tits being your mom’s asshole, and shit.

ID-EOLOGY1


Ego-less Id Revisited
(Dec 29/05)
Now if I might, I would like to revisit the notion of the Ego-less Id, something I’m prone to do when sleep is but a clownish illusion, an unconscious wish never to be fulfilled. So we have the tripartite topography of the psyche: Id, Ego and Super Ego. Some post-Freudians like to include in this trinity the Pre-conscious, or as I am wont to refer to it, the boot room, the psyche-vestibule, if you may. If as Freud suggests, the Ego is derived, or formed, out of the Id, then we may further postulate that the Id, being the principle psychical mechanism, precedes personality, selfness, and the introduction of the Super Ego, or moral/ethical censor. The Super Ego is the mediator between the Id, whose job it is to satisfy infantile desires and wishes, and the Ego, which is the outside verifier of reality, or realities, as the case may be. For example, I have no solidified Ego, but rather what is referred to as a split-Ego, or condensation of Ego parts, or Ego-fragments.
I am what is referred to in psychoanalytic circles as ‘fucked up’, or Ego-intransigent. My Ego, or what stands-in for an Ego, is forever shifting and splitting, and re-shifting and re-splitting, ad infinitum, and with little regard for my psychical wellbeing. I am equilibrium-less, more to the point, psychologically capricious, or Ego-less, for lack of a better term. I am a nosology unto myself, a Freudian mishap, a psychical-cretin, a psychological compote, a verified without a verifier, to loosely paraphrase Lacan. I am an Ego-less Id. The clownish illusion seems to have lifted, thereby welcoming sleep into my Ego-less, ‘fucked up’ life. Good night and good Id.

SADDER THAN NINETY


Jawbreakers
(Dec 28/05)
You remember that time you got that jawbreaker wedged in the back of your mouth, stuck like fucking mad? And no matter how hard I sucked on it, it wouldn’t fucking budge, not a fucking inch. Fucking iffy shit, jawbreakers and fucking pixie sticks and those wax panflutes full of fucking juice. Never did like those much, always too much fucking food colouring in ‘em, made your mouth all fucking rangy and shit. A mouthful a shit ‘n wax and coloured juice, and fuck knows what else. Nothing like a mouthful a shit, ‘cept maybe a friggin jawbreaker, fuck’en crazy, not a fucking inch, no matter what. And fuck, man, you suck the shit out a it, like fucking ninety. Fucker eventually dried up. Yeah, and then you spat the fucker up, like a fucking torpedo or something. Almost got caught in my throat, remember, I almost swallowed it before I spit the fucker out. Almost hit that skinny kid, what’s his fuck, the one with the braces, in the back a the fucking head. Would a knocked the skinny fucker over, fucking braces getting all ranged up in his lips and shit. Probably shit is pants, or worse, piss and shit at the same fucking time. That’d be a fucker of a jam, shitting and pissing all at once. What a fucking mess, shit ‘n piss all over the fucking place. Like fucking ninety. A hundred, maybe more. You remember blackballing that kid’s ass, the one in your pup tent, the red haired kid, in the tent on your front lawn? His fucking underwear got all gummed up and black with the shit. Sticky as a your sister’s fucking panties on prom night. Poor bastard, and his dad being such a fucking shit head. You mean the one who was drunk all the fucking time? Like fucking ninety. Fucker used to park his fucking car, that big fucking boat, a Lincoln or something, on the front lawn. Or on the grass across the street, in that park where the city guys planted those chintzy fucking trees with the plastic sleeves round ‘em. Sad shit, man, sadder than fucking cancer. Or some old fucker shitting his pants on the fucking bus. That’s fucking sad. Shitting and pissing yourself all at the same time. Sadder than fucking ninety, fucking sad shit, man.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005

MY DAD'S pale GREEN OLD'S


Dorothy’s Whatnots
(Dec 27/05)
She had lariat hair plaited into neat cornrows and tied back with bolos and Dorothy tassels she’d bid at an auction devoted to the Wizard of Oz antiquities and whatnots. Her eyes were bluestone blue, almost opal, yet too blue for turquoise, sea green, cerulean or Prussian blue. She yammered and wailed when we fucked, and chewed on her bottom lip like it was a switch of licorice or the reddest red jujube. She had shaky-leg and a faint tremor in her hips, that pushed off kilter and a smidgen to the left. And caused her no end of trouble in hooking her garter or scrolling down a silk stocking without catching a nail or the thread of a finger on a rent or cranny.
You got a car? Don’t drive. But you know how, don’t you? A little I suppose, a smidgen maybe. You ever driven a car, I mean without a permit? Once, maybe twice, when I was a teenager, you know, jean jacket and matching pants. Your dad’s car, I bet? A pale green Old's, with a half-roof made of that fake leatherette, the stuff that’s always curling and pealing off in strips. Me too, I mean my dad, he had one of those, a blue one, I think, maybe pale blue, I’m not sure which. I suppose you drove it, before you were old enough, had a permit to? The blue one, not the grayish one, that was my mom’s car, she used it for errands and luncheons and shit like that. You ever drive it to Fairview, steal it and drive round the parking lot? I suppose I did, but then again, maybe not, maybe I didn’t but think I did. And you, Fairview, the Pascal’s parking lot or behind Steinberg’s? No, but I shot at rats behind the Dominion with my friend’s BB gun, pellet, maybe. It was a long time ago. Yeah, my dad’s had at least five new secondhand cars since then, maybe six.
And you mom? She’s dead, or at least that’s what my dad says, what he tells people that ask about her. Oh, too bad. No, she’s not really dead that’s just a way for my dad to think it wasn’t his fault. For what, what fault? She started fucking the guy who owns the Cantors. That shit? Yeah, in the car my dad bought her for errands and going out for lunch with her girlfriends. Fucking mean thing to do, I mean, fucking the Cantor’s guy behind your dad’s back. We shop at Steinberg’s now, the one behind the Miracle Mart and the Esso station. Oh, that one, yeah, I used to fuck some fat girl with braces who lived in the townhouses behind the Mike’s Submarine. Fucking tasty steak and green pepper sub, if I remember, and cheap as shit. Wendy’s fucked that.
Don’t forget that root beer place, what was it? Hire’s? No, the one with the fucking bear, remember, the papa burger and the mama fucking burger. Too bad about you mom? Fuck her, she’s probably off somewhere in Dollard or fucking Roxborough with that cunt baker shit for brains. Never did like fucking bagels, too fucking chewy. Poppy seeds, yeah those little fuckers would get caught in between your teeth, sometimes in your friggin gums. Smoke meat, though, that I like. That chunky cut stuff, from Swartz’s, wasn’t it? Yeah, that one, and sometimes at Ben’s, the one near the old Forum. I thought that was a Cantor’s. Nah, it was a Ben’s, I’m sure of it. Oh yeah, the one with those fucking Mic Mac plates, the plastic ones. I think they were Mill Mack, or something close to that. Always had those fucking knife scratches on ‘em, must have been a hundred fucking years old. Maybe more.
So, you want to steal your old man’s car and go for a joyride or something? Yeah, that’d be cool. Why the fuck not? Maybe we could fuck our brains out in the backseat in the Fairview parking lot. Maybe the Miracle Mart, that’s if it’s still there of course. Sounds cool. Fucking a it does. Let’s go. Maybe we could stop off for a steak and green pepper, after we fuck our brains silly, of course. Yeah, you mom sure is a cunt. Fucking a she is. That’s for fucking sure.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

THE CONSUL GENERAL


I Drunk
(Dec 27/05)
I drink whatever comes down the pike, gin, vodka, gimlets, lime cordial in stouts and lagers and bottom-self Sherries and Ports, the two seemingly indistinguishable except for the colour. A cheap Sherry is generally a pale, russet red, a Port, a tinge lighter and less russet, yet in consistency, identical to Sherry and other vintner’s low-end putrefaction. I drink at sun up, midday, and sunset. I drink when I’m happy, sad, or simply disaffected with my life and those other’s who seem identical to mine, yet differ in colour, taste and consistency. I once thought I had cholera, but it was a simple cramping in my side, under the fourth and fifth rid where my gallbladder sits. There are stones in there, so I’ve been told, and in my right kidney, urethra and piss-bladder. I have had three surgical procedures, one called keyhole surgery, and three lithotripsies to pound the stones into smithereens. The stone fragments are then pissed into a sieve, which you then have to poke around in with a Popsicle stick gathering up what you have pissed out. These odds and ends are then brought to the chemist, whose job it is to determine what exactly the stones are made of; they’re consistency and geological stratum. I figure they’re made up of putrefied grape skins and tannins, perhaps some lime cordial and stout ales.
When I have money, which I seldom do, I treat myself to imported beers and a bottle of Teachers or Old Grouse. I seldom use a glass, as I find it slows down the imbibing process, and requires an eye-hand coordination that mystifies me once I’ve started the drinking process. I have always dreamt of going to Mexico, where I could drink myself into a coma on Tic-Tac and real Mexican Mescal, the kind with the worm dead at the bottom of the bottle. They say that the worm is so saturated with mescal, the drug, not the liquor, that once eaten it can cause such horrid hallucinations that many people chew their own fingers off or eat dirt thinking it’s a tamale or some Mexican delicacy. Geoffrey, the consul general in Lowrey’s Under the Volcano, eats mescal worms like their going out of style, catching them between his front teeth, then biting them in half, thereby making the digestive process that much quicker. I once ate a worm when I was a kid, on a dare from this guy named Pete Peters who had a cleft palate and pyorrhea. It tasted like dirt and slim, if slime has a taste of its own to begin with, which I very much doubt it does. I have drank in the backseat of moving cars, in airplanes cruising at high altitudes, in chugging trains with bar cars and train stewards, and in closets, boot rooms and under a child’s play structure during a torrential late summer rainstorm somewhere in a city I now forget where.
I have vomited with such force of nature, that the corrugated soft tissues in my throat landed in a placental bobble in the bathroom sink, which I was leaning against while straddling the toilet trying to urinate at the same time as I was throwing up. I have split the skin on the bridge of my nose, and burst blood vessels in the whites and sclera of my eyes. I once almost detached a retina, but was lucky enough to have eye drops and surgical gauze handy at the time. Sometimes I would get such horrible cramps in my side and in the knotted muscles in my thighs and calves, that I would have to stand for at least half an hour in a scalding hot shower to assuage the pain and torment.
I would fish throw friend’s pockets when they weren’t looking, looking for spare change or a five-dollar bill that had gone forgotten. I would sell whatever I had, even things I needed, like bus tickets and food stamps, to scrounge enough for a King Can or a twenty-sixer of Sherry or Port, the two being virtually interchangeable and screw topped with a plastic sleeve around the neck. I would have drunken cat’s urine, had I thought it had alcohol in it and would go down quickly and with minimal burning. I don’t drink any longer, but still have vivid memories, sometimes flashbacks, that leave me with a sick, ruinous taste at the back of my throat.

GAULOISESLESS


Chocolate Something
(Dec 27/05)
I just ate something chocolate. It was very, very good. It was square, not rhomboid or rectangle, round, oval or in anyway circular. It was like a cake, but smaller, like a slice of small cake or something almost like a cake, yet too small to be called a cake. I like cakes, all sorts of cakes for that matter. As I will soon be out of cigarettes, I may have to switch to cakes, or something that resembles a cake, yet is really too small to be called or considered a cake. Perhaps what I ate, and may eat more of as I am out of cigarettes, was not a small cake at all, but the illusion of one, something chocolate and cake-like, but not cake in the least. A non-cake, perhaps, or a cake substitute or meta-cake if you may.
Some people, generally hobos and people born and raised in the Ozarks, for example, eat cigarettes, edible in that they are not like the type that you smoke, which are impossible to eat, should one be so inclined, but made to fit between your gum and cheek. This sort of tobacco is generally referred to as chewing tobacco, or chaw. It is eaten in pieces called quid(s), and it is recommended that one does not swallow either the chaw or the juices that are extricated during the chewing process, or chawing, should you prefer. Chaw makes one’s gums bleed and pyorrhea(ic).
This, I fear, is the root cause of vagrants, idlers, drifters and those bred and raised in mountainous geographies having such horrible teeth, gums and breath. Preferring cakes, or those things that resemble cakes, but are either too small or shaped like rhomboids, rectangles, ovals and anyway circular, (non-cakes) as I do, I have not run into this problem, or multiple of problems. I will stick to something chocolate, square, moist, but without juices, and relatively harmless.

EGOLESS ID


Miscreants and Apple-polishers
(Dec 26/05)
Pastor Pastor’s miscreant apple-polishers, never quite certain if they should be suckling a breast or sodomizing a jennet’s ass. That ever divisive queue between absolute sodomy, with all the bells and whimpers, and a Christian principled antithetical monogamy, man and wife sans jennet’s backhoe and jowl. The worse kept secrets are always the best, cleaving the levy between truth and nonsense, that invariable blowout of the damned with all the carillons and trilling conceivable. To you, and you alone, I offer my gravest sorrow and approbation. Pity the pitiful and concupiscent, for they know what they do, but proffer they’re ex Deus maledictions regardless of gods’ will and bidding. Pastor Pastor, may you languor in peace and tranquility, a milt-cloth garroting your Presbyter’s frock and halter.
There are conjunctions and disjunction’s both in language and in life itself. Octavio Paz drew this to my attention in his book of the same name. Like language, which is the assemblage and disassemblage of words, tones, syntax grammar, etc., life is prima fascia an assemblage awaiting its inevitable disjuncture, or dissemination into parts that never seek the whole, a fixed unity, once disjointed. People whom I have met, kibitzed with, become friends, some enemies with, fit into this pattern, or dialogue, of conjunction and disjunction of wholes now rendered into parts, and bit-parts, and parts of bit-parts and so on. Once the whole, or the unity or conjunction, (conjunction, because all things, people included, are a composite of other conjuncts and parts and bit-parts) is divided into parts, disjunctions, disassemblage is inevitable. The Pastor Pastor is a prima fascia example of this, as his disjunction into parts and bit-parts was the inevitable result, a cause without an affect, of a disassembled conjunction that began at birth, perhaps at the moment of conception. Aldo Busi, Jean Genet, the Marquis de Sade, these three writers are examples of sodomy in it’s infancy; a prima fascia conjunction of language, thought, evocation and life itself. They antecede the Pastor Pastor and his infantile need to declare his annunciation into the world of sexual misdemeanors, moral in-censor, and protracted masturbation.
If Freud is to be believed (as he must, in excelsior glorious) whence was Id, there go Ego. This, I fear, is not so for Pastor Pastor, as his is an Id bereft of Ego, an Ego-less psychical malfunction, a congenital deformation, a genome without a periodical table to keep things in check. A chemical imbalance that defies biological reification. A displaced hypothalamus with a pineal glandular rhizome that has neither a beginning nor an end. One of Kafka’s burrows from which nothing enters or leaves. The Ego neither is nor was, but is a composite that is forever modifying to maintain a stasis with an otherness, an outsideness that is in constant, unremitting flux, a circumnavigation of a unity that is not nor ever will be a whole. If the Ego is nothing more than a social/moral modification of the Id, an adjustment that allows us to live in a socially (moral/religious) coded world, then it stands to reason that the Ego can remain in abject infancy, moral/social no-man’s land, as long as the psychical mechanism it plays host to remains stunted, immature and malformed. Miscreants and apple-polishers beware, the orchard keeper is onto you, and your little dog, too, cogito ego sum.

Saturday, December 24, 2005

DREGS and PUDDING


Grandma’s Christmas Pudding
(Dec 24/05)
My grandmother made the most extraordinary Christmas pudding. Transforming a Chock Full O Nuts coffee tin crimped with tinfoil and an elastic band into a wondrous Yuletide dessert. She steam cooked it over medium heat in a double broiler the night before, then left it to cool on a cookie sheet on the back porch overnight. She peeled the rinds and zest from lemons with a paring knife, and whisked them together with butter, cream and brandy. The lemon sauce was poured over a generous helping of pudding, then parchment-thin slivers of lemon zest were shaved overtop for that added touch.
Before I got sober I remember very little, this, however, I most certainly do. After Christmas dinner, when the plates and serving dished were being cleared from the table, I would sidle out from behind my father’s chair and sneak into the cellar and scrounge around for liquor, those odds and ends that one never seems to put an end or odd to. Having sucked and suckled what I could of the dregs, I would carefully place the now empty bottles back in the liquor cabinet, mount the stairs back up to the first floor of the house, vomit in the dishwasher, and go out back for a cigarette. The split tomato red redness of my face, cheeks profuse and pergola with veins and scabbing, only adding to the festive charm of another family Yuletide.

Friday, December 23, 2005

THE MOIL


Etienne’s Two Circumcisions
(Dec 23/05)
Etienne O’Shonasey was circumcised the day after he was born, and again the day before his eleventh birthday party. The first doctor had undiagnosed shingles and went squirrelly in the head shortly after. His license to practice medicine was revoked, and he was kicked out of the College of Surgeons and General Practitioners of the Province of Quebec. The second one was Jewish. The first doctor took way too much off the top, leaving a band of scar tissue around the middle of Etienne’s penis, making it all but impossible to urinate without fainting and seeing sparkly stars. The second doctor, who studied urology at the Universite de Laval and drove a Ford Lancer, had to perform a skin graft using skin from the small of Etienne’s back.
Once Etienne was old enough to read, he looked up the word prepuce, a word his parents said a lot, often spelling it when he was in ear-shot, which made finding it in the Webster’s all that much easier. The day he found the word prepuce in the dictionary, Etienne made a pact with himself that he would name his first dog prepuce, regardless of whether his parents liked it or not, or found it stupid and unseemly. His parents caved in, not wanting to add to the trauma their son had already experienced, but suggested that he change the u to an a, and call his first dog Prapuce. Etienne agreed, and bought Prapuce a studded black dog collar with the money he saved up from turning over Gazette boxes and scooping out the change, generally dimes and nickels and the odd quarter. Two weeks after Etienne got him, Prapuce was hit by the Pom bakery truck and dragged several blocks caught up under the back wheel well and had to be put down with one of his father’s old torn up shirts soaked in ether. The next day after school Rupert told me that he was bumper hitching the Pom truck at the time, and saw Prapuce stuck underneath panting and growling like mad, one of Roman Ramsbottom’s woolen mittens stuck in his ear.

Thursday, December 22, 2005

A 74 MERCURY MARQUIS


Roman Ramsbottom, Esquire
(Dec 22/05)
I knew this other kid called Roman Ramsbottom. Like his name, he was incorrigible, incalculable, seemingly invincible, and had a peculiarly large head for someone not yet 12 years old. For me, and perhaps me alone, the name Ramsbottom conjures up images of wholesale inviolability, a tacit reminder that not all things seek entropy without a long drawn out battle in between. Roman, or Rhombi, as he was referred to in impolite circles, had a predilection for strippers, Vodka with Lime Ricky, and a concupiscence that only the likeminded and those up to no good see as a way of life, a raison d’ĂȘtre, should you prefer.
Roman left scuff marks wherever he’d been. The grocery store where he went to pick up six-packs of Lime Ricky, or the old folks home where he went to steal money from his amnesiac grand mama’s beadwork purse, the very one he gave her for Christmas the year before her last stroke. Roman’s father was an unassuming man with few talents for anything other than lawn bowling, which he did with a religiosity broaching on madness, who wore serge gray suits with a neatly pressed handkerchief in the left breast pocket that his wife ironed flat for him each night before bed. Roman had what he referred to as a ‘cursed lisp’, which was actually a cursedly annoying speak impediment that made him sound like Daffy fucking Duck on PCP. No one ever dared make mention of it, as Rhombi would stick his pencil in your leg or cough up an oyster and lay it into your face like grouting. Sad pathetic bastard that he was, Roman couldn’t spell the name of his street, which was Fourth Avenue (he always forgot the u) or remember what day it was without first looking at the calendar on his watch, a gift from his grand mama the Christmas before her first stroke. I only hung out with Roman because he always had cigarettes and was good at stealing.
I had a hard on for cashew nuts and those soft black licorice pipes with the hard red candies on the bowl that were suppose to make it look like it was lit. After school or hockey, or sometimes after ripping off the Gazette box, a bunch of us would go to the Perettes store to steal stuff. Not being a good stealer, or brave enough to steal had I been good at it, I would bribe Roman to steal cashew nuts for me, sometimes the licorice pipes if they were displayed on top of the counter and within reaching distance. One day Roman stole me a bag of Beaver brand cashews, my all-time favorite. On his way out of the store they fell out from under his skidoo jacket, where they were reefed up between the lining and the sheath where the tightening string was housed, and landed on the floor in front of the door. Quickly I skipped them over the lip of the entrance and onto the sidewalk with the toe of my sealskin boot, which was soggy wet with slush and ice salt and some frozen dog’s shit I’d stepped in earlier on in the day. Most everyone had sealskin boots, and those that didn’t wore those vulgar looking mukluks with the yellowing crepe soles and leather laces that you had to double wrap around your ankle because they were always too long and ended up getting soaked and stuck on things. My parents bought me a pair, so I speak from experience.
Roman hung out at the Source de Sex on Hymus Boulevard next to the industrial park where my friend’s father owned a furniture store. The doorman, who we figured made a fucking killing collecting coat check money for a coat check that didn’t exist, was about 248 pounds, shiny bald, and square as the door he stood sentry at. He worked out at the Diamond Gym on Sources road and Salisbury, and drove a 1974 Mercury Marquis with one of those half-roof leatherette tops that were always curling up at the edges and carped with roof rust. The car fishtailed wherever it went, and you could see the metal latticework spooling beneath glabrous rubber. The one time I went there with Roman I was fearful that I would get a hard on, drink way too much beer, then have to figure someway to get to the men’s room without drawing attention to myself. In school it was much easier, as you could hold your binder in front of your crotch and sidle out of the classroom virtually undetected, save for one idiot who figured you had a hard on, cause he did, and tried to knock the binder out of your hands.
The doorman ended up getting a bit part in the movie Jesus of Montreal, as a gladiator or a wise man or one of those imbeciles holding a fake lancet in the scene where Jesus does himself in. Of course nobody tries to stop him, so Jesus, or the guy playing him, gives up the ghost and snuffs it. If it weren’t for the odd wavy shot of a breast, and the hope there would be more, I’d have given up on it after the opening titles. Roman ended up getting a slugger in the back of the head; right were the brain cord attaches to the lower part of the skullcap. So the story goes, he grabbed one of the dancer’s asses, a particularly chubby one with a chipped front tooth. And when he refused to make an apology, which meant paying the dancer and the doorman a touching fee, he was escorted out the backdoor, by the garbage bin, and whacked upside the back of the head with a full-swung baseball bat. My friend’s father, the one who owned the furniture store, was having his usual cheap businessman’s hip of beef and all you can eat spaghetti lunch special, but claims he didn’t see a thing. As he was preoccupied with his lunch and an increasingly warm ginger ale with no ice.

Wednesday, December 21, 2005

CRUDITIES, etc


Doctor Meta’s Hand Soap
(Dec 21/05)
Doctor Meta gripped the knot of my scrotum, where the glans meets the meniscus, and told me to cough, which I did, but sparingly. He cleared his throat, washed his hands with some bluish soap he pumped from the nozzle of a plastic dispenser, and said, ‘you’ve got to stop playing with yourself.’ He cleared his throat a second time, and added, ‘Or else your testicles will dry up and wither and be good for nothing more than keeping the crotch of your trousers from sagging’. I looked around his examining room, pale blue with a border of cutout flowers along the ceiling edge, and noticed a kidney-shaped dish with something fleshy and red sopping around in a clear liquid. The room smelled like the white fat that skims the top of the pot when a pork shoulder is boiled then left to simmer on low heat for too long. Doctor Meta noticed that I was looking at the dish with the red fleshy thing sopping in it, and said, ‘That’s what’s left of the last boy’s who didn’t take my advice. Now he’s got to buy girls pants that fit snugger at the crotch to hide the fact that he couldn’t stop amusing himself to no end.’ I started to cough uncontrollably, like someone with lung cancer or emphysema, and quickly averted my eyes from the dish with the other boy’s testicles in it. ‘Do you ever stop to think’ he said, ‘what your doing to yourself?’ The damage is irreversible, and can lead to all other sorts of medical conditions’. ‘Like what?" I asked, clearing my throat for effect.
Doctor Meta walked over to what looked like a medicine chest, with wire filaments running criss-crossed through the glass, and unlocked the door with a small silver key he took out of his doctor’s jacket pocket. He pushed a few glass vials and what looked like pill bottles to one side, and pulled out a coke bottle size bottle with a cork stopper in the top. He turned facing me, and carefully yanked the cork stopper from the top of the bottle. He shook the bottle upside down, and a small hard looking nut fell into the palm of his hand. He held it up in front of me with his forefinger and thumb and smiled. ‘What’s that?’ I asked, not really wanting to know the answer. He walked towards me, the hard looking nut held aloft at eye level, and once again cleared his throat. ‘This, my boy, is what’ll be left of your testicles if you continue on doing what you’re doing’. I looked back at the kidney-shaped dish, then back at the hard looking nut in doctor Meta’s fingers, and said, ‘Where’d you get it?’ Doctor Meta smiled, one of those stupid ear to ear ones, and said, ‘Do you know Rupert Sims?’ ‘Yeah,’ I said. ‘Well take a closer look at his pants next time you see him.’ I took the number 7-bus home, the one that passed by Rupert’s house, and pressed my nose up against the window as hard as I could.

Tuesday, December 20, 2005

A TOO-TIGHT WOGGLE


Mr. Ramsey’s Shoe
(Dec 20/05)
Mr. Ramsey had one of those orthopedic shoes with the extra heel that looks more like a boot than a shoe. It was black, shiny black with equally black laces that he tied in a double bow around the top of his ankle. He generally dragged his bad leg to one side, like he was off balance or trying to make a quick getaway. He hung around the public swimming pool, and wore boxer shorts that you could see creeping up the crack of his ass and up the small of his back. He was always sweating, his handkerchief always at the ready to mop his forehead or wipe the white mint crumbs from the corners of his mouth. He always carried a pocketful of those white mints that are hard on the outside, but soft and chewy on the inside. Every time he fished in his pocket for a mint, he’d end up pulling out a mint tacked with tissue paper and pocket lint. He would suck on one for a while, then crunch down on it cracking it in two fairly equal half-moons, like a Joe Louis, but without the cream inside.
He helped out the scoutmaster’s with his troop of young men, and taught us how to knot our kerchiefs without cutting off the air to our lungs. I always seemed to cinch mine up too close to my Adam’s apple, or get the woggle snap snagged in a buttonhole or on my shirt pocket flap. He also taught us how to do the three fingered salute without wavering our hands, and how to tie a sheep-shank or a figure eight, the best one for keeping something in place. I never did use the sheepshank, never really understanding what it was used for or why it was called a sheepshank to begin with. Mr. Ramsey got caught tugging a boy’s swimming trunks down in the Pointe Claire pool, the indoors one, and was put on 18 months probation along with a restraining order ordering him to stay clear away from anyone under the age of eighteen. The scoutmaster, who lived five houses down from Rupert’s house, found another assistant scoutmaster to help him with the young men, this one with bad breath and a tiny malformed arm with two fingers and what looked more like a monkey’s thumb than a human one.

GREEN VEGETABLES and RASPBERRY TARTS


My Great Uncle Jim
(Dec 20/05)
My great uncle Jim on my father’s side refused to eat vegetables or anything green or remotely green. That included lettuces, iceberg, romaine or Chinese Boc Chou, beans, waxed or shiny, pickles, be they Dills, Gerkins or bread and butter (he would, however, fish out a piece of cauliflower with a spoon and dry it on a napkin to rid it of that awful briny, green taste) and apples that weren’t red or almost red. His wife, my great aunt Alma, made the most scrumptious raspberry tarts with real butter she got from the neighbor’s cow, and crinkly pastry she made with unbleached flour and salt.
Their house was in the middle of town, South River, Ontario, so you could go to the general store on your own to buy Indian chewing tobacco or cheap cigarettes with no filters. My great uncle Jim smoked a pipe, sometimes his cob one, other times the heavy briar one he brought back from France after the war was over. He liked to smoke it on the front porch and watch the neighbors on their front porches and the out of town cars go by. He’d make a mental note of their license plates just in case there was some trouble in town, so he could help the sheriff nab the perpetrators and feel like he was contributing to civil obedience.
My great aunt Alma always wore the same apron, the one with ratty tie-ups and flowers on it, and a Sunday bonnet even on weekdays. The house smelled like a mixture of raspberry tarts, tobacco smoke, and old air. At dinnertime my great uncle always sat at the head of the table, next to a photograph of McArthur smoking his famous cob pipe and a grandfather clock that didn’t keep the right time; it was always 7 minutes off, either too early or too late.
Their eldest son, Vern, owned the distribution rights to the Shell gas franchise he shared with his two sons and a friend with a gamy leg and shallow breathing, from smoking Export A’s plain, non-filter for over thirty years non-stop. One time at dinner I tried to hide a green bean under my great uncle Jim’s mashed potatoes, but he sniffed it out with his hound’s nose. Not being able to focus properly with one eye, the one that didn’t get stabbed out by a splinter of wood from the band saw at the lumber mill where he worked when he returned home from the war he would never remember being in.

MELBA POPADOPOLOUS, PIN-GIRL


Thick Eyebrows and a Dented-In Forehead
(Dec 20/05)
Melba Popadopolous had thick man’s eyebrows and a dent in her forehead where a bowling ball hit her when she worked as a pin-girl at the local bowling lanes on Donegani Avenue next to the Shell station and the Charmco. Her father owned the Diary Bar and drove a lime green Ford Gremlin with tinted windows and a CB antenna on the back hood next to the gas cap. Her mother wore sarongs and these leather sandals that she bought at the Pier One store on sale on Boxing Day with two gift certificates she got from Mr. Popadopolous’ mother before she died from a massive stroke.
Melba attended the same high school as me, and sat two desks from me near the window. She never had more than one pimple at a time, generally on the space between her nose and her upper lip, and a pockmark from Rubella or chicken pox on her forehead just below the dent mark from the bowling ball. She wore her hair in one long braid that ended somewhere near the place where your tailbone meets the crack in your ass. When she bent over to pick something up off the floor, or tie a loosened shoelace, you could see a faint tracing of black hair, almost like eyelash hair, starting at her tailbone and disappearing into the crack of her ass.
One day when she was bending over to pick up a scribbler someone had shoved off her desk, I noticed that her underwear had a tear in it, right where the elastic band is suppose to be hemmed to the underwear itself. That, and the faint black hair like eyelash hair, made me increasingly sad for her, and to this day I can’t look at another person bending over to pick something up off the floor or tie their shoes without thinking about Melba Popadopolous and green Ford Gremlins.

APPOSABLE THUMBS


The Green Hornet
(Dec 20/05)
The man who made the ice at the park had two fingers and a thumb on each hand. He’d wrangle the ice-making hose up under his arm, then secure it with a sock he tied round his jacket sleeve just above the crook of his elbow. He drank salted draft beer at the Miss Montreal Tavern or the Green Hornet and sometimes in the caretaker’s room in the back of the clubhouse. He was often spotted sidling down Lakeshore Boulevard with a sock still knotted in his coat sleeve drunk on salted beer and briny eggs. They said he made the best ice in the city, and never once took a day off during ice-making season, which lasted from early December to late February.
I once saw him toss the ice-making hose like a lariat over his head then around his shoulders, then plunk it down exactly where he wanted it, on an especially gritty patch of ice or up against the boards where the slush and hard snow collected in dog turdy clumps. When I got older and could pass for eighteen, I would sit two tables away from him in the Green Hornet and watch as he regaled the other caretakers with that time back in early December 1958, when he had to water the rink 12 times before he could get the ice smoothened out just the way he liked it.
I often wondered if he’d lost his fingers in an ice-making accident, maybe had them sheared off with an edger or the spinning blades of a snow blower. The snow blower explanation seemed unlikely, as he never used one, claiming it left tire tracks and chain bites on the ice surface, and made the ice all bumpy and impossible to pass a puck on without it jumping the boards and landing in some neighbor’s backyard.
Every Spring thaw the same two kids would ferret out lost pucks and sell them back to us when the ice froze over and was smooth enough to skate on without loosing your balance and knocking a tooth clear out of your head. Last I heard the ice making man was living in an old folks home somewhere in East end Montreal, the same one where Irving Layton lives and some other poet with a hard to pronounce consonantal name.

GLASS EYES and TUBE TOPS


Mr. Drinker’s Glass Eye
(Dec 19/05)
Mr. Drinker had one good eye and one made out of glass and painted with what looked like real veins with a cornea and whites that were almost perfectly white, almost whiter. He could be looking out the window, or at the chalkboard, or sometimes at the top of his desk when he was thinking about something, like a question or a smart comeback to a student’s snide remark about poetry or proper grammar. When actually he was looking directly at you, always when you were up to no good or ripping pages out of a school textbook you were suppose to take care of and guard with your life. This other fat kid with two chins and a faint Frenchman’s moustache, the kind that never grow in full or looked like a real moustache, stabbed a moth that had alit on the windowsill, and ate it in one swallow; tiny, dusty wings flapping like mad in the corners of his mouth.
His name was Rolly Sims, and his parents lived on welfare and whatever money they could win at the bingo or card sharking. They were real bona fide swindlers, and drove a Ford Pacer with tinted windows and a china dog with a busted neck that flapped like crazy on the ledge in the back window. Rolly’s older sister, Pam, wore miniskirts with leggings that went up only as far as the top of her knees, and a tube top that crinkled the skin under her arms and made her chest look flat and unappealing. Even to a younger kid with a constant boner and way too many fantasies and sexy ideas hammering away in his head.
Mr. Drinker sang in the Church choir and wore a black smock with a tie around the back. He wore thick glasses, the kind that you could burn a grasshopper to bits with in five seconds, that fit too snuggly against the bridge of his nose. He had these two red divots on either side of his head, where the glasses’ frames cinched into the skin above his ears. He was a baritone, and could hit those real low notes that sound like a hide-a-bed being dragged from one end of the room to the other. He taught me English Lit, and how to write a proper sentence without screwing up the grammar and punctuation. I always dreamed of asking him to take his glass eye out, so I could see what it looked like up close, inspecting the paint job and looking to see if the cornea was centred. And to see if it was true that you could see into someone’s skull, at the brain itself, when their eye was out. I never got the chance, nor did I eat a moth or get a blowjob from Rolly’s sister Pam, or look down her top, for that matter.

Monday, December 19, 2005

SOURCES ROAD, PQ


Mr. Hartford’s Headaches
(Dec 19/05)
Mr. Hartford got these terrible headaches from being in the war. He stayed inside most of the time, reading Popular Mechanics and Reader’s Digest. Sometimes you could see him through the front window, pacing back and forth in front of the television set, mumbling to himself and holding his head in his hands. Mr. Hartford’s wife, Mrs. Hartford, worked as a seamstress and did sub work at the local deli when the regular cashier got sick or wanted a day off. Mr. and Mrs. Hartford had two children, boys; John was a little younger than me, and Steven was a few years younger than his older brother John.
One day we tricked John into my friend’s garden shed then tied him spread-eagle to an old door my friend’s father had stored there until he figured out what to do with it. Then we turned the door upside down, left, and locked the shed door behind us. We left John there upside down tied to the door until we couldn’t bear to listen to him cry anymore. Steven never seemed to be right in the head, as they referred to it back then, and ran round in circles in their driveway or on the front lawn that Mr. Hartford had to mow because her husband was busy having headaches and mumbling to himself. Or reading Popular Mechanics or unbound editions of Reader’s Digest that came in the post in brown wrapping paper and scotch tape. One day I watched in amusement, I guiltily admit, as Steven raced out the front door, onto the driveway, pulled down his pants, and crapped on the asphalt. I could see his father pacing in the living room, a Reader’s Digest in his hand, and Mr. Hartford hemming up a pair of someone else’s trousers.
John got married to a local girl he’d met at summer school, and moved as far away as he could from his childhood home. Last I heard he had two children of his own, one boy and one girl, and worked as a tool and die maker. Steven stayed with his father after Mr. Hartford left, and the two of them would read Popular Mechanics and Reader’s Digest to each other in lawn chairs they positioned in the backyard facing the fence and the traffic on the back road that separates Pointe Claire from Dorval.

RUPERT'S little SISTER


Jersey Milks and Civil War Boots
(Dec 19/05)
I knew this kid named Rupert who ate chocolate bar sandwiches. His all-time favorite was a Jersey Milk sandwiched between spongy white Pom Bakery bread. In Montreal at the time, the Pom Bakery had trucks, green trucks, that delivered breads, small cream-filled cakes, May West’s and other baked goods directly to your door. We used to wait behind a neighbors car or a way too high snow bank, and when the Pom truck came round the corner, which it always did, without fail, we’d dart out from wherever it was we were hiding and bumper ride the back of the truck. The best boots for skitching, as we called it, were those plastic cowboy boots with the fake fur lining and shiny, un-variegated soles. One of my friends, a half Native half Japanese kid with Japanese parents and a full-blooded Japanese sister, he’d been adopted from gods know where, had these Civil War boots with a belt and cool buckle around the ankle. He could run, as they say, like the wind, and hang on by one mitt as the truck careened round corners, down straight aways and through heavy traffic. It wasn’t uncommon to see a green Pom Truck racing down the street with a collection of mismatched woolen mittens stuck to its bumper. One of my hands was always freezing cold, generally the one I smoked with, so it wasn’t such a big deal.
Rupert lived in a dark row house near Fisher Park with his parents and little sister. One day I came over to get Rupert, to ask for money or a cigarette, or maybe just because I had nothing better to do, and he had me wait for him on the carpet in the front porch. Wet boots were murderous to mothers, or maybe just his mother, I never did figure that out. I was standing there shifting my weight from one foot to the other, something I did when I had nothing better to do, when I saw this little figure standing down the hallway half in the light, and half out of it. It was Rupert’s little sister, standing there staring blankly at me, or at least I thought it was me, chewing an elastic band. Her mouth and teeth were working the elastic band furiously, like it was her last meal or something, and her eyes, those blank, crossed-up eyes, just stared right through me, past the front door and out into who knows where. Rupert told me his sister had this thing called Downs Syndrome, and couldn’t be left alone in the house. I asked him how come she chewed elastic bands, why not candies or licorice? He said, looking down at his Civil War boots, ‘I dunno, that’s just the way it is, I guess’.

HEARING DEAF


White Noise
(Dec 19/05)
In those days, the late sixties and early seventies, children with hearing loss or complete deafness had to be fitting with an electrical box that was strapped to their chest and buckled around the back like a horse halter. Whenever we saw her trudging down the street towards us, a buzzing static issuing from her chest, we would pretend to be blind or make wavy motions with our hands in front of her face. She always had this sad left out look on her face, and tiny, unsure steps that propelled her forward as quickly as she could go. When I turned forty, my own hearing started to worsen, and this gods’ awful buzzing white noise started that never seems to go away. The ETN doctor said I had this bone problem called oto-sclerosis, a hardening of the little piston that suppose to move like a hair being blown on. He said it would only get worse with age, and that my hearing loss would increase and the white noise along with it. He suggested surgery; a procedure called a stapendectomy, which would at least stop the progression and allow me to use a telephone without having to pretend I understood what someone was saying. The hearing in both of my ears is at around 50-60%, the right one, the one I wear a hearing aide in, tends to whistle and scream whenever I bend over or move from side to side too quickly. Sometimes, just for fun, my friends will move their lips like their talking, but say nothing, or wave their hands in front of me pretending to do sign language. I have no straps or buckles, or a halter that digs into my back and shoulders, or the need to move quickly in tiny, unsure steps, eyes trained on the toes of my shoes.

Sunday, December 18, 2005

YELLOW PAINT and SHOTGUN PELLETS


A Mistake In Logic
(Dec 18/05)
Alan had a beagle called Duncan who had a number painted in yellow on his side, his identification as a hare-chasing dog, a beagler, or simply a mistake in logic. We would walk Duncan round the block, past other neighbor’s homes and the Presbyterian Church across from Alan and Duncan’s house, on Vincennes Avenue, Pointe Claire Quebec. Duncan would stop every few steps, dog steps being much shorter than human ones, lift his piss-screed leg, always the left one, and go to the toilet on the white cone-shaped cement blocks that all the neighbors had at the foot of their lawns abutting the street. We had ditches in those days; chuck with dead leaves and littered newspapers and candy wrappers. Eat More was a popular candybar, even though it loosened new fillings from the rot of our teeth, sometimes pulling them free, then us swallowing them with a mouthful of nuts, molasses, carob powder and confectionery sugar. If you took the candybar wrapper and folded it just right, Eat More would be changed to Eat Me or Moe, or sometimes Ea Meo or Eat Mr. The variables and permutations seemed infinite. Duncan lived in a kennel that Alan’s father built onto the side of the garage, next to the fort we built out of battleship wood and straightened nails. There were a half-busted set of moose antlers tacked above the opening in the back of the garage that led into the kennel, and a deep freezer full of carrion and shotgun pellets. Alan died in a car accident some seven or eight years ago, after having just started a new injection therapy for a seemingly intractable Bi-Polar condition. Duncan passed away a few years before Alan, and was buried with the yellow number still painted on his side. I miss them both, Alan especially, and those walks we took round the block trying to tug Duncan away from the neighbor’s cement curb blocks. The weatherman said its going to be a cold Christmas.

Saturday, December 17, 2005

CHARLES BRONSON


My Dear Sister’s Birthday, Day
(Dec 17/05)
I awoke this morning from pitiful dreams with a charley horse in the i-beam of my shoulder, where cupola meets limbic pentameter. It felt like I had Charlie Bronson rousting bad guys from poltroonery dreams of car jacking, thieving and general flagitiousness. (Big words, poltroon mind).
But will there be many people honest enough to admit that it is a pleasure to inflict pain? That not infrequently one amuses himself (and well) by offending other men (at least in his thoughts) and by shooting pellets of petty malice at them?
(Fred Nietzsche, Human All Too Human)
The German term for getting enjoyment out of watching someone other than oneself in pain and discomfort, is Schadenfreude: glee in another’s misfortune. Interesting that the suffix is Freud with an e.
I am doing my laundry, one paltry load of denims, a nylon windbreaker, black, ankle-length and regular length socks, all white, a few arrant t-shirts, red and brown, and my Ikean bath towel, harridan red lipstick red. After which, I am off by public transit to the Salivation Commando store to browse for books, secondhand outfits that have not been vomited on, whatnots, and shiny things. After which, I am to attend a Noel party (as my friend is French Canadian French) where I will no doubt glut myself on an varied assortment of Christmas breads; some with green cherries and hard candies that are never easy to digest; mutton, potato chips and nutmeats; and whatever is within reaching distance. After which, I will no doubt sleep the sleep of the greedy, bulimic and ill tempered. Of course should the opportunity present itself, I will take glee in another’s misfortune, sore belly, and sadness over having one’s car car jacked by Charles Bronson, who sadly enough is dead and unable to jack anything worth jacking, even were he alive to jack things that are deemed worthy of jacking, or otherwise. And before I forget for a second year in a row, Happy Birthday, dearest sister.

Friday, December 16, 2005

FAT SANTA


Santa's Craw
(Dec 16/05)
I remember this one Santa that smelled like boiled meat and rashers. British, I think. His lap was crummy with Doritos and Pall Mall ashes; his Santa’s trousers cinched up around the rumen of his waist like the skin under a fat person’s arm. Wattles of it, if I remember correctly, which I seldom do, remember anything at all. Anything worth remembering is worth forgetting, so I’ve come to learn. So forgetting, then, is just as important as remembering, more so, perhaps.
Fat bastard Santa with his Polydent white gums and rashers breath. If I remember, and this I most certainly do, he had a pocket-comb in his Santa’s pocket grim with Boil Cream and loose hairs. His teeth, those few that remained in the carnage of his mouth, were blight yellow (corn yellow) and larval with food worms and pickle brine.
Well this Santa asked me if I’d fetch him a Mickey of lemon gin and a pack of Pall Malls, non-filter, in turn for which he would make sure that there were a few extra gifts under the tree for me. I agreed, took the crumpled $10’s from his shaking hand, and beat it for the parking lot. I spent the fat bastard Santa’s 10 spot on Indian chewing tobacco, licorice babies and a pack of Export A’s, king-size filter tipped. Stupid fat bastard Santa; serves him right for trying to corrupt the morals of a minor.

WINTER'S IRE

Snowpants and Derision
(Dec 16/05)
Its snowing like a bandy-legged Santa with arthritic joints and hammer nails. Every first snow, or the heaviest, brings me careening back to that day, so many years past, when I ran to my window ledge and peered out the fogged glass. And saw enrapture, a world gone white as our pet rabbit Thumper, who my father walked on a lease around the neighborhood much to the derision and befuddlement of dog-walkers and cat-owners. As my father refused to buy a snow blower, frosted eyebrows and icicle snotty noses were an all too common fatality of heavy first snows. And the availability of a hove bladed aluminum snow shovel that my father kept on a hook in the garage next to the jumper cables and his oil smock.
Denticulate, how does the poor sod eat a measly thing. Teeth more like chisels, beveled down to mortuary posts or granary stone. I mean, really, he must have lost ‘em in a fight, one of those barstool rough-ups where the other guy never sees it coming, whack, a 50 right up side of the head, crushing his temporal lobe into the gravy of his meniscus. Fucking sorry state of affairs, any which way you look at it. Taking public transit on a snowy bound day, in any gods’ forsaken city, is more than one man with a titanium shoulder and poor taste in footwear should need put up with. But then again, what other means of getting around have I at my command, other than a $71.25 transit pass with a gods’ awful snap of me Charlie facing like a fucking dip-shit. In a yellow rain slicker, no less, and lichen green long-sleeved pullover, a fucking pullover I probably bought off the rack in some hand-me-down almsman’s store. A cadger is as a cadger does, or some such Lilliputian nonsense.
‘Don’t jerk me off’ she said. "You mean around, don’t you’, he said, ‘not off.’ ‘Whatever!’ she said, saying. ‘You mean fuck off, don’t you’ he said after saying not off. ‘Whatever is a snide and none too smart way of telling someone to fuck off, get lost, don’t jerk me around.’ ‘Yea whatever,’ she said. ‘And jerk me off too, you dim bastard!’ Ah, the joys of riding the cadger’s motor coach.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

MILT-WEED and SEBORRHEA


Fragments Of A Journal Entry (2)

(Dec 15/05)
It has been one year to the day that I started Fragments Of A Journal Entry (1). So it seem only fitting that I begin FOAE (2) on the same day, December 15, 2005. Nothing much, I fear, has changed, except for a new titanium shoulder, a seven-inch surgical scar, two poems published, and a litany of other unimportant nonesuch. I will, however, continue where I left off, the hiatus, so to speak, having come to an end, and see what nonsensical drivel I can amuse myself with. Baring that, the practice, drivel and blather, no less, will be good for me. There will be no overly salacious italicizing, nor bolding of typeface and font, however, I cannot promise that what I scribble on these pages will be of any use to anyone other than myself. Perhaps another who’s predilections and wont are togged with Dylanesque livers and a gourmands eye for the absurd and hackneyed, but beyond that, no one I can either think of nor care to think of should I feel compelled to, which, I assure you, I don’t.
A cuckold’s worth of mid-December snow, more snow than one eager kid with an aluminum snow shovel could ever-possibly heave over bank and hedging. I recall such heaving though with infinitely less enthusiasm or puerile eagerness. But snow is, is it not, a Christmas tradition, as are plum pudding, plastic icicles, and fat men in derelict trousers and scratchy synthetic beards. I remember one Christmas, one I will not soon forget, when there was such a dumping of snow I couldn’t even go outside for a Taylor-made and a dingus’ worth of Dry Vermouth and Ternary Gin. I was twelve at the time, and infinitely more interested in gin-jiggers and Export A’s, the ultra strong ones, than new toys and lemon slurry plum pudding my dear grand mama made in a Chock Full O’ Nuts tin with tinfoil skirling the edgings. But then again, I was twelve, a hardened smoker with a preference for dry liquors and black licorice babies, and that fucking Indian chewing tobacco that was actually shredded coconut browned with some gods’ awful resin that stuck to the spaces between your teeth. And your tongue, the fucking stuff stained that so fucking brown you’d think you’d been licking the bunghole of some furless dog with seborrhea and milt worms.

PUSILLANIMITY


Expiry Dates
I awoke this morning from uncharitable dreams; my shoulder still mortared to breastplate and collarbone. This persistent pain is mercenary, Catholic at best. My friend shared a story from his childhood with me that is nothing less than emasculate. He recalled being an altar boy in some nondescript Catholic Church in Montreal. He was sent to the rector’s closet to fetch some ecclesiastic whatnot, and while there took a peek into the fridge where the sacramental wine and Eucharist were kept in cold storage. He looked at the packaging in which the biscuits were hermetically sealed, and notice, much to his astonishment, that there were expiry dates stamped on each freezer bag. Christ has a best before date, he figured, how strange in deed.
(Thanks, John)
Not long ago I was employed as an addiction counselor for nonprofit organization here in the Nation’s Capitalist. Many of our clients were either homeless or on the verge of homelessness. Some were from other cities, such as Hamilton and Toronto, and others were indigenous to Ottawa and the surrounding hamlets and suburbs. One of our clients (a fifty-ish First Nations gentleman with terrible nightmares that forced him to sleep on the floor on a blue pinstriped mattress, army issue no less, least he topple head over teakettle onto the hard linoleum tiling) told me a story, a real story, that left me with my own nightmares. He was interned in one of Canada’s infamous Residential Schools when he was a young boy, where he was subjected to such heinous crimes; so heinous and unconscionable, Nuremberg should have reconvened to mete out more appropriate punishments. One of his schoolmates, a lithe, unassuming little fellow, submersed himself in a bathtub full of bleach, thinking, if he could only lightened the colour of his skin, the abuse and torture would stop. Well it did not, and so begins the night terrors and addiction to whatever numbs the pain of remembering what no one should need remember. (For Abe, should you still be walking this earth)

Wednesday, December 14, 2005

THE TRIAL


For Barry
I have created nothing, not even myself. If I had, could I have, I certainly would have done a much better job of it, done things differently, put more effort and thought into it. I think thoughts, not ideas or notions, or ideas of notions or thoughts. To think otherwise is pure folly, miscreantism.
Eleven Hours

I’ve only seen one dead person up close
and he’d been that way for eleven hours

his hands were gripped into fists
knuckles whiter than chalk dust

and his eyes were wide open
staring at something on the ceiling

or maybe at nothing at all

Death does that to a person; puts an end to life. If I had created life, I surely would not have created death, in fact, the though would never have entered my thoughts. I say thoughts, as I have no mind, or none that I am willing to concede that I have, had I one to concede having. Barry didn’t deserve death, to die clinging to a filament of life that eluded him, was just out of his grasp, tricking him into believing that there was life at the end of the struggle to live, to regain control of his life. The notion that one must live life on ‘life’s terms’ is pure foolishness, an act of unmitigated stupidity. What, I ask, are life’s terms? How can something that has no self-consciousness, no selfsameness, have any terms at all; and if it did, expected us to live our lives by them? Life’s terms are spurious, unconscionable at best. I rather say we live on ‘death’s terms’, trying to elude the inevitability of life coming to a screeching halt, hands gripped into fists, eyes staring blankly at ‘life’s terms’, which are no terms at all.

Sunday, December 11, 2005

VALOIS BAY, PQ

Bare Feet and Animal Bones

You could walk on lodestones in your bare feet, or on animal bones grubbed white in the blistering July sun, or on fence-wire scrolled like snakeskin after a hard summer rain, or on beer
bottle caps and fliptops left by drifters, mute wives, and FAS children, heads caulked with deerflies and lice, or on a gravel road marrow with feldspar and potash, or on cob tacking and
railheads rusted into warps of keel wood, you could not however, walk on water, or shrug off the pain or remember a time when life was less complicated and troubling or at least less sad

Battleship Wood and Nails

Do you remember the fort we built between the house and the garage made with battleship wood and straightened nails, and the hinge for the trapdoor we pilfered from the neighbors
garden shed, always catching on a burl of roof tile, the tile we lifted from the back of the construction man’s truck when he was drinking a Coke and drawing down hard on a Mark Ten,
if I remember, Riders In The Storm was playing, and we shared a cigarette I’d stolen from my dad, and those gray baby rabbits like plant bulbs my father etherized in a shoebox full of holes,
then chucked in the garbage at the foot of the driveway, and do you remember when it first
happened, when your thoughts went haywire and the voices started, and when you couldn’t
remember me visiting, or the fort we built between the house and the garage with battleship wood and nails

Saturday, December 10, 2005

for ALAN


For Alan
My friend’s polar oppositions
Thieved him
Of an equitable life
Imprisoned in the cage
That was his mind
Between heightened mania
And an acute depression
The likes of which
Neither you, nor I
Will need ever experience
He fought the roue’
With a fearlessness unimaginable
Even to a poet
Or a blackguard, or a man
Of one mind
For Alan (two)
There was a doll’s head spiff with needles, he said, from too much LSD or chemicals, or because I was reading too much Das Capital, they said, Marx would do that to a brain, tarn it to rued butter thick with nonsense, or worse, other men’s thoughts and ideas, they said
The voices were never soft, or willing to let me sit quiet in the tally of my thoughts, they were like thieves, men with sticks and stones chasing the mice from the scatter of my thoughts, he said
Your chemistry set is busted, neurons firing at will and with little regard for your wellbeing, it’ll only get worse, they said, and you’ll need constant supervision and a vaccine, which seldom works
I believe in God and human goodness and love, he said, even when the voices caudal my skull, but even then, he said, I’m still lucky enough to know my name, and where I live, and the taste of wild strawberries and sun

Friday, December 09, 2005

NOTHING is LOST

Others Have Not Been So Lucky
I have worn my hair the same way since I was a teenager, not giving in to the customs of adulthood. I have no time for cutting and trimming and behind the ears shaving with a razor sharp enough to slice me to ribbons. It is far less perilous to leave it be and pay the consequences of not conforming to custom. If necessity should have it, which it may, given the vagaries of my existence, a time may come when I will need to attend to this, but for the time being I choose not to do so. Hair has become a social issue, as are good looks and the right shoes. If I could I would wear neither shoes nor good looks and be done with it once and for all. But as I cannot, I am fated to an indifference that makes life a bad memory. Don’t ask me why it is, it just is, so settle for that or keep your gore hole shut. I have little patience for yammering and bad manners, or people who ask me for a cigarette when clearly I have no intention of giving them one. They are blameful. I am not. I fear nothing but not fearing anything at all. If I were fearless I would surely be dead, rotting in some lime pit with arms and legs severed from joints and hipbones. God has seen to that. Others have not been so lucky.
Written after seeing a frail, elderly woman connected to an oxygen tank waiting her turn in the waiting room of my doctor’s office.
Midwifery Rags and Tubing
Lug eels sleeved into the swell of her nose, midwifery rags and surgeon’s tubing staying blood the consistency of turned milk
And the smell of unhurried death and dead leaves, and eyes that remember carrousels and saltwater taffy chewed white to maggots
And the barrow of her dress codling funeral bone, legs like spindle wood tucked into the hove of unwashed stockings
And my heart breaks for her, my legs cowed with life and last resorts, and second-thoughts never thought or remembered
And my doctor summons me in to see if I need a second script to stay the pain that keeps me awake at night, thinking of legs, midwifery clothe
and taffy chewed white to maggots

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

ABSENCE of LIGHT


On My Twelfth Birthday

By the time I was ten I was already disgusted with the world. On my eleventh birthday I made a decision to close my eyes every time I saw or felt something I didn’t like. This childish ‘things will go away as long as you close your eyes’ has stayed with me to this day, well beyond the innocent stupidity of childhood. On my twelfth birthday I learned how to hold my breath when I didn’t like something, or felt slighted by something someone said or did to me. By thirteen I was often blue in the face. At fourteen I taught myself how to ignore the world by simply pretending it no longer existed. When I turned fifteen I was ravaged and reddened by acne and a much longer nose. At sixteen I had yet to kiss anyone other than my mother and her mother. By seventeen I was masturbating daily and with little regard for the wellbeing of that ‘thing’ between my legs. When I turned eighteen I left the continent of my mind for other less inhospitable geographies. When I was nineteen I lost my virginity to a woman whose name I didn’t know, nor cared to, in a two bedroom house abutting crags and mountains where I lived with four other men and three dogs, one of which I hated with a passion broaching on madness. On my twentieth birthday I feel asleep and have yet to awaken.

Milk-teeth
flail-points rasped to burr-edges on a match striker and a pull of yellow-sulfur air black with chamfer and junk-worry skin anointed with grain alcohol and puddle tarn, and the hex of her
arm roughshod with brittle lost in that corner where thoughts are devils, and children’s scabbed over knees are revenants of dog’s tongues, milk teeth and whalebone, and church spires tracing
blood and scrimshaw on the boughs of moth-nettled arms

Monday, December 05, 2005

JAWS puff round AND SOLID as a TURNIP

Sluing Water and Salt

My mother used a vinegar
Bottle, bowsprit with holes

For sluing water and salt
Onto the handkerchiefs and socks

My father left in the cellar
In a cracker tin

Next to the furnace
And a canvas sac

Full of hockey pucks
And mice

Grandma’s Christmas Pie

Snow pale as death
Or like choking on a chicken bone

Left in the flinty crust
Of grandma’s Christmas pie

Of A Face

My body has degenerated
To the point

Where self-recognition

Once a mirror image
Of a face

Is now a crude sketch

Another face within a face
A mouth within a mouth

Eyes that avoid eyes
That avoid the sketch

Of a face
Within a face

The crudeness of a face

Once a mirror image of youth
Of eyes and chin and nose

Now someone else’s
Some crude recognition

Of a face

Lamb’s Tongue

She clapped her tongue against the thatch of my mouth, peeling the spice and salt from the Braille of my tongue

Lips skilled at alchemy, hex and thievery, a fate worse than oxen, hacked shoulder to breast knee cups slackening under joist and mallet, cumin-black

Tongue spiced with ox-brine, salt and slaver

Millet and Bone

Chaffing millet from bone
Gutters with ox mallets and pike

Separating skull from hank
The talisman, they say

Of an early March slaughter

Bridles of hair sheared white
Dunning axe and razor cut

Scalloped raw as chaff

Fratricide culls the bone
From chaff and marrow

Life takes root in mud
Not wine or dry biscuits

Millet and bone separated
From host and shoulder

The Talisman of a rising
Or an early spring slaughter

Sunday, December 04, 2005

THANKS JoHN


Hard Etruscan Bone
You understand, don’t you, I’m not like you, she said. Yes, we share things, but only those that are common, nothing more. We both shit and eat, sleep and wake, fuck and eat and shit and sleep and stay awake long into the night trembling with cold and bitter memories. That’s all; that’s all we share; all we have in common, nothing else. Beyond those basic shared human functions, animal functions, actions, we share nothing, nothing more. We are different, distinct, but indifferent in only those things, those vatic human needs, those things and actions and functions that we all share and have, together, as one human system, a functionality, nothing more. Beyond that we are not the same, but different, distinct and without measure, two separate things, entities that exist as nothing more than the difference between the two: you and I, it and that, him and her. I clacked my tongue against her cheek, below the bone, and ran it into the seam of her mouth, warm, pulpy, wet, glossed with her own tongue, washed into the spaces between her teeth, diamonds, ivory, hard Etruscan bone. When we fuck, I said, there is no difference, no distinction, we are of the same measure, a cloth cut from the same bolt; and that, yes, that is the difference between you and I, I need the difference, you see the difference, but never need it. We fucked, hard, until the skin leavened from out backs, her stomach pressed into the couch of my ribs, Adam and Eve, fruitless and at ease, fucking like two animals, the difference immeasurable, but there just the same, constant and holding, inseparable. The beast with two backs, blushed, reddened with sameness, indifference and functionality. Our bodies’ pulp cut close to the stone, deep through to the centre where there is no difference, only soft, succulent wet fruit.
If I were to tell you, tell you how it is, you wouldn’t believe me. I am not what I appear be, what I seem to be, but the difference between the two, what is seen and what is appearance. The two, the seen and the appearance, are often the same, yet different, indifferent to being seen as the same. What is seen is often not what appears, or what it appears to be, seen. Being seen, and being the appearance of what is seen, the seen, depends on the other for the appearance of being and being seen. The two, in this manner, are interdependent yet dependent of one another; they are seen as being seen as the appearance of what is seen, or appears to be seen as seen. If I were to tell you (which I won’t) you would only see what you want to see, the appearance of what is seen as seen, nothing more. I am the appearance that is never seen but appears to be seen, the difference between the two. I am the tissue connecting the two, the seen and the appearance of the seen, or what appears to be seen, yet never is. When you see me, the appearance of me, the seen of me, what you are seeing is not me, but the appearance of what is seen as seen; the difference between the two, what lies in between the seen and the appearance of what is seen as seen. As I said, I am not what I appear to be, the appearance of what is seen as seen, yet never seen at all, but the seen as seen as the appearance of being seen as seen, the appearance of seen, the illusion of appearance and being seen. I told you, you wouldn’t believe me, see me for what I am, what is seen and appears to be seen, the seen of appearance, the illusion of the seen and the appearance of what is seen as seen. The rectory parasite saw me for what I was; a frightened, confused boy, the appearance of someone, a being that was never there to begin with, but was seen just the same. It is the illusion of being seen, of being an appearance of the seen, that, and that alone, is what appearance and being seen are, nothing more. Sometimes, so I have learned, it is better to be seen as an appearance of being seen, a not seen, than being seen at all. Perceptions are like that, appearances seen as memories one has remembered to forget. What is seen is seen backwards, from the illusion and appearance of the present seen in the past. What is seen is never seen, but remembered, the appearance of what was seen but never was. Now you see what I have seen yet never seen: the illusion of being seen, but never being seen at all. It is the appearance of being seen that is seen, nothing more.
This is the other part of the story, the other story. Her lips are blue dulse blue, cool to the touch yet cragged with shell grit and sluice. She skips needles, sharpened to Braille, on the striker of a match pack. Reusable, she says. I found her in the bathroom, a caulk of blood clouted on the curve of her elbow, towels and face clothes stopping up the toilet, a toilet that ran for days on end, a Fountain Blue hammered from porcine teeth. Gouts if it, as I remember, the blood and soft tissue scrapped clean from the juke of her arm. And the scrimshaw and thistle scratches hard as railheads. Skin folded round the crook of her arm, arms weald with calluses, blue-yellow like hard candies or dying leaves. The surgical tubing, nicotine brown, clutched in the child’s grasp of her fingers. All moons, so I have come to learn, are jaundice, whored with STD’s and incurables. Stars like dead men, night’s gallows assayed with corpses pretending to be stars and moons and gods’ constellations, night putting an end to the pain and hammering and indecision. Hoarfrosted skeletal trees: tonsured bare mullets. They ask for nothing, trees, but a pissing of water and a sun shiny day. The air, so I remember it, was thick as thieves, fecal thickness, not for the asthmatic or endemic or faint of heart. And I kiss her softly on the top of the head, no hibiscus root or wildflowers, just dull, brittle husks, crenellates. And the midsummer night air abuzz with flies and dragon’s wings, and eyes closed tight, yet seeing behind lids heavy with fear and last resorts never resorted to. Another bloodied mouthful of Chinese cooking wine lying the insides out of a palate fed on spider grass and five and a quarter, a hunger for biscuits and blood putting the fear of gods into an otherwise godless heart. This is the story, the other story I have been meaning to tell, to let you in on. It’s no secret, but simply a retelling of an old story told by a fool, not one of Dostoevski’s idiots, but a fool, a simple fool. There are other characters yet to make their appearance, but they will, soon enough. You must be patient, as I am, or like to believe I am. Whether I am, patient, is another story, one best left for later, time permitting, which, as you know, it seldom does. Apaleena, that is her name. She I will tell you about soon, when the time is right, sooner than you bargained for, as you will see. She is the way in, and the way out, the panacea for this troubled world. She I will tell you about if you are patient and unwary of the time. She is all people and no people, the simulacra, if you may, of people’s. She represents nothing more than what I allow her to represent, all things and no things, the thingness of things. She is mine, not yours, nor will she ever be. She is what I have made her, what I have put her in and through, nothing more. Apaleena is mine, a thing, a simulacrum that I have made to fix this troubled world. I will leave it at that, as there is nothing more to say until later, until her departure from the world of my thoughts. She must find her own way out; then she will be more than simple thoughts thought by a simple fool.
I pay the price for having memories. For being there and not doing anything, not putting an end to it. I didn’t even try, and for that I will pay the price of remembering. Dante showed us the way out, on the back of a poet no less. All forests cast shadows, some with neither entrances nor ways out. Kafka’s burrows, no way in or out, just deeper until the darkness becomes light. All of us, to a one, bullied from between scabbard red thighs, shaking, skulked with anger and first memory. There is more, there is always more to say. I have no more time to waste on rectory parasites or first principles, or second scoutmasters and people who bother me for a cigarette, which I will surly never give them. I have wasted far too much time and energy on such things, things that amount to nothing more than memories to be forgotten and done away with for good. A pocketful of stones weighs down a body soon to be a corpse, bloodless and sour with gas. Memories are like stones, pocketed for safekeeping, or until the last rail of air is exhumed from weakened lungs. Her name is Apaleena, and in her name is the naming of all things and no things, the first word uttered from trembling lips, the last breath taken before the stones weigh. You will remember what I have, the stones that fill my pockets to the fop. Then you will forget what I have remembered and get on with the remainder of your life, for better or worse, the choice is yours. Leave it at that, and be done with it.
Stanley polyp Mulligan stood pigeon-footed at the window ledge peering into the shaving mirror. –No never mine-said he. -The eyes, whose eyes, the nose and upper lip. Who is this man, such a fine and handsome specimen of a man?- With a touch of amused bewilderment he saw before him what he saw yet had never seen before, a man shaving with sharp razor stropped and honed. The sun moved out from behind a gray sheep of clouds and fell, terminal, on the bridge bone of his nose, a fine gentlemanly specimen of a nose so noses go. A great and mottled nose, so it was. Outside the windowsill ledge a wing-wearied seagull sculled nits of heavy morning air stained tobacco chuff brown. Mulligan griped the palm of his hand across the pink scold of his face, a fine specimen of a face, and placed the stropped sharp razor on the sill of the windowsill ledge. He, Mulligan, looked out the window, as he oft had occasion to do after shaved shaving, and ran his fingers through the briar and nettled mess of his hair. After which he paced, feet crossing over one and each other, to the water facet and poured himself he a glass of tap-water tepid from the tap facet. The cup, resin brown and spidery with cracks, the handle all but missing but for a hook and crock, slid from the gripe of his fingers and fell shattering to the mackintosh floorboards at his he feet. Mulligan, he, looks up then down and rumbles-What, for the love of gods almighty is this all about, this shattering and chuff and mottle?- He turned, Mulligan, towards facing the boot room door and sighed. Nothing further was said or implied about the subject or happenstance. As it was, nothing more. –The dogs got worms-said Murphy from beneath warm bed linens and tacking, his child’s head, warm from sleep, pushing from under the covers. –Seems, so it does, he’s always got them, worms-said Mulligan shaved. Mulligan shifted his weight carefully, as he was prone to hallucinations which set him off kilter and to one side, always one side, and added-We should put it out of its misery we should-. -You mean kill it- said Murphy. -Cut it up into little pieces and feed it to the fish- Mulligan said. -What fish-Murphy said. -We have no fish to speak of, none that I know of-. -We can’t, surly we can’t kill it you mean- -Why not-said Mulligan-damn things always getting in the way and the gods almighty stench, enough to turn one off one’s supper- Murphy, struggling to free himself from the bed-linen said-Leave it alone, he’s no one’s bother. No bother for you or I or no one- (This is the other story, the one I have been meaning to tell you but never got around to telling).

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"Poetry is the short-circuiting of meaning between words, the impetuous regeneration of primordial myth". Bruno Schulz

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