Thursday, August 31, 2006


These are the sorts of things that make life a carnival, a Dervish whirling out of control. Why, the man in the hat thought, do people drag dogs on tethers, poor creatures, and wear uncomfortable shoes, and hats crêpe and bejeweled with baubles and string? Why so much of so little and so little of so much, he thought. Dogs with maulstick legs and gibbet necks, salt-cod fried in brine and allspice, a can of Paddy’s Stout and Lager. Life is a game of chess without a chessboard, a plant without fascicles, a bountiful paucity, a sou'wester without a hatband or eyeshade, so he thought, to himself and no one else, the man in the hat thought.

Sunday, August 27, 2006


In passing the man in the hat passed many people, many of whom wore hats, felt, wicker, corduroy and some stitched from flaps of canvas and oilcloth. He once saw a woman wearing a calfskin hat with a squirrel’s tail and a plastic bauble sewn into the crest. She, too, had a gamy leg which she dragged to one side like a weigh anchor. She also had a dog, a cross between a poodle and a foxhound, with tiny misshapen ears and a sharp pointed muzzle covered with wiry gray hair. She dragged it behind her like a dinghy, the dog sidling along the pavement, tiny legs like matchsticks, its ears cocked to one side, the leash garroting its neck like a gallows. Hats are for people with manners, he thought, not the unprincipled and shifty. He had a hankering to snatch the hat from atop her head, and then throw it into the gutter like a stray animal. But as he had better things to do, principled things that required manners and tenet, not shiftiness and connivance, he did not. His, the man in the hat’s, was a decent conscientious life, not one dross with bad manners and opprobrium.

Friday, August 25, 2006


‘Is that yours?’ said the clochard, his eyes tightening under his hat. ‘Mine, of course,’ said the man in the hat, ‘my hat.’ The clochard rearranged the crease in his trousers, soiled through with Listerine and tobacco chuff, and smiled, a broad toothless smile. ‘This is mine’, he said, pointing at a bag of bread crusts at his feet, ‘mine, these here.’ The man in the hat cleared his throat and said, ‘yes, of course, yours not mine.’ ‘Bread crusts are like hats’, said the clochard. ‘Yes, I can see that,’ said the man in the hat. ‘Sometimes, said the clochard, his eyes tightening tighter, ‘I wear them, these’, he said, pointing at the bag at his feet, ‘like a hat, a bread hat,’ he said, smiling broadly. The man in the hat reasserted his hat, which he did when he felt amused, and said, ‘and teeth, bread crusts make wonderful teeth.’ ‘Yes, yes of course,’ said the clochard, his eyes retightening, the crease in his trousers loosening, ‘yes, teeth, of course.’ ‘Good bye,’ said the man in the hat, his hat reasserted, gamy leg stiffening from the cold. ‘So long,’ said the clochard, ‘and may God be with you.’

Monday, August 21, 2006


Casserole dishes filled to toppling with carrots and beans, shepherd’s pie and Jell-O, day-old bread and watery fruit juices, a smorgasbord of castoffs and bitter ends. The man in the hat will eat to the soup, a consommé devoid of vegetables or legumes, but offer up his Jell-O to the chiliad seated across from him, his face a smear of hornet stings and bubonic spate. This is the way it is, the dimness of his life, the man in the hat’s life. If not for the soup, he would be nothing, a faint stand-in for nothing, a nothingness. When his leg tremors, which it does without fail, he, the man in the hat, rubs it with spearmint and balsam, a liniment that keeps the ache from reaching upwards and into the knell of his back, where it sits like a cataract clouding his vision, his ability to stave off the pain and discomfort. The soup helps to take his mind off the ache, discommode the feeling that something is not quite right, yet right just the same. Rightness has nothing to do with anything, yet he awaits the right moment, the moment when what is right will overtake what is right, yet was never right at all. The sky opens up like a malignancy, a supertanker bilge with dross and fish guts, his grandfather commandeering the Mercury Fish truck through alleyways, along side streets and up and over the sidewalk, pedestrians screeching like banshees, fingers clutching windblown hats.

Sunday, August 20, 2006


The shamble leg man came across a beggar sitting cross-legged on the sidewalk, his almscap brim side up. ‘Those yours?’ he said, his eyesight straining, the beggar’s eyes septic with blood. ‘Those yours?’ he answered, pointing to a bag of bread-ends on the pavement beside him. ‘This is mine,’ said the shamble leg man, pointing at his great coat, ‘those, however, are yours’, he added pointing at the bag between the beggar’s legs. ‘So what is mine isn’t yours?’ asked the beggar. ‘Yes,’ said the shamble leg man, swiping a fly from the curse of his face. ‘Yes.’ ‘My bread is old, just odds and ends’, said the beggar, his eye weeping, ‘just ends and odds of bread.’ ‘But it’s yours’, said the shamble leg man, ‘not mine.’ ‘Yes, the bread is mine certainly, but the coat’, he said, pointing at the shamble leg man, ‘that is yours, not mine?’ ‘Yes,’ said the shamble leg man, that I am certain of.’ ‘I know of a man who likes soup, but abhors Jell-O,’ said the shamble leg man, the fly abuzz around his head. ‘If you can find him, which is improbable, as he tends to himself most of the time, he would gladly give you his Jell-O’. ‘But not the soup,’ said the beggar. ‘No, the soup he will not give up,’ said the shamble leg man, ‘that is his, and his alone’. ‘These are good things to know,’ said the beggar, ‘good things indeed.’ The shamble leg man turned to go, and said, ‘those are yours, yes?’ ‘Of course’, said the beggar, ‘mine, just odds and ends. Yours is a coat,’ he added, ‘and a fine one indeed.’ ‘Good bye,’ said the shamble leg man turning, ‘and indeed have a joyous day’. The beggar rearranged the bag of odds and ends between his legs, his eye septic with sleeplessness, and said, ‘and to you, too, sir, a good day.’

Friday, August 18, 2006


The shamble leg man trundled on two legs, one hidden beneath the tail of his great coat, and whistled high above himself, his lips pursed like sow’s ears. His skin, this morning’s skin, was oatmeal gray and blotched with sleeplessness; eyes trained on the pavement in front of him, hatless and locked in thoughtlessness. He seldom thought, and when he did, a thoughtless thinking with neither rhyme nor rationale. Whistling eased the pressure in his head, a pressure that had built up over years of poverty and aimlessness. His leg, the shamble leg, weighed heavily in his thoughts, the thought of a drag anchor that caused him to tilt and careen in circles, sometimes falling into a passerby or a lamppost, the tail of his great coat bluffing like a matted sail. Being said, he thought, is quite sad indeed.

Sunday, August 13, 2006



a metal
his head
with voices
the television


in a

dug a
a shovel

Saturday, August 12, 2006



in a

a hole

the hedge

a shovel


The shamble leg man awoke from a deep sleep; his eyes caulked with puss, and shook his leg free from the bed linen. He slept the sleep of the dead, the somnambulistic and dropsied. His palsy forced him to drink grain alcohols and spirits, cans of Listerine sprigged open at the bottom, the liquid culled into a plastic bottle, then mixed with Ginger Ale or Cola. He drank to stave off the trembling and quell the jimmying in his leg; tilting his head, he swigged back the churn in one forced gulp, an amniotic warmth gathering in his throat, spilling into the top of his stomach, then into the ulcers that ate away at the lining like rats.

A blue-gray morning sky, the world is trembling, a geomorphic shiver running down the line of my back, and as much as I try, I cannot fall back to sleep. Sleep will come when it’s ready, not a moment before. Some say that sleep is the thief of wakefulness; I say it is the penitence we pay for consciousness, the difference between alacrity and numbness, the reason for bed sheets and feathered pillows. The man in the hat thought things without reason or rhyme, a discordant faille, a cacophonous leitmotif, a monologue with two voices. He would, if he could, have no thoughts at all, and roughshod through life numb and unresponsive. He remembered hearing about how men with Van Dykes and pointy heads would drink themselves to perdition on absinthe distilled in wormwood casks, and that when opium was cooked too long, the alchemy produced a gummy slag that burned like sulfa


August Strindberg has a Van Dyke; I do not. Strindberg went horribly mad, insane with jealousy and alchemy; I have not, not yet. He wrote plays, books on necromancy and black magic, novels and diaries. I have a beard, trimmed close and neat to the scull of my face, and a hearing aide with a toggle switch to increase or decrease volume and humming. Strindberg wore well-tailored suits, serge and gabardine, pleated and double-breasted; I wear pony denim and rubber sandals with a silly insignia on the strapping. Strindberg had a fondness for the people of the islands of Stockholm’s archipelago; I was born on an island, one much smaller than an archipelago or a Stockholm. Strindberg’s grandfather was a spice merchant; mine a boiler-man from Liverpool. Strindberg is dead; I am not, not yet.

I raked the pump like a cat’s neck, sluing water from the tap head. My friends don’t like cats; nettle tongues and drivel hair and the clobber of sharp claws on hard linoleum. I found a litter familied beneath the silage shed, tongues raspy with spurs and awl pins. The others were fire setters, gas cans and sheet wicks twisted into funnels. Just the right size to tamp down hard into the throat of a castoff beer bottle or scout’s canteen. The doctor said that fire setting is a sign of childhood abuse, sexual improprieties carried out by addle-minded grownups and wet brains. The rector’s bench slatted with spindle elm and hard ash, the low susurrus of the calliope forcing chancel air through trued pipes, curds of stale bread and unction wine, draught from the parson’s own saintly tun. This is how it all began long before beginnings had names or reasons.

This is how I started, the beginning of what has become of me, the in between, what was left after the fall. As a boy my mother taught me to check my stool for inelegance and colour. A healthy stool was medium brown and shaped like a cone or foolscap. Anything darker or unshapely was deemed sickly, visceral canker. I had a friend who would poke about with a stick, roiling up his defecate checking for organs, dark blood and faille. His father, before succumbing to dementia, urinated in wine bottles he kept in a low drawer next to his bed. When he died we emptied the piss into the wash sink in the basement, my friend checking for bits of his father’s organs with the stick he used for his toilet. The piss smelled like death and spoiled wine. By the time his father was ready for death he had cornered himself into a box on the top floor of their house, cloistering himself like a penitent in a six by six beg cell. He had constructed his own coffin, furnishing it with empty wine bottles, a rosary and Popular Mechanics magazines. His death came as no surprise, a slow cancellation into madness and time. His wife’s Parkinson’s and flippered hands saved her from having to be sentry to her husband’s absurdity. Death is like that, a joke on the dying; an absurdity to those left behind to watch. My friend drank himself into a beg cell, piss bottles arranged in a votive altar to his father’s madness.

My father’s older brother drank himself into an early grave, leaving behind two ex-wives and as many children. He drove a yellow forklift, never quite mastering how to change to battery. My father’s oldest brother, who rode in the Jonah’s belly of a submarine in the Second World War, drank until his insides swelled up, his organs perishing like rotten fruit. At his funeral the older brother’s daughter climbed into his coffin and wept like a neglected child, tears brighten the cold meat of his face. Social Services put the youngest in a foster home, placing her cat with a family with a father and two small children. The oldest moved into a room downtown with a hotplate and a window overlooking the switching yards. We never visited them; the oldest found God in Morphine and Quaaludes, the younger in a foster father who taught her how to change her underpants and keep quiet. I never really knew either of my father’s brothers, but did learn how to change a forklift battery and row a boat. Death leaves behind memories, many not worth remembering or having.

Friday, August 11, 2006








And these nasty polemarks: [and] jammy tarts, the ones great aunt Alma made in the summer kitchen, crimping pastry into taffeta frills, [and] my great uncle Jim standing on the front porch, his good eye threaded with sweat, waving at tourist’s cars, [and] my dad eating date squares and rarebits of toast, {and} me sitting on the back stoop counting to one hundred backwards, making daisy chains with whistle grass and nettle fen, the afternoon fading into August night.

Thursday, August 10, 2006


A blue-quail morning, grey perhaps, oilseed, peroxide, mercurochrome scabbed over knees, brindle, puck black. I slept the sleep of the devilish, a bromide without a watershed, a crumpet without the butter-lard and pot-marmalade. Now I will pull a rarebit from the trumpet of my ass, a blaring, sonorous Dantean annunciation issuing from the scullery of my rectos. Gods’ morning to you all, rat’s asses and halyards cinched taut around Leopold and Blum. Molly’s skivvies hung out to dry, commode paper, Sears and Roan-buck, a kidney surd skillet-fried with onions and compote of barley. Daylight craving time, so much to get done, assonance, bad grammar and syntactical patricide.

Balzac’s hat had a hatband with quail’s foot scotched to the krimmer, right up side a fontanel that never quite hardened.

Corn syrup solids, hydrogenated soybean oil, sodium caseinate, dipotassium phosphate, sugar, artificial colour, mono and diglycerides, carrageenan, soy lecithin, artificial flavours, rats’ asses, zithers, monorail grease, machinist’s oil, e, gummy white crap, salver, parturition sweat, an old sweater with tattered cuffs, pre-seminal fluid, a snippet of cocks’ wattle, (yES) a cockscomb, brushed flat, (nO) protein, penicillin, uppers, downers or PCP.

I can’t write, even begin the process of writing, if I feel that I won’t have enough cigarettes to smoke non-stop, or almost non-stop. Any interruption in the smoking process is mercenary, robbing me of a healthy level of nicotine, a systemic toxin, dioxin, that I can’t seem to live without, though I suppose I should, given the pulmonary/respiratory thievery that tar, benzenes, lipids and all such venomous inhalations incur in an otherwise hale and hearty body. I smoke as a means of regulating my Grammatik misuse of syntax, tropisms and proper spelling, none of which I seem hale and hearty at. Wait, please, as I light another cigarette, the last one I will smoke while writing this exercise in trivial banality. Fuck it; I’m going to bed, coughing myself to sleep like a hogshead with ineluctable emphysema

I have a dream, he said, an ineffable, marvellous dream. Molly sidles up close to me, her breath sour with whey and Paddy’s, bloomers cinched round her neck, a cock’s wattle. She leans in close, the cinnamon sweet treacle of her hair cussing the bevel of my cheeks, and whispers, Yes I will, yes, Yes…I said Yes. I collapse, implode in on myself, a rasher of kidney and allspice, a page of Sears and Roebuck’s clutched between fore and thumb, her whisper like diamonds in my hand.

I live in a coalhouse, a livery of thoughts. Like a Derridian corm I have neither a beginning nor and end, but simply a jumping-in point, a coaxial imputation, a frogfish leap. Language is thought is unreason, hepatisation, derision, a trebuchet without a weighbar. Drink Coca Cola, you rotten bastards. No transfats or lipids, no smarmy lard or yellow blubber. My entire life, my sensate-me, is a pixilation, whatever the screen permits, the mind consents to, makes blubbery and sincere, impetrates and collates, scullery-whores with wee tiny teeth and amulet smiles: minutia.

I am a montage, a collocation of this and that, that and this, a rhizome without an exit hole, a Heideggerian leap, I am oedipalization and Grammatik patricide; MOMMY DADDY chider (ren), blather, blither mater; a staccato censoriousness with flutes and oboes, Frenchman’s horn and tubing. I am neither either or, nor am I either neither or. I am a Derridian gramophone, Joyce’s patchy-eye, Beckett’s dustbin, a sandbox full to brimming with scats, a savant with a mind for figures, and calculus and logarithms, and vectors that go onto and out; a slide Muller, a cuckolder without a cuck. I am a demy-colon, a comma-lot, and a Shakespearean Moor shoeblack with envy and bad manners. I am all of these, yet none; I am a montage, a collage of this and that, that and this, a cuckoldry of word and text, a poet with a fancy for dissonance and bad manners.

Should you care to listen, I will tell you about the grisliness of alcoholism, the Dantean declension into hell. I have been there, crawling like a child on scabby knees, without a Virgil or a poet to show me the way back up, out of the horror of Dis’s hell. I climbed on the back of a behemoth, a monster, an obsession to repeat, to become again that which I feared and reviled, the colossus within, the ogre whose thirst is never slaked. I am here to tell you the story, the story of my ascension into hell, my fistfight with the beast, the colossus that seeks revenge for temperance and prohibition.

Some days, the days in between, those enigmatic messages handed down from mommy-daddy, an unconscious caterwaul, a dissonant dissonance. When the mettle becomes meddlesome, the knifemen make the incision just below the pineal gland, at the base of the ganglia, rending free the hypothalamic sac, the harbinger of toilet training and object relations; a depersonalization, a sterility of thought, cantor and mien. Good breast bad breast, a signified without a signifier, a detached psychical retina, a finger-painting with feces and lye, a child’s wane cry, sycophantic and cowering under the balustrade of daddy. The tower of Babel started it all; the signified without a signifier, the enigmatic messaging, mommy-daddy, child, the oedipal strangulation, seeking forgiveness for sins never committed, a logician’s slight of hand, Dedalus’ wings weight down with slander and canonical tallow.

Who’s running the asylum? The deconstruction of the psyche, the loss of the individual, the panoptical reification of the idiosyncratic, the Other other, the otherness of the Other other, turned in on itself, the gaze gazed upon the gazer, the self-borstal-self. No psyche, no internal machine, a desiring machine, a coveting machine, but a socialized communal other, with neither self nor otherness, the other reified and jailed within the public sphere, the numinous gaol. Detained within the self, one eye trained on the other, the other trained on the otherness of the other, the public self: madness, loss of self, corruption of self-psyche-self, a panoptical no-man’s-land, psychopharmythology, chemical Bedlam, a Foucaultian nightmare.


I fell upon it, he said, stumbling in the dark, stocking feet catching a loose nail in the carpet tacking. It was there, just there, a thing without a name or a purpose; no this or that, a thing of nothing, a non-thing, thing. It was there, I swear to you it was, just as I saw it, just as it was in my mind’s eye. It was there, there over here, there, to the left of here but not there, the right of there but not here; over there, somewhere there, not here, there, for the love of it: there. You do believe me, don’t you, it was there, really it was, over there, not here, there, away from here over there, there, really it was, just as I saw it. If you don’t believe me, so what; it doesn’t matter, makes no difference to me, none. I saw it and that’s all that matters, there, where I saw it, a loose nail in the carpet, sticking out of the tacking, there, over there, no, not there, there. If I see it again, no matter where, either there or here, here or there, the thing without a name, without a purpose, I will tell you about it, again, I will tell you again, about it, the thing that is no thing, the non-thing, the thing that was there, but is no longer there. I fell upon it, after all, in the dark, in my stocking feet, my feet (I point down, there), my feet, these, there, my feet there, stumbling in the dark, without a name or a purpose, just a there.

I ate, no goblet(ed) a bologna sandwich this evening on primpknuckle and lye, a soft whereabouts in the labium of me mouther. She, she did, tied a lariat round the wattle of my neck(tyke), cinching it tight with a Scout’s knot, fleche(ing) the knead to butter me wrongsideup, like a sideplate of melbas, cracked wheat and wry. Fucking cough medicine’s going to be the end(son) of me. Beckett’s crockpipe finger between thumb and fore, no endgame for Ham or Plink or some ruffian in a tackman’s hat; now tell me please, if you might, whereabouts the clubmaster with the frottage cheese and cowslip lip, the one with the baby tuk tuk and Dedalus smile, and wee Aquinas first principle, be that Muslix or Cripper, or a vicar’s surplice fleeced with hopscotch, applejack, or a Eucharist Jell-O in a firkin’s jampot wrongsideup.

I prefer, he said, a sideplate of toast smeared with oleo of lard, perhaps, he said, a curd of allspice with a Burgee’s nM4*, or a pumpernickel, black as the ace of spondees: Or, for that mutter, a skim of tappet simmered with oil of egress and oxblood soupcon [he said] the kind that sullies the palate and vectors the wee Tilley. I ambulate, he said, with polio boot and ashplant striking the pavewalk like a firewood match, sulfur yellow and quidbrown like Blazes gobspit, Mully’s thingwort slathered with allornothing. No: he said: a marmalade compote, or a measure of jamjelly scone(d) on the farplate next to the cinderbox powdery with oldperson’smints and the odd biscuit, chewed from the insod out. Mansebevel hidden in the rector’s closet, where a knockabout of wee Tully’s eat macadam bread patted with aster of Goethe, Writher’s head shorn clear off his shoulderigging: Or, [he said] a barilla of tin biscuits, the sort that me great aunt Alma made with recto cloth cinched round the coop of her reddress, the (verily) one she wore on Somedays and those that fell between heathen and haycock. Barging that, he sod, a wedge of the bluecheese, the allsorts that grandmamma pressed in briecloth, the wee buggers playing the loop-de-loop in the barrows of her skirts. [He said] nary muck of impute [he said, saying], I prefer a Burgee’s nM4*, or a cold August night boiled in a samepot with boxthorn and pumperknuckle, a sideplate of skimming and quillworst.

Murphy fownd a horsis hede in the bruwn rivar that ran across tha beck of thair properte whair a juneiparberre hedge clung ta lif amidst tha rock an dirt an a stend uv poplars cutcrucked an ran paralell ta tha rivar. Tha frunthede wuz crushd in at tha temoral lobe an a tangle uv seeweed crept out frum between a fizzure in tha gray skullbone that met up with tha eyesockets. Thair wair a nest uv eels crevassed in tha nostrilholes an a green gelatinus lump in tha vallt uv tha mowth. Whair tha teeth met with tha jaw a whileenamel bonespur connectd with tha hinge undar tha ear pessages whair anuthar eel had fownd a purchase. Murphy had heerd that fisharmen oftin used horsis hedes to cetch eels in tha wetar sirounding tha opinfeelds. He had alsew seen a man with a longthin nife cut throo tha muscle an tenduns uv a horsis leg an hobbled it on tha spot. Tha horse wuz than broken ta tha grownd an lay thair in a puddal uv its own blood. He had heerd that tha horse wuz too old ta do ane farmwerk an wuz put down as a conseqwence uv that; an that wen a horse wuz put down, tha fermar alweys cut its hede off an sold it ta a fisharman that livd in a cettage neer tha brownrivar. I thinc I mite be otistick; I inhabit two divergant realitees that cennot cum inta contect with oneanuthar. If thay did, tha results wood be catastrofic.

Proust smoked corkboard cigarettes rolled between thumb and forefinger, lips scabby with anise and fontanel. He wrote books. He scribbled madly cloistered away in his flat; the windows grouted with rags, legs crossed and latticed, knees bent into a Gordian knot, culottes tucked into the fob of his trousers. He is dead, a virulent reaction to kerosene and short pants.

Rarebit toast lye with Thomas’ liver, skillet-fried with onions and coarse garlic. Charon poling the Liffey, lips smacking, Dante’s lingerie swaying from halyard and dowelling. Oedipus shed not one tear, mother-coitus, saddle sore and humping like Diogenes on PCP. I will give you all my unkingly things, should you move just a hair to the left, as you’re blocking the sun from balming my face, you empyrean scoundrel, king of Moyle’s and Schwartz, thug and rampart, chewer of prepuces and Wriggle’s.

Pencil prehensile, Damsel washerwoman, scullerywhore, impetigo, Tobago, that fucking Winnebago you bought for a song, dirge(y) bastard, scant knowledge of vectors and algebra, logarithms are the devil’s work, Samuel Johnson ate mutton jerky, sicker than Hemmingway’s cow(lick), my proctor, doctor greatcoat soiled with Cooper’s oil and jampot jemmies, silly fuck with a tonsure cut round river runs past and on, patchy cunt with a satang bunnyclip(ity) clop goes the rector’s closet full to brimming with wafers and jamjuice made from plums and civet seeds cowl(ed) from the boot of me daddy’s Buick with the fiveanddime beebonnet on the fader’s mirror image of Mr. T. Mann’s postseminal chappings, sad mixed up Buddenbrooks with the blackest pair a lungs you(will) ever see.

I have a headcheese head, compote of viscera and tripe, an inelegant skullcap replete with tassels and flange: hard Etruscan bone, Tamil perhaps, a bulwark from the scourge of scourges, dispatches, junk-mail, the edicts of a demiurge with misshapen feet and an alphorn simper. I eat what is inedible, malarkey, cesspit chowder, an oleo of other’s castaways and rot. My great uncle Jim refused to eat anything green, vegetables, mint teas, anything gangrenous and wholesome; kales, peas, beans, navy, bunion, chick or Lima. He had one eye, two hands and a shamble foot, a leghorn that he dragged behind him like a wan calf, tongue lolling, dead from heat exhaustion and frenzied saltlick clobber. Screen memories are like that, unsubtle and rife with mercurochrome and brine.

I am the eggman, I eat haggis and roiled oats, and a muddle of foodstuffs that defy gastro-oesophageal description, and if they did, would make you sick and incontinent with bedsores. I am the jam custard that leaks from the labia of your sandwich, a Hoagie rich in iron and samesuch, a rutabaga yanked begrudgingly from the dirt, a child’s chocolate smile, dimples clove with allsorts and wheat germ. I am liquorice root and weasel ole, panoply of fennel branch and Lime Ricky left out too long in the sun, spoiled and clenched round the edges. I am a pat of white butter, a scupper of en-margarine-ated soy oil, the benchmark of a hale and heady diet, a rooster’s cockscomb combed to one side, a clop of brills’ cream moistening the cowlick on the miser of my head, where flea bodies and lice scrabble for not so dear life, their’s a life of entomological chicanery and Manhattan’s without a cherry or frig of lemon. I am all of these but none of these, I am panoply of this and that, that and this, a trope without a tropism, a hat without a hatband, a felt tipped pen quill that scribbles Joe nu says quoi. Good night, and may clods bless.

Again I awake to the mice scurrying in my head, having, as I do, the thoughts of a carbine, a repeater, a twelve-shooter without a silencer. This is mercenary, this fucking Turing Machine, this brainpan scurvy with Gomorrah and Brine-Peter. The Diagnostic manual, Emmanuel, refers to it, this repeating repetition, as Obsessive Compulsive Disorder, more aptly referred to as Obsessive Repulsive disarray: this flowchart with nary a plus or minus, an into or out of, no subtractions or divisions, just one uninterrupted algebraic scribbler, the orange one with the crinkles and inkpot blain on the cover. It took me two years of minus and pluses, into’s and out of’s, to master the basics of mathematical certainty, calculus’, rhomboids, vectors and divisiveness’. Quaaludes and crystal myth, arithmetic savantism, a vagrant’s alms cap, brim side down, collecting numbers, and the fucking mice, scurrying like banshees in the Skinnerian Box of my head.


Is Broken

of hell
and rain
a child’s bed cold
and broken

Shooing Birds

had one leg
that he used for
shooing birds
from the scatter
of his thoughts


I sit
in the murder
of your thoughts
making kites
and parallelograms
without tails
or string


The man in the hat awoke, or so he thought. He felt a crick in his neck, where the clavicle hasps the breastplate, and a dull pain in his upper back, where a vagrant cracked him with a truck axle when he refused to share his soup with him. He coddled himself from bed, the lean-to pole punching his skull, and lit a half-smoked cigarette. The plastic tarpaulin was loose and flapping, a kite without a tail, a windsock in a hurricane, the linoleum curling up from the dirt floor, a fetus left to shrivel outside the womb. He felt an anger swell up in him, a distemper that left him feeling waylaid and ill at ease. He had felt this way before, but not with such urgency, a need to flee the corruption of his life. Life is corrupt, not me, he thought. I am the symptom, not the source of the fester. He searched for another half-smoked cigarette and having found one under a curl of linoleum, a fetal pergola without a tent pole, he lit it with the one still in his mouth, his teeth clenching down hard on the filter, his eyes sunk back deep into the copse of his forehead. Today I will see what I can do, he said to himself; see if the fester can be moiled from the symptom. The tarpaulin flapped madly in the morning wind, jets of last night’s rain funneling off in droves. He scrubbed the cigarette butt into the linoleum and went back to sleep.

Wednesday, August 09, 2006


Why is it, mused the man in the hat, that Beckett has all these crazy people riding bicycles, some with hats, others hatless, and some with weakly legs and trouser bottoms clipped with elastic bands and scotching? They sit on benches with pigeons and Cornish pasty wrappers, thumbing through discarded newspapers and other people’s hastily eaten lunch. Why do they never get where they’re going, and when they do, forget where it was they were going? Do they go anywhere, he thought, anywhere at all? Where do they go when their gone, hopping on their bicycles and peddle madly away? Do they go anywhere but there, where there is nothing but away from where they are, sitting on benches eating spoiled sandwiches and black pickles, thumbing through torn newspapers and pasty wrappers? Where do they go, he pondered, with those garish elastic bands cinched round their trouser bottoms, weakly legs pumping up and down, peddles greased with Brill Cream? Beckett must have been mad himself, he thought, quite mad indeed, making crazy people do crazy things, all that nonsense and peddling, getting nowhere, nowhere at all, nowhere but where they already are, which is nowhere at all, nowhere. The man in the hat, finding the heat quite offensive and unpredictable, sat on a bench and unwrapped his lunch, a pea meal bacon sandwich slathered in hard brown mustard, a stalk of celery, and a rasher of cold white sausage pocked with gristle and rosemary. He ate unhurriedly, the sun burning a hole in the circlet of his head like a magnify glass. The sun is too hot, he muttered to himself, and what’s more, cursedly offensive. Give me a mutton gray sky and the smell of rain in the air any day, I find this sun shininess quite improper and unpleasant.

Tuesday, August 08, 2006


He, the man in the hat, awoke to a dismal gray sky, a bird, a wren or a jackdaw, twilling string and barbed wire into a makeshift nest, his thoughts on soup and curds of day-old bread, kiwi Jell-O and tinned haddock in mariner’s oil. I will meet the morning headlong, he thought, butting my way through the day. I will catapult myself into the day, like a trebuchet weighed heavy with lead; drag moor stretched tight, my legs akimbo to the side-swing. His father would never have approved, as his life had been palliated with fish and gorse, yellow trawl line and cedar crates, and a double-clutch that wobbled beneath his father’s dowelled leg. He would have decried him for foolishness and half-wittedness, and wearing a fedora when a cap better suited his mien and temper. His father’s father, the man in the hat’s grandfather, wore a panama with a hatband stitched into the rattan, and smoked selfsame cigars that smelled of clove and allspice. He, the man in the hat’s father, daubed his knees with mercurochrome to prevent the skin from rubbing off on the dashboard, or creping the window, where his father’s cigar ashes built charcoal nests gout with fish scales. A cobbling of fish smell and creel, and his father’s arm slung out the window like a weather sock, his shirt sleeve flapping madly in the wind, a trail of ash boot blackening the stubble on his unshaven face. It seemed reasonable that he, the man in the hat, the grandson of the man in the hat’s father, should be born with a game leg, a reminder that genetics sees no reason to alter its course or regroup ex folio.


The man in the hat disliked the shamble leg man, yet kept his bête-noir a secret, never once announcing it to the world, the world being, for the man in the hat, a random series of reoccurring events, a bugbear, a return of the repressed, a faintly sketched diorama with bruises and pole marks. ‘Fuck the world’, he thought, ‘I’ll have nothing to do with it’. Displays of anarchy were uncommon for the man in the hat, public displays of lawlessness are unsettling, he thought, so he resorted to inner monologues and mumbling words under his breath. The world grew, expanded, and ballooned up like a corpse, whether he had a hand in it or not. The world was a physiological thing, a cadaver without organs, a cooper’s barrel full of malt and scurvy. He knew this, or thought he knew it, yet things never changed; they simply grew fainter and less savory, loss they’re colour and weight, became meaningless and dioramic. He felt this, this brainlessness, yet was incapable of altering the frame, was unable to push himself out of the way, pull himself free of the cooper’s barrel.

Monday, August 07, 2006


Joe StrummerGlobal a Go-Go(Hellcat Records/Epitaph)
photo by Dennis Kleiman

men el sitioandame tu demo o cd por correo a Av. Cabildo 957, 10 D (1426), Capital Federal, Rep. Argentina, saldr· publicado


He never did, the man in the hat’s father, like fish, or roe, or fish cakes fried in Crisco. He hated the smell of cog oil and grease, and the high frequency whine of an engine revved out of neutral, and cods’ liver and dashboards with sharp curses in the molding. He disliked truck doors that wouldn’t shut properly, and windows taped over with plastic, and the reek of his father’s sweat, his shirts starched with vinegar and Old Spice. He hated all these things, and more; a hatred that left no room for resolution or forgiveness. He hated having to drive round with his father on a crate in the Mercury fish truck, and the door that wouldn’t shut properly, and the passenger’s side window that was taped up and flapped whenever his father stomped on the gas peddle. But most of all he hated fish, and crustaceans, shrimp and crayfish, and smelts and sardines soused in oil, and the strained look on his father’s face when he over-steered and had to pull hard on the wheel to keep the truck from cobbling and careening and kilting like mad. The man in the hat’s father hated most things, but never once did he complain in public, or dress down his father for being a lousy driver. Not once, not ever.

The man in the hat saw the shamble leg man one day, his leg, the shamble legged man’s leg, cursing the pavement like a scream. It reminded him, the shamble leg man’s leg, of a votive candle, the wick knotted into a rosary, a penitent’s drag anchor, rankle with fester and blain. They were the same, but not the same, cut from the same cloth, but with different scissors; the man in the hat was cut out with pinking shears, the shamble leg man with a child’s blunt edged scissors, the kind that leave rounded ends and corners.

Sunday, August 06, 2006


The man in the hat’s father rode along with his father on a crate steeled into the floorboards next to the driver’s seat, his father’s, the man in the hat’s father, pushing the knobs of his knees hard into the dashboard, brads and screws and loose clips of metal cleaving skin from bone. Cods’ tongues and Haddock fins, and airbladders diffuse with seawater, kelp blue with the cold of the ocean floor. The fish truck swerved and coddled through the city streets, fenders cove with dents, the man in the hat’s father holding on for dear life, his knees buckling, the smell of fish, salt and starched shirts assailing his breathing, shallow and pitted, grubbing for a weal of clean air. He never once took his eyes off the road, fearing, if he did, that his father would careen the fish truck into a lamppost or up and over the sidewalk, taking out a shop window, the wheels spinning like dervishes, fish slather with oil and petrol.

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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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