Monday, September 25, 2006


The morning sky was as black as a murder of crows, so the man in the hat chose a rain cap and an umbrella with a spiny stem piece that fit firmly in his hand. He walked out into the rain, overstepping a puddle that had formed in the night, and struck his leg against the wet pavement. He kept his gamy leg at a distance from the good one, to discourage a conspiracy, which he knew from experience would result in a twofold limp. The sky opened up its great maw and shouted rain, the string he used to fasten his rain cap around his chin cutting into the goiter of his neck, a drizzle of spout rain, which had collected on the roughing of his lean-to over night, splashing into his eyes, his nose and along the cove of his face. Today is no different than the one that preceded it, he thought, no better, no worse, just a continuation of one unprecedented daylong day. When the day’s lost they’re precedence, the man in the hat knew that the night would soon follow, then the in between times, hours, minutes, seconds and then the whole thing would collapse in on itself, creating a void, an emptiness where space and time and matter should be. This thought saddened him, but not enough to set a precedence of sadness and negative thinking, no, those he left to the alms woman and the shamble leg man, for they knew no better and couldn’t be expected to think otherwise.

Monday, September 18, 2006


‘What’s the bother, man, seems to me you got your hat on back to front, silly fucker’. The shamble leg man frowned and laid his hat on the pavement next to the clochard’s alms cap. ‘Silly, silly fucker, you are, damn right, I’d say’. The shamble leg man took a pencil from his inside coat pocket, sharpened to a fine point with a paring knife, and smiled. He raised the pencil, pointing the sharpened end at eyelevel with the clochard, and smiled again, this time with a sneer hidden beneath a masked indifference to beggars and silly fuckers. ‘We’ll see who the silly, silly fucker is,’ he said, raising the pencil over his head. The clochard, now aware that his invectives had drawn out the worst in the shamble leg man, his ire and discontent, swung his left leg over his right and pushed his alms cap under the seat of his trousers. ‘If your going to poke me, ‘he announced, ‘best do it quick, cause if I catches your arm, I’ll drive that silly pencil up your fucking hawsehole.’ The shamble leg man turned to fact the clochard head on; his eyes two black beads in the clove of his brow, and smiled, this time with teeth brown and rosined with tobacco chuff and Catholic Porter, ‘give way,’ he said, ‘or I’ll be forced to give you the give way.’ The clochard raised his hand, a briar root twisted into a scout’s knot, and smiled. ‘You think you’re the only one with a pencil?’ he said, eyes trained on the Shamble leg man’s raised hand, the brim of his alms cap sticking out from beneath the seat of his trousers. ‘If worse comes to worse,’ the clochard said, ‘I’ll kick the faith right out of you, then steal your wallet and hat, even though I find hats, yours in particular, abhorrent.’ The shamble leg man pocketed the pencil, pulling the lapels of his greatcoat tight round his chest, and smiled, his eyes black with hatred, sockets bloodied with disgust, and turned up the sidewalk, the clochard yowling after him, his cap vacant of coins and alms.

Friday, September 15, 2006


The alms woman awoke to a gray marrow sky; striking a match against the Braille of her foot, she lit a half-spent cigarette, took a pull on the brown filter, and exhaled a plume of blue-gray smoke. She had slept the sleep of the restless, awash in a dreamscape drone with faint whispers and muttering. Her memories, those she still had courage to remember, were of beatings and humiliations, of nights spent in a hovel, legs cloven beneath her skirts, a buzzing in the hollow of her ears. Her father, when not laboring over tallies and ledger entries, ate pigs’ tails and tripe, washing down the placental mush with brown ales and porter. He seldom spoke to his daughter, and when he did, with a voice that boomed off her chest like a mortar rocket, his eyes bloody with missed opportunities and hate. Since the untimely passing of his wife, the alms woman’s mother, he took to hatred and drink like a man bent on destruction, his own, and anyone within striking distance of his distemper and brutality, a carnage of broken bones and faces reddened with the back of his ledger-man’s hand. The alms woman retreated into the tally of her own thoughts, a place of fear and cowering, where she found little solace in the thought that once he was dead, she would be freed of his cruelty, his need to destroy the things in his life, those things that once held meaning and purpose, existed outside his hatred of them.

Tuesday, September 12, 2006


The shamble leg man took a sulk off his cigarette, smoke issuing from the hole in his face, his eyes squinting to make sense of things. He seldom made sense of things and preferred it that way, as it made his life simple, less ambiguous, easier to mind and tolerate. He knew the alms woman, having met here at a rally for the homeless and destitute. He knew all too well that she kept a paring knife beneath her skirts, sharpened to a fine edge on the strop of her leg, where the skin was leathery and tough, a graft of stitch marks and scaring, tissue crosshatched and serrate.


These are the words of a madman, lunacies. A life not quite lived, a lifeless life. A gamecock held aloft in a whetstone hand, rubbed raw and scalloped with spoil and labor. A man in a wide-brimmed hat, legs gamy and spurred, tendons knotted into a toreador’s bolo, gamboling step by step into the fetter of night, marked by irrational distortions and stuttering. These are the thoughts of a madman, a lunatic, head cupped in the palms of down turned hands, a fretting, a gibbeting, a ferric alchemy of slag and oven spoil.

Thursday, September 07, 2006


Having teeth is a pleasure, one not afford to threadworms and the downtrodden. The alms woman, though not a threadworm, has acquired threadworm characteristics, a needling unsettledness, a poaching, a refried beanery of bland foodstuffs and mouthwash. She is connected to disconnectedness, to a nothingness, a barely anything emptiness, a nonbeing, a being nothingness. All being is being becoming nothing, a becoming nothing, a nothingness of being. We never are, but are always becoming, coming into being and nothingness, a nonbeing, a being of nothing, nothingness of being, a nonbeing nothingness of being, nothing.

Tuesday, September 05, 2006


The man in the hat met a woman, a harridan, who had in turn met the shamble leg man, all three having met each other unbeknownst to the other. The man in the hat met the harridan, the woman, while out strolling, ambling up sidewalks and down alleyways, through tiny porticos and lanes no bigger then a wren’s neck. He noticed her out of the side of his eye, a washerwoman in her slough, crouching amidst the workaday hustle and bustle. He approached, his gamy leg weakened from ambling, and stood to one side of her, not wanting to upset her or cause a kafuffle. He knew from past experience that a street hag, a harridan, with stump-worn teeth and an alms basket was not someone to be trifled with, a person not to be pushed beyond reasonable limits, whatever those limits might be. ‘Might I have a minute with you?’ he inquired, the woman shifting her weight, palms wrenched into the asphalt for leverage. ‘Why not?’ she said, eyes trained on the man in the hat’s walking stick, waiting to see if he might not shift his own weight from one foot to the other. 'This might sound odd and insincere,' he said. ‘Yes, if you feel the need to, yes, go ahead, yes’ the woman said, the palms of her hands hidden beneath the barrows of her skirt. ‘Could I buy you some teeth, dentures, perhaps, new ones?’ The man in the hat, fearing a reprisal, or worse, a sound beating, swung his walking stick across the front of his chest and shifted his weight from his bad leg to his good one. The woman, the washerwoman, pulling at the hem of her skirt, a thread having come loose and unraveling into her lap, smiled, a black hole where whiteness should be, and said, ‘why the hell not, these ones aren’t worth a crock. Can’t even chew a heel of bread, alignments all off.’ She pulled her hands from beneath her skirt and stuck them out, palms up, fingers twisted like briar root, and added, ‘and what’s left of them ain’t much good neither.’

The man in the hat reached into his greatcoat pocket and retrieved his billfold, out of which he took a white card with the name, address and phone number of a dentist, not his, but someone else’s, someone he once knew, was acquainted with, but knew no longer, had become unacquainted with. ‘I’ll make an appointment for you,’ he said, holding the card out for her to see. ‘I don’t need a checkup,’ she said, her hands receding under her skirt. ‘No,’ the man in the hat said, ‘I’ll make an appointment for you to get new teeth, dentures, perhaps.’ ‘Oh,’ she said, ‘new teeth, dentures, I see, yes, go ahead, yes.’ The man in the hat replaced the card in his billfold, gingerly closed it, and slid it back into the pocket of his greatcoat. ‘I’ll come by, say next week, same time, and give you the money for the teeth, dentures, whichever the dentist thinks is right for you.’ The woman smiled, a Black Cat chewing gum smile, and curtly waved him off, as the office building across the street was emptying for the day, and the woman, the very same one who had once met the shamble leg man, didn’t want to miss the opportunity to fill her alms basket to overflowing with coppers and cheap silver coins.

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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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