Saturday, October 28, 2006
A pork gray autumnal day, it was, boiled beyond recognition. The sky is the simmer, the effluvia that scum’s the top of the boil. The man in the hat fixed himself a plate of dogs’ meat, skewered with onions, carrots and garlic, and forked it into the gutter of his mouth, a crisper of teeth and salt-tongue. He chewed the meat with great relish, his teeth clacking against the cod of his tongue, blistered with lesions and scabbing. He washed down the meat, a pulpy mash of tissue and sinew, with a mouthful of Marker’s Port, wiping the crumbs from the fop of his trousers with the heel of his free hand. He rolled a cigarette from shag and flake, ends and bits, other’s castaways wet with slaver and spittle, and sucked hard on the bitter root. Should the harshness of the roll embitter his throat, he would suck harder, drawing the smoke through the warren of his nose, a cudgel reddened with intemperance, wind and atman Sherry. Today was yesterday, tomorrow today, an endless beginning, a whole through which one crept, cursing the indifference between the two.
Monday, October 23, 2006
She hiked her skirt up over her thighs, scabby and red with blotches, and rearranged the ribbon in her hair; a red and blue one with a tinsmith’s awl pinched the bow. ‘These are sad times,’ she thought to herself, ‘sad indeed.’ She inspected her feet, shod in Rubbermaid sandals, someone else’s castaways, and smiled, ‘sad times indeed.’ ‘Should the sky fall in I wouldn’t pay it any notice’, she thought, ‘as skies are interchangeable and nobody’s business, not even mine, were I to bother, which I never will’. A gull biffed across the top of her head, feet flapping against the bow in her hair, cackling like a barn cat, a cigarette butt twisted into its beak. She threw her hands up over her head and bawled, ‘away from me you fucking rat, haven’t you anything better to do than muss the bow in my hair?’
Sunday, October 22, 2006
A gray simmering day, cloud bursts and a colic of rain and marrow, such is the day, the man in the hat supposed, a boil in a same such pot. No, the sky is a leprosarium and each cloud a severed limb, a necrotic fall-away; each nose, finger, joint, a reminder of nature’s un-heavenly authority, rot and blister, a graveyard of molt and scurvy. The beggar woman harried behind the Post Office, lifted her skirts and peed; a cockscomb of urine jangling against the brickwork, her eyes pressed tight, a rifling continence. When she was a girl, a farthing child, her mother slapped her cheek for urinating in the park, her skirt pillared with urine, the sky a robin’s egg blue, so she remembered. Her father, whom she seldom saw, was busy living out his misery in a rooming house drunken on pot wine and Listerine. She imagined her life as a circus, clowns and freaks, a boy who looked like a dog, a woman with a beard, a strongman with bumpy arms, children sucking on cotton-candy and caramel-apples, and her father swigging pot sherry from a plastic cup, his eyes crossed in on themselves, a nose like a pared carrot, a fancy woman at his side.
Wednesday, October 18, 2006
Could there have been a boy in the hat, well of course, yes indeed. As all men in hats are preceded by boyhood, it seems reasonable that a boy in a hat precedes a man in a hat. There is a natural regress that starts from birth and ends with demise, the cessation of breath and life; in between conception and demise lies the in between, the place where hats and umbrellas exist, the place of beginnings and endings. So it stands to reason that the boy in the hat preceded the man in the hat, a natural regress from beginning to middle to end. Remember, if you recall, that I am simply remembering this for someone who wishes to remain anonymous, without beginning, middle or end. In this manner, and this manner alone, regress and progress are one in the same, cut from the same broadcloth, so to speak, and can be interchanged with one another with grammatical impunity.
Tuesday, October 17, 2006
A blue sky crouching in the barrows of a whore’s skirts, some skies are different than others, mused the man in the hat, a faint simulacrum of sky, a sky within a sky, a skinless sky. Clouds were the god’s way of inducing order into the disorder of skies, a way of making sense of cobalt and cerulean, gunmetal blue and Prussian, indigo and azure blue, blue, so he thought. Umbrellas were useless things, he considered, especially when used to ward off rain and hail from the clutter of one’s head. Hats were much less cumbersome, as they required little property or use of one’s hands, thereby allowing for free access to things and people that lay in one’s way, such as alms men and harridans, and men with shamble legs and three-legged dogs with mange and cockle-eyes. Walking is less enjoyable, he concluded, when the umbrella, which is nothing more than a coleus of twisted spokes and battened cloth, had to be manhandled into submission, an unruly kite with an equally unruly tail. He much preferred the simple hat, a boater or a fedora tarweed with oilcloth, quid into place with scotching or a safety pin, to the umbrella, which was nothing more than a vexing encumbrance, a tailless kite with little regard for one’s desiccation or wellbeing.
Saturday, October 14, 2006
‘You’re a sorry bastard,’ he said. ‘I seen you ripping other guy’s stuff off, like they’re shoes and hats, stuff like that, I saw you doing it behind they’re backs when they was asleep or looking the other way. You’re a fine one, you are, a real champion, a fucking all-time champion. Stealing when they weren’t looking, behind they’re backs, when they was asleep or looking the other way. Sad sorry bastard, that’s what you are, an all-time champion bastard.’ The alms man patted his trouser pockets for a match, screaming in defiance of fire and sulfur, tobacco, the morning sky, ‘for the love of it, I can’t go on, not like this, without a matchstick or striker.’ The sky opened its great maw, jacking rain and wither-leaves into the still morning air, nature’s distemper and fury. The alms man shifted his weight, the seat of his trousers scouring the sidewalk, and closed his eyes, ‘this is how I live,’ he said, ‘like an animal, a brute, such unreason and belittlement’.
Thursday, October 12, 2006
A cooper brown sky, a menace of rain, a pilfering; such is how the day began for the shamble leg man, against his will and judgment to the contrary. Soon the leaves would be oven-ready, kiln dried and crumbled, a crematorium of wither and decline. Sheep queued to the slaughter; such were the clouds that curded the sky, whey marrow, ox-mallet, throat-slitters, mincemeat for the soup kitchen and Waymart, spoons clacking, tabletops dross with spittle and throw-up.
The alms man lived in a world of ought to’s and oughtn’t, and as he felt that the two were synonymous, doing one or the other amounted to the same thing. He, the alms man, had deducted an ethic of ought to, doing away with moral imperatives and duty. Judgments were reserved for common things, food and potables, where best to sleep or how to steal something without getting caught. Anything beyond these were deemed secondary, collateral to the common good, which was the good that was common to him and him alone. Not common goods shared in common, but rather discommoded goods for the common good of one person, the alms man. For example, a curd of day-old bread, a rye or pumpernickel, lets say, was considered good for just one person, and in this way a common good for the good of the one person, a goodness common to the greater goodness of one person in common with himself, the alms man. In this manner the ought, any ought, was a common ought, an ought to common to one person in common with himself. The alms man, being in common with himself, and thereby in common to himself and himself alone, was actually a good unto himself, a common good synonymous with the greater good, which was a common good in common with the good of one person, the alms man. Anything beyond that was uncommon and secondary, a collateral good that was no good at all. The alms man had this all worked out on an abacus he had found in the rubbish behind the Sears store behind the Waymart next to the alleyway that led to the Mercury Fish Company, and with a pencil he had pilfered from the Five and Dime on a Saturday.
Sunday, October 08, 2006
Much as I might, I will never understand the world, its comings and goings, all this frittering and lolling about. Perhaps these are things not to be understood, to be restricted to common sense and reason, but a measure of the bifidity of the world, its wont for order and coherence. One end appended to the other, a caudal disaffection, a theme without a variance, a leitmotif without a motif, a buckling in on itself, an implosion of order and common sense. Why but why, he asked himself, the alms man did, do things happen when they shouldn’t? Why it is that one thing is another and another, another? Perhaps my judgments are buckled, falling in on themselves, a leitmotiv for nothing, a frittering about.
Saturday, October 07, 2006
A yellow surgical antiseptic, for the prevention of fester and septicemia of the glottis, this is how the evening sky represented itself to the shamble leg man. Why, he thought, is it that cats are not dogs and evening skies are never the same twice? Why does the sun shine on a cloudy day, and why does one tree grow taller than another? Where is the logic and reason in this, he thought, the cause that never seems to have an effect? Why such hooliganism and irreverence, when a simple nod of agreement would suffice, even were one’s head blain with tics and lice, or the sky looked the same twice and one tree grew just like another? The senselessness of it all confused him, addled what little thought he had, what few moments of clarity he was capable of riving from the scullery of his mind. This is absurd, he thought, absurd indeed. Who lives like this, he mused, with such mean spiritedness, such improper reasoning, a fool, a coward, a dilettante, no less. This thinking is foolish, not worth the time and bother, he thought, against his better judgment, against his desire not to think thoughts. I will be done with it, he exclaimed, be done with it for good. I have better things to do, after all, things that have a purpose, a meaning, have some reason and sense, make sense and have a sense of common sense. He struck his leg against the curb, his ankle buckling into the harp of his foot, and proceeded up the sidewalk, his face trove and addled with improper thoughts, thought by a dilettante, a coward, a common fool.
Friday, October 06, 2006
The man in the hat met another man in a hat, a Papal circlet with a quail’s feather in the hatband and a cross pinned to the brim. He, the man in the hat, asked the other man in the other hat why he chose a hat that looked more like a miter than a common hat, such as the fedora or the panama, or the top hat or the bowler, or the woolen toque, which, he added, is common to knockabout’s and bootblacks. The other man in the hat, the circlet hat with the quail’s feather and cross, said, after clearing his throat through his nose, ‘because I am the king of my kingdom, the fief of my fiefdom, lord and master of my sovereignty’. ‘I see’, said the man in the hat, and continued on down the sidewalk, his gamy leg trebled into his trouser leg, his hat, the gray felt fedora, tied round his chin with a length of child’s string, in case a bluff of wind or a shim of gelling came caroming into his head, or it rained like Noah and Lot, in which case he would affix his rain-cap to his fedora with a scotching of tape and a pin, which he stowed in his pocket just in case such a chance of happenstance were to occur, which it might.
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