Monday, December 31, 2007

Melvin Douglas' Shirt

(Dec 31/07)

I have never seen The Valley of the Dolls from start to finish. However I have seen Hud from start to finish and was particularly drawn to the costume-dresser’s choice of stovepipe slacks and slick cowboy attire. Melvin Douglas was especially charming, even with his priggish choice of western shirt; I am not one for bolo-ties, ascots or lariat-stitched pockets. Let it be known that I have never owned nor worn a lariat-stitched western shirt, nor have I a predilection to do so, ever! In The Valley of the Dolls one might conjecture that at least one character wore a lariat-stitched western shirt or most certainly would have had it been written into the script. Seeing as I have never seen the film from start to finish, or have the slightest desire to do so, my conjecturing is pure paucity.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Calving Season

da drew a bead
jowl to shoulder
then backed off as the calf’s
head fell, calving season
came late that year, too
late for prayers or
da’s temper

The Story of My Living

(Dec 29/07)

I think about Moyle’s more often than not; too much so, actually, yes…too, too much. I am thinking about them now, this very moment, but not with great force of concentration or fitness of mind, that I leave for other thoughts, other things worth thinking about. Thoughts are like soiled hankies; snotrags balled up and shoved deep into the rectos of a pocket. One should always have a spare pocket stitched into the lining of one’s coat, it makes the pocketing and retrieval of snotrags less time-absorbing, allowing one to dillydally at one’s will and with the rarest impunity. The absorption of time is a menace, not worthy of the time it took to write: menace. Godforsaken godlessness whereby the days pass one after the other unnoticed. The menace of it all…yes, the menace…unthinkable indeed.

(Dec 26/07)

Another porcine grey day: the day abutting yesterday, the day of Christ’s birth. I have two new books to read, Elfriede Jelinek’s ‘Greed’ and Haruki Murakami’s ‘After Dark’. I have stories to tell, but not yet, not before I live out this story, the story of my living.

(Dec 27/07)

My plants are dying a slow waterless death, wilting and curling up brown at the edges, such a shame indeed.

Giacomo Joyce

'I hold the websoft edges of her gown and drawing them out to hook them I see through the opening of the black veil her lithe body sheathed in an orange shift. It slips its ribbons of moorings at her shoulders and falls slowly: a lithe smooth naked body shimmering with silvery scales. It slips slowly over the slender buttocks of smooth polished silver and over their furrow, a tarnished silver shadow [...]. ' [GJ 7]


Desiccated Fruit and Vectors

‘I hate Christmas pudding’ said the alms man. ‘Lemony sauce, currants and desiccated fruit…and harder than vectors…’ ‘…and into’s’ added the harridan. ‘The trick is in the pudding…’ ‘…yes, in the pudding indeed’ ‘You obviously have a taste for pudding’ ‘I do at that I do’ replied the harridan hurriedly. ‘It looks like rain…’ ‘…indeed, so it does…rain in sheets, wouldn’t you say?’ ‘Harder than vectors and into’s’ ‘Much harder indeed, much so indeed’. A shoulder of grey sky pushed its way onto the horizon, a cupper’s vector, out of then into then minus a vector or two.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Pudding and Threes

At Christmastime Dejesus hid behind the Waymart across from the aqueduct not wanting to add any further confusion and tomfoolery to an already confusing day. Christmas day he spent poaching the dustbins looking for castoffs and barely-eaten food. Anyone whose name was so close to Jesus’ had to take precautions, especially someone with a jaunty manner and a carpenter’s belt. The spirit of Christmas came in a green bottle with a crone’s head on the label. Dejesus had a fondness for Christmas pudding with tart lemony sauce, never once finding a castoff or barely-eaten curd of festive pudding in the dustbin behind the Cantor’s bakery or the trash beside the Seder’s grocery.

I am Sigmund Freud; I am not the cuckold Jung or the clubfooted Alfred A. I am in threes, a tripartite triple trinity. A pork-shoulder grey Christmas Eve day, neither either or, or, or either, just a simpering other, other.

Christmas Eve Day, Day

(Dec 24/07)

It is Christmas Eve day, 3:58am to be precise, which I seldom am, precise, not 3:58. It is raining to beat the band, a hard sleety driving rain, a rainy-rain rain. One must do algebra with a hammer, as with vectors, into’s, out-of’s and minuses. It is now 4:05am Christmas Eve day, this rainy raining day, the day before Christmas day day.

(Dec 23/07)

I slept upon a button last night, a divot driven into the cup of my hipbone bone. When I was an unreasonable undergraduate I wrote a short story about a boy who was conceived in the backseat of a sedan, one of the upholstery buttons jagging into his mother’s belly, leaving an imprint on his forehead at birth.

Seeing People Close Up

The man in the hat knew of Omar Killingbock but had never met him in person, nor seen him up close or eating. He had seen Dejesus up close, once when he was eating a rather sloppily made sandwich, and another time when he, Dejesus, was hiking his trousers up round the piggery of his hips. He made it a rule to never see a person more than once, and in the event that he did, he would vanish the second seeing from his memory. He hated anything in repetition, be it numbers, as in counting to a hundred, especially more than once, blue skies, people and lapdogs on long tethers. He disliked liking things he disliked, and would rather poke himself in the eye with a red hot skewer, the type used for spitting meat, than repeat anything more than once.

He, Dejesus, had a fondness for lazy-eyed women and those with one leg shorter than the other. He liked to watch a short leg skipping to catch up with a longer one, or lazy eyes crossing inwards, pupils dashing madly from side to side. He preferred slightly plump women and some not so plump but stout enough to catch his eye.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

John Wayne's Horse

(Dec 22/07)

I wanna be you’re dog! What better way to greet the day, this pork-shoulder grey day? I am listening to New Model Army, a much underrated Brit band from the eighties. Social conscious seems to be a rarity these days, so if I can help to instill one, perhaps two, in my students I will feel all the much better, at least for having tried to do so. One must do philosophy with a hammer, not a putty-knife. Life is friction and tension, not fiddle-faddle and plum pudding. Apply a warm compress to the exposed area and count to one-thousand as fast as you can. One must always be on the lookout for bad reasoning and quick-fixes, these too will pass, unnoticed one hopes. I prefer glum-pudding with a tart lime sauce and bitter sweet treacle. ‘I fell off John Wayne’s horse; it took two takes’.

Omar Killingbock

Omar Killingbock swore up and down he never saw the legless man running in circles like a rabid dog. When asked whether he knew anyone who had, he replied angrily ‘dog is as dog do’ and ran willy-nilly away. That morning a jackdaw skipjacked across the sideways backwards. ‘Jackdaw is as jackdaw does’ said the skipjack snippily. Omar disliked his last name and would rather have been called Boons or Van Pelt. But as this was unlikely, especially for someone called Omar, he seldom used his last name unless tact and personal aplomb demanded that he do so. He kept a shim tucked up under the cup of his chin to prevent the snow and sleet from making entrance into the shallows of his brain, stem and all. A family secret passed from father to son.

And the Pariah Award Goes To...

(Dec 21/07)

I woke up again today, surely a good sign as signs go. I feel rather surly, sort of surly-esque I suppose, just almost. I am now officially a pariah, an accolade of meritorious merit. The Ottawa family shelter I was contracted out to by a social service agency I dare not mention for fear of reprisal and a sanguine nose, told me, in no uncertain terms I might add, that I was not allowed on the premises, inside the building or otherwise near, next to or somewhere around the building proper. My class and I arrived by sledge and barrow to deliver a van-load of toys, gifts, clothing, foodstuffs and sweets for the children and they’re families. My class spent a month dressing together a basketful of holiday cheer, they’re gift of hope and love to those less fortunate. Last April I had a letter to the editor published in a local newspaper. I was told by my employer that I was never, ever to write, compose, think up and submit another letter without first garnering they’re editorial approval. Here, for your reading displeasure, and for those with a red-pencil, is the letter that create the kafuffle:

I work in a family shelter helping run an after-school program for children living there, some with single mothers fleeing abuse, others recent immigrants to Canada, and a percentage of which can't find affordable housing in Ottawa.

One mother who has two toddlers told me that she was offered an apartment, but that it was infested with cockroaches. She added that if she doesn't accept her 'first offer', she goes down the waiting list. Another mother, who has a 7 year old autistic daughter, went to visit her apartment before moving in and discovered that windows didn't close, there was a mould problem and the apartment hadn't been repainted. Eventually the windows were repaired, but nothing was done to address the other health-issues.

These two situations are more common than not, yet the city of Ottawa offers what would be considered substandard housing in the private sector. I am blessed, more than I can express, to be able to work with the children and parents I that I do, but see day in and day out the persistent struggle they are up against; not only with housing, but the underlying current of racism that exists in Ottawa; one many think is non-existent, nothing compared to Toronto or Montreal at best.

I challenge city council, and readers for that matter, to donate to the two family shelters in Ottawa, clothing, food, time, etc, and see for themselves how these children are forced to live. Add to this the recent news that the Conservative government said it is putting 2 billion dollars into space technology and the point becomes more glaring: we can't house, feed and care for those living on this planet, yet we thoughtlessly hand out money for the chance at doing so on another.

Contrary to what some critics say, many of whom have never set foot in a family shelter, child poverty exists, and we as Canadians’ have done little to ensure that it doesn't. Shame on our leaders, shame.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Phallic Impropriety (Dec 20/07) Etc

A prickly-pear restless sleep; how best to describe missed-consciousness. Sleeping has become a problem: the carousel of sleep. Either I lay awake scolded with thought or sleep like a log (particle-board, press-board, stolen shims and wainscoting). The cursed ploughman, where be he, silly so-and-so? Just this moment, perhaps a second ago, I looked at the wall of infamy: Beckett, Joyce, Nietzsche, Freud and Kafka, my comfort and bane. A life without literature is a mistake, a half-life, a missed-life, a life lived in abstentia.

I am smoking three-week-old Djarum cigarillos. They (these black sticks) taste like dried fen, Indonesian spore and dung. The scarab beetle digs long deep winding trenches into the sides of fen-rolls, such mischievous brig-a-bract. Enjoy a cool refreshing smoke; Sweet Caps are a man’s man smoke. Enjoy a bellows-full, easy on the throat and smooth as a calf’s tongue. It is 10:57 pm and still no sight or hither of the ploughman. Such incompetence should be scolded and laid bare. This morning’s analysis was worthy of a Freudian cigar, cocksfoot and phallic impropriety. Time for bed, abed I go.

Coalman's Briefs and Alliterations

(Dec 20/07)

2:05 in the morning and here I sit, in my druthers and coalman’s briefs, writing boorish bract (a modified leaf that arises from the stem at the point where the flower or flower cluster develops. Although often green and inconspicuous, bracts may sometimes be large and brightly colored, as in a poinsettia). Nary a nard (a perennial aromatic plant of the valerian family. Flowers: pinkish purple. Native to: Himalayan range. Latin name: Nardostachys jatamansi) nor dillydally dalliance; nary a one, no never one nor nary! My swelling swollen glands have senesced, a rather fancy swordword for flattening out into the manse of my jawcup. Of course this (this) makes no sense, this misuse of senesced and balder. Perhaps a dash is due, but nary have I a dash nor a dolt nor a dillydally dromedary. Alliterations are a dime a halfdozen, so much martyrdom and schoolbag chivalry, enough to make a farad (the SI unit of capacitance equal to that of a capacitor carrying one coulomb of charge when a potential difference of one volt is applied) cough up and out a blister of lung and allspice. I have analysis at 11:00 Amerindian, so best fall willynilly abed. The newsproper promised a stern unwavering ploughman’s shove, as the turret aside me window is higher than a rat’s ass, somehow higher yet.

Journal of Journaling

(Dec 13/07)

I am at it again, scribbling down my thoughts, my things, these things in themselves. This cold December afternoon, I nary make it home without fainting dead (frozen) in my tracks. Lazarus cold: colder than the northern-most pole cold, perhaps colder yet. It is dear Charlotte’s birthday today; fifteen years pass so quickly.

(Dec 15/07)

I have swollen glands. My glands are swelling swollen. I made every effort to stay abed, glands swelling swollen, hipbone chaffing wearied wearily. I have an essay to put the final touches to this morning, my take on Lonergan and Freud, two unlikely bedfellows, an unconscious consciousness that has no beginning, but simply an in between.

(Dec 19/07)

A whirling-dervish sort of day: by any stretch of the imagination. There is a windswept turret of snow at the foot of my window; cursed ploughman hasn’t made his weekly drive-by. If Nietzsche was correct (and I’m inclined to believe he was, always!), I am doomed to a most punishing eternal-reoccurrence. Live you’re life as if you would have to live it over and over again ad infinitum! I suppose swollen swelling glands are a pittance to pay for a faulty eternal-reoccurrence. ‘One must still have chaos in oneself to give birth to a dancing star’. (Frederick Nietzsche) I’ve had my fill of chaos, yet still I seek more.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Pail Water and Corkwood

He was at odds with anything even; vectors and line-drawings, even-sided triangles and bootstrapping. Most days began without him noticing, they simply fell one in front of the other, an unbroken line of same-such days. Those days of the month that fell on even numbers, the 22nd or 28th to name but two, he stayed abed, burying his head beneath the covers, one eye on the clock the other half-closed and weepy. When he was a boy his mother cinched the bed-linens up over the knob of his chin, then tucked them in round the swain of his hips, his arms pressed in tight to his sides, palms upturned and sweaty. His ma sang softly sweetly, her voice plucking at the strings of his malnourished heart. The dog made a bed at the foot of his bed, its ears sticking up like corkwood shims, pail-water dripping from the warp of its dog’s mouth.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Piñata del Amore

‘Piñata dormouse dray’ bellowed the harridan ‘Alabaster salamander quay’. She spoke in dissonant bellows when she felt off-balance or when the sky chirped arias in the cones and struts of her ears. ‘Surely a Whisky sour is in order’ said the alms man sourly. ‘Piñata del amore’ chimed the harridan sweetly. ‘These mutton gray days are unkindly…’ ‘And none too oft’ added the harridan softly sweetly.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Thermodynamics and Benzodiazepines

Dejesus wore a Sherman Oakes hat festooned with baubles and dice. Sherman Oakes hats were a rarity, so Dejesus wore his with peacock pride. He wore it the day the half-blind woman threatened to chop off her daughter’s head for acts of ungodliness’ and thievery. He wore it the day after he bought his first back-issue of Popular Mechanics, paying homage to tinkers and smithies. He wore his Sherman Oakes hat when he thought he might feel fearful and discombobulated, regardless of how things turned out in the end. The Sherman Oakes Hat Co. was housed in a coalman’s shack behind the Waymart across from the aqueduct. Dejesus’ father cleared the snow from the laneway of the Sherman Oakes Hat Co. with a coal-shovel and a whisk-broom. Old Smolder’s cheese is best serve at room temperature on a wheat-thin or a rye biscuit. If one prefers Old Smolder’s in slices, a Melba or a Porkers’ Crisp might be better served.

A crones’ gray morning sky facing skyward and a nod to the left: simple thermodynamics; Benzodiazepines make for a delectable late-hour corrective. Cantors make extraordinary pickles, brine-heavy and whey-mucky. (Apply a warm compote of Beeves’ mustard and Ives’ soda to the raised area and count to one-thousand leeside-wards) ‘These people think in circles, Beeves and Ives there, a rarity of grammar and compote I’d say’. ‘He who says this says nothing’ said the alms man madly. Dejesus’ father swept snow from the steps of the Smolder’s Cheese Co. with a whisk-broom and a dustbin-tray. He liked a tart Whisky sour with a gimlet onion served over crushed ice and egg-whites. ‘Sweeping snow can get the best of you’ he said. ‘Nothing a tart Whisky sour won’t put the bends to’.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Fiddlesticks and Lye

The almsman fell into oncoming traffic, his alms-cap clutched to his side. He slipped on a greasy stain on the sideways left behind by an incontinent dog or another almsman. In the nick of time he found centre again, never once loosing the clutch of his alms-cap. ‘Fiddlesticks and lye…and a lapdog with incurable mange’. The sideways was a scurry with dogs and people, too many and too few of each. ‘I recall smelling skunkweed whilst wiling away one rather pleasant midday noon lazing lazily on a bench in a park in a city the name of which escapes me, truly it does…I had a poultry sandwich with Beeves’ hard mustard and old Smolder’s cheese, slices, as was to my preference’. The alms man often recalled such thoughts, thoughts he’d once thought and promptly forgotten.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Author's Aside

Author’s aside: I haven’t a clue what I’m up to, where I’m going or where I’ve been, or for how long. My tenure on this whirling ball of mordant desire is tenuous at best, gathered round a mischief-maker’s false sense of entitlement. Allow me the displeasure of sweet-water and bendable straws, that at least I have some entitlement over, if anything at all. Goodly night, one and many, and may the sky not fall careening into the top of your head.

Repeat Ad Nauseum

A salmon-poacher gray sky, a man eating a salmon sandwich on a seeded cassock bun, another day in another park in another city: germs. Please wash you’re hands threw and through until squeaky clean, repeat until fatigue sets in. Eat a mouthful of dirt, a Cantors’ pickle and an apple a day at bay. (Repeat until fatigue sets in). Poke a pipsqueak straw into a flaccid sac of juice, sip, sip. From a fair-view one can see the idiocy in half-cut straws and sweet-water. Too much sweet-water causes diarrhea. Draw a diorama with a circle and a square in the middle, repeat until fatigue sets in. The Cantors make horrible pickles. A leeside cocker sits sitting on a bench in a park in the city by the apple a day by the bay, a tasty noonday smack, indeed, indeed. (Pickled bunions never seem as they seem, salty brine and aspic). The shamble leg man felt a stitch in his side that never seemed to go away. After thinking such thoughts, thoughts without meter or rhyme, he often felt a stitch in his side, his leeside side. Such is life (he thought) repeat until fatigue sets in.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

A Tasty Noonday Snack

In a park sitting on a bench in every city is a man eating a sandwich, an onion and a Cantors’ pickle. (Bubo plague, some say, simple arithmetic). (Should this prove a failure, which it will regardless of one’s protestations to the contrary, proceed to fatigued, thereby putting the cough in the backwardness of one’s thoughts). Repeat until the process is fully processed; repast until the gut is full to brimming with corpse-gas, brimming full with Bubo. In every park on a bench in every city is a man whose stomach is full to brimming with corpse-gas. Corpse-gaseous; Bubo-gas gaseous stomach full to brimming with protestations and contraries; repeat until fatigue sets in, then some. An apple at bay equals nothing contrary, so say they whoever they may be. In every park on a bench on the sunny leeside of the park sits a man eating a bologna sandwich, an onion and a Cantors’ pickle.

Apply a cold compress to the raised area, repeat until the cows come home. (Kick a tin can with your left foot until the can reaches a raised level not in excess of 27½ meters or rods, the choice is yours). Eat a mouthful of dirt, a mouthful of sand for those with an allergy to loom, topsoil or greasy blacktop mud. (Repeat until fatigue sets in, or an apple at bay). The shamble leg man thought dirge-thoughts, thoughts so off-kilter that were he to think them ad nausea he would surely go mad, mad indeed. A Cantors’ pickle a day keeps the apple at bay. In every park a leeside cocker. I brag you’re pardon dear sir, braggart that I am. When in doubt apply a warm poultice to the raised area, cocks’-soup and onions make for a tasty noonday snack.

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cantors' Pickles and Bologna

In the park on a bench sat a man with one eye and a trebled chin. He was eating a bologna sandwich slathered with Gibbs’ hard mustard, a wedge of onion and a Cantors’ pickle. He ate slowly, methodically with small even bites. He took a bite of the sandwich then a nibble of onion followed with a small bit of pickle. He repeated this series until he finished eating everything, sandwich, onion and pickle. He drank plum brandy from a hipflask he kept on a toggle-strap attached to his belt-loop. He did this everyday without fail never once changing the order or sequence. He felt more at ease when he could portend the next thing or action in the series without having to concern himself with extra variables or add-ons. He disliked unknown things, things he had no prior knowledge of or control over. He left nothing to chance, not even the beating of his heart. Everything had an orderliness that was integral to the whole, a part of the whole or parts of a whole.

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Saccharine Posy

The whore’s glove lay beneath the park bench. The legless man picked it up and held it aloft, his hands shaking. The glove’s saccharine posy filled him with forbiddingness, a feeling of not being there but almost there. He remembered a toy gunboat he had as a child painted bright red and silver, the metal cold against his fingers, the colours so bright they reddened his eyes. He now understood the importance of the whore’s glove, its thingness. The glove was part of the toy gunboat, the part that moved it. The legless man (who went about without mittens) tucked the whore’s glove into his pant’s pocket and went about his way, his way about in the world.

On his way about the world he came across a woman walking a small dog, a man with one eye and a child playing hopscotch. He felt for the whore’s glove, and feeling its temper on the tips of fingers fell back into a quiet sadly mood. He stood astride the catacombs, feet troubling the fresh dirt piled in front of him. ‘I have a whore’s glove in my pant’s pocket’ he whispered. A child’s gunboat floated atop the pond in the middle of the park, a small boy tugging on a string attached to the prow, the boat railing this ways and that. The legless man passed without uttering a single word, his fingers caressing the whore’s glove, his eyes pointed slightly downward and to the left.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Meaty Apples and Scagweed

A mixture of scagweed and boiled meaty russet apples helps ease the strain and hobble of a persistent cough. If this proves ineffective a poultice or compress of beetroot and stinkweed should be applied to the afflicted area. (Should this prove a failure, which it will regardless of one’s protestations to the contrary, proceed to fatigued, thereby putting the cough in the backwardness of one’s thoughts).

I have so little to say, nothing left to say or speak of. I have this little, this little iota, this eking, nothing left to say or speak of but this eking and speaking of nothing, nothing at all. I will eke out a speaking, perhaps in one vice, one vice-voice, one or two of each, a binary of each and none. Now I am an eking, a voiceless eking-out, a no-voice.

(Should this prove a failure, which it will regardless of one’s protestations to the contrary, proceed to fatigued, thereby putting the cough in the backwardness of one’s thoughts). A mixture of sotto-loco boiled to a placental mush, meaty russet apples, this awful persistent cough. I have said nothing, spoken less and said little, a sotto-loco.

Soda of Gomorrah

She was wearing a hornet’s nest in her hair again this evening, frail spidery wings, a Lepidoptera of creepy-crawlies and midges. I find her hair unsettling, her eyes too deeply set, her smile staff with excreta and seepage. I kissed her hard on the mouth, her chin flat against the corm of my cheek, the knot of my tongue finding purchase in the slur of her mouth. And me, lips prepuce fat, biting down hard on the manse of her jaw where the hinge meets the flywheel, her eyes rolling back into the clove of her forehead, a vacant desire behind the pineal gland just below the hypothalamus, sterile and Gomorrah.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Eat the Sun Drink the Rain

it was over
before it began, before I taught you how to eat sun
to drink rain

The sky eats the rain eats the sun eats the sky. Such is the temper of the sun and the rain and the sky.

The Derelict Bicycle

When the shamble leg man was a boy his da bought him a bicycle with high-handlebars and no seat. He had to ride standing, up his feet peddling like mad, his rump raised a hair above the seat-stump. Besides this (a derelict bicycle) he was given very little from his da. He was given short haircuts and razor-burn, a ball cap with a frayed and tattered visor and a bruise on the back of his head that never went away. He learned to ride his bicycle with no hands. He taught himself how to build a ramshackle tree-house out of old carpenter’s boards and straightened nails. He learned how to cut things with a hacksaw and how to keep the blade sharp with a whetstone. He had a memory of a stone being thrown and the taste of his own tears when the dog got loose and bit him on the leg. He remembered being scolded for not running away quick enough and tearing his trouser leg. Whenever he felt sad or little he would feel round for the bruise on the back of his head, the welt still raised just beneath the hair. He remembered the rain-barrel in the backyard and the smell of his da’s aftershave and extra-stout beer, the sound of the clippers near-missing his ear, his da grumbling and telling him to stay still and sit straight. But mostly he remembered the bicycle with no seat and peddling like mad, his ball cap pulled down over the bruise on the back of his head.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Frittatas and Plum Tortes

‘I am a frittata’ said the alms man. ‘And I am a torte---apple and plum’ said the legless man manly. ‘A raisin---a sweet grape that has been dried in the sun or by being processed with heat, usually to prevent spoiling and permit long-term storage’ said the harridan hurriedly. ‘That is what I am’. The man in the hat sat with his legs crossed one over the other and smiled broadly, toothsomely, from ear to ear. ‘You are all fruits, I’d say, fruits of a different colour’. ‘Yes, fruity frittatas and key lime tortes and sweet treacle sweet raisins shriveled in the hot, hot noontime sun’ said the harridan unhurriedly. ‘I am a brandy pudding with currants and tapioca’ said the legless man ‘when I am not an apple and plum torte, of course’. The man in the hat smiled a second time, his ears spreading wider and wider. ‘It is a strange world indeed’ he said smilingly. ‘And getting stranger by the moment’ added the alms man ‘strange indeed’.

Don Salado

Don Salado wore a Mason’s hat with a three-cornered brim. Don Salado is a firmament of someone else’s mind, thoughts thought by someone else, thoughts that are different than mine. These are not my thoughts; they belong to someone other than me, someone who isn’t me. I think in italics, not un-italicized thoughts or thoughts that don’t belong to me or were thought by me. Italics (branch of the Indo-European language family that includes many former languages of Italy, including Latin and Umbrian) I think in these, not someone else’s non-italicized thoughts.

The man in the hat knew none of these people: Izabal, the drunkard Wenceslaus of Wenzel Venceslao, the greatest-great grandson of Jan Želivský, Žofie Bavorská, Johanna of Bavaria or Don Salado, he knew none of them. He knew the harridan and her sister, the legless man and the alms man, the man without a left hand and Seder grocery, whose store was next to the Waymart across from the aqueduct near a big overgrown maple tree. And he knew how to use italics, even when it was improper to do so. He knew how to count to one-thousand, forwards and backwards, how to fold a small piece of paper into a crane, how to eat with a knife and fork and how to cinch his hat-string under his chin. Beyond that he felt it was unnecessary to know anything else, anything more. He knew how to boil meat and potatoes, yams and cauliflower. He had a faint knowledge of macramé and tatting, double-stitching and hebetation (hebetatus, past participle of hebetare, from hebet, hebes) and once fed a nanny-goat a tin can. He met a man with foul breath and chaplets and a woman with a deadweight leg and a bent back. He offered to tat the woman with the deadweight leg a stocking, but she said she had enough stockings already and anything extra would go to waste.

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Drunkard Wenceslaus' Second Wife

The shamble leg man--who could not wear tap-shoes--found the idea fascinating. He liked the idea of metal-clasps and ticking, sharp noise and tapping. Of course the sandblindness of his own legs precluded him from wearing tap-shoes, but thinking about them was something he was fond of doing, thinking about tap-shoes and clicking, tap-tapping and metal-clasps. The drunkard Wenceslaus of Wenzel Venceslao wore wool-hew culottes and a Scottish tam. After his marriage to Žofie Bavorská, the second cousin of his first wife Johanna of Bavaria, Wenceslaus changed to knee-britches and a guncotton flat-board hat. The shamble leg man read this in a back-copy of Bohemia Weekly, a gift from the harridan’s sister on the occasion of his fifty-ninth birthday. He read much that was of little utility, small meaningless things, things that most people found dull and uninspiring. He often fantasized about the drunkard Wenceslaus’ wife, not the second wife, Žofie Bavorská, but the first wife, Johanna of Bavaria, who saw nothing inappropriate in her husband’s choice to wear wool-hew culottes and a Scottish tam.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ode to OCD

Izabal's Taps

He (Izabal) went about town unmissed; the metal taps on his shoes sounding against the pavement. His shoes made a clip-clopping clatter as he made his way up and down the sidewalk, his tap-shoes keeping time with his heart like a cardiac-metronome. People moved to one side when they espied him clip-clop-clattering down (or up) the sidewalk. His tap-shoes made such an infernal racket that people did whatever they could to avoid his clip-clattering-clop.

One day while gadding there and there Izabal fell upon a crumpled banknote on the sidewalk. He bent down, careful not to scuff the toes of his tap-shoes, and picked up the furrowed note. He straightening the banknote to fit flatly in the palm of his hand, and squinting, read the currency value: 27½ Canadian dollars. As he had never in his life seen (nor found) a 27 ½ $ banknote, in any currency whatsoever, he was dumb with perplexity. He stowed the now flattened banknote in his coat pocket and continued on his way, his shoes tapping-tap-tap-tapping against the pavement.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The First Defenestration of Prague, July 30 1419

It was a cloudy day. The day was full of cloudy clouds. Clouds filled the day with cloudiness. The sky was raging with clouds. The man in the hat awoke to a cloudy sky. The trees above the man in the hat’s head were tonsure-bare, all the leaves having fallen. Izabal wore tap-shoes. He owned two pairs of loafers, three pairs of brogue wingtips and one pair of brown slip-ons. Most days he wore his tap-shoes (Bloch S3011 Oxford leather tap-shoes with taps and rubber pads in black patent-leather) even when a brogue or a simple loafer would be appropriate. Izabal bought his tap-shoes from the greatest-great grandson of Jan Želivský who claimed they were worn by a Hussite on the day of the First Defenestration of Prague, July 30 1419, which saw the killing of seven members of the city council by a crowd of radical Czech anti-Hussites following the botched release of Hussite prisoners. He claimed they belonged to a follower, a sycophant, of the grandest grand King Jan Želivský of 27½ Novoměstská radnice roundabout, abutting Charles Square. From that day forward he had a dislike for rocks and white surplices. Izabal could care less where the shoes came from, or on whose feet they once belonged, and bought them simply because he liked the idea of having shoes with metal taps on the bottom.

Left and Right Hands and Legs

The shamble leg man sat next to a man with no left hand on the bus. The man with no left hand, but a right, said ‘my, my, my dear man, but aren’t you’re legs a shambles?’ The shamble leg man said to the man with no left hand ‘you, my dear, dear man, must have a tough go opening a can of briny fish’. ‘I, my dear man, do not eat briny fish’. The bus came to a whiplash halt, the shamble leg man caroming into the man with no left hand. The man with a right hand, but no left, flew backwards, his hat toppling from the topmost top of his head. The other riders, sitting knee-to-knee to one another, some wearing hats, others not, flew willy-nilly this way and that, those with hats grabbing on tight to the topmost tops of they’re heads, those without hats clutching handbags and cigarette-boxes. ‘Might I offer you a mild smoke?’ asked one of the behatted riders. A gull flew flapping in through the bus window its head festooned with baubles and lost string. ‘I would, a cigarette please, yes for me’ said the gull flippantly. The bus came to a second whiplash halt, the gull caroming into the shamble leg man’s fob. At this, the second whiplash halt, the man with no left leg, but a right, said ‘not on you’re life, my dear feathered friend, away with you, and quickly’. ‘These bus rides are getting more worse’ said the man with a right leg. ‘There, my dear, dear friend, is no need for a more before worse, never’ said the shamble leg man, trying desperately to pull himself free of the man with no left leg’s leg, the one leg he had, the right one. The gull flew back out the bus window, the man with no left leg’s hat clutched in its beak.

Monday, November 12, 2007

String Theory

Impetigo (contagious infection of the skin caused by staphylococcal and streptococcal bacteria and characterized by blisters that form yellow-brown scabs) swept like a rats’ tail through this place where people lived they’re lives backwards-sideways and upside-down. ‘There is too much yellow, too much of it, yellow, here’ said the legless man. ‘Yellow is the colour of flowers and butter, soft twilight and cats…’ said the harridan. ‘I hate it, yellow, like a fever, this yellow, yellow, too yellow, I say’. ‘I hate hating’ said the harridan sternly. The poorhouse poor gaggled in a line along the sideways crookedly. ‘I have a blister on my toe’ said the legless man. ‘That, my dear friend, is impossible…you have no toes, nor legs to attach toes to silly man’. ‘They came off, éclat, when I was sleeping under the Seder’s awning, Tuesday, a Tuesday’ said the man without legs, the legless man. ‘Was it string-theory, was it that?’ asked the harridan cautiously, not wanting to step on the legless man’s toes. The legless man collected his thoughts and said ‘yes, and yellow, string-theory, its yellow…’ ‘Like cats’ dribble’ said the harridan incautiously. ‘Yes, éclat, and off they came’.

The Angry Man's Head

The man in the hat met a man so angry that his head exploded. Just before the angry man’s head exploded the man in the hat asked the angry man why he was so angry. To which the angry man replied ‘because I can’t for the life of me make sense of this’. The man in the hat asked the angry man what this, this was. ‘All of this, this and much more’ he said. His head exploded and that was that.

The sky fell open like a battle-wound, scar-tissue and clotted-blood, a mercenary’s allsorts and gather. The man in the hat stood under the Waymart awning yawning, his eyes pressed tight into the furrow of his brow. (The sky fell open like a puff-pastry, sugary blue white blue). The sky fell in upon itself, scar-tissue, clotted-blood, a battle-wound, a mercenary’s allsorts and gather. (I have no other choice but to write; to write the anger away).

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Boschly Delights

Author's Note

Now back to the story, if there be a story here at all. I write because I am angry, this is the question I ask myself. I write to athwart anger and to increase anger. I write to avoid anger and to encourage anger. I write to make sense of anger, the anger that sits on my chest like a fat sailor. I write to write away the anger, to shoo away the fat sailor sitting a-perch my chest. I write to see where the anger will take me, where it has taken me and how I came to be so anger. I write to see if the fatigue of being angry, of writing about the anger is worth while, worth all the anger and bitterness. I write because anger tells me to do so, to write about the anger that sits athwart my chest like a fat cherubic whore. I write because I have to write, I have no other choice but to write; to write the anger away.

The Slavic Missionary

The head Slavic Missionary, an irritable man by the name of Emmet Crawford, wore a flatcar cap with a quail’s foot pinned to the hatband. He believed that the quail’s foot represented chastity and good-faith, two basic tenets of the Slavic Missionary faith. He carried an Old Testament, a handgun, three marbles and a stick of spearmint chewing gum. He liked the word crapulence and used it whenever he could. People were crapulent, as were dogs, cats and pigs. Some food was crapulent, hocks and knuckles, stewed mutton and crab salad, to name but a few. Blue Cheese was crapulent. Old cowboy movies were crapulent. Feces and bile were crapulent. And finally, crap was crapulent. The headmaster of the Slavic Missionary was possessed with bad-faith, promiscuity and crapulence. ‘If pigs could fly everyone would want one’ oratory voice (he said)Habitué corpus excelsior morale’s’ (he said saying) basso staccato. He liked old cowboy movies and chewing tobacco, gunslingers and banditos. The poorhouse poor queued in front of the Slavic Missionary hoping for a bowlful of watery soup and a crust of dry bread or a peek at the headmaster hissing crapulence under his breath.

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Poorhouse Poor

He liked to watch poor people in poorhouse clothes going about their business. He watched them from the alleyway next to the Seder’s grocery, crouching hidden behind the stacked produce crates. The Seder grocer piled up the empty crates, made from slat-wood and cooper’s rim-cinches, in disorderly stacks; potato and rutabaga, radishes and redeye-cabbage, crates that once held salted pork and shoulder, mutton and cows’ tripe, all sorts of empty wooden crates. He watched until his eyes went blurry and his mouth dry. He watched until he wouldn’t dare watch anymore. He watched until he got hungry, until the need to slake his thirst was overwhelming. He watched until the thought of watching became unbearable.

The poorhouse poor queued in front of the Slavic Mission. The soup-line circled the block crossways alongside the Waymart parking-lot. The Slavic Missionaries served soup every day from 11am to 12 pm, twice on Saturdays and Thursdays. They handed-out blankets and galoshes on Wednesdays; Mondays they handed-out socks and mittens; Tuesdays and Fridays they scolded the poorhouse poor for being nonbelievers and on Sundays they prepared for Mondays, Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays and Saturdays.

Friday, November 09, 2007

Right Angles and Chewing Gum

From the bottom-up everything looks upside-down. Right-side-up things are never as they appear. It’s best to see things from a right-angle, from the left if one is left-handed. Shoe-flattened chewing gum is best seen from a height higher than the topmost peak of the Waymart balustrade. Toecaps and tappets (a lever that transfers motion from a cam to a part such as a valve or push rod) have no place in things seen right-side-up, upside-down, from right-angles or from the left. The small boy who ran away with the circus and cared for the very, very fat lady saw things from the bottom-up, never once questioning wherefrom or wherefore, but simply doing what he was paid to do, making sure that the very, very fat lady was dressed, waxed and in her booth on time. Life is much simpler when seen from one angle, from the bottom-up, from a right-angle, or from the left if one is left-handed. Life is least seen when seen straight-on or from the front.

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Nagy Balogh János

Small Dogs on Short Leashes

When the circus lady, who was very, very fat, over-exerted herself her breathing became labored and her legs bucked and trebled, her eyes turned inside out and her mouth went dry. She was unaccustomed to exerting herself, even under-exerting herself, so did only as much as was required to move herself from one place to another. Margareta, István and Márton accompanied her on errands, making sure she exerted as little exertion as was required to achieve the errand-objective. Had he legs to swim with and a swimming-suit that didn’t make him look like a radish the legless man would have gladly swam the length of the Də-ˈnü-bē. Unlike the very, very fat circus lady the legless man took very, very little for granted. He saw the world from the downside upside. He saw things most people ignored, things that could only be seen from the bottom up. He saw small dogs on short leashes.

He saw shoes and stockings and unshod feet, some with bunions, others with corns and rough skin. He saw cracks in the sidewalk where boxthorn and lichen grew. He saw spittle and throw-up, candy wrappers and shoe-flattened chewing gum that seemed to be at one with the asphalt. He saw bowlegs and straight-legs, legs that were covered in hair and legs that were hairless and white as flour. He saw toecaps and tap-shoes, shoes without laces and shoes with laces and clasps. He saw the very fat lady from the last circus to come to town waddling down the sidewalk, a very small fretful boy scurrying behind her, barbers’ scissors and moustache wax clutched in his tiny pretzel-thin fingers. He saw these things and much, much more.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Milliner Oblast Common

The shamb’l leg man knew a boy who ran away with the Barnaby & Baxley circus. He was a small boy. A small boy who’s parents (mamma and da) perished in a fire. He was a small orphaned boy. He wore woolen britches cinched round his waist with box-twine and a safety-pin. On his feet (on his feet) he wore (shoed) hobnail workman’s boots double-stitched with Cooper’s wire and trackman’s tacks. The boy’s job in the circus was to make sure that the very, very fat lady with the beard was well-fed and in her booth by one o’clock sharp, her beard trimmed and waxed and her moocow muumuu fastened neatly round her belly. The very, very fat bearded lady was born in Dnipropetrovs'ka Oblast in a small city called Dnepropetrovsk. She grew up on the banks of the Də-ˈnü-bē in a Da-ˈnyü-bē-ən family with a great grandfather who lived to see the rise and fall of the Dō-nau ˈIs-tər. Of course this made her no less fat, simply adding to her propensity for obesity and hirsuteness. As she couldn’t swim, or hold her breath or fit into a swimming suit, living near the Də-ˈnü-bē was of little consequence. Her father made her wear flour-sacs he haggled from the milliner, a stout Da-ˈnyü-bē-ən by the name of Oblast Common with uneven eyebrows and a patchwork smile. The flour-sacs itched and rubbed against her skin leaving red welts and corrugations on her legs, arms, belly and bosom. Her father called the flour-sac dresses moocows, his daughter’s blight for being fat as a Da-ˈnyü-bē-ən cow.

When she was a girl the very, very fat lady stole the town registry with all the townspeople’s given-names registered in it, which were the following, beginning with the feminine names: Catalÿn, Caterina, Catha, Cathalin, Catharina, Catherine, Cathus, Catus, Chata, Chrÿstina, Cristina, Crÿstina, Erse, Ersebet, Ersebeth, Ersebett, Eufrusina, Eufrusine, Eva, Frusina, Frwssina, Helena, Ilko, Ilona, Irisko, Jlona, Judith, [Julia], Lucia, Magda, Magdalena, Magdalna, Magdollna, Magdolna, Magdona, Magolna, Margareta, Margaretha, Margarethe, Margarÿtha, Margit, Margital, Margith, Margyth, Sófi, Sofia, Sofÿa, Sofya, Sophi, Sophia, Theresia, Susanna, Swsanna, Szuszana, Ursola, Ursula,Vrsula, Yllona, Zuzanna, Zwzanna, Ade, Agatha, Agota, Agotha, Anastasia, Anna, Annaka, Anne, Annoka, Annos, Antonija, [Apollónia], Barbala, Barbara, Beatrix, Borbala, Borbara, Borbolya, Borka, Cata, Catalin. Péter, István, Gergely, Balázs, Benedek, László, Pál, Mihály, Miklós, Tamás, Antal, Mátyás, Bálint, András, Ferenc, Jakab, György, István, Máté, Imre, Ambrus, Márton, János. She realized that there were far more feminine names in the registry than there were masculine names, and that most of the feminine names belonged to woman as fat as or fatter than she was.

Ree-yoozeb'l Sek-terree-an Rosary

They lay in a maul on the circus tent floor; a brickwork of dirt and sawdust. (Alfred and Manfred, simian twins, feet curled up into ree-yoozeb’l balls of flesh and bone). They pressed in close to one another, tailbones touching, arms enmeshed, Alfred bleating like a wane calf. What warmth they could find in one another’s body’s they shared like two children tossing a ball, an even distribution of throw and catch. Manfred held Alfred’s tiny hand in his own, twiddling his fingers like a sek-terree-an rosary. The smell of stale urine and off-meat filled the circus tent with a bitter tang, rosebuds and apple-cores, seedlings and calf’s tongue, remnants of three-legged camels and lame dogs.





Monday, November 05, 2007

Alfred and Manfred

The organ-grinder carried a monkey on his back. The monkey’s name was Alfred, the organ-grinder’s name was Manfred; together they were called Manfred and Alfred. Manfred and Alfred lived behind the Sears in an old circus tent with one pole, the centermost pole. The last circus to come to town (Barnaby & Baxley) left their tent behind, plus a three-legged camel, a lame dog and a very fat lady with a beard. The ringmaster (a onetime Lutheran preacher with a gamy leg and a top-hat) hurried the circus out of town after being accused of dupery, moral depravity and bestiality. The shamble leg man was a boy when the last circus to come to town came to town then hurried out of town, leaving behind an old circus tent, a three-legged camel, a lame dog, a very fat lady with a beard and a town astir with rumors of beastly coitus, moral turpitude and Lutheran deception. The organ-grinder and his monkey (Alfred and Manfred) raised the tent upright with wooden pegs and clothesline. They borrowed stay-lines from the owner of the Seder’s bakery (Hansom Cohen) and a ball-peen hammer from the after-hours clerk at the Waymart.

Viol Viola da Gamba

One cold very cold February night the alms man slept beneath a blanket of old Reader’s Digest and Popular Mechanics, his head tucked underneath the cove of his arm, eyes wide as skillets the smell of burnt wick and Sterno picking at the insides of his nostrils. He made a soupy potage, boiling the Sterno into liquid-form with a lighter, patience and retrying. He learned how to make Whiskey from old LP’s with a saucepan and a blowtorch. He made a tasty Lysol punch in a cut-off plastic Ginger Ale bottle, releasing the alcohol through a pinprick made at the bottom of the canister. He had tutored himself in the alchemic arts, Sterno and Lysol, Listerine and old Monteverdi recordings (viol viola da gamba) an alchemist’s banquet of gut-rot and foul pottage.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Woodland Depository

The man in the hat’s great-grandfather was buried in a place called The City of the Dead. It wasn’t a cemetery or a churchyard, a graveyard or a resting place, nor was it a necropolis or a memorial park. It was a small acre of tilled land full of dead people, a woodland depository. Wilfred Aloysius 1900-1982. His great-grandfather was buried with his favorite fedora placed at the proper angle on his head, his lifeless head. As in life as in death, his great-grandfather was seldom if ever seen without one of his favorite fedoras on his head, his lively head. The topmost crown of his lively head was lifeless, a place where hair had ceased to grow. His favorite fedoras, of which he had several, protected the lifeless part of his head from rain and snow, from hail and flying objects, from too much sun and too much wind, the elemental elements of life. Next to the man in the hat’s great-grandfather was a Cooper by the name of Simms, and next to the Cooper Simms was a Tanner named Larose, who died in 1889 from whooping cough and the chill. The City of the Dead sat behind the aqueduct across from the Waymart not far from the church where the church-woman held they’re church-bazaars every other Saturday.

The man in the hat’s grandfather told him how the Irish bury they’re dead in peat-bogs, the smell of burnt charcoal and iodine wafting over the Irish Sea, and a mausoleum a thousand feet high ‘shoes my boy, thousands of shoes piled higher than the eye can see’. The man in the hat had no idea where Irish people lived, dead or alive, or what burnt charcoal and iodine smelled like so dismissed his grandfather’s story as rot, just another one of his tall-tales. He knew they liked potatoes, boiled, baked, cubed and diced, mashed and covered in cream-corn and that they ran out of them a long time ago and were forced to eat they’re children, dogs, cats, hamsters, rabbits and rats. Other than that he knew very little about the Irish, nor cared to for that matter. The man in the hat’s grandfather liked cabbage and corned-beef boiled in the same pot. Often he would add potatoes, carrots (uncut and with the greens still attached) and a sprig of ginger-root to the boil as he said it added a starchy-gingery pong to the boil. 'Wouldn’t be caught dead with potatoes and carrots in the same boil, potatoes and God, two things the Irish can’t live without'. His grandfather figured most people was halfwits or potato-diggersand some what’re just plain stupid’.

Saturday, November 03, 2007


Karl Von Helmholtz 1947

On a napkin in a coffee shop the harridan wrote down her birthrate. She meant to write down her birth-date, but at the last moment forgot when she was born. She forgot how she was born and why she was born, where she was born and how long it took for her to be born. She had a faint fleeting memory of being born, the smell of hospital disinfectant and her mother’s bath-salts, the doctor’s hands wrapped round her tiny wee tiny hips, and the sound of feet shuffling and paper crumpling. She remembered a warm splash of colour, hushed voices, a dog yowling and the smell of her mother’s bath-salts. She meant to write it all down, the moment of her birth, the faint fleeting memory of being born, the smell of hospital disinfectant, the sound of feet shuffling, a warm splash of colour, hushed voices, a dog yowling and the smell of her mother’s bath-salts, but didn’t have a napkin, something to write it down on. She wrote down other people’s birth-dates on a racing-stub she found underneath a table at the coffee-shop. Mrs. Belzoni 1948, Karl Von Helmholtz 1947, Mrs. Caldwell 1923, Jackson L. Jackson 1897, Alma Dejesus 1908, Mrs. & Mr. Anton LaSalle 1918 and 17 respectively, Mr. Crumbly (who’s name was pronounced Crambly) 1928, and so on until the pen she was using ran dry of ink. Of all these people she knew but one, Alma Dejesus, who she met at the second church bazaar, Madame Dejesus being the mother of Dejesus, whom she knew from the first church bazaar, the one her sister had a table at.

Breton Dutchman's Cap

The man in the hat searched high and low for a Corbusier cap. In his search he came across a Buber cap a Breton Dutchman’s cap a Dada newsboy’s cap that looked similar to a Corbusier cap a Dali cap with a plastic moustache stitched into the brim a Surrealist’s cap that was impossibly small and a sou’wester that resembled a Corbusier cap but was clearly an imitation. He wanted a hat with triangular flaps that turn up on either side that could be folded into a pinafore. He asked the haberdasher if he knew where one could buy a Corbusier cap should one be so disposed. He said no, he had never in his life seen a Corbusier cap, but should he come across one he would notify the man in the hat immediately. The man in the hat saw a man on the bus reading a book on Le Corbusier. On the topmost left page was writtenthis book is about Le Corbusier’ which confirmed his suspicion that the book was indeed about monsieur Le Corbusier. However (and this he saw as strange, strange indeed) nowhere on the page was there any reference to the Corbusier cap, a strange omission indeed, so he felt.

Thursday, November 01, 2007

My Idea For the Flatcar Cap

Le Corbusier's Cap

Le Corbusier wore a flatcar cap trimmed with ribbons and feathers. Le Corbusier had never made the acquaintance of the man in the hat, the shamble leg man, the legless man, the harridan (or her sister) the alms man, Dejesus, the witness or the manager of the Waymart. He was too busy working out Binge-angles and straight-lines to bother getting to know anyone, especially people with whom he had so little in common. He carried a slide-rule on a scabbard made especially for a two-sided measuring-stick. He wore a flatcar cap, of which he had several, to hide the hole on the top of his head. He could measure and weigh structural-structures with a slide-rule, never once having to revise or restructure his measurements. Le Corbusier claimed that the idea for the flatcar cap was his, and that anyone who made a competing claim, was not only deluded, but sorely mistaken. A flatcar cap (also referred to as a Denman’s cap) consists of an open, flat cap characterized by triangular flaps or wings that turn up on either side (errata: also called the Corbusier cap).

100 Satang (สตางค์)

The brickworks’ chimney stood five meters higher than the topmost peak of Waymart roof. A doocot of House Sparrows (Passer domesticus) alit from the topmost peak of the Waymart roof, barely missing the balustrade that overhung the brickworks’ chimney. The man in the hat liked to watch the House Sparrows flittering above the Waymart, countless hours spent sitting on the park-bench across from the Waymart taking in the majesty of the birds, wings like straight-blades cutting swaths of cool morning air, tiny peck-shaped beaks corseting worms and creepy-crawlers. He had no fondness for pigeons, winged-vermin, dirty filthy creatures, a curse on man and beast alike. Birds of a Catholic feather frock together; satang-baht: 100 satang (สตางค์)) cinched taut round the round of his waist, cotters hat a kilter: 100 (สตางค์). One afternoon he counted 27½ barn-swallows, one swallow having been cantered in half by a gullswing. The second afternoon he saw a pigeon in a hat, festooned with baubles and trilling. An open sky in the shape of a perfect O opened up onto the opening horizon, a bazillion cock-swallows circling the brickworks’ chimney. ‘I see these, these things and many more of these things’ said the man in the hat to himself. ‘And this, 100 (สตางค์), and this, too’ he said. The brickwork’s chimney stood 27½ meters higher than the House Sparrows’ doocot, five meters higher than the Waymart overhang.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Wet Nurses and Toy Horses

The legless man never rode a bicycle or wore matching socks. He had no shoes or figure-skates, no alpine skis or an alpine toque. He had wooly mittens and a wooly scarf, both knit by his great-grandmamma with bone knitting-needles and mutton wool. He had a pushcart that he paddled with stove-poles, caroming and veering his way round town with the greatest of ease. He had a wet nurse with an immense bosom, perfectly round areolas and an unlimited supply of milk. He went about shoeless, shunting his pushcart round town in lovingly knit wooly mittens and a wooly scarf.

He liked crabapple pie and warm milk, potato-crisps and Gibbs’ Hard Mustard. On the second day after he was born he cried, not a moment before. He cried for milk and for toys, for baubles and for colourful balloons, he cried for his mother and for legs, of which he had none; he cried for more milk and for more toys, for more colourful balloons, for a mother and for two legs. He cried until his eyes swelled shut, he cried until his lungs ached and his tiny heart broke. But mostly he cried for more milk and two legs, for a big red balloon and a shiny toy horsy.

The harridan strapped her legs in nylons and hose, corsets and peignoirs. She wrapped them in broadcloth; she banded and buckled them with old seatbelts and carpet-tacking. She stared for hours at her legs in the mirror wondering if they could be crossed-over, the left one being exchanged for the right one. She seldom wept, but when she did she wept with such a cattish wail that her lips crackled and split round the corners. She wore ruffles and flouncing fastened to her skirt with curette-pins.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Caravaggio's Face

When he was born the legless man fell from his mother’s womb like an apple. His skin was shiny red, his tiny lungs tucking for air. He had a Caravaggio face, velvety red, red as blood and roses. The Doctor slapped him hard on the bottom, the flat of his hand raising a red welt on the curd of his tailbone. His mother let out an earsplitting howl, her eyes flared with unforgiving pain. ‘My son has no legs!’ she wailed ‘I’ve given life to a legless child!’ The Doctor swaddled the legless man in a hospital-blanket and laid him on the birth-scale. He weighed 4½ pounds 7 ounces, not a smidgen more. The birthing-nurse hoisted the legless man up by his arms, twisting his tiny shoulders until they disappeared behind his back. A cat-and-mouse wind cursed at the window in his mother’s hospital room, a pillory of rain scorning her unforgiving pain. When he was born the legless man didn’t cry. He lay in swaddles suckling an imaginary teat, his tiny lungs filling up with hospital smells and his mother’s unforgiving wails.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Rain in His Bones

It rained as hard as algebra, harder than vectors and infinite-regresses. It rained like there’d be no tomorrow, no yesterday or yesteryear. The shamble leg man could feel the rain in his bones, a cold feral rain scattering the leaves from the trees, people’s hats from they’re heads, the sky opening its great maw and bawling rain, sheets and nails of rain. When he was a boy the shamble leg man rode his bicycle in the rain, splashguards spitting water, the asphalt beneath his peddling feet slick with it. He would drag his foot against the curb collecting the wet leaves that had been pulled screaming from twisted branches. He rode with his face to the rain, the bicycle’s tires scavenging the wet pavement for a plum-line. He trebled the gears with the back of his thumb, the wires cogging, the gears finding the perfect pitch and momentum. Some older boys stole the shamble leg man’s bicycle, breaking it into unusable pieces. They stripped off what they wanted and hammered the rest into tiny metal bits. His father swore he’d kill whoever stole his son’s bicycle. But the shamble leg man knew his father was lying, and hadn’t the courage or balance to kill anything.

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Overnight in the Overnight Asylum

That night overnight in the sanitarium the man overnight in the asylum developed a raking cough the likes of which the manager of the overnight sanitarium had never ever seen. They tried giving him a cough-suppressant but he continued to cough, they applied a warm facecloth to his throat but the coughing prevailed. Finally, after no little propitiation, they managed to arrest his coughing with a menthol lozenge and a tinctures’ worth of Fruit Smack. The man in the asylum overnight was making notes for God. He felt it his job (much more than a simple avocation) to take notes for God, describing in great detail, and with as much perspicuity as he could muster, what was happening in earth, the realm that existed outside the godly realm.

He scribbled notes into a child’s exercise book with a pencil, making sure to date each entry at the top of the page. For example: October 28th nineteen-seventy-seven (he preferred writing out the numerals, as it gave them a stately more important look), Doctor Ballista gave Smith a shot of Thomasine to calm his jitters, followed with an ice-bath, a Smack Fruit enema and a Librium suppository. Smith responded poorly, his eyes turning into the back of his head, his legs jimmying like crazy; then he fell to the floor and bumped his head on the wingtip of Doctor Ballista’s shoe. The head nurse and the orderly Ackers then enacted The Hymn of the Pearl (also Hymn of the Soul, Hymn of the Robe of Glory or Hymn of Judas Thomas the Apostle) which Akers recited in the original Syriac. When Smith was slow to respond to the divine being’s message which came by way of a revealer (Doctor Owens, doctor Ballista’s assistant, a task generally ascribed to Jesus) the head nurse prescribed insulin-shock and a mild apagogic.

He figured the best way to keep God apprised of the shenanigans going on down below was to keep a ledger, an unabridged compendium of the earthly realm (the one God cared not to live in) the very same one where he spent countless nights sitting in a lattice-backed chair in the asylum dining-room scribbling in his child’s exercise book. The man in the hat met the man in the overnight asylum one night when he was visiting a sick friend in the overnight sanitarium. His friend had swallowed a bottle cap (a bevel-edged Spruce Beer cap) his throat tighten like a garrote-knot. The Doctor prescribed a stool-softener and sent him home, saying that the bottle cap would find its way down his esophagus and out through his rectum when he had his next bowl-movement.

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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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