Thursday, June 28, 2007

Calamine Butter

I rubbed honeysuckles all over myself, my body and legs and arms and face, thinking that it’d attract bees. Bees don’t know the difference between a human being rubbed with honeysuckle and real honeysuckle, so it wasn’t such a great idea at the time, anytime really. I learned pretty quick that there aren’t no shortcuts in life, and even if there were I’d be the last to find one. Butter and this pinkish stuff by the name of Calamine lotion is what’re suppose to put on a bee sting, to help with the healing process and stop scabs from breaking out all over, and the itching, that can drive you round the bend, back sometimes, too. My grandmamma used to rub Calamine and butter onto my arms and face, on account as they were the most often places I got stung. She was always saying ‘hold still’ and ‘stop fidgeting, will you?’ whenever she had to salve me up after I got stung by bees, mostly when they didn’t stay put in the peanut butter jar or slid out, out from under the lid. Now that I think back on it maybe I should have read up some on bees in the National geographic instead of making crazy eyes at the deaf girl and eating jaw-breakers and black-balls, which I did lots of when I wasn’t firing off matches or rubbing our dog’s head real soft but fast underneath the porch stoop when it rained real hard.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Going Upwards Up

It’s getting hotter, like in the weather and the sky and the temperature, hot like that. The way I figure it its way too hot to ride on the bus, so I’ll leave that for now, riding the bus and all. I could walk, I suppose, but I’m way too lazy for that, and on account of the fact that my feet get all swollen and puffed out and crabby looking. I knew this guy who refused to walk anywhere if the slope, I think that’s how it’s called, was too high, as in an incline or a hill going upwards. He took a taxi or simply stayed put, sometimes not leaving the house for days on end. It’s sad, when you think about it, how some fucker can’t even walk up a tiny hill without figuring it’s too high and way to costly on energy. As far as I’m concerned they might as well call it quits, fuck off, I mean just stop all the blubbering and complaining. Jesus made the world with hills and slopes and inclines and the like, so why bother complaining or giving it a second thought, really? Of course who am I to talk, really, I mean I can’t even leave the house if I think it’s going to rain, cause if it does, rain that is, I’m pretty much fucked cause I don’t have an umbrella, and there’s nothing I hate more than getting all wet and soggy, well maybe being scaled with scalding hot water, but that’s about it.

One thing I like about the rain is the thunder and lightening, it reminds me sort of like when I was a kid and used to sit under the porch stoop listening to it. The crashing and bolts, I think that’s how you call it, of lightening were like fireworks, not you normal general kind of fireworks, but the kind what’re made by Nature and Jesus, like. I’d hide under the porch stoop with our dog, him licking and slobbering on my face, all screwy looking in the eyes on account of the fact he was scared and all. On occasion sometimes I’d bring some matches with me and fire them off like rockets, striking them against the striking part and tossing them into the air. The best thing about being a kid was not having to listen to your mom and dad; mind you, I suppose I did miss it after they burned in the house. And me fiddling round with matches underneath it couldn’t have been all that smart, not by a long shot I guess. Its not that I particularly like the sulphur smell, but the fact, I guess, that I could do it and get away with it. My grandmamma said it was cheating, or lying, or something like that, but I could care less, cause it was fun and a fun thing to do under the porch stoop in the rain with our dog. Sometimes doing fun stuff is way better than listening to your mom and dad, sometimes I guess, but not always.

I remember throwing stones and watching that poor girl trouble her way down the street, the girl with the hearing-box strapped to her chest. She was pretty much deaf so had to wear this crazy looking contraption on a harness or something, it was sort of tied round her back and strapped round the front, like a rucksack or a schoolbag. It made this buzzing sound like bees in a peanut jar, and there was this tiny green light that flashed and flickered, so she could tell if it was on and all I guess. I’m pretty much sure that she had crappy eyesight, too, cause she had these real thick-looking glasses on that had an elastic band round them, sort of like the ones that athletes wear to keep they’re goggles and stuff from falling off. I’m pretty much ashamed to admit that me and my friends made fun of her, making crazy screwy-eyed faces at her or saying something when we weren’t, but just moving out lips like we was. I hope she’s okay now, now that she’s all grown and doesn’t have to have us as kids living on her block. I’m not too happy about that, but when you’re a kid you do stupid things just to get the other kinds to like you; and most of the time they don’t like you anyhow, so it seems rather pointless, really. Now that I remember it, me and my friends uses to catch bees in peanut butter jars; you just flipped the jar over on top of them and slid the jar top back on. We used to have millions of them in one peanut jar, buzzing and smacking they’re wings against the peanut butter jar glass. You could always find them cause they hovered over honeysuckle plants, on account of the fact that that’s what they liked to eat, and there was plenty of honeysuckles on the lawn in front of the church across the street from our house, before it burned down of course. I’d been better had the church burned down, cause I didn’t care much for the minister or the guy who ran the AA meeting.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Simpletons and Crabs

At don’t think the orange monks eat wafers and stuff; I think they’re more passive then that, then the Catholics I mean. They’re more into praying and keeping quiet and doing things with those long bamboo sticks, the ones they play fight with, those ones. I wonder if that fellow with the crab tattoo knows anything at all about bamboo sticks? He was sitting next to the monk reading the newspaper. He was reading the newspaper, the guy with the crab tattoo, not the monk, on account that they aren’t allowed to read nothing on the bus, the monks that is. I’d be pretty hard to tell if the monk had any tattoos, cause their clothes hide most of themselves, and even if he did have one who knows what’d look like. I’m not all that fond of crab, its way too salty and the shells and claws and antennas are gross looking. I meant unsavoury but didn’t want to come off sounding like a know it all. I’ve know a lot of know it alls, and all of them were a fucking a pain in the royal ass. Not that royal has anything to do with it, but anyhow these fuckers are real royal pieces of work. If my dog hadn’t have burned up in the fire, nasty thing fire, I’d sick him on these simpletons and have ‘em running for daylights. Sad thing is my dog was way too passive for that sort of thing, you’d have almost thought he was a monk or something, the way he was so nice and kind and not a loud barker and the like. He was a petter, meaning he like to have his ears scratched and the top of his head rubbed with the heel part of your hand, real hard like you were going to rub the fur off, like that, real slow and hard like. Poor fucker, probably didn’t hear my mom and dad hollering cause he was asleep next to the television, probably on some late-night missionary show or something close like that. I can see now how come the Catholics and Protestants don’t get along, always elbowing in on one and the other to get better television space. Sad, almost pathetic in a sad sort of way.

Monday, June 25, 2007

The Monk on the Bus

I saw a Brahman, a monk or something, riding the bus; he was chewing, chewing gum and listening to a Walkman or an I-Pod or something. He was in the customary orange thing, a smock I think it’s called, and wearing a woollen toque. I figured monks, Buddhist one’s at least, aren’t allowed to read on the bus, but are allowed to listen to inspirational tapes, maybe music, but it was hard to tell on account of it was too low or my hearing’s getting worse. Orange is an odd colour for someone like a monk, figuring that they don’t want to draw attention to themselves, cause they’re always meditating or praying or something, and orange is a pretty really bright colour. He was really quite small, almost like a dwarf, but not quite that small; maybe a premmy or one of those people whose bodies don’t grow according to plan, like they’re bones are too little or the muscles don’t form properly. As I haven’t seen too many monks up close, far away even, I could be mixed up.

So I’ve been wondering lately what all the fuss is about the Catholics and Protestants and the like. Not that I know much about religion, nothing actually, but people tell me that the Catholics and the Protestants don’t get along, see eye to eye, so to speak. I never seen them fighting, or throwing fits, but then again I’m not round churches and places like that very much, not at all actually. This one kid I knew who lived on our street, before our house burned, was one of those altar boys, the guys who carry the Bible and hand out leaflets and prayer books. He said that one day the priest asked him to go get the sacrament stuff, the wafers or biscuits or whatever there called, from the refrigerator in the rectory. When he opened the fridge door he found bags and bags of these wafer things, the body of Christ I guess is what they’re called, with numbers printed on them. When he looked closer he saw that the numbers were dates, like February or June or something, with those lines what’re suppose to be codes or something. When he brought the sacraments back to the priest and asked him what the numbers were for, the priest said, ‘they’re expiry dates, my son, so we can know if the Host is still good and fresh’.

Maison de Stucco

Sunday, June 24, 2007

Dog on a Bone

My grandmamma cheated, my granddad played blind, like a dog on a bone. Anyhow our dog burned up in the house fire, under the couch next to the television that was always on. I think that hurt my feelings almost more than my mom and dad burning, cause at least the dog liked me and didn’t call me fatter than a house. It’s odd, in a weird sort of way, how the house burns down without me in it, me being fatter than a house and all. It always stymied me that gip-rock would burn brighter than a 4th of July fireworks. That’s what I was told; anyhow our house was crappy, one a those stucco ones with a shitty yard in a shitty neighbourhood. I don’t figure most people missed it when it burned, all clapboard and shingles and our television still on. ‘Cats in a hotbox’, is what my granddad used to say. That’s the way he used to talk when he wanted to get my attention, even if it didn’t make a lick of sense. Of course I’d listen, even though I knew he was making fun of me, which was better than being called fatter than a house or dumber than horse sense. I can’t well at all remember exactly when he’d say it, but when he did I’d prick up my ears and pay heed. You see he liked his Triple Star Whisky, from a kitchen glass, a green one with a paler green label on it. My grandmamma didn’t all at all like it when he said dumb stupid stuff like ‘cats in a hotbox’, but put up with his shenanigans cause he was getting blinder and deafer by the day, and probably wasn’t aware of what he was saying. She used to tug on the strings of her apron whenever he said something improper or dumb, or simply screw up her eyes and say something herself under her breath. The way I saw it, it was better than playing pinochle, even if she played honest and didn’t bend any of the rules. My aunt had these tiny little vials of medicine she took with juniper water, something to do with having rickets when she was young and never getting proper medical help. I guess back then there wasn’t much medical help at all, and that that there was, was probably more harm than good. You’d see kids with wooden logs between they’re legs buckled at the hips with straps and hinge-screws. It was on account of the fact that they’re legs hadn’t grown properly, either they was all bendy and frail, or twisted round like willow branches. Either way, they had to scrabble and chip they’re way down the street, some using wooden crutches, others holding onto the arms of they’re mothers or a school friend.

Saying Goodbye or Something

I had a sister, but she ran away. After the house fire, the one that burned up my mom and dad, she up and fucked off with a guy who had a Pontiac Firebird and a birthmark on his forehead. The reason I’m telling you this is cause I think the guy on the bus reading the National Geographic was the guy who fucked off with my sister. I know I said that it was the first time I saw him, that time on the bus, but I could be mistaken. I make lots of mistakes, some bigger, and some just little ones that really don’t count as mistakes at all, but are just sort of slips of mind or thought or something. The way I see it if it was him he wasn’t driving a car, and if he was, or even had a car, it most probably wouldn’t be a Firebird, on account of the fact that they fucked them up, made ‘em all round-looking and cheap, and a guy like that, with dagger tattoos, wouldn’t be caught dead in a round cheap-looking car. Come to think of it one a those carryalls wouldn’t likely fit in the back trunk of one of these newer cars, on account of that the trunks are so small you can’t even put a full grocery order in one. I suppose the Japanese buy smaller groceries, and that ways don’t need a bigger back trunk for to put them in. Anyhow she up and fucked off and never did stop long enough to say goodbye or anything like that. Not that I would have expected it, that she say anything, really, but the thought might have been nice, or at least the idea of saying goodbye or something along those lines. The social worker, the one that came after my mom and dad burned up in the house fire, asked me if I wanted to live with my aunt, my mom’s sister, or my granddaddy and grandmamma. On account of the fact I didn’t know how to play pinochle, which is all my aunt did, I picked my grandparents, and on account of the fact your grandparents tend to treat you better than your aunt does. My grandmamma played Gin, my granddad Hearts, so I figured they’d be easier to learn, maybe that’s why, but I could be mixed up, I guess.

Saturday, June 23, 2007

Cracker-I hate my generation

Cracker-Teen Angst


Down by Nil

I figure its time to start telling a story about something other than pot-pies and pointlessness. Someone said that we all have stories in us, but I figure that guy was a storyteller to start with, so it was no big deal for him to say something, that when you think about it seems rather pointless, stupid even. I figure that storytellers take this sort of stuff pretty much for granted, and others, me for example, don’t have the luxury of taking much of anything for granted, not even anything worth taking for granted, cause in the end it’s all pretty much pointless shit, and isn’t worth a hell of a lot, not really.

Her name is Martha. The lady on the bus with the carryall, I think. I’m not much for names, never have been, but I can tell you all about someone’s face or the shoes they’re wearing. I like to keep things pretty much simple, that ways there isn’t much room for mistaking one thing for another, another thing for another, that sort of mistaking. I guess it comes with age and worsening hearing, cause if you don’t pay attention the first time you’re fucked, then you can’t remember a thing, nothing, nil. Mind you, I could forget the guy reading the National Geographic with the dagger tattoo, but that’s unlikely, really. Once he’s in my mind’s eye, my brain, he’s pretty much there for life, maybe longer. My grandmamma told me that I have what’s called a photographic memory, as in once I see something its there for life. Some people dream in colours, me, I don’t have dreams at all, maybe little ones but that’s it, nothing worth talking about. Anyhow dreams are overrated, mostly nightmares and shit, so why bother. As you might have figured out, by now anyhow, I don’t have a mother or a dad, both of ‘em died when I was a baby, or at least real little. My grandmamma said they died in a house fire, got all burned up and black. Of course I don’t remember, and even if I did it’d be horrible stuff, like burned bodies and black faces and frizzy hair, so I guess I’m better off not remembering, at least that.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Pointless Shit

Not that it makes a difference, but this shit is getting me down. It’s sort of like the chicken bone that gets stuck in your throat; craw bone is what my granddaddy called it, not a wishbone, cause wishing and hoping are pointless, like a dagger tattoo or cranking drain unclogger. It’s all pretty much pointless, in a dim fucked up kind of way. Life is like a chicken bone, not pretty, but effective. My grandmamma made chicken pot pie with crinkly crust and soap mix. She said the key ingredient was the chicken bones cause they added flavour to the pot-pie. I was the poor sod that always got the chicken bone, or a piece of chicken gristle or skin. One time I half-swallowed a bone, a breastplate or one those finger-like bones that keep the wings from flapping out of control. My granddaddy had to whack me on the back with the heel of his hand; otherwise I would have choked myself to kingdom fucking cum, and that would’ve been shit. For the love of it I can’t stand loud noises, they drive me round the bend, further sometimes. I’m what you’d call sensitive to noises, all sorts and kinds of noise. I’m pretty much deaf in one ear and loosing it in the other, down to a few measly decibels, which are running short real quick. The doctor who looks after my ears said I’d be pretty much stone-deaf by the time I hit fifty, maybe sooner if the world gets noisier and people louder. It’s all pretty much pointless, cause the way I see it the shits going to hit the fan long before I hit fifty, and even if it don’t, they’ll be other shit lined up waiting to take its place, maybe worse shit, shit that’ll make the other shit look measly and small. Most shit is shit anyhow, so there really isn’t any point to worrying about it, really. The way I see it they’re be more people yelling and hollering and acting like dim fucks long before anything changes, and even if it does, changes that is, the shit’ll already have hit the fan, so what’s the point.

Pretty Fucking Dim

If I knew anything about anything I’d be the first to speak up, but I don’t. I can speak, I just don’t have anything to say, anything worth saying. Speaking when you should keep shut is what most people do, and I don’t want to be most people. I know people who speak just so they can hear themselves, like a fucking broken record, all cracked up and scratchy. I don’t want to be one of them, most people that is. You’d catch me reading on the bus before you’d catch me talking when I shouldn’t, opening my yap just to hear myself, that’s fucked up, in more ways than one. I suppose there’s lots of fascinating shit in the world; all I’m saying is I could care less about it. Some things seem out of place, for example this guy riding the bus with a dagger tattoo on his forearm, just below the crook in his elbow where guys with dagger tattoos crank heroin or Drano or some shit like that; all that shit is corrosive, shit you find in a janitor’s closet, with the mops and dusters, that kind of shit. I knew this chick that shot up Drano thinking it was crank or crack, the kind of shit that makes your head go all dim and fucked. I mean when you get to that point in life, when you’re shooting up Drano, your life is pretty much over, pretty fucking dim.

Shit Like That, and Shit

I wouldn’t say he was a crackpot or nothing, maybe a wee scrambled in the head, but that’s about it as it is and all. The first time I see him he’s reading the National Geographic on the bus, the number two bus, bus, sitting not too far from me on a seat not too far from this lady with one of those push and pull carryalls. I figure he must be scrambled in the brains as he’s actually reading the National Geographic, something you don’t all see that much of, considering that most people, most people I know at least, just read the stuff under the pictures, that kind of reading, not full-fledged reading like the kind you do in school or from prayer books on Sundays, or Saturdays depending on whether you’re a Christian or not. Guys like him, you figure if they haven’t had their brains tampered with, with knitting needles, that sort of shit that happens, so I hear, in asylums and crackpot hospitals. Poor bastard might even have a bump or something on his brain, right underneath the eye socket where they push in a knitting needle, kind of tamp it in there like they’re doing some knitting or crocheting, that kind of shit, shit like that. I even heard that they even goes as far as to cut out pieces of the brain, like coring out an apple or a cantaloupe, that kind of tampering and buggering about, in someone’s brain, for God’s sake. Its no wonder, really, that the sad cunt reads the whole National Geographic and not just the underneath stuff. Really, when you think it over, which you do, cause it is worth thinking, guys like him probably don’t understand a word their reading, not a fucking word, really. Sad fucking world we live in, fucking pathetic if you want my opinion. Then you never know whether you might end up like him, all scrabbled and knit into a fucking sweater, it could happen--it just could, you never know, for sure that is. I know my opinion isn’t worth much, probably shit, whose is, really, I mean when you get right down to it what most people say is shit, pure shit, me included. So he’s sitting across not far from me and this lady with the fucking carryall who looks pretty dim herself. I mean man the shit you see on the bus, too much to take in at one time, that is, all at once and without a break, a breather, let’s say. If I had it my way, which I never will, I’d take a fucking cab or walk, that is if it weren’t too far, I mean too far or up-hill. But the chances of me having it my way are slim to nil, so I’m pretty well fucked from the get-go, fucking carryalls, not much use when you got to lug the fuckers up-hill or round and round like a merry-go-fucking-round, now is it, just not worth the energy or bother, fuck no. Sleeping now that’s foolish, a waste of time, anyone worth they’re weight in saltpetre knows that. All sleep does is remind you just how much shit you have to do and how much time you wasted sleeping when you could have been doing it. Like reading the National Geographic or knitting a fucking sweater. There just aren’t enough sweaters, at least not enough to go around. I couldn’t think of a homelier way to read than wrapped up in a sweater, all woolly and cinched up round the bobbin of your neck. That cowfish of a lady, the one with the carryall, she’d look exceptional in a sweater, all that wool and dye and lanolin next to her skin, a sight for sore eyes, better yet, an eye for sore sight. I can be pretty magnificent when I want, when I put my noggin to it, like now, like right this fucking minute. Salt-fucking-petre, now that’s some nasty shit, makes what goes up come down, a fucking free-for-all. That sad bastard, sadder than a fucking tumour, sitting close by not far from me and that cowfish lady, the carryall lady, reading the National fucking Geographic, the whole fucking thing, not just the shit under the pictures. Makes you wonder, makes you wonder what the fuck he’s going to read when he finishes the Geographic. Bastard’s sadder than a cowlick on a cow, down right pathetic, really. But my opinion is worth shit, so why listen the fuck to me?

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Earwigs and Goutweed

When he was a boy the shamble leg man liked nothing better than a white bread honey sandwich with the crusts removed. He ate delicately, taking small gingerly bites. His mother made him honey sandwiches with a sliver-plated butter knife she kept in a kitchen drawer next to the refrigerator. She spread the butter, sometimes so cold it stuck to the butter-plate, on the bread, daubing on the honey with the end of a spoon. He liked orange Kool Aide sipped through a straw twisted into a loop-to-loop. He’d seen a television commercial for whirly straws and connived his poor mother into buying him one by wailing until she couldn’t stand it anymore. She bought him two, one blue and one red and blue. Sometimes his mother bought cone honey goutweed with bees’ stingers and wings, twigs and puffballs and things that looked like earwigs without ears or wigs.

A Saturday in June

This is treasonous: this. The shamble leg man met the man in the hat who met the harridan who met the seamstress at the church bazaar on a Saturday in June. Meeting is such great sparrow, said the harridan. To which the shamble leg man replied, yes, such sparrow and hawking. To which the man in the hat said, crumpets, pot-marmalade and chilies. Making sense makes no sense, said the shamble leg man; seldom does. The world is all that there is, added the man in the hat, facts and computations, calibrations and vectoring, algebraic nonsense and blather. And the smell, said the harridan, the bloody smell.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

Anvilmen and Philologists

She thought of plums and reddish radishes and celery root and the smell of coke fuel and petrol. She ate and ate and ate, not once stopping to see what it was she was eating, reddish red radishes, pale green celery stalks and bean curd boiled in cumin and clacker’s oil. She smoked Camel cigarettes, inhaling and exhaling at the same time. The cooper tamped bungholes shut tight with a wooden mallet he swung from the top of his shoulder to the waders of his hips, stopping only to readjust the spigot with the heel of his hand. These are handmade things, ways of being with the world while being outside of it. Without or with, so paltry and bothersome, like a nervous tic or a gamey leg, or a punch in the chops, a loose denture-plate and a bloodied lipsmack. Camel filter-tips and bolt-driven ankles, totted in place with screws and washers, a twist to the left and a crank to the right, just the right tock to get the driven, driven home. She rode side-saddle on a cushion that smelt like ox sweat and chaff, the landau man pulling hard on the reins, horses’ hooves neighing and braying, railheads and brads strewn about like mouse droppings. The anvil-man hammered tacks into braided hair, just big enough to slip through clip and yowl. The first time he saw her she was reading the National Geographic. He thought this rather odd, as most people, miscreants and philologists, simply read the captions under the photos.

Monday, June 18, 2007

Recumbent Decumbency

This is not sleep but the appearance of sleep, sleepless sleeplessness. This damn Skinnerian box will be the end of me, my head full of splinters, wood tics and wormy worms. Not what you’d call recumbent decumbency, not by a long stretch, no indeed; a head-full of notions and grammatical patricide, an Oedipal stick in the eye, I’d say, so I would.

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Crabber and Duckworth

Delaney has wheatears. The shamble leg man met Delaney at the crab fry-up on a sunshiny sunny August day. Delaney, bibbed and dressed in a beige serge suit with wide lapels, sat over a table of crabs cracking shells with a nutcracker he carried in a scabbard on his belt. His mouth oily with crab juice, eyes bigger than garlic bulbs. The shamble leg man espied him from a distance, as he was in no mood for pleasantries and how do you do’s. Once Delaney had you in his sights he would chatter on and on like an insufferable fool, and the shamble leg man did not suffer fools lightly. Crabber and Duckworth catered the crab fry-up. Duckworth oiled his hair with garlic butter, gathered into a cone on the back of his head. Crabber was bald, so had no use for oils and hair salves. ‘This is strangely disturbing’ said Crabber, ‘all these crabs and not a shell insight.’ ‘Don’t you mean in sight?’ asked Duckworth.

Saturday, June 16, 2007

An Exegesis on Chicanery

Below, below the grammar-line, I have cut and pasted an exegesis on the not-so-fine art of semantic no-nonsense and, might I add, under no duress, ill-will, coercion or chicanery of any kind. I culled a selection of small pieces, all written days, weeks, months apart, and basted them together as a unified text. What I noticed, against my will and better judgment, is that by some alchemy they seem to fit together, unfittingly so, but together nonetheless. This speaks more to my state of mind than to craftsmanship, or the fact that I have obsessive compulsive disorder, the need to find randomness in order and order in randomness. As with anything done in a stream-of-consciousness style, freely-associated, the sense is in the senselessness, the meaning in the meaninglessness, the text hidden and revealed within the text. Doffing my boatmen’s cap to Lacan, I have purloined a letter, stamped it, signatured it and sent it on its merry way. Where it goes is incidental to the randomness of chance, judgment, craftsmanship, OCD or chicanery. Though I did send it off in my boatmen’s cap, so there must be some guile and hew to it, unfitting as it may be.

Rumors and Conjectures

Being one of Dostoevsky’s idiots isn’t so dreadful, or for that matter, being called an Aquinnah first-principle or an absolute being, or being compared to a lawnmower with whooping Soubrettes. As you might well imagine, should you be so disposed, I think in circles, in syllogistic tautologies and catchalls, a foolproof reasoning that defies rumour and conjecture. I have a proclivity for fancifulness, am eviscerate and unpropitious, dreadfully impetuous, and prone to flights of fancy-panting. I have never worn gabardine or serge trousers, or a toque with a Habitat or ‘C’ on the brimming. I have no dependents other than myself, which is quite enough, and see no reason to eat liver, boiled, fried or otherwise tempered, sweetmeats or an entrée that demands my utmost attention and gourmand expertise, both of which I in lack of. I am one of Dostoevsky’s idiots, an imbecilic savant, a dullard, a portmanteau with a faulty hasp. I am an Aquinnah first-principle, a Soubrette with a whooping cough, a rumour of conjecture and bad manners. I am a syllogism, a solipsistic Habitat with a ‘C’ on the…

Veritas Hubris

Bootblack blackstrap molasses black coffee, a sewage best imbibed ad-dulia, tongue lolling, feet shuffling, a spicy oleic treat. Goes down like rue of castor, a cure-all for heel sores, Gomorrah and colic whooping.

E-pluribus-ex-communion tabula rasa impugns. A fine and gentlemanly day, so it is; transubstantiate ex-glorious, wafers, biscuits and Port, a lolling good time {e-pluribus} on the nip of the tongue, exsanguinations from mud and water; Ipso recto abracadabra etcetera in VERITAS HUBRIS, one more for the kipper on rye Melba and lox.

Fintan, shoed only in gummy-soled boots, plowed trudging through waist-high jujube-black snowing snow and sighing fatigued, said ‘I deplore the damnable Jesuits all’. His great-scrappy hands, hammocks of loose variegated skin, held tightly a sack of brownish paper in which he toted a bevel and mortise-rake for raking stone and beveling. In neither garrets nor sack-clothes was he attired, as he felt that these were relics of god-fearless cunning and wholesale connivance’s. A jujube-black Civet cat, eyes yellow-spidery slits, eyed him intently, chewing garishly on nettles and roan-brown scats that had fallen free from thorn, thistle and stemma.

Denticulate Blazes Boylan macerates the licescales and dogsbodies from between dear, warbling Molly’s scabbard-red thighs jiggling jolly piggish. Thus bespoke Bloom cuckoldedly. Godsfearless young Stephen Dedalus intones; gods be with you, damnable Jesuit cunts! And is done with it, tutor-money accounted for and pocketed among lint and mint-wrappings. Recently deceased Paddy Dignam’s funeral procession recrossed over the suet canal that bifurcates thighs wide the city of Dublin gods’land so say the Jesuit brethren. This funereal procession, of course, pretenses a dead, rotting corpsebody stuffed waiting with viscera and chewable idbits. A grocer or abattoirist’s gold mine, one might suggest.

He once ate cow’s brains, so he told me, fricasseed with Spanish onions, leeks and a pullet of garlic. He said they tasted like porridge without the brown sugar, placental-mushy and bland, but overwhelmingly pleasant. An aftertaste, he said, that left him feeling rheumy and ill at ease. I asked him if he’d ever eaten sweet breads or a kidney stropped in blackstrap molasses, or a mouthful of peas shucked by a Bedzin? He said no he hadn’t but that once he had met a Bedzin at a bordello in the north of France on a skulduggery trip with a guy named Phil Scrofulous who had unappealing body odour and half an ear.

Blooms Day, Bon Fete

Ulysses can be read as transubstantiation from body to soul; and vice versa. Dog’sbody, Dignam’sbody (rotting in bog-peat) Molly’sbody in bed-sheets (mobbed in gobspit) and Stephen’s dearly departed mother’sbody pleuritic with coalman’s lung. Blake’s etchings best evoke the transubstantiality of the Joycean nightscape, the juxtaposition of lifelessness with the immanence of the living, the dead rising, corseting the black Irish Sea. There is a no separation between the dead and the living, but simply an inversion of language, a distance that never recedes into the background (foreground), an opposable unity of language, separation and line; transubstantiation of body and soul (life and death) sung in a tenebrous lilting Irish brogue.

Friday, June 15, 2007

Max Beckman (Skulls)

Max Beckman-Portrait

Portrait of Beckman in the late 1920s, by H Erfurth

Max Beckman

Max Beckman

Max Beckman

Max Beckman

Max Beckman

Lucien's Chien

Crisco and Apricot Flan

The man in the hat like fruit flans, peach and orange, currant and apricot, and Flan O’Brien whom he had read about in a periodical or newspaper. He liked ox-tail gumbo and soda-biscuits and anything that tasted like anis or cloves. Golf he found childish, preferring checkers or trump the fox, a card game he'd learned from his great-great grandfather, a Quaker with hairy arms and a coughing laugh. Bunt cakes and tortes and tiny cupcakes with frosting and curlicues, anything baked with Crisco and lard. He ate anything that was put in front of him, mealworms and saltpetered cakes and chocolaty Swiss Rolls rolled in confectionary sugar and shredded coconut. He wolfed down everything within reach, never stopping long enough to chew, morsels and wee gambits of food, or wipe the crumbs from the fop of his trousers.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The Florist Beeves

This Lela--the deaf mute--had a scullery maid’s aplomb for rearranging sock drawers and linen hampers, which she did quietly and with steadied poise. She scrubbed dirt and sweat-rings from other people’s shirts using her bare hands and a bishopric-lye she kept in a tin box underneath her bed. She accepted very little in return, as compensation for helping others was as sinful as wearing petunia-oil on Sundays or leaving the cat out in the rain. She’d rather they smile or smell the lilac of her neck, a place seldom touched by hands other than her own. Her days were divided between scullery-work and seamstressing, stitching collars and frayed pant’s bottoms and wayward coat-sleeves. She used a bone-thimble and a seven-gage sewing needle and thread so thick you could dress chickens with it.

The florist Beeves made nosegays for the deaf mute Lela, carefully choosing each flower, then arranging them into exquisite bouquets: Windflowers and Daffodils, Whortleberry and Venus’s Looking-glass, Toad-flax and Teasel, Sweet William and Silver-weed, Persian Candy-tuft and Narcissus, Mandrake and yellow Madder, Larkspur and Ladies’ Bedstraw, Jonquille and Indian cane, Hornbeam and Hawthorn, Goosefoot and Goats-rue, Foxglove and Dodder, Date-plum and Cinquefoil, Chaste-tree and Bugloss, Bladder-senna and Black thorn, Arum and Amaranth. He wove and tweezed them together with the greatest care, never once misplacing a Toad-flax or a Foxglove, a Silver-weed or a Candy-tuft.

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Professor Richard Rorty

Several years ago I wrote professor Rorty an email expressing my gratitude and thanks for his book Philosophy and Social Hope. At the time I was struggling to complete my MA thesis while working fulltime as an addictions counsellor with the homeless. About a week passed, and when I opened my email I saw a message from professor Rorty. I was overcome with joy and a sense of deepest honour. His kind inspiring words encouraged me to push forward with my thesis, remembering as I did that philosophy can be used as a tool, and most importantly, as a way to encourage and help others achieve their goals. I will forever be indebted to professor Rorty, not only for his unwavering commitment to philosophy, literature and humanism, but for taking the time to write a struggling graduate student, making him feel, for perhaps a brief moment, important and acknowledged.

Philosophical Kindness

Dear Mr. Rowntree,

Thanks very much indeed for your kind words about my book. I'm delighted that you found PHILOSOPHY AND SOCIAL HOPE of interest and of use. I hope that your return to philosophy pays off, and that you will find yourself on a track that will give you intellectual satisfaction and a rewarding life. The discipline can indeed be pretty dreary, but people like Dewey and Habermas are good examples of the use that can be made of it.

With good wishes,

Richard Rorty

Richard Rorty (1931-2007)

Monday, June 11, 2007

Lela's Heart

The deaf mute Lela met the alms man and the harridan at the church bazaar one especially warm June afternoon. She was dressed in a blue and rose taffeta dress with frills and calfskin sandals double-knotted into perfect bows. She registered thumps and rumblings, feet shuffling and hands fretting, but no sounds whatsoever, not even the beating of her own heart. Everything was a feeling, sensing, corporeal. She read lips and knew the rudiments of signing, but was incapable of language. A yellow moon harvested the sky, cut diamonds and broken crystal, puffed out chests and broad-sleeved coats. She heard doors slammed shut, a clap of wind, a moths wings ruffling still night air; but no sounds, not even the beating of her own heart, not a sound.

Thursday, June 07, 2007

Popeye Cigarettes and Aspic

Asparagus with fennel and cumin seeds served on Rubbermaid dinner-plates with bone serviette-rings. Weiner-dog wieners served with Gibbs’ hard mustard and pickle brine aspic. A roll-your-own tamped in a sleeve of Zigzag roll-your-own Whites. A belly-stove match--red-tipped with a blue sulfur neck--struck on a greatcoat zipper. He ate Jelly-bellies off the scup of her tongue, lolling on and suckling the hard outer casing. Once he’d sucked the coating off he’d savor the soft inner-belly, twisting and plaiting his tongue round the edges where the milk of her spittle had flavored the candy with a tangy saltiness, just enough to make it seem softer and gentler in his mouth. She liked Licorice Babies and Black Cat chewing gum and real authentic Indian chewing tobacco, and paraffin cigars filled with juice and Popeye cigarettes, the flaming red tips clenched between her teeth, a childish sneer on her face.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

Helene Knoop

Helene Knoop

Helene Knoop

Helene Knoop

Helene Knoop

Helene Knoop

Helene Knoop

Helene Knoop

Helene Knoop

Helene Knoop

Monday, June 04, 2007

Onions, Shallots and Garlic

They, the alms man’s family, had a dog with doggish ears and dogteeth. Her name was Darien and she slept in the woolshed next to his brother’s firemen’s wagon. Darien ate biscuits and bone teething rings and rawhide and grass. His brother pulled her round in his firemen’s wagon, saying to anyone who would listen ‘my dog has no fleas, none at all.’ Most people simply ignored him, but some, those with small children in prams, would shoo at him, scurrying past, they’re children wailing and peeing and snorting like pigs. When the alms man told the man in the hat about they’re dog, the man in the hat asked ‘did she have floppy ears or straight ears or no ears or one ear?’ To which the alms man replied ‘doggish ears, and two of them’. ‘Did your dog eat its own feces?’ he asked. ‘Yes, and other’s, too,’ replied the alms man, ‘poodles and schnauzers and wiener-dogs, some big some small, some shaggy some hairless, others with black splotches or white and black and white.’ ‘We had a Beowulf’ said the man in the hat, ‘with such long fur you couldn’t see its eyes for the life of you.’ The alms man readjusted his eyeglasses and cleared his throat, then spoke in a low even tone, saying ‘Darien was run over by a car, got all caught up under the wheels, head all twisted and curled up like a fist.’ ‘Did you eat her, I mean now that she was dead and run over and all?’ asked the man in the hat. ‘No, but my brother gave it some thought, wanted to make a Beef Wellington out of her.’ ‘Onions and shallots and garlic’, I hope, said the man in the hat, ‘and a rue made from butter, flour and pigs’ knuckles’.

Sough and Rain

A pattering rain rained on the alms man, soughing his cutout cardboard mat and frizzing what little hair he had left on his head. A clap of thunder brokered his thoughts, casting him into a world of ghouls and imps and a sprite with elfin ears and a crooked smile. He had vague memories of his brother’s firemen’s wagon and a man who wore a monocle and a pipsqueak’s hat. The rain and thunder called to mind a time when he climbed trees, willows and oaks, elms and maples, and scaled bridges made from logs and mud chinking. The wicked witch’s stockings and the cowardly lion, and his brother’s wagon stowed in the woolshed at the back of the house where the garden that never grew sat in defiance of reason and common sense.

Jakob von Gunten

Man Without Hat Reading

Sunday, June 03, 2007

Druid Bleu

A Druid bore-cart sped past, a monk dressed in a surplice and leather toe-sandals pulling hard on the reins, the horses snorting and faying, and toppled over the friar’s oxcart, sending wheels of ripe cheese into the air. The Druids produced a low-grade Quebecois Bleu Bénédictin that smelt like boiled rags. They lived in a stone creamery on the other side of the mountain and spoke a Gaelic dialect that was consonant and guttural. The head Druid, a monk by the name of Smith, oversaw the cheese production, making sure it had that overripe necrotic saltiness to it. There was talk among the cheese-makers that the Druids used bone-clips and ferret’s nails, and some oily substance that resembled oil of castor. The friar’s turned their noses up at the Druids, finding they’re alchemy highly suspect; and besides, they’re bicycles were rusty, the tires threadbare and worn through to the rims.
The man in the hat wore a hat with a feathered hatband that he twisted at the front to form a bow and tassel. He’d seen the Druids do the same thing, but with a four-cornered fools hat, flat on top with a cameo broach on the front that looked like a hen’s foot bent into a Papal thumb. He’s seen this once before in a movie where a monk bent over a dying man, his four-cornered hat tipping sideways and falling onto the dead man’s chest, the crowd of onlookers wailing, one obese woman with a furriers hat, brown sable with silk underpinning, weeping uncontrollable, her face flush and roiled with tears. That same day the shamble leg man had espied a friar-cook on a bicycle, his hat bluffing and whipping behind him like a kite tail. There seemed to be a society of capped men, some in Papal hats, miters and berets, others in fedoras and rattan boaters with numbered cards and feathers. The Druids and friars stuck out, as they’re hats were of poor quality, made from coarse burlap and cheap felt, and seldom fit properly, cinching the sides of they’re heads; among the Druids blood boils were a common compliant, unassailable itching and dandruff were common afflictions among the friars and monks, hearing loss and eczema common to both.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Nick Cave- into my arms

German Mountain Cheese

Blue, Roquefort, Camembert, Swiss, cheddar, nippy, sharp, Brie, Oka, Gouda (smoked and rawboned, rind and paraffin), Granston Blue (Llangloffan), Landsker Blue, Soft Blue (St. Florence), Gorau Glas (Quirt), Caws Preseli (Pantmawr), Perl Wen (Caws Cenarth), Cheddars and Cheddar type - Aeron Valley, ACC Llandyrnog, Hufenfa De Arfon, Llangloffan, Llanboidy, Cilowen Organic, Lancych (Caws Cenarth), Merlin (goats milk), Little Acorn (sheep milk), Caws Celtica (sheep milk), Caerffili, Caws Cenarth, Caws Nantybwla, Caerfai, Teifi, Castle Dairies, Celtic Promise (Teifi), Saval (Teifi), Caws Cerwyn (Pantmawr), St. David's (Abergavenny), Dansco Mozzarella, Teifi range, Caws Cenarth, Cheez Whiz, Egyptian Sardo, Testouri, Caravane (camel milk), Bokmakiri (goat’s milk), South African Kwaito, Japanese Sakura, Palestinian Ackawi, Basket cheese, Labneh, Jameed (goat’s milk), Jibneh Arabieh, Bergkäse (German for mountain cheese), Lüneberg (cow’s milk), Tyrolean grey cheese (or Grau Käse), Brusselse Kaas, (Brussels, cow’s milk), Remedou cheese (Belgian cow's milk), Kaškaval or Kashkaval (Bulgarian and Macedonian), Olomoucké syrečky (Czech),Bavaria blu, Anthotyros (Greek), Slovak salty Liptauer, Italian Bocconcini, Pljevlja (Serbian Cyrillic: IPA [pʎɛvʎə]), Edam (Edammer), Jarlsberg, Polish Bryndza, Brazilian Requeijão, Romanian Brânză topită, Russian Tvorog, Serbian Caciocavallo, Slovakian Oscypek, Spanish Garrotxa, Swedish Blå Gotland, Swiss Sbrinz, Schabziger, Quebecois Bleu Bénédictin, Nova Scotia Dragons Breath, Le Riopelle de l'Isle, Mexican Añejo, Farmer cheese, Tillamook Cheddar, Venezuelan Queso Palmita. The friars made mozzarella and old cheddar, (white) staying clear of complex cheeses and curds. Anyhow, the oxcart could only accommodate light cheeses and whey’s, anything heavier or more complex would have busted the axel, caroming the oxcart into a frenzied cartwheel.

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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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