Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Rufino Tamayo

Rufino Tamayo

Rufino Tamayo

Rufino Tamayo

Rufino Tamayo

The Non-secular Unconscious

What is the symptom of the Christian unconscious? The anticlastic of the eucharis whereby neither surface has a midpoint or joining. All surfaces appear to conjoin, yet remain at a distance, a constant tension between the repressed and the imago of sin. Once failure to meet the strictures of Christian doctrine is evened, the sin is the yardstick on which all present, past and future behaviour (ethical, moral and human) is measured. In this manner sin forms the basis for Christian symptomology the (lynchpin) on which it is formulated and enforced. Sin (the imago of sin) shapes the repressive quality (quantity) of the Christian unconscious. The Christian unconscious is the sin, the fear and enforcement of the sin (the sinning) without the sin, there would be no Christian unconscious, no basis (lynchpin) for and of a (non-secular) unconscious.

by James Joyce

Belizean Cowboy Hat

Weakfish molasses and granddad’s Brigham willowing blue-bluer blue smoke. ‘So little time’ thought the man in the hat, ‘and me with too many hats to choose from’. Fedoras and bowlers, panamas and Stetsons, hats that look like hats but on further inspection are grapefruits cut in half, stinkweed hats and hats that serve no other purpose than to inveigle one into thinking there hats when in fact they’re not hats at all but stand-ins for hats, pseudo hats. Spy’s hats and Belizean cowboy hats, hats made from hemp and spun wool hats that sat like dishrags on scullery maid’s heads. Corsair commander’s hats with gold piping and chevrons, Bishop’s Miters coopered with frankincense and mums, snake-charmer’s hats and hats fashioned from elephant fronds and Moses reeds. With this many hats to choose from the man in the hat chose a simple boater, ecru rattan with a silver thread merge between the brim and hatband.

Monday, July 30, 2007

Story of the Eye, George Bataille

Counterpoint to Discharge

Tension excites abreaction, the release of libidinal energy that is nothing more than yet-to-be-energy, the tension that the being-held consigns. The being-held is counterpoint to the discharge, which excites the resolve to remain in tension.

The Veins in My Hand

Cambodian Coffee

I’m getting way too tired of being tired; to put it mildly, I’m very tired. All the tea on China, the coffee in Cambodia, even, couldn’t make me any less tired. I tried sleeping, but that didn’t work; sleeping is a waste of time when you’re all worked up, I mean so awake that you’re wasting time thinking about being asleep, which of course you can’t, sleep, because you’re awake thinking about it. The way I see it, which is pretty much blurry and off-centre most of the time, being tired must have something to do with not being able to sleep, and even if you could, you’d spend more time thinking about it, sleep, then actually doing it, so it’s all pretty much a waste of time, really. I used to sleep curled in a ball upside my granddad’s dog, but on account of the fact he had fleas and bad breath I stopped, with the dog in a ball, curled up and asleep. I tried reading the National Geographic, but that didn’t work, even the ones with naked pictures of tall African woman and antelopes, and some with African dogs and huts and high grass, those kinds of pictures. My dad, before the house burned, had these photograph magazines, some with nude pictures and ads for lipstick, and ads for teeth floss and these x-ray glasses that were really fake, cause all you ever saw was the veins in you’re hand, like they were painted onto the x-ray glasses, that kind of phoney shit. When I was littler I was always being fooled by shit, ads in photograph magazines and our house burning down, that sort of shit.

Desire-less Desire

The desire to be desire-less, to remain once, perhaps twice-removed from that which is desirable yet undesired. In this manner all and everything is desirable, even the desire for the undesired; to desire the undesired, the move towards away from the desire of desire, undesirability. Technology has taught us to be suspect of desire, to keep at arm’s-length the desire to desire what is and is not desirable. In the end, the technological end, desire vanishes into the undesired, the inability to emote and engage in the act of desiring altogether. The technological-machine has taught us how to become machines, desire-less automatons. The fear of intrapersonal assonating far outweighs the desire to engage, and the machine takes over where emotion once reined: to assonate means to become aware of the other, ourselves (self-awareness) and the assonating of the other as ourselves, a supra-empathic being-aware. As in Lacan’s mirroring, the ability of the child to differentiate between the image (imago) and the self, or self as mirrored in the mirror of the self, a mirroring of the self through an imago that is neither real or phantasm but a binary of both, a real-phantasy, or real-phantasy-equivalent. The computer screen has replaced the Lacanian mirror (the real as phantasy); the self-qua-self as imago, neither desirability nor undesirability, but an in between where suspicion and fear replace being-aware and being-desire.

Sunday, July 29, 2007

Weakfish and Molasses

Porter blacker than molasses, the evidence is in the pudding. The man in the hat liked Galba panfrys on his toast: oleo el dente avec froid. 27 ½ hours left, and counting, until the trees start sing arias on low. Grandmamma’s mincemeat pies, porkpie hats and granddad’s Brigham billowing smoke bluer than the bluest blue sky. Saint Albert and the Corrupter Sims, 27 ½, her feet splayed sideways; meniscus, wish and Stilton. Thoughts are useless things, thought the man in the hat, ‘so I’ll take a crab cake and a jarful of Paddy’s Bold’. The evidence is in the porkpie, black currant and poppyseed. The proofing is in the mincemeat, red apples and pears au jus. The man in the hat dreamt he was dreaming, his eyes inside out, staring at a blanched spot on the ceiling. Dreams are for the restless; he thought dreaming, abeyance culpa mea veritas. Saint Albert and the Corrupter Sims, two pleas in a scrod, crab cakes and mincemeat and granddad’s Brigham billowing bluer blue. ‘Thinking takes far too much energy’ he thought, ‘and the headaches are merciless indeed’. ‘Give me a strong cup of bitters and a bowlful of scrod, a stout kick to the noggin and one of me grandmamma’s poppyseed cakes’. ‘What about me pigglywiggly legs, have you no mercy for a weakfish waif?’ Dreams are the things that waifs are made of, Stilton, weakfish and molasses.

Friday, July 27, 2007

Shoulder Hobs

A bordello moon sat low in the morning sky, shoulder hobs stretched to overburdened. Some mornings the moon forgot to low, a crouching frog; northernmost star, a bejeweled daystar, the star that summons imps and ghouls, chickens’ feet, corrupted souls and bedbug bugs. Calfskin souls made from morphine and curio-salts, his grandmamma making Doll pastries with extra icing sugar and almonds. The proof is in the pudding, Plumtree’s Potted, like dear old Joyless, before the accident, of course. A titmouse and a churchmouse, the proof is in the plodding: before the next 27 ½ hours another 27 ½, never a moments rest, not a ½, his grandmamma’s feet in bunions, dross and ox-broth, blue Stilton, meniscus, wish and splay-toed; bordello hook-rug made with bedbugs and exacting prophylacticity. These thoughts, these not quite thoughts thought the shamble leg man, thinking he was having true undeniable thoughts when in fact he wasn’t having thoughts at all, not one.

Port and Blue Stilton

The dog was in the middle, of the road lying flat, the dog in the road. The shamble leg man saw many dogs lying flat in the middle of the road; some with caramel fur others with ecru or light brown fur, strays. Oxcarts, some beneath oxcarts, others pressed up into the wheel wells of cars like ham sandwiches. He saw them all, the dogs, strays. Lapdogs and collies, short-haired and dappled, small long dogs, all and every sort and breed of dog. Dogs live outside the world of humans; the dog-world is a world of sniffing and scratching, bones and rawhide toys. The man in the hat had a Florentine recipe for dog-meat: one Spanish onion finely diced, three carrots, two cloves of garlic, pressed, a cube of Oyo and 27 ½ cups of ox-broth. The meat was marinated overnight in the ox-broth and Oyo, then stir-fried at a low simmer for 27 ½ hours; the carrots and Spanish onion were added just before presentation, giving the dish a shimmering, pinkish hue. He served it with wild rice and asparagus, three baguettes and a 27 ½ year-old Port, Portuguese, Camembert, smoked Gouda and Blue Stilton on lightly toasted Melba. He cleaned his teeth with chicken bones, meniscus, wish or splay-toe.

Thursday, July 26, 2007

Das Freud's

Cod and Haddock

A crooked blue sky in a crooked blue world; the man in the hat hurrying to catch the tram, feet shuffling; the sky threatening rain. His granddad used to catch the very same tram, seven o’clock sharp, his hat a-flutter on the tiptop of his head. His granddad carried a calculator in a scabbard on his belt that he used to weigh the cost ratio between cod and haddock. Taking into consideration the batter, which weighed less than the fish, he arrived at 27 ½. Sums and tallies, computations and figuring were his avocation, weighing cod and haddock his bread and butter. The man in the hat set foot in the church only once, on the occasion of his niece’s christening, a commodiousness working its way into his small bowel doubling him over in pain. Molasses biscuits, his grandmother made them fresh each morning before his granddad’s seven o’clock tram. She wrapped them in wax-paper, folding the edges into envelopes. In his granddad’s lunchbox, she put them there, with carrot sticks and a cored apple sliced into bitesize bites. Next to them, the carrots and molasses biscuits, she put a bottle of cows’ milk, a Florida juice orange and a linen napkin folded in on itself like a moth’s wings. He, his granddad, ate everything, carrot sticks, cored sliced apples and molasses biscuits in 27 ½’s, wiping the crumbs from the corners of his mouth with the napkin, then folding it in two and placing back into his lunchbox. Most things in his life, his granddad’s life, were carried out in 27 ½‘s, his toilet, reading, tying his shoes or taking a shave.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

The River

her eyes
crossed the
river before mine, you must
follow the waves
she said

an eel
swam past
its oily body wrapped
round the skin
of my ankle

the river
is deeper here
she said, follow the current
let the waves
pull back

Tuesday, July 24, 2007

Christmas Ash

The alms man made his peace with God on a beg-bench in the church across the street from the aqueduct. He pressed the flip of his knees against the beg-wood and made his atonement. The rector’s assistants stood quietly in the shadow of the cross, figuring out ways to steal coppers from the alms-bowl. ‘Alms for the poor’ shouted the beggar-woman, her hair crowed on the top of her head. She made a camp out of Salvation Army blankets and clothes-pins on the steps of the church, placing her beg-bowl on the step closest to the doors. ‘I am a person too’, she hollered, her beg-bowl tippling on the step in front of her. The rector’s assistant folded the priest’s surplice and placed it gingerly on the altar-board. He stole his fingers through the pockets feeling for wafers and loose change, his eyes trained on the crucifix above his head. ‘My feet are numb’ bawled the beggar-woman, her face red as Christmas ash. ‘Will someone, for the love of God, drop a copper in my bowl?’ The alms man, hearing the beggar-woman’s plea, unbowed his knees and trundled out of the church, his alms cap held out in front of him like a ciborium. The rector’s assistant, having found a bit of wafer, bellied his way out the backdoor of the sanctuary, his feet scampering like a church mouse's.


you must
follow the waves
the river is deeper here
let the current
pull back

Wassily Kandinsky

Monday, July 23, 2007

One Leg, One Hat

The harridan stood standing, the weight of her thoughts weighing. The birds driving wagons of song into the cackle of a Como blue sky, or so it appeared in the mirror of her eyes. The eyes are not the mirror of the soul but the lead backing, silver flashing. She thought of her father’s hands and her mother’s ears, a child’s thumbprint in a curd of Play Dough. She thought weighting, this and that, something blue and something peach, her thoughts weighed with weightiness. Harridan’s and shamble leg men, men in hats and legless men, all mirror images, things, phantoms stitched one into the other. To see one is to see them all, a dynamic of many as one. One leg, one hat, one child’s thumbprint in a curd of Play Dough, an indexing of all and every: the one many one all. ‘Such a shameless hussy’ she moaned, ‘and me with my legs in tethers, piggly-wiggly me’. These them they are one two many, no less than a million: each all everyone one weighing and vectoring; leaving thumbprints in curds of Play Dough. The soul is the mirror of the eyes, so seethe the Lord all-musty. In rectory-rectus we trust, white gloms, the eyes are the portals of the knolls, in impetigo, cholera and whooping. The harridan’s thoughts spun and spun, weaving themselves into latticework lattices. Lambswool and curlicues and her mother’s bee-bitten lips, ‘and me with my legs in tethers, what a shameless hussy am I’.

The Uncouchious

The Douala's Forehead

Labial and so forth: the sky, the great hawking maw of the word, Majorca and Minorca, a rekindling of what lies inside with what lies outside, the cistern-belly stretched to five centimeters. He lay in the curd of her belly, biscuits and whey-marrow, his mother cutting the crusts from the edges of his toast. She spread oleo and turnip-paste on his breakfast cakes, saying it would bring out the vim and vigor that lay stultified in the kip of his belly. A stringy spat-cord, what tethers her belly to the bubo of his navel. His mother ate pan-fried cake and lard-biscuits, anything that required steaming and precooking. She carried low, her uterus strained to tipple. She grunted and moaned; eyes fixated on the Douala’s forehead, olive green bled into the copper of her hands. ‘Stop it, she demanded, ‘this is most annoying!’ She carried low, the turret of her pelvis pressed against the railing of the bed, collard and kale and some smell she couldn’t identify. ‘Such a shameless hussy’ she moaned, ‘and me with my legs in tethers, suckling collards from the marrow of me piggly-wigglies’. He corseted up the down, his grandmamma’s stern warning ever-present in his thoughts, ‘there’ll be hell to pay, my boy…more than a soul can cash and carry’.

Saturday, July 21, 2007

Dalasi Morphine

The legless man knew the shamble leg man but not the man in the hat. He knew of the harridan and the alms man and the rickety-leg man but only in passing. He punted and poled his way across the blacktop, the pivot of his hips swaying to and fro. ‘My life is driving me crazy’ said the legless man, ‘all this poling and shimmying’. Albacore tuna is best served on buttered toast, butter-side up. Things best served are buttery and in shingles. Shingles are shims of wood and tarpaper. ‘Tarpaper drives me crazy’, thought the legless man, ‘mad, mad, mad…’ When he was a child the legless man was cared for by an au pair who punted him round town in a perambulator with a sari fringe on top. She spoke Esperanto and Mandarin and twiddled her fingers when she felt anxious, which she did most of the time. The legless man’s nanny took dalasi morphine in tincture vials with rubber stoppers. She bought them from a dime-store hawker with pebbly skin and a hideous overbite. He drove a two-tone Pontiac with automatic windows.

More characters to worry and fret over; when will this all end, never is my guess. Sari fringes and dalasi morphine, a little dipole will do you, a boatyard perhaps. We he they caught tuna on crooked hooks with mealworms and catchalls. Not an easy go at it, especially when the dye is cast and the fontanel soft as tofu. Not a dime-store hawker or a thieving bastard in sight, silly worries and frets. They we he drove a Pontiac coupe with automat windows, the kind your dear old dad drove, knuckles clenching the twirly-wheel, doughy bastard. ‘Thoughts without a thinker’ is what he said, rheumy sacs; eyes like two puissant holes in the snowball making snow. Comatose ergo summa, c’est un allurd dans le fiord sang. She, my dearest dear grandmamma, made peach clobber, forking the crust with the pokes of her toes; jammy tarts a la sang froid.

The Botanical Flowers

The guy with the elbow tattoo got on the bus again today, the one I take to go see the flowers at the botanical gardens. He sort of reminds me of the albino kid except he’s not all pale and has brown hair. He’s got greenish eyes, but I don’t generally notice eyes, especially if there guys eyes like his. ‘For Christ sakes’, my grandmamma used to say, ‘eyes are eyes, so stop making a problem where one isn’t’. Problems are problems the way I see it, so it don’t make a lick of difference whether it’s got to do with the colour of some guy’s eyes or the tea in China. It’s sickening, really, I mean that you aren’t suppose to say what’s on your mind, you’d think we was in China or something. Reminds me of before when our house burnt and my mom and dad were always arguing about bills and me never taking out the garbage on the proper day. I knew it was on a Wednesday but always forgot, I suppose there’s a reason for that, forgetting and all, but I can’t be bothered to remember how come. Anyhow that fucker gets on my bus and starts to read the National Geographic again, like I’m suppose to think he’s a bishop or something. The nerve of some people, the fucking nerve really. I could give a rat’s ass about some guy with greenish eyes reading the National Geographic so he might as well just stop wasting his time and mine. Maybe I’ll walk next time to see the flowers, as long as it’s not uphill or in China.

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

Paper Kites

your eyes two greenstones
dulse blue lips that bespoke not a lie; I make paper kites
without tails: palmaria palmate, you said
you’re lips making a pocking sound

I will gather your hair into a skein
the taut of my fingers ferrying knots into bows
then I will lay you in the crib of my arms
a child’s smirk on the kip of my face

Posso en Beckett

Tuesday, July 17, 2007

Not Listening

I am jumping out the window, I guess this means I’m a defenestrator. I’ll put some pads or something on my knees, balled up comic books or something, and throw myself out the window. It sounds way more difficult than it is, like most things I guess. Not that I know much about most things, anything really, but just to be on the safe side I guess pretending you know something is good, at least not too bad. In the long run most things aren’t worth knowing, so knowing anything isn’t all it’s made out to be, not by a long shot. My grandmamma thinks she knows lots of things but doesn’t; she just pretends she knows things then tells me that if I disagree with her I’m not listening. I don’t listen because I don’t want to, plain and simple. Anyhow listening isn’t such a big treat, I mean you have to listen to a lot of crappy stuff which in the long run is just plain stupid. My grandmamma used to clean out my ears with a bobby-pin, scraping out all the built up wax, the stuff that makes it hard for a little kid to listen even when he doesn’t want to, which I didn’t. I knew this one kid, an albino, who had so much wax in his ears it used to dribble out onto his shirt collar; it was sickening as all get out. I thought having red eyes and white hair was bad, but the wax, man that was the real killer, all dried and crumbly and flaky, and on his shirt collar for Christ sakes. My granddad, he had horrible dandruff, but at least he wore a white shirt for God sakes.

Au Pairs and Impatient Mothers

Klickitat clack Klickitat clack, the no-legged man punted his way up the sidewalk, his hands feverously paddling the asphalt. He held a bottle of tic-tac between the stumps of his legs, the label, frayed and in tatters, whipping like a kite-tail in the warm August wind. He drank like a Mormon heretic, cast asunder into the depths of Dis’ hell. He understood the depths a man would go to outcross the cross and took a long slow gargle from the mouth of the bottle, his lips making a pocking sound against the fibrous glass. He lived an elbow-width from purgatory, in desecration of ghosts, specters and gods. He paddled and punted and poled his way up the sidewalk not stopping for pedestrians or dogs, or small children tethered to lampposts by overworked au pairs and impatient mothers.

Sunday, July 15, 2007

Just Below the Hips

There is no cobbler Peeps, hobnailed shoes or cardboard flats, they’re illusionary illusions, things made up in the dark with you’re eyes closed. In this wordless world nothing is as it seems, or so it seems. Coronary bypasses and phlebotomies: the proofs in the pudding, craw-berry and suet, chickpea and scalawag. The man in the hat knew a man who wore culottes’ summer, winter and fall, and a scarf that hid his face from chin to brow. He was legless, having fallen drunk into the path of an oncoming train, his legs sheared off like cog-pins just below his hips. He scooted round town on a small board equipped with wheels, punting himself along with two wooden blocks he paddled along the asphalt beside him, the stumps of his legs braded into the wooden slip that served as his carryall. Porters and ales made from wheat, soybean and malt, distilled in oak casks brushed with lye sealant to prevent seepage and auger.

Mister Vallencourt

On account of I don’t listen too well my grandmamma speaks to me in a loud irritating voice. She says it’s for my own good but I suspect it’s on account she has a loud voice. I’m pretty much used to being yelled at so when I stop to think about it, which I do from time to time, I doesn’t matter much whether she speaks at me with a whisper or a loud voice, it’s pretty much the same. My granddad, now he’s a different story, he’s got one of those low scratchy voices what’re hard to hear, and even if you did it’d probably be all mumbly and monotone. My grandmamma says it’s on account that he smokes non-filter tip cigarettes, Export A’s and John Player’s, but I figure he does it so as not to draw attention to himself and have my grandmamma all over him about the grass and the dog, even if it’s me that takes care of him most of the time. Some people, grandparents mostly, can be irritating, all that mumbling and heavy smoking, makes you want to jump out a window sometimes, most of the time really. I tried it once, jumping out the window that is, and fell on my noggin, busted up my ear and knocked a tooth out. My French teacher mister Vallencourt uses the word defenestration for jumping out the window; he says it’s more proper and sounds better when you say it that way, in French that is. I can’t be bothered on account of I find French not worth the bother of learning, most things, actually, but mostly French and gymnastics. I busted out another tooth on the pommel-horse once, bled like a fucker and had to have stitches in my upper lip and on my chin area. My grandmamma said it was because I didn’t listen well. I figure it was because there weren’t none of that chalk left when it was my turn. I guess my hands were too slippery or something. Anyhow it hurt like a fucker.

Saturday, July 14, 2007

Ex Nilio Animus Abracadabra

The cobbler Peeps cobbled shoes and resoled whatever needed resoling. He wore a cobbler’s apron made from plastic and a green viridian toque with tassels. He spoke in grunts and sighs and seldom if ever wore the same apron twice, or the same shoes, hobnailed or soft-soled. The man in the hat knew of the cobbler Peeps but had never made is formal acquaintance. He couldn’t afford resoling or cobbling so had very little cause to visit a cobbler. He shimmed cardboard flats and stuffed crumpled newspaper in the toes of his shoes, thereby bypassing the need for professional shoeing. Corpse-gaseous with fen and gall, those of us unlucky enough to have read De Animus have a good deal of forgetting to do. The cobbler Peeps preferred Plato to Aristotle, resoling to cross-stitching and bootblack to polish. ‘These are strange times’ thought the man in the hat, ‘strange indeed’. He pocketed his pocket-comb and said: ex nilio animus abracadabra, and fretted his way down the sideways. If the world is all there is, his was a world of doublespeak and innuendo, sighs and grunts, crows and corpse-gas, resoled shoes and crumpled newspaper.

Thursday, July 12, 2007

Torula Yeast

Torula yeast, that’s what she like to put on her toast. Her mother told her that it would make her hair thicker and lips fuller, and stop the trembling in her legs. It never did, but she put it on her toast anyhow. She thought it funny that wives’ tales are always told by wives and that her mother never once said the word wife in the house. She just figured her mother didn’t care much for the word or hated saying it, or that she felt uneasy in the house, the house the dustbin men always passed by and the house where her father played cards with other wives’ husbands. Wives’ tales are like fairy tales, so she thought, a troubled beginning, a fight to the death in the middle, and a happy ending at the end. All she saw was the middle, never quite reading through to the end or knowing if there was an end to begin with. She put torula yeast on her morning toast, spreading it on evenly with a butter knife that never touched butter or a lick of jam.

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

The Runt of the Litter

‘You’re whacked in the head’ she said, my grandmamma said. On account of I don’t do much around the house, nothing really, which really means a lazybones. She never says what she wants to or in a tone of voice that sounds proper for what she’s saying, or trying to say. Anyhow, I don’t really care all that much, really, cause she's suppose to do the housework and cooking, that is when she’s not smoking roll-you-owns on the porch behind the house where the dog sleeps. Sometimes, when it’s too hot and muggy, I sleep out back with the dog, curled up in his stomach like the runt of the litter. Their dog was a runt, so little that his momma forgot all about him, so my grandmamma had to feed him with a baby’s bottle and an eyedropper when he was really little, just born little. She’d wrap him up in a car-blanket and sit him down beside the chair, the one she smoked in and watched television in. He’d be all squirmy and making all these runt noises like he was trying to say something but couldn’t, couldn’t say how he wanted to say something. My granddad pretty much ignored him, really, and even when he did look at him, which he did from time to time, he’d make a scowly face or puff out his cheeks like he was going to blow so hard on him he’d blow him to Kingdom Come. No one I know knows where Kingdom Come is so I guess my granddad didn’t really mean it or know where Kingdom Come was anyhow. I guess the front veranda was as close to Kingdom Come as they’d ever been.

Scalawag and the Devil

Sleep is like the devil, always lurking in the dark. His grandmother said odd cursive things that caused him no end of discommode. Her eyes were dark as soot, her teeth cut like rake tines rusted through to the handrail, even when she spoke in a soft whisper it came out like a scream, ‘scalawag’, she said; ‘you’re just the sort of young man that’ll break an old woman’s heart, in two, by dammitt, two, two, two…’ He poached a handful of pickles, the ferment of dill-weed and allspice, and slid like a rattle out the back door, his hat pushed up cinched between his arm and scapula. ‘Back-bone’ he said, ‘right up there where the tendons knot with the U-joint, scalawag, by dammitt, and in twos…!’

A Consonant World

in this cloister of words a metaphor
an infinite regresses until the whole
is a matter of conjecture, the missing vowel
in a consonant world, drawn from tears of mercy
and inexpiable pain

in this cloister
of words, a metaphor
an infinite regress, a conjecture
the missing vowel in a consonant world, drawn
from tears of mercy, and
inexpiable pain

sea offers
up cod’s tongues, onyx shells, a
basket of

the stones
of my eyes, she said
kiss the hive
of my

bantengs’ wailing
swathing nights’ gallows
from heavens’ trough

Idiot bombs sets fire to the whoreizon, mortarjackets tailored to severe head from collar, hand from wrist, anklet from juicebone. These addle-minded men playing jacks and balls with children’s lives, sitting in pikespit and oval, scheming ways to kill the same person twice. And the children sit in the drake of night, wondering when a yellowjacket will find purchase in the hole of the roof.

and a
the television

Howth Head penance
graveclothes coiled in Guinness
a stone bowled into the rope of the sea

The cramping has started in the legs, high up in the thighs and along the ridge-muscle. They told me about this but I suppose I wasn’t listening, not yet at least. They said it would get worse, the pain and ache and palsy and rickets, but I didn’t listen, didn’t want to hear what they had to say. There is very little I can do to assuage the pain such as it is, so I must put up with it, learn to live with the pain and ache and palsy. My toes, they’re okay so far, so I suppose I am blessed. When they start to go I’m doomed. I need my toes to balance myself with, as keels or rudders; without them I’ll be lost, keeling over, and that I will never do. Before that happens I will be done with my toes all together, have them removed, incised from my feet and thrown willy-nilly into the trash heap where my other body parts are, the ones that have worn out and are of no use to me anymore.

Monday, July 09, 2007

Francis Bacon, Painting 1946

Rembrandt, The Slaughtered Ox.

Mormon Pickles

The day he was born it rained so hard the sky almost vanished. The sky was so blue and deep that you couldn’t see to the bottom. That day his grandmother made Mormon pickles with cloves and dill weed, canning them in Mason jars with flimsy rubber stoppers and screw-tops that never quiet screwed tight. The brine-water was so murky that it reminded the shamble leg man of bull’s semen or curdled milk, a tart sweetness that made your eyes water. She used a double-boiler with a tinfoil lid and an oversized wooden spoon that had teeth-marks in it. The pong of salted cloves and his grandmother’s fingers pitching the spoon up against the side of the double-boiler. The day he was born the house smelled like Mormon pickles and the washing solution his grandmother used to sterilize the pickling jars.

Sunday, July 08, 2007

Hailey's Comet

His mother’s mother made Christmas pudding in a coffee can, boiling the mull into a placental stew. His grandfather liked it stickled with cloves and lemon rind brought to a second-boil the day before Christmas. His grandmother used a Chockfull of Nuts coffee can, pealing the label off with a paring knife then re-labeling it with a Magic Marker: Christmas pudding 1958. The year the shamble leg man was born there was no comet, no Hailey’s tail or a meteor shower, just a dower gray morning in a green hospital with bright lights and a somber smell. He heard grunts and screams, yowls and hollers and the doctor clearing his throat, then the bright lights and the smell of antiseptic and ether. The following year there was a comet, so bright and glowing that it filled the night sky with hope and awe. The year he was born the sky laid hidden beneath a whore’s skirt, the smell of boiled onions and calf’s tongue, the doctor clearing his throat a second time, eyes trained on the oversized clock above the birthing-table, the morning sky red as scar tissue, his mother’s face labored with exhaustion.

Some people believe in a single god, others in a multiplicity of gods, each with its own divinity, and some believe in nothing. The shamble leg man fell somewhere in between the binary concept of god and the god of nothing, and when he worried about death and rotting, which he did from time to time, he lifted himself into the first camp, the camp of one god, a god of transcendence and immortality. This god was a fearless god, a god of magic and alchemy, and simply knowing this made him feel less ill at ease and tempered the roily feeling in his stomach, the very same feeling he got when he ate one of his grandmother’s mincemeat pies.

Blood-letting and Trichinosis

‘…cattle low best at a quarter-moon’. Why his grandmother told him this was as queer as a Quaker nickel, but tell him she did, her face sour as lemon biscuits. She told him many queer things, some so queer were he to have give them a second thought he’d have fallen willy-nilly to the floor, his mind a commode-pot of useless quips and quails. Her life, his grandmother’s, was in a shambles, the bane and torment of being a Quaker’s daughter. Blood letting and trichinosis: the Mormon cure-all for whooping and rickety-legs. The man in the hat told the shamble leg man that religion was the crack of the masses, a sure-fire cure for whooping cough and calcium deficiency. The shamble leg man saw no harm in a little goodhearted fun, as long as it didn’t cost more than a Mormon nickel or raise welts on the back of your neck.

His mother, the shamble leg man’s mother, died from underexposure to sunlight and too much butter. His grandmother, his mother’s mother, larded cakes and pies, tortes and flans with enough butter to choke an ox, her hands pasty with flour and yeast. She never once stopped to think that her larded psalteries, the term she used for anything made with wheat flour and butter, would arrogate veins and stiffen the rickets in her children’s bowed legs. The shamble leg man’s mother, having looked up the word ‘psalteries’ in the dictionary, couldn’t understand how her mother could mistake an ancient stringed instrument for baked goods, or why she felt an awful rumbling in her stomach after eating one of her mother’s mincemeat pies.

Saturday, July 07, 2007

Elision and Mal

He rubbed goose fat into the cuffs of his trousers to keep the crease from flattening out. His grandmother ironed creases into his grandfather’s pants, bowsprit vinegar and starch; the haberdasher’s cure for elision and hem. He never did get the gist of the iron, thinking it a waste of temper and swale, his grandmother’s moth-frail knuckles curded into rigs, his grandfather’s pant’s legs gathered into the tuck of his shins. Waste not or want not, or some such banal quip. Quail’s feet and wren’s bladder, the plums in the pudding, be it nutmeat or sage. Thinking this he thought no more, feet curled up into the croup of his thighs, bee’s stings and hornet’s pricks, June’s puckish mal.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Sackbut and Cooper

Shambling and jimmying, one leg tucked into the cove of his pant’s leg, the other pegged and tolled with varnish. Getting about and a round and over here and there was never a problem for the shamble leg man, even though his legs did buckle and heave inwards, the brass of his heels clicking the asphalt like tap shoes. ‘This is no life for a shamble leg man’ he said, ‘none whatsoever, and to think that I traded in my peg-leg for a pair of lifts and a sackbut of marbles’. The night, like a cloak and dagger, fell absentia on the shamble leg man’s head, his fontanel tilted at a most precarious angle, eyes bled white with cataracts, a sackbut of cats’-eyes folded neatly in the swales of his lap. ‘I most certainly won’t put up with this, not much longer at least, such poor manners, and these infernal clods and peas, like brass sentinels in the fop of my fob, jostling for hem and collar, such a paltry excuse for haberdashery and cooper’. Realizing that he made little to no sense, none whatsoever, he realigned the inseam of his trousers and went about his day, sackbut and peg-leg and lifts too small for his shoes.

Thursday, July 05, 2007

Reef-knots and Arithmatic

What exactly mouton-bird was, was a mystery to the shamble leg man, Sanskrit or Esperanto, or some Incan dialect he couldn’t be bothered trying to make sense of it, and even of he did, wouldn’t pay it much bother anyhow. He heard a trumpeting that seem to come out of nowhere, like a child being scolded or a cat being swung overhead. He stopped to think, to amuse himself with the very thought that he could think, and readjusting the inseam on his trouser leg jumped to one side like a house on fire. A steaming bowl of Quaker’s Oats with creamery milk and brown sugar and those ribbon-cut flaps of toast his grandmamma fingered into the porridge with the held end of the spoon. Everything tasted better once his grandmamma had touched it, whatever she put in a bowl or cut into ribbon-ends, it always had a sweetness and treacle taste to it. Life is simple like that sometimes, simpler than arithmatic or tying a reef-knot for the second time.

When I Was Littler

When I was littler I always wanted to be a cowboy, one of those Marlboro guys with the neat moustache and gouache’s pants, what’re they called. The way I saw it, then at least, smoking and riding a horse was the best thing a kid could hope for, that and not having to wear those short pants that aren’t really shorts or long pants but somewhere in between. The more I think about it the less I think; if that makes any sense. Thinking is highly overrated anyhow, so why bother to begin with, really. Although it might help quicken up the thickening of my soft spot, so I guess that’s good then, on account of that I guess. I saw in a movie once that some cowboys have dogs that’ll follow them around, kind of like littler dogs, what’re called puppy dogs, but I’m sure you already knew that. Our dog wouldn’t have on account that that’s not the kind of dog he was. He was more like one of those lapdogs, meaning not all that interested in following anyone around, even cowboys. How do you call them, their sort of those kind of dogs that aren’t much into doing athletic stuff, not that dogs--any dogs, really--are athletic, but even if he was he wouldn’t have done it anyhow. I suppose being a cowboy’s dog isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, having to following behind a horse and all.

I get tired pretty easy, so my granddad said. He said it was on account of that I’m littler for my age than I’m suppose to be, which isn’t all that bad when your young and a baby and all, but gets worse when you get older and wiser, even though I’m not what you’d call wise, not by a long shot. I’ve know lots of people what’re smarter than me, even some who was littler than me but smarter just the same. That guy on the bus reading the National Geographic, chances are he’s pretty much smarter than me, but just seems stupider cause he’s reading the National Geographic and not just flipping the pages back and forth like most people do. I’m sure my grandmamma would have something to say about that, but in the long shot it don’t matter much, not at all, really. She always championed me, that’s for certain, but sometimes being someone’s champion isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, even if it is your grandmamma. I’m too tired to think now, most times, actually, so best stop scrambling up my brain, even if it is a crackpot of a brain to start with. Anyhow being a cowboy wouldn’t help matters much on account of the fact that I’m not much good at riding a horse, that and the fact I can’t hold on too good.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Dead Is Dead, or So My Grandmamma Says

So the dog, our dog, snuffs it in the fire, gets all burned up and dead, dead is dead, or so my grandmamma says, so I best mind my manners. He was one of those red settlers or something, anyhow he had red fur and greenish eyes that were always looking in the opposite direction you wanted him to look. He used to like to go for walks in the field up the top of our street; that is before he died, in the fire that is. He’d jump and romp, I think that’s it, romped, anyhow he like to run round in these crazy circles chasing his tail, and if there was another person’s dog there he’d chase after its tail. Once we’d finished taking him for a romp we’d have to spend the rest of the afternoon picking burrs and snarls out of his coat of fur, the red one, the coat that is. There’d be twigs and grass and straw, on account that there was a hay field not far from the field at the top of our street and he liked to circle round it like a sheep dog or one of those black and white dogs, the one’s that are always chasing cows and sheep and other animals that farmer’s have in their fields. My dad would yank his handkerchief out of his pant’s pocket and blow real hard into it, on account of he usually stayed out late the nights before and didn’t feel all that good, and on account of the fact that he hated having to take or dog for romps up in the field at the top of our street. He carried a stick with him, one of those scout’s sticks what’re made out of tree branches and cleaned clean with a scout’s knife, the kind you wear on your belt loop in a leather thing, a scabbard what’s I think there called. Anyways he used to thump it against the ground in front of him hitting those brown puff balls what’re really just rotten dandelions waiting to be stepped on and crunched into the ground like that, dead and all smelly and rotten.

My Granddad Has This Friend

It doesn’t make much sense, nothing does really. Not that anything should make sense, but I guess there’s no harm in trying, but people aren’t worth the bother, not one iota. My grandmamma told me that most people don’t got much common sense, like the kind of sense that you’re suppose to have. Me, I got some, but not a whole lot of it on account of the fact that I still got that soft spot on the top of my head, at least that’s what my grandmamma says anyhow. She said that once I grows up and flies the coop, which sort of makes me sound like a bird or something, my head will grow hard, like wood, maybe harder. Not that that’s something to look forward to, but that’s that, I suppose, at least according to my grandmamma, and she only lies when she’s playing Crazy Eights or Pinochle. Old people are like that, from my point of view anyhow. My granddad has this friend with a wood leg who always has these white crumbs in the corner of his mouth, from those hard mints or Humbugs or something; anyhow you know those kind of candies that old fellows are always carrying round in their pant’s pockets, the ones all sticky with lint and balled up Kleenex and the like. My own dad carried a handkerchief in his pant’s pocket that he blew his nose into, it was all balled up too, and sometimes with blood in it, especially on account of when he had a cold or was in a bad mood. Seeing as I don’t recall much about my dad, or my mom, actually, I could be making all this up or just being stupid like. People like me, I mean people with the soft spot still on their heads, can get confused a lot I guess. Goes with the territory or something like that. Least that’s what I figure, at least.

Tuesday, July 03, 2007

The Harridan's Great Great Grandmamma

Cupcakes and jiggery piggy-wiggly said the harridan, knees cupped into the folds of her skirt, the sky a monger’s blood-apron, feet plaited into arthritic briar-wood, wood. If only I had a copper to buy a quid of Quaker’s-chew, brown biscuit and a jawful of brown stench, such a sumptuous delicacy. Her great, great grandmamma married a Quaker, a stodgy man with iron gray hair and a palp lip that curled round the chisel of his teeth like a millipede. He sold tinker’s castoffs and snuff and wore burlap trousers with a belt knotted to one side like a tract of intestine or a hookworm. Her great, great grandmamma told her that her great, great granddad like mouton-bird stew with onions and fennel, and wedges of farmer’s cheese ripened in Port barrels that he ate with a wooden spoon and a silver knife. She said that he wouldn’t allow two sliver things to touch, as it was a slight to God, or the sun in through the bedroom window until he’d said his morning prayers. The dimwitted child that she was, she asked her great, great grandmamma if they ate Quaker’s Oats for breakfast, to which her great, great grandmamma replied, sternly, her apron corseted round the wade of her hips, my child, this world is not what it appears to be, so stop asking stupid questions.

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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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