Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Californian Least Tern

On Sundays the man in the hat ate his lunch in front of the church. He sat on the front steps, unwrapped his sandwich (corn-beef with mayonnaise) spread it out on a napkin on his lap and ate with slow methodical chews. He drank Paddy’s Bitters from a hipflask he kept on a toggle-strap, tippling the flask to his lips then pulling on the neck with his free hand (the hand that wasn’t holding the corn-beef and mayonnaise sandwich). He almost keeled a pheasant with a stick but it flew willy-nilly in the opposite direction tail-feathers corseting. He tried to upend a seagull but missed the gull’s prefrontal vault. On Sundays the man in the hat tried to keel and upend all species and sort of bird: the Laysan the Albatross, the Blue footed booby, the Vulture, the Whooping Crane, the Stork, the Puffin, the Plover, the Mutton Bird, the Osprey, the Prairie Chicken, the Loggerhead the Shrike, the Peafowl, the Macaw, the Kingfisher, the Jackdaw, the Grouse, the Cassowary, the Egret, the Hummingbird, the Killdeer, the Robin, the Trumpeter Swan, the Californian Least Tern and the common Black Tern, the Woodpecker, the Bluejay and of course the speckled mottle-feathered Quail. Those few times when he did manage to down a bird he did so with a pelted stone, pinging it off the crown of the bird’s head or scuffing it off the side of its prefrontal vault.

Das Filmplakat Filmplakat Das

Hopeless Things and Chutney

The doctor tried a bishopric then a tinctures’ worth of Lithium but the legless man’s mother still couldn’t raise her arms above her head. The doctor mixed beetroot and anise and tamped the syringe down to half-full. He cinched the surgeon’s tubing round the legless man’s mother’s arm then hooked it round his thumb and forefinger. The legless man watched as the doctor punched the needle into his mother’s arm, tatted a vein and pushed down on the plunger. A pennon of blood flagged the chamber, just enough to mix the tincture with red platelet’s. The doctor pushed down on the plunger a second time, releasing a fulminate of red cure into his mother’s arm, a warm ebbing running up his mother’s arm and into the base of her neck. She relaxed her head into the pillow and closed her eyes, the skin around the puncture closing up like a wilting flower.

(She thought of prickly pear and star-anise, wormwood casket-rot, pitted cherries and plum chutney). The legless man sat next to his mother’s bed and watched as she fell into a medicinal stupor, her eyelids fluttering, lips quivering like dill seeds in a summer storm. Sometimes all you can hope for is more hope, nothing more. The legless man hoped that his mother would get better, that the red boils and sores would go away. Then he hoped that his da wouldn’t etherize anymore baby rabbits or bury dead things under the juniper hedge. He hoped that the day would end rainless and the sky would fall gently into night. He hoped for lots of things and things that were hopeless yet worth hoping for. Most of all he hoped he could stop hoping and never have to hope about hopeless things any more.

Friday, September 28, 2007

The Best of Intentions

When the legless man’s mother came down with red boils and sores the doctor sent her to bed for a month. She slept in the potato-shed out back of the house next to the dog’s house and the failed juniper hedge. No matter how hard his da tried he couldn’t keep the hedge from bending and wilting and falling in on itself. The legless man figured it had something to do with the baby rabbits his da etherized and buried beneath the hedge. Maybe the rot and fester had worked its way into the roots and sullied the junipers with death and rabies. Maybe his da had planted the juniper hedge wrong or forgot to feed it. These things did happen, after all, even when the person who did it had the best of intentions.

His mother lay astride the bed, her legs slung through a block-and-tackle that kept her feet a smidgen above her head. The doctor said it would help redirect the flow of blood and humors, starving the red boils and sores until they left the body like a ghostly vapor. His mother believed she was being visited by evil spirits, a pox and scourge for being unkindly to the washerwoman who lived two houses down and had horrible eczema. The legless man believed his mother was a receiver, a radio transistor with a burnt-out tube. His da simply ignored the whole ordeal seeing no purpose or reason for it at all, and even if there was, he hardly believed it mattered in a world where God made so many baby rabbits he had to kill a shoebox-full and then bury them under the juniper hedge.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


The Liffey Runs Round and Back

Bloom in commode eating kidney soiled, fetter of surd. Denham dead rotting in bog peat, no such luck with trackman’s stub or adman’s commission, or coitus in porkpie hat, a wee Stephen begging foreskins for alms and mother, dog’sbody, jellyfish and undertow, and the Liffey runs round and back, over hillock, copse and morgue.

Corn syrup solids, hydrogenated soybean oil, sodium caseinate, dipotassium phosphate, sugar, artificial colour, mono and diglycerides, carrageenan, soy lecithin, artificial flavours, rats’ asses, zithers, monorail grease, machinist’s oil, e, gummy white crap, salver, parturition sweat, an old sweater with tattered cuffs, pre-seminal fluid, a snippet of cocks’ wattle, (yES) a cockscomb, brushed flat, (nO) protein, penicillin, uppers, downers or PCP.

Crappy dementia, thieves one of a proper burial, a last kick at the ontological can. Who am I, was I, will I be, I? Is this the end, the abruption of sensate thought, notions and commotions of thoughts and brainwaves, brainchild, thoughts gone haywire like pabulum? Red River cereal, farina, semolina with wisps of brown sugar, emmer black, cane sugar and rutabaga, a bland no-nothing on the croup of the tongue. Cogito Eros Summa, a slight rousting in the fob of my trousers, where Jockstrap meets Leda, thumbprints left, indented, by a washerwoman’s scullery cloth: fucking Cartesian no-nonsense, too much wax and bedstead Oryx, not enough uncommon sense and Paddy’s allsorts, Rye Whiskey without the after-bite or halter, a pleasant coition of ligulas and tooth cavity.

Cunningham begs for biscuits and tea; bitters to slough the lye and foggage; seine-fein (cursed-roil) Mervyn (misses) Tallboys, whose job it is to clean pottage-trap and cistern; Dignam, Dillard and Doyle, with Crofton-of-Gumley, skink a pot of ale and lager, to drown the scourge of Eire. Kearney (of bastard-at-whore) eats jellies scoffed from tinsmith’s pantry, in lieu of bitter-stout and kidney, surd of Bloom and Dylan, offal of mincemeat and Cornish pastie.

Dolomite, barite, tungsten, Ionic pen-timber, to hell and {not} back, you heathen bastard: sew-n-knit {her a sweater} with wool and banter, Cantor’s make good {old}wholesome bagels, boiled in Kosher water, Epsom brine 85 Vincennes Avenue or there abuts, in silk pa-jamas lined with rarebits fur and otter hair(suet), come to think of {sh}it, I like my melbas dry and wafer-thin with a side-plate of pickle allspice and banter. Ionic pentameter

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.

That glint in your eye that summons me up from the depths where the penitents weep into the sacs of their eyes; children in purgatory; ice flows in mastoids; the witness that is life lived in absentia. You will understand when there is nothing left to understand, the logos forgotten, the reason for knowing lost to forgetfulness, bad memory and weeping eyes.

Efra deloused Caulker with a wire brush and a bottle of Jives, wrapped him in swaddling cloth and laid him to bed. He pulled the bed linen over his head, tucking in the corners to ensure a good swaddle and sleeve. A jaundice moon cowered the sky, a no-man’s-land, the tropic of parasite; shit sandwiches and false rumours and Efra lost in the vacancy of his thoughts, his hat pulled down over his eyes, two black diamonds cut in halves, and Caulker wrapped in swaddling, Jives and tuck, a gibbous moon sick with junk.

Green is the colour of Absinthe and wormwood, crème de menthe and Chartreuse; a leg rankle with gonorrhoeal pirouettes, syphilitic with fester and blain, gangrene green.

I am tired; I have not been this tired since my expulsion from the parturition hole some forty-eight years ago, February 27th to be exact (which I seldom am). And the doctor masked in green linens, spectacles taped to the bridge of his nose, forcing the speculum into the ovum hatch, me skimming like an otter down the birthing canal arms flailing for dear life. Perhaps this is when the compulsions started, the origin of their unmasking. Afloat in the clemency of the amniotic sac, fingers gripping the umbilicus I felt an ease and comfort that has thereafter eluded me; a foetal oneness, a meta-ontological parity, a oneness with self and other. I can count on nothing but logarithms and integers, vectors and fractions, into’s and out-of’s, pluses and minuses, algebraic nonsense (all of it).

I am One of Dostoevsky's Idiots

Balthazar ate nothing green, olive coloured, lime, emerald or jade green. He had a sore-spot on his lip where the glass tube seared soft tissue, a chemical fusion of Cracker Jack and pus. He drew stickmen with a smudge-stick; alchemy he’d learned from a curate with whooping. Balthazar had one ear, a flat nose and a curlicue birthmark on the wad of his check, just below his eye, the ticking one. He had a three-legged dog without a tail (mange with fleas) and wren’s foot he kept in a thread-box, a gift from the curate.

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…

Blazes Bowman: legs gone palsied re-crossing Liffey, Portmanteaux worn skivvies inward out, woollen under-linen to dress-side; billfold stuffed with Queens Pinot; Irish turbidmoyle bluebells side-grave; bedside manor inexcusable, monks’ chips and suet; surplice worn over shoulder and rector, speyside frowned upon for Mort on salt; Irishman oddment, such calumny and prescience of mind, threadbare homily and Quaker’s roil.

Jawbone Biscuits

A pullet blue sky: commode chain given a fair to middling jerk, a colostomy of neither this nor that, that nor this. I am the commode pot, the a posterior, posterior. Adman Bloom, mollycoddler of Sears and Roebuck, skillet-fried with Paddy’s and Parnell, a most delectable treat, not for the faint of stomach or kidney, a colossus of import and Liffey. Gad morning, I have awoken.

A cobblestone stone gray sky, a piecemeal meal of clouds scuttling across it, the sky, the mutton gray bleak sky, sky; a mal de teat sky, a confluence of gray marrow bone sky, boiled in the same-such pot with a day-old soup bone, sky day today sky, sky, a cobblestone stone gray sky. I am tired of looking agape at the sky, this gray marrow soup bone sky; a sky scudded with mealy piecemeal clouds, a potboilers sky, sky. What has Nietzsche taught me, I ask myself, me-my-myself me? That intellectual blindness is a curse, an excuse for imperialism and bad manners. That metaphysics is unreasonable, alchemy, an excuse for intellectual blindness, a curse on humanism, a supernatural free-for-all, principia algebraic, mathematical trifoliate(ism). That Freud was right, that the unconscious is the seat of the soul, the ex-machines-dues, the sabot that jigs the apparatus, the ghoul in the contraption, the chive in the hetman. Allium schoenoprasum.

Jawbone biscuits, currants and arrowroot, a slough-pump rum-cake, packet of crisps; seedy soppy loll; Howth Head penance, Graveclothes coiled in Guinness, a stone bowled into the rope of the sea.

Odysseus and Mall Ox, these are troubled time, troubled indeed. Here I sit trumpeting through my ass, a symphony of flutes, oboes and a coalman’s spinneret, a brash and assuming morning pushing in through my bedroom window, this is how the day begins, Mall Ox and Odysseus, trumpeting ass.

A Crapulence of Rot and Wither

A spoiled milk sky, a creamery of blue-steel, pox-clouds sullying a plainness of sky, whey separated from curd; lactose bigoted. No; a bowery sky, scullery with grime and sludge, a mire of brown-sky, a stain of sky; a debasement. Skeletal trees tonsured with pre-solstice fretting, branches at arms-length, a crapulence of rot and wither. Today I will purchase draperies for my bedroom window.

Bioscopy of the rectos: surgeon’s gel and scotching, Rebus suckling Romulus, nipple-rings and inking; a colonoscopy of anus and cuckold. Foxtrot calliope, a ring-around-the-posy, seal fat, bleb and oil of castor, for those hard to reach spots, beneath armpit and gland-cove, scoured clean with mason’s trowel and lye. I had a bream last night, he said, Abramis brama with salt cod and capers, not the sort of thing you’d want to eat on an umpteen’s stomach, all that jujubery and blackstrap mole-asses, a whales-worth of eel’s tongue and flesh-eyes, not for the faint of art or nervosa. He said, ‘have you read Aquinas, you blubbery fools? Mine was swiped by some menace with a dog’s collar and a thief’s shim, Summa con Gentiles, too, wrapped in wax-clothe and chutney, sad day it is, when Aquino’s tome isn’t safe and round’.

And these nasty polemarks: [and] jammy tarts, the ones great aunt Alma made in the summer kitchen, crimping pastry into taffeta frills, and my great uncle Jim standing on the front porch, his good eye threaded with sweat, waving at tourist’s cars, and my dad eating date squares and rarebits of toast, and me, sitting on the back stoop counting to one hundred backwards, making daisy chains with whistle grass and nettle fens, the afternoon fading into August night.

Me and Lowry Drinking Mescal

So this is it, there’s me and Lowry drinking mescal and eating jammy-jam tarts and this frottage comes up and busts Lowry right in the nose, splaying the corker all over his face. Jack-Ricky, who’s sitting at the next table, seeing what’s gone down says, ‘hey ya cunt, what the fuck are ya doing?’ So this is how it goes down, me and Jack-Ricky kick the bowels outta the cunt and leave him for dead, Lowry mumbling some shit about volcanoes, Mexican’s and a dead dog kicked down a cliff, or some shit like that. Me and Jack Ricky decide to give the worm to Lowry, cause he can’t breath proper and his nose is all fucked.

Do You Own a Bicycle

‘I remember remembering that’ he said ‘and some other things, too’. ‘Do you own a bicycle?’ ‘Yes, two.’ ‘Two, my goodness two, how odd indeed, two’. ‘One for jockeying about the other for cycling errands and the so’ said he. ‘I like Porker’s ham and chicory pate’. ‘You do, yes I see you do, how strange and offal indeed’. ‘Porker’s ham and grain-fed eggs such a delectable parish treat’. ‘Me? Me I prefer them boiled yolk-side up with a wee poke of salt and paprika’. ‘You’re cad you are, a real cad so you are’. ‘I prefer card, a real card so I am’. ‘I’m a billfold off the dim and sparrow, just a wee smidgen’. ‘So you say, so it is, it must be so you say, so it is, most certainly is’. ‘So I say, so it is I suppose’. (She drank Jonestown Gin from a tea cup, closeting it between the sewing basket and the laundry hamper, and swore she’s never read Neruda, though she did once tip the mailman at Christmastime. Her youngest child Rudy died from rickets, his legs so twisted and deformed that he had to have braces coddled between them, a piece of wood the size of a doorframe secured in place with metal screws and washers). ‘That’s a strange one, strange indeed’. ‘Yes, I’d say so myself, strange indeed, indeed I’d say’. ‘A billfold off the dim and sparrow so you say’ he said asking. ‘Just a wee smidgen, not enough to cause a tilt and rowdy’ he answered in saying.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Past Bowered Strays

in the sage of brown green eyes
a lull in the storm clouds bowered strays
and for a moment I felt the complete inertia
of one moment separated from the next
I let myself fall into the calm of your skin
from a height ever high in a timeless snow
I felt the skies widen far above the present
a cold snap of august air braying tethered still
in the lull of your arms and past bowered strays
for one moment to the next yet ever stilled
the soft presence of unveiling skin

Whey Curd and Marmalade

The alms man like Albacore tuna on single-wheat bread lightly toasted and left to cool. His grandmamma told him that the British preferred they’re toast stone-cool with whey curd on top. ‘They even have toast-racks’ she said ‘to sleeve the warm toast into’. ‘They like peanut butter on it?’ he asked. ‘Nope, just with curd and hard butter’ she said. ‘Not even a wee dram of jelly, grape or marmalade?’ ‘Just the way God made it, cold and hard to swallow’ she said, ‘and with curd and iced butter’. ‘Pads, you mean those wee pads of butter like you get at the fancy restaurants?’ he asked. ‘No, now listen for once, with hard-churned butter straight from the cows’ teat’. ‘Fancy, you mean fancy butter but from a fancy cow?’ His grandmamma gave him a stern dismissive look, the strings of her apron twiddling like nervous fingers round her waist, and went back to kneading a loaf of single-wheat bread.

Monday, September 24, 2007


Offal Awful Offal

(Byron Babcock didn’t come home) flank-steak, ox-tail and wild mutton, kidneys and cock’s tongue, the gore and sluice from the slaughterhouse floor, his eyes watery with the stench and boil. ‘Mama I’m going to be sick’. ‘Enough’ she’d hiss ‘enough of your stupid tricks, now eat!’ His wife stole his Pope’s Miter, then his left shoe then his right, and then pretended she hadn’t stolen anything at all (pintsize calf’s testicles whipped with heavy cream and fennel). The man in the hat dreamt he was dreaming, and in that dream dreamt he was awake. Food plays tricks on (pintsize calf’s testicles whipped with heavy cream and fennel) an empty stomach. Words become images of food and emptiness, a Pope’s Miter, chickens plucked featherless, guinea partridge poached to a gray offal mottle, ‘enough of your stupid tricks, now eat!’ The emptiness plays tricks on wild turkeys, gore-tipped shoes swish-swishing across the top of the slaughterhouse floor. Nothing is what it seems, ever. The man in the hat dreamt he was dreaming, and in that dream dreamt he was awake (all that offal awful, sluice-gate bilge, all that awful offal swirling down the drainpipe maw).

Ox-tail and Cock's Tongue

Beef-heart chowder and consommé, gumbo, bisque and bouillabaisse, his mother made whatever she could from whatever she had, tripe, sweetbreads, liver (some so swollen and cirrhotic they wouldn't fit in the skillet) prairie-oysters (pintsize calf’s testicles whipped with heavy cream and fennel) outside round and flank-steak, ox-tail and wild mutton, kidneys and cock’s tongue, the gore and sluice from the slaughterhouse floor.

She either boiled or skillet-fried everything, adding whatever spices and condiments the recipe required. She rolled calf’s brains in farina and cornmeal and made a makeshift oven out of cardboard and tin-foil, then placed it over the searing meat like a Pope’s Miter. She plucked chickens and guinea fowl, partridge and wild turkeys, then poached the pale pinkish skin in a double-boiler until it turned gray and mottled.

Sunday, September 23, 2007

Calf's Tongue, Tripe and Beef Heart

“When you say beef-steak you really mean beef-heart, so stop mincing words.’ The shamble leg man disliked nothing more than someone who changed one word for another word, an idea for an idea. He liked his world straight-up and simple, not addled and punched with confusion and error. (Author’s note: I will spare you the insufferableness of italics, for now at least). ‘There is no room for error, none.’ That morning, the one in query, the shamble leg man awoke with a fly in his eye. It, the fly, wove a bracket of eggs in the seam of his eye. The fly (the one in his eye) frittered in the seam of his eye. (Amendment to author’s note: I will use italics only when in brackets). No salve could soothe the itching in his eye; no ointment, balm or liniment. His eyes, the corners and the part that points inwards, were larval with roe.

When the shamble leg man was a boy his mother stewed beef-heart in tripe with eel-tails and calf’s tongue. His mother slow cooked the beef-heart in a cast-iron skillet whisking the tripe into the heart, making it soft and chewy. The shamble leg man abhorred the smell, an acrid stink that filled he house with offal and boiled calf’s tongue. His mother insisted that he eat a plateful, bowering over him like a crazed alewife, hissing and biting at her lip until she drew blood, which only maddened her worse. ‘People would die for a bowl of beef-heart’ she’d say hissing. ‘Children cutting they’re arms off for a mere taste’.

He held his nose and swallowed, forcing the offal beef-heart down his throat and passed his taste buds, praying that it wouldn’t touch the side of his own tongue or get stuck in the craw of his throat. ‘Mama’ he’d whimper ‘I can’t take another bite.’ She’d press his fingers round the fork, twisting the beef-heart into the tines, and lever the fork to his mouth, his eyes watery with the stench and boil. ‘Mama I’m going to be sick’. ‘Enough’ she’d hiss ‘enough of your stupid tricks, now eat!’

Counting Backwards Without Pants

The legless man could count backwards to one-million 27 ½ without missing a beat. He did this by simply closing his eyes and counting, rhyming off each number in his head like the beads on an abacus. Once he’d reached five-hundred thousand 12 ½ he’d stop, take in a deep breath and continue on until the end. He took great pride in his savantism, and was nary a coward when it came to into’s and out-of’s and quadrant-angles. The one thing his da taught him (to repeat things until they stuck like flies to flypaper in his mind) other than to expect very little from life, was of no use when it came to feeding himself or finding new prosthetic-legs. (Like most people the legless man put on his pants one leg at a time. Unlike most people, however, he had no legs to put his pants on. It would seem, then, that pants require legs, and with no legs pants are not pants but something else, cotton or linen, gabardine or wool, something made of corduroy and thread, but not pants). The man with no legs, the legless man, wore legless trousers when he counted backwards to one-million 27 ½.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

Kurt Friedrich Gödel

Bill Bailey's Wife

When Bill Bailey didn’t come home Mrs. Bailey was beside herself; so beside herself that she kept bumping into herself. She bumped into the wall, the chair, the woodstove, the onion-board, the salt-rack, the doorjamb (twice) the wainscoting round the larder-door, the window ledge and herself. Who is this Mrs. Bailey? More so, who gives a rat’s ass who she is? Bill Bailey’s wife is no one; she is an apparition, a ghostly specter, not quite a person, person. She lives in the blank-slate of the author’s thoughts. Outside, beyond the page, the whiteness of the page, she is nothing, a specter. She is more an Italics than a person, a thing, a person with a body, thoughts, corporeality. She, his wife, Bill Bailey’s wife (Mrs. Bailey) is nothing and everything, the beginning and the end, the middle and the in between, the outside and the inside. She exists both inside and outside thought, on the whiteness of the page, scrawled on the blank-slate of the author’s tableau.

Real Unreal People in Fake Hats

A brown rabbit scurried across the sideways, sideways its ears raised like the hair on a cat’s back. Close behind, in full pursuit, the moorhen, talons flailing, feet skipping across the blacktop, top. The brown rabbit reared to the left, then the right, ears pointing upwards, tail bobbling, teeth bared and at the ready. The moorhen caromed and veered, its tail-feathers crackling, eyes blacker than the blackest death. The man in the hat, who at that very moment was crossing the sideways perpendicular, bound to the left, then the right and sighed, ‘fucking shit-hens!’ Another fine to middling morning in a town made of pasteboard and tacks. This town is like any other town yet different. It’s a town (this town) so maudlin and gloomy that even the rabbits refuse to live top-side up. As towns go it is boorish and meek, a stand-in for a town, not the real thing but the appearance of a real thing, a real town. Everything, each and every person in this town is a stand-in for someone else, someone in another town, a real town. (This is a clown-town, a not-quite a town, town, an almost a town, town, but not quite). There is no man in the hat, no alms man or harridan, but stand-ins, cameo’s of real persons, people with real lives’ and real hats.

‘How odd’, you might say ‘how odd indeed’. How can unreal people be taken for real people? ‘Very odd indeed’, you would say ‘very, very odd indeed’. ‘How strangely odd’, I would say, ‘strangely odd indeed’. Indeed this may seem odd, strangely odd, all this oddity and fakery. Then I might say, I might indeed say, ‘no odder than odd, nor stranger than strange, no indeed, not at all, indeed not. As towns go this town, this clown-town is no odder, no stranger than a real town, a town made of real persons, real people with real hats and real lives’. What you might, may find odd, oddly strange is the fact that nothing, no person, no thing, no supposed thing, is any odder, any stranger than the next thing, even if that means that the thing we think is odd, stranger, is no thing at all, a fakery, a well executed sham. What I find odd, strange indeed, is the real things, the things that are really real, yet somehow unreal, shams and fakes, but real, real in that they are unlike the things we take as unreal, the real things that, on first appearance, seem oddly odd, very strange indeed. What you should be asking, yes, what is the only question worth asking is: why all the bloody Italics, why, why indeed?

Friday, September 21, 2007

Stanislaw Ignacy Witkiewicz (1885-1939)

An Old Traditional Lithuanian Folksong

A bluest blue sky, a cur’s throw-up, such moribund thoughts. A moorhen crossed the sideways across from the Waymart next to the Sears across from the aqueduct. Legs mistuning, bill waif with sweat, an eyes’-wink off the dashpot. A moorhen is best caught at 27 ½ minutes past the hour (to be precise) and with as little effort as is humanly possible. The Moorish-hen, or moorhen as it is commonly referred to, is a gall and viral pest. Once introduced into a community it is next to impossible to shoo-away; so much so that entire communities, phylum’s and subspecies loose sleep, 27 ½ minutes to be precise.

The man in the hat had a boil, a goiter-sized boil, on the nape of his neck. He tried applying hot compresses and soaves, a mixture of clove-oil and mustard-seed, emulsifiers and poultices, but nothing he did seemed to ease the swelling and redness. The doctor at the walk-in clinic diagnosed the man in the hat with moorhen-edema and wrote him a prescription for antibiotics and a mild sedative. ‘Fucking shit-hens’ he muttered, ‘God’s scourge on man!’

At precisely 24 ½ minutes to twelve the man in the hat wrapped his neck in swaddling-cloth, cinching it taut with a piece of old clothesline, and lay flat on his bed. He waited impatiently for the mild sedative to take effect; eyes pressed closed, jawbone clenched, and began to recite an old traditional Lithuanian folksong he’d learned at the knee of his granddad. It went something like this: Bilbo the Aleman’s son sat at the hostelry bar, the Aleman’s wife, such a jolly fat giggly wife, picking at a loose thread on his saloon-jacket collar, the nape of his neck weeping pus, the scourge of Saint Christos of moorhen, the impatient Saint of boatmen, shit-hens and goiters.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Vectors, Logarithms and Algebra

A crone’s blue-skirt sky, arisen arose arise. Skies (all skies) are identical, cut from the same swath of blue cloth. Yes, some may appear bluer, but it’s an illusion, all skies are the same, alike, dissimilar only in the illusion of being so. Crone’s-blue, indigo, cobalt, azure and billiard-ball blue, one sky that appears as many. The noise gets louder the bluer the sky becomes, sometimes deafening. They told us that the noise is in our heads, but it’s a lie, proof that something’s can’t be explained away with vectors, into’s and out-of’s, Turing-machines, logarithms and algebra.

One day the man in the hat saw an old man riding the bus whose hairpiece was on backwards. It bootstrapped the wings of his ears and came to an abrupt stop somewhere at the top of his head. It reminded him that the older one got the less attention one paid to one’s appearance (dementia and decrepitude, the unholy sisters of spitefulness) and that in the end very little mattered if anything at all. He kept pretending he was backcombing his hair with an imaginary comb he produced from an imaginary pocket in his imaginary coat. The man in the hat tried ignoring him; he looked out the window, up the aisle and over the back of his seat, but could only watch with rapt amusement as this feeble man played at hide-and-seek with his imaginary pocket-comb.

‘I found this in a poubelle’ said the backwards wigged man pointing at his pocket-comb. ‘Someone must have thrown it away, dumb bugger, and still got most of its teeth.’ The man in the hat tried in vain to avoid making eye-contact but couldn’t help himself from staring entranced at the old man. ‘These are the good ones’ he said, holding the comb up for all to see. ‘Not your run-of-the-mill average Joe pocket-comb, no soirée’, not by a slingshot. ‘I seen a couple of these before, behind the Waymart across from the Sears next to the aqueduct, but not one which has such nice straight teeth; this is a gem, a real Boniface gem’. The man in the hat couldn’t help notice that the old man mistook certain words for others, like Boniface for Bonaire and soirée for spree. But then again he wasn’t much for words and proper spelling, so didn’t give it a second thought.

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Billiard Bob and the Moorhen

A moorhen came skip-scratching across the sideways, a worm worming in its beak. Such spectacles were common, especially on a cold to febrile September moorhen-morning. No neither a Captain Courageous nor a Billiard Bob was there to sway and connive the Moorish-hen from its ownmost, pickling as it did a peck across the ashtop blackening. He eyed the moorhen, drawing a bead on the top of its head. He spread his fingers and heaved it at the hen’s head, the ball-bearing pinging against its cockscomb. The bird fell crumpling to the ashtop, its beak bobbling into the wattle of its neck. Billiard Bob, bashful as he was, asked Captain Courageous for a quoin to stele the doorjamb proper. (He figured that by stealing the stele he might stave off a moorhen to a dozen, all of which had made a circle around the millinery and barrow).‘There is nothing more insufferable than useless suffering’ said Billiard Bob morosely. ‘Moorhens--as is common knowledge—live useless lives’, so putting an end to they’re insufferable suffering seems like the humane thing to do’. Captain Courageous tucked in his shirt and sighed, a dribble of chaw-puck creasing the ebb and flow of his face. He said nothing, at most very little, preferring silence to gibbeting and jabber. When he’d finished telling the story of Captain Courageous and Billiard Bob, which took 27 ½ minutes, the man in the hat excused himself and ambled cross-footed up the sideways backwards, his pork-pie hat clenched tightly under his arm.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Fair to Middling Confusion

The man in the hat met the shamble leg man who had just met the alms man who had been visiting with the harridan and her sister. They decided to meet in the near to middling future over canapés and malt-liquor, each with a story to tell the others. They decided in advance to each wear a different hat, thereby cutting down on the confusion of differentiating one from the other. If they all wore the same hat (identical stitching and tatting) they would surely miss one another, simply passing each other by in the street or on the sideways beside the Waymart across for the Sears next to the aqueduct, where they had met once before, each wearing identical hats. Whatever headwear they chose, toques, boaters, Stetsons etc. would be of little to middling concern, as all hats cover the most impartial part of the body, the head, making an objective unbiased identification all but impossible. (He asked ‘why all the italics’? To which he replied ‘fuck off and get your own identifying mark!’)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Behind the Presbyterian Church

Every Third Sunday

Every second Sunday the man in the hat put his pants on backwards chose a hat and went about his day. If it was a particularly cold day, say a mid October day or an early November day, he wore corduroy, a wide serge in beige or light brown. If it was a warm day, say late June or early July, he wore a light linen or a loose weave, white or glass-blue. For a hat he chose a Tartu Flat Cap or a pointy fedora. Every third Sunday, or the fourth, depending on the weather, he wore a tin miner’s cap with a larger than average brim and the letters MJP embossed on the front piece. He kept his coalman’s hat for Saturdays and the odd Friday, or whenever he felt like wearing a hat without embossing. When he was a wee lad he would steal his mother’s church-bonnet, the one with flowers and her offering-card stuck in it, and wear it in secret behind the house where he lit matches against the tool-shed hasps.

The buzzing flushes the thoughts in his head like a hive of bees, the hat serving no other purpose than to collect the honey and nattering in his head. On such days, days when the outside invades the inside, he dons an earflapped winter toque with a giant C stitched into the front. By pulling it down over his ears, then cinching the taut-string round his chin, he could deafen the buzzing to a soft humming drone. The buzzing took him back to a hot August day behind the Presbyterian Church catching bees in peanut-butter jars, the captured bees buzzing and flittering in glass pokies. The man in the hat’s mother bought him a penknife for his tenth birthday, a red-handled Swiss Army knife with a corkscrew and an ivory toothpick. He used the largest of the blades to scrape the inside of the peanut-butter jar and the ivory toothpick to stab at the bees’ with. When he was in grade five a classmate named Scrims speared a moth with the point of his compass and ate it, the wings flittering madly between his teeth.

D'infamia Tin Responder

Scio credos’ cheep mea riposte fosse
A persona chef maim tonuses al rondo
Questa digamma tsarina seize pie cosset
Ma perciocche grammar da quest fondue
Non tern vivo lacuna, s’i’odo ilk veto,
Seize tea d’infamia tin responder

(el spellchecked perfecto)

Not everyone wears a hat, nor a Stetson or boater or a flower-charmer’s zucchetto. Some people go about bareheaded, ears splayed like turned pages: Senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo; persona che mai tornasse al mondo a tonuses al rondo.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

Prufrock Motor Co.

What in the name of the Ford Motor co. is this cad (the smallest or weakest piglet in a litter) up to, addling us with all this blather and rot? Where’s the story Horry? Why all this circuitousness? For the death of me I can’t find a weave anywhere, not a stitch. (He’s mad, surely mad). All this discombobulating and jumpiness, where will it all end? The story is in the discombobulation you silly nits! Stop all you’re whining and poor-me’s! I beg of you, have patience! The swaggerers’ in the wings preparing his Prufrock,

S’io credesse che mia risposta fosse
A persona che mai tornasse al mondo
Questa fiamma staria senza piu scosse
Ma perciocche giammai di questo fondo
Non torno vivo alcun, s’i’odo il vero,
Senza tema d’infamia ti rispondo

Cadman's Cabman's Cat Hat

The man in the cat’s hat knew the man in the hat but neither knew the name of the hat the other wore. The cabman (the man in the cat’s hat drove a taxi for a living) wore a brim-side-out hat made from cheesecloth and bulbar-stitch, the man in the hat a variety of hats, fedoras, Stetsons, bowlers, boaters, straw-hats and some hats that had no name but were hats just the same. A name does not mean that something, a hat for instance, has an appellation, but simply a place in the world. Names are useless things when the world refuses to cooperate, when reality, true or false, whines and falters like a croaky engine. The cabman’s cat’s hat made him look like a Cadman, which meant he spent more time trying to convince people he was a man in a cat’s hat rather than a Cadman in a cabman’s hat. When asked by a toreador what a Cadman was he said, ‘la palabra Cadman no está en el Diccionario’ and left it at that, as he had little patience for bullfighters and swaggerers.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Fragrant Aroma Mellow Taste

Her lips are softer than marzipan, her eyes brighter than night stars (bluestones bluer than a cloudless morning) her teeth more crooked than a drunk’s stagger, these are her things (her bodily things the things that make up her body) the alms man’s mother’s body trudging gaily in galoshes and eider-pants. On each tea bag (in limbic pentameter) was written, fragrant aroma mellow taste, homely refresher and valuable gift. She preferred her tea boiled. The alms man worried his dear ma might mistake fishbowl water for facet water and boil his fish, roe and albumin rising to the top of the simmer. Whenever he left the house, to run an errand or simply to escape his father's temper, he took his fish with him in a rucksack slung over his shoulder and tucked up into his armpit for safekeeping.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Fishing For Fishes

There are bottom-feeders, middle-feeders and those that feed somewhere at the top. The alms man’s fish fell somewhere between the middle-feeders and the bottom-feeders, never quite making it to the top of the feeding-chain (one two three a lariat 4 five 6 a seriate). He named his fish after numbers and car-parts and door-jambs and gumbos that tasted better with loads and loads of salt and crackers and mercurochrome, that red stuff you put on a cut or a scratch or an open sore or wound, that sort of wound and sore and a one and a 2 and a three at the Marriot. He so often so felt dizzy and faint and out of sorts sort of, so stood akimbo staring blankly at his fish, Herriot and door-jamb and bumper-car bumper and so on and that sort of thing and all. He slept on the floor next to the fishbowl, never once moving too fast or with a jitter or a hop lest he unrest the fish and cause a kafuffle or a riot or a fish free-for-all all. His da would hobnail his ass if the fish splashed water and fish stuff onto the carpet or the floor or anywhere other than the inside out of the fishbowl bowl. He was careful to a fault, so ever so careful.

Tuesday, September 11, 2007

Yorkshire Clotted Cream

The whey and cream man stopped his truck in front of the alms man’s house and eased himself out onto the sideways. The freezing-mechanism had broken, leaking Freon and bubo-gas in through the hatchback window behind the driver’s seat. He planted his two feet on the pavement and shook his left arm then his right, wiggled his legs to and fro and then craned his neck as far back as it would go. At that exact moment, 27 ½ minutes past eight, the Mercury Fish truck came caroming round the corner, the back doors flapping madly, the driver’s loader hanging off the door-latch, one hand wrapped around the inside of the door, the other flailing wildly, his eyes bigger than goose eggs. A peg-blue sky scurried on above the whey and cream man’s head, reminding him of less timely times, times when time mattered little, and what of it did, mattered for a short time then went scurrying away. The only time that mattered to him was whey-and-milk time which occurred each and every morning at exactly 27 ½ minutes past four. All other time was a nuisance and a bothered and not worth the time spent thinking about it. He loaded his whey and cream truck each and every morning at 27 ½ minutes past four, then climbed into the cab of the truck and went about his deliveries. His deliveries took him eleven hours and 27 ½ minutes, no more or no less. He delivered Mongolian Öröm, Indian Malai, Turkish Kaymak, Devonshire heavy-cream, French Crème fraîche, Eastern European Smetana, Croatian goats’ milk cream with vrhnje, Mexican crema espesa, Yorkshire clotted cream, Crème anglaise imported from the UK and sold under French label, Crème brûlée cream that he kept in a special wooden box behind his seat and healing cream, which was made from Apricot oil, Sweet almond oil, Olive oil, Jojoba oil, Coconut oil, Other: Cocoa Butter, Aloe vera, Lanolin, Beeswax, Vegetable glycerin, Organic herbs of chamomile, Calendula, Comfrey, Lavender, Borage, St. John’s Wort and Vitamin E, which he sold to an old woman with hideous eczema.

Rubella, Colic and Gonorrhea

When he turned eight the alms man got chicken pox and gonorrhea. When he was six it was Rubella and colic, at five he caught the mumps from the neighbor’s daughter and was twice diagnosed with measles. He contracted gonorrhea from the neighbor’s dog, a Heinz—57 named Peabody. Peabody came down with Rubella and colic and a nasty bit of redeye. The alms man’s Japanese fighting-fish caught the measles and refused to eat the dissected mealworms and chowder the alms man sprinkled on the top of the fishbowl every morning at 25 ½ minutes past seven. He called the Japanese Embassy to inquire about diseases common to the Japanese fighting-fish and was told to remove them from the fishbowl, boil the water, then return the fish to the bowl. When this didn’t work and the fish continued to whoop and turn colours, the alms man’s da suggested he flush the lot of ‘em down the john and get a dog like most normal kids his age. When the chicken pox finally left the alms man was diagnosed with scabs and head lice and his mama was instructed to boil one of his da’s hankies, soak it in Kalama and wrap it tightly around her son’s head. His da had a bout of shingles earlier that summer and had used the hankie as a sweat-liner in his cap and forgotten to put the hankie in the linen hamper for laundering. So the alms man came down with a nasty bout of shingles that only made the scabs and head lice worse.

Monday, September 10, 2007

20th Century Latin American and Russian Art

Beef and Barley Chowder

His mama bought him two Japanese fighting-fishing for his seventh birthday, two in case one killed and ate the other. One was blue and red with yellow stripes along the dorsal-fin, the other red and blue with orange stripes along the dossal-fin. His da thought keeping fish was stupid and made him keep them in a cloudy bowl under the sink. When the alms man wanted to look at his fish he first had to ask his da for permission, then pull the bowl out from under the sink and take it out behind the house where his father couldn’t see him. He wished that Japanese fighting-fish could beat up his da, ripping his ear off or shoving him down the cellar stairs. But as they could only live in water and had tiny heads and even tinier fins he quickly gave up on thinking such thoughts. His da was a debauchee anyhow and would die sooner or later, from some type of poisoning or floundering out in front of the Mercury Fish truck, which came down they’re street every morning at 27 ½ minutes past eight. Keeping fish in a cloudy bowl and begging for alms were twin avocations, the former preparing the alms man for the latter. He could see why the man in the hat ate dog-meat cooked, broiled, steamed, stewed, skewered and spitted, made into a goulash and eaten with biscuits and gravy, as he, too, must have had a troubling childhood. The alms man had no fondness for fish, preferring tinned meats and soup; sometimes cold in a gazpacho or steaming hot with carrots and turnip in a beef and barley chowder.

The alms man laid a bed of stones and coloured pebbles at the bottom of the fishbowl, then scraped the algae and fishy slim off the sides with a squeegee he stole from the Waymart. As the bowl was old, having been used as drip-bucket when his da changed the oil in his sedan, it needed a good deal of scraping and squeegeeing. His da agreed to lend it to him as a fishbowl on the condition the he kept it hidden under the sink where he couldn’t see it. It took his days to squeegee and scrap the oil from the inside of the drip-bucket, and even longer to convince his da to lend it to him for his fish. He’d thought about stealing some fish from the back of the Mercury Fish truck, but decided against it when he realized that his da was up and out the door by 26 ½ minutes past eight, and would have made a scene in front of the truck-driver and his loader. Then he thought he could pilfer some of the smaller fish from the marble pond in front of the Waymart, but on second though, thought it would be just as easy to steal them from the Japanese Embassy, so made a plan to steal some more fighting-fish in case the two he got for his birthday ended up killing and eating on another.

Sunday, September 09, 2007

Cold Sores and U-Joints

‘Dogs chase cars cause they mistake the exhaustion-pipe for a other dog’s asshole----and that makes ‘em plain stupid’ said the alms man. He read in Popular Mechanics how to stop your dog from chasing the backend of cars: …try using a shock collar with a hand help control. When the dog chases after a car you shock them. Do not say he word "No!" when you shock them. You want them to associate the car with the shock and not the word "No" with the shock or the dog will do it as soon as you are out of sight. Some people may think this is cruel to use a shock collar, but it is worse for the dog to get hit and run over by the car. Another method to try is to have a friend drive by in their car slowly. When your dog chases the car have your friend throw water balloons at the dog, not to hurt him, but to scare him into not wanting to chase cars anymore.

When he was wee frail boy the alms man’s mama haltered him to a lead corseted around his back. It had straps and ropes that were fed through U-joints then tied in a double-knot at the bottom, far enough out of reach for him not to fiddle with or loosen. The bridle slipped through an opening in his shirt and was tied-off just below his bellybutton. The top of the halter, the part that slid up and across the knobs of his shoulders, was fastened in place with safety-pins and shoe-laces to keep it from faltering and shimmying to the small of his back. When his mama was in a hurry and fastened the contraption on too tight, the alms man’s arms would go numb all the way down to his fingertips, and his elbows would bow out like shims of wood. He would have trouble catching his breath and his eyes would begin to water, tributaries of sweat forming on his cheeks and emptying into the delta of his mouth, which was crackly and red with cold sores and herpes.

Saturday, September 08, 2007

Oranges and Apples

‘The dog chased a hog up a log in the fog’ rhymed the alms man. He made up rhymes and ditties when he felt out of sorts and maudlin, the two inseparable when the nights grew longer and the days shorter. ‘The cat met a rat on a mat and stopped for a chat’. His eyes bent inwards and his chin stuck out, his face a mausoleum of ditties and verse. ‘A bird and Kurd sat on a mat with a cat and a rat, well figure that’. The alms man readjusted the seam in his trousers and laced his untied shoe. ‘The dog barked’ he whispered. ‘Be wary of the fairy, she might be merry,’ he looked from side to side, ‘but rather ugly and hairy’. He was hoping to run into the man in the hat this first day of September. He knew by rote that the man in the hat would willingly share his soup chits should he have any left over from the week before. He remembered that the man in the hat liked soup but not Jell-O and was willing to barter the latter for more of the former. Orange slices and apples cored and pared into sections then gently dropped into the Jell-O bowl.

Friday, September 07, 2007

Antoni Gaudí (1852-1926)

More Gob and Roe

‘These are terrible crabcakes, these’ complained the harridan, ‘pomegranate sour sourness, yuck!’ The monger mongered small fish, medium fish, lardy fish, fish with gills, fish without gills, some fish with dorsal fins and others whose eyes were missing, airbladders and funnels for siphoning guck and gore, he mongered and mongered until the tips of his fingers bled and his eyes turned inside out from staring and concentrating on fish and fish byproducts, like black tarry roe and gob and fish semen that looked and smelt like fishy bouillabaisse and chowder, and guts and coils of intestine and fecal matter and more gob and roe and sperm so milky white one could easily mistake it for laxative or talcum powder. He mongered until the cows came home and the roosters roosted. The fish-monger would have mongered mutton had he a curing-rod and enough rope to hoist it over the transom. He had a mongrel dog mange with fleas and rime disease he kept behind the mongering-house next to the Sears across the way from the Waymart. He took the dog for daily trots round the aqueduct on a lease made from wishbones and ox-hair, yanking hard on the lead whenever the mongrel drove to the right or the left. He disliked things off-kilter and went to great pains to redress anything that might be perceived as a carom or a veer. As he was blessed with a straight back and equally straight legs, a gift from his mother’s side, he could rein in the dog whenever it mistook a heel for a hightail or a come here for a lunge or an off-cantor.

Thursday, September 06, 2007

Cranes and Gob

Japanese Folding-paper

Colin Wooster wore woolen trousers and knee-socks. He liked raw fish and folding paper into Japanese cranes. Wooster, Colin kept a rooster in a coop in his backyard, a three by seven foot patch of land that consisted of Astroturf and a flowerbox. Dare I say there is no such person as Wooster, Colin or a cooped up rooster in a coop in a three by seven foot patch of land in Colin Wooster’s backyard. However there was a man with three legs (a tri-legged man) with the initials W.C. who had a fondness for folding Japanese origami paper into cranes and flutes. When W.C. was eleven and a half years old he was diagnosed with the whooping and sent away to a sanitarium with no windows and one door. He climbed out the windowless window and onto the roof, where he laid a three by seven foot patch of Astroturf and built a flowerbox out of old window-frames and straightened nails. He taught himself Japanese in between ECST sessions and learned how to fold crate-paper into neat looking origami cranes and flutes. He took to wearing woolen trousers and knee-socks and preferred his fish under-cooked and on the febrile side. The man in the hat knew of him from a magazine article he read in the Reader’s Digest, maybe Popular Mechanics, the two seem so much alike its often difficult to tell them apart; unless of course you have a pair of X-ray glasses and field notes or a fondness for Japanese folding-paper and raw fish cooked in its own roe and gob.

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Japanese Folding-paper and Uncooked Fish

Circling the grave nimbly the American microbiologist René Dubos isolated the substance tyrothricin and later showed that it was composed of two substances, gramicidin and tyrocidine. ‘The drug is highly toxic!’ he hollered, ‘so one best keep a fair and even distance from it.’ As these were the first antibiotics to be manufactured commercially, they were first tested on strays and the homeless, and a man with no legs and incurable whooping. ‘One must be at peace with penicillin and tongues, lest the worms’ worm and the turnstiles turn’. The man in the hat read about tryocidine in a Reader’s Digest he found in the trash behind the Waymart. Behind the Sears across from the aqueduct he found a rolled up copy of Popular Mechanics. He folded the two into an origami crane and threw them over a refraining wall, the one between the Sears and Waymart. He knew next to nil about Japanese paper-folding, uncooked fish or toxic soaves and unction’s.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Bacillus Brevis

A stray dog hurried across the blacktop tongue stretched like a slingshot. A three-legged greyhound sidled the sideways, a ball of fleas worming in the stump, dogteeth sharpened on flank-steak and eye-of-the-round. I (the author) need to relieve the grammatical tension that batters my thinking thoughts: astride the grave, lingeringly. I know, as I must, of course, that I have little if anything to say about all this, this bidding and battering, but all things being equal, which they seldom are, I shall: astride the grave, lingeringly, astride. Perhaps it is I that am the dog, tongue stretched like a slingshot three-legging it across the sideways, a ball of worms worming, lingeringly. Gramicidin (antibiotic obtained from the bacterial species Bacillus brevis, which is found in soil. Gramicidin is particularly effective against gram-positive bacteria (see Gram's stain). Because the drug is highly toxic, it cannot be administered internally and so is used only on the skin as a lotion or ointment. It is used primarily in the treatment of infected surface wounds, and in eye, nose, and throat infections. In 1939 the American microbiologist René Dubos isolated the substance tyrothricin and later showed that it was composed of two substances, gramicidin and tyrocidine. These were the first antibiotics to be manufactured commercially) such as it is

Monday, September 03, 2007

Sunbonnet Day

As it was Sunbonnet day the harridan put on her best sunbonnet, the one with the cinch-string and paisley hatband. She had a church-hat she wore on Saturdays, Thursdays and days that had an E in them, or on days when the sky was azure blue, cobalt or indigo blue. On Mondays she went hatless. Tuesdays she slept until ten-twenty-seven and preferred her toast coldish or slightly warm. Wednesdays sat between Tuesdays and Thursdays, the middle days, days spent in contemplation of what came before and what was to come. Saturday mornings she ate Monk’s cheese and biscuits and mulled over a cup of chamomile tea. Sunbonnets and seafaring boaters and head-scarves, such are hats, rattan, whiskey-cotton or straight linen. The harridan liked Sufi scarves and petite handkerchiefs made out of raglan and hemp. Every second Friday she wore an Estonian Taqiyah and a taffetta skirt with stays and double-hems, securing the Taqiyah to her head with ribbon and bobby-pins.

On Thursday the harridan went to the hospital in her church-hat. She saw a man who’s ear had been sheared off, a blood soaked rag wrapped round his head like a diaper. Another man had such a horrible cough that the nurse had to put him in a room all by himself (with glass walls bext to the vending machines). A woman with a swollen belly lay stretched out on two seats, her legs doubled one over the other, arms cradling her belly like a stone-child. A young man with a nervous tick ate a ham and cheese sandwich with a spoon, feet shuffling like millipedes, eyes trained on the woman with the swollen belly. A man waiting for his wife sat in a chair by the window. A woman waiting for her husband stood next to the man waiting for his wife. The harridan took off her church-hat and ran out of the hospital as fast as she could run, the stone-bellied woman howling like a stray dog, hands clutching the swell of her belly, the sun barely above the treeline.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Pale Hairless Legs

A pork-belly grey sky awoke he to. Were it to rain it would rain like the blazes. Were it not to rain the sky would open its great maw and bawl sunshine. Were a bell to ring it would ring ragingly. Were a fire to burn it would burn burningly. Were a crow to caw it would caw-caw crawlingly. Stonecrops sprouting a Leif’s-leaping from the Bacliff bower, a crone’s throw from the Bay-of-Figs M’-pyre. Leggy legs made from beetroot and steel tubing, legs so strong and powerful they could gambol over tall buildings in a single bound, super manly legs, not stumps that stank of rot and fester. Not Bay of Pig’s legs or too-short legs; legs that stumbled and tripped and made a nuisance of themselves. Fat legs with knees and meniscuses and aches and pains. Legs one could sleep with curled up into a neat tidy bow. Bowlegged dogs’legs with sharp claws and pads. He would settle for legs covered in hair, white and crumbly like his granddad’s legs; anything but fester and rot, his Bay of Jigs legless legs.

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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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