Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Wet Nurses and Toy Horses

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

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

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

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Caravaggio's Face

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

Monday, October 29, 2007

Rain in His Bones

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

Sunday, October 28, 2007

Overnight in the Overnight Asylum

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

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

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

The Man in the Overnight Asylum

Overnight in the sanatorium they fed him bread-pudding and a mango-salad with pine-nuts and a tumblerful of lime Kool-Aid. They gave him a fork and a spoon (sharp things, knives and skewers, were kept under lock and key) which he used to scoop things off his dinner plate, click clack click clack. He (the man in the asylum overnight) ate with slow methodical bites, chewing each mouthful 27½ times, swallowing with a swallow of lime Kool-Aid (Fruit Smack was invented by Gerard and Edwin Perkins. To reduce shipping costs, in 1927, Perkins discovered a way to remove the liquid from Fruit Smack, leaving only a powder. This powder was named Kool-Ade (and a few years later, it was renamed 'Kool-Aid' due to a change in US Government regulations regarding the need for fruit juice in products using the term "Ade").

He despised Fruit Smack (the man in the asylum overnight) especially the smack they served in the Overnight Sanitarium. It tasted too sweet and powdery and left an awful aftertaste at the back of his throat (the man in the overnight asylum’s throat). If he had it his way, which he never would, ever, he’d have Smack-Fruit-Kohl-Aid-Smack, which he’d sip from a straw with bends and curlicues in it. Overnight in the sanitarium the man in the overnight asylum overheard two men arguing over a tumblerful of Fruit Smack, the one man knuckling the other man in the cheekbone with the cone of his elbow. Such was life in the overnight sanitarium, at least the life that the man in the overnight asylum lived every night without fail.

Marina Abramovic

Friday, October 26, 2007

The Brook's Brothers and Roy Rogers

The man in the hat put on his Brook’s Brothers suit, slipped on his Roy Roger’s, the one he’d won at the New Testament fair, and left the house, lean-to house. Today was the day he was to have his yearly physical, which included a barium enema and a test for jimmy-leg, which he suspected he might be afflicted with, given the shaking in his leg, his leftmost leg. His rightmost leg was straight as a pin so he worried naught about it, the rightmost leg. He knew that he was far better off than the legless man, who had two dummy-legs, or the shamble leg man who had shimmying-legs.

In his rucksack he put: two issues of National Geographic, a back-issue of Roy Roger’s magazine (purchased from a catalogue designed for people looking for back issues of Roy Roger’s magazine) a pealed and cored apple, a wedge of cheese, a napkin neatly folded in half, a package of Wriggle’s Juicy Fruit chewing gum, one piece of foolscap, lined, his toothbrush (should he need to stay overnight in the hospital), a dog-eared copy of Narcissi and Goldman, seven sucking-stones, each with its own identifying mark should he accidentally suck one when he should be sucking another (each stone according to its place in the sucking-line, which he knew by rote), a penknife with two blades, and a shoehorn made from a wood burl (fashioned into a shoehorn with his penknife).

Deathbeds Lightheadedness and Graveclothes

(After the white sale the queue disbanded, pillow-slips festooned and ballasted all-everywhere). The man in the hat wondered why people go mad over a white sale, standing hours on end in a straight orderly line barking like curs, complaining of the heat and smell of unwashed clothes and bad breath. ‘The more it rains the less wet it gets, how strange, strange indeed’. The man in the hat stole a peach from the peach tree behind the aqueduct that ran perpendicular to the viaduct across the sideways. He stuffed it into his jacket pocket and ran willy-nilly. He ran willy-willy, the peach sticking out of his jacket pocket. ‘The more it rains the less things get wet, how willy-nilly indeed’. The man in the hat ran willy-nilly across the sideways crossways. The legless man ran caroming, one foot crossing over the other, crisscrossing the crossways. He hurried across the necroses as deathbeds and graveclothes made him lightheaded. He knew that if he stopped, even for a moment, he would be overtaken by deathbeds and white sales that happen annually twice a year. And the thought of queuing-up in a white sale lineup overhearing others overhear one another made him pale with anxiety and dread.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Queuing Up For the White Sale

He saw things that weren’t there, things that weren’t anywhere. He imagines things, things within things, things that at first look don’t seem like things, but on further inspection became things. He sees and imagines things, things that on further inspection aren’t things at all, no-things, things that appear to be things but really aren’t, no-things. What he saw and imagined, even the no-things, he sees everyday as if he were seeing and imagining it for the first time, as new things, things seen and imagined for the first time. He saw a camel with 27½ humps and a quail with a wren’s head. He saw a camel with a wren’s head and a wren with 27½ humps. He saw things that most people didn’t see; things that only he could see.

He heard things that weren’t audible, things that had no sound or tempo. He swore he heard lullabies and three-cord symphonies, choral arrangements and orchestral movements. He overheard others overhearing each other without either being aware that the other was overhearing what the other was overhearing, or what the other was overhearing for that matter. He heard music that sounded like soup, minestrone and gumbo, chowder and bouillabaisse. He listened to things that went bump in the night and things that went out with a whimper. The whimpering things went out during the day, as the night was reserved for things with a bump or a rattle. One thing he didn’t hear, however, was voices; not even his own.

(The night sky fell like a dead crow, wings arching, legs buckling head bent in two). There was a long queuing lineup in front of the Waymart (across from the viaduct next to the Seder’s grocery). They were having they’re annual white-sale, which happened twice a year, where they sold everything that was white for half to middling half off. The long queuing lineup wound winding round the back of the aqueduct (across from the Seder’s grocery) along the front of the sideways and across the crossways. People had been queuing up in the lineup since sunup, some just after night fell like a crow with a broken back. Others came late and had to queue up at the back of the queuing lineup, some grumbling and huffing under they’re breath, others whispering to others lined up queuing in the lineup. The Waymart had a massive flapping sign, made from a massive bed-sheet, on which was written in thick black Magic-Marker: MASSIVE WHITE SALE, BEDLINENS AND SHEETS AND PILLOWCASES AND OTHER WHITE STUFF FOR SALE AT HALF TO MIDDLING-HALF OFF. The man in the hat sped quickly past the long queuing lineup in front of the Waymart, his hat flapping madly in the wind.

There Not There

(A cock-robin pushed across the crossways, head bobbing, its tiny legs ribbed with veins. It kicked across the sideways across from the Waymart across from the aqueduct across from the Jewish bakery). ‘This thought’, thought the man in the hat ‘is silly, silly indeed’. ‘I haven’t seen hide nor hair of a cock-robin in well near 27½ years, so seeing one now seems, well, strange, strange indeed’. Sometimes the man in the hat saw birds, cock-robins and moorhens, quails and wrens, camels with three or more humps that weren’t there, weren’t there at all. They were there, there in his head, in his thoughts, yes, but not there, not really there.

Tuesday, October 23, 2007

Un Prejuicio Cognitivo

The pickpocket picked the alms man’s pocket when he wasn’t looking. He picked three dimes a quarter 27 ½ nickels (one having been run-over by a train, flattened out then cut in two) a pocket-comb missing several teeth and a half-sucked-on peppermint, the kind that old people keep in they’re pockets. ‘Quizás quiso decir?asked the pickpocket, ‘Quizás quiso decir?’ The alms man look at the pickpocket and frowned what’s that?’ he said quizzically. The pickpocket responded with Un prejuicio cognitivo es una distorsión, distorsión cognitiva, en el modo en el que los humanos percibimos la realidad. Algunos de estos procesos han sido verificados empíricamente en el campo de la psicología, otros están siendo considerados como categorías generales de prejuicios’. ‘I am not an idiot or an imbecile’ said the alms man, his face red with anger and confusion. ‘The pickpockets in these parts are crazed, crazed indeed’ thought the alms man. He checked his pant’s pocket for coppers and dimes, nickels and quarters, but found only lint and a piece of balled-up tissuepaper.Damn pickpocket’ he howled, ‘Quizás quiso decir my ass’.

Monday, October 22, 2007

Machinists' Oil and Poleax

The night sky was tappet-black with machinists’ oil and poleax. The harridan hurried to the corner, stopped, retrieved her sunbonnet, and went in the opposite direction. She’d dropped her hat earlier that day as she was leaving the (second) church bazaar. She dropped her sunbonnet (the one she dropped earlier that day) while hurrying out the church doors and onto the steps, the steps in front of the church doors in front of the church. The harridan hurried hurriedly across the sideways crossways, her hat (the one she’d lost earlier that day) pressed to her breast. She hurried hurriedly down the steps of the church (the steps in front of the church doors in front of the church where she’d dropped her hat, her sunbonnet, earlier that day) as she disliked being on steps, especially those in front of the front doors of a church. She hurriedly scurried down the front steps of the church, across the sideways crossways and into the street, her hat pressed to her breast. The harridan scurried hurriedly, the hat she’d dropped earlier in the day pressed to her breast. The night sky was black as pitch, so black that the harridan couldn’t see an inch in front of herself. The pitch-black sky was so pitch-black, so tappet-black with machinists’ oil and poleax, that the harridan couldn’t see an inch in front of herself much as she tried. (Poking out of her overcoat pocket was a dog-eared copy of Jakob Von Guten and a pocket-comb with several teeth missing).

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Limestone and Bog Shims

Another sky another morning another smokestack belching smokestack smoke, one after the other until an entire lifetime is spent awaking to another sky another morning another smokestack belching smokestack smoke. In the mornings the man in the hat could smell the belching smoke. When he was a boy his father took him to the barber’s every Saturday for a trim. On the barbershop table were copies of Penthouse and Playboy, Popular Mechanics and Reader’s Digest, National Geographic and yesterday’s newspaper, all neatly piled one beside the other (‘fucking cunts, I wanna see cunts damnit’).

The barber’s glasses were too small for his face. The too-small glasses made his too-fat face look even fatter. His fingers were fat as sausages and his clothes smelled of peppermint and aftershave. While the barber trimmed the man in the hat’s hair he was busy talking to his father, who was sitting in a chair next to the sink. He was telling his father about a leprosarium he visited in Ireland made from limestone and bog-shims with an incineratorfor burning the leper’s clothes’ he said, behind the kitchen where the pigs and chickens were penned.

They’d find ends of fingers and toes, and once even a whole ear, mixed in with the feed and slop. One time they found the part of a leg from the ankle to the kneecap under the belly of a sow, wee piglets at suck on her teats’. The man in hat tried not to move his head (not an inch) less the barber shear off one of his ears or knick him with the straight-razor he kept sharp with a strop that hung from the back of the barbers’ chair.

Saturday, October 20, 2007

Fellini On the Bus

The man in the hat saw Fellini, his hat pulled down over his brow, snarling at the other people on the bus, many of whom were wearing hats, boaters and fez’s, bowlers and bonnets, sun-hats and sou’westers, tradesman’s caps and panamas. This wasn’t the first time he’d seen Fellini, once before, one sunny afternoon in May, he’d seen him shopping at the Waymart across from the aqueduct next to the Seder’s grocery. He was pushing a shopping-cart full of knickknacks and doodads, one wheel caroming and veering uncontrollably, his hat pulled down over his brow. Poking out of his overcoat pocket was a dog-eared copy of Jakob Von Guten and a pocket-comb with several teeth missing. ‘Any fool can sharpen ice-skates, even a handless fool’ he muttered to himself, the salespeople moving politely out of his way.

‘Why do I see these things, these strange uncommon things’, wondered the man in the hat. ‘Why not dogs and cats and children flying kites, funny things that make me laugh out loud?’ He saw in a porno theatre that had been converted into an art film theatre, the man sitting in front of him shouting fucking cunts, I wanna see cunts damnit’. The man in the hat slipped out of the theatre half way through (at 27½ minutes past four) the bottoms of his shoes slick with ejaculate and spilt soda. (The other day there was a very, very fat woman on the bus, the bus that carries the ambulatory and half-witted. She had a very, very fat child swaddled in the fat of her very, very fat arms. The fat child wailed and bawled, its cheeks quivering like a blancmange).

A thin woman with a circus-hat and a man with a turned inside-out face got on the bus at the same time at the same stop. The man with the turned inside-out face turned to the thin woman with the circus-hat and saidit’s hot as blazes in here’. The thin woman with the circus-hat turned to the man with the turned inside-out face and saidand smelly, too’. They both got off the bus at the same time at the same stop and went they’re separate ways, a wailing bawling in they’re ears. At exactly 27½ minutes past seven the man in the hat ate a curd-cheese sandwich with friar’s mustard and raw onion. He did this most days, and those he didn’t he did anyways. On those days he didn’t he pretended that he did, imaging he’d eaten something, a curd-cheese sandwich with friar’s mustard and raw onion, when in fact he’d eaten nothing at all. This way he could convince himself that he’d eaten when he’d eaten nothing at all.

Scream of Unconsciousness

The sky was blue bluest blue. The morning sky was so blue it was invisible to the clothed eye, the eye that sees things naked. The sky was so blue it disappeared altogether, vanished into the blue (her tailbone punched into my coxes, the pubic-bone, so I, I burrowed like a foxhound). These are strange times strange times indeed so they are so they are. The harridan met the legless man at the second church bazaar, the one after the one before the last. I am tired of all this nonsense so I think I’ll stow it in (her pubic-bone punched a hole in his foxhound coxes). A pox-gray sky; all thought of blueness vanishing from sight. I am fatigued of this, so much so, so fatigued that dread has set in, Moyle-collar (also known as ether and ethoxyethane, CH3-CH2-O-CH2-CH3). (Coming off her skin, you could smell… It, most certainly, off her skin like an awful thought) may the morning beacon a hardy halo. He spread ice-cold creamery butter on his flapjacks, the kind his great-greatest-greater-great grandmamma made with churn and pestle.

Friday, October 19, 2007

August Siegmund Frobenius (Alchemist)

CH3-CH2-O-CH2-CH3 (Oleum Dulci Vitrioli)

Gad mourning yea lousy cants, the day gobs you’re presence. The sky beckons you’re attendance, the stars, moon, Orion, and some lousy cant with a feathered hat beg you’re being-there. He sprinkled Diethyl (also known as ether and ethoxyethane, CH3-CH2-O-CH2-CH3) on his breakfast flapjacks. He bought it from someone acquainted with the great-great-greater-greatest-great grandson of Raymundus Lullus, an Alchemist and the padre of oil of sweet vitriol (oleum dulci vitrioli) who was close friends with the great-great-greater-greatest-great granddaughter of Theophrastus Bombastus von Hohenheim, better known as Paracelsus, the discoverer of the analgesic properties of ether-metabolite, who later became friends with the greater-greatest-great grandniece of August Siegmund Frobenius who gave it its common name, ether, around 1730, or sometime shortly thereafter. The oil of sweet vitriol (oleum dulci vitrioli) left a bad taste at the back of his throat, so bad that he threw the rest of it away, or thereabouts, replacing the Diethyl ether-metabolite with a pat of ice-cold creamery butter freshly churned from the teat of a cow named Millie Augustus Bombastus Frobenius.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Yes Indeed Yes

Could I interest you in a tin of bread-pudding, a sterno-can of lumped protein perhaps? Yes, yes I see, what a wonderful idea, worthy of coition, yes indeed yes. As I have leftovers, tidbits and curds, a Moyle’s tannery of odds and ends, I would gladly share them, tidbits and curds, odds and ends, bits and fleeces with you, yes indeed yes. Oh I see, it’s plenty passed you bedtime, yes indeed I see. A rain-check, perhaps, for the morrow and aught, another day maybe perhaps, yes, tidbits and curds, odds and fleeces, bits and ends. Good night and might scrods dress. Good night indeed, yes, indeed.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Robert Walser (1878-1956)

Sumbawa and Last Night's Dinner

The man in the hat met a man with a colophon-head. The man with the colophon-head in turn met the man in the hat who that day was wearing a Sumatran Sumbawa with a silk hatband. They talked at brief about hats and things of an ornithological nature, then parted ways, the man in the hat crossing the crossways sideways, the man with the colophon-head walking backwards, his head embossing as he went. The sky smelt like spelt and boiled onions; the sky smelt of bile-onions and old cheese, the sky smelt badly. The man in the hat smelt like last night’s dinner, crab-cakes and stewed mutton, boiled potatoes and tasteless parsnips. The night smelt like the man in the hat’s dinner (last night’s dinner) the one before todays. The day opened without a bang, scampering across the sideways crossways. The day started with a whimper, double-stepping crossways across the sideways. The day had not yet begun, it was without a beginning a middle or an ending.

Maybe Perhaps Louder

You could smell the yeast coming off her skin’ he said ‘ so pungent, so loudly offal I thought I was going to faint’. ‘They do smell, sometimes they do, I suppose they do’ said the alms man. ‘Yes, and loudlyadded the shamble leg man, ‘loud as a jet plane I’d say’. 'Perhaps louder' added the alms man. ‘Those people, them, they should wash, I mean clean up a little, yes they certainly should’. 'So they should, yes’ said the shamble leg man, ‘yes’. ‘Like a cake half-risen' said the alms man loudly. ‘More so, more than half-risen, wholly-risen but not quite, but just about’. ‘The nerve, the nerve of some people, the nerve of themsaid the alms man.

A pone-blue sky, some say cornmeal but pone is pone, pone-blue as the bluest pone-meal biscuit. The lams man stood eye-to-toe with the amble leg man, the lams man having sat down to recollect his ought’s. ‘I wish that I could run like the blindsaid the amble leg man. ‘Don’t you mean the wind?’ asked the lams man. ‘Perhapssaid the amble leg man, ‘perhaps the wind, too’. ‘Indeed you would, you wouldsaid the lams man loudly. ‘That too, blindly like blind wind’. Both the lams man and the amble leg man stood and said they’re goodbyes. (Coming off her skin, you could smell… It, most certainly, off her skin like an awful thought).

Monday, October 15, 2007

Gluey En-do-derms and Tupperware

A blue glassblower’s blue sky tinkered with opal and sapphire. The man in the hat awoke awakening, his hat resting on the nightstand next to his gibbon’s-bag (Hylobates) and a pair of lace-up Oxfords. A gluey en·do·derms and some sort of sticky caramel jujube, these he found clawed to the inside of his bed-sheets. Allow me to boil you a tin of sausage, she said his mother said. (Allow me to pepper it with mace, allspice and fennel, a curial of beetroot and the yellowish yellow saffron. Allow me to serve it to you in a Tupperware bowl reheated straight from the oven. Allow me to ladle warm savory curds of it into the cloister of your mouth. Please allow me the pleasure of watching you eat, your teeth gristmilling the tinned sausage into a fine delectable talc. Allow me to wipe the gruel and Porter from your lips, the neb of my tongue cocking the stork of your throat). The man in the hat’s mother boiled everything in the same pot, brining and peppering the dishes with packets she’d pilfered from the Serb diner across from the Waymart next to the aqueduct.

I vitelloni Federico Fellini (1920-1993)

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Arthur Keith and W.P. Pycraft

That afternoon when the sky was porterhouse grey and his grandmamma was out playing pinochle with her gaming-fiends his granddad told him the story of the Piltdown Man. In the pottage fields of Uckfield East Sussex, in the Archdeacon Lewes Diocese of Chichester Richard Bingham (7th Earl of Lucan Grant House) the lower jawbone of an orangutan (Gigantopithecus Sivapithecus) was dug-up by this lying cunt called Charles Dawson who showed off the jawbone bone to misters Arthur Smith Woodward, A S Underwood, Arthur Keith, W P Pycraft, and Sir Ray Lankester. He stared at his granddad’s head, his forehead slack as an old catcher’s mitt, trying to make sense of what he said. All he could make sense of was the part about the pottage field; the rest was just wordy nonsense.

His granddad cleared his throat and said ‘now this Dawson fellow, the lying cunt bastard, started collecting fossils after flunking out of barrister’s school. The silly bastard cunt was elected to the Geological Society and the Society of Antiquaries London 1895. The stupid silly bastard lying cunt’s nickname was the Wissler of Sussex, stupid bastard’. The alms man waited for his granddad to take a breath and hightailed it out the door, his alms-cap cinched under his arm. He figured anyone could dig-up anything, old bones and hard curds of million-year old shit, toenail clippings and hair and call it whatever they wanted, so he saw nothing out of the ordinary about some Limey cunt lying about some monkey bones or an asses’ jawbone, nothing out of the ordinary at all.

Quaker's Oats and Cinnamon

The morning broke like a rifle shot, echoing and pinging, churning the air into a tattered mess. The alms man sat beneath the Seder’s awning, his alms-cap between his legs, the sun scorching a hole in the top of his head. Today was the other-day, the one that fell somewhere between yesterday and tomorrow. ‘Most people are cowards, shameless cowards’ he said to himself. He remembered his grandmamma sifting oats with a wooden spoon she kept in a drawer beside the windowsill, the smell of Quaker’s oats and cinnamon quaffing the air, granddad sitting in his swayback chair, the teat of his pipe tightening the frame of his jaw. Tomorrow morning he will awaken from a restless sleep, place his feet on the floor next to his bed and begin at the beginning again. It’s all in the way you repeat yesterday, the other-day, the one that comes before tomorrow (a wee larval cock is what he called it, a wee fucking cockleshell cock).

Saturday, October 13, 2007

Shellfishery and Figaro

A fair to middling day, a day so middle it seems squeezed between two others. The stink of corkwood and skinner’s oil, rabbits and hens, curio stretched out on tack-boards to dry. The harridan’s great-grandfather trapped the woods surrounding the aqueduct (across from the Sears) which in 1875 was nothing more than spoil and fen. (Authors note: should you be expecting a story, a beginning, middle and an end, you’re in the wrong place; the public library is a much better place to find such things).

Doktor Faustus removed his eyeglasses, placed his three-cornered foolscap on the tabletop and said ‘fucking miscreants, too much bloody scrimshaw for my liking!’ The shamble leg man remembered reading Goethe’s Faust in lower-school, a dog barking Figaro in the ragweed outside the schoolroom window, the teacher’s pet ogling the teacher’s apple, the teacher admonishing the class for underlining the text in crabapple red pencil.

Before he knew the man in the hat the shamble leg man knew the teacher’s pet, a fat girl with walnut-grinder’s teeth and lice-brittle hair. She gave blow-jobs for free behind the library, her teeth leaving rake-marks on the underside of wee boy’s cocks. She reminded him of his great-grandfather and the hunker of his shoulders when he fell cattle with the sledge and the smell of wood-rot and armpit sweat.

‘Most people are cowards, shameless cowards’ thought the shamble leg man, ’selfish children with selfish wants, a shellfishery of selfish wants and desires’. He remembered finding a cockleshell washed up onto the tidal-bank, prickles and pins stuccoing the shell. His great-grandfather told him it was a male cockleshell, and rolling it over with the toecap of his mucking-boot revealed a tiny spike curled up under the belly, a wee larval cock is what he called it, a wee fucking cockleshell cock.

Thursday, October 11, 2007

Backwards Walking Dogs and Opera

Upon being hit in the head with a stone the shamble leg man exclaimedDodd’s Scuppers and Crocker’s Ale I’ve been beaked in the head’. (Projectiles, pebbles, tack-bags, tin cans and candy wrappers hit the shamble leg man in the head). He felt a crabbing at the back of his neck, a feeling that (without fair warning) something (a rusty tin of beans chucked out a passing car window) would find purchase on the beak of his head. ‘This is no way to live’ he said to himself ‘always in fear of something careening into the back of my head’. (The smell of creosote and labor-sweat in the air). The shamble leg man felt a tilting at the back of his head.

He stopped to readjust the cuffs on his trousers (wide-taper corduroy, beige) and continued on his summery way. He knew of a man (a very fat man) who had a dog that could walk backwards on its hind legs. The dog wore a hat (a colourful clownish hat) and a vest made from its own hair. As it trundled backwards (as all dogs, regardless of species or size, trundle when they walk) on its hind legs the dog barked out the aria from Figaro, its owner keeping beat with the tap of his foot. The shamble leg man saw nothing unusual about this as most dogs (or at least those he was acquainted with) could bark opera, and those that couldn’t simply kept beat with a tap of they’re paw.

Tuesday, October 09, 2007

Stoolies' Jacket and Spoiled Meat

Surely this is no way to start the day, all this kafuffle and beastliness. I must find a less taxing way to make my reentrance into the world’. The man in the hat collected vagrant stones and pebbles. He kept them in the toecap of his boot (pressed up against the curve of his toes) for safekeeping. The stones and pebbles italicized his toes, forming a hard trebled crust on the pads of his feet. He could barely slip socks over the ends of his feet, as the toenails had curled upwards presenting a rough sharp edge to the socking. He knew a man who liked to eat his dinner with a capsicum monkey with a spelt-tail. They sat across from one another, fork and knife in hand, and ate greedily, the one eying the other for missed forkfuls or scattered bits and ends. It reminded him of all those men with chuck teeth and knobby fingers clacking copper-ware against millrace plates and plastic cups, all that noise and confusion and shuffling feet and the odor of spoiled meat and indigestion.

(His own father ate great mouthfuls of cabbage and fatty shoulder boiled to a placental mush, carrots cut into timbered sticks and onions with some of the outside peal still on). One day he watched as a hobo in a stoolies’ jacket pushed to the front of the soup-line and demanded a bowl of Jell-O. When the server said they were fresh out of Jell-O the hobo stamped his feet and stammered, ‘there’s nothing fresh about your Jell-O young lady, so mind you’re P’s and Q’s!’ He saw another man with a cone-shaped head hit another man with a feeble-arm in the noggin with his food-tray, the feeble-armed man ticking and carom in wide uneven circles, a clap of blood jockey from the middle of his face. (The soup-kitchen was a beggars’-line of stench and bad posture, every man a cutthroat’s nick closer to an early burial).

Mink Oil Otter Fat and Dejesus

Dejesus listened to Xfm107, Dublin’s Alternative Music Station. He twisted and corked the dial but picked up static and hubbub rather than music and box-waves (Dejesus my goodness not him not him again) sitting on his GI-cot and listened to a mishmash of earsplitting music, some so loud and screeching it loosened the cones and hammers in his ears. In the wintertime he dubbin (used to impart shine and colour; the name 'dubbin' is a contraction of the gerund "dubbing", describing the action of applying the wax to leather) his boots with mink-oil and otter-fat, rubbing it into the stitching with the nub of his thumb. He learned about dubbing from a man with cork-teeth and a blue and purplish birthmark right above his left eye across from his right eye.

Dejesus didn’t believe in things that appeared out of nowhere or had funny names like bric-a-brac and the ever-after which sounded more like eve-rafter than some place too high to see. He liked shucked peas and cob-corn, fiery Mescal and Pepsin chewing-gum. He preferred backgammon to pinochle and square-ball to shuffleboard. He favored Baroque music to Quartets and distrusted anything that came in a brown paper wrapper or couldn’t fit in one’s pocket. Dejesus triple-knotted his bootlaces checked his hair for scabs and shot out the front door like a diesel train, his hat flipping and tossing, eyes trained on the sideways in front of him. As it was Sunday he wore his going-to-church suit, blue serge, his Corker’s tie and a pinkie-ring that he wore on his index-finger, his pinkie-finger had shriveled up to the size of a peapod and he didn’t want the ring sliding off his pinkie-finger and finding its way down a sewer-hole or under someone’s automobile.

Sunday, October 07, 2007

Betel Nuts and Half Smokes

(True to form once the form has been trued all other truing is simply keeping the previous true in form. Truing is like fishing, casting a wordy line into the depths of language, waiting for a response, then recasting until the trued, yet untrue, is trued, truing until the sickness takes hold of the form, which then true’s itself ad nauseum. His granddad told him the story about the elf-food store where one could buy small quantities of food, seeds and biscuit flour, anise-root and cardamom, betel-nuts and caraway pips, bird-seed and children’s shoehorns).

At seven o’clock sharp the man in the hat awoke, relit a half-smoked cigarette and took a long deep stoke, flushing his lungs with tar, benzene, carbons, formaldehyde and hydrogen cyanide. At seven-o-five he boiled water, measured three tablespoons of bitter coffee with his thumb and forefinger and sprinkled it into an earless cup. He relit a second half-smoked cigarette, inhaled a plume of harsh yellow smoke and stirred the earless cup of coffee with the second finger out from his forefinger. He sipped the coffee, ran his tongue across the bevel of his teeth and ferreted through his pockets for another half-smoke.

Bruno Schulz (12 VII 1892 – 19 XI 1942)

A Wailing into Night

For some writing is a reawakening. When I think of Roberto Bolano I think just such thoughts, a reawakening into a cold, feral Chilean night. When a writer writes he or she lives within the moment of that existence, away from a non-being that faults and encourages penitence. Perhaps all writing is a form of penitence, contrition, an apology for sins never committed. If this is so, and I believe it to be so, then the writer is a penitent, a waking child who survives, flourishes, when the inside becomes the outside, the hidden the revealed. But this self-disclosure has a cost, and many are unable to shoulder the weight of their contrition, their apology for sins never committed. A child believes, takes to heart, a parent’s voice even when the absurdity of the voice, the incongruence, is deafening. It is from this very deafness that the inside becomes the outside, the hidden the revealed, the voice bellows and cries. For some writing is a reawakening, a revelation, a wailing into the night.

Mahjongg and Gin

On Saturdays the man in the hat liked to eat poppyseed cake with sugar-icing. He sopped it in bone-malt taking small uneven nibbles. His grandmamma made bunt-cakes in an oblong pan with crinkled edges (the edges were like italics but crinklier). His granddad divvied up the cake with the scythe he used to cutback the colic-grass that grew at the back of the yard. (His granddad told him that once he went to an elf-food store to buy wheat-germ and came home with three small bags of birdseed and a child’s shoehorn). On Sundays the man in the hat liked to eat ceriman (Araceae Monstera deliciosa Liebm. syn. Philodendron pertusum; ananas japonez, Japanese pineapple) apples. He bought them from the Seder’s grocers with the coppers he saved from his paper-route.

‘The sky is falling’ said the alms man to the shamble leg man. ‘Soon it will disappear altogether, kaput’. ‘That’s odd indeed’ said the shamble leg man, ‘very odd indeed’. ‘Yes indeed, very odd indeed’ said the alms man in a low whispering voice. ‘Why, might I ask, should we care whether the sky falls, goes kaput altogether, really, why indeed?’ said the shamble leg man. ‘I suppose on account of the fact, the fact that it’s what keeps the stars from falling into our heads, crashing into the tops of our heads, your head and mine, both our heads’. ‘I suppose’ said the shamble leg man ‘I suppose the moon, too, keeps the moon, too, from falling into the tops of our heads, your’s and mine, both our heads’. (A coalman’s dark sky hung like an afterthought in the late evening sky; two skies, a binary of skies).Kurt Gödel said the sky is never the same twice’ said the alms man scientifically. ‘He said it has to do with the geometry of the sky, the algebraic positioning of the sky’. ‘Yes, the night sky, especially’ said the shamble leg man astronomically.

The harridan buttoned the top-button of her blouse and smiled, a ticking of white-ivory-white teeth catching beams of moonlight. Her sister, on those days when she wasn’t making knickknacks and trinkets, sewed colourful buttons onto a sash she wore on Thursday evenings, the night she played pinochle with the other trinket-makers. They shared a bottle of Gin with soda and wedges of lime, passing the opened bottle round in a circle, each trinket-maker taking a swig then passing it on to the next until the bottle was emptied and dry. They gibbered and wailed in italics and Esperanto, interrupting each other without the slightest regard for politeness and good manners. They played pinochle with Mahjongg tiles and three-sided dice, using the Gin cap as a dye-shaker.

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Jackson Pollock (1912-1956)

He Made a Trumpet of His Ass

He gobbled down a hatchling with a bump on its beak, a small neb used for pinking and pecking at other hatchling’s necks. Its feet went down last, hobbling and jimmy-jamming like live chicken-wires. He poked his tongue around the legs and swallowed, his throat constricting like an ironsmith’s vice. (I so do wish, so I do, that I could put an end to this absurd italicizing). Now that Thanks for Not Giving day was just around the corner the man in the hat felt it prudent to purchase a small to middling turkey, perhaps a utility bird (one missing a wing or a leg) and cook it with yams, yellow or golden-yellow potatoes, carrots, an assortment of green and almost-green legumes and hot-from-the-oven biscuits. He would baste the turkey in its own juices, fats and lipids, giblets (the liver, heart, gizzard, and neck of a bird that has been prepared for cooking; giblets are often boiled to make stock for gravy) and kidneys, liver (pan-fried) paprika, salt and ground black pepper. As he made it a habit to eat alone, not caring much for sharing or giving unto others, he placed one plate, a saucer, a teacup, a fork (the tines bent and twisted) a knife (rusted) and a spoon on the box he used as a table and flattened a piece of torn shirttail to the left of the place setting.

Friday, October 05, 2007

Piebald and Blue Cheese

This forsakenness is getting forsaken, a humming drone in the billiard of my ears. (And, might I add, the overuse of italics). What exists on the outside should stay on the outside. What happens on the inside should be left to its own devices. To all appearances (to the contrary) it seems coherent, but on second look it falls into a clotted mess, a blither of blunders and blab. The shamble leg man ate a piebald ham sandwich with Clott’s mustard on suet-fried bread. He ate with small delicate bites, nibbling the bread from the outside in, ham and Clott’s mustard forming a crust at the corners of his mouth. Italics: printed in or using letters that slope to the right. Italic letters are sometimes used in book titles or to show emphasis in text; handwritten in letters that slope to the right; a printed letter that slopes to the right, or a font that uses such letters (often used in the plural). Piebald: describes a horse whose coat has patches of two or more contrasting colors, especially black and white (pie·balds) plain (antonym).

(The shamble leg man ate piebald sandwiches and blue-cheese curds). This will amount to nothing, nothing whatsoever. Whatever it amounts to (whatever if anything whatsoever) it will surely amount to nothing worth amounting to. The alms man mounted a horse, but on a dare, so his mounting actually amounted to nothing, at the most very little. He imagined that he could imagine anything at all, anything that he put his imagination to. Knowing this (or imagining it) he put his imagination to work imagining so many things, so many imaginings, that he felt lightheaded and faintly. Faintly: not bright, clear, or loud; done feebly and without conviction; ‘damned the new book with faint praise’; to become unconscious, especially for a short time, because of a reduction in the flow of blood to the brain. Consciousness: the state of being awake and aware of what is going on around you; somebody's mind and thoughts; feelings of dizziness followed by loss of consciousness (in time this experience will fade from your consciousness).

Wednesday, October 03, 2007

Bad Timing and Sheep-herder's Pie

(He has on a haberdasher’s jacket, brownish gray with widespread lapels and a two-rose buttonhole. He rides a bicycle without a horn, flagon or bell). I’ve forsaken the other, the one that started and encouraged all this. No more sheep-herder’s pie and bitter ends, this must come to a (full complete) stop. This (whatever it is this) is taking its toll on me, making me think and see things that clearly don’t exist, and even if they did, would be unimaginable. The alms man begged for alms across from the aqueduct that ran willy-nilly along side the Seder’s grocery store. He placed his alms-cap in front of him (the hatband twisted and craned) crisscrossed his legs on either side of the visor and hummed humming. (Cars and trucks and side-panel vans and carryalls copulated to and fro and all about and round him). He thought he espied the Mercury fish truck corseting by, a shirtsleeve bluffing out the driver’s-side window; but when he looked a second time he saw a dog on a leash being towed behind a fat woman in a quails’-foot tam.

Blue Ocean Bream and Pucker's Jelly

A plump cottage ham basted in bees’-knees honey. ‘With breadcrumbs and curds…’ ‘Whey-curds breadcrumbs and sticks of cinnamon?’ said the shamble leg man ‘of course indeed’. The man in the hat liked cheddar caraway with shallots, blue-ocean bream (Abramis brama) milk-whey and lagan. He sleeved it between slices of hollyhock bread (whole-wheat, rice and oaten) smeared with Pucker’s jelly and hard iced butter (in pats). The shamble leg man (who preferred rye bread stickle with germ and sweet curds) was partial to a simple organic bread. (Mister Gibbs devoured a mile-or-some of toast and jam, with a side-plate of boiled calf’s testicles leafed in peapods and arrowroot). Most bread (thought the man in the hat) is made from flour, yeast, sodas and germ, the mixing and oblation may differ, but the basic principle is identical. (Casserole dishes filled to toppling with carrots and beans, shepherd’s pie and Jell-O, day-old bread and watery fruit juices, a smorgasbord of castoffs and bitter ends). When he thought of food, which he did more often than not, the shamble leg man thought out loud, lisping like a so-chef in corduroy britches and a doubled-cinched ascot.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007

Shall We Feed the Birds

‘Today is the first day of all the rest’ said the shamble leg man. ‘All other days simple fall one behind the other, a single-file of missed days and in betweens’. ‘That’s absurd indeed’ said the harridan ‘indeed’. The two sat facing one another knee to knee, arms intertwined, faces grimacing and felon. ‘Absurd indeed, quite absurd’ replied the shamble leg man. ‘Why not cozy up, cozy up next to me?’ he asked. ‘I’d rather splash scalding hot water in my face’ said the harridan challengingly. ‘Indeed, scalding hot’ replied the shamble leg man. ‘You are a menace, a menacing menace’ said she to him. ‘So indeed I am' said he to her ‘a menacing menace indeed’. ‘You’re absurdity is quite absurd’ said the harridan, knees knocking, arms intertwining. ‘And menacing’ added the shamble leg man ‘menacingly absurd’. ‘Indeed’ said the harridan ‘indeed you are’. ‘Shall we feed the birds?’ asked he of her. ‘Yes indeed’ she replied ‘with breadcrumbs and curd‘. ‘Indeed yes’ said the shamble leg man. ‘With breadcrumbs and curds…’ ‘And whey?’ asked the harridan. ‘Whey-curds breadcrumbs and sticks of cinnamon?’ said the shamble leg man ‘of course indeed’.

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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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