Thursday, November 29, 2007

Cantors' Pickles and Bologna

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

Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Saccharine Posy

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

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

Monday, November 26, 2007

Meaty Apples and Scagweed

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

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

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

Soda of Gomorrah

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

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Eat the Sun Drink the Rain

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

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

The Derelict Bicycle

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

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Frittatas and Plum Tortes

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

Don Salado

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

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

Friday, November 16, 2007

The Drunkard Wenceslaus' Second Wife

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

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Ode to OCD

Izabal's Taps

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

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

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The First Defenestration of Prague, July 30 1419

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

Left and Right Hands and Legs

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

Monday, November 12, 2007

String Theory

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

The Angry Man's Head

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

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

Sunday, November 11, 2007

Boschly Delights

Author's Note

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

The Slavic Missionary

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

Saturday, November 10, 2007

The Poorhouse Poor

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

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

Friday, November 09, 2007

Right Angles and Chewing Gum

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

Thursday, November 08, 2007

Nagy Balogh János

Small Dogs on Short Leashes

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

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

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

The Milliner Oblast Common

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

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

Ree-yoozeb'l Sek-terree-an Rosary

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





Monday, November 05, 2007

Alfred and Manfred

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

Viol Viola da Gamba

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

Sunday, November 04, 2007

The Woodland Depository

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

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

Saturday, November 03, 2007


Karl Von Helmholtz 1947

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

Breton Dutchman's Cap

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

Thursday, November 01, 2007

My Idea For the Flatcar Cap

Le Corbusier's Cap

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

100 Satang (สตางค์)

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

About Me

My photo
"Poetry is the short-circuiting of meaning between words, the impetuous regeneration of primordial myth". Bruno Schulz

Blog Archive