Monday, December 31, 2007

Melvin Douglas' Shirt

(Dec 31/07)

I have never seen The Valley of the Dolls from start to finish. However I have seen Hud from start to finish and was particularly drawn to the costume-dresser’s choice of stovepipe slacks and slick cowboy attire. Melvin Douglas was especially charming, even with his priggish choice of western shirt; I am not one for bolo-ties, ascots or lariat-stitched pockets. Let it be known that I have never owned nor worn a lariat-stitched western shirt, nor have I a predilection to do so, ever! In The Valley of the Dolls one might conjecture that at least one character wore a lariat-stitched western shirt or most certainly would have had it been written into the script. Seeing as I have never seen the film from start to finish, or have the slightest desire to do so, my conjecturing is pure paucity.

Saturday, December 29, 2007

Calving Season

da drew a bead
jowl to shoulder
then backed off as the calf’s
head fell, calving season
came late that year, too
late for prayers or
da’s temper

The Story of My Living

(Dec 29/07)

I think about Moyle’s more often than not; too much so, actually, yes…too, too much. I am thinking about them now, this very moment, but not with great force of concentration or fitness of mind, that I leave for other thoughts, other things worth thinking about. Thoughts are like soiled hankies; snotrags balled up and shoved deep into the rectos of a pocket. One should always have a spare pocket stitched into the lining of one’s coat, it makes the pocketing and retrieval of snotrags less time-absorbing, allowing one to dillydally at one’s will and with the rarest impunity. The absorption of time is a menace, not worthy of the time it took to write: menace. Godforsaken godlessness whereby the days pass one after the other unnoticed. The menace of it all…yes, the menace…unthinkable indeed.

(Dec 26/07)

Another porcine grey day: the day abutting yesterday, the day of Christ’s birth. I have two new books to read, Elfriede Jelinek’s ‘Greed’ and Haruki Murakami’s ‘After Dark’. I have stories to tell, but not yet, not before I live out this story, the story of my living.

(Dec 27/07)

My plants are dying a slow waterless death, wilting and curling up brown at the edges, such a shame indeed.

Giacomo Joyce

'I hold the websoft edges of her gown and drawing them out to hook them I see through the opening of the black veil her lithe body sheathed in an orange shift. It slips its ribbons of moorings at her shoulders and falls slowly: a lithe smooth naked body shimmering with silvery scales. It slips slowly over the slender buttocks of smooth polished silver and over their furrow, a tarnished silver shadow [...]. ' [GJ 7]


Desiccated Fruit and Vectors

‘I hate Christmas pudding’ said the alms man. ‘Lemony sauce, currants and desiccated fruit…and harder than vectors…’ ‘…and into’s’ added the harridan. ‘The trick is in the pudding…’ ‘…yes, in the pudding indeed’ ‘You obviously have a taste for pudding’ ‘I do at that I do’ replied the harridan hurriedly. ‘It looks like rain…’ ‘…indeed, so it does…rain in sheets, wouldn’t you say?’ ‘Harder than vectors and into’s’ ‘Much harder indeed, much so indeed’. A shoulder of grey sky pushed its way onto the horizon, a cupper’s vector, out of then into then minus a vector or two.

Monday, December 24, 2007

Christmas Pudding and Threes

At Christmastime Dejesus hid behind the Waymart across from the aqueduct not wanting to add any further confusion and tomfoolery to an already confusing day. Christmas day he spent poaching the dustbins looking for castoffs and barely-eaten food. Anyone whose name was so close to Jesus’ had to take precautions, especially someone with a jaunty manner and a carpenter’s belt. The spirit of Christmas came in a green bottle with a crone’s head on the label. Dejesus had a fondness for Christmas pudding with tart lemony sauce, never once finding a castoff or barely-eaten curd of festive pudding in the dustbin behind the Cantor’s bakery or the trash beside the Seder’s grocery.

I am Sigmund Freud; I am not the cuckold Jung or the clubfooted Alfred A. I am in threes, a tripartite triple trinity. A pork-shoulder grey Christmas Eve day, neither either or, or, or either, just a simpering other, other.

Christmas Eve Day, Day

(Dec 24/07)

It is Christmas Eve day, 3:58am to be precise, which I seldom am, precise, not 3:58. It is raining to beat the band, a hard sleety driving rain, a rainy-rain rain. One must do algebra with a hammer, as with vectors, into’s, out-of’s and minuses. It is now 4:05am Christmas Eve day, this rainy raining day, the day before Christmas day day.

(Dec 23/07)

I slept upon a button last night, a divot driven into the cup of my hipbone bone. When I was an unreasonable undergraduate I wrote a short story about a boy who was conceived in the backseat of a sedan, one of the upholstery buttons jagging into his mother’s belly, leaving an imprint on his forehead at birth.

Seeing People Close Up

The man in the hat knew of Omar Killingbock but had never met him in person, nor seen him up close or eating. He had seen Dejesus up close, once when he was eating a rather sloppily made sandwich, and another time when he, Dejesus, was hiking his trousers up round the piggery of his hips. He made it a rule to never see a person more than once, and in the event that he did, he would vanish the second seeing from his memory. He hated anything in repetition, be it numbers, as in counting to a hundred, especially more than once, blue skies, people and lapdogs on long tethers. He disliked liking things he disliked, and would rather poke himself in the eye with a red hot skewer, the type used for spitting meat, than repeat anything more than once.

He, Dejesus, had a fondness for lazy-eyed women and those with one leg shorter than the other. He liked to watch a short leg skipping to catch up with a longer one, or lazy eyes crossing inwards, pupils dashing madly from side to side. He preferred slightly plump women and some not so plump but stout enough to catch his eye.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

John Wayne's Horse

(Dec 22/07)

I wanna be you’re dog! What better way to greet the day, this pork-shoulder grey day? I am listening to New Model Army, a much underrated Brit band from the eighties. Social conscious seems to be a rarity these days, so if I can help to instill one, perhaps two, in my students I will feel all the much better, at least for having tried to do so. One must do philosophy with a hammer, not a putty-knife. Life is friction and tension, not fiddle-faddle and plum pudding. Apply a warm compress to the exposed area and count to one-thousand as fast as you can. One must always be on the lookout for bad reasoning and quick-fixes, these too will pass, unnoticed one hopes. I prefer glum-pudding with a tart lime sauce and bitter sweet treacle. ‘I fell off John Wayne’s horse; it took two takes’.

Omar Killingbock

Omar Killingbock swore up and down he never saw the legless man running in circles like a rabid dog. When asked whether he knew anyone who had, he replied angrily ‘dog is as dog do’ and ran willy-nilly away. That morning a jackdaw skipjacked across the sideways backwards. ‘Jackdaw is as jackdaw does’ said the skipjack snippily. Omar disliked his last name and would rather have been called Boons or Van Pelt. But as this was unlikely, especially for someone called Omar, he seldom used his last name unless tact and personal aplomb demanded that he do so. He kept a shim tucked up under the cup of his chin to prevent the snow and sleet from making entrance into the shallows of his brain, stem and all. A family secret passed from father to son.

And the Pariah Award Goes To...

(Dec 21/07)

I woke up again today, surely a good sign as signs go. I feel rather surly, sort of surly-esque I suppose, just almost. I am now officially a pariah, an accolade of meritorious merit. The Ottawa family shelter I was contracted out to by a social service agency I dare not mention for fear of reprisal and a sanguine nose, told me, in no uncertain terms I might add, that I was not allowed on the premises, inside the building or otherwise near, next to or somewhere around the building proper. My class and I arrived by sledge and barrow to deliver a van-load of toys, gifts, clothing, foodstuffs and sweets for the children and they’re families. My class spent a month dressing together a basketful of holiday cheer, they’re gift of hope and love to those less fortunate. Last April I had a letter to the editor published in a local newspaper. I was told by my employer that I was never, ever to write, compose, think up and submit another letter without first garnering they’re editorial approval. Here, for your reading displeasure, and for those with a red-pencil, is the letter that create the kafuffle:

I work in a family shelter helping run an after-school program for children living there, some with single mothers fleeing abuse, others recent immigrants to Canada, and a percentage of which can't find affordable housing in Ottawa.

One mother who has two toddlers told me that she was offered an apartment, but that it was infested with cockroaches. She added that if she doesn't accept her 'first offer', she goes down the waiting list. Another mother, who has a 7 year old autistic daughter, went to visit her apartment before moving in and discovered that windows didn't close, there was a mould problem and the apartment hadn't been repainted. Eventually the windows were repaired, but nothing was done to address the other health-issues.

These two situations are more common than not, yet the city of Ottawa offers what would be considered substandard housing in the private sector. I am blessed, more than I can express, to be able to work with the children and parents I that I do, but see day in and day out the persistent struggle they are up against; not only with housing, but the underlying current of racism that exists in Ottawa; one many think is non-existent, nothing compared to Toronto or Montreal at best.

I challenge city council, and readers for that matter, to donate to the two family shelters in Ottawa, clothing, food, time, etc, and see for themselves how these children are forced to live. Add to this the recent news that the Conservative government said it is putting 2 billion dollars into space technology and the point becomes more glaring: we can't house, feed and care for those living on this planet, yet we thoughtlessly hand out money for the chance at doing so on another.

Contrary to what some critics say, many of whom have never set foot in a family shelter, child poverty exists, and we as Canadians’ have done little to ensure that it doesn't. Shame on our leaders, shame.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Phallic Impropriety (Dec 20/07) Etc

A prickly-pear restless sleep; how best to describe missed-consciousness. Sleeping has become a problem: the carousel of sleep. Either I lay awake scolded with thought or sleep like a log (particle-board, press-board, stolen shims and wainscoting). The cursed ploughman, where be he, silly so-and-so? Just this moment, perhaps a second ago, I looked at the wall of infamy: Beckett, Joyce, Nietzsche, Freud and Kafka, my comfort and bane. A life without literature is a mistake, a half-life, a missed-life, a life lived in abstentia.

I am smoking three-week-old Djarum cigarillos. They (these black sticks) taste like dried fen, Indonesian spore and dung. The scarab beetle digs long deep winding trenches into the sides of fen-rolls, such mischievous brig-a-bract. Enjoy a cool refreshing smoke; Sweet Caps are a man’s man smoke. Enjoy a bellows-full, easy on the throat and smooth as a calf’s tongue. It is 10:57 pm and still no sight or hither of the ploughman. Such incompetence should be scolded and laid bare. This morning’s analysis was worthy of a Freudian cigar, cocksfoot and phallic impropriety. Time for bed, abed I go.

Coalman's Briefs and Alliterations

(Dec 20/07)

2:05 in the morning and here I sit, in my druthers and coalman’s briefs, writing boorish bract (a modified leaf that arises from the stem at the point where the flower or flower cluster develops. Although often green and inconspicuous, bracts may sometimes be large and brightly colored, as in a poinsettia). Nary a nard (a perennial aromatic plant of the valerian family. Flowers: pinkish purple. Native to: Himalayan range. Latin name: Nardostachys jatamansi) nor dillydally dalliance; nary a one, no never one nor nary! My swelling swollen glands have senesced, a rather fancy swordword for flattening out into the manse of my jawcup. Of course this (this) makes no sense, this misuse of senesced and balder. Perhaps a dash is due, but nary have I a dash nor a dolt nor a dillydally dromedary. Alliterations are a dime a halfdozen, so much martyrdom and schoolbag chivalry, enough to make a farad (the SI unit of capacitance equal to that of a capacitor carrying one coulomb of charge when a potential difference of one volt is applied) cough up and out a blister of lung and allspice. I have analysis at 11:00 Amerindian, so best fall willynilly abed. The newsproper promised a stern unwavering ploughman’s shove, as the turret aside me window is higher than a rat’s ass, somehow higher yet.

Journal of Journaling

(Dec 13/07)

I am at it again, scribbling down my thoughts, my things, these things in themselves. This cold December afternoon, I nary make it home without fainting dead (frozen) in my tracks. Lazarus cold: colder than the northern-most pole cold, perhaps colder yet. It is dear Charlotte’s birthday today; fifteen years pass so quickly.

(Dec 15/07)

I have swollen glands. My glands are swelling swollen. I made every effort to stay abed, glands swelling swollen, hipbone chaffing wearied wearily. I have an essay to put the final touches to this morning, my take on Lonergan and Freud, two unlikely bedfellows, an unconscious consciousness that has no beginning, but simply an in between.

(Dec 19/07)

A whirling-dervish sort of day: by any stretch of the imagination. There is a windswept turret of snow at the foot of my window; cursed ploughman hasn’t made his weekly drive-by. If Nietzsche was correct (and I’m inclined to believe he was, always!), I am doomed to a most punishing eternal-reoccurrence. Live you’re life as if you would have to live it over and over again ad infinitum! I suppose swollen swelling glands are a pittance to pay for a faulty eternal-reoccurrence. ‘One must still have chaos in oneself to give birth to a dancing star’. (Frederick Nietzsche) I’ve had my fill of chaos, yet still I seek more.

Monday, December 17, 2007

Pail Water and Corkwood

He was at odds with anything even; vectors and line-drawings, even-sided triangles and bootstrapping. Most days began without him noticing, they simply fell one in front of the other, an unbroken line of same-such days. Those days of the month that fell on even numbers, the 22nd or 28th to name but two, he stayed abed, burying his head beneath the covers, one eye on the clock the other half-closed and weepy. When he was a boy his mother cinched the bed-linens up over the knob of his chin, then tucked them in round the swain of his hips, his arms pressed in tight to his sides, palms upturned and sweaty. His ma sang softly sweetly, her voice plucking at the strings of his malnourished heart. The dog made a bed at the foot of his bed, its ears sticking up like corkwood shims, pail-water dripping from the warp of its dog’s mouth.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Piñata del Amore

‘Piñata dormouse dray’ bellowed the harridan ‘Alabaster salamander quay’. She spoke in dissonant bellows when she felt off-balance or when the sky chirped arias in the cones and struts of her ears. ‘Surely a Whisky sour is in order’ said the alms man sourly. ‘Piñata del amore’ chimed the harridan sweetly. ‘These mutton gray days are unkindly…’ ‘And none too oft’ added the harridan softly sweetly.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Thermodynamics and Benzodiazepines

Dejesus wore a Sherman Oakes hat festooned with baubles and dice. Sherman Oakes hats were a rarity, so Dejesus wore his with peacock pride. He wore it the day the half-blind woman threatened to chop off her daughter’s head for acts of ungodliness’ and thievery. He wore it the day after he bought his first back-issue of Popular Mechanics, paying homage to tinkers and smithies. He wore his Sherman Oakes hat when he thought he might feel fearful and discombobulated, regardless of how things turned out in the end. The Sherman Oakes Hat Co. was housed in a coalman’s shack behind the Waymart across from the aqueduct. Dejesus’ father cleared the snow from the laneway of the Sherman Oakes Hat Co. with a coal-shovel and a whisk-broom. Old Smolder’s cheese is best serve at room temperature on a wheat-thin or a rye biscuit. If one prefers Old Smolder’s in slices, a Melba or a Porkers’ Crisp might be better served.

A crones’ gray morning sky facing skyward and a nod to the left: simple thermodynamics; Benzodiazepines make for a delectable late-hour corrective. Cantors make extraordinary pickles, brine-heavy and whey-mucky. (Apply a warm compote of Beeves’ mustard and Ives’ soda to the raised area and count to one-thousand leeside-wards) ‘These people think in circles, Beeves and Ives there, a rarity of grammar and compote I’d say’. ‘He who says this says nothing’ said the alms man madly. Dejesus’ father swept snow from the steps of the Smolder’s Cheese Co. with a whisk-broom and a dustbin-tray. He liked a tart Whisky sour with a gimlet onion served over crushed ice and egg-whites. ‘Sweeping snow can get the best of you’ he said. ‘Nothing a tart Whisky sour won’t put the bends to’.

Thursday, December 06, 2007

Fiddlesticks and Lye

The almsman fell into oncoming traffic, his alms-cap clutched to his side. He slipped on a greasy stain on the sideways left behind by an incontinent dog or another almsman. In the nick of time he found centre again, never once loosing the clutch of his alms-cap. ‘Fiddlesticks and lye…and a lapdog with incurable mange’. The sideways was a scurry with dogs and people, too many and too few of each. ‘I recall smelling skunkweed whilst wiling away one rather pleasant midday noon lazing lazily on a bench in a park in a city the name of which escapes me, truly it does…I had a poultry sandwich with Beeves’ hard mustard and old Smolder’s cheese, slices, as was to my preference’. The alms man often recalled such thoughts, thoughts he’d once thought and promptly forgotten.

Sunday, December 02, 2007

Author's Aside

Author’s aside: I haven’t a clue what I’m up to, where I’m going or where I’ve been, or for how long. My tenure on this whirling ball of mordant desire is tenuous at best, gathered round a mischief-maker’s false sense of entitlement. Allow me the displeasure of sweet-water and bendable straws, that at least I have some entitlement over, if anything at all. Goodly night, one and many, and may the sky not fall careening into the top of your head.

Repeat Ad Nauseum

A salmon-poacher gray sky, a man eating a salmon sandwich on a seeded cassock bun, another day in another park in another city: germs. Please wash you’re hands threw and through until squeaky clean, repeat until fatigue sets in. Eat a mouthful of dirt, a Cantors’ pickle and an apple a day at bay. (Repeat until fatigue sets in). Poke a pipsqueak straw into a flaccid sac of juice, sip, sip. From a fair-view one can see the idiocy in half-cut straws and sweet-water. Too much sweet-water causes diarrhea. Draw a diorama with a circle and a square in the middle, repeat until fatigue sets in. The Cantors make horrible pickles. A leeside cocker sits sitting on a bench in a park in the city by the apple a day by the bay, a tasty noonday smack, indeed, indeed. (Pickled bunions never seem as they seem, salty brine and aspic). The shamble leg man felt a stitch in his side that never seemed to go away. After thinking such thoughts, thoughts without meter or rhyme, he often felt a stitch in his side, his leeside side. Such is life (he thought) repeat until fatigue sets in.

Saturday, December 01, 2007

A Tasty Noonday Snack

In a park sitting on a bench in every city is a man eating a sandwich, an onion and a Cantors’ pickle. (Bubo plague, some say, simple arithmetic). (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). Repeat until the process is fully processed; repast until the gut is full to brimming with corpse-gas, brimming full with Bubo. In every park on a bench in every city is a man whose stomach is full to brimming with corpse-gas. Corpse-gaseous; Bubo-gas gaseous stomach full to brimming with protestations and contraries; repeat until fatigue sets in, then some. An apple at bay equals nothing contrary, so say they whoever they may be. In every park on a bench on the sunny leeside of the park sits a man eating a bologna sandwich, an onion and a Cantors’ pickle.

Apply a cold compress to the raised area, repeat until the cows come home. (Kick a tin can with your left foot until the can reaches a raised level not in excess of 27½ meters or rods, the choice is yours). Eat a mouthful of dirt, a mouthful of sand for those with an allergy to loom, topsoil or greasy blacktop mud. (Repeat until fatigue sets in, or an apple at bay). The shamble leg man thought dirge-thoughts, thoughts so off-kilter that were he to think them ad nausea he would surely go mad, mad indeed. A Cantors’ pickle a day keeps the apple at bay. In every park a leeside cocker. I brag you’re pardon dear sir, braggart that I am. When in doubt apply a warm poultice to the raised area, cocks’-soup and onions make for a tasty noonday snack.

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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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