Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Alma-May’s Unguent

His grandmother contracted syphilis, treponema pallidum, from a one-night stand. His greater aunt Alma-May came down with Cervicitis, for which she was prescribed Dooley’s unguent and a mild pyloric. His great aunt Alma was fit as a fiddle, never having to fend off Chlamydial trachomatis, gonorrhoeae or the ague. Having said this saying anything more would be frivolous. Oh so merciless oh so. Dear auntie hadn’t the faintest why the gonorrhoeae visited her on Wednesdays and Friday’s after fish, just the damndest thing. Now the Dooley’s have a real badger of a salve, made from mercury and crapped on doilies. A cure-all for Chlamydial trachomatis and those nasty pole marks. Auntie did the most marvelous things with catalogue stickers and unsafely pins. She could jerryrig a busted up radio or make hats from simple things she found sitting round the house. Me dear auntie could do most anything, make a cat look like a dog and a dog like a cat, those sort of uneven things. It wasn’t till the whooping got the best of her, knocking her ass over teakettle, an unsightly sight. "A dwarf's face, mauve and wrinkled like little Rudy's was. Dwarf's body, weak as putty, in a whitelined deal box. Burial friendly society pays. Penny a week for a sod of turf. Our. Little. Beggar. Baby. Meant nothing. Mistake of nature. If it's healthy it's from the mother. If not from the man. Better luck next time." (J.J.) Them were the days, nosegays and wee crepe paper hats with windmill tops and eye-fetching baubles. Looking back onto it now, how strange indeed. So she said, she did, even if the words that came spiraling out of her mouth were covered in spittle and dead flies that hadn’t the wherewithal to see the screen door for the meadow. She could jerryrig a can of tinned beans, surefire, way out beyond where the naked eye can’t see a thing. A surefire cure-all for Chlamydia and rector’s bowel. All she ever wanted was one of those soft-seat stools, a Tavistock Venus Close Coupled Toilet with Soft Close Seat, sold exclusively by Plumbworld, the world’s leading maker of soft-seats. Never did quite get the fetch and gather, not that I’m suppose to get much of anything at all. The world’s leading manufacturer of soft-seat toilet seats, known world round. Some days, nighttime, too, I can’t help but think about her bottom trapped between the clip of the soft-seat and the front of the cistern, all that yammering and all get out, sad as cancer and frail children.

Monday, December 29, 2008

Tavistock Venus Close Coupled Toilet Seat

Fester and blain, the rigor sets in where uncorrected limbs and jawbone bones are left to mend themselves. ‘…nothing matters when everyone has the same thought as mine…’ thought the man in the chapeau. ‘…as little as little can be…’. He reached for a tin of oily fish, tinned and parboiled by men with far greater arms and hands than he, men who lived off the map, somewhere between there and far away there. Whitefish and saltwater perch, perched atop the tallest widest brig of driftwood in the entire sea. That’ll be the day, so it will, when tinned fish tastes saltier than taffy. And so on and on it goes, too rickety to withstand a royal-size belly thwack. Its never too soon to learn a new trick, never.

What he wanted more than anything was a Tavistock Venus Close Coupled Toilet with Soft Close Seat, sold exclusively by Plumbworld, the world’s leading soft toilet seat maker. But as this was not to be, he had to settle for a splintery plank over a rain barrel, the teeter and totter of shitting making the experience most unpleasant. Something’s are best left unwanted. The Sunbury Toilet Company sold refurbished toilet seats and four gallon cisterns. The wait for a Sunbury toilet seat was 27½ months, 28 if you lived outside the five mile fence.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Os Cus de Judas

Crawley was a hardscrabble man, one of those know it alls that never lets the last word sit. Crawley came by way of over there, out past the five mile fence that kept cretins out and halfwits in. Crawley knew the shamble leg man and the alms man, he knew the owner of the Slough Gate Livery and the proprietor of the Cat-O-Nine-Tails inn. He knew how to double-knot a sloop sheet and that eating crabgrass caused biliousness. He knew about Adam and Eve and that real blood doesn’t taste like church wine. He was half-acquainted with the dogmen and partway acquainted with the man who drained the sewage trap out behind the aqueduct. He like potboiler sandwiches and tinned gravy, soft cashews and brined sea kelp. He bought most things in cans, some in tins, and everything else by the half-dozen or almost pint.

The Ballymurphy brothers came by way of Contae Cheatharlach by way of Chluain Mhór by way of Baile Haicéid by way of Fionnmhach by way of Cill Damháin by way of Muine Bheag by way of An Urnaí by way of Sean Leithgleann by way of Ráth Bhile by way of An Daire Ríoga by way of Tigh Moling by way of Tigh an Raoireann by way of An Tulach where a man with a flipper hand sang funeral dirges in the park.

Crawley was beget by Mr. J. L. Crawley and Mrs. A. J. Scaramouche. Once begotten he left home to start begetting, some 27 children with as many begetter’s. He lived with a blind dog and a three-legged cat Os Cus de Judas, by way of nowhere and everywhere. The man in the hat met Crawley sniggling eels out back of the aqueduct, the man in the hat sniggling a hatful, Crawley a half-dozen, almost a pint, his blind dog sniffing the dirt where the dogmen had camped then abruptly decamped, a fall of fichus trees scattered along the bank of the aqueduct fallen. Never again was Crawley seen, neither by the man in the hat nor beast nor fowl.

The day broke through the clouds like a ball kicked through the goalposts, no one save the alms man awake to see the red scarlet sky rising up from beneath the brown dirt of the world. Days like these brought with them no sunshine or warmth, just pork shoulder grayness and the chill of a thousand ages. What measly sun there was, and measly and puny it was, was caught in a trap of gray clouds, unable to shine glimmer or beckon forth. Should the sky fall, which it might given the lay of the horizon, it would fall falling into a brown stain of brown dirty world.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Maqabim Twins of Hashmonaiym

The day before The Feast of Octave of St. Camillus the sky turned gray. Up until that day the sky stayed put swinging in its celestial hammock. That day the sky slipped off its hanging bed. As skies are wont, wont not or wont to, it fell falling into the white snowy earth, taking with it a harem of stars and whatnots. My clod blest your weary bowl, admen. Days such as these had the man in the hat unnerved, fretful that he might fall falling into a harangue. Having fallen into a cranny before, he feared he might do so a second time; and that, dare say he, was not a harangue he wanted to experience a fourth, third or second time. On winter days the legless man drank Potboy’s Coco with vanilla extract. He lived for cold wintery nights when he could sit back with a ball of Scotch Gravy and a finger of milquetoast, both sides buttery sweet. As this was not to happen he sat in his druthers thinking of ways to out fox the world, a world he had come to despise more than anything, all things, ought to be despised. Abhorring as he did, abhorring and loathing filling up most of his time, of which he had so little, each day falling like a shadow onto the next, he felt a crick in his neck, just above the shoulders and below the knob on the base of his skull. Were he but a boy, a waif of a boy, he’d spend his time jacking the ball or tipping the top, two boyish games he missed more than Scotch Gravy and buttery sweet milquetoast.

The Fortaleza brothers of Mato Grosso do Sul despised dogmen and gadabouts. As they were the sworn enemies of the dogmen, the feud going on for 127½ years, they swore to kill any dogman they saw, be he the biggest or the littlest. Fatso Fortaleza, the biggest of the brothers, swore more than the others, claiming that the biggest of a brotherhood was sworn to swear more that his brethren. On the eve of The Feast of Octave of St. Camillus Fatso Fortaleza ran into the biggest dogman, the two eyeballing one another from a fair to middling distance. The biggest dogman, his hair tied up in a Sumo wrestler’s topknot, charged bellowing towards the biggest Fortaleza brother, Fatso Fortaleza, checking to see if he’d brought his stoking blade with him, ran towards the fattest dogman, the two meeting halfway, a boy bouncing a rubber ball stuck in between the two gargantuans, his tongue stuck out like a liverish worm. The biggest dogman and the largest Fortaleza brother (Fatso Fortaleza), came together, squishing the boy, tongue wagging, between their gargantuan bellies. At that moment, from his perch atop the Waymart tower, the Witness hollered ‘…leave the poor boy be, you gargantuan misfits…!’

There are no Fortaleza brothers (of Mato Grosso do Sul) or a brotherhood of sworn enemies. They are impish thoughts thought by an impish imp. Nothing happens of its own accord, nothing. All things have a beginning and an end, a middle and a just short of a middle. All things being equal, which they never are, equality being a sham, a trick, a fool’s tale.

The Maqabim (Μακκαβαῖοι) twins came by way of Hashmonaiym over the mountain across the glade and dale. They barter Maccabees’ linen for salt, sugar and tobacco, the twins known for their lack of concern and small hands. The day after the day the Witness fell to his knees, the sky opening, rain splashing onto his weeping face, the Maqabim twins arrived in town looking to barter. Neither either, either the Witness or Dejesus knew why the twins had such puny weakly hands, the going account being that they’d boiled them in scalding beetroot oil, their hands shriveling up like icy grapes. As wives’ tales go this one seemed plausible, the truth having no place in wives’ tales or scalding. When the man in the hat heard that the Maqabim twins had arrived in town looking to barter, he got out his best haggler’s cap and went looking for the twins. His haggler’s cap was fashioned from carp skin, the inside band made from eel and stretched quail. On the brim was a wren’s foot cameo, a gift from a Bedouin haggler with the whooping and a clove lip.

Cracker - I Hate My Generation

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

King of Idleness

The next day the sky fell, not once, but twice, taking with it the awning over the Seder Grocers and the flagpole in front of the Waymart. Szczecinek Zachodnio Pomorskie, formally known as the King of Idleness, lived in a shanty shack made from old tiles and wood shims. He knew no one, not Joshua Ratingen, Monsignor Fontenay-sous-Bois, Richie Goulding, Reggie Wylie, Gertie MacDowell, Gertie MacDowell, Mrs. Mastiansky, Mr. J Stork (the proprietor), the lecher Anzoátegui Courbevoie, the Ilfov twins (of Bragadiru), Alberto Japer (the town fool), Alma Dejesus, the Split sisters, the Karpos brothers of Skopje, a boy named Romero, the Benfleet Essex boys or Molloy. The King of Idleness, as he was formerly known, lived out his measly life knotting baler’s twine into mittens and scarves. Some lives are best left to their own devices, alone in the dark counting backwards to one hundred and one, unlived and unheeded.

No one but the man in the hat knew the way back from there. Having been there many, many times he drew a map in his head that showed the way there and back. Once while returning back from there he ran into a boy with a Charlie leg, the boy balancing a basketful of potatoes on his head. When asked ‘…why are you balancing potatoes on your head…?’ the boy said ‘…on account of rutabagas are too heavy…’. ‘…I see…’ said the man in the hat, ‘…never undermine the hearty potato…’. ‘…yes…’ said the boy, ‘…potatoes are a gift from on high…’. ‘…and the lowly rutabaga a gift from on low…’ offered the man in the hat, squinting at the blue, blue sky. With that the boy with the Charlie leg went on his way, the day opening up before him like a warm apple pie. The world is full of such encounters, basketfuls. There’s no getting away from the fact that when the clock strikes noontime the Tamworth brothers strike a cord with the Chahar va Bakhtiari sisters, the sisters striking a cord with the Chakras Mahall sisters who are known for their inveigling and poorly posture. The man in the hat has no time for inveiglers and tom-tarts. His posture, though less poorly, has caused him considerable concern since the sky fell falling onto his head, cracking his neck and jimmying loose a cord or two. His grandmamma knowing better, staved off falling skies with the end of her char-broom, sweeping the crumbs under the Berber, a gift from Szczecinek Zachodnio Pomorskie in celebration of idleness and slow wittedness. Its never too soon to learn a new trick, the plum is in the plotting. Word had it a Berber stole the missing whore’s gloves, hiding it under his sun-hat and running willy-nilly away. Were they to catch him they’d sentence him to perish by hanging, not another word ever being said about the matter. Words are funny things, thought the man in the hat; such funny things words are. They’re fun funnier than slipping on a banana peal or keeling ass over tea kettle onto your aching back, that sort of funny funniness.

Awaking from troubled sleep Dejesus felt a crick in his neck, just below the bump on the back of his head and above the hunker of his shoulders. It was there, at the basal base of his neck, there where tendon cords and soft tissue attach to the hypothalamus, there. This had him thinking, yes it did, thinking about those mornings when he awoke to a violent storm in his head, the twisting and turning and churning that went on inside, yes inside his head, there. Trouble not he thought, fear is a useless thing, yes fear is. Perhaps when I awaken tomorrow morning I will feel better, at least less vexed, feeling, yes. I can feel the boil and roiling in the scamper of my head, the burn and churn, the blazing hot blazing sun burning, no scorching a hole in my head, the bottom of my head, where the basal base of my skull meets the hunker of my shoulders, there. Were I but a wee waif of a boy, a waifish boy, I’d surely be bouncing a ball or jacking the stickle and spit, yes certainly I would, of course. Not that stickle and spit or jacking the ball jack are things I am accustom to doing, no not I. After thinking thoughts round and round in the boil of his mind, Dejesus decided to awaken a second time, this time with a spry hop and skip to his cantor, a man reckoning on a good and pleasant day, yes.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Monsignor Fontenay-sous-Bois

The day began and ended without a middle or an in between. Everything that happened, happened at once, right from the start to the finish. In Bucharest the Bucuresti family run a small dry cleaning business, the mother working the giant presser, the children folding and tying the cleaned shirts and linens. The father, a lazy man by nature, sits in the shade of a three-trunk oak tree counting jute bugs and eating mille-faille. When its time to work he heads for the hills behind the house, where the cows low and the sheep baa-baa-baa, and hides in the underbrush beside the roiling brook that has neither a beginning nor an ending. When he’s not sitting in the shade of the three-trunk oak tree, counting and husking jute bugs and shad flies, he hides in the underbrush in the rolling hills that overlook the valley glen below where his wife and children press and dry other people’s shirts and soiled bed--linen. He is lazy by nature, a cheat and a skate by avocation.

Rajasthan Lamba met Richie Goulding, Reggie Wylie, Gertie MacDowell and Mrs. Mastiansky at the Ormund Hotel on a snowy winter solstice day. Rajasthan Lamba claimed to know the whereabouts of the missing whore’s glove, and assembling those who shared an interest in whoring and gloves, Reggie Wylie being particularly fond of women’s haberdashery, was going to divulge its locality. Mrs. Mastiansky, known for her gruffness and evangelic face, said ‘…where is it, where’s the damn glove...?’

Joshua Ratingen knew Molloy who knew Monsignor Fontenay-sous-Bois who knew a man with a clubfoot from Cambridgeshire who knew a Bobby from Ipswich Suffolk. Having once been in a rough-up with a member of the constabulary, a cockish man with a constabular cap and a nightstick, Molloy was wary of blue buttoned men wielding sticks. Alma Dejesus was acquainted with Gertie MacDowell who was friends with Lela’s grandmother. Lela’s grandmother was acquainted with Monsignor Fontenay-sous-Bois whom she met at the one of the many feasts she attended. Monsignor Fontenay-sous-Bois was friends with the clubfooted man from Cambridgeshire who was acquainted with the Bobby from Ipswich Suffolk. Mrs. Mastiansky, proclaiming her constitutional rights over the missing whore’s glove, was disliked by all but Reggie Wylie, who found her gruffness and evangelic face appealing.

The shamble leg man and the alms man were friends with the Seder Grocer who was friends with the owner of the Greek Deli who befriended strays and dimwits. All this befriending tired the man in the hat, so he lit a half cheroot and smoked quietly in the discomfort of his lean-to, the tarpaper walls bluff bluffing in the gelling wind. He could care less about missing gloves and rector’s closets, statues and titivations; all he wanted was a moments peace from all the bickering and lollygagging, a day away from the day-to-day, simple peace and quiet.

Pettifrauds and naredowells, pipsqueaks and dimwitted halfwits, they could all go to blazes for all he cared. He inhaled and exhaled, puffing plumes of gray-blue smoke from the holes in his nose, sticking the tip of his finger through the rings that circled round his head like bees in a bonnet. ‘…tomorrow is another day…’ he said through a curtain of blue-gray smoke, ‘…the day after today and before the day before tomorrow…’. Snubbing he stubbed the cheroot out in the tin next to the bedstead, a cockscomb of bluish-graying smoke disbanding into the blank space over his head.

Quentin Matsys - 1466-1530

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Church of the Perpetual Sinner

When he was a boy Dejesus lived with his great aunt and uncle in a house no bigger than an outshed. Over the door was a sign that read, Its Never Too Late to Learn a New Trick. Each and every morning Dejesus crossed himself three times, then skipping on one foot hightailed it out the door and into the world outside. On a post in the middle of the town where he went to school was a wooden sign that read Schiphol 202½ miles Louisville That A Way. Not know where A Way was he headed for the candy store 2026½ miles from Schiphol. The proprietor of the candy store, Mr. J Stork, sold penny candy by the bag, licorice by the whip and wax cigars full of sweet juice that fit in your pocket like a severed finger. Not knowing the difference between a finger and a wax cigar Dejesus bought real Indian tobacco and bagfuls of red and black Jujubes. The proprietor of the candy store (Mr. J Stork) lived in a room behind the store and cook beans and potstickers on a hotplate he found in the trash behind the Waymart. When he wasn’t cooking beans and potstickers on his hotplate Mr. J Stork (the proprietor) sold bagfuls of penny candy and real Indian tobacco to children, one such child being Dejesus. Its never too late to learn a new trick, the sting’s in the foolhardiness. One can’t be too foolhardy.

From atop the steeple on the Church of the Perpetual Sinner Dejesus espied the world spinning round and round. He often climbed up the steeple tower and onto the balustrade overlooking the town below, overcast or brighter than a merchant’s smile, he could see into the beyond, beyond the outskirts of the town. Dejesus was a weakly boy, his legs bowed like parenthesis, and like all a boys liked to climb trees and lampposts, other people’s rooftops and church steeples, shimmying as far up from the world as he could shimmy. The herd of the Church of the Perpetual Sinner were known for their simplemindedness and lack of concern for people with gamey legs and whooping coughs. Every Sunday after the taking of Christ, the rector’s assistant handing the ciborium to the priest, the priest pouring wee drams of transubstantiated wine into outstretched cups, the congregated drank pig wine in the rector’s closet, the reek of camphor and bulb onions filling the closet with an unseemly odor. Not one of the flock had the time or patience for volunteerism or goodwill, leaving the bastard children of fallen sinners and camp singers to deal with the vagaries of life unaided by the comforts of religious piety, leaving such bastardly things to hicks and bandy-men. ‘…may God take mercy on your soul, amen…’ said the rector’s assistant, the rings around his eyes black with stink and chigger smoke.

The man in the hat mused, thinking about his life so far and that life yet to unfold. Death, he thought, is the bookend between life, the reminder that what is now will soon be over and done with, vanished like the melting snow on a warm Spring day. Its the in between that matters, what happens between the bookends. All this and more, all that was and all that will be, the time left in between. These thoughts and more thoughts, so many thoughts that the thought of thinking them was unthinkable. The sinners queued in front of the altar of the Church of the Perpetual Sinner, hate mongers and bigots, cheapskates and connivers, halfwits and imbeciles, dimwits and fools, camp singers and bandy-men, those with poor health and those with good health, the poor and the wealthy, the half-there and the fully-there, supplicants kneeling bareheaded at the altar of contrition and glad tiding.

Thursday, December 18, 2008

The Lecheries of Anzoátegui Courbevoie

The Ilfov twins of Bragadiru stood knee-deep in slaughterhouse offal, the twins being the main benefactors of the Ogeechee Gorehouse. Dejesus met the Ilfov twins (of Bragadiru) at The Feast of Octave of St. Camillus, the heavy oak doors of the Church of Perpetual Sinners swinging closed on the last sinners of the day. The Ilfov twins were in town to do their yearly penance, knees pressed into wormwood, faces bowed in holy reverence. Dejesus watched them from afar, his head raised to the blazing bowl of the sun. The Karpos brothers of Skopje and the Gujarat twins of Ituzaing paid homage to the Split sisters of Splitsko-Dalmatinska. The Split sisters paid homage to God, and to anyone who knew the whereabouts of the missing whore’s glove. The Ilfov twins claimed they saw the missing whore’s glove in a pile of Gorehouse offal, sticking out from between a brad of stock bone and knuckle. The fool Alberto Japer claimed he saw the missing glove in the town square the day after The Feast of Octave of St. Camillus, the littlest dogman howling and beating a tympana on the barrel of his chest.

The Witness spoke to those gathered round the statue of Pious the 27th ‘…Where there is no vision, the people perish..’. The Lecheries of Anzoátegui Courbevoie were known far and wide; a Marquis de Sade for the common fleabite man. Dogman and plebian alike, sorry weaklings and crumbs, those who knew of his profligacy were left with an indelible stain on their souls. The Witness handed out pamphlets decrying the works of Anzoátegui Courbevoie, claiming he was a gadabout, a hooligan, a hack. Dejesus stood next to a man with a weeping eye listening to the Witness sermonize on the evils of lechery, a woman with a pale skinned child hanging from her teat trying to elbow here way closer to the Witness. ‘…the Word of God is the word of all men, let that be a warning to you all…’ said the Witness, his voice crackling like a cooks’ fire. ‘…but what about the word of Anzoátegui Courbevoie…?’ hollered a man with a busted in nose. Turning, his coattails getting caught up in the skirt of Pious the 27th, the Witness replied ‘…you mean the lecher Anzoátegui Courbevoie…’. To which the man said ‘…yes, he…’. ‘…he is nothing but a false idol, and those who worship him idolatrous…’ said the Witness, his face reddening. Crouched behind the statue of Pious the 27th the littlest dogman pounded his chest, a hollow thumping thump issuing from between Pious the 27th legs.

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Harangue the Town Fool

The townspeople were fife dumb, so much so that simple tunes made their ears split. Many were frightened of quavers and basso, others fearful they might fall prey to musical tomfoolery, a fate worse than tone deafness or colour blindness. The man in the jamboree cap tapped in his shoeshine shoes, the townsfolk whooping and hollering for more! The littlest of the townsfolk, a boy named Romero, balled the jack in front of Quesos' Five and Dime, watching the tap dancing man out of the corner of his eye, the sun blazing like a potter’s kiln. No one knew why they felt the way they did, tin flutes not being a common instrument among the townsfolk.

The day after the Flabiol Cobla Trio played under a circus awning bigger than a ship’s sail, the townsfolk felt they’d been witness to an act of grace, some folks so enrapt, much as they tried they couldn’t get a wink of sleep. One of the townsfolk, a man with a port stain birthmark, felt so spellbound by the experience he refused sleep or eat food for forty days, claiming sleep and food were signs of excess, acts befitting halfwits and dogmen.

The town fool, Alberto Japer, lived under the bridge that crossed the river that crossed through the middle of town. He slept hunkered beneath a sleeve of cardboard, awaking each and every morning to a blazing hot blazing sun. Being the town fool, a position he took great pride in, it was expected that he be at his post in the town square by 9 am. At exactly 27½ seconds past the hour, no sooner no later, he began his day’s work, acting the fool for all to stare upon, some throwing rotten things at him, others simply staring at him in disbelief. No sooner had he ducked the first thrown tomato then he found himself knee-deep in townspeople having nothing better to do than gawk at and harangue the town fool.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Benfleet Essex Boys

The Moyle arrived in town the day after The Feast of Octave of St. Camillus, the townsfolk pushing and shoving to get a look at him. His black bag swinging at his side, he strode towards the Church of Perpetual Sinners where he was to meet with the rector’s assistant over biscuits and church house wine. The Alagoas Macei brothers were in cahoots with the Benfleet Essex boys, the Macei brothers known for their cunning, the Benfleet Essex boys for their strong-arm tactics. The brothers and the boys were conspiring to steal the jamb to the rector’s closet, unstopping the door where the biscuits and saintly wine was kept. The rector’s assistant, a mild tempered calmly man, was a skulk, stealing into the closet after prayer to take a swig, leaving but a drop of un-transubstantiated wine for the following day’s Mass. Knowing this, the brothers and the boys, each known for their own ungainly hiving, swore they’d catch the fairly brother in the act; and when they did, thrash him within an inch of his life.

The eldest of the Alagoas Macei brothers, having a way with burglary, was skilled not only in the art of cunning but at busting through doors, jamb and transom alike. The youngest of the Benfleet Essex boys had fists the size of catchers mitts and knuckles whet on eyeteeth and cheekbones. The mild tempered calmly assistant, though not a man of intemperance, could connive the lowliest of sinners into believing that church wine was a cure for low back ache and whooping, and worth a penny or two in the offering plate.

The Polzela brothers ran a small family-owned bakery in Brezovica fiefdom, the eldest brother not knowing the difference between a tea biscuit and a scone. In Lyon Rhone-Alpes there lived a man, a portly man, who could pull rabbits out of his hat, a skill not much admire by the weakly and faint of heart. The man in the hat’s ear caught wind of the man from Lyon Rhone-Alpes, but not wishing to upend the balance of hats, which was precarious at best, resisted the urge to pay him a visit and scold him for his tomfoolery. It would only be a matter of time before he fell willy-nilly into despair, as men of such common fodder seldom lived comfortable undisturbed lives.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Lost Dogs of Hell

‘…its all squiggles…’ thought the alms man, thinking that if he could read he’d read one of the Witness’ pamphlets and see for himself what all the fuss was about. As far as sins go pamphleteering is a sin worse than kicking a lame dog or turning turtle on a blind beggar. Its never too late to learn a new trick. No stone shall be left unturned, so say’th the sodomites. Lazy troubled days spent counting coppers and half-dollars, broken cords and missed chance. Awaking from troubled dreams, someone’s calling, wait up wait for me, a yellow sun rising in a blackboard black sky. The alms man’s thoughts came out like greased lightening, faying, "You are, upon the whole, a sort of fay, or sprite - not a woman!" Thomas Hardy Jude the Obscure, like a horse throwing a shoe, braying. The alms man fell into a maudlin despair, his thoughts on capfuls of silvery change.

Winter solstice came early that year, no one save the legless man setting out into the day. Buckled into his pushcart, the stump-ends of his legs skimming the surface of his cart, he punted, skidding like a bandit out of hell. He saw the alms man cowering under a sheet of blowing snow, and to the left of him a man fastening chains to the bottoms of his shoes. Then he espied Lela stepping into the street, her face a karakul of snow, the lampposts singing. He saw a woman from Niedersachsen waving a placard that read God is the Pilot of my Ship and a man from Salon-de-Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur, his lips atremble, singing an aria from The Lost Dogs of Hell. He saw all these people, and more, as he stepped out into the winterbourne wintery day. Thinking it was the day before The Feast of Octave of St. Camillus, the legless man pushed himself in the direction of the Church of Perpetual Sinners, hoping to get a choice place from which to clap along with the Flabiol Cobla Trio. As this was not to happen, as today was another day after the day before today, the square in front of the church was bare of people and hands clapping. He saw the Arauca half-brothers giving it to the Emilia Romagna twins, the fight taking up one whole side of the street. He watched the Bialystok sisters having it out with the Podlaskie sisters, the quarrel spilling over the curb, one of the Bialystok sisters tripping and falling onto her face. As if from out of nowhere a man with a bull mastiff raced into the fray, the dog snorting, the man chortling, the two, man and dog, acting as one. This had him thinking about his mamma’s porridge, fingers of dry toast and hard brown sugar, backhanded slaps and his da’s broken promises.

Thursday, December 11, 2008

The Village of Ouse

Norberto Emilia Romagna hawks frères stone signet rings from his booth at the church bazaar, $27½ each or $42 for two. His twin sister Cervia polishes and shines the tin boxes the rings come in. Their mamma, Empanada Del Amore, having changed her name from Emilia Romagna to Del Amore in 1972, works as a seamstress for the Bejel Linen Co., a job she has had for the past 12½ months. When she was a little girl, a farthing child, her mamma sold her to the Misled Bros., Aurum and Arum, the brothers putting her to work in their curbside bordello. Aurum and Arum, the Misled Bros., are known far and wide for their rotting teeth and far fetched notions; one of which was to sell bruised fruit from the sled of a hop-cart at the corner of 7th Ave. and Petteril. The Misled Bros. (Aurum and Arum) grew up in Penruddock, a stone’s throw from the River Eden, not far from Black Fell, known for its lovely view of nowhere, around the bend from Mallerstang, which abuts Aisgill and the hamlets of Hugh Seat and Black Fell Moss, which abut the villages of Wild Boar Fell and Faxfleet, through which the River Swale runs emptying into the River Ure, which is not far from the village of Ouse, known for its seaside view of the ocean, which empties into the Wensleydale River, home to the Faxfleet Preceptory, by way of Way Kirk in the canon of Yetholm where the Solway Firth empties into the blue sky. Their mamma, Empanada Del Amore, fell in love with and wed a butcher, a Basque Quaker, who was seldom seen without a bloodied apron tied round his waist.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Norberto and Cervia, the Emilia Romagna Twins

The day came and went, the littlest things taking on the appearance of the biggest things, the biggest things shrinking into the smallest, puniest things, things come and gone in the blink of an eye, the sin of the children visiting the father. Mamma’s milk comes by the dram, suckle suck.

Norberto and Cervia, the Emilia Romagna twins, were born in Santa Merrimu in 1968, Cervia, the daughter, took up with an Italian hatter named Blanco who was in cahoots with the Moravskoslezsky family who were in cahoots with the Kraj Ecatepec family. Nothing more was heard of the twins, not an iota. The man in the hat met Norberto’s great aunt at the church bazaar in 1982, the day before the second to last Ships Day. Dejesus said he’d leave all his worldly goods to whoever could play ball and jacks for 27½ hours nonstop. Challenging him, the man in the hat threw the ball, picking up two jacks before the ball hit the ground bouncing. ‘…one…’ he counted off. No further dares were challenged, both men leaving for the night, the campfire glowing perniciously hot. As it goes it went, the day coming and going, receding into the black apron of nighttime.

‘…might I beg, beg your pardon…?’ asked the alms man of the legless man. ‘…I’ve heard say that one should never give up the opportunity to beg another’s pardon…’. The legless man, lowering his head smiling said ‘…beg all you want, be my guest...’. At that very moment, or there about, the sky fell falling, the clutter and thud stymieing both men, the legless and the impoverished. Soon, soon afterwards, the sky blacker than shoeblack, the legless man pulled himself up by the petard and simmered this way and that, his stump-ends meeting with no resistance ever whatsoever. A beggar in Teignmouth with a tin leg begged for coppers and fools gold, the morning sun spearing him through the heart. A pole-legged beggar in Kingston Upon Thames steals another beggar’s hat. ‘…might I ask why you beg beggar…?’ asked the man with no name. To which the begging beggar replied ‘…petard, petard…’. At that both men, the nameless and the beggar, went their separate ways, never to be seen or heard from again.

The sun speared the alms man through the heart, his feet quaking to beat the band. Not one to back down from a speared heart, the alms man picked himself up off the blacktop and went back about his daily day, a hole the size of a petard in his chest. The substantiation is in the plodding, one foot shunted in front of the other. Hoisted up by his petard, the man feeding pigeons in the park went about his day, a sac of birds’ fife clutched taunt under his arm. (The day begins and ends with sleep, tucked beneath the sheets dreaming of fools gold and easy street).

Tuesday, December 09, 2008

The Liberecky Kraj Boys

‘…then the sky falling fell…’ said the alms man ‘…toppling abloom onto my head’. As no one was listening he repeated himself again ‘…then the sky falling fell toppling abloom onto my head’. Looking over his shoulder he said ‘…horror of horrors!’ At that very moment the sky fell toppling, shearing off his ear and leaving a bruise the size of a cow’s tongue on his head. ‘…whorer of whorer, damn you falling fell sky!’ He brushed the sky from his face and shunted far away far, a cow’s tongue bruise on his head. In Lodzkie the sky fell toppling onto the head of a man feeding pigeons in the park, the pigeons scattering every which where, a bruise the size of a cow’s tongue imprinted on the pigeon-feeding man’s forehead. A gloomy bachelor in a one-room bedsit folds his trousers and lays them on top of his cot, stretching his legs he sits in front of the window looking out onto the gloomy glum world outside. Waiting, he sits gazing out the window, a slay of murderous crows perched on the tanner’s roof across the way. If and should the sky fall toppling, he will step out into the day throwing his arms up over his head, protecting the soft spot where babies and retards are at terrible risk. The man feeding pigeons in the park throws caution to the wind and walks across the grassy meadow, his sac of birds’ feed held taunt under the clove of his arm.

The Redbridge Boys were in cahoots with the Ilford Boys who were in cahoots with the Chippenham Boys who were in cahoots with the Wiltshire Boys who were in cahoots with the Liberecky Kraj Boys who were in cahoots with the Liberec Boys who were in cahoots with the Gauteng Boys. The Redbridge, Ilford, Chippenham, Wiltshire, Liberecky Kraj, Liberec and the Gauteng Boys were in cahoots with the Kista Brothers of Stockholms Lan. No one save for Dejesus knew why the Boys were in cahoots with one another, and as a group in cahoots with the Kista Brothers of Stockholms Lan. Dejesus claimed he witnessed the Redbridge Boys and the Liberecky Kraj Boys having it out with the Ilford Boys and the Wiltshire Boys, then he witnessed the Liberec Boys and the Chippenham Boys having it out with the Gauteng Boys, who in turn were having it out with the Kista Brothers of Stockholms Lan. Dejesus witnessed the alms man having it out with a squirrel, the squirrel bating the alms man with squirrelfish banter. When he ambled closer to get a better espy, the squirrel jumped into the arms of one of the Liberecky Kraj Boys, scaring the bateaus out of all present. The day came to a caroming halt, all present finding relief in the dark forbore sky.

Monday, December 08, 2008

Ignacio Herentals of Avenue 7th Andalucia

The Rioja sisters are known for their Balkan fudge and service to God. Ignacio Herentals of avenue 7th Andalucia wears earflaps and galoshes. He works for the Rioja sisters peddling Balkan fudge and votive cards, each card carrying a verse from the Old Testament. The Rioja sisters wear ankle-length habits and fair wimples, the hat signifying their supplication to God and the Old Testament. The eldest sister, sister Annabelle, wears toehold sandals with socks, as bare feet are a slight to God and an act of unholy desecration. Ignacio Herentals (of avenue 7th Andalucia) wears woolen culottes and an ox-skin chemise, preferring to go about barefooted, as peddling can tax a man beyond perdition. The man in the hat, though not one to decry God, avoided the sisters like the plague, never giving in to their sweet-talk and sermonizing. He bought his fudge from the Boolean sisters, much preferring their swank and lightness of temper. The shamble leg man bought his fudge from the Bernard sisters, a sweet tasting fudge that came packaged in cupcake tins with star anise sprinkled on top. The alms man, not able to afford fudge, nor possessing the chariness to do so had he the money, preferred carob pasties, which he bought by the dozen from the Greek Deli. Dejesus, not one to waste his money on luxuries, avoided any and all people who had even the faintest odor of fudge or carob on their person, preferring cored apples with brown sugar and cobblers’ spice.

The dogmen rallied round the statue of Pious the 27th, having reached a point where they neither knew what was what or where was where. Mr. and Mrs. J.J. Conley, having recently placed a nosegay of flowers at the foot of Pious the 27th, exclaimed ‘…what a gay nosegay…’. The dogmen surrounded the statue, kicking at Pious the 27th’s surplice, the littlest dogman jumping up and down like an organ grinder’s monkey. The sky fell tipple toppling onto the littlest dogman’s head, the dogmen laughing like hyenas. This was not the first time the sky had fallen toppled tippling onto the littlest dogman’s head: it fell tumbling onto his head once before, the day before Advent, a day of beehive hairdos and triple-stitch stockings. The day before Christmas the dogmen daydreamed about the future and the past, the time left out and forgotten, no time, anytime and sometime.

José Ortega y Cassal lives behind the Waymart in a clapboard shack with an oven door window. He is known for his handknit sweaters and pork shoulder pie. His doctor, Dr. Abidjan (of Cote d'Ivoire) prescribes him Beeves Oil and yams, the latter to ease digestion and loosen his stool. José Ortega y Cassal self-administers a poultice twice-weekly, to encourage continence and discourage stiffening of the bowel. Dr. Gerli lives in a bedsit across from the Greek Deli, his wife having left him for a carpetbagger. Dr. Abidjan (of Cote d'Ivoire) and Dr. Gerli are good friends, having met at the Feast of St. Antiunion in 1947. Both Dr. Gerli’s and Dr. Abidjan’s wives’ have pokey legs, neither wife caring for the other, Dr. Abidjan encouraging Dr. Gerli to keep a stiff upper lip as both wives aren’t worth their weight in saltpeter. When the day comes to a careening end, which it does each and every day regardless of Dr. Gerli’s and Dr. Abidjan’s protestations, the milliner across from the Seder Grocer gives the doctors each a sac of corn meal in exchange for a scalp massage and a week’s worth of sniffing salts.

And so it goes day after day, week after week, year after year; lives lived hard cast into the gloom and doom of yesterday’s forgotten horrors. Were it not for Lela and her good tidings and fare thee wells, all days would simply fold one into the other, the end becoming the beginning, the beginning the end, horror of horrors.

Sunday, December 07, 2008

Dr. Salcedo’s Surgery

Dr. Ragama delivers enemas with a hose and a tin nozzle. The muscles in the shamble leg man’s rectum swung like hanged men. ‘…stop clenching…’ said Dr. Ragama squinting. ‘…tomorrow is another day…’. Dr. Bolzaño’s hours are 3-4 Monday to Friday and all day Saturday. He runs his autoclave Thursdays and Fridays. He lives in Los Distrito Federal Metropolitana with his gibbering father and poleax mother, Dr. Ragama prescribing an oil of castor enema and daily scrubbings. Dr. Salcedo’s surgery is open on days that end with the letter y. Dr. Abidjan of Cote d'Ivoire performs terminations from his surgery overlooking the Hubei Wuhan LTR. Dr. Mudstone practices naturopathic medicine at Poyang National University. The internist Dr. Salcedo, Dr. Ragama, Dr. Bolzaño, Dr. Abidjan (of Cote d'Ivoire) and the naturopath Dr. Mudstone run their autoclaves on Thursdays and Fridays. Dr. Kilcrohane of Rinn Mhuintir Bháire straightens bent and twisted legs. He attends to the disfugured in the burn ward of the hospital at Coláiste Cliath, staying overnight on Wednesdays and Friday evenings.

The legless man met Dr. Mudstone on Ships Day 1978. Dr. Mudstones sitting on his hands, the legless man, the stumps of his legs scalding hot, the noontime sun blistering, fiddling aimlessly. ‘…I know a wonderful salve for stump scabs…’ said Dr. Mudstone, the legless man looking up startlingly. ‘…softens the scabs...’. ‘…I beg your pardon…’ said the legless man squinting. ‘…scabs...’ said the doctor, pointing at his stumps ends. ‘…soft as a baby’s bottom…’. ‘…get away from me you quack…’ With that the legless man dragged himself off like a wounded dog, Dr. Mudstone waving his finger like an angry schoolmarm. As there had been no internist in the settlement for years, the townsfolk had to travel by oxcart to the next county where Dr. Bergson saw patients in his surgery overlooking the Mormon Distillery. Dr. Bergson used a trephine to relieved persistent headaches, working the trephine like a barrel churn dasher.

Dr. Mudstone was in cahoots with Dr. Bergson, both men having a vested interest in the Mormon Distillery. The Mormon Distillery filched potatoes and yeast from the Corker Brothers. The Corker Brothers brewed yellow ale and lager fermented in oil barrels bunged with rubber gaskets. The head Mormon was a cheat and a swindler, willing to steal anything that wasn’t his. The Witness could smell the head Mormon from a fair distance; his stench bunging the air with dead rotten things. The legless man knew the head Mormon, having met him at a pall-mall match in 1967. Off in the far corner of the pitch, sitting under a fiery red elm, sat the head Mormon, his head fallen into his chest. He sat for almost three hours, never once raising his chin off his chest. The legless man, finding it rather amusing, threw a pebble at the Mormon, nicking the stone off his head. When he didn’t budge, he threw a second and a third, bouncing them off his chin and forehead. Finally, after a salvo of pebbles, 37 in total, the head Mormon slowly raised his chin from his chest, exclaiming ‘…enough already, enough…’.

Thursday, December 04, 2008

Queretaro de Arteaga’s Butchery

The world ends and begins in Perpignan; life spilling out onto the floor, begirting astride the train station floor. The man in the hat awoke, his fingers pretzeled into hard salty knots. He reached for his pickpocket’s pocket comb, ‘….cheerio, cheer cheerio…’, drawing the pikes forward and back. Astir, he eased himself from abed, his hair combed to perfection, a Jerry Curl ducktailed to the base of his skull. He buttoned his favorite checkered shirt, purchased from the Bejel Linen Co., and fastened his fob round the loop of his trousers. ‘…goodness me, Bejel’s make a damn fine shirt…’. Stirring, he pulled on his favorite tan loafers, haggled from the boot of the Liepaja Stepbrothers (of Latvia) car, crisscrossing the laces taunt round the hook of his ankles. He lowered his favorite hat, a Corbusier Flatcar cap, onto his head, straightening the brim between his thumb and forefinger. Attired in checkered shirt, gray flannel trousers and cap, he stepped out into the sunshiny day. Squinting, he walked up the sideways, the blue sky bidding him a fine good day.

Today he would pay a visit to Querns’ Bakery, next door to Queretaro de Arteaga’s Butchery, to purchase a half-dozen of they’re mouth-watering jam scones. After which he would sit in the park behind the aqueduct and eat jam scones to his heart’s delight. Followed by a trip to the Waymart where word had it the harridan would be showing off her new silk stockings. The Wicklow brothers vended blackberry tarts from the back of a horse cart. The man in the hat crossed the sideways in search of a pint of fresh cream, his hat pulled down over the his ears. Seeing the Wicklow brothers clip-clopping down the sideways he waved them down to inquire if they sold fresh cream by the pint. A man who worked for Hamada System Tabriz Technology Company bought a pint of heavy cream. He lived in Tabriz Azerbaijani-e with his poleax father and a gibbering mother, the house too small for a dog or a cat. He rode his bicycle to work every morning, the Hamada System Tabriz Technology Company not taking kindly to fools, weaklings and lollygaggers. At exactly the same moment a man in who worked for the Chippenham Poleax Co. bought a pint of half-and-half. He lived in Los Distrito Federal Metropolitana with his gibbering father and poleax mother, the house too big for the three of them. At exactly the same moment a man who worked for the Derbyshire Creamery filled a pint bottle with heavy, heavy cream. He lived in Kildare Kildare with his poleax gibbering father and weakling mother, the house big enough for a dog, a cat and the three of them. The internist Dr. Salcedo sutured peoples’ wounds in his surgery on St. Bardot sur la Main.

Monday, December 01, 2008

Girolamo Pétasse and Gerrit Lairesse

The Cundinamarca brothers of Bogotá lived off the avails of the Brno sisters (of Jihomoravsky Kraj), pimping them out to whomever would avail themselves of the sister’s travails. The Nicosia sisters lived behind the livery where the Cundinamarca brothers boarded their horses. The Nicosia sisters were known for their charm and beauty, the youngest sister so eye-catching men swooned in her presents. The eldest of the sisters, once a woman of such undying beauty men toppled over backwards when she walked in the room, was equally renowned for her skill at ball the jack and slight of hand. The house behind the livery towered above the treetops, affording an unfettered view of the mountains beyond where the dogmen were born to a dogman and woman.

The Cundinamarca brothers (of Bogotá) boarded their horses in the livery behind the convenience shop on the corner of 5th and Seventeen. The brothers owned an appaloosas, a roan, a dappled roan and a white and black Balearic gilding. The brothers one day hoped to own a
Ferghana stallion a Galloway pony a Karacabey draught horse an Irish Hobby horse a Spanish Jennet a Mazury trotter a Narragansett Pacer a Neapolitan jumper a Nisean sidesaddle galloper a Yorkshire Trotter an Öland prancer an Old English Black pony a Pozan steeple chaser a Turkoman Akhal-Teke and a Yorkshire Coach Horse.

The world begins and ends in Perpignan. Lela’s grandmamma was given birth to on a hardwood bench in a train station. Alone, eyes pressed tight into the back of her skull, Lela’s great-great grandmamma grunted Lela’s grandmamma from the sewer of her belly, a dewy pluck spilling onto the train station floor. From that day forward Lela’s grandmamma was destine for smaller things, things easily forgotten, lesser things. The Treponema brothers lived nearby, the eldest brother working as a redcap, the youngest as a ticket collector. Their mamma, born to a Quaker family in South Pallidum, worked as a seamstress for the Bejel Linen Co., working day in and day out to support her two weakly boys. The owner of the Bejel Linen Co., Girolamo Pétasse, a portly man with fine delicate hands, lived high off the hog, selling bold linens and checkered skirts to halfwits and imbeciles. The twins father, Gerrit Lairesse, sold saltboxes and divining rods from the boot of his car, a 1967 Vauxhall Imperial, and was known far and wide as a womanizing blackguard.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

The Guangzhou Twins of Guangdong

The man in the hat stood facing Lords Laundry, the lamplight flickering on and on and off. He dare not step foot inside as he owed the proprietor 27 cents for two laundered shirts, a blue one and a pinstriped one. The blue shirt he wore on Thursdays and Fridays, the pinstriped one Mondays, Tuesdays and every other Saturday. On Sundays and Wednesdays he wore a sweater, knit for him by a woman with whom he was presently unacquainted. The woman who knit his sweater, with whom he was currently unacquainted, was wed to one Albert Simms, an ashen fleshed man with bitten down fingernails.

He wore a whores’-breath nosegay in his jacket lapel and a pair of down-at-the -heel shoes, much to his wife’s moroseness. When Albert Simms was a boy his mamma told him that bad boys go to hell and good boys get to go to the moving picture show. He disliked his mamma, preferring candy allsorts, which he stole from the convenience shop on the corner of 5th and Seventeen. The man in the hat, his hat cradled in his lap, sat next to a man whom he believed to be a bicycle thief. The man was carrying a pair of wire-snips and a can of clean all, for scrubbing away telltale fingerprints, or so the man in the hat believed.

The Oost-Vlaanderen brothers of Sint-Niklaas made saltboxes, one per person, two if you could argue them to the ground. The Guangzhou twins of Guangdong lived off whatever they could salvage from the dustbins behind the Guangdong Grocery, the eldest foraging for scrap paper, as he fancied himself a poet. The Bayern triplets of Munich were, all three, skilled at ball the jack, playing the game wherever they found themselves to be. The Brno sisters of Jihomoravsky Kraj lived off the avails of whoring, all four sisters well versed at knavery and giving men what they desired. No one knows what they desire until it hits them in the face, the men of Jihomoravsky Kraj being no exception. Dejesus, on one of his many treks outside the outside, met the Brno sisters when visiting a sick aunt who lived, and perished, in Jihomoravsky Kraj. Availing himself of the sisters travails, Dejesus found what he desired, Jihomoravsky thighs jiggling on top of his smiling face.

The sun broke through the clouds like a thief through a locked door, filling the blue morning sky with a fiery fieriness. The man in the hat sat facing Lords Laundry, daring himself to retrieve his newly laundered shirts, a blue one and a pinstriped one. The proprietor of the laundry, a fat man with fat fingers, sat behind the counter chewing his cud, his face starched stiff, his thoughts hoodwinked with uneasiness and sad reverie. ‘…never underestimate the power of bare…’ said the proprietor to his assistant, a courteous young lad with pockmarked skin and a French moustache. ‘…don’t you mean prayer…?’ inquired the assistant, his moustache twitching. ‘…prayer is for ninnies…’ said the proprietor, his voice booming. The assistant crept to the door leading to the back of the shop and slid unnoticed into the back room, the proprietor quibbling with himself about too much starch and too little bleach.

Treacle Sweet

Dos Campos Deus sisters from Los Paso Los Pesos distilled treacle sweet wine from apple skins and sour bulbar, the sourness hard-pressed from the skins with a hand-cranked churn. The sisters slept in a bunkhouse with four cots and four billycans, one for each of the four sisters. Mortimer Gall worked for the Dressers Meat Packing Co. where he was in charge of headcheese and unsavory viands. The Dressers Meat Packing Co. was in business with the Dos Campos Deus sisters (from Los Paso Los Pesos), the sisters providing the Dressers Meat Packing Co. with treacle sweet wine, the Dressers Meat Packing Co. supplying the sisters with viands and headcheese.

It was Mortimer Gall’s job to ensure that the Dos Campos Deus sisters met their obligation, and if they didn’t, to cajole and sweet-talk them into it, something he did more oft than not as the sisters had no mind for business or quibbling. The Liepaja Stepbrothers (of Latvia) were in cahoots with the Kista Brothers (of Stockholms Lan) who were in cahoots with the Jacosta Bollocks Sisters, who were in cahoots with the Helsinki beggar who was in cahoots with Dos Campos Deus sisters who, not caring a tinker’s cuss about forthrightness, were in cahoots with Mortimer Gall, who’s job it was to cajole and sweet-talk them into fulfilling their obligation to the Dressers Meat Packing Co., where he was the head of headcheese and unsavory viands.

When she was a girl Lela’s grandmamma told her about Dos Campos Deus sisters and how they stole little girls and put them to work in their distillery. She said that when the little girls got too frail and weakly the sisters sold them to Mortimer Gall, who put them to work cleaning the floor of the slaughterhouse. Those girls who were fortunate enough to sneaked away told tales about pins the size of railroad ties and men with massive heads and droopy eyes chiseling away at cows’ heads with cross-saws and cleavers. Lela promised she wouldn’t stray too far from the house, her grandmamma cautioning her against wearing pretty dresses and high-heel shoes, as Dos Campos Deus sisters fancied treacle sweet things and unbridled flesh. In the town of Bury Saint Edmunds, behind the Taegu-jikhalsi Apothecary, the Daegu sisters sold scented handkerchiefs and silky gloves, the sisters singing the claims of sweet smelling toilet water and calf-soft leather. Lela never went out when the sky looked like it would rain, not wanting to ruin her favorite shoes or get splashed by a wayward listing oxcart or a bicycle thief.

Friday, November 28, 2008

Taegu-jikhalsi Apothecary

The Waymart sold greatcoats and smallcoats, boots (cobbled from cowhide and rubber), fishmonger sweaters (knit from goats’ wool and hair) and a range of hats, all of which the man in the hat owned or would one day own. From behind the Waymart, hidden in between the dustbins and bailed cardboard, a voice yelled ‘…¡pare eso hollering, por favor!...’ then a second ‘…einde dat dat, tevreden schreeuwt!...’ and a third ‘…stoppen sie brüllendes das, bitte!...’ Then a moment of calm, after which a voice hollered ‘…wo ist der Mann im Hut?...’ then a second ‘…ja, waar is de man in de hoed?...’ and third ‘…sí, el hombre en el sombrero…’. Dejesus, standing cocksfooted under the Waymart clock tower, said ‘…away with you; this is a place of commerce, have you no manners...’.

A scream came across the sky, einde dat, tevreden schreeuwt! With nowhere to run, nor legs to do so if he had, the legless man crawled under the Seder Grocer’s awning, his heart pounding. Stamped on the box next to him, sopped with water and vinegar, was Ballester’s Red Leaf Beets, Ein Gutes Borscht! Gerade Wie Mutter Bildete! Rooted in with the discarded boxes and trash the legless man sat thinking of the why’s and what for’s of his legless life. A second scream came across the sky, stoppen sie brüllendes das, bitte! the legless man tightening his grip on the cuffs of his belled trousers. In the town of Bury Saint Edmunds behind the Taegu-jikhalsi Apothecary the Daegu sisters were in cahoots with the Arkhangel'sk sisters. Both sisters were in cahoots with the man who laid sod at the Mágoa dor Coração Bowling de Gramado e Campo de Golfe.

Why the legless man thought this now, hunkered beneath the awning tugging on the cuffs of his trousers, was a mystery, peculiar. But then again thinking was something he did as a last resort, a way to bide his time when nothing else was at hand other than his thoughts, which he thought recklessly and with little regard for proper grammar or syntax. Had he an option, any option, he’d have done something other than think, as thinking led to thoughts and thoughts led to other thoughts and thinking to more thinking until he felt like deaf man with an unwanted tune in his head or a blind man with an image in his mind’s eye that won’t go away, blink as he might.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Lucian Freud - Interview (Part 1/5)

The Kyonggi-do Twins of Bucheon

The man in the hat awoke to a Nile brown sky, the morning air thick with bluebottles and winged gnats. A cigarette left smoldering filled the lean-to with a croupade of gray-blue smoke, his eyes squinting to see beyond the pale. Awaking in a fug the man in the hat began his day as he usually did, with little effort and slowness of wit, his thoughts on extinguishing the smoldering cigarette, pounding it into the billycan, ash to ash, then preparing a simple breakfast which he ate from the comfort of his cot, spooning mouthfuls of gruel and cream into the trap of his mouth, the room abuzz with bluebottles and winged devils.

That morning he was to meet with the rector Rezekne to discuss to whom should go the job of repairing the roof in the sanctuary: the dogmen, who no one in their right mind could trust, or the Vaslui twins, known far and wide for their skill at roofing and taxonomy. The Kyonggi-do twins from Bucheon, though good hands at tiling and retarring, spoke very little English, and what English they did speak was pigeon and illogical. Today was the day that Dejesus was due back in town with news of the Feast of Don Sebastián and Morelos Yautepec Morelos, who’s booth was two booths down from Fernando De La Mora, known for her mouth-watering Lisboa Cod and savory mincemeat pies. Ships Day 1957 Morelos Yautepec Morelos set up her booth in the town square in front of the Waymart, where she sold lo puede salsa tomar ne diabético, par sirve para bajar de peso and flatbread sandwiches, making a fuss over the man in the hat and a dog with a crushed snout.

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Bartolomé Sureda y Miserol

Telford and Wrekin worked for the Basingstoke Brothers who were in cahoots with the Malsch Balzan Stepbrothers who sold recycled crankcases and engine blocks. Telford and Wrekin lived in a two-room walkup around the corner from the Greek Deli, Telford, the larger of the two, sleeping on the first floor, Wrekin on the second floor alcove next to a picture of Quogue McQuee, the founder of McQuee’s Spirit Gum. Dejesus’ mamma Alma swore up and down that she knew Telford and Wrekin, but not by those names; having met them at The Feast of Octave of St. Camillus where they introduced themselves as Arbuckle and Urmston. The Malsch Balzan Stepbrothers she knew as the Telford brothers, and Basildon Hebei as Basildon Moorhen.

In attendance at The Feast of Octave of St. Camillus that day were: Dona Isabel de Porcel, Bartolomé Sureda y Miserol, Dona Teresa Sureda, Antonia Zárate, Francisca Sabasa y Garcia, Dona María Tomasa Palafox, Marquesa de Villafranca, Count Fernán, Núnez Manuel Godoy, Duke of Alcudia La Maja, Desnuda La Maja Vestida, José Antonio, Marqués de Caballero Maja and Celestina Dona Narcisa, Baranana de Goicoechea, Juan Antonio Llorente, Pepito Costa y Bonells, Juan Antonio Cuervo, Tiburcio Pérez y Cuervo, Doctor Arrieta Tío Paquete, Don Sebastián, Gabriel de Borbón y Braganza, Ramón Satué and Juan Bautista de Maguire, none with whom Dejesus’ mother was acquainted.

Morelos Yautepec Morelos set up her booth at the Feast of Don Sebastián, where she sold lo puede salsa tomar ne diabético, par sirve para bajar de peso. Two booths down from Morelos Yautepec Morelos Fernando De La Mora sold Lisboa Cod wrapped in brown sausage paper tied with a red ribbon. Dejesus looked from side to side then walked genteelly towards the statue of Magot de Valor, his mamma’s tapioca pudding dancing in his thoughts.

Saturday, November 22, 2008

The Day De Cauca Guacar Died

In Stuttgart-Wurttemberg a man with gambol-leg skips across the midway, not sure which way is east, which west. Lifting himself up from the ground, as he had fallen, teetering, moments before, he opens the door to the haberdashers, the bell over the transom tinkling. ‘…what can I do for you my dear man…?’ inquires the stout haberdasher. ‘…can you measure me for a new pair of trousers please…?’ says the man. Valle del Cauca, the sole proprietor and tailor of the Urmston Men’s Haberdashery, looks the man up and down, eyeballing his former tailor’s handiwork. ‘…perhaps something with pleats and longer in the leg…’ he offers, the man gazing down at his trousers. ‘…or a wider fob with silver threading…’. Turning to leave the man says‘…fobs and longer legs, pure madness…’. Her feet square to the curb the harridan watches the man leave the haberdashers, his feet making quick with the pavement. The man trips ass over head, the door slamming loudly behind him, the sole proprietor biding him a not so fond farewell. Gamboling he heads up the midway, trousers whistling.

Basildon Hebei and Dejesus set out to find the missing whore’s glove, the Witness (the pamphleteer, the desecrator of simple things) hot on their heels. Dejesus met Basildon Hebei at The Feast of Octave of St. Camillus where the Flabiol Cobla Trio played for a salt of foot stomping enthusiasts. The harridan’s sister, sitting in the grove under the statue of Magot de Valor, wept for joy, the flabiol player eying her amorously from atop the carousel stage, the Xeremier striking a manly pose, the tamboril keeping the trio in sync. Turning, Dejesus said ‘…life is a funny old dog…’. ‘…yes, a funny old dog...’ replied Basildon Hebei. ‘…I had a dog once…’ said Dejesus. ‘…a funny old dog…? asked Basildon Hebei. ‘…a firecracker of a dog…’ replied Dejesus, the flabiol player ogling the harridan’s sister from the carousel stage.

The day De Cauca Guacar died Dejesus went hunting for turtles behind the pumphouse. He remembered De Cauca laid out in the saltbox, the deacon sermonizing about De Guacar’s time in Valle del Aizkraukles where he worked for the Arbuckle Steamship Company. De Cauca Guacar died on the 4th of July 1964 from whooping and a persistent fever, further complicated by a rotten tooth left to fester and rankle. De Cauca, as he went by De Guacar, De Cauca and De Cauca Guacar, lived out the last years of his miserable life working for the Liepaja Stepbrothers (of Latvia) loading up the boot of their car with old shoes and heel supports, the stepbrother’s paying him with bootblack and tinned flatfish.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Jalisco Bielsko Wadowice

The Babcock brothers made trilbies, fedoras and billycock hats, the billycock being one of their most valued sellers. The man in the hat, now aware of the billycock, went in search of the Babcock brothers, hoping as he did to purchase one of their most valued hats. Were it not for the book he’d never have known such a glorious hat existed; and exist it did, on the heads of men far and wide, all except he, but his good fortune was changing, his destiny in the hands of two brothers named Babcock.

His hat cleverly placed on his lap, the man in the hat waited for the light to turn green. Not accustom to waiting he began to whistle, Jalisco Bielsko Wadowice el Greco God bless amen. He lowered his head, moocowmoocowmoo, his feet skipping gaily, his hat sitting dashingly on the top of his head. He cooked eggs and ham, two slices of rye toast and a glass of Ogeechee orange juice. His granddad liked griddlecakes with syrup.

He worked in the cowshed ciphering the sums that appeared to him as if from God. The Belm sisters sat on a bench outside the cowshed figuring ways to get his granddad’s attention, the littlest Belm sister twirling a baton, the biggest running a comb through her hair. The Babcock brothers sped past, the eldest brother waving from the passenger side window. The littlest dogman, crouching, yelled ‘…Où est le MOO MOO de vache…?’ the brothers gunning the corner at breakneck speed.

The shamble leg man let out a yip, his foot caught between the lamppost and the curbside. ‘…onde é o MOO MOO da vaca…?’ yelled the littlest dogman, his face red with blood. The alms man sat cross-legged in front of the library waiting for the sky to fall crashing into his lap. To the right of him, his mouth rounded into a perfect O, sat the legless man, the pressure in his head exceeding 227½ kilopascals. ‘…why…’ wept the legless man, ‘…why me…?’

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Like an Imbecile's Face

Lela tied her hair up with a ribbon and smoothed the wrinkles in her skirt. Today she was going to visit the man who made whalebone corset stays, his handiwork coveted by corset makers far and near. Her grandmother wore a corset morning noon and night, the weight and heft of her bosoms too much to bare unaided. She cinched the hammock strings round the small of her back, never quite mastering a bow or a stiff knot. She slept on her side, face pressed into the mattress, her bosom ballasted against the bed frame. Upon awaking each morning she rolled onto her back, and levering her arms under her hips hoisted herself from bed, the side of her face quilted with eider feathers. The corset maker, a sober man with blue brown eyes, paid home visits, measuring her grandmother for the latest in corset ware. He drew chalk-lines round her bosom and shoulders, making sure to measure off the distance between her shoulder blades, lest one, being lower than the other, set her off kilter or to one side. The Rosario Corset Co., known far and wide for their fit-to-order corsets and corset accessories, used only the finest whalebone. They hawked corsets and corset accessories from their table at the church bazaar, the basement frantic with bosomy woman and fat children.

The man in the hat found a book under the floorboards. He began reading, his eyes tracing words and squiggles across the page, It was one of those head-gears of composite order, in which we can find traces of the bearskin, shako, billycock hat, sealskin cap, and cotton night-cap; one of those poor things, in fine, whose dumb ugliness has depths of expression, like an imbecile's face. Oval, stiffened with whalebone, it began with three round knobs; then came in succession lozenges of velvet and rabbit-skin separated by a red band; after that a sort of bag that ended in a cardboard polygon covered with complicated braiding, from which hung, at the end of a long thin cord, small twisted gold threads in the manner of a tassel. The cap was new; its peak shone…
[1]. He placed the book on the night-table next to his cot, and musing said ‘…a billycock, I must get myself one of those…’.

[1] Gustav Flaubert, Madam Bovary

Monday, November 17, 2008

Requeijão Checo

He started the day reading from a book with a torn cover and thumb-stained pages. One learns very little here [at the Institute], there is a shortage of teachers, and none of us boys of the Benjamenta Institute will come to anything, that is to say, we shall be something very small and subordinate later in life.[1] The author of the ragged and thumb-stained book, a gloomy depressant, had lived in one of the many insane asylums that bespeckled the mountains overlooking the town below. After he’d read a passage or two, which he did more than once, as he mistrusted his ability to retain what he’d read, he threw the book onto the floor, hissing and grumbling like a cracked water heater. Most days started like this, never with a handshake or a pleasant how do you do, which he’d have happily reciprocated with an outstretched hand and a friendly fine thank you kindly, but with uncommon words and hocky syllogisms.

He liked boysenberry jam and cod cheeks. Most days he ate whatever was in the larder, soda biscuits and tinned fish, sardines and tuna, requeijão checo, which he bought from the Greek Deli, and day-old bread. He ate whenever he felt hungry, filling the hole in his belly until the feeling went away. His granddad ate blue steak and half-cooked mutton, spring lamb and salted white fish. He covered everything in Mickelson’s Horse Radish, cutting his food into bite-size pieces no bigger than the end of his thumb. His granddad drank Irish Porter, a full glass for lunch and supper, a half for breakfast, letting the ale settle before gulping it down, claiming Porter was best drank at room temperature and with no head. He remembered the stern look on his grandmamma’s face, and how she never said anything twice, expecting you to pay attention the first time.

‘…there’s nothing like fresh eggs and ham…’. He often spoke to himself with the hope of garnering an interest in what he had to say. As he seldom said anything of importance, he garnered very little. He once spoke with the littlest dogman, inquiring if he had the exact time. The littlest dogman, seeing that he had been fooled into listening to someone of mean to middling interest, flipped him off with a snicker and a jeer. That evening he skillet fried kidney with onion and wild garlic, forking tiny forkfuls into his mouth, eager to savor the sweet urine tang of organ meat and ground vegetable. He recalled an evening some 100 years past when his grandmamma made a savory meat pie, crimping the edges with a fork, the pie flaking on the bulb of his tongue. He recalled many such things, things not all that interesting, but remembered just the same. Dejesus left the park and headed southward, his greatcoat coattails flapping as he strode.

The day had began with a visit to the overseers to oversee what he’d overseen the night before. In the park behind the Waymart Dejesus saw a man with an overly large head talking with a man with an overly small head, the two comparing the size of each other’s head. Finding this of mean to middling interest, he stopped to listen, paying heed to the words they used to describe their heads. ‘…mine is oblong and squarish…’ said the overly large headed man. ‘…and mine rhomboidal and roundish…’ said the overly small headed man, both men comparing the size of their heads with the aid of a plumb string. ‘…were it to start raining…’ said the man with the overly small head, ‘…I could protect my head with an oak leaf, not one drop of rain hitting the top of my head…’. ‘…and I…’ said the man with the overly large head, ‘…could find refuge under the Seder grocer’s awning, the warm smell of baked bread taunting my nose…’. Having declared the benefits of having a head of their size, both men went their separate ways, heads jaunting as they went, Dejesus heading southwesterly, the sun just below the northernmost tip of the horizon.
[1] Robert Walser, Jakob von Gunten

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Malcontent and the Cretin

The headstone stuck out of the wet earth like a cook's knife, the deceased’s name chiseled into the granite face, the first and last names barely legible. The shamble leg man walked round the grave, his feet sinking into the loose wet earth, the sky puling and wailing like a lost child. The earth cinched round his ankles, grave water and old bone seeping in through a hole in his boot. Overnight in the overnight asylum the shamble leg man played craps with a cretin and a malcontent. The malcontent won sparingly the cretin narrowly and the shamble leg man scarcely. The Waldau brothers watched the men pound the die off the dining room wall. The eldest, Gordy, dressed in a white linen suit buttoned to his Adam’s apple, counting off the number of times the cretin hit double sixes. Horace, the youngest of the two brothers, dressed in funereal jacket and matching trousers, the cuffs frayed and tattered, held his breath every time the malcontent got ready to throw, fearing he might pound one off the wall and into his mouth, whereupon he feared he might swallow it, mistaking it for a sugar cube or a Scotch mint. After the shamble leg man tired of pounding die off the dining room wall, he left the cretin, the malcontent and the Waldau brothers behind, biding them a cold adieu, the cretin pulling at the corners of his mouth like sad clown. The headstone stuck out of the wet earth like a cook's knife, the deceased’s name chiseled into the granite face, the first and last names barely legible. The shamble leg man, stopping to tie his boot, looked down at the wet earth and said ‘…never judge a book by its cover, it’ll only make you sad with regret…’. The next day, at 27½ past the hour, he started out on his daily walk, not quite sure where he was going or when he’d be back, a cold drizzle raining down upon his naked head.

Saturday, November 15, 2008

The Möbius Twins

The Möbius twins lived behind the Waymart, the eldest, Martin, had curly hair, the youngest, Max, short wavy hair. They plundered the bins behind the Waymart looking for other people’s half-eaten food, some so half-eaten it fell apart in their hands: old sandwiches and pies, soggy mince meat tarts and half-digested cake, half-full pop cans and milk cartons, the dross and leftovers of people with full stomachs and notched down belts. Martin slept with both eyes closed, dreaming of a full stomach, Max with one eye open, thinking of a way out.

The Möbius twins, by way of Wallsend by way of Evington, came from a long line of Nyírség Catholics from the village of Szilágyság in eastern Jókai, know for their strong opinions and even stronger dislike of Protestants and Calvinists. Their great-great great grandfather, a solemn man with a stern outward appearance, was a member of the Jókaiesque’s Brethren, a group of Dadaists who met every second Sunday in the basement of the Church of the Holy Sinner. Between 1878-1933 their great-great great grandfather worked as a porter for the Nyíregyháza Railroad Co., a job he took to support his heavy drinking and fondness for Egyptian whores and ball the jack, a game the Dadaists played every third Sunday, the first and fourth being reserved for pinochle and gin respectively. Their great-great great grandmother, an angry wretch with a full head of shoeblack hair, worked as a scullery maid for the Baumgarten Arms (27½ Unikornis Könyvkiadó, beside the Catalan Apothecary) the only hotel in Szilágyság that offered roasted mutton with mint jelly on the dinner menu.

The day before the sky fell the Möbius twins found a whore’s glove behind the aqueduct behind the Seder Grocer. Martin stuffed the glove into his coat pocket, saying to his brother ‘…this ought to be worth something…’. The twins headed northeasterly towards the elephantine mountains, over the ridge and across the valley below, their thoughts on old sandwiches and pies, soggy mince meat tarts and half-digested cake, half-full pop cans and milk cartons, the smell of burnt hair and piss assaulting their senses.

The Witness witnessed a boy jacking a ball running waywardly across the sideways, a look of bewilderment on his red russet face. The boy, stopping to look both ways, ran sideways, his feet shuffling like a card deck missing a Jack, his face getting redder and redder, the ball and jack swiveling out of control in front of him. ‘…young man…’ hollered the Witness, as he was a good 27½ rods behind the boy, ‘…can I give you a hand…?’ The boy, his face now redder than a plucked apple, said ‘…go fuck yourself, fucking witness bastard…’. The Witness, his face redder than a flaming bush, lowered his head and trundled down the sideways, the boy yipping and laughing as he went. The Möbius twins, standing under the sky, the sun getting heavier and heavier, motioned for the boy to come hither. ‘…what’s with the ball and jack…?’ asked Martin, Max squinting, his eyes focused on sun, which was hidden behind the Waymart clock spire. The boy, stopping to catch his breath, wheezing, said ‘…beat it fuck heads, before I cuffs you both up side of the head…’. At hearing this, the twins, huffing and wheedling, headed southwesterly, the sun falling like a Black Sicklebill into the grave of night.

Rouleau de Beaulieu

That night the alms man slept like a puny weakling, arms and legs tucked into the sheets, eyes fluttering. He dreamt he lived with his great granny and three measly dogs, one with three legs, one with one ear and one with a corkscrew tail. His job was to brush the dogs, untangling burrs and dried shit from their coats. His great granny rewarded him with soda biscuits and jam and 25 cents to buy penny candy. He bought black licorice cigars and Mojos, Popeye cigarettes and sour balls, real Indian chewing tobacco and wax cigars filled with grape juice, whip licorice, in black, red and orange, shoestring licorice, black balls and jawbreakers. He liked cheese, Rouleau De Beaulieu and Saaland Pfarr, Saint-Marcellin, Rabacal and Rocamadour, Petit-Suisse, Peekskill Pyramid and Pave du Berry, Oschtjepka and Palet de Babligny, Menallack Farmhouse, Leerdammer and Le Fium Orbo. His great granny bought mild cheddar and sandwich slices, day-old Swiss and marble, nothing extravagant or savory. He smoked hand-rolled shag and pipe tobacco, stolen from his granddad’s cob, the one he smoked after supper and on Tuesday evenings. He ate as much candy as he could stomach, stuffing his pockets with Mojos and black licorice babies, his waistband courting his belly. He watched his great granny make blood sausage, the kitchen rank with burnt hair and piss, her hands red as slaughter.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Los Casa Grande Cochineal

His head ached like a leg caught in a bear trap. Last night while everyone who could slept, the alms man sat under a fat yellow moon counting backwards to 1000, penance for all those nights puling between saltlick thighs, love-struck with the wound that gave breath to life. He dreamt of los Casa Grande Cochineal and the night he drew blood from a pimp's lip. He dreamt of a time when a lady of the evening was worth a fistfight and a blackened eye. He had memories of bad memories, whitefish salad and stinkweed gin. He dreamed he was falling awake, his eyes spackled to the back of his skull, a paperweight heaviness in his arms and legs.

The alms man awoke with a stitch in his side, his alms cap turned brim-side up, his arms and legs pinned to his cardboard mat. ‘…what a horrid night…’ he said to himself, the hardness of the world biting and stinging and swiping at the top of his head. The florist Beeves makes Quirt-stemmed nosegays, stems and blossoms to tickle the fancy. Ignacio Boston dreamed he was the florist Beeves, pinning together eye-fetching bouquets and nosegays. In his thoughts the alms man thought up imaginary people with imaginary jobs, florists and quay-popes and people with flashy coats and unfashionable shoes. (In Ituzaing children dance round a crackling bonfire, Druid waifs, whore awe whore awe!, madfooting round and round, the flames flickering, crackling).

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Flabiol Cobla Trio

When Lela was a little girl her grandmamma met a muleteer on the road leading from there to here. The muleteer, a swine with a colossal head, asked Lela’s grandmamma how to get from there to here. Lela’s grandmamma, her eyes blinking said ‘…its all the same, here or there…’. …Oh…said the muleteer, ‘…neither here nor there…?’ ‘…yes…’ said Lela’s grandmamma, ‘…neither either…’. With that the muleteer went on his way, neither here nor there, nor somewhere or nowhere. Lela remembered how here grandmamma spoke in a low hushed voice when she talked about ‘them times’, times that were neither here nor there, there nor here, but somewhere in the beyond, beyond. ‘…my dear...’ she said grumbling, ‘…you will never get anywhere other than there, and there, no one wants to be…’.

One morning, after rubbing the night’s furies from her eyes, Lela left home for ‘there’. The first place she arrived at was Sapientia, a small northerly village with a population of 27, perhaps 29 people, all of who were goat shepherds except for an old woman with black hair and blacker eyes. After staying on in the village for a few days, where she tended the old woman’s cankers and boils, Lela moved on, arriving at Mrida, a northwesterly village with a population of 29, perhaps 30, the smallest to the biggest no bigger than a lapdog. Leaving the village of people no bigger than lapdogs, Lela arrived at the gates of Norrbottens Pite, a turreted town surrounded by a ditch deeper than the deepest ocean. She stayed on there, helping the people slough the guck and death from the ditch, for 30 days, being rewarded for her toil with a carpetbag full of whore’s gloves, some so striking and bejeweled Lela thought they’d been given to her by mistake, and offering to return them was shooed away by an old woman with black teeth and an impulsive tick.

The village band was made up of a Xeremier, his flabiol player and tamboril, together they were known as the Flabiol Cobla Trio. They played in the square in the middle of town, surrounded by marble statuary and a wildflower garden. The flabiol player, Don de Monde, played facing the courtyard, the tamboril, Vivo Vico, crouching under a winding hibiscus bush, and the Xeremier, Ibanez the Great, standing with his back to the crowd, all three playing with joyous abandon. The Flabiol Cobla Trio were to play at The Feast of Octave of St. Camillus, a great honor, so the Xeremier told his compatriots, but on their way they came across a muleteer and an old woman kibitzing over which way was here and which way was there. Confused as they were, already having made a wrong turn here and a wrong turn there, the Trio failed to pay heed to the warning, ‘never trust a man with a colossal head’, and fell in with the muleteer who lead them astray, to places and people they never dreamed existed, here or there.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Begetting Begat

The Witness claimed that he could trace begetting back to the first begat. ‘…its all there, in the pamphlet…’ he said, ‘…the begat of begetting…’. The assemblage, many of whom had assembled to be the first to get a plateful of potluck, ignored the Witness’ presentiments, hoping he would simply go away, back to wherever he came from. ‘…go away you bastard…’ hollered a woman, her sickly children in tow. ‘…yes, away with you…’ yelled another, her hair done up in a banquet bun. Dejesus, sitting beside a man with a sawtooth smile, lit a match, and throwing it at the stack of pamphlets said ‘…that’ll be enough of that…’.

An osseous stench issued from the mouth of the sewer beside the assemblage, a woman in a calfskin hat and matching gloves covered her mouth with a handkerchief, the sky black as burnt molasses. The Semana brothers, who had just arrived by hook and crook, stood next to the twins stamping their feet and waving their hands, the Witness looking weakly and faint. The man with the sawtooth smile, bent over double with a panging ache in his guts, shivered like a March lamb, Dejesus watching him out of the curb of his eye. ‘…away with you, you bastardly man…’ yelled a woman with a chin mole, the sawtooth man retching, a coppery piss of corn and mutton spilling onto the tips of his shoes.

Once everyone’s belly’s were fed and their thirsts slaked The Feast of Octave of St. Camillus came to an end, a yellow moon simmering in the cauldron of the black, black sky. The Ushuaia brothers of Tito del Fuego, the Meth sisters, (born to the Lorraine twins, Eberth and Alva from Dombasle-sur-Meurthe), the Mulch cousins of Rheinland-Pfalz, the Jacosta Bollocks Sisters, the Sibu Brothers of Sarawak, the Chelmsford twins, Rood and Simon, Dejesus, the Witness and the man in the hat, reading from Livro do Comerciante Arrogante, went their separate ways, some north some south, some east some west, some northeast others southwest, leaving a beastly mess in their wake. In the distance, where the eye sees chimeras, not people or decipherable things, the dogmen climbed the hill leading into town, the littlest pounding his chest, the eldest humming in a low gravelly voice, the night sky lagging behind them like a spoiled child, face sticky with sweet sugar and tears.

Sunday, November 09, 2008

The Feast of Octave of St. Camillus

The Ushuaia brothers liked corn fritters with churned honey. Albemarle ate like a starveling, his jaw working like a coin press. Labrums ate like a thief, grinding like a gristmill, the corners of his mouth turned in. The eve before The Feast of Octave of St. Camillus the brothers starved themselves, the Sheepshead Inn heavy with stink and spoil. ‘…put that down…’ insisted Albemarle, Labrums’ fingers doughy with seed bread and churned honey. The proprietor of the Sheepshead Inn, a stout man with horned teeth, sat behind a window, all that separated him from a world of savage depravity. On the second floor the Chelmsford twins, Rood and Simon, ate purled mutton and boiled potatoes, the twins having arrived two days earlier for The Feast of Octave of St. Camillus. On the third floor, above the twins, the Meth sisters sat collecting their thoughts, a feat of such enormity (their parents, Eberth and Alva, never taking the time to explain to their daughters what thoughts were and how to collect them) they could barely keep their wits about them. On the fourth floor, at the end of the hall, lived a man with a weigh-anchor foot, his back covered in sores, his good foot bowed like a cudgel. He lived at the Sheepshead Inn year round, arriving for The Feast of Octave of St. Camillus in 1927, and finding the room to his liking, never setting foot outside it again.

The Ushuaia brothers (of Tito del Fuego) ate dinner at the cafe Les Deux Magots around the corner from the Sheepshead Inn. They ordered skillet-fried eel, a baguette and a bottle of Tic-tac, paying for their meal with 27 one $ bills and a ½ crown. As they were anxious to get ready for The Feast of Octave of St. Camillus they ate hurriedly, the youngest brother dropping a tail-end of fricasseed eel onto his lap, the oily meat staining his newly pressed trousers. The Meth sisters, Irma and Erma, ate an elegant, albeit delicate meal in the comfort of their room, pickled herring and glazed carrots followed by vanilla mouse with almandine treacle. The Chelmsford twins, Rood and Simon, dined at the cafe Les Deux Troas, a small but stylish taberna next to the Auvergne de la Fontaine. The cudgel-footed man ate a pork knuckle sandwich with Gibb’s hard mustard, a runny egg and a wedge of rotifers’ blue cheese.

The man in the hat watched the goings on from atop the Seder grocer’s awning, his cap titling on the top of his head. Tomorrow he would don his Rubicon cap, the one with the chicken feather hatband, and sit by his lonesome in the park beside the aqueduct on his favorite lattice-backed bench, counting capped off clouds and unmannerly ducks. When the sun had set, the sky a caramel otherness, he would pick himself up, dust off his hat and wander aimlessly home, his thoughts on funeral dirges and bargemen hymns.

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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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