Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Marc Chagall 1887-1985

The Sisters of the Pune Nunnery

The Kilkenny Coition Company pulled up stock and relocated to Stockton Warwickshire, with franchises in North Hampton Ohio, Mountain View California, Blagoevgrad Bulgaria, Brisbane Queensland Australasia, Monterrey Nuevo Leon Mexico, Trenton New Jersey and Peking Beijing. The Kilkenny Coition Company were the sole providers of lambskin condoms, ointments, salves, aspics, jellies, jams, honeyed mustards, tinned meats, a variety of homecare products, silky soft diaphragms, inter-uterine clips fashioned from copper and brass, tureens, pot-boilers, ivory-handled ladles, poultices (for sores and chaffing) gun powder in a variety of colours and hues and lubricants, all of which were packaged together, offering a rather festive coitus curio. The Witness carried advertisements for The Kilkenny Coition Company in the back pages of his pamphlets, many of which ended up in the ivory soft hands of the Pune Sisters of the Pune Sisters Nunnery in Maharashtra.

The Sisters of the Pune Nunnery sold prayer-cloths from the back pages of the Klamath Falls Chronicle, Oregon. The sisters tatted and stitched the prayer-cloths in a makeshift seamstresses’ room in the topmost attic of the Nunnery. The man in the hat knew one of the sister, sister Marion, who drew great praise from the other sisters for her steadfast devotion to prayer and seamstressing. The Presbyterian barker thumbed through the Klamath Falls Chronicle, eyes straining to read the small smaller smallest print. He was in the market for a prayer-cloth, a gift for his wife on her 27th birthday. He’d overheard that the Sisters of the Pune Nunnery made exceptional prayer-cloths, and as he would settle for nothing less than exceptional, decided on one of the sisters’ Saintly cloths. Author’s aside, please slam the screen door on you’re way out, thank you in advance for you’re Saintly dun.

Monday, April 28, 2008

The Lombardia Livery Company

‘I am compelled to tell you that I am obsessed with jet propulsion’ said Dejesus to the Witness. ‘Were it not for the vroom vroom and the kittle kittle I dare say I’d have no interest in it whatsoever, not an iota’s worth’. The Witness, having witness more than enough, stepped to the side and scuttled down the sideways, a coxcomb of pamphlets fluttering in his wake. ‘That man is crazy, no company for a grand pamphleteer such as I’. He threw a bundle of tightly bound pamphlets into each and every doorway he passed, saying as he did ‘in excelsior glorious, the merchant of pheasants is nearby nearing’ a gray grouse sky, atwitter of wrens and warblers filling the air with a harping cacophony.

The Witness bought his pamphlets in bulk from the Brighton Pamphlet and Placard Company in East Sussex. The pamphlets were printed in Missouri by the Saint Thomas Bros. Printing and Lithography Company. And finally, the printed and ready pamphlets were bound and shipped by the Puerto Cabello Binding and Cartage Servicios in Carabobo Venezuela. The Witness kept the printed, readied, bound and shipped pamphlets in an abandoned silo in Ashville Alabama, where they stayed until being shipped to the Pamphleteer Bros. in Vigevano Italy, where the finished product was collated, rebound and sent back to Ashville Alabama by the Lombardia Livery Company. The Witness sent a sheaf of pamphlets to the Pune Sisters Nunnery in Maharashtra as a sign of good will and ecumenical solidarity.

Mark Rothko 1903-1970

The Puerto Rico Telephone Company

One night after losing on a Rotterdam red-comb cock, the losing cock going down in the third round, cockscomb and all, the man with the monkey’s foot key-chain bumped into a man who worked for the Puerto Rico Telephone Company who lost his pocket-change, a rabbits’ foot talisman and his favorite pocket-comb on the very same cock. While exchanging bad luck stories over a glass of Tic Tac, the man who worked for the Puerto Rico Telephone Company told the man with the monkey’s foot key chain that he worked for the Jawa Barat Shoe Company in Jakarta after resigning his commission from the Emiliano Zapata Hoisery Company in Morelos Mexico, a job he kept for 3 years minus 3 days. The world does stupid senseless things. The man who worked for the Kauno Apskritis Bros. and lived in a hovel-hut with a dog and a legless cat, what if he thought, what if? (Type 'majesty and pulmonous' into Google search, its fun)

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Vaslui Surgical Supplies and Linen Co

The eye-surgeon who saw the shamble leg man that morning (who said he ate far too much fish poisoned with copper, cuprous fish) worked as a janitor for the Vaslui Surgical Supplies and Linen Co. in Bucharest Romania before becoming a board certified eye-surgeon. After becoming a board certified eye-surgeon, which took 7 ½ years and $200,027, he took a position with the University of South Florida where he stayed until he moved to Surrey to replace the head of eye surgery at the University of Egham on Avon on Nova after the head eye-surgeon died in a Skidoo accident, Skidoos having recently been introduced into polite society in Surrey.

Author’s aside: This is dross, tosspot dross. I beg you’re pardon, dear readers, please forgive me for inflicting upon you such tosspot dross. I implore you: please! I wouldn’t recognize a polite society were it to coddle up and nip me in the ass, I assure you that.

The shamble leg man had a thought, what if I worked for the Las Palmas Canarias Bros. and lived in a hovel-hut with a dog and an earless cat. What if before that I worked for the Kauno Apskritis Bros. and lived with a cat and an earless dog. And what if this was all a silly dream, and I really lived in my thoughts, what if, he thought. The world does things that make no sense, senseless stupid things.

Saturday, April 26, 2008

UPC Magyarorszag, Hungary

The man in the hat’s great-grandmother knew a man who wore a beret who ran for pubic office in Singapore, Huntington Station New York, where the Sines Food and Drugs Co. made Lithium and tincture of Gravol, Setubal Portugal, where the Cabovisao Televisao por Cabo had a monopoly over television and radio broadcasting, Roscrea County Tipperary Ireland, Manchester the City of Manchester, Stockholm Stockholms Lan Sweden, Maracaibo Zulia Venezuela, Atlanta Georgia, where he also ran for the chancellery of the Georgia Institute of Technology, Tayibe in the township of HaMerkaz Israel, an Unknown Organization in an equally unknown place, Boston Massachusetts, where he again ran for the chancellery, but this time of Colleges of the Fenway, Brisbane Queensland, Australasia, Budapest UPC Magyarorszag Kft, Hungary, 79.97.27.# 27 ½ Ireland and San Antonio Texas , where he also ran for the title of professor emeritus of the Institute for the Study of Dogs with Bear Cocks. The man who wore a beret’s greatest desire was to be voted chancellor of chancellors, a position he hungered for like a dog with a bear cock on a bone.

A pheasant gray sky, clouds like mischievous children pissing in the wind, the shamble leg man awoke to another day in another week in another month in another year in the same clothes under the same pheasant gray sky. Today was the day that the shamble leg man was to have a carbuncle removed from his eyelid. The carbuncle had bothered him for some time, his eye filling up with puss, a scabby redness forming around the labia of is eyelid, dots floating and darting across his vision. The eye-surgeon ensured him it wasn’t cataracts or a deadening of the ocular-nerve that was causing him all this bother, but a cuprous boil that had woven itself into the flap of his eyelid. ‘You eat far too much fish’ said the eye-surgeon, ‘fish poisoned with copper, I suspect’.

Friday, April 25, 2008

Red Jujubes and Queenly Whores

A cataract moon hung low in the night sky, a blind beggar with a cane and an earflap hat. All sky’s are black, some so black they appear absent of colour. The moon is a whore, a gluttonous syphilitic whore. The stars are track-marks, chicken-scratch. The moon and the stars and the sky are beggars, begging for colour and light, life and death, penicillin and soaves. The moon is a whore, the queen of whores, the whorish queen of whores. The stars are the scrimshaw on a pinpricked arm, the sharp end of a hollow rod, chicken-scratch, the absence of colour and light. His great-grandmamma like Gin and crabapple juice, English cucumber and woman’s loafers. He liked hats and hat-makers, red jujubes and queenly whores.

Magic Realism, Dee Rimbaud

Oxford Woman’s Loafers

The man in the hat’s great-grandmother worked as a seamstress for the Bradley and Bradley Seamstress Company in Juarez Mexico, Gelnica Kosice, Slovakia, Zweibrcken Rheinland-Pfalz Germany for a man with the following bio: Arbeitet an einem Doktorat in Philosophie, die sich stärker in der psychoanalytischen Theorie als langweilig analytischen Philosophie, Lima Peru, Senegal Africa, taking a second job as a telephone-operator with the Telefonica del Peru, and while in Africa, for the Societe Nationale Des Telecommunications Du Senega, Providence Rhode Island, Almere Flevoland the Netherlands, Eschborn Hessen, 189.41.36.# (Unknown Organization) Brazil, Blue Yonder Birmingham, Birmingham, Derby, Rochefort Poitou-Charentes, France, Hollansburg Ohio and County Cork, Cork Ireland. She married 27 ½ times to 25 grooms, two and a half of whom she wed twice. She gave birth to eleven children, all boys, and kept a blind hamster for a pet. She wore ankle-length skirts and brown Oxford woman’s loafers, white blouses and a cameo broach of a camel on her jacket lapel. She had never been to a cockfight, a baseball game or a box-store, and refused to speak a word before breakfast. She liked skillet-fried kidneys for breakfast, lunch and as a late-night treat, Gin and crabapple juice with a sprig of heather, poached eggs on rye toast and black coffee with a sprig of English cucumber. The man in the hat thought his great-grandmother strange, but kept his thoughts to himself, redirecting his energy to the study of hats and hat-makers.

Thursday, April 24, 2008

Tin Horn Symphony

Gylfaginning or the Tricking of Gylfi

When the man in the hat was five years old his great-grandmother read to him from the book of Eddas. She read stories from the Konungsbók out loud, correcting her breathing whenever necessary, her lungs frail and weakly from years of heavy smoking. She stole the book from the Árni Magnússon Institute for Icelandic Studies when on vacation in Reykjavík. Brynjólfur Sveinsson of Iceland, renown for his long scraggly beard and small childlike hands, had hidden the book away in his castle, where it remained unfound until Frederick III of Norway recovered the book, placing it in his rectory closet for safekeeping. She was particularly fond of the Gylfaginning, or Tricking of Gylfi which she read over and over again, or until she couldn’t syncopate her breathing with her voice. She saved the story of Skáldskaparmál, the dialogue between the giant Ægir and the diaphonic Bragi, for special occasions, or whenever she felt up to reading a 50,000 word Eddas.

Icelandic fairy tales and Konungsbók Gylfaginnings were common playtime activities in the man in the hat’s home, even when his great-grandmother could barely breath, wheezing and coughing out the words to the Tricking of Gylfi or humming a Nordic tune like a pike-necked warbler. To the best of his knowledge the man in the hat had no relations in Iceland, Denmark or Norway, so the thought of having to listen to his great-grandmother, her voice crackling, spit pooling at her feet, made him feel grossly spoiled.

A child with a ball and a child with a hula-hoop darted in and out of traffic, faces russet with cold and play. The harridan’s sister, hurrying to the church to set up her knickknacks table, scolded the children ‘wretched little wretches’ she bellowed ‘little shits all of them!’ The child with the ball darted to the left, the child with the hula-hoop to the right, meeting directly in front of the harridan’s sister, they’re crabapple red tongues stuck out like blisters. ‘Shoo you little wretches’ she hollered, ‘away with you both!’ The child with the ball kicked the harridan’s sister in the knee with his left foot, the child with the hula-hoop kicking her in the shin with his right foot, they’re crabapple red tongues bobbing and pointing like blisters. The harridan’s sister pushed her way past the children, the hem of her skirts trailing behind her like a torn windsock, and hurried up the front steps of the church, her knickknacks table unfolding like a broken accordion.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Bredbandsbolaget Pet Groomers

The man in the hat awoke to a screaming in his ears, an ear-splitting screech. A jackdaw flew soaring across the sky, splitting the horizon in two. Behind it a cormorant whirled and spun, its tail feathers unfurling like a dimestore canopy. Behind the cormorant a porch owl guttered and glommed, probing the sky for gnats and June bugs. The man in the hat pulled his hat down over his ears, cinching the tie-string round his chin, and lit a half-smoked cigarette, the other half a blue memory of smoke and coughing.

In Ambler Pennsylvania the man in the hat met a man who worked as a dockhand for the KVAERNER PHILA SHIPYARD, INC. As he had one arm, he hoisted and steved cargo with one hand, the left. Before he worked for the KVAERNER PHILA SHIPYARD, INC., the man worked as a chemist’s gopher for the Gauteng Pill and Tincture co. in Midrand South Africa. And before that as a mailroom clerk for the Torbay Bros. in Torquay Devonshire, a position he left once he realized that mailroom clerking was beneath him.

In Belgium he filled in for a sick janitor at the Bree Limburg Cement Co., resigning his position early due to an undersigning cough. In Auckland New Zealand he had a brief stint as a carpet-layer, a job he much enjoyed but found too laborious. And in Montreal he took a part-time job as a news editor for the Quebecor Methodist newsweekly, leaving after a run in with the Arts and Entertainment editor. He ended up in Stockholm living in a walk-up working for Bredbandsbolaget Pet Groomers, where he stayed for the next 27½ years.

The Dublin Dubbin Company

The legless man’s great-great granddad worked for the Chapelizod distillery (Séipéal Iosóid) in the village of Chapelizod which sits on the Liffey south of Baile Formaid and northwest of Baile Phámar. Before that he loaded boxcars for the Minas Gerais Peach Cobbler Co. in Belo Horizonte Brazil, then as a stevedore for the Bethel Betel Nut confectionary in Bethlehem Pennsylvania. He worked for a short time as a tanner for the Dublin Dubbin company, the following year taking a position with Saint Andrews Drum Makers in Fife, journeying under the renowned tympana maker Walter Beers of The University of St. Andrews. In 1967 he worked for the Papal Minion Albert of Lazio in Rome. Between 1968-70 he worked as a driver for the Isle Limousine corp. renting a small bed-sit in Guret. In Marseille he took a part-time job as a truffle barker for the Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur Truffle and Bête Noir corporation. In Ventspils Latvia he taught children how to tumble and play checkers, for which he was paid 27½ Francs a week. And before moving back home he worked for the Tehran Burkha and headdress company, where he was employed in the laundry.

The legless man’s great-great grandfather preferred dogfights and amateur wrestling to cockfights. If he had a choice it would have been amateur dog wrestling, Pekingese and foxhounds, Scottish terriers and wiener dogs, Schnauzers and Heinz 57’s, large dogs and small dogs, dogs with long hair and dogs with short hair, dogs with gimpy legs and dogs with two good legs, long snouted dogs and blunt snouted dogs, barking dogs and quiet dogs, Affenpinschers and Afghan Hounds, Airedales and Alaskan Huskies, American Bull Molossers and Cocker Spaniels, Hairless Terriers and Bearded Collies, Belgian Groenendaels and Bergamasco Sheepdogs, Canary Dogs and Cardigan Welsh Corgis, Dakotah Shepherds and Danish Broholmers, Drevers and Dutch Smoushonds, Springer Spaniels and German Sheeppoodles, Mastiffs and Wirehaired Pointers, Hairless Khalas and Haired Khalas, Hovawarts and Icelandic Sheepdogs, Irish Setters and Italian Greyhounds, Jack Russell Terriers and Jim Russell Terriers, Jindos and Karelian Bear Dogs, Karst Shepherds and Kerry Blue Terriers, Lakeland Terriers and Lowland Terriers, Lancashire Heelers and Lhasa Apsos, Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dogs and Lundehunds, Maremma Sheepdogs and Miniature Pinschers, New Guinea Singing Dogs and Norwegian Buhunds, Nova Scotia Duck-Tolling Retrievers and Otterhounds, Patterdale Terriers and Peruvian Inca Orchids, Portuguese Water Dogs and Pugs, Rat Terriers and Rhodesian Ridgebacks, Russian Spaniels and Scottish Deerhounds, Shih Tzus and Skye Terriers, Tibetan Spaniels and Toy Poodles, Victorian Bulldogs and Elizabethan Vizslas, Welsh Springer Spaniels and Whippets, Wirehaired Vizslas and Xoloitzcuintlies, Yorkshire Terriers and Alpine Dachsbrackes. But as he was hard pressed to find anything more
exotic than a Louisiana Catahoula Leopard Dog, he settled for amateur wrestling and checkers.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Amedeo Modigliani (1884-1920)

Laramie Red Combed Cock

The rug-thrower’s grandfather had been to cockfights in Quinto Di Treviso, Veneto, Italy, Mission Viejo, California, Granville, Ohio, Tehran, Iran Agrate Brianza, Lombardia, Italy, Newmarket, Suffolk, UK, Schenefeld, Schleswig-Holstein Germany, Chicago, Illinois, Oberhausen, Nordrhein-Westfalen, Germany, Herning, Ringkobing, Secretariat of the Sektornet, Denmark, Cedar Falls (University of Northern Iowa), Kingsland, Georgia, Huntington Station, New York, Valencia, Carabobo, Venezuela, Laramie, Wyoming and Newbury, West Berkshire, UK. At each cockfight he wagered on a Rotterdam red-comb and lost. In each town, city and village he met another man who had wagered on the same cock, a Rotterdam red-comb, and lost, both men commiserating over drinks and gin rummy, the rug-thrower’s grandfather winning 27½ times out of a hundred, the other man, the man in each town, city and village, winning the rest of the time.

In Wyoming the rug-thrower’s grandfather wagered on a Laramie red-comb cock, the cock losing in the first round, its beak crushed in like a chesterfield spring. In Quinto Di Treviso he wagered on the same cock, who had been lent-out to an Italian locksmith, the Laramie red-comb going down in the third round after a valiant fight, its left eye coiling out of its socket like a lanced boil. At each and every cockfight, rain or shine, the rug-thrower’s grandfather made friends with a complete stranger, a fact that stymied the rug-thrower to no end.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Rotterdam Red Combed Cock

In the city of Americana in Sao Paulo Brazil lived a man with a monkey’s foot keychain. He bought the keychain from a man who knew the rug-thrower’s grandfather, having met him a few years previous at a cockfight in San Mateo California. The two men were betting on the same cock to win, a Rotterdam red-comb with one leg bigger than the other. The rug-thrower’s grandfather and the man with the monkey’s foot keychain lost, the red-combed Rotterdam cock being shredded to pieces in the second round. Needing a stiff drink to slake they’re nerves at having lost the bet, the two strangers went to a cantina for a Tic Tac and a round of gin rummy.

‘That cock was a fraud, not a cock at all’ said the man with the monkey’s foot keychain. ‘A fraudulent cock…a non-cock cock’ said the rug-thrower’s grandfather in reply. ‘I’ve see my share of cocks, more than any one man should see, and this, this was no cock’. ‘Indeed, a cockless cock, a cock without the right to be called a cock, in any language’ replied the rug-thrower’s grandfather, his hands shaking. Both men, who up until then had been complete strangers, shook hands and began commiserating, the rug-thrower’s grandfather offering to buy the first round, the man with the monkey’s foot keychain following suit with the second until both men had used up all the money they hadn’t lost on fraudulent cocks and fixed cockfights.

A (deviation from a rule or law, especially one specifically provided for) came screaming across the sky. Such a shame (a sham indeed) that man lives atop the ground, not squirreled beneath it toasting nuts-aplenty. We had (we did) an old rusted cock-full-O-nuts coffee tin that grandmamma made the ripest plum pudding in. She boiled the plums into a placental mush, two-bits of allspice and a thumb-pinch of thyme-O-plenty. We’d squirrel away the leftover bits, packing them into a Murex Band-Aid box, crushing and tamping and cramping the plumy placental mush into a neat bric-a-brac. Neither a coxcomb or a cockscomb in sight, nary a nary one.

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Augustine Rathgar, 17 Deckle’s Street

The man in the hat bought the scrap linoleum from a rug-thrower with a thriving rug-throwing business at 89.210.165 Hellas side-street Attiki, Athens. The thriving rug-thrower sold scraps of linoleum and bits and pieces of used and discarded carpet at 27½ % off the market price. The undercover was extra, filbert ecru, orangey red pomegranate and blue-sky blue with a hint of cobalt and eider. The rug-thrower knew the Greek delicatessen and the woman who sold knickknacks in front of the Seder grocer’s on weekends and Thursdays after 7pm. The rug-thrower’s father was born February the 2nd 1882 on 17 Deckle’s street, a stone’s-throw away from the Cork Marker’s Inn, and died January 13th1941 on 17 Uccle’s street from the whooping. His great-grandfather, Augustine Rathgar, lived to the ripe old age of 100 and 27½, missing his 100 and 28th year by a rug-thrower’s bolt. I suckle the cockles of her breasts, milk white Novena, night’s votive cry.

Friday, April 18, 2008

Pigs' Tails and Pew Hinges

The night the man in the hat swallowed a goldfish he had a vision, the sky was going to disappear then reappear. He wasn’t sure when or why, or where or for how long, but simply that it was going to happen. He thought swallowing the goldfish might have something to do with it, or the way his nose itched. The next day he made a locket out of a pew hinge and a pig’s tail, basting the two together with fishing-line and a hooking-needle. He used the packet of washing soap he bought from the woman who sat in front of the church on Tuesdays and Thursdays between three and four pm, rain or shine, to shine his shoes, bringing them to a gleaming shine with the sleeve of his jacket.

He refastened the latches on his lean-to, careful not to poke a hole in the tarpaulin, swept the floor with a whisk-broom and went for a walk, his favorite hat on his head. Before leaving for his walk he wrote a note on a scrap of linoleum, the note saying the following: I made this locket for you with my bare hands, a pew hinge and a pig’s tail, I hope you like it. He stuffed the note in his jacket pocket, next to a chewing gum wrapper, a ball of clotted Kleenex and a hard candy, the candy covered in pocket lint, put the locket in his other pocket, next to his pocketknife and a pocket-comb, and set out for the church, his favorite hat sitting jauntily on the top of his head.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Tuesdays at Exactly Three 27½ pm

Homer von Humbert von Homer ran a dry-cleaning store behind the Waymart across from the Seder’s grocer. He spoke gibberish and pigeon French. Homer von Humbert von Homer was born in Oberosterreich in the village of Linz. He was blind in one eye and cockeyed in the other. Homer von Humbert von Homer wore culottes and knee-socks with friars’ sandals and a Corbusier flatcar cap. Behind the Waymart across from the aqueduct Homer von Humbert von Homer washed other people’s clothing, some so filthy and threadworm they were unworthy of the name clothing. Homer von Humbert von Homer hired one washerwoman, a seamstress and two men to carry pails of steaming hot water, each missing two front teeth and an ear, the left ear. He paid them with old clothing, clothing people had forgotten to pick up after they’d been washed.

He lived with a cat named de Silva and a dog named de Silva the Dog, referring to the cat as de Siva the Cat when de Silva the Dog was present. The washerwoman was a deaf mute, although she could speak in tongues when in the presence of godly people and small children. The seamstress could speak, but spoke only between seven and seven twenty-seven, evenings and mornings. The two pail-carrying men, each missing an ear and two teeth, spoke Confucius, and when the moon was half-full, pigeon. (Author’s endgame: this is nonsense, pure nonsense! Please except my gravest apologies for subjecting you to such nonsense, such dross and bile humor).

The man in the hat, who knew the shamble leg man and the harridan, who knew the legless man and the harridan’s sister, who were acquainted with the Seder grocer and the bowlegged man, had never met Homer von Humbert von Homer, although he had heard stories about him from the woman who sold caraway-seed buns in front of the church on Tuesdays and Thursdays between three and four pm, rain or shine. (Author’s endgame: this is nonsense, pure nonsense! Please except my gravest apologies for subjecting you to such nonsense, such dross and bile humor). She was in full possession of her ears, of which she had two, her mouth, one, her eyes, two, although the left one was cockeyed, her voice, soprano, her legs and feet, two and two, and a full head of glorious blond hair. On Tuesdays at exactly three 27½, the man in the hat purchased three caraway-seed buns and a small packet of washing soap from the woman who sold caraway-seed buns in front of the church on Tuesdays and Thursdays between three and four pm, rain or shine. The woman who sold caraway-seed buns in front of the church on Tuesdays and Thursdays between three and four pm, rain or shine, also sold small packets of washing soap, but only between three 25 and three 27½ pm, rain or shine.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

‘Tomorrow I Will Buy a New Hat’

‘Tomorrow I will buy a new hat’ said the man in the hat to himself. ‘Perhaps a Succoth tam or an Egyptian snake charmer’s cap’. He paused, corrected his breathing and said ‘or a paisley roustabout’s toque with a tassel and a doubly wide brim, for keeping the rain and toiling sweat out of my eyes’. He drew a stick-figure man in the dirt in front of him, carving out a divot where the head should be, assured that a new and wondrous hat would be part of the day’s accruements.

Egyptian hat felt is know round the world for its resilience and suppleness. Many and long are the stories about the Egyptian hat-maker, the nimbleness of his stitch, the temper of his hem and collar. The Egyptians are well suited to hat-making, second to tent-making and Sanskrit. In the city of Pune, Maharashtra there lives an expatriate Egyptian hat-maker by the name of Aroot Cul de Sac. His half-sister, Marjorie Aroot Malacca lives in an austere bed-sit in Legnago, Veneto Italy with four cats a hamster and an orange and green Cockatoo that speaks seven languages, one of which is Egyptian. His other half-sister lives with an invalid in Emilia-Romagna, Rimini Italy, not far from the other half-sister. The man in the hat heard about the Egyptian connection from a man with cats’ whiskers and a bum leg, who heard it from a pork-belly trader with a flashcard-forehead and a bearish nose.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Jacoste Haberdashers, Buenos Aires

Along the rue la Perce in the gray city of Ardooie the man in the hat met another man in a hat. On the other man in the hat’s rucksack was written Jacoste Haberdashers, Finest in Men’s Apparel, Buenos Aires, Distrito Federal. On his lapel, pinned with peacock pride and steady hand, was a stickpin with a flag surrounded by two sailing ships, each with a spinnaker holding portside to the wind, and on both sails, written in a glorious calligraphic hand, the following, Viva la Les Fauveaux Libre, Merde san Plus. As he passed the other man in the hat, the man in the hat took stalk of his clothing, his demeanor, his choice of hat, the manner in which he cocked his head ever so slightly to the left, as if he were a wee bit off centre and about to tumble over. On the back of his hat, a calf-soft fedora with a silk hatband that shone like glitter, he noticed the name Dnipropetrovs'ka Oblast'—Dnepropetrovsk, and below that a small nondescript drawing of a pheasant, tail feathers splayed and stickled. ‘A coterie of hats’ thought the man in the hat. The sky closed in on the other man in the hat’s head, his rucksack slung high over his shoulder, a look of concern on his otherwise jocose face. Before he could find shelter, a storefront awning or a candy-store stoop, a coopers’-worth of cool rain sheeted across the sideways, the other man in the hat holding onto his hat for dear life, his feet kittling across the sideways sideways.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Molly and Leopold

A Rainy Afternoon on the Cardiac Floor.

My granddad taught me how to paint with oils and badger hair brushes and a pallet-knife. He tutored me in the basement of his house after my grandma passed away, her heart up and leaving one rainy afternoon on the cardiac floor. The way the story was told to me you’d have thought her heart simply called it quits, decamped and headed for a less congested chest. My granddad fixed the broken lawnmower I found in the garbage when I was sixteen, caulking and greasing up the creaky bits and putting a new pull-cord on it fashioned from a piece of old clothesline. I remember my ma always fearful that he’d topple off the roof, the place he went when the eaves were clogged with wet leaves or the TV antennae was on the fritz, which meant it was pointing in the wrong direction. I painted two pictures, one of a cypress tree in an orangey red sunset, and the other, well I don’t remember what it was, or how come I forget what it was. I took the skills he taught me home to my bedroom over the garage, the bedroom that had the window opening up onto the basketball rim, the insufferably noisy bedroom, my bedroom. There I painted a hippie stoned on grass, his eyes all screwy, his hair a bird’s nest of green and olive green, dark forest green and almost forest green. I think my mom and dad have it somewhere, hidden out of sight or wrapped in packing paper.

An Endnote to an Endnote

(April 14/08)

Once the story is begun the ending is surly to follow. No beginnings midways or in betweens, just an ending. I write to write, nothing else matters, nothing worth writing about. I have written so much that it all seems the same, one long contiguous endnote. But an endnote to what, to whom? Am I a diarist, a note taker, an endnote taker? Is this one long unending endnote, but to what, to whom, for what reason? My scholarly studies have snipped away the prepuce of reasonableness, castration at the hands of men in hooded cloaks and caps with tassels and frayed cords. This thing, this academic thing called philosophy (the first science), has set me at odds with everything, even myself. Had I stuck with my first choice (fine arts), surly there would be an end to all this, an endnote to the endnote. But as I didn’t, by choice, imagine that, I have run roughshod over life, leaving a trail of unreasonableness behind, the viscera of bad thinking and an unreasonable attachment to not getting it right, ever. This madness is maddening, more so, cursedly maddening. And for what, for whom and how come? Were I to have one uncluttered reasonable thought, the joy of simplicity and good timing. But as I haven’t, nor will I, I stick to my unreasonableness, a gout’s worth of blithering and bad manners. Time for bed, if there be such a time at all, ever.

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Silage Catch

dad’s felling-
axe cuts a turn
of shoulder, milk
settling in the hips
the beast falters, knees
coupled, the felling-axe
broken in two, a tarn
of cow’s pee caught
in the silage

Tomfoolery and Half Measures

Marjorie, the harridan’s sister’s friend, thought that Swiss steak was invented in Wiltshire Salisbury by a soy-chef with the whooping and an overbite. The harridan’s sister thought that Salisbury steak was invented by a lamplighter by the name of Fallowsworth in the township of Bistrita-Nasaud in the city of Bistrita. The harridan thought thinking was first thought out by a man in a too-small skullcap in Almere, a smallish town in the lowlands of Flevoland the Netherlands. The shamble leg man thought vectors and into’s were discovered in Haedo Buenos Aires by an Argentinean blacksmith with a too-hot smithy and a gimpy leg. The legless man though that the concept of leglessness was conceived of in a cowherder’s hovel in a nondescript Libyan village in Arab Jamahiriya. The Witness, who was witness to nothing, hawked pamphlets and card tricks in front of the Holy Cross Babel church behind the Waymart across from the aqueduct. All five of them were incurably imbecilic, not knowing which end of the stick had the shit on it.

The bow legged man came back for a visit, his legs bowing to beat the band. He’d been on a hiatus, revisiting the creek and reek of his earlier days, days built round tomfoolery and half-measures. The last anyone had seen of him, head or hair of him, was the day the harridan’s sister sold 27½ Pop-siècle stick placemats to a man pretending to be a horse. ‘Poor sod’ thought the man pretending to be a horse, ‘legs like calipers’. That day, the day before the bow egged man left on his hiatus, he stopped to buy a Pop-siècle stick placemat from the harridan’s sister, wanting a keepsake of the time he’d spent bowing round and round the church where the church bazaar was held (every second Sunday and the days leading up to Lent). The man pretending to be a horse, having beat the bow legged man to the harridan’s sister’s table, bought up all of the Pop-siècle stick placemats, leaving only a handful of Crepe Mache gunboats, none of which were very well made.

(Author’s aside: stand aside the aside and I promise you a bumpy ride. Stand astride the aside and I ensure you a grave full of dross and bad manners. My words are graves, graves dug out with my fingernails and a Cub Scout’s penknife, the one I won for sewing my badges on straight on my Cub Scout’s sash. Astride the aside and I will offer you a grave mistake, a Cub Scout’s meanderings sewn crookedly on a Cub Scout’s sash. I, the author of this crookedly sewn grave of words, offer you nothing, less than nothing, twice less than nothing. So beware you who think you will find anything, anything at all here, here in this graveside of words and meanderings).

Saturday, April 12, 2008

The Witness Who Was Witness to Nothing

‘I’d rather not’ said the harridan’s sister, ‘at least not until I can get this gum out of my hair’. The legless man trifled his hands over his head and let out an ear-to-ear yawn, his nose spliced into the pap of his cheeks. The sky threatened rain, black brackish rain. Remember the bowlegged man? Remember the chattel and whip of his stride, the awfulness of his awful life. The Witness who was witness to nothing worth witnessing, the Witness who sold pamphlets and card tricks, the Witness who sharpened his tongue on moonshine and wet whetted whet stone. Remember him, the witnessing of him? It’s a strange world, very strange indeed. ‘I’d pay a Kina for a peek at her bloomers, yes’ said the shamble leg man in a manly manner. ‘Not before I get this gum out of my hair, not a moment before’. White eggs and a basketful of pulled taffy, paying witness to the Witness’ witnessing, not a moment before. Loop the pulled taffy over a Pop-siècle stick, twirl and twirl, then into the jiggery of you’re maw ma it goes. Easy as Lynn, and at 27½ % less the cost. The man in the hat doffed his cap and went about his business, pulling pulled taffy, his Ballymore flatcar cap jiggering on the tip-top of his head.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Down There

breach me
she said, down
there, moan gently
into the cow of
my arms

Palmaria Palmate

your eyes two greenstones
dulse blue lips that bespoke not a lie; I make paper kites

without tails: palmaria palmate, you said
you’re lips making a pocking sound

I will gather your hair into a skein
the taut of my fingers ferrying knots into bows

then I will lay you in the crib of my arms
a child’s smirk on the kip of my face

Thursday, April 10, 2008

The Lass of Aughrim

Frangible Things and Not

A man with a peg-leg tippled across the sideways, the tails of his greatcoat flapping floppily. He faced the facing face to face, the facing crumbling round the edges. His peg-leg wobbled, the yolk woven into the inseam of his trouser leg. Willowing and wallowing for dear life, he stopped to smell a rose flourishing in the flowerbed beside the Waymart proper. Facing the rose he bent to re-buckle his shoe, the heel on the left shoe, the shoe he bent to tie, twice as high as the right shoe, the one already buckled and fixed. As the right shoe need not be attended to he paid attention to the left shoe, the shoe with the twice-as-high-heel, refastening the buckle with the cobs of his fingertips. His peg-leg poked into the brad of his ankle, causing him considerable pain and discommode. He knew next to nil about the legless man, whom he called an eggless man rather than a man without legs. The shamble leg man he knew fleetingly, having once seen him from a distance distantly. ‘Today I will buy some eggs’ he mumbled to himself, ‘a basketful of fresh white eggs’.

The man in the hat sat at ease and little comfort on a bench in the park with no trees across form the Waymart, his Burgher’s hat placed neatly on his lap. He watched with rapt attention the peg-leg man wobble and buckle, his left shoe striking the pavement like a spent match, a flurry of sparks and hi-tails cobbling the blacktop sideways. ‘That man needs some eggs’ he whispered to himself, ‘some fresh white eggs’. A tabby cat the size of a dog darted in and out of traffic, its tail twirling like a baton, eyes two black furies. The man with the peg-leg swiped at the cat with the heel of his right shoe, his left shoe trailing behind him like a second thought. The man in the hat doffed his cap and went about his business, his thoughts on eggs and white sales and frangible things and not.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Give Me Beef Tongue Give Me Tripe

Give me a sweet ethereal voice, crows caw cawing, the moon slung low in a star feral sky. Give me beef tongue give me tripe give me a tin of pork and beans. Give me give me give. Give me a warmer bed give me a sunshiny day give me crows caw cawing give me the moon slung low in a star feral sky. Give me give give me give give me me give. Give me tripe give me beef tongue give me a briny sausage. Give me a pilaster give me no pilaster give me none of that. Give me a pillar give me a post give me a pole give me a stake in life. Give me your warmer bed give me your feral sky give me crows caw cawing give me beef tripe tongue. Give me uncommon sense give me a red flower give me a tin of pork and tongue. Give me a good night’s sleep give me your warmer bed give me a low slung moon in a too high sky. Give me patience give me tolerance give me a tin of beef tripe tongue. Give me give a good night’s sleep.

Monday, April 07, 2008

A Face Like a Sac of Nails

‘You have a face like a sac of nails’ suggested the shamble leg man to Marjorie, the harridan’s sister’s friend. ‘And, might I add, an ass to match’. ‘Were the Merchant of Pheasants here you surely wouldn’t speak so meanly’ said Marjorie, the harridan’s sister’s friend. ‘Fuck him!’ yelled the shamble leg man. ‘Fuck him and the dross-cart he rode in on!’ The harridan’s sister’s friend Marjorie turned tail and inched her way across the sideways, her sunbonnet clutched under her arm. ‘And a good riddance to you too, sir’ she hissed, her sac of nails face razed with tears.

The shamble leg man had a mean cursed side that came out when he was troubled or unhappy with the world. He took out his anger on women like Marjorie, women with stayed passions and crumpet soft skin. Afterwards he’d sit in the booth by the window in the Greek delicatessen and order a boiled egg sandwich on pumpernickel with angelfish mousse and crabapple pie. The owner of the Greek delicatessen spit into the shamble leg man’s boiled egg sandwich, urinated into the angelfish mousse and hid bees’ stingers to the crabapple pie. The owner of the Greek delicatessen watched from a crack in the kitchen door as the shamble leg man ate his supper oblivious to the spoil he was shoveling into his slobbering maw.

The Merchant of Pheasants lived in a coal-shed behind the Waymart across from the aqueduct. He was often mistaken for the man in the hat as both men wore hats, the Merchant of Pheasant preferring a cane bowler or a rattan boater to the man in the hat’s Corbusier flatcar cap or standard Stetson. The elderly Polish atheist and the Swedish Presbyterian and the Belgian cooper were all given a black-and-white snapshot of the man they knew as the Merchant of Pheasants, so it was easy to see how the one could be mistaken for the other.

The Merchant of Pheasants

In the outskirts of Malopolskie in the town of Cracow an elderly atheist by the name of Sakharov played dice with his dog, a brindle Polish foxhound with a weak eye, the dog outwitting the elderly atheist 27½ times out of thirty. In the township of Stockholms Lan Stockholm a Swedish Presbyterian by the name of Olaf Skitter played pinochle with his cat, a Burmese calico with six toes on one foot and two on the other, the cat outwitting the Swedish Presbyterian thirty times out of 27½. In the fiefdom of Antwerpen in the city of Edegem a Belgian cooper by the name of Solomon Burke plays three-card Monty with his hamster, the hamster outwitting the Belgian cooper more often than not. All three men, the Polish elderly atheist, the Swedish Presbyterian and the Belgian cooper, had at one time visited the city where the man in the hat lived, each with his own reason for visiting. The elderly atheist came to see the weeping wall that sat behind the Waymart across from the aqueduct, the Swedish Presbyterian came to see if he could steal the harridan’s sister’s recipe for Pop-siècle stick placemats, and the Belgian cooper came to rid himself of the awful feeling that he was loosing his mind. All three were looking for the Merchant of Pheasants, who they heard lived in a lean-to behind the Waymart across from the Seder grocer’s backing onto the aqueduct.

Saturday, April 05, 2008

Scalloped Potatoes a la Gorta Mór

His ma made scalloped potatoes with heavy cream and a comedy of errors. First she scrubbed cleaned the potatoes, cutting out all the dark eyes with a paring-knife, then she cut them into slivers no bigger than a doily, set them out to dry on paper towel and waited for the oil in the skillet to begin smoking. Claiming Irish heritage his ma said there was no way she could make bad scalloped potatoes, even though the man in the hat’s father told her scalloped potatoes weren’t invented by the Irish, but by the Spanish conquistadores in South America in the mid 16th century, thereafter referred to as taratoufli (little truffle) by the Germans and the French. His da tried to convince his ma that what she was really making was pommes soufflés, but she kept to her guns, claiming that the Irish were entitled to at least one invention, even if it was a slurry one and not very creative.

‘My great-great grandmamma lived through An Gorta Mór, so shut you’re pie-hole and get me some pepper!’ she said, her dentures slopping in the slurry of her mouth. ‘But your great-great grandmamma wasn’t drawing breath, blighted or not’ said the man in the hat’s da ‘unless she was born in 1845, which clearly she wasn’t’. ‘She was the great-grand niece of Oliver Cromwell and lived behind a ferry-launch in county Cork’. ‘No she wasn’t’ said the man in the hat’s da, his left eye twitching. His ma turned round to face the skillet, which was smoky and searing hot, and said ‘leave it to a commoner to say such rot and blather’. His da made the beast with two backs with the lady who pealed onions for the Seder grocer, the man in the hat’s ma refusing to lower herself to the level of a commoner’s whore.

Deconstruction by Candle Light

Friday, April 04, 2008

Norwegian Carp and Coca Cola

The man in the hat kept a sty-pond behind his lean-to where he kept three coelacanth, an angelfish with one eye, two speckled groupers and a school of Norwegian carp. He fed them from the garbage behind the Seder grocer’s, a diet that consisted of dross, mildew, mold, rot, blister, fen, spoil, cabbage (so rotten it was indistinguishable from moldy parchment) carrot greens, sebaceous runny eggs, sunny-side down and yolk-less, potatoes with so many eyes they looked like a grammar-school of half-blind pupils, pupa, pupae, scaled chicken skin, so yellowed it looked more like meringue than chicken skin, boxtops and bottoms, uppers and downers (that had found they’re way into the Seder’s garbage by some form of apothecary alchemy) elbow grease, ankle jelly, gluten-free rye bread, half-bottles of Coca Cola and Spruce Beer (and on occasion Jamaican Ginger Beer) and an odd assortment of canned goods and tinned meat. He had a red snapper with an airbladder so bilious it died from overexposure to ultraviolet rays and lifelessness (as it could only float, due to its biliousness, sinking to the bottom of the sty-pond only after it expired).

This got him thinking about his da and riding round in the Mercury Fish truck delivering stacked crates of fish and fishy things, his da poking the nose of the truck in and out of traffic, shirt sleeves bristling in the wind, his fist pounding the dashboard, a trail of cigarette ash hedging along the ceiling of the truck cab. He always remembered the smell, of fish oil and grease, the pong of the disinfectant his da used to scrub clean the back of the truck when the deliveries had been delivered and the empty crates accounted for. At the end of the week his da’s pay envelope contained one-hundred and 27½ dollars, the highest denominations at the bottom, the lowest at the top. He always kept a few of the smaller denominations for himself, folding and placing them in his back pocket. He kept them to pay for the tall brown quart-bottles he bought on credit at the men’s only tavern across from the Mercury Fish Co. It was here that he first became acquainted with the man who made the ice at the local hockey rink who drank his quart-bottles with the palms of both hands clasped together as if in prayer, on account of the fact he was missing three fingers on each hand.

Wednesday, April 02, 2008

Slow-witted Newsboys and Norwegian Alchemy

‘Cursed cursing sun, such a bother’. He twiddled and cursed and cursed and twiddled, his one remaining thumb rubbed through to the bone. When he thought of Norway the legless man thought of the legless girl he met in Eina, a small village on the outskirts of Oppland. He met her in a magazine he’d leafed through while waiting his turn at the barber. Her legs had been sheared off in a locomotive accident when she was a young girl, the train having run over her little wee body as she lay tripped-up on the railway tracks. The doctors jimmy-rigged a pair of wooden stiles to the ends of her legs, or where her legs used to be, strapped round her waist and hips with copper wire and clothespins. She learned how to trundle and skip, a pocketful of stones in each pocket helping to police the weight of her wee little legless body. She was chosen by the mayor of Eina to appear in a gardening magazine as an example of what a wee little legless girl could achieve when equipped with wooden stiles, copper wire and clothespins. How the magazine found its way onto the table in the barber’s shop is a mystery, the work of a Norwegian alchemist, perhaps, or a slow-witted newsboy.

Tuesday, April 01, 2008

No se Puede Vivir sin Amar

Trundled Round and Round

The sun strut like a rooster, stoking the sky with a fiery cockscomb of light. The legless man stippled on the stubs of his missing legs and took in the glory of the day. Legless as he was, he trundled round and round, punting his handcart across the blacktop, his face nursing the sun like a suckling child. He had days when punting and trundling was delightful, the sun a milk-laden cuckoldry of lipid joy. On days like these he felt at one with everything, even the angry man with the coal-pitch eyes who stood in front of the Waymart twiddling his thumb (for he had but one, the missing one having been severed at the knuckle) and cursing at anyone within cursing distance.

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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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