Thursday, July 31, 2008

The Stillwater Book of Whoring

Yesterday morning at 27½ minutes past the hour the sky fell a second time. ‘…culls de wreck…’ said the legless man, ‘…not again…’. ‘…everything falls in due time…’ said the alms man, ‘…everything…’. (skies are made from blue paper and paste).

The sky was a garish blue-grey the day the man in the hat found the whore’s glove in the park. That day the man in the hat was reading a back-issue of Popular Mechanics, July 30th 1959. He read Popular Mechanics on Thursdays and every second Monday, all other days he read whatever was at hand, reissues of reissued National Geographic, Fan Magazines and the Stillwater Book of Whoring, a book he was particularly fond of. The day he found the whore’s glove (which he figured had something to do with his fondness for the Stillwater Book of Whoring) the man in the hat felt a twinge in his cull de sacrum. The last time he felt such a twinge he found a rotten apple core under a fichus tree. The time before that he found a copy of National Geographic under a cork tree with an advertisement for Bolin’s vapors on the next to back page (Bolin’s vapors, relieves the pain and embarrassment of goiters, boils, crows’ feet, jimmy-legs, swollen ankles, fallen arches, enuresis, cowlicks, coopers’ thumb, alopecia, hirsuteness, tendinitis, split-lip, Coober’s stenosis, tapeworm and a persistent cough).

The next day at ½ past the hour the sky stood up and bawled. At ¼ past ½ past the hour a moorhen licked past, a coopers’ thumb in its beak, a reissue of National Geographic, July 30th 1959, floating like a vapor in the blue azure blue sky.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Strange Looking Horses

‘…I spoke with God last night…’ said the alms man. ‘…and what did he say…?’ asked the legless man. ‘…he said to leave the porch light on…’. ‘…and…?’ asked the legless man, his eyes narrowing. ‘…and that tomorrow is Wednesday…’ answered the alms man, his eyes growing bigger and bigger. ‘…hmm…’ hemmed the legless man. ‘…and that donkeys aren’t really asses, but strange looking horses…’. ‘…what about Shetland ponies…? ‘…He didn’t say nothing about them…’.

Jigging for River Cod

The day the sky fell the man in the hat was at home patching a hole in his favorite sun-hat. He heard a thud then a hole where the sky used to be. He saw a flash of bright light, whiter than poached ivory and good teeth, then nothing. At that very moment the Liepaja Stepbrothers’ Dash Rambler came caroming round the corner, the eldest brother pulling the wheel to the left, the youngest brother holding on for dear life. With the sky having fallen, the brother’s Rambler looked like a bolt of lightening zigzagging across a blank horizon. Out the back window tumbled a loaf of Quaker bread and a half-pound of jellied pork, the Rambler kicking up a snowstorm of ashen dust. The car (which the Liepaja Stepbrothers bought at a Quaker auction for a song) bolted round the corner and disappeared up the sideways swerving, the stepbrothers wailing and yipping to beat the band. That was the last of the stepbrothers.

The next time anyone laid eyes on them they were having it out with the dogmen, the biggest dogman laying out the youngest stepbrother with one punch, the elder stepbrother poking a fichus stick into the smallest dogman’s eye, the other dogmen waist-deep in the aqueduct jigging for river cod. In the back, behind a fall of dead fichus’, sat a rusted out Buick Mackane, both side doors missing, the rear windshield caved into the backseat. The stepbrothers claimed it was theirs, the dogmen claimed that it belonged to their great granddad, the first dogmen to own a car. As there was no foolproof way to determine who owned the car, the dogmen and the stepbrothers decided the best way to lay claim to it was to beat the others heads clear in, which they did until night fell and both parties decided to call it quits. While out on one of his daily jaunts the shamble leg came across the rusted out Buick and kicked the front windshield clear through the backseat, saying as he did ‘…sure as I’m standing here the sky is going to fall, and none too soon by the looks of it…’.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Newman House - Dublin



Strophic Nonsense

I have lost the ability to think in straight lines. I am a tangential thinker; a feckless gadabout. I exploit and abuse proper grammar, sentence structure and paragraphing, sidestepping syntax altogether. I mistake tropes for interpolations and interpolations for tropes, strophic nonsense. I have never seen, let alone vetted, a biscuit tin offering plate or a Katowice blackguard, nor have I ever set foot in a rectory closet or a commode, I just made them up for the heckle of it. If it rains today, which I’m sure it will, wretched child, I will tilt my face into the nearest thunderburst and collect raindrops on the tip of my ligulae. That’s it, I’m all wrought out.

Sunday, July 27, 2008

The Deacon’s Assistant

The first time the two, the shamble leg man and the man in the hat met (on a Thursday at exactly 27½ past two) the shamble leg man thought he’d met a Tithe cobbler not a simple man in a sou’wester. The man in the hat, in a similar pitch, mistakenly took the shamble leg man for a Brahe peasant with a gamy leg. Both men, simultaneously, thought they’d been hoodwinked, each by the other, or by some other they had yet to meet or acquaint themselves with, like a Bakhtaran vicar or a Katowice blackguard. The harridan met both men at the Mayday church bazaar. Neither man, the shamble leg man, who she mistook for a common oaf, or the man in the hat, who she thought was a Deacon or a haberdasher, having left much of an impression with her. People with oddities were common, as was mistaking a Bakhtaran vicar for a Katowice blackguard or a Brahe peasant for a Tithe cobbler. On rainy days things looked like things on sunshiny days, on cloudy days and clear blue sky days, and on Thursdays and every second Saturday, things could easily be mistaken for things on Mondays or Fridays. Neither either or, or either neither or, some things just don’t make a loadstone’s worth of sense.

The Deacon’s assistant, a tonsured brawly with a haranguing smile, hid the Eucharist in the rectory closet next to the biscuit tins used to collect the offering. The harridan’s sister crept into the rectory, carefully so as not to upend the Almighty lectern, and swiped one of the biscuit offering tins, thinking she could sell it as an liturgical oddity or a penny ketch. She painted the tin ostrich blue, adding a doily frill around the tin’s mouth. She placed it next to the Pop-siècle placemats, a hair’s reach from the edge of the table, thinking it might encourage someone to pick it up and gaze fondly at it. She sold the ostrich blue offering tin to Dejesus, who upon fondling it in his gaze exclaimed ‘… a Tithe cobbler’s tin, what luck indeed...’. On Mayday mistaking a Bakhtaran vicar for a Katowice blackguard, or a Brahe peasant for a biscuit tin, was permitted, as long as the rectory closet wasn’t mistaken for a commode pot, the punishment for which was 27½ lashes to the backside with a cob-stick.

Friday, July 25, 2008

The Troubles







Bráthair Pádraig

A fettling squabbled across the blacktop, its tiny bird’s tongue weaning. The shamble leg man stopped, turned northeasterly, his right leg poling southwesterly, and stared at the fettling. ‘…mercies, what a strange sight indeed…’. The shamble leg man felt a cold shiver run up is tailbone and into the base of his neck. Whenever he felt quair and uneasy, which was more oft than not, he saw a weanling, its tiny bird’s tongue slickening in and out of its beak. The day before he espied a cork-hen slitting the wedge-way proper, its doves’ feet kicking up a fuss and bother.

He had no hanker for fowl; quair wee cunts. ‘...best left to they’re own devices, flat-caked between mudguard and tyre’. All this squabbling had the shamble leg man thinking about a bedtime story his great aunt told over and over. The charwoman charred woodchips in the first cook’s woodstove. When the first cook arrived home, which he did everyday at 3 O’clock on the dot, he threw the charwoman out the window. He never quite understood the morale of the story, or why his great aunt told it over and over, but whenever he felt unto do or uneven, which was more oft than not, remembering the story made him feel better.

‘…this persistent hiving is killing me…!’ He often heard a buzzing in the hollows of his ears, so much so, so much buzzing and burring that he had to clap his hands over his ears, a bumping echo drumming in his head. ‘…goodness me, this hiving hive is killing me…’. A cuvee of doves coo-cooed, the shamble leg man getting angrier with every coo-coo. ‘…nothing, not a thing, exists unless I say it does…!’ The shamble leg man readjusted his portly trousers and sighed, his hands firmly clapped over his ears, a burning in the stonepit of his gut.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Mr. & Mrs. J.J. Conley

In Praha in the village of Hlavni Mesto a boy bounces an Indian rubber ball with the flaps of his hands, his mother tallying the day’s recipes in a wee small ledger. ‘…you’re a dodgy cunt you are…’ said the boy to his mama ma. ‘…all that ledgering and not a pisspot to tosspot in…’. His mamma ma caught him under the chin with a left hook, his jawbone cricketing into the back of his head. ‘…that’ll teach you to cuss out your mamma ma…!. ‘…lousy fish…’ he said under his breath, ‘...to hell with you, you sad louse…!’ His mamma ma, getting ear and quip of her son’s whisper, said ‘…wee shit…!’ Surrounded by marigolds and cowbells, the sun coo-cooing, the sky bellowing, nory a wun, nary a wun atoll. The tricks in the tricking, fuck the lot of yea!

This is shear madness. Buffoonery! Hlavni Mesto cunts, what has became become of me, the auteur of this plissé (plis·sé)?

The shamble leg man wore a tinsmith’s smock plissé with taffeta frills. He wore it to Ships’ Day, not wanting to look unseemly or plus de cause. (The sky turned azure blue, a hackling of puffins crackling and whipping across the blue azure blue skycap). He wore his best culottes, a stiff white linen shirt, knee-socks and oxtail braid toe-sandals. Crouching like a beggar, his stiff linen shirt crackling, he intoned ‘
Bráthair Pádraig, keep my soul from hell below’. Mr. and Mrs. J.J. Conley, who happened to happen by, scowling said ‘…jiminy All Mighty, what a quair fellow…’.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Marigolds and Cowbells

The shamble leg man sat in the park under a tree and watched the hoopoes pickling; oop-oop-oop went the wee birdies, legs doving, oop-oop-oop. He listened to the birds oople until his ears belled and chin stiffened. He lit a half one and spat a cud of brown smoke through the scab of his lips. ‘…the doys are gatting langer…’ said the alms man through clenched teeth. ‘…yes, so they are…’ said the legless man hollowly. ‘…su’en thay’ll be no doys at awl…’. ‘…nary a day at all…’said the legless man. ‘…nory a wun…’.

Surrounded by cowbells and marigolds the man in hat takes a nap, his sou’wester cradled in the barrows of his fob. Off in the way far a tiny man with a big head sits pleasantly beneath the shade of a sprawling elm, his head flopping from side to side. ‘…tomorrow is today…’ said the tiny man with the big head, ‘…never too late to learn a new trick…’. The sun coo-cooed, the clouds puff-puffed and the sky bellowed in laughter. ‘…and nory a wun…’. ‘…nary a day at all…’. Cowbells and marigolds, fobs to the lot of yea.

In Praha in the village of Hlavni Mesto a boy bounces an Indian rubber ball with the flaps of his hands, his mother tallying the day’s recipes in a wee small ledger. ‘…you’re a dodgy cunt you are…’ said the boy to his mama ma. ‘…all that ledgering and not a pisspot to tosspot in…’. His mamma ma caught him under the chin with a left hook, his jawbone cricketing into the back of his head. ‘…that’ll teach you to cuss out your mamma ma…!. ‘…lousy fish…’ he said under his breath, ‘...to hell with you, you sad louse…!’ His mamma ma, getting ear and quip of her son’s whisper, said ‘…wee shit…!’ Surrounded by marigolds and cowbells, the sun coo-cooing, the sky bellowing, nory a wun, nary a wun atoll. The tricks in the tricking, fuck the lot of yea!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

The Jacosta Sisters

There was word spreading that Dejesus had it in for the Witness, in inside outside in, as words seldom spread evenly like well-laid asphalt. Dejesus had it in for most people he found troublingly and halfcocked. He had it in for the man who swept the streets, a slight man with a slight beard and a slight set of dentures (chewed down from year upon year of clenching down on the stem of his cob pipe), the woman who sold twisty pretzels in front of the Waymart, an impossibly dim woman with dim thoughts and dim habits (she wore the same floral smock day in and day out, accompanied by a kerchief made from old nappies and chicken dressing string), he had it in for the bollocks counter, an unceasingly fat man with unceasingly fat problems and fat fingers (whose employ it was to count the bollocks on cattle for the Jacosta Bollocks Sisters before they were sent to stud, the cattle, not the sisters) and anyone else he found woebegone and of middling utility. He did not, however, have it in for the man in the hat or the harridan, both of whom he found charming and well mannered.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Marigolds and Lye

That was then and when the man in the hat bellied up a rope of peameal bacon wrapped around his wraparound. He witnessed the underbelly of his potbelly, an unsightly sight indeed it was it was. That day it rained well into the blight (night) and into the morning (mourning). As there was no escaping the rain the man in the hat stayed put under his makeshift awning, makeshift to keep the rain from pummeling his head there about there.

From above the bottom he saw things, things made from paste and string, things with odd names and strange shapes. He thought they might be faint fading things, things somewhere in between, in the middle of things. But the middle is where you find it, never where you left it. The dogmen sat sitting in a queue, faces facing southwesterly, eyes straining to see the fading faint images that fell from above the bottom. This is madness! Lunacy! One day the outside will become the inside, the bottom above, somewhere between the faint and the fading.

Wraparound around the middle, a fistful of madness and lunacy, one less hat to stiffen. The man in the hat thought that if he could just find one more hat to add to his collection he could make it a day. But as the days were getting longer all he could expect out of the day was a stiff neck and a fistful of marigolds and lye (he pressed marigolds and hollyhocks into a scrapbook, the two meeting in the middle).

Friday, July 11, 2008

Black Bread and Whiskey

The biggest dogmen pulled a dead heron from the aqueduct, the littlest dogmen shrilly whistling Mary Heron of God, the other dogmen whooping and heckling. The bird’s wings were shorn off where tendon meets cartilage, feathers bled with exhaustion. The dogmen swung the carcass round and round, snapping the lifeless body against the trunk of a fichus tree. The Witness, who had been spying on the dogmen wedged between fichus and hawthorn, looked on in horror, legs shaking unstoppably. ‘…good Lord…’ he whispered to himself, ‘…the horror them cods are capable of…!’ The dogmen ate piss-curd with sweetmeat dumplings sopping up the rue with black bread and whiskey rag. They danced spinning round a casket-wood fire, the biggest dogmen trading steps with the littlest, the others clapping like marauders, a wailing coming from the fichus’.

Mr. and Mrs. Ronan Critchely lived on a hobble farm in the northern provinces. They lived with two dogs, three cats and a hog a poacher’s belly up from the southern provinces where the older folk wore skive smocks and wooded clogs year round. Mr. and Mrs. Critchely were wed on a sunshiny day in June 1927½ in a landau dory afloat the aqueduct, after which they moved to the northern provinces to escape the seething hatred of the dogmen, who had recently taken over the hard brown dirty dirt on the north side of the aqueduct. ‘…goodness God have mercy on us…’ Mrs. Critchely plead the day the dogmen arrived in town, ‘…what’re we common folks to make of such vile crumbly heathens…?’

The very next day Mrs. Critchely convinced her husband (Mr. Ronan Critchely) to whisk her away to the northern provinces where dogmen were nowhere to be found. They (Mr. and Mrs. Ronan Critchely of the northern provinces) in they’re haste to flee before the dogmen made of mess of them, body, soul and husbandry, left behind their third dog, an Irish Settler that went by the name of Augustine J. Wallops the 3rd. Such is the story of Mr. and Mrs. Ronan Critchely, late of the town where the monstrous dogmen lived monstrously, who fled fleeing to the northern provinces where the olden folks wore skive smocks and wooden clogs year in and year out.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Flints and Carob Hats

‘…lousy cod bastards…!’ yawed the alms man unyieldingly, ’…never to soon to learn a new jig, scat cunts…!’ He missed a mile by a foot and dallied to the left, then the right, then right of centre and back, never once loosing a foothold on the jiggering jig. ‘…when piss can fly…’. ‘…when prigs can fly?’ offered Dejesus geeing, ‘…you mean prigs, of course?’ The alms man felt for the sullied spot on his trousers, between the fifth pocket and the fob, and said ungallantly ‘…cod sissies can piss on a prigs fly for all I care…sissy cod bastards…!’ ‘…or up a rope’ said Dejesus. ‘…whore down it for all I give…’ ministered the alms man. ‘…whore indeed’ said Dejesus, halfcock flaunting. ‘…’tis a shameful sight, by Lord, these dogmen with their flints and carob hats,…bastards…!’ ‘…and not very mindful of their manners…’added Dejesus. ‘…not a truth of a lie there, by any stretch of the a pagination!’ The dogmen milled about lying out streamers of weed-green algae to soak in the sun. The biggest of the dogmen lit his cob and tallied a draw, cheeks sacking inwards. The water rose forebodingly, a shiner’s kip of cuprous weed willowing to the top.

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Sainmhíniú ábhar Amadán

‘…goodness God what’re we to do about the dogmen?’ asked the shamble leg man. ‘Let ‘em be’ said the Dejesus, ‘they’re as meek as lambs…’. ‘…yes..’ said the shamble leg man, ‘as long as you keep a fair distance from them’.

The fichus trees that grew behind the aqueduct spread there branches like wayward children begging for clipped cigarettes. The dogmen slept beneath the fichus’ leaves, some so elephantine they scraped against the balustrade running along the aqueduct. Tabriz Azarbayjan-e, read the name penknifed into the tree. The dogmen carved warnings into the fichus trees, ‘bogmen are ninnies, fuck you bogmen, go to hell you bastard bogmen, eat my feces bogeaters’. Dejesus figure if they pretended the dogmen weren’t there, carving warnings into tree bark, sleeping in canvas nest under the fichus’, they’d disappear. The Witness disagreed, ‘the dogmen are cunning looters with a disregard for others, especially Witnesses’. The alms man, fiddling with the brim of his alms cap, said ‘an aimsir fháistineach...’. ‘…leave the bloody Irish out of this...’ said the Witness sternly. ‘…sainmhíniú…!’ whispered the alms man, ‘…sainmhíniú ábhar amadán…! ‘…thing is’ said Dejesus polemically, ‘…it doesn’t matter who or what they are, there here to stay, so we best get used to it’.

The dogmen ate calcareous-algae dredged up from the bottom of the aqueduct. They made sculls from briar root and fichus gum, pitching the wood into hand-sized algae scours. The biggest of the dogmen stood on shore directing the other dogmen, pointing and gesticulating with his chopped pork hands. They bayed like mastiffs, necks twisted, eyes rolling back into the give of their skulls. When they’d brought up enough algae the biggest dogmen let out a piercing whistle, the other dogmen wading slowly into shore, arms battened with green cuprous weeds. They laid out the algae to dry, poaching the hard stems with boiled water drawn from the aqueduct. They ate like thieves, jaws muscling shreds of green milky weed, cheeks swollen red.

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

The Pigwash Dogmen

‘…he’s a patsy…’ yodeled the shamble leg man, ‘…a real patsy bastard…’. Dejesus looked up from his sandwich and frowned, the corners of his mouth cobbled with pickle salt. ‘…we should run the patsy bastard out of town…’. Dejesus frowned a second time, his face red ruddy. ‘…we could pole the sonuvabitch, stick him downside up in front of the Waymart, show the lousy cunt who’s boss…’. Dejesus placed his sandwich on the bench next to his newspaper and sighed, ‘…no use in causing a kafuffle…’ he said, ‘…especially when it’s the day after Ship Day…’. ‘…fuck Ship Day!’ hissed the shamble leg man, ‘…and fuck Dory Day and fuck Tugboat Day…fuck ‘em all, lousy bastard cunts!’ At that exact moment a grackle fell downwards from the sky, a mumbly peg caught in its throat. ‘…for the love of it…’ yipped the shamble leg man, ‘…its getting so as a man can’t feel safe anywhere, cunt bird almost took my head off…’. Dejesus rose and scooped the dead bird into the cradle of his arms, the bird’s throat wadded and taunt, the mumbly peg sticking out of its beak like a dog’s tongue, blue and yellow, and red where the peg had got caught up in the grackles throat.

This is the fifth time you’ve done this five times, opening a tin of crackle-fish without plugging your nose. One more time, a sixth fifth time, and you’re done for. Let the mumbly pegs fall where they will, diem doyen, four for a nickel, quim-bread butterside up, a chill tat tatting tat up his backbone settling in his jiggery. The man in the hat’s Hippo-Socratus had fallen on poor times, leaving a stoic trail of naught and not naught.

A bluer blue sky; some say the proofs in the tu·reen, crispy crisp round the edges and filled with custardy me·ringue. The man in the hat preferred his pudding fat sloppy with mincemeat and Cantors’ jelly, the runnier the better. His grandmamma stove-boiled sloppy pudding in an old coffee-tin, skimming the boil from the top with her favorite wooden spoon. On special occasions she’d sieving icing sugar on top with a cardamom grater. (This is the seventh time I’ve thought this seven times, one more seventh and it’ll be seven seventh seven).

‘…oh the humanely…’ said the legless man humanly. ‘…I dare say, dare I, this is crazy, crazy indeed…’. Dejesus picked up his fallen cap, twisted it into a bolo, and let out a sibilant sigh, wary of the Witness who had crept up witnessing behind him. The Witness bent at the knee and spat, forging forth and firth, his eyes red as scabs. He felt a queering in his belly, his ribcage separating from his breastplate, an itching itch at the base of his spine. The dogmen arrived clod clopping into town, backs weighed low with juniper berries and whistle grass. The dogmen slept under a canvas tarpaulin and cooked jessant hare and bitter-root tea over an open cooks’ fire. They washed in the aqueduct and boiled the fester out of their clothes with rainwater lye. The biggest dogmen was called Big Dog and the littlest Not Big Dog. The man in the hat feared the dogmen like a child fears a barber’s straight razor, the slightest twitch ending in a swallowtail cut or a torn ear.

Tuesday, July 01, 2008

The Derry Pigwash

He kept his things, his gyp-rock and mason’s trowel, in a box he hid underneath the pushcart, making them next to impossible to fish out, even were one to fancied oneself a prized angler. The rest of his things he kept in a stowaway trunk made from cane and pullet-wire. These things he hid between his bed and the wall next to the bed, safe from meddling hands. He kept the key to the stowaway trunk on a length of string tied around his throat, tight enough but not too tight. He sang hymns in a high vitriolic voice, his tongue lolling in the orchestra pit of his mouth. As he was a meddlesome man, he kept a ledger with all the names and birthdates of the people who stopped to look at his wares, pealing through it at night to see who had been by more than once, then rewriting the names on a separate page; these names and birthdays he reserved for further inspection, just in case he needed a place to stay when the rains rained or the cold ate at his bones like shipyard rats. He wrote Dejesus four times on the second page, underlining the j and s’ in a heavier script. Underneath Dejesus he wrote Witness, witless and ssentiW.

U. C. Eccles came by way of Swindon on a 3-oar ferry with two rudders. He met the gyp-rock man at the Derry Pigwash in nineteen-hundred and fifty-seven, both men hawking rock-salt and collectables. The following year they met in Provence-Alpes-Cote d'Azur in the town of Marseille, where a Hawker’s and Barker’s convention was underway, both men looking for a rock-salt man by the name of Vergas. (...this nonsense and blather; I haven’t the foggiest; I simple tap-tap-tap on the keyboard and hope for the best, it’s as simple as that, yes…). U.C. Eccles let out a borating ester, whoring in excelsior borealis’. Its never to late to earn another star for you’re grammar-chart, never! Grandmamma made the most sumptuous raspberry tarts, flouncing the edges with the tines of a fork. Derry Pigwash, a copper a dozen, six to the nickel, grandmamma storming pigs’ ears with the tines of a fork. She liked, she did, the porker’s pie with jelly-jams and peach aspic, said the sins in the plodding, a nickel to the harlotry (the slatterns washed starched and folded) crimping the edges with the behinds of hare arse, ferrying slatterns’ pie to the hobbled and bedeviled, cock’s catheter, more piss for the tootle.

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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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