Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Vaca Hermano of Córdoba Álava

The Split Glove Company of Splitsko-Dalmatinska fashioned high-end women’s gloves from sheep’s stomach and Berber leather. They were known the world over for using only the highest grade sheep’s stomach and Berber leather. The sheep’s stomach they imported from the Kafka Brothers of Prague, the Berber leather from the Vaca Hermano of Córdoba Álava. Their gloves were fancied by beehived woman and ducktailed men and by those who admired good craftsmanship and soft undersides. There was a rumor that the Split Glove Company also made slatternly things, gloves and scarves, headwraps and muffs, things that were best kept hidden away in a cupboard or a chest. One day out walking the aqueduct the man in the hat came across a Berber muff cobbled in the mud beneath a fichus tree.

The muff was rank with stale urine and cloves, the fingertips caked in dead leaves. He breathed in, the pong of cloves and stale piss stinging his eyes, the morning air thick with bluebottles and flies. The smell reminded him of his grandmamma’s raccoon coat, the one she wore to church with her black kitchen shoes and almond shaped bonnet. He remembered pressing his face into his grandmamma’s coat, breathing in the musty odor of the tanned skin and rubbed salt. The label read, Split Glove Company, Splitsko-Dalmatinska, hand stitched with the finest Arabian thread. He shoved the muff into his greatcoat pocket and headed for home, his thoughts tanned with boyhood memories and his grandmamma’s raspberry tarts.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Poached Ratfish and Sour Buttermilk

The morning sky was black with crows, the sun barely risen above the lowest treetops. Dejesus sat under the Waymart clock, his eyes on the alms man sitting across the way. ‘When will that pip understand that tomorrow is today and today tomorrow?’

Malcolm Firmin toiled as a cook’s assistant in a small unkempt café run by an equally unkempt cook by the name of Hugh Bustamante. Dejesus met Malcolm Firmin in the park behind the Waymart one rainy afternoon where both men were feeding the pigeons, Dejesus, bits of watercress, Malcolm Firmin leftover porkpie. Dejesus noticed that the man next to him tossing porkpie tidbits at the pecking birds was wearing an apron dusted with flour and stained in cooking fat, finding this odd, as today was Lent, he inquired of the man ‘…might I inquire of you where a hungry man can get a decent meal…?’ The man who he came to know as Malcolm Firmin, cook’s assistant, turning said ‘…certainly not where I work…’. Dejesus, his face tightening, said ‘…I’d eat the ears off a ratfish…’. The cook’s assistant, turning a second time said ‘…ratfish we have, come with me my hungry man…’. The cook’s assistant turned a third time, cocked his head and said ‘…mind you it’ll have to be fricasseed, we’re all out of cooking oil…’.

After a short walk, the day unfolding like a map of the world behind them, they arrived at the unkempt café. Upon reaching the swinging front doors Malcolm Firmin turned a fourth time and said ‘Every life is many days, day after day’. The swinging door swinging shut, the inside of the café as dim as a whore’s bedsit, Dejesus came face to face with Hugh Bustamante, his apron a black mass of fryer grease and flour. On the counter next to the flat stove, the top littered with burnt things and grease, sat a baker’s hat, the top half cut away with a boning knife. The assistant cook, Malcolm Firmin, addressed the head cook Hugh Bustamante in a low sotto loco voice ‘…this man would like a ratfish steak with boiled potatoes and a glass of our finest buttermilk...’. Afterwards all three men shared a pantagruelian cigar and glass of buttermilk, Hugh Bustamante picking the head lice from the white of his scalp while Malcolm Firmin recounted a tale his great-great granddad told him when he was a boy. Having had his fill of poached ratfish and sour buttermilk Dejesus crept from the unkempt café, the fusty smell of smoldering cigars and soiled bed linen burning his nose.

‘Every life is many days, day after day’, the thought taunted Dejesus. What if all those days one after the other amounted to nothing, day after day after day? What if each day was the same day but he didn’t know it, what then? How could he know? His stomach soured, a pissoires of buttermilk and poached ratfish. The next day, day after day, he met the man in the hat behind the Seder grocer, his stomach fulminating with gas and fish oil. He stood facing the man in the hat’s hat, a beige fedora with an imprint hatband, and sighed, the corners of his mouth slackening, a burgling in his guts.

Saturday, September 27, 2008

Tripe and Stewed Onions

Having, as he had, lockjaw, his granddad wasn’t fond of hard candies and lollies. Had he a choice, which he claimed he hadn’t, for a variety of reasons, the least of which was God having chosen him as one of the unchosen, he would spend his days chewing on molasses toffee and cowbell mints, both of which he bought from a dreary-faced shop owner who sold penny candies and luncheon meat, anything else, like dried goods or produce, one had to buy from the Greek deli down the street, who provided a wider selection of groceries. The Greek deli sold the following, olive oil, both virgin and extra virgin, olives, black and green, lamb, in shanks and kebobs, baklava, with honey and sesame seeds and without, Turkish coffee, as the Greeks are not well known for coffee, flat bread and not so flat bread, such as 7-grain and oatmeal molasses, in buns, scones and loaves, Plato Chips, vinegar and plain, Ariosto ice-cream, vanilla and walnut swirl, Gala apples, baby potatoes, carrots, by the bunch, beetroot and cardamom. The alms man’s granddad had no time for lollygagging and jawbone fester, as the jawbone was the hinge that moved the world. Fester, blain, rankle and anything that came wrapped in its own viscera was unsanitary, as were tripe balls and stewed onions. The alms man’s granddad avoided stomach lining and gall, and when in a turnip, things that were oily or hard to swallow. Nothing riled the alms man’s granddad more than a cheapskate. Likewise he had no fondness for gin hounds, but would put up with a sot over a double-crosser, as a sot was easier to wrestle to the ground and stomp, should the need presented itself. He believed uppercuts and strong-arming were permitted in a donnybrook, even if it resulted in one, either or all of the combatants loosing a mouthful of teeth or an eye.

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Granddad was a Penny Thief

(Life is peopled with different shapes and kinds of people; some fat, some skinny, some too fat, some too skinny, some that have first names that are the same as their last name, Ljutomer J. Ljutomer, others have names that begin with the same letter of the month they were born, Franco February, others have no names but simply descriptive terms that fill in where no name can be found or attributed, the nameless, in the end, which always comes too soon, life is peopled with all shapes and kinds of people who you’ll never met, regardless of whether they have a first name the same as their last name, or the letter of their first name is the same as the month they were born in, or those who go about life nameless, wondering what all the fuss is about names and naming).

The alms man’s granddad was a penny thief. When he wasn’t penny thieving or juggling, which he did in his spare time, he liked to play cards with Alfonso Q. Alfonso, a penny thief with jug ears and grave eczema. The alms man’s granddad wore a poke cap and stovepipe trousers with double stitched hems. He wore a fireman’s sash believing that when all is said and done firemen will have the last word. Not understanding what his granddad meant or why he said it, the alms man wrote it off as dimwittedness and left it at that. His granddad liked Caws Nantybwla Farmhouse Cheese sandwiches with raw onion and Crud mayonnaise. As a potable his granddad preferred Procter’s Gin with a wedge of beetroot. His granddad ate nutmeats bathed in sisal salt, an old Irish cure for Perkin’s sickness, a viral infestation of the foot and jawbone.

Wednesday, September 24, 2008

The Brezovica Plum Brandy Distillery

As with most people Ceiriog Hughes had a childhood. He had a grandmamma and granddad, a mamma and da. His da hated his mamma and his grandmamma played cards with his granddad, his grandmamma trumping diamonds and spades, his granddad giving in to drink evenings and after Sunday Mass. He didn’t know the difference between hot things and cold things and never saw a sunrise that didn’t curse the world it shone down upon. He knew that things happened, all sorts of things, but didn’t understand why. He knew that dogs liked to sniff other dogs and that mice lived in nests under the stairs and that Sunday came before Monday and something’s were bigger than other things. These things he knew from experience and from seeing things more than once; everything else he had to take on faith and from what people told him was true and not so true. His great-granddad worked as a bung tamper for the Brezovica Plum Brandy distillery owned by Ljutomer J. Ljutomer. After 27 ½ years of tamping bungs his great-granddad’s hands were scalloped raw, his fingers curled like wood shavings.

The Caersws Railway Station

Ceiriog Hughes ate cored apples soaked in rum. He bought the apples cored and pared from a black marketer with a mallet foot and a lazy eye. The black marketer’s apples were picked from the topmost branches, cored, cut into slices then soaked in rum to bring out the russet sweetness of the meat. He liked Corpus Crispy Biscuits with his rum soaked apples, and a cup of Royal Bitters to quell the ache in his belly. The man in the hat met Ceiriog Hughes and Mijolla D. Mijolla after the church bazaar, all eyes on the harridan’s sister, her skirt cleaving her ass as she slid her table under the sanctuary pews. Ceiriog Hughes sat in the last pew in the last aisle at the back of the church, Mijolla D. Mijolla in the second to last pew in the second aisle, the man in the hat standing at the very back of the church scribbling notes on the crib sheet of his thoughts.

The Penybryn farm bred and butchered glue horses, the slaughter pit overflowing with gore and carrion, an offal mizzle fencing the air. No one save the butchers knew about the slaughter pit, and when they spoke of it the talk was of dung caked tails and hobbled legs. Ceiriog Hughes was born on the 27th of March 1928, his mamma pushing him out arse first, the umbilicus looped round his neck like a sportsman’s tie. He was born a second time (his mamma dragging him by the cord to meet the noonday train, his shoulders clenched between her red scabby thighs) on a splintered coach pew in the Caersws railway station. The family moved to a small thatched cottage on the outskirts of Denbighshire where he learned how to hand-catch crayfish and tie knots with bailing wire and sheep rope. Ceiriog Hughes met the biggest dogman at a cotton mill where both men worked as day laborers. Their job was to unwire the hoppers once the skeins were full, then batten the cotton into bails for transport. The biggest dogman made sure the wires didn’t get crossed in the hoppers, Ceiriog Hughes unwinding the bits that did, both men loading the finished bails onto the back of oxcarts, then each taking a turn giving the oxen a spank to get the load moving.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Mahout Mountaintop

Off in the far away a scarecrow waved goodbye to the Dejesus, as today was the day he was to travel by foot and heel to the mountaintop on the other side of the other side. He took with him a digging trowel, a woolen blanket, his toothbrush and a fresh litter of gumbo and dried figs, all stowed away in his haversack, which he carried on a tumpline on his back, wary might he fall prey to a gadabout or a sore looser. Quickening his pace he fleet footed it to the valley that sat like a wan calf beneath the shadow of the mountaintop. If he kept the pace at a swift knot a mile he’d be at the foot of the mountaintop by noontime the marrow, if he lagged, by a quarter passed three. He carried a digging trowel in case he need quarry a trench, cautious as he was of a wayward archer, bow taut and at the ready, who might, as happenstance demands, cast an arrow into the stove of his heart. As he was unaccustomed to boohooing he carried a woolen blanket to dampen his cries, his larynx more oft than oft weeping like a banshee when the going got tough. No Captain Courageous was he, nor rectory pip or killer assassin.

Mijolla D. Mijolla lived in a hunter’s hut not far from the mountaintop. He fished for crayfish in the river that ran here and there beneath the mahout mountaintop. He had a three-legged one-eyed dog whose station in life was to picket the sheep from grazing the mayweeds that grew in the valley beneath the mahout mountaintop. He wore a tonsure to keep lice from bedding in the seams of his eyes.

Jellies and Porkpie Suckers

The next day the sky, crashing, fell earthward. The man in the hat headed for the park behind the aqueduct where he’d heard a slab of the sky had fell fallen. He put on his spelunker’s cap and hightailed it, his boots kicking up dust, what remained of the sky teetering on the brink, a titlark coo-cooing in the branches of a tree, ‘…coo-coo…’ yipped the man in the hat, ‘…coo-coo, coo-coo, coo…’ A crackling autumn wind stung his eyelids. He opened and closed his eyes, his nose weepy with snot. ‘…what have we here…?’ he said. Darting in and out of the deadfall, coattails trailing behind him like a caudal switch, the littlest dogman scampered, a look of terror on his face. The titlark, billeted in the highest tree branch, coo-cooed, the littlest dogman scarpering the deadfall, the man in the hat rubbing the rot and bleb from his eyesore eyes.

The sky, fallen, cast a pal on the earth, neither dogman, titlark or a measly soul thinking otherwise. In the treetops a pipit signaled the all-clear, the littlest dogman running in circles, the man in the hat trifling with the idea of buying a new rain slicker and a boatman’s cap. Stowed away in his greatcoat pockets (with his jellies and porkpie suckers) was a tube of Cruppers’ all purpose liniment, the cure all for chest colds and barker’s throat. ‘…hail be to the fallen sky…’ shouted the robber, having snuck up behind the man in the hat, the pipit and the littlest dogman. ‘…spare the dowel, spoil the infant…’. The man in the hat looked at the littlest dogman and said ‘…such quair nonsense…’ the dogman, blithely, cocked his head towards the going away sun and whispered ‘…a bellyful of I’d say…’. Both men turned a gut, dismissing the robber with a harrumph. (As far as the world knows no sky has fallen earthbound from the sky; and if it does, the shamble leg man will be the first to know).

Saturday, September 20, 2008

A Cruel Devilish Sky

This was not the first time the sky had fallen into the shamble leg man’s house; twice before it had plummeted through his roof, humiliating the bones and chinks in his neck. The first time after a trip to Jelgavas in search of raw monks’ cheese, the second time the night after the day he spent the night sleeping under the stars in the woodlot behind the Waymart. Each time he awoke with a stitch in his neck, a hole as round as a lamb’s belly in his roof. Such was the misfortune of living under a cruel devilish sky. He kept a copy of the Guttenberg Bible under his bed next to his Popular Mechanics collection. That morning, the third time he awoke to a lamb’s belly hole in his roof, he reached under the bed for the Guttenberg, and thumbing through it came to the proverb for those in woe, 'He that tilleth his land shall have plenty of bread: but he that followeth after vain persons shall have poverty enough'. Wiping his brow he thought, ‘…fallow land is tilled by snorting oxen, seeded with rocks and pebbles…’. He left home with a hankering in his belly for lamb stew with baby carrots and bulb garlic.

Bill Bailey lived not far from the stickmaker’s shop in the outskirts of town, (any town). The stickmaker whittled piano legs and broken crutches into walking-sticks, the alms-stick being fashionable among the unfortunate and ambulatory. He (the stickmaker) liked cob soup with cornbread and pureed squash, chewing a mouthful of cob with a spoonful of mashed squash. He lived quietly in a ramshackle hut at the outskirts of town with a dog and a cat. The dog spoke in tongues, the cat in pantomime. His shop was made from porch wood, held together with straightened nails and copper wire. Bill Bailey stopped by to chew the fat with the dog, with whom he had a fond social relationship. The cat, of whom he was not fond, he kept at a distance, lest the beastly viper scratch out his eye or spit up toad or a church mouse.

Friday, September 19, 2008

Raw Monks’ Cheese

The Liepaja Stepbrothers were acquainted with the contrabandist’s, two of whom they met at a soirée put on by the Asian contrabandist the day following Ships Day, but had no business with them, preferring to do business with the contra contrabandist who were inferior hagglers but lassie-fare when it came to trading and swapping.

Hazel Johnson sold raw monks’ cheese from the back of a handcart, wedges for 34 cents, end-bits for 24 cents. The harridan’s sister met Hazel Johnson at the fry-up the day after Ships Day, the harridan’s sister dressed in a corker’s smock, Hazel Johnson in a tinsmith’s apron. The harridan’s sister said to Hazel Johnston ‘...end-bits are creamier…’. ‘…24 cents a dozen...’ said Hazel Johnston. ‘…half a dozen for 12½, and not a penny more…’ said the harridan’s sister and walked away.

Hazel Johnston never again came to Ships Day, or the day before or after. She took up her handcart and moved away to a place where the sun never shone and the sky always fell. She knew about the third whore’s glove, and she knew about those that claimed to be in possession of a fourth, and knowing this she knew that the fifth glove, which she kept wrapped in cheesecloth hidden beneath the creamier cheese, was a portend from God, and as with all portends best left hidden from querying eyes. That morning the shamble leg man awoke with s stitch in his neck, a colossal chuck of sky having fallen onto the back of his head crushing his vertebra into itty tiny bitty smithereens. Lifting himself from bed he stared skyward, the hole in his roof as round as a lamb’s belly.

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Sugarcane Whisky

‘…bite ‘em…!’ shouted the boy to his dog. ‘…on the leg, bite…!’. The dog lowered its head and sniffed the ground beneath the tree. The boy lowered his trousers and pissed, a hot thread of urine pooling in the lap of the body. ‘…bite, sit, bite…’ he yelled, ‘…sit, bite, sit…’. The dog stared up at the boy and lowering its ears like folded socks whined.

The following day the constabulary identified the body as belonging to the lately departed deceased man who worked for the Hamara System Tabriz Technology Company. In his vest pocket was a child’s woolen mitten, a piece of kite string, a pocket comb missing two tines, a balled up candy wrapper and a racetrack stub citing race #27, ticket not found in winner’s circle.

The day after the following day the man in the hat found a piece of paper on which was written the following, the world is a random series of reoccurring events, the trick is figuring out which ones and when. He crumpled the piece of paper into a ball and tossed it into the dustbin with the other trash and irregulars. Musing, he thought ‘…random is as random does…’.

The contrabandist’s sold sugarcane whisky from a shed out back of the aqueduct, 34.6549 Leva for a jar, 18.6066 for a half-jar. They imported the jarred whisky from a small family-owned distillery in Andhra Pradesh overseen by the great-great granduncle of Hyderabad, an Asian contrabandist’s.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Benjamenta Needle and Thread Co.

In Tabriz Azarbayjan-e Bakhtari a man who worked for the Hamara System Tabriz Technology Company found a mitten embroidered with gemstones and ivory buttons. Alleging it was the fourth whore’s glove, despite the fact it had neither fingers or a thumb, he steadfastly refused to admit it was a child’s wooly mitten, and when push came to shove, furthered declaring it had belonged to the courtesan whore of Louis the X1V, who was renown for her carnal appetite and ability to eat anything raw or partially raw. Corpus Crispy Biscuits were his favorite, sacs of which he bought from the Elbe grocery with the stock photo of Elvis in the condiments section. The proprietor of the Elbe grocery, Horace, a distant relative of Mortimer, the inventor of bake-your-own flat bread crisps, was a fan of toast-you-own waffles, which could be found next to the OXO Cubes in the miscellaneous aisle.

The very same man who worked for the Hamara System Tabriz Technology Company who claimed to have found the fourth whore’s glove and shopped for Corpus Crispy Biscuits at the Elbe grocery with the stock photo of Elvis and an advertisement for toast-you-own waffles, met the man in the hat one particularly humid afternoon the day after the day after Ships Day. He was dressed in a blue pullover chemise and a pair of rust coloured gentleman’s slacks, his feet shod in Polbeg loafers with vinyl uppers and leather bottoms.

The following day a body was discovered behind the Benjamenta Needle and Thread Co. The body, stiffened with the morning cold, sat upright propped against a fichus tree, legs mended together, eyes staring blankly at the world. The boy who found the body, a mayfly of a boy, was out walking his dog, a meager toothless feeble dog. The boy and his dog stared at the body, the dog sniffing. The boy said to the dog ‘…easy come easy go…’, the dog sniffing. Each foot shoed with a separate, albeit identical shoe, a pair of Polbeg loafers with vinyl uppers and leather bottoms, the laces untied, the soles worn through to the liners. The boy poked at the body with a stick, the air abuzz with bluebottles and winged gnats, the dog sniffing.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Warblers Wrens and Swallows

(The title Old Man in Hat has been changed to After the Wake, for reasons that will become apparent, or perhaps not).

As the crow flies, soaring, the legless man dreams of pig-sty stew and ripe melon. A cackling cooksfooted warbler wrens and swallows, too much rain and sleet, ladlefuls of over cooked lamb and fricassee. He too will sacrum to the succor, mouthwatering stew-pot beans and meat off the hoof. Its never too late to learn a new culinary trick, pots and pans and skillet black skillets forged from tinsmith iron and undying regret. Up from the shins to the copse of the knee, right back of where the thorns branch out, tributaries of least resistance and a poke in the chin. He couldn’t recall if he could remember a thing, not that it would make a difference, him with his checkered shirt and dun-rubber waders. ‘Wait up a little’ he boohooed, ‘I can’t make the left turn when its veering to the right’. Never one to pass up a good rejoinder, he commoved to the right, never once blinking an eye or batting a lid.

A feat defying sky, windy and leaf-blown. Mornings like these reminded the man in the hat just how indifferent the sky could be, and how his da never wore the same work shirt twice, telling him how pedestrian and low cultured it made a man look. He shoed, the soles of his boots cobbled with pebbles, and left his lean-to.

After the Wake

On the facing page boldly written in the blackest India Ink Dejesus read,

to sleep
where clay grafts
to thorn


Having no reason to quip he left the spot he was standing in and headed north easterly, the sun barely risen above the smokestack chimney. That day, a day like no other, Dejesus was to meet with the cock hawker to haggle and hem for a redbreast fighting cock, one of two that was up for sale for a prayer and a song. ‘…to sleep in the bellows of the sky, now that would be tricky indeed…’. The sun rose above the rooftops, a yellow orb, and sat high above the treetops. Dejesus, eyes fixed on the prickly edges of the yellow sun, spread open the morning news and read aloud, SDLP CALL FOR MAJORITY RULE, IRA Volunteers 'used as spies', British PM for key Belfast talks, Northern Bank trial opens, UVF assault raises feud fear, Strong turnout urged in Fermanagh by-election, Hunger strike over Shell pipeline, Durkan ensured SDLP will never share power, the wind ripping into the cuffs of his greatcoat sleeves. When he’d finished reading, the paper unfurling like a ship’s sail, he laid it on the bench next to his hat and closed his eyes. ‘…not in this lifetime, no never…’. He cleared his throat, a rumble deep in his belly, his thoughts on Fermanagh by-elections and Hunger strikes, volunteerism and majority rule, and fell half-asleep on the bench, the morning news flitting like a kite’s tail in the ripping morning wind.

The night’s slays lined up in neat orderly rows, natures’ green grocers summing up the evenings’ take, the alms man hungered for a fortnight, wondering if he’d see the sky before it fell earthward downward to the ground. ’…these are miserable times…’ he commiserated, ‘…and getting miserable by the fortnight...’. High in the morning sky Frigga spins a gray loom of clouds, the lot behind the Greek Deli awhirl with green jelly and yesterday’s spit-lamb. Fastening the clips to the soles of his shoes the alms man prepared himself for the day. He cut himself a cassock’s serving of bread, not Quaker’s loaf or Shabuoth rye, and ate slowly, each bite inventing the next until he’d had his fill.

After the wake the mourners gathered at the foot of the aqueduct, Dejesus telling the story about the boy and his dog and his mother, a slattern whore who lost her glove in a free-for-all at the Weatherman Inn. The boy ran away with his dog after his mother skipped town with a fat banker who never once said tomorrow. He took with him all those things he could carry on his back, his algebra notebook, a coil of old thread, his trusty penknife and enough dog food to feed both of them until they reached the westerly coast, a place he’d heard where a boy and his dog could find work shelving salt tins and mending crabbers’ nets.

Sunday, September 14, 2008

Glenn Gould - Bach Partita No.6 (1 of 3)

Glenn Gould - Bach Partita No.6 (2 of 3)

Glenn Gould - Bach Partita No.6 (3 of 3)

The Scout Master Simms

The scout master Simms wore his shirt out, the tails hanging well below his pant’s pockets. His father, Rupert Simms, a one-armed sawyer by trade, wore his uniform day and night, claiming it brought him good luck and the world better weather. The scout master Simms lived in a one-room walkup in a two story house and had a pet dog with three legs and a goiter. The scout master Simms used the suppurate to ward off restlessness and Rupert’s Leg, a malady of the knee and ankle that caused the sufferer to tilt at right angles to left planes, and to discourage yellow fever. Sal Camden, a cork-foot bailer with a whale’s eye view of the world, lived in the two-room walkup opposite the scout master Simms one-room.

The proprietor of the Greek Deli, Dolmen Hicks (whose parents were beastly fat laymen from the Aram peninsula, never having once set foot on Greek soil) was an acquaintance of both men, having met them on Ships Day, a day that saw three chickens dressed in red satin overcoats, one with a fiery orange cockscomb, pantomiming the second act of King Lear, and a quair fellow with a fig-shaped birthmark eating Augers’ Blancmange with boysenberry compote. The scout master Simms learned of the whereabouts of the third whore’s glove from the quair fellow who said he knew one of the notary’s who worked for the Norwegian Collection Agency and Notaries. He said that the Ramat Gan family were in cahoots with the dogmen, and that between the two of them they had more gloves than a many-handed person could ever dream of owning.

The next day after his morning ablutions, a 27½ minute shower, a shave and a small continental breakfast of boiled eggs, two, toast, three, and a cup of bitter coffee, the scout master Simms left for the other side of the world. No one but the quair fellow and Dolmen Hicks, a quair fellow himself, knowing anything about the scout master Simms’ trip to the other side of the world, not even Sal Camden the cork-foot bailer, who if given the chance would tell anyone within telling distance, no, not even he.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

Hoi Polloi and Unspeakable Things

Before leaving home the harridan took a sulfa bath. Having never before today been beyond the outskirts of town she was fearful she might catch a fearful cold or the plague. Today she was meeting with the tinsmith between here and there. Having never been here there or anywhere in between, she put on her carcoat and highest pair of kneesocks. She was told about a hoi polloi of dogmen who lived between here and there and about trees so wide you couldn’t see an inch in front of your nose. She was cautioned about walking too slowly and about giant midgets that would eat you up and spit you out in little bitty pieces. She was warned about all sorts of hoi polloi and things so unspeakably horrid they made your skin crawl.

Her skirts gartered round her waist, hair cinched in a topknot, on her way she went, the sky trailing behind her like a smitten lover. ‘…these are perilous times…’ she said trembling, ‘…perilous indeed…’. A piccolo playing a trumpet played. Simply dressed in overalls and checkered shirt a farmhand swung the oxmallet, caving in the front of the steer’s head, scattering bone and mason’s dust every which where. The harridan took a step backwards, faltering, then walked onwards on, her thoughts on caved in skulls and checkered shirts.

She met the tinsmith behind the Waymart, a rubbish bin full of feebly execute origami cranes separating them. The tinsmith, jiggling, said ‘…have you the whore’s glove…?’ The harridan, waggling, said ‘…no…’. ‘…then where is it…? ‘…somewhere where you’ll never find it…’ They parted, the tinsmith heading to the west, the harridan to the east, a slay of crows overhead circling, the harridan rushing homeward, her skirts gathered round the hoop of her waist.

Friday, September 12, 2008

And I Neither I

‘…the sky will not fall…’ said the lamplighter, ‘…I will not allow it…’. Having lit all the lamps in his district he left for home, his wick-lighter smoldering. On Thursdays he relit all the lamps with short wicks, on Mondays he lit all those lamps that lit the walkway in front of the Waymart, on Tuesdays and Wednesdays he lit those lamps that he’d forgotten to light on Sunday, on Fridays and Saturdays he rested, having lit and relit all the lamps in his district that needed lighting. He would not allow the sky to fall. His children, Labe, Mercer, Collette, Hamm, William and Millicent, and his wife, Millie, depended on him, so the sky falling was unthinkable, as were unlit lamps and low wicks.

The man in the hat knew the lamplighter from his days as a letter carrier for the Newton Letter Co. The two kept company at the end of the workday; the man in the hat grinding the corns and trumpets from his feet, the lamplighter salving the burnt tips of his fingers, both men enjoying a ball of Cutter’s Scotch Whiskey. ‘…my corns and trumpets are killing me…’. ‘…and me my fingers…’. ‘…ah but for the Whiskey…’. ‘…but indeed…’. ‘…makes a man long for better times…’. ‘…pine…’. ‘…I’d give my left arm for a day without rain…’. ‘…and me a leg…’. ‘…and that’d be that…’. ‘…that’s that…’. ‘…have you a smoke to spare…?’ ‘…have I yes I have…’. ‘…pass one over will you now my good man…’. ‘…and that’ll be that…’. ‘…never one to pass over a new trick…’. ‘…and I neither I…’. Both men nodded and went their separate way, the man in the hat back to his declensions, the lamplighter to his wife and children, neither man uttering a word as they went.

The lamplighter’s family kept a light on in the window so their da could find his way homeward home. He had trouble seeing in the dark and was prone to fits of lethargy and disorientation. The littlest one Hamm feared his da would fall down a rabbit hole, the biggest one Mercer that his da would bump his head, the whole family fearful their da would never come home, choosing another family with littler children and a mother who didn't complain so much.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

The Knights of Valmieras

The Gibbs’ Hard Mustard Co. held a family fun day every July 27th. The general manger and organizer of the annual family fun day, a mister J.S.Q,W. Coop, was arrested for making obscene signs behind the back of Ms. Alba Hussmann, who upon turning to face J.S.Q,W. Coop fell over her handbag dislocating her hip and tearing her coat. He was incarcerated for 5 years less a day, that day to be spent in solitary detention chewing on the consequences of his heathenry.

A confluence of stars glimmered in the nighttime sky. Howard Cauvery, eating a mille faille, lips smacking, said so long to Dejesus, who was leaving the next day for Mt. Vassal. He was to meet with a tinsmith in the smithy of Valmiera Latvia, who had the other whore’s glove, a relic passed down from family to family in the grand tradition of the Knights of Valmieras. The tinsmith’s ancestry, having barter the glove from the Sisters of Hoofdstedelijk Gewest in Brussels, kept it in a cool dry place alongside the year’s harvest, rutabagas, turnips, yellow and brown, kale, duce carrots, fiddleheads, poached from the friar’s tun, yellow and off-yellow potatoes and starchy fat beans, yellow and green.

The Ramat Gan family of Tel Aviv, with whom the tinsmith’s ancestry had a fleeting partnership selling Dutch Pleasantries, claimed to be in possession of the third whore’s glove, suggesting that three was a luckier number than two. The elder Ramat Gan wore a Corbusier flatcar cap with a badger hatband. He found the third whore’s glove under a cypress tree behind the Norwegian Collection Agency and Notaries. A notary by the name of Éclat stake ownership of the perfumed hand garment, the glove being found on their property. After wrangling and cajoling the glove from the elder Ramat Gan, who he referred to as ‘the whoring thief’, he permitted the Ramat Gan family to place an opening bid on the glove.

From that point on the glove remained in secrecy, the Norwegian Collection Agency and Notaries and the Ramat Gan family of Tel Aviv being the joint proprietors of the third whore’s glove (the Ramat Gan family signing a promissory note stating that they would pay a princely sum for the glove once the notarization had been competed). The elder Ramat Gan, after conferring with his family, purchased the glove for principesco sum of 44.0829 Reais.

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Fey Dryad

Her petticoat round her knees, heels clipping, the harridan left the commode. The commode pot upturned, door swinging, she left in a scurry, her socks bagging round the cobble. Hurrying she left, her knee-socks round her ankles.

The commode upturned, she sped fleeing quickly homeward. Poor Paddy dinging, his head full of nonsense, took a left turn then a right then ambled sideways, the pockets of his not so greatcoat billowing. Casting aside the only clue he had, the shamble leg man floundering swiftly homeward. ‘…its never to late to learn a new trick…’ said the shamble leg man bootlicking. Kerbed, a stray astray, the orphaned urchin high-tailed it to the leeside quay, fey tickly tock. Besotted on yesterday’s quiver, the shamble leg man passed fleetly the now crouching fey waif, her urchin’s locks trussed in a double bow. ‘…its never to late to learn an old trick…’ he said in passing, the fey dryad bedeviled with trickery and the un supernatural. Enrapt in a red checkered kerchief, she saved the last of her queso aleman, a gift from the legless man who said no thank you to thank you.

Suspenders coiled round his ankles the alms man left in a bustling hurry. Logarithms plaguing his every move, he rounded off to the highest number, then starting at the end worked his way forward. Once he’d rewound to the beginning he redounded to the end, thinking as he did ‘…heathenry…!’

Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Orderliness and Efficiency

In a fit of pith the shamble leg man threw his hands into the air and shouted ‘…away with you damn lollygaggers, away with the lot of you…!’. The sun still low in the morning sky, lamplight querying the way east, the shamble leg man took a early morning nap. A murder of crows crisscrossed across the sky, the shamble leg man asleep in the fetter of his dreams. Wings flapping madly, the birds alit on a telephone wire across from the Waymart. The axmen pulled the oxcart to a halt and stood up, a murderously hot sun rising in the almost fallen sky. The shamble leg man awoke from his nap, thoughts rippling, and stared at the sky. The crows had alit from the wire, black hovering, and alit on top of the Seder grocer’s awning. ‘…what a man can’t swallow he can’t eat…’, said the shamble leg man, ‘…and that is shameful shame indeed…’. The sun hedged above the Waymart clock, alighting the way to heathen and hell. The shamble leg man redressed his thoughts, queuing them into tidy packages, each thought leading into the next, an ascension of orderliness and efficiency. A crow the size of a cat cut slantingly over the shamble leg man’s head, barely missing the nick of his ear. He shook his fists, two fleshy axe-handles, the crow swerving to the left, the shamble leg man shaking uncontrollably. The crow made a second salvo, wings outstretched, the shamble leg man driving his fists into the bird’s ribcage, the crow falling, a black corset of feathers scattering everywhichwhere. A molly squirmed blazing in the crow’s beak, the bloom’s on the lee uphold, said Paddy dinging, poor bastard rotting in gravamen’s grave. Casting aside the only clue he had, the shamble leg man ferried onward, the sun billeting ova rays onto the backside of his head. ‘…these are unkindly times…’ weighed the shamble leg man. ‘…enkindler than a swift bastardrinder to the scoots…’. Not much of anything, bother or not, happened the rest of the day, so the shamble leg man cheated homeward, a cote of crow’s feathers lining the insides of his greatcoat pockets.

Sunday, September 07, 2008

Imbécil Afastado

Tongue lolling, a caught fish out of water, the legless man set about the day, the early morning sky a blister of fallen rain. He bit down on the cord of his tongue, a weal of blood, and sighed ‘…how I abhor this punting life…’. His pushcart shifting, he drove his punting sticks into the rain slickened blacktop, all that separated this world from hell below. Ethereally punting waywardly he found himself in a jam, having forgotten his Rand McNally in his other coat pocket, the one with the streets marked in ovum and blush. Not knowing where he was going, or why, he struck harder, his punting sticks clacking on the roof of hell. ‘…goodness comes in petite fours…’ he whispered, ‘…the icing in a separate ox…’. An oxcart trundled past, the oxen snorting wildly, the axmen driving them hard. On the taxmen’s lap, wrapped in sackcloth, was a felling axe he sharpened on a strop he wore in a scabbard cinched round his waist with admen’s twine. The oxcart driver bawled ‘…vereinbaren sie unten, sie bastardrinder…’, the oxen pulling to a full stop, the cart toppling sideways. ‘…sie, gehen von können weise hinaus…’ he yelled, the legless man punting harder, his pushcart bumping into the lead ox. ‘…imbecile, allontanato..!’ screamed the axmen, his face red with fury. The legless man swerved, his pushcart colliding with the oxcart, the adman wailing at the top of his voice, his face blackened with rage ‘…imbécil, afastado…!’ ‘…olly olly oxen free…’ hollered the legless man, ‘…kick the can and be gone with you, oxman...’.

Vicar’s Jack

(A gray sky. A raging etesian wind. Sunless. A sunless gray sky. A gray sunless sky. Raging rage. Raging winds in a sunless gray sky. The legless man raging, his pushcart swaying. A meek lamb to the slaughter. Punting, the legless man raged).

He liked playing crap on the dog or ball the vicar’s jack, games he’d learned at the knee of his great-grand-dada. The slivery queue, queued shoulder to shoulder, didn’t give a bugger about childhood games, their own or anyone else’s. All they cared about was meaty soup with carrots and navy beans. When it rained, the queue, dandling, tried to out wit the rain, the idler’s caught at the back of the queue. Today was bull’s cock soup day, and bull’s cock soup was not open to barter. Each man for himself, spoons clacking, mouths slurping, bull’s cock flying every which way, the alms man sitting at his regular table sighed ‘…you’d think we was at a Christening dinner, the cunts’ll eat anything…’. The men got to work on their bull’s cock soup, Big Bill Broonzy wailing.


‘…its never to late to learn a new trick…’ said the shamble leg man. That morning Empanada del Amore watched the sky fall as she had every morning since the first sky fell.

Friday, September 05, 2008

Big Bill Broonzy

W. Landsmen worked as a fierier for the Coop’s Gunpowder company in Tatuajes de Cangrejos. He held the job for the past 27 years, 15 of those as a fierier’s assistant before being promoted to chief fierier. W. Landsmen met the man in the hat the day after Ships Day. They agreed to meet the following year to discuss their fondness for Ball the Jack, a game played with Camel straw and Tangerian rubber balls. The man in the hat was meeting with the biggest dogman behind the aqueduct to show him the lyrics for the Big Bill Broonzy song Balling the Jack.

My baby's coming home.
I hope that she won't fail because I feel so good, I feel so good.
You know I feel so good, feel like balling the jack.

The song-sheet belonged to W. Landsmen who purchased it from a hawker with a fondness for cruppers and Witten hoops.

The biggest dogman was a big fan of Big Bill Broonzy, as both men shared a common bodily adjective. Both men were considered immense, giant, large, great big, enormously enormous, vast, whopping big, considerably large, substantial, substantially large, significantly whopping, bulky, massive, which included a reference to cumbersome, vastly cumbersome, wide, through the torso and hips, roomy, deeply significant, lofty, towering, as both men were well above 6’ 4, outsized, each man weighing in at just over 327 stone, generous, both in height and weight, portly and impossibly enormous. That afternoon the man in the hat said to the biggest dogman ‘…my baby's coming home, I feel so good, I feel so good, feel like balling the jack…’. The biggest dogman saying ‘…you know, I feel so good…'

Thursday, September 04, 2008

Monument Creameries Ltd.

The man in the hat was meeting with the florist Beeves to inquire about a Quair-stemmed Begonia nosegay he was interested in buying for the harridan, the biggest dogman with Crabber and Duckworth to insist they cater a Dogman’s Luncheon to be held the day after Ships Day. Neither man knew that the other had a prior engagement, had they the day might have turned out differently. Crabber and Duckworth were fierce adversaries of the florist Beeves, so had either party got wind that the other was in town on business, the day might have end with bloodied noses and hanging jawbones. Beeves’ begat little Beeves who begat littler Beeves who begat littlest Beeves and so on. Crabber and Duckworth begat Duckworth and Crabber who begat Duckcrabber who begat Crabberworth. The man in the hat had little patience for begetting, so those who begat were roughly rebuked and then quickly forgotten.

The man in hat broke into a trot, the back of his neck cobbled with sweat. He feared being late, as he feared most things that required perfect pitch and timing. The biggest dogman sat tugging at a loose thread, twisting it until it broke in two. Despoiled with fish oil and spat, his coveralls barely covered the lion's share of his stomach, the biggest dogman sat under a fichus tree biding his time. A flying-machine droned in the sky above the biggest dogman’s head, a bed sheet in tow flapping wildly. Scribbled on the flapping bed sheet was the following, THE SKY WILL FALL TOMORROW AT EXACTLY 27½ MINUTES PASSED NOONTIME, THIS IS NO JOKE, BEWARE! The biggest dogman, not caring a Pope’s nose for falling skies or jokes, lit his cob and fell into a middling sleep, the air between his head and the soon to fall sky kibbled with smoke.

On his way to meet the biggest dogman the man in the hat stumbled upon a pumpkin yellowed copy of Irish Writing - 35 - Dublin: Trumpet Books 1956. with articles by John Renehan, Vivian Mercier, Brendan Behan, Tom Furlong, Ewart Milne, Piaras O'Carroll, Patrick Galvin, John Gross. £10.00. On the inside cover was an advert for the Monument Creameries Ltd. The Egg and You…Whether you are an egg-head or just a plain egg-eater you’ll want these spheroidal bodies at their freshest. Our organization has the hen population of Ireland under close surveillance; they respect us and we respect them. We mutually egg each other on to ever greater efforts. So, next time you have an omelette in mind visit your nearest MONUMENT, Monument Creameries Ltd. Dublin. On the outside back cover was an advert for the San Nicols De Los Garza Slaughterhouse - 4- in Nuevo Leon Mexico. And on the inside truck was an advert for Kristiansand Vest-Agder Walnuts, shipped by frigate from Norway.

Wednesday, September 03, 2008

Crabber and Duckworth

The man in the hat awoke, eyes weary with sleep. Today was the day he was to meet the biggest dogman behind the aqueduct, neither man having laid eyes on the other except in passing, one such passing in Potters Bar November past. The florist Beeves, who made such beautiful nosegays, Goats-rue and Hawthorn, Cinquefoil and Persian Candy-tuft, Toad-flax and Teasel, knew how to repot a withering Bugloss, but couldn’t master simple arithmetic and grammar school calculus. Crabber and Duckworth, who threw the biggest crab eat in the history of history, had troubles with into’s and minuses, but were fierce opponents at bowl the thrush or complex fractions. The meeting between the man in the hat and the biggest dogman was to take place at 25½ minutes past eleven. Both men had prior engagements, the man in the hat with the florist Beeves, the biggest dogman with Crabber and Duckworth, so any time earlier was out of the question.

The man in the hat was meeting with the florist Beeves to inquire about a Quair-stemmed Begonia nosegay he was interested in buying for the harridan, the biggest dogman with Crabber and Duckworth to insist they cater a Dogman’s Luncheon to be held the day after Ships Day. Neither man knew that he other had a prior engagement, had they, the day might have turned out differently. Crabber and Duckworth were fierce adversaries of the florist Beeves, so had either party got wind that the other was in town on business, the day might have end with bloodied noses and hanging jawbones. Beeves’ begat little Beeves who begat littler Beeves who begat littlest Beeves and so on. Crabber and Duckworth begat Duckworth and Crabber who begat Duckcrabber who begat Crabberworth. The man in the hat had little patience for begetting, so those who begat were roughly rebuked then quickly forgotten.

Tuesday, September 02, 2008

Brendan Behan - 'Borstal Boy'



Simpleminded Things

A man sits under the Waymart clock savoring his Ploughman’s lunch. His day began and ended in sleep. He awoke sleeping and slept until nightfall, when he awoke and fell back asleep until he awoke sleeping the next day. He slept until he couldn’t sleep anymore, then slept until nightfall when he awoke and fell back asleep until he awoke sleeping the next day. In those few minutes when he was not sleeping, or awaking to fall back asleep, he savored his Ploughman’s lunch under the Waymart clock. That morning when he awoke asleep he decided to stay awake until he’d had the chance to savor his Ploughman’s lunch in one fell swoop. By nightfall he’d fallen back asleep, his Ploughman’s lunch open on his lap unwrapped from its waxpaper. The world being as it is, a cold and contemptible place, the man moves on, leaving a half-eaten lunch and no fond farewells.

The day the meek man ate his lowly pie the man in the hat bid goodbye to his childhood, never to revisit his youth again. When he was a boy, a puckish boy, the man in the hat’s grandmamma scolded him for being rascally. His granddad told him the story about the whore’s glove a local billet found in the forest behind the house. It belonged to Marie Joséphine de Rose, a tinsmith’s daughter who lived with her parents in a house made of stones and mud. The glove became known far and wide as the glove that changed the town it was found in, causing such a kafuffle that the rest of the world wanted their own whore’s glove. The village of Les Trois-Îlets claimed sole ownership of the glove. The Comité de salut set up a public registry for people who claimed ownership of the glove, the number of people making such claims tripling in three months. Two men from the Jacobin Club and three from the Maximilien François Marie Club refused to accept the codification, maintaining the Deacon who codified the glove was insane, and furthermore in cahoots with the village of Les Trois-Îlets. The man in the hat’s granddad finished the story with a poem he’d composed especially for the occasion:


Marie Joséphine de Rose’ slatternly glove
Fought over by Jacobean and Maximilien
The cause of so much hatred and love
Worn by the Countess at her first cotillion


Mistaking a jig for a crowning, a Deacon for a slattern, it was best his granddad kept to simpleminded things, things that didn’t require an iambic pentameter or a second thought.

Monday, September 01, 2008

The Fage Dairy Industry

The following day the man in the hat bought the Morning Gazette and read the financial pages. Fage Dairy Industry up 18:50 and holding, Commercial Prop Inc up 18:00 and rising, Commercial PropGrwth soaring upwards to 17:58, Acencia Debt Strat 17:57 and tippling downwards at a rate 1% below inflation and dropping, Tropez Plc bottomed out at 17:43 and likely to sink well below the rate of common exchange. Not understanding what he’d read the man in the hat crumpled up the newspaper and chucked it into the dustbin next to the Seder grocers, a look of fierce consternation on his face. ‘…fucking scant bastards, can’t tell an upward hubbub from a downward hullabaloo…’. That night before falling asleep the man in the hat took his hat off and placed it on the shelf in his closet, thinking as he did, ‘…something’s are as plain as the nose on your face, so I best keep my nose in plain sight…’. He fell tippling to sleep, knees nickering like two wooden mallets, the moon outside his window so big it filled the entire sky.

‘…I have an idea…’ said the legless man to the alms man. ‘…a notion, you mean you have a notion…’ said the alms man to the legless man, his lips humming. ‘…no its definitely an idea…’. ‘…dross and piddle…’ chapped the alms man. ‘…notion idea, who gives a hoot what you call it, it’s a damn good one…’. ‘…anyone can have an idea…’ said the alms man, ‘…but not everybody can have a notion…’. The legless man threw his arms up over his head and said bulgingly ‘…nodea, I have a nodea…’. ‘…you can’t have a nodea…’ said the alms man, the skin on his neck tightening ‘…no one has a nodea, not even someone who has a notion…’. ‘…fine…’ said the legless man ‘…I have a idotion…’. ‘…you can’t have one of those neither…’ said the alms man ‘…its plain stupid…’. Throwing their arms up over their heads both men went their separate way, the legless man to the park behind the aqueduct, the alms man to his place in front of the public library, neither one giving a damn where the other went or for how long.

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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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