Saturday, October 31, 2009

Dante’s Chin

J. Renfrewshire bought his son a toy horse for his fifth birthday, his son eating the head, bridle and the rider’s gunnysack. They sent their son to the boy’s asylum in Hauptstraße, their son eating the nurse matron’s hat, a stool leg and Dante’s chin. The Renfrewshire’s lived in a white and blue house across the street from the man in the hat’s blue and white house, the two children sharing a keen dislike for one another. Poor sot hasn’t a cake tin to eat from, gristles ‘em down to stubs, his teeth. Hear tell that sickly fellow knows a thing or two about the old in and out, sure enough. Doesn’t give a dodder’s cuss about some Italian cunt’s chin, waste of time and bother he says so. Shakes those kind of things off like a green-fin, too many woebegone to remember when and why come. Always been that way as long as I can tell, and that’s a damn long time so it is. Had a chocolate layer cake for his seventh birthday, laced with icing and hard silver candies, enough to make the teeth in your head fall out, sure enough. And sweeter than a coddler’s ass it was… banging kettle over cake tin into Dante’s chin like a Hauptstraße waif. Fucking unpleasing it was! His da never made that mistake again; sent the dog it’s papers and called it a night. Like trying to balance a cake tin on the chimney chin chin of your chin… makes a fine mess so. Ate a whole tin of cake he did. And then some.

The Dead (Michael Furey)

Friday, October 30, 2009

Jalisco Please Send Help!

On his eighth birthday his da and mamma bought him a feather duster to clean Dante’s head. "In that case," said the canon, "take all the beasts there, and bring the sumpter mule back."[1] His da and mamma had a dog with a crooked tail that slept in the woolshed behind the house, the dog blinder than a cave of bats. He took the picture of Dante off his bedroom wall and hung it on a nail in the dog house. Not knowing Dante from a bone the dog licked the frame and slobbered all over Dante’s chin. Dante don’t mind much said his da further complicating his hatred for his parents.

“Jalisco please send help! …my condition is worsening, watery stool, abdominal cramping, and a bloating nausea overcoming me… and weight loss, all after swimming in flint river… I implore you… be swift! François”. He placed the note back where he found it and walked out into the street, the sun throwing cherrybombs across the blacktop. The day his dog got run over he slept in the dog house under the picture of Dante. His mamma said dogs and trucks don’t know any better.

On his eighteenth birthday he left home and took up with the Herstal Liege pantomime troop, Dr. Sickly figuring that such a sickly boy with such awful manners must have some exploitable skills.

[1] Ibid

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Brothers Quay - Institute Benjamenta

Glanz auf der Nase

(Abel Cromwell has two fingers on his left hand and three on his right and hair as red as copper wire. He, Abel Cromwell, I will no longer write about, Abel Cromwell will remain a mystery. I have that right, more or less).

The Elmhurst Boys swing their cudgels at those passersby who look weakly and grim, loping off a head here and an ear there. ‘Glanz auf der Nase’ they scream, ‘off with your head!’ …fascinating!

Inscribed with a hens-tooth on a scrap of eggwhite parchment he read and reread and red the following, “…inflamed against vice, and in love with virtue…
[1]…fascinating! Moving one leg over the other he sidled backwards, never once loosing his balance or falling Heathrow. ‘these are strange times’ he castled. ‘indeed’.

On his seventh birthday (which came on a Thursday) his mamma and da gave him a picture of Dante to hang on his bedroom wall. Unwrapping Dante’s head he felt a edginess in his fingers. Never before, nor again, did he feel such repulsion for his parents and birthdays.

The Kallisto sisters, Oreias and Erinyes, swing their cudgels at those passersby who look weakly and grim, knocking off a hat here and a bonnet there. ‘off with your head!’ they scream ‘Glanz auf der Nase’. …fascinating!

[1] Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Hector and Aquitaine

Verlag yanked hard on his mamma’s skirts, ‘mamma, mamma the clowns are frightening me’. ‘wipe your mouth’ said his mamma loudly. ‘but they’re staring at me mamma’ he wept. ‘that’s none of your business’ replied his mamma, ‘now is it?’ Hector and Aquitaine waved their big white gloved hands at him, Hector slapping Aquitaine on the back laughing. That summer the circus came to town twice, once in May and once in late August. Chakra the choker went twice, Verlag at the end of August. The man in the hat went three times, twice in May and once in early July. Later that summer, long after the circus had packed up and left town, leaving behind a circle of brown grass and three overflowing buckets of stale beery piss, the man in the hat found a hatbox squished between a boulder and a tree, and in that hatbox he found three whore’s gloves and a note, ‘to whomever finds this box please, if you can and may, find the missing and fourth glove, her sisters miss her dearly’. Toting the hatbox home under his arm, the man in the hat mused ‘first I must find the Vincennes Glove Company… then steal my way passed the guards’.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Chakra the Choker

He threw up a sour bellyful of candy floss and two half-cooked caramel apples, his da admonishing him for being a lousy son. He stood in the corner of the tent with his back to the clowns, his shirt a gravid of candy floss and caramel apples. The Hogeschool Voor Elementary school, across the street from the Voor Hogeschool Grammar school, taught not so smart young boys how to mind their manners, the parents and guardians of these boys more than happy to pay a full-size fortune to guarantee their children were groomed and ready to reenter society.

Chakra the choker lives under an abandoned warplane behind the circus tent. It is here that he takes his mess and hand-washes his raggedly clothes. As a boy he caught the croup and was ordered to stay in bed for the first seven years of his despicable life. His mamma, a whore of a woman with maize yellow teeth threw her son out onto the streets on his eighth birthday, having no more cause to care for him at home. The day after he left she burned his bed in a bonfire behind the house with his raggedly child’s clothes and a wooden horse given to him on his second birthday by the doctor who delivered him into this miserable of all possible worlds. The day the circus arrived in town Chakra the choker was sitting on the street in front of the Seder Grocer collecting dead swatted flies with the scoop of his hand, the grocer rubbing down a brisket with coarse salt and minced herbs. Out of the corner of his eye he saw Dejesus tattling behind his da, his knees knocking together like mallets, his da scolding him for making them late for the opening act. Pocketing as many dead swatted flies as his pockets could hold, Chakra the choker stood and followed behind them, his pant’s pockets abuzz with half-dead flies and bluebottles. Stopping in front of the flap to the circus tent he pulled in his stomach, forcing the air from his lungs out through the holes in his nose, snot sprouting from his ears and out of the corners of his eyes.

Hidden behind a mollycoddle of bushes and scrub sat a podgy clown wearing a woman’s dress, his fingers bejeweled with rings, his head shorn down to the white of his skull. Yanking on his da’s arm Dejesus asked ‘father why is that man so unhappy?’ To which is da replied ‘pick up your feet when you walk, you’re making a fool of yourself’. Watching from behind a bucket overflowing with stale, berry urine Chakra the choker reached into his pockets and pulled out a handful of dead and half-dead flies and bluebottles, and holding them out in front of him let them go, the dead and half-dead taking flight and storming abuzz over the podgy clown’s shorn white head, the clown not flinching an inch.

Enrique Mussel, MD.

The parsonage doctor asked the rectory assistant for a sampling of his stool, assuring him with a stiff smile that he’d be happy to write him a note of apology should the need arise. ‘breath in, now hold it… fine, just fine’. ‘not in this world nor the next’ dovened Dr. Enrique Mussel. The Dr. removes boils and cankers, pimples and abscesses, syphilitic blebs and gonorrheal flare-up’s, deformities caused by shoddy skin care and excess weight. Over the door, etched with glosser’s acid, is the following 外科. Written in beige ochre-ink below ‘Great books are written in a kind of foreign language’[1]. My goodness me, what next? Her hacking cough brought back memories of orange and yellow Jujubes and caramel apples half-cooked on splintery sticks. Behold man he cried... whom you have besotted. His mamma took him by the ear to the circus, the clowns throwing animal pellets at his poor mamma. ‘eat… eat and be merry’ they clowned, his mamma yanking him by the ear out through the flaps of the musty smelling tent. He never forgave his mamma for letting the clowns make fun of her, the fusty smell of animal pellets lynching in her clothes long after she washed them.

[1] Proust, Contre Sainte-Beuve

Friday, October 23, 2009

Buzón de Correos

The next day the man in the hat received a letter in his postbox. Opening the envelope, which he did nimbly, he unfolded the letter, and laying it upon his lap read, ““Please remit an answer ASAP. Thank you in advance for your for your kind adjunction. “…case study swimming everyday over the summer in flint river now you are having gi distress watery stools abdominal cramping bloating nausea and weight loss?”” He felt safe with the knowledge that people like the letter writer existed only in the thoughts of madmen and halfwits. He wondered, out loud and with some vociferation, why the author of the letter repeated ‘for you for you’, such poor grammar striking him as a slight to epistolary correctness. Runcorn Rum is made from the sweetest cane. We here at the Arconcey Distillery assure, and seldom do we mince our words.

All this annularity was making the man in the hat feel woozy. One minute he’s fast asleep ensconced in bed linen, the next he’s startled awake thinking he’s asleep yet awake just the same; some form of somnambulistic alchemy. ‘yaw pooh yawn’ he thought to himself, not certain if he was asleep or awake. He recalled drinking Runcorn Rum with a cheapskate, the cheapskate swindling him out of a pocketful of silver. ‘cad bastard’ he whinnied to himself, ‘...the man should be sketched and quartered’.

The next day the man in the hat received a letter in his buzón de correos. Opening the vellum parcel, calfskin or lambskin, which he wasn’t certain, he read the following looking into the windowpane overlooking the pipe factory across the way, “We here at the Arconcey Distillery assure you that we use the sweetest cane. Our canehands cut cane with alchemic precision. Should you have any queries please don’t hesitate to send us a note, we would be delighted to answer any inquiries. All the best, Harold T. Cowper.” Rubbing bits of loose glue into balls he resheathed the letter and placed it on the windowsill, the sky outside his oilskin casement spitting blue flames. He thought of old flames, mostly ugly ones and one with unpleasant teeth and a hacking cough.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Simon, Kaspar and Klaus

That year the sky fell twice, on Saint Valentine’s Day and the day before Thanks Giving. Vicar’s Day it threatened to fall, the cleric’s assistant beside himself with worry, but didn’t, the sky staying calmly put. Barroco de Henry Purcell, know to his friends as de Henry, fell to his death the day after Cleric’s Day, his remains buried in a ditch outside the five-mile fence. (sister to Simon, Kaspar and Klaus) Hedwig’s fingers clamming freshly turned dirt. Novo Mesto Bohinj beget of Yonago Tottori read from the Book of Beginnings,

O Knight of the Rueful Countenance, let not this captivity in which thou art placed afflict thee, for this must needs be, for the more speedy accomplishment of the adventure in which thy great heart has engaged thee…
[1] This sort of happenstance happened more oft than not. With so many feasts, some clerical, others of a secular nature, it got so that a person couldn’t differentiate between right and almost or pretty right. The man in the hat beget an idea: get on with living. She has the empting, so they say…

‘stop that’ said the Knight ruefully. ‘stop what?’ inquired the man who had been asked to stop. ‘that’ said the rueful Knight pointing at the man’s hands. ‘oh this’ replied the man who had been asked to stop. ‘yes that’ said the ruing Knight. Removing his overcoat the man who was doing something with his hands that perhaps he should not asked ‘what time does the Feast of the Troubled Soul begin?’ To which the Knight replied ‘quarter past naught, give or take’.

That morning awaking from troubled dreams the man in the hat felt untoward toward the world. Seeing as things had changed overnight as he slept, even the colour of his bedspread, he decided to avoid anything new or almost new and get on with the day. Reaching for his glasses, which he wore mornings and before bed, he smelled his fingertips.

[1] Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Solo Hombre ha Nacido

That winter he stayed at the Peter and Paul Fortress overlooking the Shlisselburg fortress, where the worst of the worst were kept in cells no bigger than a toilette. Dejesus heard tell of a man, a simple man, who was jailed for impersonating a the Bishop of York, the man hanging shackled from a ring on the wall half-days and evenings. ‘sorry state of affairs… hanging a man by the ankles for faking a cleric’. The Witness, not being one to pity heathens and impostures, said ‘serves him right, the cunt… many a man wishes he were a bishop, but few make the grade’. The Peter and Paul Fortress, against which lay a fallen statue of man walking a dog, took in the overflow from the Overnight Asylum, boozers and halfwits, gibbering dunces and no-do-goods, the piebald and mealy mouthed, as many as they could squeeze in.

Over the gate to the Peter and Paul Fortress, written in the blackest India Ink, was the following, 'un Solo Hombre ha Nacido, un Solo Hombre ha Muerto en la Tierra', the gatekeeper chewing his cud plug. That winter, a cruel cold winter, the man in the hat kept vigil over his hat collection, worried that a scoundrel or a thief might make off with his favorite Mount Blanc toque, or worse, his Lääninhallitus fedora. The gatekeeper wore a sealskin cap with earflaps, mismatching his headgear with his checkered felt jacket. ‘behold’ he said, ' God we trust, caps and all'. Not one for smalltalk the gatekeeper kept to himself, rearranging the card index and picking his ear with a matchstick. ‘round here we call that a vamoose’ he laughed, ‘...everyone last one of ‘em gets caught, then all hell breaks loose back in the jail, guards giving it to the dumber ones on account a their the one’s what’re always making a nuisance of ‘em selves’. The gatekeeper had few acquaintances, and those he did were mostly dead. The man in the hat had a faint recollection of a man with a felt cap shouting angry orders at a gate, people filing past him in single-file. It seemed that the day before the sky fell, which it did without warning, someone somewhere experienced a rash volley of stupidity, leaving them better equipped to deal with life’s folly. Gatekeeper and imbecile alike, someone somewhere felt a rush of stupidity curse through their very being.

Purcell Barroco chewed the ends of his fingers down to the bone, scarabs, fingers less fingers than caudal sticks. The door to the grave pitch double-locked, to keep in the dead and keep out the almost dead or dying dead. Behind the Wölfflin’s flophouse one could find, should one have a nose for such things, creel grackle, summoned up from deep within the bog running counterclockwise to the bottommost grave posts. It was here, next to the topmost grave post, that Hedwig (sister to Simon, Kaspar and Klaus) buried her innermost thoughts, her fingers clamming dead earth.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Wölfflin

The rooms at the Wölfflin are 7ft by seven feet, have one window above the washbasin, a cot, army issue, a potato-box chair and a small table which can be pushed up against the door for protection and security. Tiscali the juggler stayed in room 27, Dr. Sickly across the hall in 27½ A, the rooms sharing an adjoining door and small toilet. When asked what he liked best about staying at the Wölfflin, Tiscali the juggler replied, “Lying in bed on Sunday morning, eating tea and toast with cunty fingers”.[1]

The man in the hat stayed at the Wölfflin the year the sky first fell, seeking a warm safe place to weather the storm. He rented room 27¾, across the hall from a juggler named Thesprotia with whom he’d once had a conversation about the cad bastard Grapewin. The Brighton boys of East Sussex stayed in room 28, all three brothers sleeping in the same bed, the littlest at the foot, the biggest against the headboard and the middlemost in middle.

His first job was packing Polos at the Oxus sweets factory in Vevey. Grapewin was acquainted with a boiler-room coal shoveler he met at a mixer for savants and dullards. The Oxus sweets factory where Grapewin toiled packing Polos was built alongside the five-mile fence. Outside the five-mile fence the world ran backwards, the fenceposts facing back to front and front to back. Hedwig (sister to Simon, Kaspar and Klaus) conducted her whoring in a 'tocador de la tablilla', 'la toilette de bardeau', for her French clientele, outside the five-mile fence. Her dog Santiago chewed on spent condoms and scab onions, his boney tail wagging a mile a minute, slaver flying every which where. Grapewin, a regular, wept like a swaddling child when she pressed her nails into the soft flesh of his back, ‘waaawaawaaa…’ he blubbered, ‘it hurts!’ Hedwig made enough money from whoring to buy a small plot of land with a hut on it inside the five-mile fence. It was here that she kept her dowry and a shoebox full of undergarments and gloves.

[1] Brendan Gill, Here at The New Yorker, Memoir of Henry Green, New Yorker, 1975.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Convent Avenue

Written in black ink on butcher’s paper he read the following, ‘I would like to say to those who think of my pictures as serene […] that I have imprisoned the most utter violence in every inch of their surface.’[1] As he unwrapped the picnic ham he mused ‘5 cents on the dollar, not bad for a rabbinical ham’. That Fall the dogmen hued a butcher’s block made from the biggest oak in the forest, rounding off the corners and oiling the top with Yellow Shafted-Flicker oil. (I must go. I cannot. I will go. I must) His head spun in circles, pushing him off-balance. When he felt like this he sat wherever he could find a bench, the park behind the aqueduct or in front of the Seder Grocers, and tried to collect his thoughts; those thoughts that hadn’t been spun into cotton candy or butter. One day his head caved in, flattened like a crushed soccer ball. His da said boys like him were prone to airlessness, their heads soft as milk pudding.

His da collected Jacobean antiquities, leather-bound books and silverware, serving dishes and bed linen, anything between the Elizabethan and Caroline eras. He kept the books on specially-made shelves lined with red satin; the silverware and dishes he kept in boxes stowed in the kitchen under the sink; the bed line, which came in Victorian white, he lay out flat on the harvest table in the summer kitchen, the breeze from the backyard airing out the dust and mold. His da said that you could tell a lot about a man from the shape of his head. A flat head was evidence of dimwittedness, a round or oblong head slow motor skills, a tiny miniscule head seriousness, and a rectangular head was proof that mathematical and algebraic functions were unreliable when it came to measuring a man’s intelligence and capacity for reason.

By the time he was eleven he’d lived on Fitzgibbon Street, North Richmond Street, Convent Avenue, Richmond Avenue, Royal Terrace and Windsor Avenue, his da drinking the rent six times. When the rent came due, the last of the month, the first when they lived on Royal Terrace, his da played sick and wouldn’t answer the banging on the door. Hushing his brother, ma and littler sister he’d raise his finger to his moustache, the banging cracking the stillness in the two-room flat. Kolding Vejle the elder evicted tenants who came up short on the rent, the street a litter of the poor and the besotted.

Wölfflin’s flophouse, owned and operated by Henry Purcell Barroco, took in the destitute and ruined, offering them a cot and a warm place to lay their head, all for 25 cents a night or a dollar a week. Henry Purcell, as he was referred to by close acquaintances, was himself acquainted with the Herstal Liege pantomime troop, Dr. Sickly and Tiscali the juggler having at one time or the other rented rooms at the Wölfflin.

[1] James Breslin, Mark Rothko: A Biography, p.355

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Duchamp interviews

O’Casey and Mörike

Haskell O’Casey tightened his grip around MacFlecknoe's neck, his face turning plum purple. Phil Villefontaine and Collofino Olbrich ganged up on the Baer choker teetering right and left, Dejesus hollering 'stoolie bastard!' Phil Villefontaine and O’Casey yanking him left and right, Funcke Collofino yowling like a kicked dog, 'it wasn’t me, I swear!'

‘where have I heard this before?’ asked the legless man’s da, the legless man’s face reddening. ‘stoolie cunt da’. ‘right you are my boy, right you are’. ‘must be the wheat and jam, works like a charm so it does’ said his ma. A pander of whoremongers passed by, the stench of sewer gas stinking the air. ‘Lord be with us’ said his ma, ‘indeed’ added his da. ‘...indeed’. He hid under the Ashton-Lyne bridge with the tramps and hobos, the Tameside train bulleting overhead. ‘stoolie cunts, da…’. ‘the lot of ‘em’ said his ma, ‘...the more the merrier!’ added his da, the train flattening an Arrowhead penny lain on the tracks by a Tameside hobo.

The sky broken in two, half falling into the ocean, the other soaring into the clouds above his head. He had Jimp fever, the sores between his legs weeping pus and worms. The apothecary agent prescribed Yellow Shafted-Flicker oil to quell the pain and bring down the swelling. He’d had the pox, three nights and a fort with yellow fever and aching feet. Alfonzo Mörike visited him when he was in the sanitarium, bringing with him a nosegay of flowers and a ham and brown mustard sandwich, which he ate with great relish. ‘there seem to be a lot of spiders in here’ said Alfonzo Mörike itching the back of his neck with a stem from the nosegay. ‘no more than usual’ he replied, his mouth full of brown mustard and ham. ‘the Jimp brings ‘em out… encourages them so I’ve been told’. ‘could be’ he replied languidly, his eyes sweating onions. ‘...makes no difference on account of the smell’. ‘what smell?’ asked Mörike. ‘the smell of madness’ he said, ‘that and the shitbuckets… fucking nurses always forgetting to empty ‘em’. ‘damn shame’ said Alfonzo sniffing the air like a dog. And that was that, Alfonzo Mörike was never seen or heard from again, his excuse for visiting the sanitarium ending with his desire to do good in bad times.

That summer O’Casey bought out the Greek, offering him 27 ½ cents on the dollar, the Greek gladly accepting. It was the next summer that the dogmen bought out O’Casey, offering him 5 cents on the dollar and a promise not to bash in his skull. The only other store where you could buy dry goods and freshly slaughtered meat was the Seder Grocer, and he had to hire a rabbi to bless his knives and make sure the premise was free of picnic ham and boiled rashers.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Punting the Calçada

Herta’s father was a muleteer. He drove his oxcart behind the mule wagon, cart and wagon tied together at the axel. Abalone crept alongside the oxcart sniffing at everything that came in contact with its snout, a goatskin tether keeping him at bay. “…both forgetfulness and recollection are creative.”[1] mumbled her father, ‘so off with your caps!’ ‘and be swift!’ added his daughter, ‘....I owe God a death.’ The day before the man in the hat found a nickel coin in the folds of his jacket, left there, he surmised, by a muleteer or his daughter. ‘sad sac muleteer’ he mumbled to himself. Alberto Noētikos tends a small plot of land where he grows peas and ivy, the ivy for sale in the market, the peas sold to tyrants and busybodies. (He grows Pretoria wildflowers and Gauteng nosegays, daisies and mums, the moons of his fingernails ivied with dirt).

‘its getting so a man can’t stand up for falling down’ said the legless man facing the ivied transom over the butcher’s door. ‘man’s got to stand, lest he get mistaken for his shadow’. That morning after his lavatory the legless man set out into the world, his pushcart punting the calçada. Usually he punted the sideways, his paddles striking whoever got in his way, but today was a different matter: the sideways was littered with late-night revelers, many returning from the Feast of the Redeemer, others returning home from a night of pandering and whoring, the stink rising off their clothes like sewer gas.

When he was a boy his da fed him wheat crackers and jam hoping that’d make him grow big and strong. His da couldn’t stand to look at his son, the bile rising in the pit of his stomach, his heart pounding, his son laying facedown on the dirt floor gibbering and drooling like a circus idiot. His da wore denim coveralls and flannel shirts with snap buttons. Sundays he wore seersucker and pressed gray slacks, his ma bullying him ‘lace those damn boots or you can stay home with the rest of the heathens’. Usually he wore his Fall jacket when the weather got colder, trussing it round the waist with baling twine.

[1] Jorge Luis Borges, (1998). The other duel. In: A. Hurley (Trans.) Collected fictions. New York: Penguin Books, p. 386

Friday, October 09, 2009


Los Ciboria Bros. sat under a great yawning oak counting their coppers: 25 silver, 25 nickel and 2 gold. Not having enough to purchase a funnel of cotton candy, 27½ gold ducats, they decided on candy corn, which they severed into three equal portions, each brother receiving a handful of warm sticky doces milho. Having arrived early for the Feast of the Redeemer, their pushcart gently sloping across the tacky blacktop, they bid their time watching crows swooping the treetops, green and black flashes smarting their eyes, the sun burrowing into their hatless heads.

Next to the cabman’s tack sat a woman in a feathered hat counting the cracks in the sideways. When she got to nonce she stopped, rearranged the feathers in her hat and fell into a tizzy, her hands madly swatting flies from her face. ‘get off me you winged bastards… my face is not a crème pie!’ The Fusiliers stood four abreast awaiting the arrival of His Honor the Crake. The eldest and most respected Fusilier, Andante, regaled his fellow brothers with a story he’d heard from a Schleswig-Holstein Fusilier when he was stationed in Lübeck as a member of the Hanseatic League,

In the course of the altercation, among other things the barber said, "Gentlemen, this pack-saddle is mine as surely as I owe God a death, and I know it as well as if I had given birth to it, and here is my ass in the stable who will not let me lie; only try it, and if it does not fit him like a glove, call me a rascal; and what is more, the same day I was robbed of this, they robbed me likewise of a new brass basin, never yet handselled, that would fetch a crown any day."”

‘damn liar!’ yelled a Fusilier with barbed skin and a pencil-thin moustache. ‘...that aren’t no damn Schleswig-Holstein story… its by that, what’s his name… wetback writer’.

[1] Miguel de Cervantes, Don Quixote

Wednesday, October 07, 2009

Gietijzer Apothecary

It was beginning to make sense. Weakfish and tinned salmon were undersold, halibut and whitefish oversold, the difference between the two like the distinction between the littler toe and thumb. Grande Santa fucks the Ghisa Arrabio she bought with coupons from the Gietijzer Apothecary, the weakfish jumping in the moonlit night sky. When she was a young girl her da bought her a seashell hairbrush with starfish teeth. Barry Vale (of Glamorgan) was playing on the portable record player, her seashell hairbrush tugging snags from her nettled locks. ‘weakfish are best kept frozen during transport… bellyside up’ he said. ‘and thawed only at point of delivery … not a moment before’. Her da made weakfish stew with pearl onions and greens. ‘yum’ he say smacking his lips, ‘...yum, yum’.

This is not happening. It is. It mustn’t. Outside the world raged. As if from out of nowhere a man in a tight fitting bowler levered across the sidle ways, the sky blushing blue bluer blue. ‘…stop that levering, cad…’ said the man beside the lamppost lingering, ‘…else I will have no other choice than to haul you in…’ This mustn’t happen. It is. As if from out of nowhere a man in a cheap-clothe suit walked across the sideways raging ‘stop that levering, cad…’ A woman in a Mayberry print skirt levered her flea-bitten legs one in front of the other, her hose sagging. ‘you sir… stop that infernal noising, its getting to be that a woman can’t take a morning stroll in peace’.

Monday, October 05, 2009

Doménikos Theotokópoulos


The last person to see him said he looked off. They say a man can eat only so many yellow-yolks before his stomach turns out. A fact of nature so they say it is. He hadn’t never heard of yellow-yolks causing a kafuffle in a man’s gizzard. But then again there’re many things he doesn’t know about; things like what a man should eat for breakfast and how best to shop for lard and cheap cooking grease. He knew how to make his cot and bend a stick into a bow, and how to shave down a table leg and fasten a prickly end to it, for stabbing and keeping at bay a full-size raging bear. He had inklings but few full-blown notions of things or objects of things. Those things he left to chance and probability, the likelihood of him making the right choice or bending his rules, which were hardly any but rules just the same, were paltry small. He rather sip tea from a tinny nudging one of the Qahirah Bros. in the shoulder or between the ribs. Other things he left to people who knew their way round things and could make up their minds’ when’re ever they needed to.

His da drove for the Mercury Fish Co. He sat on a cedar box raised three feet above the floorboards. The box kept him from getting a cold in his kidneys. The fish caromed to the right when the truck swerved to the left, the left-side fender dented in under the wheel well. The right tyre rubbed against the right-side fender, worn rubber and mud splashing the passenger-side window. His uncle Jim drove the truck every second Sunday and on those days when his da felt sick or off. Jim hated the smell of fish, weakfish and halibut turning his stomach out. Every second Sunday or when his da was off or sick he washed out the bed of the truck with petrol, flushing the fish smell and guts out through the trap in the floor. Written in plumb chalk on the inside of the riverside door was the following:

O, begor, I want no expert nursis symaphy from yours broons quadroons and I can psoakoonaloose myself any time I want (the fog follow you all) without your interferences or any other pigeonstealer. Sample! Sample[1]

[1] James Joyce, Finnegans Wake

Saturday, October 03, 2009

Gravesend Loghall

He rebuffed Cardiff for being rebarbative, bastard sot. It won’t be long now before the sky falls wilily, staving in the refractor on your headlamp. A real smash up. Last time this happened was at the Gravesend loghall. Sad sot bastard Cardiff slighted by that slick cunt in the sou'wester. Not a dry eye the house; soiled the carryall of his swaddling. Sad sight it was indeed was.

He read about whorish things in los Journal des Fefita, the opening sentence lambasting couture and calfskin. ‘I’d give a week’s pay to get a look at that’ he said with a snub. He slept under the Ormskirk bridge along side the Qahirah Bros., sleeping in well past the noontime. ‘mad hatters… the two of ‘em!’ When the clock struck three he scurried mouse-like into the rain, lumbering madly, the poor sod, in the puddles forming in the street. Staring in the grocer’s window she gored off-rashers and yellow-yolks packed in wicker baskets. She had a caper for rashers, the yellow-yolks, they turned her stomach out. “To those who have but little brain.”

Los Ciboria Bros. own the last pair of whore’s gloves made by the Vincennes Glove Co. Women’s haberdasheries béing in low supplié he felle balkars inrô the night, trepanned on his monceau skirt. The world coming into being frame by frame, Dejesus bought a half-pound of porker’s ham and a jar of Gibb’s hard mustard, his lap a harvest table upon which he spread his noontime supper.

Thursday, October 01, 2009

Wädenswil Feuilleton

There, written in a steady hand, he read the following:

In me its made very plain
That parables are told in vain
To those who have but little brain

He found many such things, handwritten notes and reminders, strange offhand exegeses and spiral-bound memos, three or four to a leaf, in which were written recipes and cures for Ryes whooping and Jick’s palsy. In a fine Sütterlin hand he read a Wädenswil feuilleton written by a simpleton who lived in the Overnight Asylum.

‘good God’ he said, his voice trailing off in a lisp. ‘a feuilleton in Wädenswil Sütterlin… what will they think of next?’ And such his afternoon began, under strain of illusions and badly composed exegeses. If not for the sun’s blistering rays, enough to send a less clematis man to his grave, he’d have surely run for cover, his tail quashed like a plucked flower between his legs.

Gabriel, legs and arms akimbo, stood staring at the statue of Gbel, the hero of the great Sachsen-Anhalt War. Behind him, just a smidgen, Mérida the gastromancer moved his lips. Salvador Bahia of the Yucatan yelled berating Vialonga the slowpoke, Gabriel, Mérida and Salvador Bahia having just arrived from a circus engagement in Lisboa Valencia. ‘good Lord’ he said, his voice trailing off. ‘what more can they expect from a poor sod like me?’

The man is definitly insane. He pulld tha dug by it's hindlegs an dragged it .... If I were by chance to meet up with Robert Walser, in a sanatorium or ...... Who would have known? Such a scalawag, a brute, a mountebank. Men like he are best left to their own squally. That afternoon, under a broiling hot midday sun, he prepared his person for further adventuring, leaving behind all thoughts of reparation and glad tidings, as these, pittances at best, have no place in a common man’s retinue.

‘Oh mein Gott, die Welt ist wie ein kalter einsamen Ort, oh my’ he said, ‘mein Gott ist wie Welt’. On the backside was written, gleefully:

Bei Singen und Sagen
Nach Muehen und Plagen
Thut jeder sich laben
An Gottes herrlichen Gaben![2]

‘Oh mein Gott, die Welt ist wie’ he said again, his heart pounding wildly madly. His day had not started out as he’d hoped it would. Weit von es. While out and about, a flâner, as his mamma used to say, he came across a woman staring at her reflection in the grocer’s window, her hands patting down her skirt, the woman laughing like a charmed lark.
[1] Christian Fürchtegott Gellert, Die Diene und die Henne (The Bee and the Hen, 1744)
[2]With singing and story-telling, after hard work and worry, let everyone refresh themselves with God’s splendid gifts.”

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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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