Tuesday, October 13, 2009

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.

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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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