Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Crablouse

On the wall above her bed under a photograph of her grandmamma hugging a pillow she bought at Nolan Falls was penciled,

so much depends
upon

a red wheel
barrow

glazed with rain
water

beside the white
chickens
(William Carlos Williams, The Red Wheelbarrow)

Her worst memory was of her da eating oysters, the guts clinging to the hairs in his beard, her littlest brother making faces at the waiter. Her granny ate leafy spurge with dill and unsalted butter, her crinkly face glowing with cheery abandon. His grandmamma kept a herbatorium in the cupboard over the kitchen sink. In jam jars, each with their own label, she kept Japanese Knotweed, Dog's Tooth, Couch, Devil's and Scutch Grass, Bindweed, Black-bindweed, Bittersweet Nightshade and Climbing Nightshade, Fleawort, Felonwood, Poisonberry and its cousin Poisonflower, Scarlet Berry, Snakeberry, Trailing Nightshade and Violet Bloom, also called Woody Nightshade, Trailing Bittersweet, Burdock, Trefoil Clover and Ground-ivy, DAN-dih-ly-un, Goldenrod, Kudzu Milk Thistle and Bloodweed, Spinach Dock, or Narrow-leaved Dock, Tipton's Weed, or Klamath weed, and s(j)uːmæk, Wild Carrot, Bishop's Lace, Ragwort Spear and Bull Thistle, Plumed Thistle, Roadside Thistle and Curled Dock, also called Curly Dock, Yellow Dock, Sour Dock, Narrow Dock and Bluntleaf Dock. His grandmamma purchased weeds and grasses from the Dedham Sisters of Surry and herbs from the Trujillo Brothers of Dagenham. Barking, the dog that guards the Trujillo Brothers' shop, situated across the street form the Sofya Launderette, pisses, his grandmamma splitting a sober gut.

That summer his grandmamma read ‘Les Chants de Maldoror’ by Comte de Lautréamont, her gums bloodied and raw from biting her lip and the insides of her mouth.

“Lice of remarkable beauty that crawl like aspiring philosophers from cherished eggs; pubic hairs conversing in a brothel; sharks preparing duck-liver paté and cold soup from victims of drowning; a human-faced toad, as sad as the universe and as beautiful as suicide; covetous fingers prodding the lobes of innocent brains in order to smilingly prepare an effective unguent for the eyes; how Man. applauded by the crablouse and the adder, shits on the Creator's uplifted face for three days; devouring your mother's arms with gusto while she is still alive by tearing them off and cutting them into snippets...!”
(Comte de Lautréamont, Les Chants de Maldoror)

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