Saturday, May 22, 2010

Salpêtrière

A pimp in black top-hat yanks the arm of a simpleminded waif named Lil. ‘you look like a cripple’ says the pimp. ‘and cripples don’t make money’. He yanks harder. ‘stop slouching!’ They fell from the tops of buildings, from balustrades and from the edges of cliffs. ‘stop your blubbering, it makes you look like a child!’ Flays of chin flesh hanging like bibs. The despicable and the despised.

Captains of industry with fat bellies and blood-red lips. Ne’er-do-wells. ‘I said stop blubbering, it makes you look small and useless!’ Behind full-busted statues, whores and pimps. He pulls harder, Lil’s arm detaching from its socket. ‘stand still’. He pops her arm back into its socket, ‘that’s better’. The blind and mute, peddlers, conmen, grifters and cheapskates, cutthroats and those with their throats cut. ‘we’re almost there’ says the pimp, his top-hat squeezed onto his head.

His stomach is bloated, swelling rounding the pubic bone and hips. The pimp recommends a Salpêtrière salve or a visit to doctor Vassenden Iskenderun who will carve away the rotten flesh. ‘my girls’ are clean’ he says defiantly, ‘I don’t trade in rotting flesh’.

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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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