Wednesday, July 07, 2010

Essex Bros.

She stopped in Colchester where she purchased a soda from the Essex Bros., the youngest brother fiddling with the cash register. Then out beyond the five-mile where she took up with a hermit with a monstrous cock and a monstrous nose. Not once did she think of her feeble child.

The monstrously cocked hermit gave her the clap, his hideous snout dripping like hung laundry. The vile spell inflicted her woman’s jaw. Not knowing how to decoct the pain, which came in floods and surges, she hanged herself from the rafters. Word beyond the five-mile has it that the monstrously cocked hermit amused himself with her until her skin unravelled and her teeth fell out. These are unpleasant times. They are. When the man in the hat heard about the hanged woman and her feeble child he fell to his knees and wept, an uneasiness coming over what little he had of a Christian soul. ‘a new hat. I must buy a new hat’ he said weeping snotgreenness out of his enflamed nose. Hidden under a pile of leaves that corkscrewed into cone he found the following:

The Man With The Pumpkin Head

“Once there was a man and on his shoulders he had, instead of a head, a hollow pumpkin. This was no great help to him. Yet he still wanted to be Number One. That's the sort of person he was. For a tongue he had an oak leaf hanging from his mouth, and his teeth were cut out with a knife. Instead of eyes, he had just two round holes. Back of the holes, two candle stumps flickered. Those were his eyes. They didn't help him see far. And yet he said his eyes were better than anyone's, the braggart. On his pumpkin head he wore a tall hat; used to take it off when anyone spoke to him, he was so polite. Once this man went for a walk. But the wind blew so hard that his eyes went out. He wanted to light them up again, but he had no matches. He started to cry with his candle ends, because he couldn't find his way home. So now he sat there, held his pumpkin head between his hands, and wanted to die. But dying didn't come to him so easily. First there had to come a June bug, which ate the oak leaf from his mouth; there had to come a bird, which pecked a hole in his pumpkin skull; there had to come a child, who took away the two candle stumps. Then he could die. The bug is still eating the leaf, the bird is pecking still, and the child is playing with the candle stumps”. (Robert Walser, Collected Stories, 1913)

Not sure what to make of it he balled it and stowed it in his pant’s pocket, a dog-eared corner sticking out like a plucked parsnip. ‘dear me’ he said to himself, ‘the things that go through peoples’ heads… astonishing’.

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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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