Thursday, September 30, 2010

von Waldeyer

Hurrying passed me her face red like the cream soda we bought at the corner store where the fat kid chewed his cud pathetic he didn’t know his ass from a hole in his head see his kind under the rector’s bench much as I’d like to forget that and that that went on back then when I wasn’t as big as I am now littler when I wore those knee-britches with the slit on the side and the rope belt that was always rubbing the fat over the lip of my pants and fader looking for the hole down the dark cobwebby tunnel that connects the twats with the balls and the white sheets flocking like gulls making a nuisance when the older kids just wanted to show off to their flat chest girlfriends cheeks pinched crimson like the red squall jacket my mamma made me wear in bad weather and my da sitting on the porch tamping flake into his cob enough to bring on a hacking fit just like that".

von Waldeyer, cunt drops washers into the collection plate, thinks he’s putting one over on God, not likely that God would give him a moment’s notice. A dime a dozen, cunts like von Waldeyer. Always got to keep your eye on ‘em; never know if they’ll pick your pocket or run you up against the wall. Thing is. Firstly I met him when I was a wee trawler fishing for chubs in wellies and the rain slicker my ma made me wear just in case the weather got ruinous. Branches whipping round like ragdolls with twig arms. Take your head off like a bean tin, blackstrap flying every-which-where. Snježana ate her lunch on a bench in the park behind the aqueduct, her tiny malformed teeth sawing raw carrots and sandwich crusts. Her mamma made her wear spurge cotton dresses with lace collars bought off the hanger from the Saint Vincent De Paul. His da told him that she never outgrew her milk teeth and had to break whatever she ate into small pieces so she wouldn’t choke on them. Her teeth had little bumps on them and if you looked hard enough you could see tiny purple veins like the ones you could see on a baby’s head when its born.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Geschwister - 27

In his greatcoat pocket he carried a slip of yellowing paper, and written in a child’s tiny script on that slip of yellowing paper was the following: “I'm still standing at the door of life, knocking and knocking, though admittedly none too forcefully, and breathlessly listening to see whether someone will decide to open the bolt and let me in.” (Robert Walser, Geschwister Tanner). Never underestimate the power of digestion, his great great-grandfather said, his belly sagging fatly. His grandfather wore oatmeal gray trousers and blue flannel shirts with snap-buttons. On Saturdays he wore a reddish-purple (Borscht-red, his grandmamma called it) jacket and gray woollen trousers tapered from the knee to the top of his black boots. Flynn Odem plays checkers with his granddad on a upside down barn door placed between two sawhorses. ‘I hear that Chinese masseuse puts her back into it’. ‘Had her once. On the fallboards behind the woolshed. Rode me like a goddamn bronco. Still can’t lay on that side’. His granddad ate corn off the cob churned with peameal butter and riversalt. Would smack his buttery lips and poke with the end of his tongue for the pieces stuck in his beard. Made a god-awful noise. Could hear him smacking and chomping clear into the backyard. His grandmamma told him he was like that on account of he got kicked by a mule and couldn’t close his mouth proper. He liked to watch his granddad snap close the buttons on his shirt with his thumb and middle finger, like he was trying to shoo away the devil or call upon God.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Foil’s Tonic

Horning, she’s got horning on her ‘thing’. Ringkobing horning with feathers and cactus lace. But mamma I can’t. You will, by God you will! But I can’t; it hurts. ‘it’s suppose to hurt!’ you silly cow! Get to bed and be quick about it! His woolly gray socks scratched her legs, the studs on his denim blue trousers leaving rivet-marks on her belly. Funny how he never once kissed her on the cheek, never ever. She stopped at F.W. Sweny’s Apothecary, the smell of ripening figs and Foil's Tonic pickling her nose. ‘I’ll take a bar of linseed soap. The lemony one please’. She laid a fistful of coppers on the counter, counting them in twos, separating the tarnished ones from the shiny ones. ‘that should be enough. Say, have you seen a man with Stilton blue eyes?’ The apothecary agent gave her a cagey stare, the back of her head squared with the snuff self. Rabbi Loew, his legs crossed one over the other, sat in the big horsehair chair by the door, the age spots on his hands as brown as Golem clay. ‘what can I do for you Rabbi?’ asked the agent trying not to stare at his hands. Struggling to stand up, his belly hanging like an overfed lapdog, the Rabbi pointed a spotty finger at a sac of lemon twists on the shelf above the agent’s head. ‘those; I’ll take a bag of those’ he said, his eyes two black dots sunk in a knoll of pink flesh. I promise it won’t hurt, now turn over. Don’t look at me! Look away. The dead come in every shape, size and colour; some more inconspicuous than others. The Chinese masseuse wears pin heel boots. Strange is she kisses on the lips. Never says lay off. I promised it’d hurt, now get on your belly. Big horsehair chair and age spots like Golem clay. Gimme the yellar ones; yes, that’s them. Sad thing is his hat doesn’t fit anymore; sideburns stuck to his skinny neck like washer line.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Dlugacz's Deli

That morning, or was it lunchtime?, the soup kitchen queue reached down the street and around the corner, a woman with a sow’s face announcing the coming of the end. She stopped at Dlugacz's Deli for a pork pie, the soup kitchen queue clanking and squabbling like a dessert rattler. ‘get off my shoe’ squabbled a man with a fiery red beard. The taller the beanstalk grew the shorter his da’s temper got. He remembered his da telling him that, that and that he’d never make it to the top if he spent his time messing round like a kid. Giacomo Taldegardo de Juan San Francesco di Sales Saberio Pietro Leopardi hates children; his longer elegiac pieces attest to that. His da said that boys like him had no business thinking they would ever amount to a hill of beans. You’ll never ever never reached the top, his da would say, never ever. The Chinese masseuse yanked his da’s cock, strangling it like a fair-haired chicken. Every morning his mamma laid out his da’s work clothes: a starched and ironed blue pinstriped blue shirt, a pair of denim blue trousers and woolly gray socks. Funny how he never once kissed her on the cheek, never ever.

Lela wished her name was Lorelei, but her mamma said Lorelei was a whore’s name and whores weren’t woman but shylocks who sold slatternly love to unhinged men and pigs. Kaspar had to learn how to whelk all ovary again after he’d spent fifteen years kneeling encrypted in the tomb ova his bode; life’s lest rake ageist death. The sic and befouled, he said; ghastly. The first time she heard her da say this she felt sick to her stomach. The second time she ran out of the house and hid behind the woolshed, her da hollering bloody murder. Get to bed and be quick about it! We haven’t all day you know! Her da was one of those unhinged men her mamma talked about; a fair-haired pig with wiggly ears and a sad tortuous smile. Your da fucks whores, she’d say sprinkling ironing water on his blue pinstriped blue shirt. A ripe cunt of a man; a pig! Clanking and rattling like a coal-shovel! I’ve a mind to starch his ‘thing’, she said running the hissing sniffling iron over his collar. Chinese cock he is; a ripe pig!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Quahog Tannery

The harridan’s sister rounded the corner and ran smack dab into Lela, neither woman giving an inch. ‘but I won’t’. ‘you must by God you must’. When she was a little girl her mamma made her wear scratchy sweaters and knee-skirts. She went swimming in the lily pond behind their house, her bathing suit too loose to conceal her frailties. When he was a boy he missed her shoulder blades by an inch; the arrow slicing through her hair and lodging in the trunk of an elm tree. He flew the kite into the telephone wires, the airplanes, soaring, over the top of the house.

Silvestre Quiroga works for the Quahog Tannery, the shirt he wears to work the same one he wears dancing. Haines Fortinbras hasn’t a shirt to his name, his wife having burned them all in a pyre in the backyard. Ghastly cunt, he intoned, Ghastly. He can still hear his mamma hollering in his ear: ‘pull that nuisance of a thing down! (‘but I won’t’). ‘you must by God you must’. The Quahog Tannery manufacture livery goods. Silvestre Quiroga’s job is to stretch and tan the hides used to craft women’s gloves; the gloves petitioned by women of culture and couture. The Vir La Libertad Tailors, the Colugo Seamstresses’, the Quezon Nueva Apparel Co. and the Ecija Haberdashers all carry Quahog Tannery livery goods, the same brand Lela’s grandmamma wore winter, summer and fall. Lela claims ‘my grandma never wore the same skirt twice. She was above such ignobility’s ’. ‘it'll fit if you scrunch up your hand. Make a fist by God, a fist!’

The bookmaker’s wife works for the Quezon Nueva Apparel Co. pandering to symphony enthusiasts and hoity-toity charity types. The man in the hat met the bookmakers’ wife after the Glutting of the Ewe, the two enjoying a good chuckle together. As he was a sensible man the curate congratulated the bookmaker’s wife on her stately mission, to become the heiress to the Quezon Nueva Apparel Co. The Witness swore up and down that a woman of such illusory beauty should not be allowed to set foot in the Vincennes Glove Co. ‘the Quezon Nueva Apparel Co. does not recognize such sexual shenanigans. Women like you should be sent to the mines… ply your dark trade there madam and leave us alone’. The curate of Churchdown, one Cecil Basingstoke, known for his high teas and low morals, chastised the bookmaker’s wife, the blood in his temples reaching unspeakable levels.

Under a mishmash of eel skin the man in the hat found a notebook; and in the notebook was written the following: “yaaaa hooooooooooo wl!” Oftentimes his thinking went haywire; the past swarming his thoughts like lemmings retreating from the cliffs of forgetfulness. At times like these he wished he had a tight fitting cap; one that would squeeze his thoughts into the deepest recesses of his brain. There they could be forgotten, laid to rest with the other thoughts and memories he’d worked so hard to disremember.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Juntacadáveres

Dejesus rounded the corner and ran slap daub into the Witness, the Witness sticking out his hand like a traffic cop. Ignacy the trumpeter stole Villaseñor’s oxcart, driving it clockwise into the dust. The man’s a menace! Always sticking his nose where it doesn’t belong. Someone’s gun to kill him, I assure you. On his fifteenth birthday he got a secondhand bicycle and the whooping, narrowly missing his end. His mamma applied a warm compress to his chest, squeezing the cool water into a washbowl she kept on the windowsill by the window. The lustre of his achievements waned as the whooping worsened, his throat swelling to the size of a pumpkin squash. ‘but mamma it hurts’. ‘never you mind’. ‘is it suppose to is it ma?’ ‘yes its suppose to’. ‘but I can’t mamma I can’t’ ‘you will, by God you will!’ On his sixteenth birthday he got a clout in the jaw and a purple eye, his mamma’s new boyfriend not taking a shine to him.

Juntacadáveres carries a blade tucked into his boot just below the hilt. Whenever he feels threatened he unsheathes the blade, waving it like a madman in the face of his assailant. That day the man in the hat met no one, choosing to stay home rather than venture out into the world. Had he ventured out he would have run into a madman and a boy with a head the size of a pumpkin squash. But he did not. When he was a boy he made a raft out of bulrushes and cardboard, strapping it together with clothesline and the metal twists his mamma used to cinch tight garbage bags. In his Billy-Boots, the outsides turned down, his name written in black ink, he would wade into the swamp in search of frogs and torch-size bulrushes. His uncle gave him a an archery set for his tenth birthday, his da making him a quiver out of rolled up newspaper and electrician’s tape. Billy-booted, a garland of hair sticking out from under his hat, he speared frogs with arrows, and arrows with frogs, never quite sure which was which. He impaled two at a time, one on top of the other. He stuck three with one arrow, the third swimming underneath the two. How unlucky, he thought, to be minding one’s own business only to be gutted through the back.

The Witness rounded the corner and ran slap daub into Dejesus, the two coming to a full halt. Villaseñor stole the trumpeter’s oxcart, driving it counterclockwise into the mud. This is surely crazy! Madness, I say, gone counterclockwise! I assure you. ‘but I can’t mamma I can’t’ ‘you will, by God you will!’ When he was a boy he made kites out of garbage bags and coat hangers; taping the bags to the coat hangers with electrician’s tape. He flew the kites, soaring, above the clouds, his mamma hollering at him to ‘pull that nuisance of a thing down! You’re going get it all tangled up in an airplane!’

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Henrico Villaseñor

His legs kicked like two hanged men as the doctor turned him on his side. ‘Don’t touch his face…I hear that’s where it’s the worse!’ ‘you’ve already said that’ said the doctor. ‘now move back your blocking the light’. Rolling the body on its other side, the side furthest away from the furnace, the doctor checked for a pulse, the half-corpse’s arms stiffening like lightning rods. ‘bring me the lamp’ ordered the doctor. ‘I need more light’. The farrier walked to the other side of the workshop and grabbed the lamp next to the blast-oven. ‘hurry’ said the doctor cradling the half-dead half-corpse’s head. ‘half-dead or dead the man deserves respect’ said the doctor half-angrily. The dead come in every shape, size and colour; rigor pallor the most conspicuous. Preparing the corpse for transport is best left to professionals and extortionists. He gave the farrier a esculent scowl and pushed down on the half-dead corpse, yellow bile oozing from between the pickets in its teeth. ‘Villaseñor has an oxcart he seldom uses’ said the farrier hoping to convince the doctor that the half-dead corpse should be got rid of. ‘moving him now would be fatal’ said the doctor. ‘he’s barely holding on’. Transporting the half-dead is best left to a specialist with an ear for stiffening. ‘but what if we get sick?’ ‘that’s the price we pay for being human’ said the doctor palpitating the flesh around the half-corpse’s sternum and ribcage. Henrico Villaseñor’s oxcart is made out of spruce; the axel palpitating counterclockwise to the wheels.

As he left {his lean-to}, {the man in the hat} turned gaze upon the spot where he had fallen. "Here Troy was," said he; "here my ill-luck, not my cowardice, robbed me of all the glory I had won; here Fortune made me the victim of her caprices; here the lustre of my achievements was dimmed; here, in a word, fell my happiness never to rise again." (Cervantes, Don Quixote)

Death comes to those who wait, thought the man in the hat. Never a moment before. He knows when death will come. His father died of the whooping when he was a boy; and if the sins of the father are visited on the son, he {too} will be visited by death before his fifteenth birthday. He pulled the half-corpse counterclockwise, pressing down hard on the half-dead man’s shoulders. ‘you say he seldom uses his oxcart’ said the doctor. ‘yes as far as I know he does, or doesn’t?’ said the farrier scratching the top of his sparsely haired head. ‘then go get the cart; and be quick! We haven’t much time’. ‘don’t you mean he?’ ‘who?’ asked the doctor with annoyance. ‘him’ said the farrier pointing at the half-dead corpse. ‘enough! Now off with you; quickly!’ he said, his face as red as a pumping heart.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Balotesti Ilfov

They caught him trying to climb over the five-mile, his stilts stuck fast in the barbwire. Better to have been eaten by the sun than a half-starved relative. The farrier Balotesti Ilfov sleeps in the old gas shed behind the water tower. He works in the garage behind the consignment office, the furnace belching coal smoke like a derailed Puffing Devil. The farrier Balotesti Ilfov makes the beast-with-two-backs with the harridan’s sister, his face a pantomime of unearthly bliss. From the tool shed window he can see the aberrant and hideously syphilitic trying to cross across the five-mile fence; some hanging lifeless in the barbwire, others chanting and picking fresh scabs off sole-worn feet. ‘swinging back and forth, left to die… yet they still keep coming’.

Doctor professor J. Petrus entered the room carrying his leather satchel, the moon glowering over his shoulder. ‘where is he?’ ‘over there’ said the farrier pointing to a heap of filthy clothing on the floor next to the furnace. ‘he’s been like that for days’. ‘have you tried moving him?’ ‘no, I was worried he might wake up’. Standing over the body, for he knew from past experience that heaps such as this concealed a half-dead body, his leather satchel swinging from side to side, the doctor looked down at the heap of dirty clothing, a solitary finger pointing upwards, the nail curled under. ‘He might be sick. Don’t touch his face…I hear that’s where it’s the worse!’ cautioned the farrier warily. ‘move back’ said the doctor, his satchel hanging between his legs like a leather scrotum.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Horse Steel

The tinker fashioned a pair splints out of gate stiles, attaching them to the boy’s legs with screws. He shaved down the tibia, decreasing the gap between the boy’s knees, Saber shins having reduced his gait to a shuffle. Hutchinson's teeth were a common sight beyond the five-mile, the fence built to keep the syphilitics and undesirables out and to ensure that if they did make it passed the first gate, the barbwire would discourage them from continuing any further. His da said that the syphilitics had lopsided heads that made them look like they were walking sideways when they were walking forwards and forwards when they were walking sideways. The children had slanted foreheads and flypaper-thin eyelids. The parents slopping foreheads and hooded eyelids. His da said that the oldest ones were known to eat the younger ones, cooking them on skewers over a brushfire. The ones that got away got caught up in the barbwire, he said, so there was no need to feel sorry for them. Anyhow the sun would cook them, he said, which was better than being eaten by a relative.

“{Lela}, so the history says, was extremely happy to see {the harridan’s sister} in her house. She welcomed {her} with great kindness, charmed as well by her beauty as by her intelligence; for in both respects the fair {Lela} was richly endowed, and all the people of the city flocked to see her as though they had been summoned by the ringing of the bells.” (Cervantes, Don Quixote)

The farrier forged a pair of stilts out of horse steel. Working the kilned steel over the throat he hammered out the longer pieces, pulling and shaping the smaller ones with a pair of long-handle pinchers. He welded the pieces together, milking the joints to ensure a tight fit.

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Concha Sucia

His da ran the dogs in the field behind the woolshed. The dogs ran until one of them gave in and lay on its belly. His da put down the dogs that couldn’t run anymore. His da he made a beet stew with the dogs that couldn’t run anymore; the beets turning the meat jugular red. The Acosados Nuestros Pâtés Co. buy the other dogs, the ones his da can’t be bothered putting down, for a dollar fifty a pound. His da makes Callejeros Monigote from sticky paper and sits them on the porch on Santos Inocentes night. The Aracaju whores are known for their fat breasts; some so plump they look like foaling mounts. “No es que crea imposible curarse, sino que no cree en el valor, en la trascendencia de curarse”. (Juan Carlos Onetti, Los Adioses) was written in red paint over the door to the Aracaju bordello, the mad•am, her garishly painted face enough to turn a man’s belly inside out, waving her hankie from the balcony. Juan Paolo Mantegazza carries a piece of paper in his coat pocket. On the paper is written ‘Acosados Nuestros Indios Murieron Al Luchar’, the edges curled up like sleeping children.

The first time the sky fell it fell like a lead balloon; the sun bouncing off the sea-blue surface like a child’s ball. The second and third times it fell it fell upside down; the outsides hitting the ground first, the middle last. The fourth time it fell it fell twice, ricocheting off the surface, the people closest to the middle seeing a blue halo corseting sideways like a rocket. His da boiled the meat and added it to the beets, the quarters dripping with fat. ‘la carne del perro se come mejor con una salsa gruesa’ said a woman in a leper’s skin coat, her hair coiled into a bun. ‘you’re mighty cocksure for a pipsqueak’ said the woman. ‘if one expects to outlive the dying one must be cocksure’ said the man in the round cap, his eyes darting back and forth. ‘anyhow cunts like you are a dime a dozen’ he said smirking. ‘concha sucia!’ hissed the woman in the leper’s skin coat. ‘puede la huelga de dios usted absolutamente!’

Lela stood in front of the church trying to make up her mind: should she enter through the front doors or skulk in through the back. Not sure what to do she walked away, her thoughts pulling her this way and that. His da played the dogs’ ribcages like a xylophone, the smallest bones to the right, the biggest to the left. Sometimes he’d use the hind quarter as a kettle drum, hitting the bones with his fist. Other times he threw the bones into the trash or boiled them into a stock. Or he extracted the marrow and served it in clay bowls with little ear-like handles. His da hated wastefulness and things left out too long in the sun.

Wednesday, September 08, 2010

Coloc a Luva

The pew-wood scratched the seat of his trousers; the ones his grandmamma sewed him out of seed bags. She’s a mighty fine pinker. Cuts bolts of clothe with an eye for straight lines and hems. Can’t say I can say a bad word about her. Never grants me reason to. And grant she does: gives coppers and redskin pennies to the Women’s Auxiliary and the poor. Ear-to-ear, she gives… dentures bristled with tea-biscuits and doily-thread. A fine woman indeed. ‘coloc a luva, bastardo ladrão!’ yelled a man in a round hat. ‘imediatamente, você torneira otário!’ ‘El astillero’ yelled a man in a peaked cap, ‘Lo vi allí’. He didn’t understand why people screamed when all they had to do was talk. Maybe loud noises made him cringe; or he simply detested people in general. He abhorred people who spoke in riddles, no-good cocksuckers and bare-faced liars. He hated loud, clashing noises; cunts who always seemed to have the answer, even when you didn’t want it; or worse, when you did but were loathe to admit it. He’d fuck them all, Auxiliary ladies with blue hair and soiled nappies; every last one of them. ‘get a lay on’, his da used to say.

Monday, September 06, 2010

Pier - 'On the Road'

Enormous Head

He awoke with a start, his head double the size it was the night before. He shook his head up and down, then from side to side all the while counting from 100 backwards, something he did when he felt out-of-sorts, then opening open his jaw he let out a groaning sigh; the sky outside his lean-to window shattering into a million jewel-like pieces. ‘good God my head is enormous!’ He felt like the devil had knocked the stuffing out of him; everything other than his head smaller than it was the day before. Let him die and be done with it; further sentence is foolish. Unexpectedly, faintly the sky fell into his rooftop; collapsing the timbers, joists and crossbeams. You should have aimed higher; by God Yes twice as high higher! Twice the size that it was the night before. Was it? it was. You can’t make a purse out of a boar’s ear; its sacrosanct… the ear. That morning the man in the hat rose from bed a different man; the sky outside his lean-to window twice the size it was the day before. ‘better that it grow twice than fall’ he thought to himself. The surest way to corrupt the sky is to make it littler; like things in a mirror: they always appear bigger than they actually are.

‘it’s not what you make of it, but what it makes of you’ said the Witness. ‘never confuse the one for the other’. His face reddening he ended with ‘God makes things! Not you!’ ‘sodomizer’ said the boy next to the freckled-face boy. ‘always sneaking up behind you’. He wears paisley socks, his hammertoes piercing the woolly end. The boy sitting next to the freckle face boy yanks on his socks, the elastics frayed round the shins. ‘God made you!’ said the Witness pointing at the freckle face boy. ‘sodomizer’ said the boy next to the freckled-face boy.

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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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