Monday, November 22, 2010


His father wore the same blue shirt day in and day out, the collar ringed with his own filth. Had he a mind to he’d tell him off this is what he’d say, ‘by Lord father but your shirt is filthy dirty’. His father’s blue shirt was manufactured by the Barking and Dagenham Shirt Co. The Barking and Dagenham Shirt Co., owned and operated by the Barking bros. of Dagenham Council, are known for their haughty craftsmanship and eye for detail. Over the door to the cutting-room, framed in oak, the wood buttering in the dovetails, are the following two quotations: “I did not receive my visitors with boisterous rapture as the bearers of any gifts of profit or fame” (Joseph Conrad, Some Reminiscences, 1912) and, “. . . No, it is impossible; it is impossible to convey the life-sensation of any given epoch of one’s existence—that which makes its truth, its meaning—its subtle and penetrating essence. It is impossible. We live, as we dream—alone. . . .” (Joseph Conrad, Heart of Darkness, 1902). As neither brother knew how to read the quotations fell on blind eyes.

Were they able to read, able to make out squiggles and dots, the words would have leaped out of their wooden frames, calling to arms the brothers against the impunity of falsifying the story of one’s life; the battle, if they had enlisted, having ended in their ruin. For the brothers, you see, were numbskulls, incapable of making sense of anything more challenging than a brothel address or the embossed face on a coin, which they did by touch, not sight, making their competency fraudulent, calculating at best. Frank Goya, a first-rate embosser and clerical tailor, has the needlework contract for the Vincennes Glove Co. He is a scoundrel and a mountebank, and undeserving of charity or good will! He has carious teeth and ill-defined features; a tomblike smile and bloodhound red eyes. He is to be avoided at all costs! Pray tell who? More people peopling an over-peopled world. This must stop! {Author’s aside: you must excuse my overzealousness; confession, so the rector told me, is good for the soul}.

Let us begin again: The sky appeared and disappeared leaving behind a streak of blue. ‘can’t you see his head is crooked? Now cradle the back of his head in your arms; now push, gently… that’s it, now you’ve got it’. He didn’t know whether he should pull or push, the half-dead corpse mumbling something in Gudrun, a altogether unpleasant parlance of constantans and misplaced vowels. ‘cradle, now pull!’ Liphook stood over the half-dead corpse whittling the point of a stick. Having been rousted from sleep by his grandmother’s foot kicking at his slumbering head, which she did without fail every morning, he felt none too solicitous towards any thing or one.

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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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