Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Tubbercurry Creamery

The Unificationists pelted the crowd with crabapples and unripe pears; one of them, an odious-looking boy with a fat face and matching nose grinning from ear-to-ear. ‘God save the King!’ hollered a boy in knee-britches and a candy-striped nightcap, ‘and the Queen too!’ hollered a second boy, his sickly yellow face riddled with pockmarks. Lela made her way along the icy balustrade that ran like a Chinese Wall from one end of the town to the other, the thump of the drums vibrating in her ears. She walked past Monument Creameries, the heavy oak doors creaking on their hinges, an ashen face cooper sliding the quarter hoop into place then tamping the head hoop round the chime, cherry wood barrels of fresh cream saddled onto the back of ox-driven wagons destine for house and home, then past a stray dog pissing on a dead dog, the pissing dog leaning into it furtively, Lela pulling her muffler over her mouth, the dead dog grinning from ear to snout. She passed by a woman and a wailing child, the woman’s face red with fury, the wailing child sucking its thumb like an icicle candy.

She walked and walked, stopping only to redress her skirts, which owing to the clamminess in the air wouldn’t stay flat against her thighs and buttocks. She walked past the bust of King Olaf, his figure looming over the commons like a regal courtesan, his feminine side, something he was disparaged for as a young man, fief and serf alike mocking him for his womanly manner, outstripping his masculine side, past a sandbox where a boy and a girl were building a sandcastle, the boy throwing handfuls of sand in the girl’s tear-stained face. She walked and walked, her legs aching like whittled sticks, her feet as tender as milk pudding. ‘wait up!’ yelled a man in a overcoat beguilingly. ‘I have something for you’. ‘shove off I’ll call a cop’ said Lela firmly, her eyes fixed on the man’s face. ‘that’s certainly no way to talk to your great uncle, now is it?’ ‘my great uncle is dead’. The man smiled and went his way, his overcoat billeting in the wind, a crow riding the thermals like an acrobat signaling the end of days. ‘damn scoundrel pigeons…Call it domestication…keep them in rooftop hutches…skin and boil them with radishes and field greens, saw a peddler griddle cook a dozen on a sidewalk grill, juices spitting all over his boots…sold them two abreast, slat-rubbed and quartered, pick your teeth with the leftover quills’. Her great uncle died from overexertion, collapsed on the street like a whipped horse, flies laying eggs in the whites of his eyes. She past a man making the sign of the cross, an X marked with ash rubbed into his forehead.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

Óglaigh na hÉireann

Poldy Magyar set out into the snowy streets, his toque pulled tight around his ears. On the other side of the snow-white street, the collar of his overcoat cinched up around his ears, stood Dejesus admiring his reflection in the Seder grocer’s window. Further up, beyond the snowy hedge that had formed alongside the taffy-pullers shack, beyond the Waymart, beyond where the sun fell like a golden shadow upon the earth, he saw the legless man punting across the wet uneven cement, the sleeves of his coat dragging behind him. ‘make way!’ piped a man clad in full Óglaigh na hÉireann military dress. ‘make way, damn it!’ Plowing through the snow-white snowy streets, past Dejesus admiring himself in the Seder grocer’s window, past the taffy-pullers shack, past the legless man punting across the wet uneven cement, marched the Sligo Armory, the Cork Constabulary hot on their heels.

He saw the world as if it were upside down; everything floating on a snowy white plateau, the sky a great troubling sea, waves crashing, the sun, yellower than any buttercup, sitting on the ocean floor, his senses replicating, doubling, until he imagined his head would fracture into a million worlds, each world rupturing into yet another and another until there was nothing; only a white glowing light: the godhead, the beginning, nothingness. Advancing, flags flapping in the midday wind, a band of troubadours moved up the sidewalk, the lead singer, a diminutive cantor with a headscarf entwined round his thickheaded skull, for indeed he was in possession of a un-gauntly large head, shouting out the count: one, two, three, four ‘stay in line, damn you!’ five… ‘left, to the left by God!’

Friday, December 24, 2010

Cork Constabulary

The Wren Boy Procession made its way up the street, drums pounding. Tam tam tam tam went the pecking wrens. With Christmas eve on the quick the Wren Boy Procession came out of Kilmainham Jail and marched down Inchicore Road, a small group of onlookers giving them the once-over. ‘here they come’ said a woman in a Kerry scarf, ‘and in such a neat orderly line’. Alongside the barricades dressed in full regalia the Kerry Women’s Auxiliary tossed nosegays of daffodils and carnations and bluebells and marigolds and frothy half-pints of chocolaty brown Guinness into the streets, the onlookers roaring with enthusiasm.

Peeping slyly from behind the bust of King Olaf, his chest puffed out like a Spring pheasant, the littlest dogman watched the procession march by. A woman holding a sign that read “A godless person is like a public woman to whom everyone has access” (Witold Gombrowicz, Bacacay) charged to the front of the procession, her face a medley of consternation and bliss. ‘mark my words!’ bawled the Witness, a waif, his tongue stuck out like a red Pop-sickle, tugging on his coattails. ‘out of my way!’ bellowed a tugboat of a man, the prow of his belly cutting the crowd in half. ‘make way for the Óglaigh na hÉireann!’ piped a man clad in full military dress.

Standing in the middle of a lottery of broken plates and dishes, the aftermath of an all-out brawl between the Cork Constabulary the Sligo Armory, the man in the hat watched the Wren Boy Procession make its way through the icy streets, the blue sky above his behatted head turning centenarian gray. Tomorrow is another day, he thought, and then another and another, until the one is indistinguishable from the other. A week, a month, a year, the days following one after the other, like sheep to the slaughter, dancing like dervishes under a whorish yellow moon, his father smiling, counting the day’s take: tomorrow will be a good day, a fine day indeed.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Nollaig Shona Duit

They came by what they come by dishonestly. Salty bastards! Ben Nachtaí and James Nollag live the life of O’Reilly. No more dishonest two, thither or thon, are there to be found. Upon their backs haversacks they carry, pleasing cur and hag with nosegay and candy, Nachtaí and Nollag wander a tithe to a hither. Her da told her the tale of Nachtaí and Nollag one Christmas eve, the shutters clapping and the wind howling like a sanitaria dog.

Her great great uncle, deceased and exhumed by worms and wood tics, lived the life of O’Reilly, pillaging and raiding and spending the evenings in compotation with his marauding brethren. Sad but true: sadly so sadly. Astride the cattlements he heads for home on the backside of a bull. Never delimit the cosmos, he would say, his chaps hipswaddled round his legs. The morrows another day, believe you me. So mount up; the suns lowing and the winds blowing and the sky is red as hickory. The insurance man said he’d have the tuque in the mail by Friday; Saturday at the latest. Can’t trust those cunts, always got something up their sleeve. Puffed up notions of righteousness and high merit. Impressive: I dare say nay! Cat-o-nine-tails across the back makes a man into a lowly crumb. Her da made candle-wax heads, spiking the tops with spent matches and that damn sulfur smell. No matter what she did she couldn’t get the paraffin stink out of the sofa cushions. Had to sleep with her head at the bottom of the daybed, her new hairdo lousy with grave worms. A sight for soar ewes. All that bah-bahing and jumping one over the another. Her da said things could only get better, when what he really meant to say was needs some more butter. Can’t stand a dry flapjack on a midwinter morn. Sticks to the eaves of your mouth, he’d say, his eyes trained on the brown sugar bowl. Cows all lined up like toy soldiers waiting to be shipped out; never can tell which is which: the cows or the toy soldiers. Saturday last Thelma cashed in her diner’s card, got more than she bargained for. Two free entrees and a side-plate of mash. Never did ask why she didn’t ask for the butter. Might have got it mixed up with salad. Mixed greens; smell worse than spent match heads. All that sulfur and burnt wick smell. Do better with a plate of griddle-cakes. Tastes like mamma’s homemade cooking, except for the gassy smell coming from the oven. Can hear the clapboards cricketing. Lives under the hydro electric towers, the buzzing in his ears a constant consonant hissing. Like burnt wick and sulfur but louder. Can’t stand wet things on a dry summer’s day.

Sniveling like a scolded child the Witness threw pamphlets into the gathering mob. ‘there will be hell to pay, I assure you that!’ ‘fuck you!’ yelled a man from the back of the mob. ‘go back to where you came from!’ yelled a second. ‘sack of shit!’ yelled a third, and a fourth ‘eat shit pamphlet man!’ Puffing out his chest like a windsock in a hurricane the Witness bawled ‘mark my words; the wrath is near!’

Junkhouse - Shine

Monday, December 20, 2010


When her great uncle wasn’t beheading cows he bowled for the Boondocks’ Brachycephals. Every Sunday they played 27 wickets, 27½, weather permitting. Her great uncle was known for his overhand bowl; launching the cork orb like a meteorite, the batsman stepping out of the wicket like a man fearing for his life. His mother watched seated on a blanket in the stands, her eyes too weakly to see beyond the end of her nose. Oskar Lynch Kokoschka edging closer slops potato pot pie gravy onto her blanket, his great uncle bellowing ‘perro cuerpo, fucker!’ the cork orb ricocheting off his head. Of course none of this is true. Her great uncle was a tinker’s assistant, not a slaughterer. He never once held a cricket bat or bowled a cork ball. He was a fearsome man with uneven eyes, one a half a centimeter higher, a port-stain birthmark and a three-fingered hand; two fingers having been mistakenly severed by a knife-wielding maniac who mistook him for another man. Oskar Lynch Kokoschka I made up to amuse myself. Which he/it did. (Authorial note: it’s what I do, make things up, so please please don’t harangue me unduly; it’s in my Nature).

He fell from such a substantial height his arms and leg looked like corkscrews, the missing one aching like mad. His great great uncle suggested he use a cricket bat, jimmying it to his stump-end with leather straps and baling wire. Seeing this as a sign of his uncle’s misfortune, a mule waggon accident rendering him uncollectable and rivetingly small, he thought he’d give it a try, tamping the metal snip in place with a soft-wood mallet. Of course this reminded him of his great grandfather who’s missing leg was mistaken for his gamy leg, the bad one rankled with sores and pustules, and severed at the joint by an overconfident intern with thick horn-rimmed spectacles and globules of salty sweat on his forehead which the nurse swabbed off with a green and yellow surgical napkin. The litigation ended with his great grandmother receiving a cash disbursement of $27½, payable to her from the conceited bespectacled surgeons insurance company. Give her a Hogansberry soda; with a straw, by God, a straw. Astride the battlement he strode, his funereal clothes tarred and fathered. He was a sloppy fellow prone to fits of nervous tics. A tic tick here and a tick tic there. He likes België waffles with Maple syrup for breakfast and for supper.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Bullwhip Black Porter

That morning the sky broke like an egg, the sun filling the horizon with a yolky glaze. Lela walked the battlement that crossed the aqueduct and met up with the path behind the Waymart, her eyes fixed on the yolky yellow sun. She heard that the dogmen slept three to a bed, four if they shared with the littlest dogman who slept at the foot curled up in an eel-basket. She dug in her heels, the straps and buckles of her shoes creasing the skin around her ankles, and watched a clamshell of gray clouds move across the blue sky. A swan swam across the surface of the aqueduct, its neck twisted into a Midshipman's Hitch. You can see the funnels from here... there, out beyond the breakwater she said pointing. A man kicking a hedgehog, the hedgehog curling up in a ball, the man kicking it again and again, crossed in front of her, the man hollering ‘that’ll show you! Never underrate me! Never!’

Lela felt sad for the lowly hedgehog, the man forcing it, underfoot, to walk a faster straighter line. She thought of her great uncle, his ham-fisted grip on the sledgehammer, swinging it over his shoulder and across the head of the cow; felling it as it stood, a mass of cowhide and hamburger spreading out on all-fours on the switch-room floor. Her mother said it was man’s right over Nature: to kill or be killed; to eat or to starve; to go around coatless or to be dressed in the finest leather garments. Her great uncle was doing us a great service; maintaining the lifestyle we had all become accustom to. But what of the disservice to the cow? Was it not deserving of life and limb, a trough full of hay and leather coat? If it was her great uncle was doing the cow a grave disservice; treating it as a means to an end, not an end in itself. But really, she could care less; cows were ugly bovine brutes, and as her mamma said, open season for well-dressed fat people. As for her great uncle, well he had other things in mind; things so ugly and ghastly he never spoke a word about them, in polite or impolite company.

Meisce’s tavern drafts Bullwhip Black Porter, the aleman’s wife, Euryclea, scurrying from table to table, her apron, on back to front, revealing a bony white shank of knee. Her great uncle drank tankards of molasses thick Black Porter, the space between the tip of his nose and his upper lip frothy with head. The well-dressed cad at the next table, next to the commode, a two-seater with an onionskin seat, drank his cups like a man once denied a good hearty slake, his beard birdied with biscuit crumbs and salt, his nose up to the hilt of his tankard. ‘by Jove yes!’ exclaimed the well-dressed man. ‘you’re that fellow who likes sweet nutmeat biscuits’. Lela’s great uncle swabbed a moustache of frothy head from the space between the tip of his nose and his upper lip and said ‘you must have me confused with someone else, for you see sir I despise biscuits’. An angry-looking man with a broken arm got up from his stool, and turning to walk away said ‘perro cuerpo, hond se liggaam’ huis voice follón bejina hiñe lique a bar ámel. ‘by Jove what an uncouth fellow!’ said the well-dressed cad. ‘comes here every night to use the pisser. Always has something nasty to say on his way out’.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

O’Casey’s Whore

His fader came across on a famine boat, captain Gorta Mór standing the helm of the Clachans’ like a man incorruptible of mind and spirit. His da was the first settler to set up a hiding and tanning shop, working the hides into high-grade leathers fit for a Lords Lieutenant or a Waterford fop. He ate his ploughman’s lunch astride the O’Connell bridge, a rusted out bicycle fender gasping for air in the bottle-green Liffey, a chiliadal waif throw crusts of black bread into the swales, a lone duck, the waves pushing it into the chalk-marked battlements, wings slapping like a shingle, treading the surge. ‘shove off!’ bellowed a tart, her heavy-weighed hips anchored to the Speyside balustrade. His fader came across on a famine boat, captain Gorta Mór standing the helm of the Clachans’ like a man incorruptible of mind and spirit. His da was the first settler to set up a hiding and tanning shop, working the hides into high-grade leathers fit for a Lords Lieutenant or a Waterford fop.

Cunts like him always want a free-one, don’t want to wear galoshes neither, the cunt. Like boots make the man. Rather have his cock in my mouth than up my skirt. Never know if the packers got the crabs; crawl all over you like the British fucking army. Lords Lieutenant gave me a dose, squeezed it out like toothpaste, saying he’d never been with a lady before. Said his da came across on the Clachans’, took the helm when the captain went starker’s. Had to lock the mad cunt in his cabin, tried on his graveclothes to see if they still fit. Found a fiver in his pant’s pocket.

Leftover from the last time he was ashore; probably got the whiplash from that fat tart on O’Casey, hear say she practically gives it away, waiting on the famine boats like an expectant mother. Got a mouth bigger than a man’s head; good for swallowing and spitting back up. Saw her with the gimp, practically sucked it off, poor bastard. Almost fell head over into the drink, held on with one thumb it was. Famine boats coming and going; some never making it past the breakwater, others crashing into the breakers by the funnels. See the little ones cutting their milk-teeth on runt potatoes, a cup of bilge water to wash it down. Sad sight for sad eyes.

She was twelve when her da first told the story, his face screwing up like a tight-knuckled fist when he got to the part about runt potatoes. He said he remembered swimming out as far as the breakwater, the funnels belching plumes of gray brown smoke, the engine master wrenching the bilge gate open, the tanks filling up with seawater. It’s all a lie; her da never learned how to swim. He couldn’t hold his breath or make flippers with his hands. Anyhow the funnels are chimneys, not breakwaters. Any other man would know the difference. Anyhow the British fucking army would put a stop to that; cutting them off at the docklands, guns emblazing. Stead’s bad for a so-and-so with a wiggly tooth. Bilge water up the arse I’d say. Makes a mockery out of an otherwise charming fellow. Her da held hold of the gimp’s arm, pulling him furlong into the drink, O’Casey’s whore splitting a gut. Serves ya right she bellowed, maybe next time you’ll come by it honestly!

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Dolman Coats

Flanking the curbside a timid man with a stock-stiff leg stumbled. Lela knew this man; not so very long ago he stumbled into her as she strolled idly along the sideways, her favorite dress frilling and dancing in the midmorning breeze. Could it be him? Could it? No not him. The man she was thinking of lived beyond the five-mile and wore fishstockings, so no it couldn’t be. Anyways she hadn’t seen hide nor hair of him, nor had she given him much thought, really. He was a ghoul that lay quiescent in her thoughts; pushed back into that place where she kept memories that had frightened her when she was a formless child; a tot, her grandmamma used to say, her brow as tight as the hatband in her father’s cap. The Mormons kept a monkey in a cage hidden from sight behind the Kingdom Hall; its leper spotted coat infested with lice and wood tics. Bug-ridden and half-crazed the poor monkey scurried round and round the cage, its flea-bitten tail trailing behind it like a masochist’s whip. Lela recalled the day she first saw the monkey, one of the Mormon’s feeding it mashed up grapes, the monkey flinging itself round the cage like a furry acrobat, its eyes daring to be met. The Mormon, a cubbish man with a child’s chubby face and yellow-brown teeth, was talking to the monkey, warning it if it ever tried to run away he would wring its neck and throw its half-dead body into the aqueduct, where it would lay rotting until the Spring thaw. Then, if anybody gave a good damn, they’d scrap what remained of it from the oily green muddy bottom and throw it into the nearest trash heap, where it would unthaw and start rotting all over again. As monkeys don’t understand Mormons’, and even if they could they certainly wouldn’t care, the bug-ridden infested animal stared blankly at the stupid man crouching outside the cage, its eyes daring to be met. As this happened a long long time ago, before Lela knew the difference between a monkey and a dogman, she had mostly forgotten about the monkey; only now, standing in front of the grocer’s swatting flies off the picnic hams having an inkling of what she’d saw.

Above the screen door to the grocer’s was a sign that read: “If all my life and my being were judged by a few incidents it would rightly be determined that I was a complete imbecile”. (Felisberto Hernández) The owner, a cheat with caterpillar eyebrows and a sneak’s grin, sat on a wooden stool behind the counter counting the day’s take: $27 plus the two he stole from the old woman’s handbag when she wasn’t looking. ‘Not a bad day’s take’ he thought to himself stuffing the pilfered two dollar bill in his apron pocket, ‘the old biddy shouldn’t have nodded off… stupid cow. What’s a hardworking man to do?’ Turning, his brown teeth sticking out and upwards like walrus tusks, he locked the strongbox and placed it under the counter. ‘anyhow serves her right. Maybe next time she’ll be more careful, feeble cow’. He placed a crate of iced cowfish on the top shelf behind the counter with the hope that by the time he arrived in the morning it would be unthawed and ready to be sold. ‘cowfish for a cow’ he said to himself, his front teeth touching the end of his nose, and slamming shut the screen door hurried down the street like a burglar.

The West Ham Newham Glove Co., owned and operated by John J.J. Newham, manufacture Dolman coats, a one-piece garment with led pellets in the hems to keep the coat from riding up on the wearer. Above the cutting table, written in gargantuan block letters, by the hand of a behemoth, perhaps, or a hippopotamus, even though one hadn’t been seen in the vicinity in years, nay eons, was the following epitaph: "Everything is possible, everything, even the most sordid and undignified things." (Robert Walser, Jakob von Gunten) His father, J.J. the elder, beat his mamma with the wooden skeins the coat cloth came wrapped in, his mamma shrieking and moaning like a wounded animal.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Og Fjordane

He wore his wooly rollups, cinching the tops round the basins of his ankles. On those dreary days when it was colder inside his lean-to than it was outside, which given his leaky roof and poor circulation was more oft than not, he warmed himself by the coil-flame that spluttered and gasped from the entrails of his hotplate, where, should he need he’d lay his socks and listen to the thread crackle and hiss like a yuletide log. Dog was a corpse sniffer; would snuffle the arse of a lamb were it in whiffing range. Fed it on drake and gander, goose the fowl smell out of it, hindquarters shaking like Ouija board. Not uncommonly common that a man of such low means should find pleasure in subordinate things: simple mind simple pleasures. Subordinate the ordinate, so to say. The more vertical the Y, the plumber the X; like a chalkline thwacked on a perpendicular. Born in haste, mamma pushing him out like a scalding hot oyster, placental entrails coiling round his neck, his mamma’s borehole gaping like a shucked clam.

Og Fjordane arrived on the back of a mule-drawn-carriage, the sleigh scooping and splitting torrents of undulating snow, some higher than a man’s shoulders, others no higher than a curbside, small enough to hop over without splitting a collarbone or shin. Og, as he was called by those of his acquaintance, dispensing with the formality of a last name, which connoted a snobbery indicative of high ideals and low temperance, came to town twice a year to purchase gifts for his wife; a mediocre looking woman with pale skin and uneven teeth who demanded extant chivalry from her husband, who given his line of work, a tanner of high-grade leathers and leather apparel, could afford to keep his wife ensconced in the lap of luxury. Leaping off the carriage he walked in a straight line to the Waymart, his overstuffed billfold weighing his gait to the left. ‘corpse sniffer’ he grumbled, the dog sniffing at his plantlet. ‘you’d think the mayor would have the common sense to rid the town of these shameful brutes’. He opened the front door and walked into the Waymart, his chin waggling like a fishpie, the doorman rubbing the tip of his nose with his ring-finger. Lela’s mother told her about a strange man who came to town twice a year to buy gifts for his duck-ugly wife, his wiggly chin bouncing off the prow of his mule-drawn-carriage. She warned her to stay away from this strange man with the fishpie-chin lest he entice her into running away with him.

Wednesday, December 08, 2010

Waggon Horchers

‘where’s the boy?’ he asked, his enormous head sinking into his chest. ‘I haven’t got all day. I’m a busy man you know’. His mother searched all through the house, from top to bottom, but couldn’t find her son. He must be hiding, she thought; or has simply forgotten that today is the day. ‘just a minute’ she said, her face reddening. ‘I know he’s here somewhere’. Tightening his belt, his trousers bagging round his socks, the Mohel cleared his throat loudly, a gravelly rasp like a steam-shovel scrapping a mined-out quarry quickening her pace.

The day began anew; the sky opening like a perfectly cracked walnut, revealing a buttery yellow sun. ‘now hold on, boys in his position tend to squirm’ said the Mohel, his goatskin skullcap shifting on the top of his head. ‘grab him round the hips… that’s it, now push down… !’ Loosening his belt then tightening it again the Mohel coupled the boy’s testicles in his right hand, and with his left pinched the tip of his fleischig, the boy squirming like a fidgety baby. ‘stop that you little ganef!’ hollered the Mohel, ‘you’ll only make it worse!’ Snipping off the orlah with his scissors, the boy’s mother covering her face with her shawl, the Mohel bent over the boy’s privates and drew the blood into his mouth. ‘it’ll heal quicker if its exposed to the air… and for the Love of YHVH don’t play with it!’

The Waggon Horchers arrived two abreast; the left one keeling rightward like a failing kiss. Reining in the horses, his teeth clenched like a farrier’s clinchers the leftward Waggon Horcher slowed the waggon down to a stop, the rightward one pulling in behind him. Qabbals, for that was his name, bestowed on him by his father, jumped from his waggon landing irrefutably on his arse. ‘quickly, pull me up from this godforsaken fen’ quipped Qabbals, his upper lip quavering. The second Waggoner, a lithe, lissome man who went by the name Squibs hurdled from his waggon landing squarely on his two sturdy, albeit flat feet. The Mohel, his goatskin skullcap tilting like a windmill, hurried up the sideways, his Mohel’s bag pinched under his arm. Unable to see more than an inch in front of him, his locks, untrimmed in abeyance to Rabbinical law, covering his eyes, the Mohel ran amok into the first Waggoner’s waggon, his Mohel’s bag skidding sideways under the waggon. Lela, who happened that day to be sitting atop the hill just outside town watched on as the Mohel tried to un-upend himself, her eyes fixed on the lead horse who’s bridle had become entangled in the legless man’s pushcart; the alms man, sitting on his patch of cardboard in front of the Waymart, laughing to split a gut. And that was that.

Jean-Philippe Pringles, Coronel, his smart gentleman’s hat perched atop his full-head of hair, slivered an ivory toothpick between his eyetooth and his incisor, no one within earshot paying him any notice. For you see the Coronel was in town to visit a dear friend, and if time permitted, buy a toothpick placemat from the harridan’s sister, who that afternoon could be found with the other hawkers and peddlers in the basement of the church. Old Pitschobed wanted a Dolldy Icon and was willing to part with a day’s wage to purloin it. He had heard say that a hawker, one who barks and vends handmade goods, had a table in the basement of the Church of the Perpetual Sinner, alongside a woman who vended Pop-siècle placemats and gravy bibs. Old Pitschobed (born in Oalgoak’s Cheloven to a Barbary whore and a tinsmith) collected Dolldy Icons and women’s silk supper gloves. He fell down the stairs to the basement of the church, his tumbling caroming body going kun-ruhtnenedroohoohootnwaksnwanuohrravortnnuhtnnoutnnorrennotnnorbnnoknnorranimmakathgarahgladababab!

Monday, December 06, 2010

70 Wilmersdorfer Straße 141

She sat on top of the hill just outside town, the very same one where she sat years ago waiting for the jugglers and acrobats to arrive, the snorting of ox-driven carts filling her heart with expectant joy. The sun that day filled the sky with a buttercup yellow flame, the trees and high bushes surrounding the neighbor’s yard in full blossom, the sweet nectar of rosehip and lilac filling the soft afternoon light with a gossamer scent, like her grandmamma’s handkerchief drawer or the perfumer’s shop where her granddad bought tiny green bottles of Eau de Cologne called toilet-water, but not the same kind she flushed after making her commode each morning, that was different, not something you sprayed on your neck to entice eager young suitors or another man’s husband.

That Christmastime, gathered round the Menorah his great grandparents brought over from the old country (they lived at Kaiser-Friedrich-Straße 70 Wilmersdorfer Straße 141, the apartment next to them occupied by a strange fellow who scribbled tiny verses on the back of postcards and scraps of odd-sized paper) placed in the window and festooned with every Hanukkah decoration imaginable, they slit the throat of his penis, heralding in his ascension into manhood. The Roscommon Women’s Auxiliary, which convened every Sunday afternoon after church and was renowned for its allegiance to making Roscommon a place of haute couture, a stopover for travelers and the peripatetic alike, organized the fifth annual the Gorging of Friedrich-Straße, to be held the day following the Feast of the Lamb, the day after if it snowed. Lela attended the first Gorging of Friedrich-Straße held on the second day after the Feast of the Lamb, as it snowed the first two days, much to the surprise of her mother who was expecting rain. Belly-swollen Lela walked the dirt road home, the sweet doughy aroma of oven-baked bread kindling memories of simpler times when a young girl didn’t have to wear her heart on her sleeve or pretend she didn’t care when the boys called her names or made fun of her hand-me-down dress. The Mohel arrived by car, his goatskin skullcap covering the tonsured bald spot on his head.

Saturday, December 04, 2010


A discomfited man, prone to impetuosity and overgeneralizations, he sat staring blankly at the ceiling, each individual tile providing relief for the one next to it, a mosaic overlay that generated its own plane; equidistant, yet flaring out in plinths that created a Zoroastrian composure, a mesmerizing jējūnus that marveled the eye. ‘fuck the dog and the horse it rode in on’ he exclaimed, his face turning three shades of red. The constabulary wrestled him to the ground, his face smeared like a stain into the sidewalk. Kick him… kick him in the head! Harder… HARDER! …PUT some effort into it MAN! What do you think this IS? …we’re the CONSTABULARY!...!

‘get off my foot or I’ll smash your face!’ Dashing sideways like a punter hell-bent on laying a fiver on the last race of the evening, the off-track betting window three blocks away, he kicked up a few pebbles here and a few stones there, dragging his coattails behind him like a shredded windsock. ‘Aviate ahoy! he hollered, ‘ahoy I say: aviate!’ As no one could make heads nor tails of what he was saying, and even if they could they could care less, for you see they loathed anyone who hollered for no apparent reason, those closest to the back of the queue threw themselves flying out the window and into the streets, Lela’s mamma, pulling on her arm like a ragdoll, swearing a blue streak at the nerve of some people. That winter, a cold cruel wintertime, Lela found a glove hidden among the odds and ends of her mother’s things; things she kept in a lockbox stowed under the stoop behind the house that led to the woolshed where her granddad chewed shredded tobacco, his mouth, or was it his lips, ringed with black resin, or tar, yes tar; it was his favorite cob that left a circlet of resin, the smile a child gets after eating a stomach full of Easter chocolate.

Thursday, December 02, 2010

Jenny and Johnny - Scissor Runner


Deeshy ordered a taggeen of Ballyhooly and returned to his stool at the opposite end of the bar. A queer bosthoon, known to spend umpteen hours counting ceiling tiles, his trousers and coat, threadbare both, begging a seamstresses’ attention, spent his evenings eavesdropping in on the chatter and hullabaloo that filled the tavern with a buzzing din. The two woman next to him, both regaling one another with tales of misfortune and love gone bad, were sharing a package of Saltillo Crisps, made and packaged by the Coahuila Tortilla and Flatbread Co. 27 Avenida de Zaragoza, Paco Grande Texas. Cunts, he grumbled to himself, his nose twitching like a dog’s tail. The salt will surely make them drier than a empty well, pity their husbands, like fucking a sandshoe.

He order another Ballyhooly and sat ruminating over the recent loss of his favorite hat, the one with the red and black hatband. Majeklejohn’s a real boozer, chugs back a 40 ouncer every other day; every three on a leap year. Not one for the Ballyhooly, claims it brings the worse out in a man; makes him into a headcase. Not that Deeshy gives a pile, makes a counterclaim: a taggeen a day keeps the bedbugs away, cleans out the whistle-hole too. And a man with a clogged up whistle-hole is a man on the verge of collapse. Can’t inhale and exhale; goes up down the wrong tube. He first met Deeshy at the Feast of the Lamb, Deeshy having come to pay a visit to his sick aunt, a woman of uneven temper who had contracted syphilis and was unable to pry herself from bed.

Having no other reason to acknowledge him than to ask him to move, for you see he was obstructing his view of the Lamb, he exclaimed ‘you, you stupid oaf, can’t you see you’re blocking my view?’ Deeshy replying in kind ‘get off my foot or I’ll smash your face!’ An awkward man he seldom spoke, worrying that a sentence would come out missing a preposition, or worse, in a language he didn’t know. Careworn with ticks that caused him no end of embarrassment, if he came upon a acquaintance in the street he would cover his face with the cuff of his greatcoat, replying to a solicitous hello with a muffled good bye, scurrying passed like a man hell-bent on meeting the noontime train.

Wednesday, December 01, 2010

Kick the Bastard

Lela stood in front of the Seder Grocer’s admiring the reflection of the person next to her, his greatcoat coattails hanging in tatters. The man, as indeed he was a man, perhaps a gentleman, had a hardnosed look on his bewhiskered face, the face of a journeyman or a jailor. She troubled with asking him if she might pull on his coattails, realigning them with the jib of his wooly trousers. But soberer thought told her that she best mind her own business and let bygones be. But why not, she thought? A man, any man, would be grateful to have a complete stranger, someone altogether unknown to him until today, draw attention to an obvious and glaring impropriety in personal attire. Not wishing to appear untoward, or worse, a troublemaker, she turned and walked away, his reflection sutured in her thoughts.

The following day, a day much like the day before, yet in and of itself an altogether precedential day, Lela awoke in a foul and uncharitable mood. Had I a mind to I’d give him a good talking to! Not clothing oneself propitiously is a sin. By the age of twelve Lela had already read A through P of her grandfather’s Funk and Wagnall, consigning to memory those words she felt she might need when she grew older. She twirled a braid of hair round her middle finger, the moon laurelling her head like a birds’-nest halo. Kick the bastard in the teeth, send his upper plate unhinging. The steeple of his head warding off lightening strikes, a common phenomenon when the temperature plummeted below 27½% Celsius, the man who’s reflection Lela admired in the window turned and skedaddled headlong up the sideways, his greatcoat tails rag-tagging behind him. She remembered how hot the woolshed got when her father banished her to think about what she’d said; the few sheep her granddad kept caked in shit and piss, the stench of mildewed hay bringing a sweat out on her forehead.

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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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