Sunday, January 30, 2011


Laying under a fichus swatting midges with his hat O’Rourke reads the Organon, the sun hardly climbing above the treetops. “So much at least is plain on all these points, viz. that the faculty by which, in waking hours, we are subject to illusion when affected by disease, is identical with that which produces illusory effects in sleep. So, even when persons are in excellent health, and know the facts of the case perfectly well, the sun, nevertheless, appears to them to be only a foot wide”*. Swatting a midge, his hat flopping side to top, O’Rourke reads on. “Now, whether the presentative faculty of the soul be identical with, or different from, the faculty of sense-perception, in either case the illusion does not occur without our actually seeing or [otherwise] perceiving something. Even to see wrongly or to hear wrongly can happen only to one who sees or hears something real, though not exactly what he supposes. But we have assumed that in sleep one neither sees, nor hears, nor exercises any sense whatever”. *(Aristotle, On Dreams 350 BC, translated by J. I. Beare) ‘I dreamt the dream I was dreaming was dreaming me. Greeks, always mixing up one thing for the other’. Standing, his legs buckling inwards then out, O’Rourke threw the book into the bushes behind the fichus, the sun scaling the sky like Japanese ivy.

Poldy first met O’Rourke at the Bleeding of the Lamb, both men standing to the right of the altar. O’Rourke, engaged with a transubstantiated crack in the ciborium was watching dewdrops of Divine Water drip onto his unshod foot, the rector eying him with disgust. Čerenkov the dwarf, great-nephew of Čerenkov the Giant, pulled down his trousers and let go with a trumpeting fart; a fat woman midway through lighting a votive candle fainting like a malarial missionary. ‘the woman has no sense-perception’ whispered O’Rourke. ‘everything appears to her as if it were only a foot wide’.

Chiming like a tinsmith’s anvil the church bells clanged throughout the night and into the morn. The mob disbanded, some southwesterly some northeasterly and some down the middle of the street like cows to the slaughterhouse hammer. Her head bobbing from side to side like a ragdoll Glostrup marched up the sideways, her defiance matched only by her heartless reproach for anyone or thing that got in her way. Earlier that day, well before the mob arrived in the streets, Ms. Glostrup, toting a pike festooned with nails shouted ‘Be there any man, big or small, who thinks he is stronger than I may he stand forth now!’ A freckle-face boy holding a top raised his hand and shouted ‘I will’. A Hetaerist, his Midrashim’s cape flapping, pushed past the boy and stood eye to eye with the almighty Glostrup. ‘Stand aside; there’s no need for a boy to do a man’s job. I will thrash this despicable whore!’ Looking on with a mixture of terror and enthusiasm, as they were well-acquainted with the Hetaerist’s ruthless demeanor, having witnessed him tear a man limb-to-limb for calling him an encephalitic, which he was, his head three times the size of a man of matching deportment, Cinecittá João, Ubaldo, Ribeiro, João and Guimarães Rosa took cover under the Seder Grocer’s awning, Ubaldo cowering like a frightened child. With one blow the Hetaerist brought Glostrup to her knees, Ubaldo yelling ‘stupid cow…that’ll show you!’ Straightening the hem of her skirts the harridan’s sister let out a sigh, safe in the knowledge that today she would not have to fight off the vagrants and Nair-do-wells that followed Glostrup like pilot fish or worry about the sky falling, plummeting onto her head.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Church of Thélème’s

His booted feet kicking clumps of earth Jesús Juventud stood staring at his reflection in the window, the grocer swiping at him with a broom. ‘shoo or I will smite you with my broom!’ cried the grocer. ‘malcontent!’ Jerome Ahasuerus, middle brother of Caleb, Eusebius and Sophronius, sat behind the Church of Thélème’s chewing and reading a pamphlet he’d found under a shrub, the sun burning a tonsure into the top of his head. ‘brother, hand me your eyeglasses, this print is awfully small’. ‘are you getting a headache?’ asked Jesús Juventud fiddling with a handful of green twigs. ‘not yet…it’s the print; it’s putting a strain on my eyes’. ‘perhaps it’s the poor quality of the ink...the kind they use for sheet music and poor people’s bibles’ said Jesús Juventud squinting. ‘perhaps…but I’m more inclined to think it’s the poor quality of the paper…the kind they use for wrapping meat and poultry’. ‘I could see that’ said Jesús Juventud squinting one eye then the other. ‘what’s that? asked Jerome drawing the pamphlet closer, the print dissolving into an inky black splotch. ‘I could see is what I said’ said Jesús. ‘see what?’ asked Jerome his hands shaking from the pressure he was applying to the corners of the pamphlet. ‘never mind’ said Jesús, a hint of hurt in his voice. ‘either way you can’t make heads nor tails out of it can you?’ ‘but I will! I surely will!’ said Jerome Ahasuerus defiantly, the pamphlet pressed tight against his nose. ‘yes surely you will’ said Jesús Juventud. Leaving behind a stack of twigs arranged like tiny logs hued for an infinitesimal miniscule cottage, Jesús Juventud went his way, the sun splotching everything under its glare.

This is not how it was suppose to be; things got out of hand, the sane went mad and the mad sane, what was inside turned outward, the centre no longer in the middle but cast asunder floundering in no-man’s-land. Deasey, now there’s a swimmer: can make two lengths of the aqueduct on one lungful of weedy air. Saw him do it twice: once for taking the Lord’s Name in vain and once for swearing during morning prayers. Eyjafjardarsysla from on Tyne but now living in Glossop, attempting to swim the aqueduct drowned midway under the Quim’s Span, those cheering him on watching on horrified as he sunk to the bottom like a stone. Ómaigh Sizars wears a top hat summer, winter and fall, reserving his rattan sou'wester for those gray drizzly days between deice and blossom. That day the day of the drowning he stood astride Quim’s Span recouping his trouser, which having dropped below his ankles, exposing his Mongrel pale legs, debarred his ability to cross across to the other side. Looking down below the frayed hems of his trousers, beyond the sprained tendons in his ankle, he exclaimed with unusual alacrity ‘my God, someone throw the poor man a rope!’ not a sole moving an inch. ‘Can’t you see the man’s drowning?’ he cried out. Raising his voice above the din, his face a bad apple rotten to the core, a boy replied ‘Yes, and we don’t give a damn’. ‘Let the bastard drowned’ shouted a second boy hoping to impress the first boy with his brave uncowardly tenor. ‘Have you no mercy!’ shouted Ómaigh Sizars, the first boy watching the second boy poking a dead worm with the lit end of a cigarette.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Juan Tenorio

Ro Gallegos Cruz, an encephalitic, stands in front of the Seder Grocer’s admiring his reflection in the window, his goutweed jaw working a stick of peppermint chewing gum. Taking hold of his arm and yanking don Juan Tenorio puts an end to Ro Gallegos Cruz’s dullard’s engrossment, a loud crack issuing from his head, his ears dripping spools of brackish water. ‘Hurry!’ he yells yanking harder. ‘before the mob overtakes us!’ The mob, cheek to jowl, close in rounding the corner, the head nurse wailing. Off in the distance a siren blares. Then the bells in the church tower begin to chime, a tinny ear surrendering to a cold medieval chorus. Ro Gallegos Cruz, breaking free of don Juan Tenorio yells ‘to hell with you! On her face!’ The head nurse yelling ‘How dare you, and without my permission!’ don Juan Tenorio charging past her screaming ‘to hell with it, I’m going home!’

From his perch high above the mob, the bell tower cricketing under the weight of its colossal chimes, Poldy waves his hat like a cowboy, the mob yipping and hollering him on. To his left the Witness, a splinter-group of mobsters kicking at him like a piñata, struggling to stay upright, to his right the littlest dogman, his chest puffed out like a courting pheasant, pelting the mob with rotten cabbages and directly below, his pushcart upturned, the legless man, a galley of halfwits and imbeciles clubbing him over the head with makeshift cudgels and bats. ‘yip yip yippee!’ howls the mob, the legless man, his head swollen like a melon begging them to stop.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Chèz Woulant

Poldy put on his favorite hat, laced his best pair of shoes and strode out into the glaring sunlit day. It was hours before the Feast of Tierra de Nadie and everywhere he looked there were people scampering about getting ready for the first gorging of the New Year. Heerlen stood about-face, his feet unbuckled from his shoes, a sea of people hissing and churning like an unruly crew. Swaging like a Rabelaisque Gargantua the mob moved down the street, stopping in front of the Church of Thélème’s, the harridan’s sister, her hair done-up in a hag’s knot trying to sweet-talking them into to buy a placemat or a Pop-icicle boat, past the Dogman Deli, the littlest dogman crouching behind a stall of oyster hams playing his breastplate like a xylophone, to the front of the Church of the Perpetual Sinner where the rector, his face three shades of red was airing out his surplice, the mob coming to a full stop. Suddenly, unexpectedly a second mob appeared around the corner, an army of halfwits and imbeciles, the lame and ambulatory, some on stretchers others wheeling themselves in chèz woulant’s, led by the head nurse from the Overnight Asylum. ‘Heathens!’ yelled the rector. ‘sit on my face!’ yelled the head nurse. ‘on her face!’ yelled the mob. ‘to hell with you all!’ scowled the rector.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Juan Miguel Padilla

The ogress retted her feet, tethering the corresponding foot to the analogous ankle. ‘Una tumba sin nombre, beneath my feet’ said the ogress pointing at a mound of fly-thick manure. Digging with her fingernails the ogress scraped shovelfuls of fly-thick manure hoping to find the missing whore’s glove. ‘he assured me it was buried here, in this very spot’. The ogress tilted her head and crowed like a rooster in a cockfight. ‘god’s awful god-awful hole! It’ll take all night!’ A burdel of whores sashayed into the streets, each wearing identical red supper gloves. The lamplighter, wick-lighter in hand, jumped from atop his ladder, the clang-clank of steel and knuckles filling the night with a tinny pitch. ‘look out’ shouted the alms man. ‘they’ll run you over’. The lamplighter threw himself like a dog hit by a truck into the Seder grocer’s window, the glass mizzling into a thousand pieces. ‘what next; the sky falling?’ said the alms man raising himself up on the heels of his hands like a sideshow contortionist. Neck boils. Get all roughed up in shirt collars. Hurst like the devil.

The following Juan’s are known to have been in possession, at one time or the other, of a red whore’s glove: Juan Alvarado, Juan Miguel Padilla, don Juan Tenorio, Juan Bautista, Juan McQueen, Juan Carlos Salazar and Aguja Juan Rodriquez. Like a dog hit by a truck the lamplighter rolled along the cobbles hollering. ‘for the love of Jehovah what next; the sky falling? The moons of her fingernails eclipsed by manure, the ogress continued to dig, the smell of salt-rub reddening her cheeks. Poldy, his shoelace, the aglet crumbed like a sawed-off stump, threaded through the wrong eyelet, watched from his perch above the overlord’s banquet, all of the fat people cramped under a small disc-shaped tent, the fattest pushing his way forward hoping to be the first to be fed. Under the disc-shaped tent, surrounded by fat people gnawing and chomping, a cockfight was going on; guts and quills flying everywhere. A potpie chicken fought a barnyard rooster. The crowd jeering and hooting, the barnyard rooster pinning the potpie chicken to the sawdust floor.

Wednesday, January 05, 2011


He met Maribor Brezovica in a cattle car heading north into the grasslands. As the cattle car rattled headlong into the night, doors clanging, the floor shifting beneath their feet, the two men stared at one another. Suddenly, as if awaking from a yawning slumber Maribor Brezovica said ‘rattling ride’. ‘what?’ said the Witnesses’ father. ‘rattling’ said Maribor Brezovica. Wendell L. Espuma sat next to the Witnesses’ father picking at a scab on the heel of his right foot, his left foot taken by gangrene years previous. ‘death’s door’ said Maribor Brezovica pointing at Wendell L. Espuma. ‘pick pick pick, soon he’ll have no foot at all’. An abattoir of viscera (entrails, bowel and tripe) lay festering stacked like cord wood in the corner, a disease that needed slaughtering. ‘it stinks in here’ said Maribor Brezovica holding his sleeve against his mouth. ‘it’ll get worse’ said Wendell L. Espuma rolling a crumb of dead skin between his thumb and forefinger. ‘the death of us all, you’ll see’.

The Witnesses’ father had been summoned by the standing council to bring an end to an outbreak of smallpox that had killed half the townspeople. Long before he devoted his life to the Church the Witnesses’ father was known far and wide as a conjurer. Long before the birth of his son the Witnesses’ father lived the life of Reilly, concocting harebrained schemes about how the world could and would be if people only paid heed to his outlandish ideas and notions, some of which verged on the abyss of outright madness. He fell in and out then in again with an unsavory mob of hooligans, many of whom wore stockings on their heads and went about shoeless; all the better for kicking the crap out of anyone who mistook them for snivelers or creamery workers. This was long before he found God, leaving behind the life of Reilly for a life of faith, fidelity and sacrosanct devotion.

Monday, January 03, 2011

Jugglers and Hagglers

‘Liar!’ yelled a woman in a purple skirt with matching runaround lace. ‘He’s the devil his self!’ shouted a man holding a walking-stick. ‘His mother has the crazy disease!’ shouted the woman in the purple skirt. ‘Let’s Kill him!’ shouted a boy throwing a tantrum. ‘and send him back to where he came from!’ added a second boy with a mane of fiery red hair. ‘Stop!’ shouted Poldy. ‘leave the poor man alone! He’s done no wrong!’ ‘let’s kill him!’ shouted a boy pointing at Poldy. ‘no, this one!’ said the other boy. ‘like we planned’. ‘kill every last one of them!’ said a colossal man with a dwarf on his back. ‘then burn them’ said the Witness addressing the mob. ‘in Hell Fire’ screeched the boy at the top of his lungs. Off in distance the legless man could be heard yelling ‘With my own two hands! Now get out of my way or I’ll run you over! I swear I will!’

He stole his way past jugglers and hagglers, past the post-digger and his assistant, past a man advertising pork bellies, a gory display of entrails and viscera, bowel and tripe, he stole his way past everyone and everything, a twinkling in his eye. I will I swear I will I swear! Lela watched as the man collected his things, placed them in a satchel and walked away, the sun shining like a roaring lion, his steps ferrying him across the wet glistening streets like a broken metronome. I will see him again, sometime, I know I will she said to herself. I may pass him in the street or see him placing his things in neat rows on the ground, the sun barely risen, stars holding the night at bay. I will I will, I will see him again, of that I am sure.

Saturday, January 01, 2011

Onion Cloth

Tubbercurry Creamery mark every jug of cream with an X, signifying the resurrection of the cross. The cooper’s assistant bungs every jug with bees’ wax and onion cloth, guaranteeing a taut indissoluble joint and deterring lice and ants from laying eggs in the cream. Lela overheard a boy with a freckled face ask a man with a weary face why he looked so sad, the man answering ‘because my house burned down last night and I have nowhere to sleep’. ‘you can stay with my mamma and me’ said the freckle faced boy. ‘thank you but no’ said the weary face man. ‘why?’ asked the boy, ‘why won’t you come live with me?’ ‘because I have a disease that makes me crazy’ said the man. ‘so does my mamma… and she shakes worse than you’ said the boy. ‘so it won’t matter, not a bit’. Lela felt a shiver corset down her spine. Her mamma too had the crazy disease. The weary face man turned and walked away, the freckled face boy shouting ‘she’ll do whatever you want… anything… I promise!’

It takes an hour to walk from one end of the city to the other; a day if you have no legs to speak of. The legless man punts the streets like a crazy devil, his pushcart jumping curbs and medians. Get out of my way! Can’t you see I have no legs to speak of? They fell off! I had no say in the matter! They just fell off! I could care less! I have this machine to get me where I have to go! A good sturdy machine! I made it myself! With my own two hands! These! Now get out of my way or I’ll run you over! I swear I will!

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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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