Monday, June 27, 2011

Kurva Merchant

Adrift in a world of his own making he wanders the nighttime streets taking out his impatience on whomever gets in his way. Gauntly they hunker, corpselike, wasted flesh giving way to bone. He takes what he wants, leaving the rest to rot in the mouldering August heat like poor-quality hogs left to putrefy, eyes bloated, the meat defiled and maggoty. Under one of the hogs a herd of cowflies lay an army of larva in a pocket of fat; the writhing of the wormy guts making the belly seem alive, squirming and expanding with violent self-possession. This was not an uncommon sight; disgruntled with the low price of pork, some offered a pittance of what they paid out in feed and livery costs, swineherders left their herds to perish at the hands of Nature, the market-route littered with rotting, poor-quality hogs. Leopold Holofernes swept through the city riding on the back of a braying mule. Holding his aching head between his hands, the mule rearing and kicking, the harness attached to its ringed nose reining in the untamed brute from meandering off course, Leopold Holofernes made his way down the cobbled streets, the tarmacadam crumbling under hoof and wheel, the tooth he had been favouring since the night before ripping into his jaw like a sawyer’s axe.

Poldy watched from his perch above the barricades, his eyes straining to make out the person sitting on the buckboard next to the muleteer. It was Rudolf Szombathely; a cloth merchant from Virág. The last time he saw the cloth merchant from Virág he had an aching tooth; the pain and tenderness keeping him up all night and well into the morning. This time he could well make out the man sitting next to the muleteer, his portly face, flecked with pimples and sores, a reminder of a crashing rag market that left many a haberdasher reeling in debt and drowning in bolts of moth-eaten cloth. That day Leopold Holofernes, kesztyu aficionada and kurva merchant, was to meet with Rudolf Szombathely to finalize the purchase of a cartload of red calfskin, Rudolf Szombathely willing to include a bolt of silk if he, Leopold Holofernes, could meet under him, Rudolf Szombathely, under the Waymart clocktower no later than half passed seven. ‘Merchant of Venice!’ he exclaimed, the braying mule kicking wildly. ‘The man has no class. Anyone worth his salt knows that deals are better made in hiding, not out in the open where scroungers and thieves have full reign over who gets scrounged and who gets robbed. I will not. I dare say I won’t. Not today or any other day. Never!’.

Bareheaded, the hat he normally wore at home with his collection of cobs and aromatic tobaccos, each brand and cut, some whole leaf, others shredded and steep-dried in Cognac or Sherry, hermetically sealed in its own pouch, he reached across the braying asses’ back and pulled hard on the reins, the mule coming to a sudden braking stop. ‘Damn ass!’ he bellowed. ‘...I’d be better off with a glue horse... least they know enough to stop when ye yank on the bit’. He yanked on the reins a second time, the mule foaming at the bit, its hind flanks red with flea bites and bee stings. ‘That’ll show it’ he said bumptiously, his nose disappearing into folds of lardy fat, the mule snorting and whinnying. As there was no time to waste he kicked the mule in the tenderloins, the mule responding with a loud hissing fart, a woman walking her poodle pinching the dog’s snout with her thumb and forefinger. ‘the nerve of some people’ she said haughtily, the poodle sniffing the air like a bloodhound, mount and kurva merchant clopping up the tarmacadam proudly.

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Werckmeister​ Harmonies by Bela Tarr

Ó Conadilly

The School For Uncombed Boys was, and remains today, though under different Deaconship, affiliated with the Church of the Perpetual Sinner, both organizations founded on the principles of Sycophantry and Self-Loathing. Dónal Ó Conadilly, known for his indifference to Catholic and Protestant alike, headmaster of the school, arrived each morning by oxen cart, his wife packing him a light lunch before retiring to bed each night, the muleteer pulling on the reins like a man denied life’s simple pleasures.

Ó Conadilly’s father had been summoned by the Deaconship to bring an end to an outbreak of smallpox that had killed half the boys in the School For Uncombed Boys. Like his son he arrived by oxen cart, his doctor’s bag pottering between his flannel pants legs. He ordered the head tutor, who was always complaining about this or that ailment, his barking cough leaving some with the suspicion that he was suffering from the whooping, to evacuate the school and assemble the boys on the front lawn where he would inspect them for boils, abscesses and recently acquired bumps and red splotches. ‘and make sure you get them all’ he ordered, ‘the cripples too!’ The crippled boys were known to hide out in the cellar when it was time for calisthenics, the leaking sewage pipes and rat droppings weakening their already feeble lungs and timorous hearts. ‘especially them’ added the assistant to the headmaster scratching the dome of his bald head. ‘last week I found seven of them hiding in the basement; naked as they day they were born, five of them covered in boils and cankers, the other two with weeping abscesses!’ ‘roll them out; all of them!’ demanded Ó Conadilly. ‘crippled or not they’re no more special than the other boys’. Making haste, his balding dome glistening with sweat, the assistant to the headmaster conveyed the order to the tutor, both men angling their way passed the hedgerows and manicured bushes and into the school. ‘and make certain you get that Deasey character. I want a word with him’. Deasey, the son of an Anglican priest known to give communion to heathens, averring that no matter who or what you believe in you are entitled to God’s blessing, was the boy voted most likely to amount to nothing. He wiled away his time at the School For Uncombed Boys playing jacks and bullying the crippled boys, threatening to strangle the life out of a boy with rickets if he told the headmaster that he smoked in the confessional during vespers.

He recalled with disgust the years spent as a boy at the School For Uncombed Boys; morning prayers and geometry, forced confessions and the itch of the hair-shirt each boy was expected to wear, shorn and loomed from the friar cook’s legs and mortified back (his hirsuteness making him an ideal candidate for volunteering hair to the saintly coffers), and the nightly beatings at the hands of the senior boys and Numerary celibates. It was at the School For Uncombed Boys that he first met Dejesus; who years earlier, upon arriving on the shores of the city, took a part-time position as the cellar man responsible for the potency of the communion wine before its transubstantiation.

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

School For Uncombed Boys

He was going to live a life of vagrancy. ‘seed the unsown and sow the seedless’. ‘only a fool lives a fool’s life...’ said the rector bunching his cob. Bodes well, ‘specially if you’re an atheist. Watched him eat an entire sautéed liver, skin and all. With fried shallots. Told who he was: out on a limb and needing a leg-up. Got all-over sores. MacOrmick’s handlotion. O’Malley’s sells it over-the-counter, sixpence on the layaway, seven on credit. Easy on the skin, and at half the cost. His me•cum’s on the soak. Quiffed the shelf. Can’t keep enough in stock. Mind you a hankie ‘ell do just fine; long and short of it. The way out is the way back; just make certain you close the door behind you. MacOrmick O’Malley. Good for making things lay flat. Otherwise they’ll lay crooked. Nothing nonetheless came true.

People grinding the grist. Hordes of them, single-file and in twos, waiting for the doors to open. The seed unsown is the seed left to rot. Life. Is. Sinful. Go forth and prosper ye! Can’t keep the shelves stocked. Everyone needs a leg-up. Mind ye some don’t deserve it. This was the seventeenth time he'd fallen off the waggon, his head bouncing like a melon off the dog yellow pavement. The sixteenth time he fell backwards squarely, his ears ringing for weeks afterwards. He stuffed his ears with rags and knotted the ends, the buzzing in his head worsening until he couldn’t stand it any longer. He tried changing the rags but couldn’t get his finger in passed the knotted end. Not uncommon in a common’s way. Seen half a dozen bent over the handrailing puking up gobs of it; yellowy and down soft. Tar-feather used to keep them from falling over overboard. Mind ye some don’t deserve it. You can pick ‘em out from the look on their face. Scrunched up like a discarded manuscript. This brought to mind something he’d read years early while a grammar student at the School For Uncombed Boys, “Captain MacWhirr wiped his eyes. The sea that had nearly taken him overboard had, to his great annoyance, washed his sou’wester hat off his bald head. The fluffy, fair hair, soaked and darkened, resembled a mean skein of cotton threads festooned round his bare skull.” (Typhoon, Joseph Conrad).

The Dean of the School For Uncombed Boys, a self-pitying crumb with uneven teeth and a piercing stare, his left eye, the colour of a throwing marble made of glass, his right, making up for the left, able to pinpoint ill-disciplined boys and truants, abjuring from the peak of his lectern that God does not take kindly to skivers and badly behaved boys, and could smite them dead if He so chose.

Saturday, June 18, 2011


The rector stood askew the pulpit counting the Sunday take: 27½ ducats, thirty-seven coppers, a commode washer and a timber dime. Cockerel’s go for one and seven-pence a half-dozen, Sartell’s are cheaper but don’t soap nearly near. Pulling at her stay-pins trying to reset her corset, the crinkly side, nonetheless. More whalebone than linen. His da said ladies like her play the heroine, pretend they’re in distress over a loose thread. Mulligatawny goes good with buttery rich rolls, pinched from the rollmaker’s freehand when he’s on the terlet. Commoding; comes by it naturally, makes mincemeat out of shingle-toast. Once saw him peamealing a kidney, damn well near eviscerated. Iron-rich-blood flypapering the sideboard spots. Say a man’s measure is his kindler, bottom side ‘ell come faceup if you slack it hard enough. Sets a hearth place aglow with one strike. Kips the homefires burning long into the night. Warm a hand or a cold heart on the kettle leash, bridled with joy and happy smiles. Say the wife’s the one to make the most of it, lays a flatiron on the cod under the embers. Good for making a hem stiff and lay flat. Otherwise the stitching unravels. Makes a thigh look ruined. Mccleman, heckler, sat on his yob making flyby night comments nearby of others, saying he had a right to as he’s spitshined, and has his ma’s pension to prove it. Mark my words backcombing keeps it from unravelling. Bodes well with the lady. Buoyancy makes the man. Annuity goes only so far. Keeps a heckler afloat. On the lam. Otherwise.

Friday, June 17, 2011

JJ. McDowell

Poldy loosened his chin-string, the knot, tied that morning when he was barely awake, his fingers fumbling like dim-witted schoolchildren, lunchboxes stuffed full with jelly-rolls and pun pudding, garrotting the loose flesh around his neck, and removed his hat. He had overheard two fat men discussing a Shamuses named Shemuwel who was known to corral crumbs and whores into a specially made pen, strip them naked then unleash a pack of wild mutinous dogs, the dogs biting through bone and cartilage, uncoiled lengths of intestine and bowel, flaps of gnawed through flesh making a muddle of man and crumb. Vying for each other’s attention, the fatter of the two raising his voice, the less fatter trying to get a word in edgewise, the story they had to tell so important that he who told it would change the course of history, the two fat men discussed the likelihood of the sky falling. As this was long before the sky fell for the first time, long before the barricade was erected between the five-mile and the city, talk of skies falling and barricades being erected was as ridiculous as a missing glove wrecking havoc among man and haberdasher alike.

He arose unhurriedly, the clatter in his head bewailing a night of untold vagaries. The night before before falling asleep he had eaten a fat man’s portion of cake, his insides a broil with indigestions and foul humours. As he had two stomachs, one for food and one for ale and stout, when the two were combined, as was the case the night before, the ale and stout one took primacy over the food one. He drew his hand across his stung face feeling out the bumps and contusions he’d incurred the night before. He remembered forgoing the usual larder of chips and egg, a safeguard against getting drunk too quickly, and ordering a pint, the publican giving him an aggrieving stare, the rag he was wiping the top of the bar with coming wretchedly close to his face. ‘you you’re stinking up my establishment’ said the publican loud enough to query the curiosity of the yob seated at the end of the bar. ‘you, you make a mockery of men like him’ said the publican pointing at the yob, the fly that had early been dive-bombing his pint of stouten stout, a Drosophila Melanogaster, from the shape of its antenna and compound ommatidial eyes, buzzing round his head annoyingly.

The previous night’s antics releasing a breezy gas into his lower gut, a gurgling epistle signalling the beginning of unkindly eructation’s, the leftover stout kedging his bowels to ungainly extremes, he reached across the bedstead, upending the salt tin he used as an ashtray and a photo of the recently deceased JJ. McDowell, cadger, whose mother on her deathbed dying begged him to assuage the guilt she kept concerning an adulterous cuckold she had with a captain of the Mabbot Bridge constabulary, said cuckolding diminishing the captain’s rank and file, and grabbing firm the bottle of Kep’s diuretic poured himself a thimbleful. He imbibed the elixir, slopping and gulping like a Scopes monkey, an envisagement of the Crucified aping him unsympathetically. You see for as of yester eve he had traded church for free-wheeling gambol, demanding severance for years of untold gloom and spurious prayer.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

The Levirate McCollum

His great grandmother Sybille performed great feats of extispicium reading gore-entrails with Wahrsagerin élan and a vivisectionist’s sang-froid. His great grandmother learned the practice from a Hittite soothsayer from Akkad who himself had been tutored by a Seleucid oracle from Uruk. ‘I can shrink heads and cure warts too’ she was heard to say wimbling her fingers in preparation for a head-shrinking. She tried her hand at haruspicy but found the process too divining; her teacher, an emetic Canaanite who’s hammertoes kept him from standing upright for long periods of time admonishing her for unraveling a coil of intestines too quickly, the coil collapsing like pie-filling leaving an offal unassailable stink that brought tears to his eyes. Alectryomancy, Augury, Bibliomancy, Cartomancy, Palmistry, Chronomancy, Crystallomancy, Gastromancy, Spheromancy and Lithomancy she found passé, their outcomes divined with trickery, deception and slight-of-hand.

Creusot Le Puissant La Bourgogne, known far and wide for his ingenious acts of unlevered Spheromancy had a torrid affair with his great grandmother, the two, comingling their necromantic skills, summoning up spirits and presences the likes of which had never been seen before or again. Concluding that she was a gyp artist and her teacher a mountebank, practitioners of magnetism and hocus-pocus, he took no heed of her divinations. Instead, with equanimity and unstilted composure he set about looking for the whereabouts of a missing whore’s glove, the one he’d heard spoken about in hushed voices and whispers. Legend had it that the eloigned glove, if found, would alter the course of history.

The Levirate McCollum, forsook and forsaken, the ocean spume wetting his trouser bottoms, the bells ringing like soigné chimes, stood astride the Mabbot Lane bridge, his immense shadow casting a pall on the evening tide. His cousins had left him to his druthers, demanding that he choose one of them, be she the prettiest or the ugliest, the happiest or the most reserved, and give away the others to a second cousin twice removed. Shemuwel worked as a Shamuses for the Mabbot Lane constabulary, his beat the high side of the aqueduct, the very selfsame side where the dogmen had their encampment. The city enlisted the help of Shemuwel, Shamuses for the Mabbot Lane constabulary, to rid the city of beggars, crumbs and whores, his employ to chase the mitigates out from under bridges, alleyways and doorstops, ridding the conurbation of the stink and dereliction of squatters and drifters, renewing its reputation as a place of tranquil asylum and wholesome splendour.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sooty Tern

In the end no one will remember a thing. He came down with and suffered from the following aliments and abnormalities: Sebaceum, Mental Insufficiency, Photophobia, and Gastrula Distress. The insufficiencies he could managed; the ailments, he learned to live with, seeing them as a stain from Above, the acceptance of which made his suffering all the more heroic. His great grandfather left the family fold and took up with a band of Anarcho-primitivism living in a Stone Age village in the mountains overlooking the city. Anarcho-primitivists were expected to abandon the ways of the Modern World, forsaking the comforts and extravagancies of an Industrial Society.

Accustom to the mammon afforded a person of Bourgeoisies’ upbringing, his wet-nurse suckling him like a baby goat, the downstairs maid drawing his nightly bath and scrubbing him pink, the upstairs one pulling the covers back and fluffing his pillows, his great grandfather found it difficult to give up the comforts and privileges he had all but taken for granted since childhood. Long before his great grandfather severed all familial ties, taking up with the Anarcho-primitivists where he remained until his death of Mental Insufficiency and Gastrula Distress, hastened, the coroner said, from a diet of mealworms and alfalfa, before the family opened its first fishmongery, long before the Dogmen took over the Greek Deli, before the rector stole his first gobbet of transubstantiated wine, an unknown seamstress working for an anonymous haberdashery made a pair of red whore’s gloves, the only pair in the entire world.

Manly astride the Gatestown bridge Phibs Glasnevin bowls bread crumbs across the surface of the roiling green water. His eye on a Sooty Tern he aims and bowls, pegging it in the head, the bird disappearing into the roiling. Phibs Glasnevin lives with his ailing mamma in a walkup bedsit in a decrepit tenement overlooking the Waymart, his mamma stone-deaf from the chiming bells and unruly children who play in the streets below. His great grandfather, upon hearing about the poor woman’s imposition, sent her a Get Well card with a picture of him mounting a Bradlees mare, the mare bucking like a drunken whore, the Anarcho-primitivists cheering him on encouragingly. Penned in sterling ink Over the portal door to the Gatestown Repository, was:

But the strangest thing happened. Backscuttling for the hop
off with the odds altogether in favour of his tumbling into the
river, Jaun just then I saw to collect from the gentlest weaner
among the weiners, (who by this were in half droopleaflong
mourning for the passing of the last post) the familiar yellow
label into which he let fall a drop, smothered a curse, choked a
guffaw, spat expectoratiously and blew his own trumpet...
(Finnegans Wake, 470.22-28)

‘surely as I’m standing that’s the first time I ever seen a trumpeting droopleaflong... makes a man want to pull out!’ droned Phibs Glasnevin, a knot of spit collimating his throat. Repocketing his comb, bits of broken loose hair speckling the front of his shirt, he nudged his mamma in the ribs, her breath expelling damply from the shrunken bellows of her chest. ‘the Church of the Eternal Scoundrel is having a dinner this Wednesday evening. Shall we attend? You and I mamma? Shall we?’ Gasping for a air, her lips turning eggplant blue, his mamma rebuked her son. ‘you’re such a scoundrel’ she said crushingly.

Wednesday, June 08, 2011


The Ferret brothers, called so because they resembled ferrets, the middle brother more so than his brothers, both of whom, though ferret-like didn’t have the stripe that singled out their middle brother, moved outside the five-mile to raise free-range chickens and pigs, the pigs corralled to keep them separated from the chickens who, featherless, wouldn’t have a chance in Hades against free-range swine. Of they the brothers we will talk no more as they are of the author’s imagination, made-up, compiled and culled together, and rarely does imagination come close to the world of reality and things.

Lela, her fingers worrying the hem of her skirts, sat under a waning blue sky beneath the Seder grocer’s awing, the threat of rain and children splashing in puddles making her feel morose and gloomy. Having lived for three years outside the five-mile she knew that a rainy day on that side was decidedly worse than one on this side. Either way the moroseness and gloominess continued, eating away at her like a gonorrhoeal sore, the itch between her legs widening her posture. She remembered how her mother would fan her face on those hot fuggy afternoons in July, the coffee tin next to her overflowing with still smouldering cigarette ends, her lipstick leaving a perfect O on the filter tip. Trussing the analogous foot to the opposing ankle and tying off with a sheepshank her mamma primped herself to leave for the evening, her date a podgy barber who owned a hair salon and pedicure shop, the latter a tax shelter for the former. Her mother spent most evenings out with the barber, his assistant, a wan pale boy with a discouraging overbite, discouraging to her mamma who preferred cunnilingus to intercourse, and whomever was willing and eager to frolic with a middle-age housewife, leaving her daughter alone to fend for herself, her daughter’s feistiness encouraging a rather unorthodox reaction to loneliness and isolation from the outside world. By the age of five her daughter had learned how to thread a needle, turn on and off the flatiron, fasten and unfasten her mother’s lockbox and live in a fantasy world she shared with dolls and a boxful of sand.

Tuesday, June 07, 2011

Pigeon House Road Constabulary

The hospital sent his grandmother a threatening letter saying that if she didn’t pay her husband’s hospital bill in full they would be forced take legal actions. His grandmother responded by burning the letter and tossing the still smouldering ashes in the hospital executive’s face. The following day his grandmother received a letter with the added caveat that the hospital executive was seeking damages for the second degree burns he had received due to his grandmother’s uncalled for reaction to the first letter. The following day his grandfather started drinking quart bottles of Stout like the fish he delivered for the Mercury Fish Co., the hawsehole in his stump weeping sebaceous green puss. The following day his grandfather fired the disagreeable whore for reneging on her promise to let him stick his hawsehole up her twat. Jenkin's Rule allowed for at least one post-surgical sodomy, his grandfather demanding that provenance to the rule be recognized. Solomon Whorl, barrister and craps enthusiast, took on his grandmother’s case, preparing a counterattack claiming that the litigant, under coercion and grieving the loss of her husband’s leg, had had her rights levied and therefore was in no way responsible for anything, payment of her husband’s bill included. His grandmother lost the case, Solomon Whorl nowhere to be found on the day of the litigation. Some say he was seen down at the docks throwing craps, others that he wasn’t a lawyer at all but a simpleton, his mother, her breasts sagging like two hanged men, suckling him well into his teens. His grandfather stopped talking after they sawed off his gangrenous leg leaving him with one leg and a stump, respite from the spectral throbbing coming in quart bottles and hook-tooth whores.

Armed with wooden truncheons the Pigeon House Road constabulary charged the mob head on, taking out whomever got in their way, the tallest keeping watch over the heads of his brothers, the shortest cutting his way through the mob on his hands and knees. Poldy watched the mêlée from behind a mountain of rotting oranges, the mob dispersing like cattle-prodded sheep, the shortest constabulary, caught between the legs of a fat woman with a bleating child, struggling to free himself. That day everything, children bound in plaster, poles separating unformed legs, hips swivelling on ball bearing hinges, feet skipping over every crack in the sidewalk, hands clutching at mothers’ apron strings, things barely alive, fell apart, all the dreams and happy times to come falling with it. By force of habit Poldy scratched his ear, a whaler’s needle of cartilage causing him no end of itchiness and discomfit. Expecting the worst, and with the mob making its way towards the front of the Seder grocers and the mountain of rotting oranges, he recited a line from a book he had read as a flog-toughened boy, “Besides, being very young, he had found the occupation of keeping his heart completely steeled against the worst so engrossing that he had come to feel an overpowering dislike towards any other form of activity whatever”.(Józef Teodor Konrad Korzeniowski, Typhoon). As luck would have it the mob passed him by and continued up the street, a few stragglers, hooligans by nature, looting whatever they could get their hands on, the Pigeon House Road constabulary lowering their truncheons and wiping their brows with satisfaction.

Awakening from a night of stormy weather, his lean-to leaking like a washerwoman’s hopes, her fingers worked to the bone cleaning other people’s filth, he felt a rat-tat-tat-rat-tat-tat in his head, long-forgotten memories ricocheting around in his skull, his thoughts firing like an autocannon, sleep-numb legs dancing in the wake of night’s expulsion. He was reminded of the funeral of a friend, a man with an oblong face and claw-hammer jaw, his teeth chiselled and honed on hock bones and pig’s knuckle, a man who when he put his mind to eating, which he did with great relish, could finish off an entire picnic ham or an pot roast without loosening a notch, a man of such great stature and pride that when a call to arms was proclaimed he dropped whatever he was doing and took the oath of allegiance, leaving behind a fine-looking wife and a dozen cherub-face children.

Saturday, June 04, 2011

il miglior fabbro

Lela stood in front of the Dogman deli staring at the reflection of a woman feeding her dog table scraps of picnic ham, the dog eating with ravenous indecency. An encephalitic making a trumpet of his ass, a dissonant heckling issuing from between his legs, stood watching Lela stare at the reflection of the woman feeding her dog, the dog eating with a gluttonous debauchery. Across the street a Chinese whore, her skirts wrestled around her hips, passed by, the encephalitic giving her the once over, his trumpeting ass lowering a pitch. The inviolacies of a monotonous world, where the unchanged changes in the wink of an eye, the doff of a cap, what was once there is now gone, what was gone reappears, grinning, reminding you that what ends begins again only to end again. Lela watched the woman and the dog until she couldn’t watch any longer, her jaw locked like a cobbler’s vice, blood spooling from the corners of her mouth and into the cleft of her chin.

He awoke only to fall back asleep, ferried back to the stygian nightmare that had waked him. Overcome with tenebrific wonting, the bed linen coiled round his legs, he struggled to stay calm, the storm that was brewing outside gnawing at the gunwales of his skull. He pulled himself from sleep, aiming for nine o’clock when the grocer’s opened for business. It was a slow process, taking all the unbridled strength he could muster, his arms and legs unresponsive, his eyes crusted over with sleep, the smell of yesterday’s misadventures clinging to his clothes like a syphilitic itch. He remembered leaving the tavern, rounding the corner and heading for home, his hat covering the bald spot that had encouraged such derisive heckling. A pug-nosed braggart, his shirttails hanging out his unbuckled trousers, wagging a drunken finger at him slurring ‘No man is a lion’ the treacly scent of wormwood and Absinthe prickling his face. ‘Not even God!’ This happened more often than not, resulting in a bloodied nose, his, not the heckler’s, who in his drunkenness didn’t feel the instigating blow, countering with a roundhouse and splaying his nose like a ripe tomato.

After they sawed off his gangrenous leg leaving him with one leg and one stump, his grandfather took to easing the phantom pain with quart bottles of Stout and disagreeable whores. Dr. Henri les Fauves amputated his grandfather’s necrotic leg with a circular saw, cauterizing the stump with a flatiron (etched on the handle was the following: Derain’s & Sons, Makers of Wound Sealers and Electric Car Jacks, ‘il miglior fabbro’)
and trussing the hob with hospital greens and surgical string, the corner-stitch giving his stump the appearance of a chainless hawsehole. They were later to find out that the surgeon had substituted Jenkin's Rule for a loosely tied mattress stitch, claiming it would hold better and help drain the wound, his grandmother refusing on principle to pay for such shoddy workmanship.

Wednesday, June 01, 2011

alle Gott sind tot

As summer neared so did his encroaching madness. The fenland blossomed into an abundant garden full of beautiful flowers, each with its own pollinating bee. His thoughts deepened until all he could think were sordid awful things, thoughts out of sync with the rest of the outside world. The bees, each to its own, barbed legs carrying sun-rich pollen, Nature’s nascent blood, hurried buzzing from one flower to another, dropping their motherly load into waiting mouths. Nectary to anther, stigma to ovule, they brought lifeblood to Nature’s garden. His thoughts whirled round and round, the fruit of his nature thrown into the streets like an upended cart where they were crushed under foot and wagon.

Tattooed on his forearm, just above his broken wrist, was La Morte Accidentale di un Anarchico, and above that, where the bicep meets with the shoulder, alle Gott sind tot. Each told a story: La Morte Accidentale di un Anarchico about the time he was arrested under suspicion of being a terrorist, tortured, then let loose, his torturers claiming that he was the spitting image of someone on their rendition list and thinking they had nabbed the right man, and proceeding with no little enthusiasm, acted in an overzealous manner; the other announcing his mistrust of polytheism. When he was a boy his father cautioned him against taking a stand on anything; saying that a boy who believes in gods is as foolish as a boy he believes in ghosts. And ghosts, he said, are just as likely to grant you a wish as a god would. Anybody can wear a sheet and make booing sounds, he said, but only a man can wear a sheet and denounce others. His father and his father’s father, going back as far as his father’s father’s father, all wore bed sheets with cone-shaped hoods, set fires in front of people’s houses and danced round a maypole made to look like a cross. The god they believed in wore an iridescent white sheet with an over-elaborate cylindrical hood and spoke in tongues with a syllabant lisp. They drank themselves’ blind, their god stuffing his mouth with entrails and viands, his teeth clacking like castanets, the others, using their heads as piñatas and brass-knuckled fists as weapons, splitting each others’ skulls into cordwood, flays of scalp flesh, some cut in tonsures, others bristle thin, quartered and dressed with an anatomist’s eye for precision.

Long before he knew about his da’s Chinese whore, before his great grandfather’s love for bare-knuckle fighting and quart bottles of Stout sent him to an early grave, his great grandmother spending all their savings on insulin and linseed oil, his great grandfather always griping about his wooden leg and the jabbing pain it caused him, long before he learned how to ride his second-hand bicycle with no hands and smoked his first cigarette behind the locker-room with a boy who ended up hanging himself for no reason other than he felt like it, long before any of this, before the sky fell for the first time, only to fall every year, like clockwork, leaving people without roofs over their heads and frustration in their voices, he had no idea why anyone would want to listen to anything a boy like him had to say. 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. 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!’ A man in a feathered cap with a goutweed jaw, staring idly at the hole in the roof over his head, exclaims ‘”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”’*. Long before the Dogmen set up camp behind the aqueduct and took to sniggling and dancing round a blazing bonfire, his father took up with a Chinese whore with raven black hair and tiny delicate feet.

Dr. Strangelove

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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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