Thursday, 31 May 2007

The Boatman: Part Two of Three

This particular circumstance repeated itself on a number of occasions. The young woman tried carrying several flagons at a time, she tried transporting them in a basket, even once in a wheelbarrow, but always, in one way or another, the wine contrived to spill itself on the ground before she reached the boatman. Usually it was a simple case of the skin splitting (though there is nothing simple in the splitting of four or five seemingly well-made flagons in the course of one journey), but more than once the reason for the spillage was more surprising. For instance, one day a swan flew at her and she dropped her basket, another day she was knocked off her feet by a pack of handsome hounds as a bugle called someway behind, and the day she brought the wheelbarrow it was struck by lightning and escaped her grip, trundling into a fearsome ravine. She felt very unlucky, and exceedingly hard done by.

One constant, and it didn’t escape the young woman’s attention, was that the wine was always spilt nearer to her destination than to her point of departure. She assumed after a while that this was some mean, tantalising trick of fate, as sometimes she could hear the lapping of the river at the shore when the wine was spilt, so close was she to success. She never once made it to the edge of the woods, though, with a drop of wine left in her possession. She always, however, completed her journey and, with less optimism every time, tried to bargain with Jones. She offered many things; yet more money, more jewels, bread and meat, fur and feathers, even herself eventually, but the answer was always the same.

It was on the day that he spurned this last offer that she reached the very end of her tether and, weeping copiously, told Jones the following;

“You know my face well enough by now, and I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve asked you for passage. I’ll tell you now what I shouldn’t wonder you have long since guessed, and that is that my true love is on yonder bank, and that I mean to be reunited with him. Since he cannot know he would find me here, I daresay he’s given up hope, but a promise is a promise, and if you refuse to ferry me today, I shall swim, although that the water is wide and I shall certainly drown. I shall leave you my pouch with all of its riches, for better it remain with you, dear boatman, than that it drown with me. For while I lie clay-cold and eaten by fishes, it may yet bring me solace to think that perhaps you have made your way to town to buy wine with that money for the dry mouth that so afflicts you.”

Jones said nothing at first, but gave a wry chuckle. He looked for a moment or so at this young woman, miserably awaiting his response.

“My dear,” he said presently, “I hope you have a good lunch with you, as I would hate to think of you undertaking so arduous a task on an empty stomach.”

Track 2: Have I Been Rescued? (The Ballad of the Broke-Down Blue)

(Introduction: Strictly Bass and Mouth Organ
Then a gradual wave of Gospel- getting louder and louder, like a Mouthie. Then).

Oh Gospel, could you hear me
when the water lapped my waist?
Heard nothin’ to alarm me
Put that devil in his place
Now just a dice roll from delusion
I blinked every second frame
I counted angles in the alleys
Every one was just the same.
Now my baby’s out of earshot
And she better be as blue
The pavement full of fractures
For my wails to drip into

You let me bawl about my baby
When I shoulda been asleep?
How could you let my fingers tremble?
Yeah, Let me bawl about that girl.

Say Gospel, could ya hear me
As the water touched my chest?
Don’t set fire to the bar-side, they said
But it was just a test.
I just don’t have the guts for heaven
and hell don’t have the guts for me.
You wear your sins like jewellery
And Now Honey, you’re guilt free

You let me bawl about my baby
When I shoulda been asleep.
How could you let my stomach empty?
Well let me bawl about my girl.

But tell me…
Gospel could you hear me
As the water reached my neck?
I was overcast with moonshine
I just hadn’t thought to check.
All my jokes before the bar side
fell flat out on their designs
So I plot a graph from Britain
To the Jwaneng Diamond Mines.

You let me bawl about my baby
When I shoulda been asleep.
How could you let my gizzards tangle?
Well let me bawl about my girl.

For Godssake Gospel won’t you hear me
Now the water’s overhead?
I’m screaming can’t you hear me!?
It’s hopeless now to tread.

You let me bawl about my baby
When I shoulda been asleep!
How couldya let my lungs fill
Lord I coulda been asleep!
All of this is your fault
So let me

Wednesday, 30 May 2007

The Boatman: Part One of Three

Where Lethe forgets what it is and becomes Eridanos of no fixed designation, the water leaves the foggy gloom and is home to Nyami Nyami, merry snake with his basket of bread, and the banks are green; the Southern shore is the reflection of the fields of Aaru in earthier hues, still ripe with reeds; the Northern shore is Salley Gardens, where pleasant men weep silently to strains of The Waters of Tyne, strummed for coppers by Orpheus, on the lam with his lyre. Lethe remembers sometimes to dip her feet in the river that bore her name upstream, just to be sure it’s still moving. She’s on the Salley side. A jetty juts from either bank a little further downstream, where the meanders of Eridanos first mingle with the flowing of Ymir’s blood from the North Sea. For a flagon of wine, the boatman (Jones to his friends) will take you across from shore to shore. Throw in a golden apple, or even a simple apple crumble, and you might persuade him to take you out to sea, across chopping waves on his little wicker ferry, to the bay where cormorants swoop at the backs of fishermen unawares, the shore where the first of the Eastern guests, the Three Pure Ones and Rostam the champion, have already crossed the beach and are on the road that will take them to the Court of King Jelly Roll, for the feast.

A young woman came down to the jetty one morning where Jones sat smoking his pipe. They were on the south side.

“Boatman,” she said, and he looked up, smiling slightly, “Will you ferry me across the river?”

“Of course dear,” he said, “If you have the means to pay.”

“Certainly I do,” she said, reaching towards her pouch, “Should I pay you now or later?”

“Now, I should think,” said Jones, amusedly, “But what manner of vessel is that for transporting wine?”

Both were looking at the pouch, “It... isn’t,” said the young woman, “It’s full of money and such things.”

“Ah, yes. Hard currency. It’s wine I’ll be needing, though. That money stuff’s wasted on me, dear.”

“But I haven’t any wine,” she protested, “And I do have rather a lot of money, coins of all denominations, and traveller’s cheques too!”

It was no use, though, and Jones told her, kindly enough, to return again with wine, and passage would be assured. And so she headed off, somewhat frustrated.

The next day, or two days later, she arrived at the jetty just as Jones’s boat returned, unladen, from the other side. She walked down and crouched to repeat her previous request.

“Of course dear,” he said, “But I shall need a sip of that wine first, for it’s thirsty work being a boatman. More than you might realize. You do have the means to pay, yes?”

“I did…,” she began, hesitantly, raising the remnants of a flagon, “But it was spilt on the way…”

“Oh dear.”

“I was hoping, perhaps, to offer you this instead,” she said, holding out a diamond ring.

“Hmm,” pondered Jones, “I’m sure it’s pretty enough to look at, but I daresay it does very little for a dry mouth. It’ll have to be wine, I’m afraid.”

She sighed and headed off.

Sunday, 27 May 2007

Some Advice from a Centipede

Melody stood with her back to the wall with the stench of freshly cut durian spoiling the thick hot air, and knew that this then was Hong Kong.
Leering doorways called to her from across the street.
“We are dark. We are dirty and our humidity is high. Enter us, enter us.”
A dark blush started low on Melody’s chest…spreading upwards like ants to her neck and her cheeks. I have those fat cheeks that fat people have, she thought, those fat cheeks with little veins on the surface that swell when they blush so I look like a map.
In fact Melody was very thin but she was very unattractive. She was right to hate herself, she was right.
She pulled a giant pin from out of her belly and flopped off the wall where she had been for the last half hour. She saw with some relief a man on the corner, and she made her way towards him.
He was very carefully spitting into a cup. He was very old.
Is it spit or is it vomit? thought Melody.
The man coughed and spurted a thick yellow bubbly fluid from between his chaffed lips into the plastic cup, already three quarters full. He then looked up at her, eyes sly, and hissed.
Then he nodded at her smiling, only not with any part of his face. He carefully put the cup down, almost proudly, and reached into his grubby nylon tracksuit bottoms. His foul hand came back out with a little brown package, which he thrust at Melody.
“Take it, take this! It’s from in my foul! It’s from my not good!”
You can’t talk English! Melody thought, You can’t!
She ran away.
“Mmmhmm yes…trickly trickle down…we’re deep inside.”
The doorways were back…she was back on her wall. She felt the pin jump at her soft belly and penetrate her skin…forcing her rigid against the wall.
What is in my pocket?
Her tender fingers, shaking with shock burrowed into her cardigan pocket and touched crinkly brown paper. It was the package from the man.
Did I take this? She sobbed and her tears helped her slump down into a squatting position, the pin forgotten.
Her fingers were bone white now as they opened the small parcel. It looked like it could contain no more than a small packet of coins, or perhaps some dried rice. Carefully each corner was folder out, and she gently tore all down one side. She tipped the contents onto her hand so suddenly that she did not have time to scream as the large red centipede slid out and lay, curled up, on her palm.
The centipede moved.
His red shiny head pulsed out from the coils, and his mouth opened into a smile.
“One side will make you grow taller, and the other side will make you grow shorter” he seemed to say…but then, did I just think that? Melody was feeling dizzy…I’m not in Wonderland for christ’s sake…I’m in…Hong Kong…
The doorways seemed to be growing around her like huge black teeth…Melody glanced up in fear.
The sky is getting further away!
With horror she glanced down at her hand and saw only half a centipede…writhing and bleeding onto her skin.
She gagged and spluttered, falling onto all fours as she retched, coughing up a few red legs.
But no head.
Without any more control she felt herself crawling along the dirty pavement.
Her dress was ripping and now so were her knees.
Everything was getting dark she noted, everything is getting wet.
The doorways! She screamed inside her head, They’re eating me!

“IN! IN! IN! IN!”

And then silence. An almost empty street but for an old man with a cup, half a centipede, some brown paper and a pin.

Friday, 25 May 2007

Digital Lessons

Firstly please excuse the placement of video here.
If you have cause to gripe, then so be it.
Tension is beneficial to the four hummus.

I'm in Hong Kong, so thought as my first post in quite a while I'd best do something nothing at all about it.

Here are some videos you should watch.

Actually this next one really is about Hong Kong. This is more or less what I see out of my window.

Yes...lighters turning into giant...lighters. That's Hong Kong.
And I'll leave you with a fine clip from a fine Ken Loach film.

Friday, 18 May 2007

The Originator

Rather upsetting news concerning Bo Diddley's health was announced yesterday. I shall leave it to the BBC (click the title link above) to fill you in on the details. Suffice it to say, Pooka Delaval wishes The Originator a full and speedy recovery.

Tuesday, 15 May 2007

Mama Sita

In the same vein as my previous post, this one nonetheless has a distinguishing feature; I remember a little about its genesis. I asked Issa in the summer of 2002 for a name to give to a grand matriarch. It couldn't have been more succinct than Mama Sita. It's certainly a regret of mine that the following is the only occurence to date of that grand old lady:

Mama Sita was a remarkable lady. She was in the Triangle that day I went with Dr Rudolph, a Wednesday, and was looking to get away from him. My time spent under the grip of his hospitality was very useful, I mean, I’d met all sorts of people and made a fair bit of money, but I was feeling restless. One major reason, perhaps a paranoid one looking at it now, was that he seemed fairly frequently to be examining my eye-sockets. Of course he has rarely operated on males, nor has he tended to repeat his procedures on other patients. Nevertheless, I didn’t trust him; it’s quite conceivable that he gave me room and board, like he said, for intelligent conversation, that when talking to me he didn’t have to worry about shocking me – it’s quite true, I was never once shocked by a thing he said. I found him, in spite of his twisted operations, to be very easy to talk with. Of course, I had no doubt that he was a dangerous individual. Whatever, I had to get away from the bastard; I wasn’t shocked, no, but I’ll say I was getting increasingly disgusted cohabiting with some of his creations. The conditions that they had to live in, the cages, the lax approach to basic cleaning and maintenance. It just got to be too much, and then there was that nagging ethical outrage; I decided one day that I would liberate them, but I haven’t as yet acted on that urge.

Saturday, 12 May 2007

Old Fool at the Egg

Inspired by Moxther to do so, I trawled through old notebooks, seeking The Jonathan. I found a fair bit, some of it good. The following dates from May 2002, though it required a little fine-tuning tonight, a little sanding of the edges. I gave that a quick whirl, and here it is:

I have a chance meeting with the sorrowful old fool who passed out at the egg last night on my way to see that gentleman I heard mentioned over foul cocktails, before Mr Samuel Thompson’s hideous public humiliation. I’m very surprised to see the Old Fool, who looked quite frankly dead last night. He still looks rather dead, and yet I hear him mutter words that suggest his continuing and pitiful existence, words like ‘pain’ and ‘alcohol poisoning’. I’m catching the drift, more or less, I’m really not sure, of what he’s trying to communicate. I won’t even attempt a verbatim transcription here of the poor bastard’s monologue. But it goes something like this;

“When I was your age, young sir, I had the deepest desire to donate a kidney. After all, my boy, I did have the two. It seems frightfully selfish for a young gentleman to have so many kidneys when there are people out there with really frightful kidneys, or none at all, even. I trust, my boy, that you have donated one of your own,” the Old Fool looks very stern. He frightens me. Of course I haven’t, nor will I ever donate a kidney, or anything else for that matter. But I must humour the old coot.

“Yes, sir, I donated the larger of the two, and a lung.”

“Splendid!” (This is an extremely guttural sound), “My dear boy, I myself was not able to donate a kidney. I was healthy young man, in my prime, barely thirty-seven years of age, my boy, and they told me they wouldn’t take the kidney. I was positively crestfallen, my dear. I believe that they said something along the lines of, ‘Sir, your stronger kidney resembles a dog turd, and the other is unspeakable,’ I mean, they just cut me open, took one look at my darling kidneys, and then turned away, truthfully, young sir, they were retching. They sewed me up and threw me out. My dearly beloved, that is what drove me to the drink, and I vowed that from that day on, if I ever saw a young man, like I was those many years ago, declining to do his duty, and keeping all of his kidneys selfishly to himself, I would cut open his gut and positively feed them to him, young sir. Just look at me now,” and he screams, “Just look at me now! I have barely two kidneys to rub together…”

“If you’ll excuse me, sir, I have an appointment to donate a portion of my brain to friendly helpful people. If I’m late, I will be a murderer, and be held responsible in law.”

“Oh, marvellous, young marvellous man! May you never become as I am, a pathetic, drunken old rabbit.”

I would sooner die, “Farewell!” I say.

“Farewell, young sir my dear.”

Tuesday, 8 May 2007

The Matter of the Case of the Skinny Girl, Perhaps With Teeth

The following is from The Jonathan. It's alright.

Jonathan mulled it over once more. He looked edgewise at the envelope, squinting. But for a thin manila line, it mightn’t have been there at all. This didn’t help matters and so Jonathan was forced to concede that this was indeed a conundrum of a mystery, akin to an enigma. He pincered his fingers for the third time into this foolscap phenomenon, retrieving the card with its uppercase inscription:


He used or attempted to his analytical now on account of crash course mental awareness training the previous week mind to unravel layers of meaning and sense from this correspondence. Murder a factor. Perhaps be armed. Investigate skinny girl – perhaps the teeth are hers, in which case expect her to sing. Grizzled Maine may be a person – male? – in which case perhaps grizzled. Avoid preconception. Try not to die. Report perhaps by phone – Ms Ex works nights. The Egg is a notorious night-spot. He knew that. The handbag was unfathomable at this early stage of enquiry, and Jonathan could neither associate nor disassociate the handbag with or without the murder, which itself might be anyone’s. Forthwith he attired himself with revolver, kerchief and fedora, for it was Tuesday week from last Tuesday and early evening six-thirty, sky forming night and full of oxygenated air useful for breathing. Jonathan slammed the door with himself on the other side and dismounted stairs and hailed a taxi and walked down the stairs to the basement Egg twenty minutes having paid his fifteen pound fare to see what he might find, hoping it would work in his favour to arrive a good forty minutes before the allotted time and he made sure to look for features in faces but not too closely so as not to draw undue attention. Was it the skinny girl or the handbag that would be small?

Monday, 7 May 2007

Part III of a Story: An Alternative Ending

Maisy didn’t remember falling asleep. Considering she was waking up and despite the bleary logics usually associated with it she mustered a few concerns for her memory. Especially when taking into consideration the difficulties she’s suffered with the art of falling asleep. She wasn’t at home and, as a result, a little startled. That was until a few prompts jogged her ailing memory: the smell, the scene, a few cigarette ends- nothing too particular.
She couldn’t see a soul. She kept looking.

Maisy: Hello? Hello, is anyone still here?
[Standing up she notices she is naked]
Oh heavens…
I shall need to find some clothes before I leave, and leave I think I must.
[Maisy searches for her clothes]
Now... where are they? They can’t have just abandoned me... left without permission...
How rude.
[Russell emerges from underneath a fallen curtain, both he and it are patterned with blood]
Russell: [croaked but stern] Girl…
Maisy: [unsure of where the voice is coming from] Yes?
Russell: Girl!…
Maisy: [locating Russell] Oh my!
I simply cannot understand.
No I just can't understand at all.
…Why is this situation?
Russell: They aren’t coming back, they just won’t return. They’re not the type.
Maisy: [careful to hide certain parts of herself from view] Nonsense! You’re simply delivering nonsense, now if you wouldn’t mind I’d be very grateful if you could return to the start and explain, exactly what you mean and, if you can, what’s been going on while I’ve been asleep.
Russell: Well, let me try again then. You are an Idiot. One of the most horrid and sorry fools I have ever had the displeasure of answering. Though, believe me, I’m hardly one to speak.

As soon as you began mouthing claptrap and making nuisance, you could see it in her eyes, it was blatant, in Sukie’s eyes, she had it in for you and you right well deserve it too. You idiot nuisance.
Maisy: Pardon me, this is outrageous. Really. I have been nothing but courteous as far as I can tell. A perfect guest to the best of my abilities and I, simply, will not have such nasty things said. How outrageous!
Russell: You really have to open your eyes a little, girl. Can’t you see what’s happened? Them! They have left you and me and taken everything- your money, the clothes off your back, any shard of dignity you had secretly felt proud of, gone. Everything. You were conned, robbed! Surely you can see that.
Maisy: I am neither an idiot nor a nuisance but I am waiting for an apology.
Russell: For Christ’s sake, aren’t you listening? The trouble you’ve gone and brought upon yourself and me. It’s not me who should be apologising! Girl!
[Russell gasps for breath but merely splutters]
How ignorant, how unbelievably unaware can you be? Do you realise you have nothing left: no clothes, no home, no dignity. Any insult I can concoct doesn’t serve the purpose adequately.
[Maisy twiddles her hair, Russell grows increasingly flabbergasted]

Everything you do clearly demonstrates what a naïve little girl you are, girl.
What an accident.
I should, certainly, have kept quiet and let you untangle your own messes.
You have no idea. You can’t see further than yourself. And You’re the least polite rudest, horridest slip of a beast , I can’t tell which …[splurgh]… of you was worse - she may have been looking for trouble but you know, yes you know that you’…
[Russell expires]
Maisy: [smiles a little and affirms quite quietly] How rude.

Maisy took the blood-soaked curtain from over Russell and wrapped it around herself. Though she wanted to cry she couldn’t. Now seemed like the right time to head home, Maisy decided. And she, simply, walked home.

Sunday, 6 May 2007


I have been in all three bathrooms many times. They have small sash windows with net curtains opening onto the same triangular collection of backyards. At one end of the yards there is a small charity-run community centre with public recycling bins and a private garden. The garden is filled with sculptures done by people recovering from depression, many of whom own dogs that are very large and very friendly. With difficulty I can see into this garden from my window, but only if I pull the sash window up half way (as far as it will go), put my head way out and turn, bent double, to the left.

If I turn to the right I see the mossy detail of a small nightclub’s back wall. I cannot do this in any of the bathrooms other than my own --- blocks of wood have been securely screwed above the lower sashes to prevent them from being opened further than a few inches. The rooms themselves are long and thin, and in complementary proportions to the windows. Below the windows are standard white porcelain toilets with plastic fittings. The flush handles are made of the same material, but covered with a chrome-like layer which has in any case mostly worn away.

The bathtub in which I soak is identical to the two others on floors below which, I am told, have held a total of three deaths, and a total of three bathrooms. I am assured that nothing has taken place in the one I use, but haven’t asked if it is the first floor or the ground floor which is one ahead, or if a single bathroom has seen all three.

Whenever I happen to leave my window up while I piss I have the same thought: that if anyone in a building opposite is watching, all they would be able to see was a rectangular framing of my urinating penis. For some reason I consider this an aesthetic victory, and laugh at myself for the thought.

The bath has it's foot beside the toilet, and it's head by the door and sink, so your feet point towards the window while washing. It has two brass faucets, the hot on the right, the cold on the left. The chain also seems to be brass and the plug is very ordinary in both design and material - a rubbery white plastic. I sometimes smoke while in the bath because it fulfils a cliché, though I always become light-headed and sweaty when I do. I can never remember where I got the idea it was a cliché from in the first place… but in the bath I mostly take the time to divide three by two and choose where to place the remainder. Two is both one more and twice as much as one. Three is a different sort of consideration, and an insurmountable order of magnitude larger among values so eminently countable. When I think about three I push my hips forward and lie flat with my eyes closed and my hair underwater, listening to the sound of the tap filling the tub with more hot water.

I get out. Without drying myself I fill the sink halfway, scald my face with the water, and begin to shave. After every second stroke I rinse the razor. If I cut myself I put my palm to my face and note the red blotches on my hand before washing them away. When I’m tired, or the razor is old and dull, the water becomes noticeably pink with shaving soap and blood. I let the sink drain and take the time to carefully rinse away the hundreds of quarter-inch hairs.

I dry myself, put my clothes back on, place the towel on the radiator, go to my bedroom, take off my clothes, get into bed, go to sleep.

Thursday, 3 May 2007

Dictaphone Dreams

That morning, because of reading the article where Nigel Slater invited Paul, Stella and Mary McCartney to lunch, I daydreamed about how brilliant it would be to own a Dictaphone. It might be the single most entertaining purchase I could make. It fitted with the daydream about having my own photocopier.

When I went to work in the shop I work in, I made sure I was wearing something with a pocket. This is useful for two reasons: somewhere to put my locker key, and it means I can carry my Dictaphone.
Sorting clothes in the back of the shop, I hear someone say a sentence containing the word ‘kite’. I start to think long and hard about kites. I realise kites are something I think about exceptionally rarely. I try to put a timescale on it – once a year? – could be too hasty an exaggeration. Once a month – NO I don’t! I try to work backwards: Do I think about kites once in every two months? No! Once in every four months? Probably not, you know. Woah. Kites are far less part of my conscious than hundreds of fictional things. It must be time to turn on my Dictaphone:
“Fiona, have you ever flown a kite?” I ask.
“Have I ever flown a kite?? Or have I ever attempted to fly a kite? I tried when I was little, it didn’t really work.”
“Do you think most people have flown a kite?”
“I think most people have tried. I don’t think most people have succeeded.”
Fiona is practical. I think she is right. Oh – gosh! – this is my experience, too! I remember now, with my sister and brother in the Yorkshire Dales. Trial and not much flight. I suppose experienced kiters can see the correct shapes of the wind.
Rosie comes into the back room, grinning, and holding postcard-sized paper. “Wuz in with the books. Someone must have been using it as a bookmark.”
Lee takes it “Urr”. I look over his shoulder. It is a photograph of a young woman on a sunny pier, topless and arms out at right-angles. The photographer was standing quite far away, and has unnecessarily added oodles of blue sky, meanwhile chopping off her feet. Photographs are a nice shape and feel for a bookmark, provided they’re not still new and sticky. I think of all the types of things that get used as bookmarks, in a row, on a white gallery wall. Ladies of a certain lengthxwidth. OH MY, I WANT TO HAVE AN EXHIBITION OF BOOKMARKS. Maybe I should be taking this down on my Dictaphone. Everybody could relate. Well, readers.
I think of stealing the topless woman shot as the first piece for the exhibition, and because it feels tripley thrilling – stealing soft porn from a charity shop. At the end of my shift, I steal it.
“Ohhh!” says Fiona, opening another donation bag.
“Yeah, I was trying my very best to avoid touching those” says Lee.

In bed at night I listen to the recordings I took with my Dictaphone. I notice on a second hearing that Lee’s reaction to the topless woman was strange. She was quite an attractive woman, after all. Strange. I like to chant my little mantra: How much of this am I recalling and how much am I reconstructing? and I can answer certainly 100% recall, I am remembering the truth. I listen to the recordings of the conversations again while I am part-asleep. Dictaphone dreams.

The Fox

In strides that cast long shadows over trees and felt like dusk for a blink’s duration, Gog and Magog trod almost whispered, lakes and valleys easy footholds. Under a stride at that very instant stood a fox tearing flesh, fresh flesh from a rabbit passing, natural.

The day, though old when the shadow flashed, was light enough that the bee could find his way to rest at the end of a day in the pollen fields, hard work. Twilight rumoured through the woods, the fox was at his picnic, quiet, his breakfast of that rabbit that was passing, and he’d been skulking, clever.

The green was new, and fragile, bright for its newness, strong for its brightness. Caterpillars were making it older, busy and slow, living, and the holes they left, the craters in the leaves seen from the moon, were life. A thousand drops that afternoon from a shower dripped through the leaves and wedded their way through earth to the roots of trees. A spider swung easy from a twig, up there in the canopy, unbothered by budding leaves; the length of a grasshopper, the twig was a leisurely brown.

The fox was steady in eating, here chewing at the tougher meat, there gnawing at a bone, feeding as a beast is wont to feed. From setting out from den to spotting through the trees the rabbit passing, this steady eating, chewing, tearing was the reason for his walk that evening. As was intended, the fox was eating steady, and barely a splatter of blood hit mossy ground.

Sorrel moved little more than the silver birches, and the sky, that instant darkened but no more than in the fraction where the rain cloud first envelopes the sun before the light in eyes ignites, was no less vaulted than the cathedral roof when all eyes alight upon the altar. Unseen by the fox, keen-eyed though he is, a finger of Gog descended, picked up a leg-bone of the rabbit.

That moment of darkness, fleeting, unthought-of as it was, brought a shiver to the fox, a momentary shiver, and, though a bead of wetness in the fox’s eye was also fleeting, unthought-of, it was a vein of quartz in a crag next winter.

The rabbit’s bone, carried by strides down an every-coloured road to where the Court of King Jelly Roll will be met, is free of pain and will make it to the feast.

Wednesday, 2 May 2007

Track 1: Genevieve

Genevieve is chewing gum, she’s just chewing gum.
She’s other things, but all in all.

And I like her all the more for it.

Genevieve she wears this coat, this trim waistcoat and sooted shades.
And they were both. It really gave her a buzz.
She could really buzz. Christ, Genevieve, could really buzz- it would make you sweat.

Time’s for service.
Keep this train
Oh keep this train from holdin’.

Genevieve she drives this train. You see, she wails and drives this train.
It’s service and I serve her too.
A reasoned choice for servitude.

And rolling when she’s burning heat, like Genevieve could shovel heat.
Coz rolling embers’ rolling blues
Gratify this iron.

Give her those spirituals.

Time’s for service.
Keep this train
Oh keep this train from holdin’

And, oh, each drip of sweat fell down, drowned out by the embers chorusline:
“Don’t tarry here, this line goes on/ serve her till the night’s all gone”

Backing vocals: ‘Is this what you want?’ (repeated till finish)

But Genevieve won’t tarry here, she’d never wait nor tarry here.
She’ll wail and wail
And scale this locomotive frame.
And she’ll join the embers, saying:
“Don’t tarry here, this line goes on/ serve her till the night’s all gone”

Time’s for service.
Keep this train
Oh keep this train from holdin’
Time’s for service.
Keep this train
Oh keep this train from holdin’
Time’s for service.
Serve this train
Oh keep this train from grindin’