All entries for October 2008

October 29, 2008

Jane Austen Recaptured

It seems to be a fact that everyone enters this world complaining. I’ve always thought that death is the one time we cease to complain- and even then only because our problems have run out.

           Ted, old, deaf and in need of a decent de-lousing, bends over the chalice. For a few seconds I amuse myself by pretending he’s bowing to me.

           Blood of Christ be with you…

           I have to force the cup, applying gentle pressure, out from under from his lips. When he raises his head there’s a faint smear of purple across his lips.

           They do say, the verger says, dipping to the potato stew he’s heated on the community area hob, that Sally Shaker’s been seeing the Thompson boy.

           Seeing?

           You know. Seeing. He giggles dripping stew back into his pan.

           Perhaps we’ll see them at the disco, I say. The stew tastes atrocious. Do you think a lot of people will come to the disco?

           We had about twenty-five last year. Of course, that was the old vicar.

           Of course.

           Thompson will come- he’s hoping to get the sacrament job next year. For his CV. We should probably put the decorations up soon.

           Three schoolgirls are chatting through their cigarettes out by the bus stop. Their hair is blonde-streaked and straightened.

           I do love the church discos, the verger says. A time to have a bit of fun with the young people. And then, as if considering,

           I do hope those riff-raff from the estate won’t come again. I’d swear they just come for the free nibbles and the lemonade.

           He takes a great gulp of potato stew, brown lumps cascading down his chin.

           Body of Christ be with you, I murmur, gazing out of the window.


October 22, 2008

post–trans

Witness #4

…and I reminded her- praise Anocteon- how the Casauvesoyd in awoa held those polls four decades ago, and every pona had a vote to determine which words should be removed from the language, hotchy, vulgar words like ____, ______ and ______. But she just kept saying, this isn’t right, this isn’t right at all.

And I pointed out to her that the best of our doctors had conducted research on the subject and proved conclusively that ipona who knew and understood the meaning of words like ___, ____ and _____ were overwhelmingly more likely to commit ___, ____ and _____. Again, Anocteon have mercy, to no avail.

And finally, as a kind of joke, you understand, simply trying to convince her of the awoa of my argument, I suggested that those who used words like ____, _____ and ______ generally required a session of Tulos in order to purify themselves of the taint of that coarse, hotchy language, an infection which was likely to spread to others who might act these words out in the republic. Did she want her children, Anocteon be feared, growing up in a world of ____, _____ and ______? Didn’t she understand that the ipona had made their verdict clear?

But she just kept saying, No, this isn’t right, this isn’t right at all. Thinking about it now, I should probably have suspected what she’d go on to do.


'Humans–are–basically–good' exercise pre–translation

A vague attempt towards Beckett, so far, which will hopefully become less so under translation.

Witness #4

…and I reminded her- praise God- how the government in its wisdom held those polls four decades ago, and every person had a vote to determine which words should be removed from the language, horrible, vulgar words like ____, ______ and ______. But she just kept saying, No, this isn’t right, this isn’t right at all.

And I pointed out to her that the best of our doctors had conducted research on the subject and proved conclusively that people who knew and understood the meaning of words like ___, ____ and _____ were overwhelmingly more likely to commit ___, ____ and _____. Again, God have mercy, to no avail.

And finally, as a kind of joke, you understand, simply trying to convince her by any possible means, I suggested that those who used words like ____, _____ and ______ generally required re-education in order to purify themselves of the taint of that language, an infection which was likely to spread to others. Did she want her children, God be feared, growing up in a world of ____, _____ and ______? Didn’t she understand that the people had spoken, as a democracy?

But she just kept saying, No, this isn’t right, this isn’t right at all. In retrospect, I should probably have suspected what she’d go on to do.


October 21, 2008

Shakespeare's Maccain

“A reinvigorating new performance of the classic play sees a warrior prince, goaded on by his unscrupulous female consort, attempt to murder his rival to the throne. However, he finds himself tormented by the ghost of his old friend Powell and even by his own remorse...

Sample dialogue:

Third Republican: Maccain shall never vanquish’d be, until

Minorities lose voting apathy

In numbers enough to sustain lib’ral

Support against the conservative core

Of America.

Maccain: That shall never be.

Who can impress upon the urban youth

To take an active int’rest in current

Affairs?

Voter: Our fears have made us traitors.”

Too much time on my hands, perhaps, but I’d pay good money to see this.  Now I just need suitably blatant names for the witches.  'Consumerism', 'Multi-National Corporation' and 'Islamophobia', perhaps...


October 20, 2008

Recognising yourself in something horrific…

Remembered this very funny passage from Besy after a heated POF seminar; it should be instantly recognisable to anyone (like me) who's let the strength of their convictions draw them out a little too far...

A secret meeting of revolutionaries is being held; the leaders, Stavrogin and Verkhovensky, have just entered.

'“Stavrogin, will you have tea?”

“Please,” he answered.

“Tea for Stavrogin,” she commanded her sister at the samovar. “And you, will you?” (This was to Verhovensky.)

“Of course. What a question to ask a visitor! And give me cream too; you always give one such filthy stuff by way of tea, and with a name-day party in the house!”

“What, you believe in keeping name-days too!” the girl-student laughed suddenly. “We were just talking of that.”

“That's stale,” muttered the schoolboy at the other end of the table.

“What's stale? To disregard conventions, even the most innocent is not stale; on the contrary, to the disgrace of every one, so far it's a novelty,” the girl-student answered instantly, darting forward on her chair. “Besides, there are no innocent conventions,” she added with intensity.

“I only meant,” cried the schoolboy with tremendous excitement, “to say that though conventions of course are stale and must be eradicated, yet about name-days everybody knows that they are stupid and very stale to waste precious time upon, which has been wasted already all over the world, so that it would be as well to sharpen one's wits on something more useful. . . .”

“You drag it out so, one can't understand what you mean,” shouted the girl.

“I think that every one has a right to express an opinion as well as every one else, and if I want to express my opinion like anybody else ...”

“No one is attacking your right to give an opinion,” the lady of the house herself cut in sharply. “You were only asked not to ramble because no one can make out what you mean.”

“But allow me to remark that you are not treating me with respect. If I couldn't fully express my thought, it's not from want of thought but from too much thought,” the schoolboy muttered, almost in despair, losing his thread completely.

“If you don't know how to talk, you'd better keep quiet,” blurted out the girl.

The schoolboy positively jumped from his chair.

“I only wanted to state,” he shouted, crimson with shame and afraid to look about him, “that you only wanted to show off your cleverness because Mr. Stavrogin came in—so there!”

“That's a nasty and immoral idea and shows the worthless-ness of your development. I beg you not to address me again,” the girl rattled off.'

If I seem quiet in seminars this week, then it's because I'm trying to avoid turning into a member of this generation of "too much thought"...


October 10, 2008

random poem #4

Though scented only

once, you couldn’t mistake that

shit-tannery odour, its engulfing,

wet cloy. Inhale.

I reach the place where they were hosed down. Sustained African jets

through the arrowed cast-iron railings;

tramping feet, one grinful

eye. The trailing,

dawn street tastes of elephant.


October 07, 2008

single–sentence story

Cheating as ever; two versions, one single-sentence, one properly laid out.  A sort of organised worry on male-female relations.

              

           Gentle, gentle, love-

           twenty minutes later, working feverishly in the sweat of the bathroom, he breathes,

           I am excited by all of the wrong things- train wrecks, recessions, everyday misfortunes; once he found himself driven half-mad by a stray dog pelting through the suburbs, nobody bothering to chase after it-

what’re you doing in there, Jerry, Nicole calls from the bathroom; darling, what the hell do you think you’re doing?-

three hours later, he hefts the briefcase, ignoring the tourist’s wheels at the base, and proceeds through the centre of town, gazing at the cashier girl who beeps his sandwich until she becomes uncomfortable and asks,

was there anything else, sir?-

no, no, nothing else,

turning, tearing the package open in the atrium of the store, he moves on, nudging the briefcase forward between his thighs:

his first question to Nicole, if he’d raised the subject, might have been,

darling, how am I meant to pursue you without my becoming a beast and your becoming my victim?-

he passes through the core and the shops begin to thin; a dog begins to bark, as if helpless:

mind-Nicole, a beauteous thing with the face of the cashier girl, replies,

curb yourself, darling Gerard, it’s a question of moderation-

but curbing oneself, darling mind-Nicole, is not a masculine trait, nor is it one of mine-

there are four children sharing a bottle of vodka by the embankment; he trundles his briefcase past them:

oi, mate, mate, mate-

I haven’t got any cigarettes-

what’s in the case, mate?-

cats’ heads, he says; one of them lobs a stone at him, and they run, cursing: he can hear to their bikes chiming over the bridge and into the town-

Christ, he thinks, rubbing his grin, have I even found pleasure in this?-

he pushes the briefcase down the bricked slope intended for canoeists; the river pulls it down till its murmurs vanish past the old gas tower:

mind-Nicole, although his prisoner, refuses to disappear: he wades up to the top of his wellingtons in the water as if he could swim after the case and reclaim its contents-

when they find him, he admits,

how could I have avoided it?

and then,

gentle, gentle love.

               Gentle, gentle, love-

           Twenty minutes later, working feverishly in the sweat of the bathroom, he breathes,

           I am excited by all of the wrong things- train wrecks, recessions, everyday misfortunes; once he found himself driven half-mad by a stray dog pelting through the suburbs, nobody bothering to chase after it.

What’re you doing in there, Jerry, Nicole calls from the bathroom; darling, what the hell do you think you’re doing?-

Three hours later, he hefts the briefcase, ignoring the tourist’s wheels at the base, and proceeds through the centre of town, gazing at the cashier girl who beeps his sandwich until she becomes uncomfortable and asks,

Was there anything else, sir?

No, no, nothing else.

Turning, tearing the package open in the atrium of the store, he moves on, nudging the briefcase forward between his thighs.

His first question to Nicole, if he’d raised the subject, might have been,

Darling, how am I meant to pursue you without my becoming a beast and your becoming my victim?

He passes through the core and the shops begin to thin; a dog begins to bark, as if helpless.

Mind-Nicole, a beauteous thing with the face of the cashier girl, replies,

Curb yourself, darling Gerard, it’s a question of moderation.

But curbing oneself, darling mind-Nicole, is not a masculine trait, nor is it one of mine.

There are four children sharing a bottle of vodka by the embankment. He trundles the briefcase past them.

Oi, mate, mate, mate-

I haven’t got any cigarettes.

What’s in the case, mate?

Cats’ heads, he says; one of them lobs a stone at him, and they run, cursing. He listens to their bikes chiming over the bridge and into the town-

Christ, he thinks, rubbing his grin, have I even found pleasure in this?

He pushes the briefcase down the bricked slope intended for canoeists. The river pulls it down till even its murmurs vanish past the old gas tower:

But mind-Nicole, although his prisoner, refuses to disappear. He wades up to the top of his wellingtons in the water as if he could swim after the case and reclaim its contents.

When they find him, he admits,

How could I have avoided it?

and then,

Gentle, gentle love.


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  • This is really good Jon. Nice understatement that subtly builds to an excellent final sentence. by on this entry
  • I like this a lot, you have a fast flowing style, I tend to get bogged down in describing everything… by Costa Del on this entry
  • this is excellent. by on this entry
  • Good work! I dont think I quite understand Sally, but I guess thats partly because it's all through … by on this entry
  • That Twain is such a tyrant… by Claire Trevien on this entry

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