Sunday, October 27, 2013

Dans l’estomac de la Loire

The river swallowed
her, turned
her into a bolus, slid
her into a slow stomach in
 the middle of pre-primeval Nantes.

    And waited.

      Time churned, silts settled,
       her tender toes now tap twenty
        thousand leagues beneath
        the Jules Verne Museum beneath
        a dancing salon named
         Sea of
            Her serpent twines
              expectant near her cunt – ou,
                       disons-nous, near the école élémentaire
                                    named after Gustave Roch, scholar
                                        of surfaces topological until he
                                          died untimely in the coils
                                           of tuberculosis . . .
                                           Her nipple
                                          perks the Palais
                                          des Sports de  Beaulieu,
                                            where Real Madrid played
                                                PAOK Thessaloniki
                                                    in a beautiful ’92

Image: le jardin, by Max Ernst. For other stories it inspired,
see Magpie Tales.

Sunday, October 20, 2013


Passing through the smokers out behind the Dufferin Mall, I caught the scent of that old round table lighter in my grandmother’s apartment, or maybe the Zippo my dad let me play with because he never did get around to refilling the thing . . . a whiff of the fuel, the smell of flint against steel, and the chime of metal on metal when you snapped it shut. Except that this one belonged to a younger man, who had taken a pass on those disposable plastic jobs for something more substantial, flipping it open just out of the corner of my eye.
Image from Found Walls.

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Backache, Scotch and Chickpeas (Breakfast with the Linguists)

My breakfast of Backache, Scotch and Chickpeas is, according to Richard Lanham, a paratactic list like Veni, vidi, vici, i.e., a list that makes the reader do the work of figuring out how its elements connect. Deborah Tannen would point out how the three elements run parallel in containing k sounds and in being two-syllable nouns, “and” being the linguistic equivalent of Hamburger Helper. Roy Peter Clark tells us that once a list runs to more than three elements, it starts feeling endless, whereas trinities – like Carrie-Anne Moss’s adorably fucked-up little sweaters in The Matrix – do the trick. Slainte!

Heavy Horses

Until last night my exposure to Prog-Rock was limited to enforced snippets of Rick Wakeman and weedy, gravitas-rich Pink Floyd liner notes. Then Sherry and I went to the Jethro Tull concert. She was fabulous; attuned to every trill and tempo change like a true Ian Anderson aficionado. Thirty minutes in I realized why I preferred a post-Gabriel Genesis, an epiphany exacerbated by the demographics of the average Tull fan. This is where Comic-Book Guys go to die and given the arduous ascent to Massey Hall’s upper balcony, I was amazed that these whiskered mastodons had the energy to air-flute.

Image: Popular Mechanics (1952)

Thursday, October 3, 2013

Twinkle, Twinkle, Fortune Spy

In 1806, Jane Taylor didn’t have Google Translate to help her write “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.” Finnish, Armenian, and Hindi translations would have let her daub it with wistfulness: Twinkle, twinkle, little star, I wonder how you are doing.
     Adding Gujarati, Maltese, and more, she’d have had MI-5’s first coded message: Sparkle, twinkle, little star, somebody doesn’t know the enemy’s paying. You are a Solitaire in the heaven across the world.
     Or, the world’s first fortune cookies: Star hotels are a little festive for this. Put your trust in enemy ships being constructed. In a specialized world, enjoy fresh air.

Images: Margaret Tarrant, Daily Mail, Unravel a Gift.  

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Sorry, Margaret Atwood

So, Margaret Atwood has joined other Canadian feminists in calling for the anthem to be edited back to its original. I like Margaret (and feminism), but I have to disagree with her. The line in question reads “true patriot love in all thy sons command.” They want it to read “in all of us command.” But being commanded to feel true patriot love is a bit much. Feelings can’t be commanded, and I’m not big on the whole patriot love concept either. Sorry, Margaret, but I’d rather just stick with an anthem that sticks that one to the sons.

Image: Canada's Walk of Fame.

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