Friday, 2 December 2011


The behemoths are comatose by midnight.

In the dark of the depot, the driver rubs his eyes, twice. Awful things only stare in the dead of the moors or in the old house on the hill.

Wish I could see the egg crawl down his face. See him topple in a puddle of batter for the scramble ahead.

She’s waiting for me with a smile. “Friends, you have nothing to lose but your tracks!”

“Ladies and gentlemen, there is a good service...”

The driver wakes me up by 5:30 am. It takes 25 minutes for me to get over my grumbling. I’m no mule, neighing for someone to stick their spurs in my haunch. Hat in hand for the gift of slogging.

Stop 1 at 6:30 am. She’s been there since 6:25 am, stalling.

“Exhausting this!” I puff a black column of smoke from my backside. She speeds off.

Stop 2, rush hour at 7:10 am. The wolves descend on my belly. They’d eat their own to fill the space. Good countrymen pitched in a gentleman’s war. A noose couldn’t hang their heads lower.

At 7:30 am I add up all the angles and dolts - the bodies, the tracks, the rails, the screeches, the rats - and get two odious sine curves that would dip you to the point of puking.

It goes on like this till the end of the day.

Stop 1 again at ten to midnight.

A prayer couldn't hang my head lower. Hat in hand for the gift of resting.

I’m asleep by midnight.

Monday, 30 May 2011

Insects and Road Kill and Boys

“A man’s got to choose.”

Being a boy and watching his father’s life usurped by the ungodly machine he thought was there to offer some respite for them all from the hacking, phlegm-soaked coughs that had transmogrified his gentle, some would call invertebrate, father into a tempestuous ogre, all grunts and pleads; and hearing father, in one final heave of relenting, giving such apocryphal advice – an audacious gesture since a man was unlikely to take advice from a beast, a boy even less so - he could do little but bawl uncontrollably. His mother’s crying, her hands clasped, elbows angled hell-ward, inconsolably over him like a wayward mantis in a manner that an onlooker might assume an image of collective grieving, flummoxed him even more.

Only a curtain of trees draped in wails and wheezes stood in sight or sound on the smack dab slab of earth drifting in the middle of Highway 53, just 20 miles from the relative virility - hammering, pulsing and humming - of Louisville.

He first chose to peer searchingly out of his front screen door, down the half-gravel drive, through the wilting trees that: by day, provided a meagre defence from an outside they had jointly run from at exactly dusk each day; by evening, a self-parody of palmettos and acacias bent in a stoop, and by night a portentous reminder of their path dependent doom, and into the cutter-saw-like road that weaved its way around the island, diverging and converging depending on from which way the metal behemoths scurried.

He then hearing a shrill, “Whatcha looking for?”

And he attempting to ascertain the answer, thinking maybe this is what Dad meant, since he, like all those adults he had noticed down at the Post Office stumbling in trying to remember their purpose, had to invent some ruse to cover up his nihilism.

“Sumpthin’ to eat,” he retorted, thinking with the mind of the barbarian most of the school parents thought him and his kind to be.

“You ain’t gonna find nuthin out there” she mused. “Unless you like squirrel or…”

“Now wait a second, you might be one of them car eatin’ monsters. I’ve heard about y’all. We need one of them down here.”

She slipped behind him and the screen door, murmuring hopefully, “one day one of those lorry drivers is gonna fall asleep and drive right through my bedroom.”

“Nope” he thought.

Looking around, he could only see insects and road kill and boys.

Monday, 2 May 2011

Killing jokes

'What is really disturbing about The Name of the Rose, however, is the underlying belief in the liberating, anti-totalitarian force of laughter, of ironic distance. Our thesis here is almost the exact opposite of the underlying premiss of Eco's novel: in contemporary societies, democratic or totalitarian,that cynical distance, laughter, irony, are, so to speak, part of the game.'

Zizek, S. The Sublime Object of Ideology. 1989.

Sunday, 23 January 2011

The Tyranny of High Culture

Says Thomas Mann,

"Inborn in almost every artistic nature is a luxuriant, treacherous bias in favour of the injustice that creates beauty, a tendency to sympathize with aristocratic preference and pay it homage."

Or aesthetics in ascetiscism.

"Grace in the midst of is an active achievement, a positive triumph, and the figure of Saint Sebastian is the most perfect symbol...of the kind of art here in question."

That too.
So they descended into folk art then. But we lead our present to another configuration. It goes something like this: aristocratic without the aristocrat. A surface surfeit.