Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Can you (make a) spell?

Schoolboy by Ben Brotherton

Bratt, Brunt and Brotherton not only serve as an example of alliteration, they also commit embarrassingly silly acts. It was impossible to separate them because pupils had to sit in alphabetical order. Appearances can be deceptive, they say, but those lads possessed no devastating disguises, they were as wilful as their countenance suggested. Certain peculiar practices will have to remain undisclosed but there cannot be any doubt that it was this thoroughly untrustworthy threesome who threw the Principal quite off course during his lecture on the necessity of accelerated learning. The speaker appealed to the audience to “think this thought through”, and implored them not to compromise their grades by succumbing to time thieves such as TV, MSN and other acronyms. He laughed aloud, pleased with his metaphor. “Appreciate your privileges… the first class edification you receive….”, he proclaimed, and he meant it.

Suddenly, three whispered interjections - “ars longa”, “viola bastarda” and “impunity”, with emphasis on “puny”. Audience participation was not encouraged. Somebody squeaked, and it was not the one with the straight As.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Octember and the 2 Henrys

Lamb House, Rye, East Sussex, Henry James' Residence, 1898 - 1916

The yellow leaves of the lilac
happily dapple the last of the green grass,
a lush golden flush before winter.
Palest sky and no cats,
only a fat lonely magpie,
and another wake at the Club.
Mirrored inside and outside:
the sacred and the profane,
prose to the left, prosaic to the right:
The Master and The Masterpieces Guide,
Funk, spunk, junk and bunk.
You couldn’t make it up if you tried.

A book by a German born in Amsterdam, translated into English from French, about a German philosopher notorious for posing translation problems.

Wry Rye-mmmh:

Bread, Henry’s house, Catcher, whisky and rye;
But it was shandy we drank in the heat
On the tombstones - oblivious to James (why?) -
Which is made from lemonade ‘n wheat.

A quote:

“And this in the black frenzied nothingness of the hollow of absence leaves a gloomy feeling of saturated despondency not unlike the topmost tip of desperation which is only the gay juvenile maggot of death’s exquisite rupture with life.”

(Capricorn, p 99; yes, he was.)

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Sweeping Brushstrokes

Applin, Good Morning Norm Jacques (detail), 2009
Found here

Damn hard this abandon, damn hard and tiring. Every day, and the days are sunny, I watch a New Zealand-All Black of a Cat. Chunky and self-assured, he surveys his territory from the top of the garage, the quintessential cat on a hot tin roof. I live the dream of having arrived in the Promised Land, while in anyone else’s reality, after 40 years of wandering in the desert, I haven’t budged from Square One. The inversion of the Bildungsroman: How I came undone. No “building” to de-construct. Not here, not now! The cat knows this, he has probably named and appropriated me.

Und die ganze Zeit: Hälfte des Lebens. Wo nehme ich, wenn es Winter wird, die magischen Mäntel her?

I want to leap like Cat, transcend myself, administer quicksilver injections, and, with sweeping brushstrokes, paint horrible beauty. If, by the end of December, my head is bald, I shall blame Heidegger - I’d be in good company: others claim he gave them ulcers. Touched by minds so vast, mine is about to detonate.