Editions MSS
Editions MSS
Goldbarg’s Variants
§ 6.
The independent sadness of that independent crowd might possibly torment me, independently. Children, women, men.

Straight-backed sadness the crowd bears. As if torment would elevate, rather than demean.

A spastic voice would croak out of you then. Convulsive barks and gurgles of clenched jawings like torrid bursts of some shabby tropical wind groaning through the stiff storm-gutted trunk of your typically slouching form.

Such high-gear chortlings of a ratatat voice could only belie the proud burden of what you and your ilk, with pert carriages so smartly erect, call womaninity. The oracular, no doubt, witticisms of inspired glossolalia.

It’s cool of you to love me, and let others love me too. Only the cool, not fools, follow where this cool escort leads. Through the cool talus of the cool abyss.

Gray fools we are, me and the others. In love with a gray escort who’ll lead us straight over the gray cliff and onto the gray rocks below.

That ardent others could pluck a vibrant twang of animate expectation from living breathing sweating panting me! Or is it the slack throbbing ostinato pulse of moribund hope in vile and vilified, used, spent, cast-off, clammy me?

Me and the others can derive, at least, some exotic suspicion from it.

I find the shadow of shame to be spiral, don’t you? It tumbles back on itself as you walk forward, and even if you run and try to jump past its reach, its icy teeth find you and bite you and pull you back into its range and hold onto you like a dog shaking the life out of a paralyzed rabbit or your own terrified ulna. And there’s a sound to it as of storks clacking their curved beaks together in a spiral display of dominance or bonding or both.

That sound, rather, is of storks drunkenly circling and plunging, circling and plunging, in and out of the sky in search of adequate nesting materials. It’s their ice. I mean, their wings. You can see their shadows dancing drunkenly over the ice. Did I say ice again? I meant teeth. I mean find. I can’t seem to find the right word. Plains, prairie, savannah, steppe, veldt, grassland. That’s it. Grass. I find shame to be no different than being drunk, and no shadow in it at all.

This soft writing’s a living monument to our soft-spoken DP, the oft-spoken of F. Maa. When I was living with him he showed me a soft way to knock the living shit out of your opponent with a surprise sacrifice of a softly placed knight for the strategically pivotal king’s bishop’s pawn.

This soit-disant Anatilo Ante you show such large-hearted partiality to is a largely paperist tactic, that is, one whose theoretical import looms far larger than its practical worth, which will surely lead, as the final inscription of our match is bound, by and large, to show, to what F. Maa himself would have dubbed — by the way, did he have a particularly large one? I mean, as large as mine? — a rookbed’s tomb.

Dramatic nonsense! Nonsense for which I’ll feel no guilt, no matter how dramatic! Guilt, in fact, makes no more sense than death would or did vis à vis the dramatic experience of having had him for my master.

That you were important to him, and he to you, even beyond his death, or, rather, the important experience you had of his death, is important. Yet experience, no matter how important, makes just as little sense as ultimately it will when, if not your, then my guilt, my important guilt, shows itself as little inclined to master the memory of him than he of it, who or which, I’d wager, would even say that the more important the experience, the less sense does it make.

The ugly voice of the ugly sufferer betrays an ugly pain. Can sallow brass be tempered in the same way gray steel can? A fan of ugly colors where you heat it.

Wobbling with his or her affliction, the wobbly sufferer wails with a wobbly voice. Not pain, but anger. Quaking, quavering, quiveringly vague spectrum, indistinct lines.

I suppose one could master a vast field like medicine in the same way one can master a vast language like, I don’t know, Zend? Okiao? Bantu? Osnak? With a vast amount of study but, above all, a vast amount of practice.

Should I turn the other cheek on that legalist remark? Or put the legalist tongue in it? Medicine? Really now! Are you poking me in my tenderest, most legalist spot?

The drastic light in the the drastic valley reveals a drastic life. Even if I revealed my true age to him, I don’t think it could get any more drastic.

My age is stiff, my life is stiff, this valley’s stiff. I need a light. You suppose I could ask, par exemple, him for one?

Truly it would be a sapphic torment to you if I told you the sapphic truth about, say, that time I strung the sapphic bow on the sapphic coast.

Martyr me with your fiery truth! I want to be the fiery bow of your fiery torment! Coast? I thought it was in the fiery mountains.

Words lack resolution. I resolved to renounce my voice in the resolved crevasse.

The fosse, in other words, I see, doesn’t lack for leaf-biting ants. Leaf-cutting ants, I’d say in my less timorous voice.

The sound earth is an anagram of an unsound heart. Unsound verses would be rime infirme, or even rime argile, if one has in mind the clastic properties of the substance.

Absolutely. At least, probably. The absolute world of potential verses is a potential world. I love you.

Now don’t get too obsessively loco — I hate it. Anent which, do you remember that obsessive place D. I. Swopes refers to so often with such obsessively erautist fortitude? Whenever he or she talks about it, I hate him or her for it, yet can’t help being obsessed by it.

Far from being erautist, Swopes’s fortitude is a virtual fortitude anent a virtual sex logur. The locus apropos of which I’m more keen on hating to hate consists, and not just virtually, of me, you, me.

Empty, I clean my empty master, who cleans empty them, who clean empty you, who also cleans my empty master, who cleans empty me while I clean empty you.

Empty out the master and the them, and such a fundamentally reciprocal system of hygiene would appeal more to my more fundamentally intimate sense of —

Sex! Do the smooth furies that animate our turbid blood move yours only towards such attributes of mine as dictate a certain member’s smooth entry into half a handful of pulsatile points?

Now don’t get mad but — yes! But I like to get my other limbs all bloody with it too — wriggle my mad digits in your furry fury’s retractile charms, coddle your squirming mad spiritual attributes in my arms, both noumenal and sublunary. And I don’t think the point of my attitude is merely sex — whatever that may mean — but: if they’re stirring your mad blood and theirs with it, why can’t I?

My hands are cloudy with my life’s grief. They’re cloudy. I am cloudy.

Pain is rational. If life had hands, they’d be rational hands, and they’d take the rational form of pain.

As the mast is built to endure the recessive wind in its sails, the earth must endure the recessive beasts it spawns.

Over the wide earth, a wide wind blows. It bursts the canvas and breaks the mast, both wide. Monsters are rampant, we can’t endure them. Nor will they endure.

His stripped belly is pierced, as is his cheek. Stripped, his arms — above and below the elbow, and on the shoulders — as well as his legs — mid-calf, mid-thigh — show the stippled traces of another sort of instrument of scarification.

The arms feel no sentiment for the cheeks, nor is the belly pierced by any sort of fellow-feeling toward the feet. Yet I would say that the affinity linking the limbs is not entirely unsentimental. Between it and it, the hand and the foot, a common passion stabs, a mutual apprehension flows.

Paranoid people crossing in total silence for well over a mile. Let me put it another way: All focused on him, and saying nothing at all — that’s what I mean by paranoid.

A mile-wide firth of silence, innocent even of surf sound, of gull shriek. No wind in the shore reeds, no stumble or splash. And yet it would seem that none of the voiceless, seemingly innocent people engaged in the silent traversal could be truly innocent, for not even the shoulder-mounted children laugh, nor do any of the elbow-cradled infants cry.

It must be wonderful to be a mother bear deep in the wonderful purse of her den amidst the wonderful wealth of her cubs, all engaged in the wonderful enraged sleep of the hibernator! How, I ask, can a human mother bear to be condemned to bearing just one son at a time?

You force me, as is not unusual, to muzzle the purse of my rage. Does having the usual one naked offspring, as opposed, say, to a litter of furry quintuplets, somehow make a miser of a mothers love? I fail to see how the usual processes of human reproductive biology conduce to a state of maternal avarice vis à vis the ursine. But if hibernation’s the rage, let’s bare our crinosities and retreat to the usual locus amoris.

The sobbing belly laughs. Even in death, such blithe spirits! Slaked with mirthful tears and with sclera tinted a joyous red, there’s a glistening bliss to their eyes. A perfect complement to their beards, stained, like their happy hands, with the happy henna of mourning.

The final redness of the beard is the fringe of last light the spirit descries from within the maw of death. And that of hands and eyes, the ocular prehension of the inner lining of death’s vermilion stomach of finality.

The inexperienced waiters in this new-fangled cha’abran seem more like enemies than footmen, and enemies to their own selves, judging by the poor tip they’re doomed to earn.

Like the polysemic flickers of a poorly soldered socket, I’m reminded of a pithy phrase they use to explain how the inexplicable animosity one sometimes feels towards oneself is due, not to any passing sociophysiological process or state, but to the intense contrary natures inherent in the self: icurabit cobradav. Meaning something like, “The iris is a coal pit in the crater of the eye.” Or, “A (young) footman is the enemy of the cradle.”

Thorny people sprung from a thorny earth. Thorny others.

Masked people bound to a masked earth. Masked others.

In the deep shadows of deep rain, the deep troops dwell in deep torment.

The old concept of martyrdom dwells in the old troops like an old shadow of old rain.

How many checkered times will you guide me, my checkered guide, through the checkered perils of space?

The environmental peril confronting space in these environmental times is my environmental guide.

Out of the frying pan and into the drying pan. I have two strict scabs, one on my head, and one on my foot.

The foot is as unpredictable as the head. Both are like two unpredictable scabs, crushing the I, like an insect, between two unpredictable spans of —

We’re sobbing a foamy mantling of sobs. Hold my hand then.

Can we see them weeping too? The hand is a specific mantle.

I entwined my blood in the memory of that entwined throng, like entwined serpents they looked.

The snake is masculine, memory is masculine. My blood throngs with a masculine demeanor.

I see myself as if paralyzed, with a mind paralyzed by the paralyzed genius of its own paralyzed memory.

What I recall is real. Memory is the mind’s real genius.

There, along both arms of the Nirusa, animal white flocks of Moanzy ninsrata descend upon the yellow niter trails of Nimloidu snails, attacking them with a truly animal ire.

Where I hate the very nines of that double-crossed column of yellow and white, sulfur and potash, strong to the left and strong to the right.

The wooden angels clean themselves in the wooden choirstall of the wooden god.

They are firestung, the god with its choir of angels, stung by fire, purified.

Move my stupid hands, master.

Sick hands, sick master. I move away.

Did you know that, before making her way to the Arathu Sea, Osnak Ubag led an insignificant life in Ruhr-Lülnrar, where she was a neighbor of that insignificant burg’s more famous native, S. E. Spitmarkx?

You are my cunt-cocked life, my conid Ur of lepastic lube, my arboreal rut-glebe loitering always on the outskirts of lesbianism!

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Copyright © 2011 Michael Sean Strickland