Editions MSS
Editions MSS
To Recoup Evasively Unconscious

The crows call

announcing their return

Shiva dances

and the leaves fall

Winter’s coming

proclaims their doom

and night and darkness and gloom

Tulpuyauor, 1974


Hundreds, thousands of crows streaming, like pitch-fletched quarrels sprung from insurgent arbalètes, down from the mountains to the port, cavorting there amongst the aeolian chaos of masts and rigging, striving to pierce, and poise airborne within, the winking eye of equilibrium atop the pinnacle of the Mahesterne’s noon mantle (a more matinal, and preterite, adumbration of its corvid-tousled estival node may be observed to inflect, a double yazdehanity of incipient, diligent, and marginal textwork later, my “Successive statues of a young god running”) which grows daily northward to embrace its pennate playmates with its own consanguine cinerescence — I remember marveling at the leaves of the beech and the birch and the basswood and the black gum, how those facing the sun as it declined south over the Arathu Sea were the first, before falling, to turn amber, gold, saffron, and crimson, while those in shadow clutched greenly at their mortal tethers, it seemed, even in deepest winter. A nearby mortar blast, finally, broke their cunctatious verdure’s precarious spell, and like burnt scraps of veined and brindled parchment, they fluttered about the everted ochre innards of horse, human, house, and earth.

There are others like you

Embedded in the tiniest grain of dust

Swirling among the currents of early fallen dew

And there are others as you are

Enshrouded by the stark cosmic mist

Succumbing to the attractions of a long dead star

Yes there are others like you

And they live and they love eternally throughout the skyblue

And they are like me too

Tulpuyauor, 1975

Trevi Pulsar Nemo

Whatever ethnic, political, territorial, or purely vindictive motivations may have fuelled it, the war for us was more an ineluctable force, like gravity, than a tragic stew of human rapacity, and, like gravity, though its insidious tralatitions may have infected our games — such as “sceller une piste avec des trous de loup,” or “jouer aux espions et tortionnaires” — it rarely became an overt subject (OS) of textwork, however incipient, diligent, or marginal. The detumescent scintilla, for instance, of a classmate’s abrupt, then recurrent, absence, was recharged soon enough with the novel stimulus of an enchanting parvenue’s trimoline tang — and I remember one superlative morn au commencement du printemps, with honey- and lemon-glazed Trevi’s pneumalorous testa just beginning to expose, from beneath la cagoule indomptable de Mont Spitmarkx, the sulky épanchoirs of his or her or its or their or our primeval tonsure, and we encounter a smoldering, rubble-filled lot: was it only yesterday, and all the days before, that we had stopped there on the way home from school to buy — what? and from whom? from that inexplicable minus that had been an irrelevant mopus of a repulsive matron, but was now an insensate corpse, a black hole of extinguished puruṣa, a Bernouilli-like rift in the Universal Trompe sucking all the arithmetical meat and meaning out of this, our Venturi’s Pleroma, and into some supernormal eviternity of Laver’s Entropium?

Ivory-crowned king,

eyes slanted slightly,

enter the domed ring

and tell me:

Of the ancient lands

and the lonely ways;

of the sun that spans

throughout the days.

O wise and dark one,

tell me of the time

that they will have shun:

eternal, sublime.

Tulpuyauor, 1976

Glo Bersh

According to Intrussyan chronicler T. S. Eridzoi, Yazdehan cosmognosist Subborainizy named our town (OT) Tulpuyauor because, having noted that, “at those conjoint hubs [c’est-à-dire, at the conjunctivism] of seasonal cyclicity when the phanerotic axis of earthly delights is in precise equilibrium vis à vis the solar axle,” viz., on those two mornings of the year when “[day] twins its bright gamut to [night]’s dark” and the sun rises directly over the snow-capped peak of Mount Spitmarkx to the left (if one is trying to descry the tips of the Far Gimmals just poking up over the horizon to the south), and its “mellow [r]ays play with equal and ample splendor over the quivering surface of things and [concomitantly] strike deep into the exquisite depths” of the harbor, he deemed it to be an “Abode (uor) of Effervescent Light (tuḷumpuka),” or a “Place (ūr) of Tremulous Shining (tuḷumpūya).” Thus did the ninth Glo Bersh of my sublunary existence commence with an annular eclipse, flanked by Jupiter and Saturn, emerging from behind the Ostiesa (“eastern gate”) of Mount Spitmarkx, and the Mahesterne’s alabaster shaft topped with a canescent tiara of columbophylactic caltrops bisected the insistent diurnal gloom with a glaucous effulgence, and, child though I was, I bethought myself of the faithful dioptra and the virtuous astrolabe for and with which our Subborainizy (OS) had risked tundra and tropic and marauding Erautist marplots to bequeath to our ebullient Tetrastic shores: tools, knowledge, traditions that, even then, and intimated through the medium of my incipient textwork, salivating Arist galoots festering like Mopsi mold in the margins and interstices of our polyvalent society were bent, like the unbending Tsarist pretor who enervates the fastidious Kafkaist with inane womaninity, on rendering utterly impuissant.

Freedom was mine

One day when I was young:

Bright orange flowers

Saluted the Sulta of the Sun.

A river’s flowing

Celebrated a prince’s growing

When the Mountains of the Moon

Made love to the Sun.

With thoughts unchained

By the boundaries of ignorance

I took pride in the Joy

I received from the Sun.

But my freedom was destroyed

When the chains were forged.

Still the bright orange flowers

Salute the Sulta of the Sun.

Tixpu, 1977

Sun Sulta : Treachery

With barely time for my precessional nostalgia anent l’an précédent’s annular eclipse to mingle with the general sinemota being wrought, on immigrant and endemic alike, by Saliba’s Galoots throughout the coast-mountain regions of Fukariland and mature into full-blown mnasiakakoe (my Gallofrankish chums inevitably rib me with, “Mais tu te souviens quoi de la guerre?” — I think I’ve already sufficiently broached an apt riposte to that!), I was matriculated, comme tous les gosses du régent poldève exilé, in the justly famed pensionnat normal sis à la cime même de l’aldea (later barrio) of Tixpu, the Tiliar Boarding School (TBS), dont j’ai guéri siete años mas tarde, still utterly ignorant of that which enthralls and begets the vast bulk of the extramural trade there: its sundry sultry lupanares and its profound Trou Noir complete with ancient holm (Acer holmus L.) voilant son volant and indigenous olm (Ambystoma tixputanum Goldbarg) s’esquivant au tréfonds. Published anonymously in the school’s organ of things cultural and literary, Tiliar Tracks!, under the title “Sun Sulta,” I had originally envisaged this incipient textwork comme le point zéro, so to speak, of a confessional series à la Plath ou Sexton, “Sun Sulta : X,” in which the X would be replaced, following the initial “Treachery,” with various choice abtract lexemes charting the course of my Kafkaist disillusionment with the asinist system of eurynderast indoctrination masquerading under the misnomer of “education” into which I had mistakenly been immured, but our principal, Dr. Avílano Bimkov, in consultation with our literary advisor (Li-Ad), Mirva V. Bolaño-Kid, and our lexical therapist, Dr. Kavim Vila-Bono, squelched that plan, if not the impulse, which I have retained along with the original title, which I have restored, as I have three lines which that trio of cold-blooded killjoys also nixed — in verse 3, after “Sun,” add the following: “I felt pleasure for every moment / Just to be alive. / My life had meaning under the rays of the Sun.” À propos of which, the exquisite precocious creature I have recently encountered here in Lutèce, the divastigatrix incarnate of this, my ex post facto yazdehanity of incipient textwork, is, befittingly, not only a native Tixputanita — elle est née dans ce bled the very year I left it! — but alumna of — who would have guessed? And she tells me that those “bright orange flowers” the sun fingered and fondled in Wyoming are actually a fungus, Puccinia monoica, that mimics the petals of the mustard blossom — brilliant!

To have been the Gods for a day;

What wonderful changes we would have made.

With infinity in our hands

What boundless travels we would have taken.

With interwoven forces flowing all around us

Our every thought would have created

And destroyed a billion teeming universes.

With the power that we held

We should have thrown out our folly —

And our rapturous world

Would yet remain unshaken.

To have been the gods for a day:

To have been everything

And nothing, all in a day.

Tixpu, 1978

Incipient sonnet n° 1

Tossing about for le paravent d’un nom d’appui behind and on which to pitch this, the first of my sonnets embryonnaires, I dispensed, after having toyed, with la particule dont j’ai droit, and settled on the anagrammatical hommage to mon père I continue to invest my more diligent textwork with encore to this day on occasion selon les exigences du métier: M. S. Litarn. Quel oracle! Wedged as I was between cantle and pommel after having slipped the dactylographed instar à travers la raie d’intromission qui s’emboîte au beau milieu de la Señora Bolaño-Kid’s office door, the mule-clopped cobbles of the sinuous descent seemed to scan, however recalcitrantly, the quotidian cosmoplasts of the conceit I’d submitted for the winter issue of Tracks!, and the aristate chevaux de frise topping our school’s clotûre barbelée above and behind me rhymed with the bristling masts of the Porto Vecho below and before. The Aseli-bound chaloupe I boarded there would be the first sealeg of an aborted journey to a Tulpuyauor that would remain forever changed for me, forever buckled by, to, and with the chimerical rhythms of reverie and remembrance. For in Aseli, carrier pigeon brought word that, instead of aligning the chartered Kidjaki yawl’s bowsprit with the loadstar’s nyctonosticist aplomb, I was to deflect the compass of that vessel’s seavane toward Nemo’s rising and the cliff-slung harbor town moored beneath in the pleated shadows of Mount Spitmarkx’s watery nether parts, Port Gaspard, where I debarked into the awaiting arms of my mother: not only had she and “Mr. Stalin” (as my classmates, mistaking the melos e artes [“honeyed profundity”] of his aristocratic grasseyement for la molasse térébrante [“howled profanity”] of a Tsarist toady’s guttural gueulement, no doubt, called my father) “divorced” in absentia mia, but the latter, timorous of the pollarded careers — arrest, torture, death by deprivation, execution, or neurasthenia (ATDDEN) — extemporaneous régimes the world over had imposed on various of his exiled colleagues, consorts, catamites, and courtesans, had fled to North Texas. We thrust our way through a formicating throng of Yazdehan and Sihlaucal refugees and ascended to Gertrude via cog rail and funicular.

Elegiac sequestered structures

Hanging in the open air:

Burnten, broken and bronze.

Corpulent and crystalline,

Angered by the golden wings,

They join the fight.

Silently (and singly), somewhat swiftly the Balta flew,

When outside the glowing berries grew:

Fairheaded and flown,

Down the spiral highway,

Through the shattered window

Headed out:

(Again she must have stopped)


Burnten, broken and bronze.

Port Uluyau, 1979

Incipient odd sonnet n° 1

Amidst the fundamentalist burrasca of burglary and rapacity the Intrussyan extremists were then in process of inflicting on our ancient town (renamed, for the nonce, Port Uluyau), in the charred lacuna where our house once stood, into which my mother and I had, overland through the hills and defiles by way of secret bucolic winding mule- and deer-tracks, smoothly cobbled, or clotted with stolid roots and loose rocks, ventured, against the flow of exodus and shedding elite tears of desolate rage, to salvage what we could (very little, it turned out), I scribbled this, my first incipient odd sonnet which is also, I think, a parsimonious scantling of purely poetic and perhaps even, despite the extemporaneous circumstances of its composition, almost diligent textwork: oneiric, evocative, allusive, covertly charged with the rimose chiasm of unstated emotion, overtly masked with the Janus-face of fatidic mnasiakakoe. Need I say more? Even as my mother and I were squeezing out through the last ungauntleted streetlet of Port Uluyau and into the freedom of the savage hills beyond, Gals Saliba and his bail-ass Galoots had already reduced the pious liberal plurilingual multivalent balneario established alors by Subborainizy, into the seedy Fischdorp of ignorant intolerant bellicose uniastrists it remains, the ochlocratic capital of Intrussyan Ecumenicalism (INTEC) now known as Tlaour Yuˀup (“Black Yurt”). My maternal lares from now on would be the Yazdehan enclave of Gertrude en WY.

Were but not the World

Of divine Inspiration created,

Wherewith all of Man

Unto the Gods be fated,

And out of All with all,

Into the Light illuminated:

So then shall the Heavens sing.

Were but not the Myth

Of encircled Day abated,

Where, and with, all the Sun

Shone withering and dated,

Is but still the Destiny of Man

To be gorged with Desires sated:

And so be carried off on darkened Wing.

Tixpu, 1980

Amphigory, or Incipient sonnet n° 2

Mirva V. Bolaño-Kid, our school’s (OS) literary advisor (Li-Ad), failing to grasp the paedogological subtleties of the comprehensive cornerstone Subborainizy had erected at the catechectic crossroads of the pandectical piste of our ancient Northern cosmognosy, urged me to entitle this acroamatical gem (AG) of incipient textwork, “Amphigory.” Yet since ideorhesaleotia, the soi-disant “method of neutral bigotry” advocated by the Yazdehan pansophistrists, abjures no signpost however faded or overgrown, no toehold however exiguous or eroded, no resting place however fulsome or unpopular, on the path to knowledge, I felt provoked to sprawl and wallow, as it were, like a ruthful mopsi in the evocatively uncouth reek of a mastiff in heat, to incorporate, that is, rather than rankle at, the lepastic way, viz., not a few of my fellow inmates clung to the Arist or Erautist monoliths of their loose ideas that denied, for instance, the enkylistse of the Universal Trompe, or that, even more perverse, accepted in some abstract, dyophysitic manner, the contrary natures of the phanerosis of the planet Ninsrata (calling it, strangely, “a star,” e.g., of evening or morning, respectively), yet reduced the lusterine thrall de la Lune, if they considered it at all, to a sterile catadioptric catalyst of the most catamenial facets of womaninity (the catachthonic charms of lesbianism I was able, dans mon innocence d’alors, to evoke in the realm of theory only) denying its prominent effects on ego, art, role-play, toy-, word-, and arrack-consumption, and, of course, that intense, otiose impetus towards Eros we call Venturi’s Pleroma.

Yonder stands a man on high:

Not asking how, only why.

Childlike, emotionless he stares;

The sun is setting far below, far away.

Black: purple sky fades to blue, then red, then rose.

Trees are swaying in the light evening breeze.

Remembrance of: a house he shall never own,

A wife he shall never have,

A child he shall never father;

A love he could neither give nor receive.

Yonder stands a man on high: brooding: fearing, hating,

Accepting. On his face a smile, not yet betraying

The tear that flows from the inside corner of his left eye:

Not asking how, only why.

Beulah, 1981

Incipient sonnet n° 3

“I don’t believe in memory,” says the protagonist of the incipient instar of the diligent textwork I’ve recently put out in Hester Esmans The Meaner Side, a little magazine procurable from its offices at 9, cité Manstherse, Paris, IX. “Authenticity is a lie. No law is stronger than fiction.” He steps out of the bar (leaving his half-empty demi [“His Demi Half” is indeed the textwork’s title] sur le zinc du comptoir) onto le mince trottoir de la rue Mouffetard, and lights a cigarette. The story is couched in the first-person, and a child descending the cobbles au beau milieu de la rue, holding the hand of its adult minion, sexy whore of a sveltely proportioned sloimčik of an Intrussyan or Ityalian au pair or indeed, perhaps even Gallofrankish she-mare of immaculate maternity, as the following morceau of the little tart’s words confirms, says, in passing, “Maman, est-ce que c’est que c’est un truc spécial de prestidigitation, de mettre le feu au bout d’une petite baguette et faire souffler de la fumée par la bouche, maman?” Prestidigitation, indeed! Le duo féminin continues to sashay down towards that place or square where the street seems to dissolve into a frowzy farrago of disjointed fruit crates and deranged ruelles. It is the crowded hour de l’apéro du soir, and my paperist protagonist, my fumeur qui flâne, my flâneur qui fume! ascends towards the Panthéon, debouches into Saint Jack’s Alley by way of la rue Soufflot, and in a smooth deft agile perhaps even diligent motion, leans down to stub out his clope in the guileless face of a swaddled girl-child, then quickly loses himself in the massed gloaming. Behind, the infant screams and the mother, with pram-handle gripped in one outraged fist et l’écume de l’horreur poised as if to crash against the scalloped plage of tendresse lésée, scoops the child provocatively against her recurved womaninity with the other, while that half of the foule hoping to slake prying eyes by comforting pretty mère et burnt fille impedes the other half that feels morally compelled to seek retribution for this inexplicable mean act of abnormal rapacity. Cries of “Salop! Meurtrier! (the infant does not die, by the way, and there will be an interesting twist towards the end of the second or third installment) Violeur! Police!” are just making themselves heard in the reader’s unbiased mind, but our smug itinerant anti-hero has long since entered un petit antiquaire de la rue Monsieur-le-Prince, where he lights a cigarette and demands of the elderly propriétaires (who are just closing shop for the night), “J’ai faim! Donnez-moi à mangez! Et comme boisson, un demi, s’il vous plaît! Je veux un demi!”

I know a place of mysterious beauty;

of divine rapture.

A place where freedom is free

and feeling is true.

I know a place where truth is truth

and nothing is hidden.

Where the importance of the One

is essential to the Whole.

I know a place naked in silence

whenever you need,

and clothed in sound

whenever you want.

I know a place where speech is unspoken

and thought is unbounded.

A place of dreams unbroken;

of fears unsounded.

Gertrude, 1982

I know a place

I composed the preceding textwork, “Incipient sonnet numéro trois,” like the current exemplar, as a set of words to make a chanson out of, id est, to read as if sung, the sole differences being, primo, that my father’s pedological emploie on the INTEC (Ipsi-North Texas Ebeyl Canal) having quickly enabled him to become a prominent member (nor was his parsimonious titre de la plus haute noblesse, both uterine and paternal, any impediment) of the Southern Reactionary Establishment (SOREAEST) of Beulah which I had visited for the first time the very summer I composed it, I took imaginative revenge by writing, not just his former esposa out of the former, but his offspring too, as witnessed in the body of the incipient textwork itself by the resentful savor of betrayal that, embittered, I ate, then regurgitated in the form of incipient textwork (it should be sung as read) there in his new foyer “on high” dans la realm uniastérique du Nord Texas the very emir of the banate of which he had become, ou comme, and, segundo, in the latter, unabashed nostalgia for my septentrional Tulpuyauor of yore — mais doit-il céder to exist même dans mon fors intérieur? — glistens against the deviant croupe of a maman who had dropped both la particule nobiliaire and the patronymic (if that is le mot juste) which her atheling (timorously uniarist since his brush up north with Saliba’s Galoots) of a former spouse, however estranged, still entitled her to and had settled into the unassuming role she had been née with, Oda Elton (though her students at the local institution continued to refer to her fondly as “Mrs. Latin” — nor is it mere chance that the lovely young creature gracing my salle de bains at this very moment with her exuberantly juvenile ablutions is of the same distant millennial matriline as me and, of course — ma mère!), and, tertio, at times there lumbered into the kitchen or down the steep narrow spiral staircase and into the basement where I had established my special “place,” a freshly showered, orotund Pannonical being of indeterminate gender that whisper-gargled a comically velarized lingua franca and claimed (the sphygmomaniacal grip that guided my pen was clammy on my wrist; the breath that assailed my stubble-raped nape smelled of carrion and sour apricots) that its designated nomenclature s’écrit correctementAsa Hlzts.”

fibers of time intertwine

the god of silence is still

‘hush’ whispers the river

‘now’ murmurs the stone

in orbit about Polaris

falling gradually now

guided through the night

by light from a distant star

in the absence of

and the presence of

nothing and everything

become something

Gertrude, 1983

Idle as Enly

Since our ancient Northern cosmognosy is ideally enseignée in a sanely idle environment, Enly, the “god of silence,” is so often “still.” Likewise, the so-called guṇas (“fibers of time”) are, to the initiated, the cycle of the seasons as assiduously delineated by generation upon generation of such poised “gods of silence” patiently observing the light and the night and the shadows and the whispers and the murmurs and the stones and the floods and the rains and the annual migrations of mammal, bird, and insect (I’m thinking in particular of our own recurrent Nymph Lady Silène [Papilio enkylistse Spitmarkx, 1841] “guided through the night” from her overwintering grounds in the volcanic badlands of Abenaseli across the Arathu Sea to some Elysian dell of high Mountain Fukari country “by light from a distant star”) in a lunisolar carrousel synchrony of solstitial chevaux and equinoctial aetio-equineness and Venus’ triple amor. I trust, dear Papa, that the irony is not lost.

Then. Then you will know that now is not and you will know what it means when women say that you will be not nor they will not be you and them

Then. Then the stars and planets and nebulae and suns and the little flowers blooming blooming dying and you will see that the sun does not belong to her nor him nor them nor us nor that they will

Then. Then the oceans might part for your feet and you will lead and the oceans might sink down into the earth and the earth might spin fast fast and water fly off out into space and freeze and nothing will be left

Then. Then maybe you will know what it means when they say that children cry not for what they want and that children know always what took you so long to

Then. Then maybe the stars will be cool and blue and you might just succumb if only you might then but

Then. Then you will be


Beulah, 1984


This untitled stretto of incipient textwork functions as an estival ur-proem I composed post-bachillerato one pure jour au bords de l’Arathu in the Innate Regality of Erautist North Texas (abbreviated INTEC in the native lingo) as I supinely moped effortlessly penning the prose rumors that all summer long in that house on Ca Road did not cease to assault me as I gobbled fresh exemplars of that exquisite variety of drupe, le pruneau d’Laumes, the region boasts of. Such was a typically prosaic mid-to-late-summer-early-autumn gras matin in Beulah after the slurry of wheels and horse dung of the company tumbril sent to cart my father off to field or office had roused me from dream. Afternoons were more lyrical as, despues de mon sieste almorzesque, me gustaba soler caminar avant que mon père s’est rentré from his pedological escapades, broaching, if I dared, the public orifice of this or that seaside topchan, chaˀabran, or agore bar, there not only to ubriacar but to assiduously engage in such diligent textwork reposedly composed in recollection de tous ce que j’ai vu, lu, bu, cru, su, dû, mu, tu, etc., as my “Hills like a fall sky before evening” may be seen to subsume the quintessence of, hoping that by the time je suis rentré vers onze heures, he’d already be snoring off the bottle of slivovitz he’d consumed post-prandially and thus would I have evaded the sorts of perils que cette part maudite sloughed off beneath the repeated thrusts of and from the sensitive tip of my favorite textual tool and transformed through the laborious process of diligent textwork and thus transferred writhing and livid with the rich damson riakxrai of my own lexigenic lochia into such sardonic species of diligent textwork as mon “Premier sonnet” more than adequately attests to. By the autumnal conjunctivism I would have returned to the heterolexical seclusion of my catachthonic bivouac chez ma mère where I would occasionally reanimate my eremetic bouts of diligent textwork with refreshingly post-baccalaureal excursions into the laboratories and lecture halls of the Gertrude Wells-Intrussyan Free Academy (GWIFA) where she and her fellow intertextual pariahs were and still are wont to torture their students with all the aversive ergatives, comitative pegatives, elative ablatives, illative allatives, and instrumental sublatives that the full partouze of pluricentric palavers que hablaban was armed with. Meanwhile I was still in Beulah dans mon lit de prose duveteuse where not only did I believe that my father’s repudiation of our ancient Northern cosmognosy and avowed uniastrianism was but a ruse to maximize the surplus value his pedological expertise enabled him to skim from the parched ammine faciès du pays antiphrastique that had welcomed him and a second of his fellow exiled tetrarchs but as I reached with my right hand out of the orgy of incipient textwork I was engaged in with my left for another avidly solferino Laume plum such thoughts were in mind as some sort of pneumochiral or manicarnic metempsychosis which bears no relation to any of the incipient, diligent, or marginal textwork now before you readers must have occurred since said deliciously texticulating southpaw produced the following wörterisches Nachleben of the long since destroyed incipit of what my delirious and redolently ichor-drenched mano diestra must have deemed a supreme fiction: “Nadir approaches zenith. Out of the distance crawl the new Gods, insouciant...”

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Copyright © 1996 M. S. Strickland