Having my way with Ulysses

And a prettier, a daintier head of winsome curls was never seen on a whore’s shoulders.

My matchless lamb that may atone for all, said she, glorified my destiny, chose me for his equal, although unequal our coupling once seemed. When I went from your wet world he called me to his graciousness. Come hither to me, my lover sweet, for neither mote nor spot is in you. He gave me power and also beauty. In his blood he washed my pledge and place and crowned me clean in virginity and adorned me in flawless pearls.12:32 am

Scene: [Some time after midnight in the offices of Holy Mother Public Relations Martha and Mary are having a stitch and bitch.]

Martha: So you weren’t always a virgin. What was your life like before?

Mary: Before? God. Things were different, I mean I started working at fourteen, you know? I started young. Here’s a picture. [A photograph of a teenaged Mary appears in Martha’s hand; she almost drops her wine.]

Martha: You were cute, look at your hair!

Mary: I had two right feet.

Martha: So tell me about the first one.

Mary: [laughing] Jesum chrysanthamums, that was so long ago! And I was so stupid; I mean I knew absolutely nothing about men. Nothing. My first one was a Libyan eunuch and I was such a neophyte, I had no idea!

Martha: [choking on her wine a little] Mary! Jeez

Mary: Oye! Careful!

Martha: Jeez and crackers would be great with this wine.

Mary: Nice save. And yeah, I could eat something. [Mary widens her eyes just perceptibly and a deliquescing bleu cheese appears with sesame crackers] You like bleu?

Martha: Sweet. Yes. Thank you. So didn’t you realize that he had nothing going on downstairs?

Mary: I’m fourteen. What do I know at fourteen? He looked like a Ken doll, nothing alarming there. But I’ll tell you who was alarming, this guy I knew, what was his name? Pen something, Pendenis. Panther! Holy mama.

Martha: Ha!

Mary: Lord I knew I was going to be in trouble, and he had it all out there too. I mean, he was packed into these tight pants on a stage just about dick level with the crowd. I got whacked in the head with that thing! It must have taken some serious divine intervention to get him into those pants. Anyway, he’s the one who burst my tympanum. Hey, where’s your sister?

Martha: Speaking of getting dickslapped. I don’t know. I don’t care. She’s probably off with J being a cocktease.

Mary: Seriously?

Martha: She won’t do him until he puts a ring on it, so they’ve been doing everything but. I tried to tell her

Mary: I thought they were married? Or at least engaged, didn’t they just have the wedding?

Martha: They called it off. It’s on, it’s off. He’s been cheating on her with a ton of potential Mrs. Je

Mary: Watch it!

Martha: eepers. Sorry.

Mary: You want him popping in here?  Jeezum Crow!  So she’s still technically a virgin?

Martha: Yeah, but come on.

Mary: I know, right.

Martha: So.

Mary: Yeah. The thing about virginity. Who cares? You know? I mean really, look at who cares, it’s never the virgin. And whatever she’s telling herself, I highly doubt she can get off on a technicality.

Martha: Or much else.

See things in their forehead perhaps: kind of sense of volume.

He is divested of the diverse world, of faces, which still stay as once they were, of the adjoining streets, now far away, and of the concave sky, once infinite. Of books, he keeps no more than what is left him by memory, that brother of forgetting, which keeps the formula but not the feeling and which reflects no more than tag and name. Traps lie in wait for me. My every step might be a fall. I am a prisoner shuffling through a time that feels like dream, taking no note of mornings or of sunsets.

1:56 pm

Blindness.  I wonder what they see?  Can do things we can’t.  Read with their fingers.  Senses heightened.  Nose like a dog’s.  Why then do dogs eat their vomit?  Must smell good.  Fingers feel things the rest of us miss.  Feel a fingerprint.  Feel colors.  Maybe they really can smell fear?  What would that?  Smell hope.  Smelling into the future for that, for fear too.  Whiffs of things to come.  That’s one way out.  Smell your way.  Taste.  Better with eyes closed?  Helped that blind kid cross the street.  Piano tuner.  Sizing me up by the feel of my hand.  Pious looking face.  Penrose!  That’s the name I couldn’t.  Penrose.  Wished I could have sniffed that one out back when I.  Smell coming events.  What do blind people dream?  Smells and tastes?  Dream the feel of a woman, this curve, that hip bone.  Taste and feel together.  All of life, every part of every now would be a dream.  Maybe a nightmare.  Next step could be your last.  Could fall into a manhole and need Tom Rochford to fish you back out of sewer vapors, smell heightened.  Choked.  Breathing your own death.  Fall from the dark into blacker than dark.  A waking nightmare.  And yet, we all.  More or less all.  A waking dream for us all.

Wheels within wheels

pigeony linguish1:26 pm

[Scene:  Percy Apjohn (killed in action) and Pen …?  Pen something.  Of course it’s years ago.  Percy Apjohn and Pen Something recent graduates of metempsychosis, have taken a nice supper of human leavings and are now engaged in a little after meal frolic.  Must be thrilling from the air.]

Pen Something:  Who will we do it on?  I pick the fellow in black.

Percy Apjohn:  Hold on, I think I knew that one.  What was his name?  Hard to remember anything after metemwhatever.

Pen Something:  Really have to squint to see him.  Yeah.  I think I knew his wife.

Percy Apjohn:  Mack something.  We called him Mackerel.  Mmm, could go for one of those.

Pen Something:  Well, ready for the attack.  You?

Percy Apjohn:  Here goes.  Here’s good luck!

They like buttering themselves in and out.

How chimant in effect! Alla tingaling pealabells! So a many of churches one cannot pray own's prayers. 'Tis holyyear's day! Juin jully we may! Agithetta and Tranquilla shall demure umclaused but Marlborough-the-Less, Greatchrist and Holy Protector shall have open virgilances. 1:13 pm

[Scene:  The kitchen of Tranquilla convent, well appointed with red Dockrell’s wallpaper and decorated with daguerreotypes from the studio of Stefan Virag of Szesfehervar, Hungary.  The room smells of American elderflower soap and of winds that blow from the south.]

Saint Patricia:  Great Christ and Holy Protector we are running out of everything!  And even more curious, table twelve has used up their pillar of salt, do we have another?  Oh!  Oh!  Oh dear God you are bleeding!  What is that on your plate, bread loaves, bells?

Saint Agatha:  Don’t touch me!  I want to coagulate and your touch will just liquify everything.   It’s my breasts, I think we should fry them in butter.

Saint Patricia:  We fry everything in butter.

Saint Agatha:  No lard for us!  I’m hard pressed to think of anything else to give these albatrosses.  We already ran out of the rabbit pie, the port soup, the lap of mutton with chutney sauce is gone, and that base barreltoned man Ben Dollard ate the barons of beef.

Saint Patricia:  He drank all the Bass number one too.

Saint Agatha:  What, two?

Saint Patricia:  Too.  We still have some of the mulled rum.  This is a crowd to rival the Glencree dinner!  Remember?  For that one we had to bring out bread with drippings to satisfy them all.

[A priestylooking chap name of Pen something (Pendennis? My memory is getting.  Pen . . .?) opens the kitchen door and squints in with weak eyes.]

Saint Agatha:  Where are they all coming from?  Like flies to a picnic.  Perhaps we should start the entertainment now, then serve the sticky stuff.

Saint Patricia:  Good idea.  Where is old Goodwin?  Lucky we have him, I understand this will be his last performance.

Saint Agatha:  They always are.  Look behind you, we have lots of Plumtree’s in the cupboard, let’s send it out now.  After that we won’t have much left to offer.

Saint Patricia:  Not if that woman in the elephantgrey dress keeps sticking her fingers into every pie.  She can be rude.  Did you see her?  And after the band plays, we have.

Saint Agatha: We have sugarloaves with caramel.  Our staple food.  And once that’s gone that’s it.  We’ll have to barricade our doors with barbed wire.

Saint Patricia:  Well, I am glad to communicate with the outside world, but today I have suffered!

Saint Agatha:  I agree.  Just think back to our morning devotions.  Happy.  Happier then.  Here, let me straighten your brown scapular.  There you go.

Saint Patricia:  Thank you.  I’d better get back out there.  Some of them, Masons I think, are making noise about some lottery tickets.  Some scandal or other.  Thing like that spoils the effect of a night.

Saint Agatha:  Yes.  But it is all part of the stream of life, no?

Saint Patricia:  Yes, the stream of life.