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Taking a Page from Mrs. Charlotte Pa-HANCH!

You couldn’t take a page from the Mrs. HANCH! cause she will bite you, and she will bite a piece out of that page — because she has snapping jaws and is terribly terribly hungry.

“Wouldn’t you rather FEED us than EAT uh—HANCH!”

HANCH!

SHWOMP!

A “trophic egg” is pretty different from a “trophy keg”, madame!

Tried to read what

with a big piece bit outa

…later never forgot but..

…three egss…the prophet Apollo…

Lacuna matata!

Hakuna dentata!

Everyone’s all verklempt cause they think anybody who created them can destroy them, and “don’t put me back in there, Mommy!”

What do you want? You’re lucky you lived as long as you di–

HANCH!

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Think About What You’re Going to Say Before You Say It

I stuttered as a kid and my grandpa used to say that which was infuriating because it is orthogonal to helpful — I knew exactly what I was going to say, I just couldn’t say it. My vocal cords rebelled.

In fact I wonder whether if I DIDN’T stutter if I would be as adept or forced to think about what I was going to say before I said it. Because instead I would just say it. (“Only the impeded stream that sings.”) Like — you don’t think about what you’re going to breathe before you breathe it. It just happens. Maybe if you are in a place with noxious fumes or you just got into a cold cold stream and your diaphragm is temporarily paralyzed you do. But not normally.

And I wonder whether that stutter — gremlin on the vocal cords — is a species of a larger genus — times when the will to expression road has a pothole in it. The pothole could be anywhere I suppose — between the desire to express a thought and coming up with the right word — the tip of the tongue phenomenon, between the need to stand up against the foe and finding the courage in one’s arm and fist and shoulder. These blockages.

And in each case they give us the opportunity to have rising water behind the dam and generate more power when the blockage is released. But also, obviously they frustrate. We want to be free! Who wants these gremlins, goblins and sprites on the wires?

And yet the human being who was a simple reflex arc — from the jab at the party to the perfect phrase perfectly expressed flowing unconsciously — would that being even be aware it was a being? Or would it just be something like a ripple in a stream, or a dragonfly snapping at a mosquito without awareness?

D-d-d-on’t ask me!

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Sweet Joanie the Spaniel

In the apartment with the radiator that whistled in the winter and the cherry tree in the front yard that bloomed in spring were a father, a mother, a sister named Claire, a brother named Joshie, and Joanie the cocker spaniel. Mother and father worked, brother and sister went to school, and Joanie was the sweetest dog — when the children were babies they could pull her long silky ears and she never snarled or bit, because she was such a sweet dog.

“Where is father?” asked Joshie of Claire one day. “And where is mother?” They had come home from school the day before and mother and father had been gone. There was no dinner, and nobody to tuck in Joshie before he went to sleep, or help Claire with her math homework. “I don’t know.” said Claire. “Don’t worry.” Joshie did worry although he didn’t tell Claire because he wanted to be a good boy. Sweet Joanie knew he was sad and looked at him with her melting spaniel eyes.

The next day before school there was no breakfast for the children and no lunch and when they came home from school there was no mother and father still and no dinner. “Don’t worry.” said Claire. Joshie worried. “I’m worried Joanie.” he said to the sweet dog. “I know you are.” said Joanie. “Let’s go find them.” And Joshie and Joanie went out the door even though it was dark.

In the middle of the street there was a carnival with people selling cotton candy and rides and a giant ferris wheel. “Look! There they are!” said Joshie. In one of the boats of the ferris wheel Father and Mother were laughing and eating a big cotton candy. Sometimes Mother held the cotton candy and father reached out and ate it. Sometimes Father held the cotton candy and Mother reached out and ate it. Sometimes Father tore off pieces of cotton candy and put them in Mother’s mouth and sometimes Mother did the same for him.

“Come home! Come home! Your children are starving!” said Joanie.

“Shut up, dog!” said Father. “We are having fun riding the ferris wheel! “

“Go home, dog!” said Mother. “We are having fun eating cotton candy.”

“Your children need you!” said Joanie and climbed onto one of the boats of the wheel. It continued turning.

“Go home, dog!” said Father. “We love going round and round!”

“Your children love you!” said Joanie and climbed one boat closer to mother and father.

“Go home, dog!” said Mother “Soon we will reach the moon.”

BARK! said Joanie. SNAP! went Joanie’s jaws on Father’s calf! “OW!” said Father and dropped the cotton candy.

The cotton candy hit the man who ran the ferris wheel. “No dogs on the ferris wheel!” he yelled and made Father and Mother and Joanie get off.

“Well I guess we should go home.” said Father.

“That’s ruined.” said Mother.

And they went home and made dinner for their children.

But Sweet Joanie was nowhere to be found.

Claire and Joshie went down the street and lying in the gutter amid the garbage of the carnival was their dog — the carnival and its rides were gone.

“Why are you here?” asked Joshie. “Come home.”

“I don’t deserve to be home.” said Sweet Joanie. “I am a bad dog.”

“Why.” asked Joshie.

“Because I bit Father and barked at mother. Bad dogs don’t deserve to be with nice people.”

“You’re not a bad dog.” said Joshie. “You’re the best dog there is.” And he took her home and fed her and gave her a bath. And the next morning while Father and Mother and Claire were asleep he and Joanie got on the bus and left town, never to return.

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The Morning Wolf – Concluded

The sister went in the night to speak to the Candy Man and he cozzened her, or she cozzened him, well who knows, but the fact is there was much mutual cozzening and cuddling twixt those two — sister and candyman — and the final reckoning was that sister came back to her little sister with oh so much candy and fed it to her, saying she should look well for her wedding, till she grew thick thighs and a round belly. But all along she was planning to marry the Candy Man for herself, but her younger sister didn’t know it, being kind herself and of a good heart, and slow to see evil in others, most specially her own kin.

But one morning while she was out gathering the dew from the dew-wells through the grey mist there came a wolf. And this was a surprise to her, because the wolf is an animal who hunts at night, and hunts with his kin, his brother and sister and aunt and uncle, and this wolf was alone and it was dawn. And the morning wolf spoke to her and said “Beware good sister, beware, for there is mischief afoot. Your sister and the candyman they plan to cut your throat and she will take him for her own good husband, and you will have none.”

“And how do you know this wolf?” she asked.

“I am the brother of the Wolf’s own king, and he is a bad one, cruel and full of tricks and lies. And your sister and her leman the Candy Man have made treaty with him, that we will slay your father and serve him and pull him and his lady in a coach drawn by wolves. And the price is your own fair body to be our meet.”

“You told me this would be a story from before the animals talked. And you have your wolf giving a speech like he is in the Congress.” said the Cat.

“Then he did not say it. But she knew he meant it, from the look in his eye, and the turn of his tail.”

The Cat feel to licking her paws. Like all their meta-parleys, their talk of when the animals didn’t know to talk had led nowhere.

The little sister lay down on her bed crying, for the loss of her leman the candyman and the cruelty of her own sister, her closest kin in the whole System. And the Pumpkin heard her cries and said “It is my job to protect thee, little chit. Tell me why you suffer.”

The sister told the Pumpkin what her sister and the candyman and the King of the Wolves planned and the Pumpkin said “Come then, let me take your brain and hide it, for that is where you keep your Soule, and it will come to know harm, though the wolf and his kin eat your meat and gizzard and bones.” And the sister said this would be a good idea and this is what they did.

“You keep your Soule’s in your Braines.” said the Cat “But we keep them in our whole body from nose to tail, or else we have none.” “Shh.” said Mother, the story is almost over.

The wolves ate the body of the beautiful kind sister and the cruel sister and the candyman prepared to wed. Father came off the train and saw the wedding. “This is our house now, old man! The Candy Man is my husband and the wolves are my knights.”

“And where is your sister?” Father asked.

“She is gone and cursed you for a bad man.”

And at that moment the orange bloom of the pumpkin opened and within it was the fair face of the young kind sister. “Father she lies. They cut my throat and treated me most cruelly. And but for the aid of the morning wolf, their cruel plot would have born fruit.”

Father shot the Candy Man with his laser gun and melted him to syrup, the Morning Wolf tore out the throat of the Evil Wolf King. The wolves had a good in the morning wolf, and for the sister, she lived happily ever after. For the wolf had been enchanted and he became a man and took her to wife, and nought went ill ever again.

The Cat knew it was best to feign that the story made sense to her although of course it did not. She did as she always did and rubbed herself against mother’s leg, between foot and thigh where the green leaves grew and the tiny thorns were soft and far between, and she was rewarded, as she always was, with a dish of thick white cream.

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The Morning Wolf – Continued

Mother continued.

A few days after Father left on the Space Train to DeKalb Avenue where his office was — this was before they put the stop in between Jupiter and Mars — a candyman came to the door and knocked. You know what a candyman is, I know. A candyman has been known to appear in the fire of the stove offering catnip, and tempt a very bad cat to steal the family’s credit card and buy two bags full, and make mother spend hours on the phone sorting it out.

“Let bygones be bygones is a human saying.” said The Cat.

“They work for the Candy Corporation in its glass tower on Old Earth. Or maybe that is an old story and now they work for themselves.”

The cat stretched from nose to tail, ostentatiously losing interest.

“Be that as it may.” said the cat.

“Be that as it may.” said Mother. “This candyman took as its form a young man with a spring in his heels and a dance in his steps. He spread out his candies on a silk mat, and told the young daughter stories of Old Earth, and how he would put her in an apartment the with glass windows overlooking the sea, a massive water fountain that exists there where whales sport, and her brought her games, and flowers, and of course candy in abundance and she agreed that before father returned from his trip, she would be his bride, and present father with a fait accomplit.”

“An accomplished fact.” said the cat. “Such as when one buys catnip from a salesman.” thought the cat, but did not say it.

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The Morning Wolf

The Cat loved to hear animal stories, from the time before animals could talk, because on some level she didn’t believe them. “Doesn’t it strain credulity…” she said stretching her legs by the radiator — it was snowing for the second time that day, the pot roast was burbling on the stove and it was a good day for doing nothing, except perhaps, listening to stories and pursuing the answers to questions that most likely had none — “I say doesn’t it strain credulity to say that we couldn’t talk for years and then we could. Isn’t it more likely…” she yawned “Isn’t it more likely that you just weren’t paying attention and then after some time, you…were?” “I don’t think so.” said Mother, adding a little, a very little pepper to the pot. The Cat became bored with her own line of inquiry, but she did want to hear a story, so she asked for one and mother told her.

There were two sisters, a young one who was so pretty that she could bring a smile to a man on his way to the e-chair, and an older one who was also pretty, but somehow stern. Their father took the Space Train to work every year and returned on Christmas, and to keep his daughters safe he kept them in a cyborg pumpkin, that kept them warm and safe and fed.

“Was it expensive?” asked the Cat “Was it good to eat?” These were the orange animal’s questions about everything and Mother answered them. “Yes. Somewhat.”

The orange Cat stretched and purred and the radiator clanked and whistled. You could barely see the snow through the window, from the steam on the inside and the frost on the out.

TO BE CONTINUED

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The Winking Pond

To understand this story you must know that for my people to eat the flesh of our own is forbidden. “This is true.” said Ybor to his son. “I saw it after the battle. They collected their dead in a fire & burned them. They left them untouched.” His son nodded seriously.

There was a princess, lithe of form, who was so beautiful her father kept her in a bower on an interior satellite that orbited every hour. As they passed the winking pond she saw a starman smiling at her. Come with me and be my wife and you will rule my planet.

You must have a wife & children on your planet. I do not said the starman. Come with me. & the princess left her father’s satellite and took the starman’s hand and entered the winking pond. Wink! And she was gone. The man was around her and inside her and then laughed.

He left her in the empty space between universes. She said let there be light. And she created matter and forms and minds and worlds and galaxies. But when she received a signal from her father she destroyed it all and returned home.

Her father welcomed her with open arms and forgave her for leaving and married her to a great prince. At the wedding she looked up at the million million stars and said “If these were my stars I would give each of them a golden crown.”

“You were not so kind to us when we were alive, Mother.” said the million winking stars. She turned pale and ran from the wedding never to be seen again.

“It is a beautiful story but it is a lie” said Ybor. “The stars have no mother.”

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The Secret Sermon of the Wisdom of the Healing of Loss and the Journey to a New Place

In the valley the men with the heads of rams who are called the Overseers forced the men with the heads of apes to work. One Overseer for One Man. When the sun started to go down the men would scramble away from the sight of the Overseers, and they were ashamed, each man of his Overseer. Each of them cried in his pit until sleep overtook. In his dreams he dreamed that the Overseer watched him as he failed at his work — his stone crumbled, his tree withered.

I asked my mother if she was one of the men in the story and she said that she was. And who was my father? Your father was my Overseer. That is why you have the legs and hoofs of a ram, why the pupil of your left eye is like the eye of the ram, while your right eye is whole.

Aren’t you ashamed, I asked her.

Of course, it was my job to be ashamed, and it was my overseer’s job to tell me not to be. Well, overseers don’t have jobs, not as we do. It was my way of loving him to be ashamed and it was his way to tell me not to be. Or maybe it was a job. I made it feel like a job. But that was long after we left that valley, long after we took passage, and came to the island where you were born. Those were beautiful days. Every morning I shaved your father’s back and made a sweater, and traded it for papayas, and for beer.

So is it my job, my way of loving, to shame myself, to oversee myself, to leave my place alone, with no one to comfort me? Obviously she didn’t answer me, because it wasn’t her job to answer, or her way of loving.

There are as many ways to oversee, to work, to feel shame and to tell the other one there is no need to feel shame as there are people with animal heads. In one valley they are lions. In the other hawks.

Each of them has his own sermon if you are interested in hearing it. But these days, who has time?

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Dear Nunkie,

I’ve never been good at expressing feelings but I have always wanted to express them. So, I usually found symbolic ways of expressing them for example making up games of alternative chess and solving problems in my alternate system. But I couldn’t help but wonder — are these games of unicorn and gryphon, chasing each other’s tails across the white, black, and green squares really a way of expressing my feelings, if nobody cottons on? No. They aren’t.

So, Nunkie, I decided to say to you what I really feel about you and exactly that, no more no less, and not to put it in the form of a game of triangular chess, where the emperor stands on the center square and the red, blue, and black, try to mount attacks against it. No artifice between us, Nunkie. Let there be togetherness mixed in with our space, to misquote the Sage of Lebanon.

When I felt about myself worse than I ever felt about myself you were there for me Nunkie. You made me feel that what I had to say about life was worth listening to. You shared my life. You made me feel that what I had was a life.

I would say you are my life, but, we both know that that’s not true — or I do, as to you — wiser men than I have tried to answer that question, of where we go, when we go, if it is a there to be, or if we are just gone. And I am still here, Nunkie-less.

I feel your clasp of my being as after a handshake we feel the hand. Maybe that’s the shape of my life now, the absence of Nunkie.

I don’t know. Maybe writing a letter to a man who is not there is another way of playing chess games with made up rules, of shadow-boxing, of failing to truly express my feelings.

I will try again tomorrow and I will do better.

Nunkie, I promise.

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